There are myths and tall tales for just about every aspect of life, and the fitness world is no exception. The rise of the internet and the social web has helped to fuel a number of these common myths and misconceptions as people tend to believe everything they read. Here to dispel some of the confusion is MAG’S myth busters’ guide to fitness.
Myth: Fruits have sugar and are bad for your diet
Busted! Fruit is an excellent source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but also contains a lot of sugar and is therefore discouraged from certain diets. However, the right kind of fruits can be a healthy part of any balanced diet. You should always try to choose fresh fruits which contain a lot of fluid and fibre, as they tend to fill you up on fewer kilojoules. Choosing fresh, low GI fruits like apples, pears, peaches and oranges, and consuming no more than two fruits at a time shouldn’t have an effect on your blood sugar.
Myth: Crunch your way to a sexy midsection
Busted! While crunches will strengthen your abdominal muscles, focusing solely on them won’t help you achieve that sexy midsection you’ve always dreamt of. You first have to get rid of that layer of belly fat that covers your stomach muscles. The best way to reduce belly fat is to follow an exercise routine that consists of high intensity cardio and strength training that incorporates a number of compound movements, combined with a healthy, calorie-controlled diet. This way you’ll decrease your overall body fat content and, soon enough, you’ll have that flat midsection with sexy six-pack abs.
Myth: Weight training ‘bulks’ you up
Busted! Most women believe that weight training will leave them looking like a bodybuilder. The truth is that if you want to tone up and slim down then you need to train with weights – heavy weights. Olympic bars, barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells offer the type of resistance that causes the greatest ‘metabolic disturbance’ during and after your training session. This is what burns the most calories and sculpts sexy, shapely muscle. The only way that you’ll grow to bodybuilding-type proportions is if you eat enough calories to fuel that fuel of growth. Weight training also prevents degenerative conditions like osteoporosis as you get older, which means it has added health benefits.
Myth: If the scale hasn’t budged, you’re not making progress
Busted! Don’t focus on the number on the scale because a kilogram is a kilogram. Your weight doesn’t distinguish between muscle and fat mass. That means you could replace a kilogram of fat with a kilogram of muscle, which would make a massive difference to your appearance, but not to the number on the scale. Use the tape measure, the mirror and a body composition analysis to track your progress, not just the scale. This approach gives you a more holistic view of the changes you are making to your body.
Myth: If you’re not sweating, you’re not working hard enough
Busted! Contrary to popular belief, sweating is not an indicator of how many calories you’re burning. Sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself down. Some people also sweat more than others. Walking or doing some light weight training burns a significant number of calories yet it doesn’t always make people break out in a complete sweat.
Myth: Cardio burns the most fat
Busted! Nothing could be further from the truth. Resistance training is able to burn as many calories, if not more, than basic steady state cardio. Resistance training has the ability to burn calories both during the activity and up to 48 hours afterwards. This is caused by the metabolic disturbance caused during high-intensity resistance training. High-intensity cardio such as interval and aerobic threshold training can also burn many calories, but this type of training is not achievable for everyone. The muscle that resistance training builds is also more metabolically active, which raises your basal metabolic rate. This means you burn more calories throughout the day, even while at rest. Resistance training therefore boosts your metabolism while also improving your insulin resistance and can ‘shut down’ the fat-storing enzymes in your body.
Myth: The longer the workout the greater the benefits
Busted! Ideally your workout should never exceed 45-60 minutes. The key to an effective workout is not the duration but rather the intensity and efficiency of it. The trick is to work hard and smart at every session. If a workout takes longer than an hour to complete then you’re probably wasting too much time between sets, doing too much talking to your trainer or not exercising properly. Exercising for more than 40 minutes can also boost cortisol production, which can increase abdominal fat accumulation and reduce muscle mass.
Sugar: The sweet stuff is enemy number one when it comes to losing weight. Recent studies have suggested that our excessive consumption of sugar is contributing to the obesity epidemic. On average we’re eating about twice as much sugar as we should be. Try to opt for low sugar alternatives and get in the habit of reading the labels of the foods you buy and if sugar is listed in the first three ingredients then don’t buy it.
Trans-fast: A trans-fat is a form of unsaturated fat which behaves like a saturated fat because of its chemical structure. It should be avoided as trans-fats increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood, while also lowering the amount of ‘good’ cholesterol in the blood.
Processed meats: A processed meat isn’t just spam, which is what initially springs to mind. The definition includes any meat that has had something done to it to make it last longer (through salting, curing, smoking or using chemical preservatives) which includes lunch meats as well.
Ready meals: They’ve been on the bad list for a while, but ready meals are often laden with a large amount of salt and sugar and are highly processed. Popular choices such as lasagne, moussaka and curry are some of the worst culprits as they can contain large amounts of saturated fat.
Taking good care of your hands doesn't have to be a major production. There are things you can do every day to help your hands look and feel good. Develop a good routine and give your hands a helping hand…
Like your face, your hands function as bridges to the world. You shake hands when you meet or greet someone for the first time and when you seal a deal. Your hands express your affection to those you love. They soothe sad children and those suffering from illness. In any case, whenever you are interacting with others, your hands will probably spend some time in the spotlight.
The problem is that your hands are also essential tools. You use them for complex maneuvers and lowly chores. In the course of a day, your hands are exposed to all sorts of germs, dirt, harsh substances, sunlight and more. To make matters worse, the frequent washing that is designed to keep your hands sanitary also can make them dry, cracked and wrinkled. Here are a few tips to keep your hard-working parts soft, smooth and youthful for years to come.
Wash with care
If you make it a practice to wash your hands the right way, their look and feel should not be a casualty of your healthy habits. You want to remove germs and grime from your hands, but you do not want to strip all the natural oils. Wash with warm water instead. Avoid harsh soaps, antibacterial soaps are not necessary and may even dry skin more. They also can kill good bacteria on the hands and encourage bad bacteria that resist antibiotics. Rinse hands well and dry by patting or blotting gently.
Good moisturisers can help prevent or treat dry skin on your hands. They hold that needed water in the outer layer of skin, making your hands smoother and softer. They also help your outer skin act as a temporary protective shield. Creams are thicker and longer-lasting than lotions. Most creams are water-based, but folks with extremely dry skin may want to use an oil-based cream. Oil will hold water inside your skin longer, but the cream will leave a residue on your hands.
Give your hands a break by protecting them from unnecessary exposure to anything that will make things worse. All you have to do is make wearing gloves part of your daily routine. Keep a couple of pairs of elbow-length rubber gloves around for heavy cleaning. If preparing onions, tomatoes or other strong or acid foods irritates your hands, the gloves can help.
Year-round, whenever you will be out in the sun, protect your hands with the invisible shield of sunscreen. The backs of hands, especially, need protection with a sunscreen of at least SPF15 every day.
Give yourself a mini-cure
A manicure may be a mood-elevating treat or preparation for a special occasion. Most of us won't get a manicure every day, but we can give ourselves a mini-cure, or the little things that help keep nails healthy and attractive.
• Do not bite your fingernails and always file nails to a rounded point to preserve their strength.
• Use moisturiser on your nails as well as on your skin. For an extra treat at night, warm a favourite essential oil and give your nails a therapeutic soak.
BB Cream is just one multipurpose product you can add into your beauty regimen. Consider other products to save time such as 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner, lip tint that you can use on your cheeks or moisturiser with built-in sunscreen.
you are in store for a beautiful weekend or the forecast shows some
clouds rolling in, you should protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.
Sunscreen filters out the sun's dangerous, invisible ultraviolet rays,
which can cause skin cancer. Read on to get a grip on SPF and how to protect your skin with the right products…
Dermatologists advise to use sunscreen not only on warm, clear days, but also on sunny winter days, when it is cloudy. Skin needs protection any time it is exposed to daylight, not just when we think our chances of exposure are higher. Research shows that daily low-grade exposure to sunlight can be just as damaging as short and intense exposure. The proper application of sunscreen on a daily basis is as mandatory to skin health as proper cleansing.
Who should wear sunscreen?
Put simply: Everyone. However there are certain types that are even more in need of protection. The sun's UV rays can damage anyone's skin in as little as 15 minutes and skin of all colours can be harmed by those ultraviolet rays. Apart from those who spend a lot of time outdoors – for work or play – you are more likely to get skin cancer from exposure to the sun if you have one or more of the following: Lighter natural skin colour, skin that easily sunburns, freckles or gets red (or becomes painful from the sun), blue or green eyes, a family member who has had skin cancer.
Kids are among the most vulnerable, as reviewed by dermatologists that most people receive 50 per cent of their total lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18. So, it is more important than ever to educate kids and families about smart sun protection.
When to use sunscreen
You need protection from the sun even on slightly cloudy or cool days. For best results, you should apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before being in the sun so that it will be absorbed by the skin and less likely to wash off when you perspire. Before application, shake the bottle well to mix particles that might be clumped up in the container. For ease of use, consider using the spray-on or stick types of sunscreen.
Sunblock application basics
Use sun protection on all parts of your skin exposed to the sun, including the ears and back, shoulders. If blemishes or sensitive skin is an issue, special non-oil-based sunscreens are available for use on your face. Be sure to apply enough; as a rule of thumb, use an ounce (approximately a handful) to cover your entire body every couple of hours. Apply it thickly and thoroughly. Two trouble spots that do not work so well with suncreen: Your scalp and your eyelids. A hat and sunglasses will fit the bill there.
Keep in mind that sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours, and after you swim or do anything that makes you sweat.
Combine these sun-protective options to help protect your skin from damage in both the short and long terms:
• Seek some shade if outdoor activities are unavoidable during midday, when the UV rays are the strongest and do the most damage.
• When it is cloudy, remember that the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds and harm your skin.
• Choose more than one way to cover up when you are in the sun. Wear a hat, throw on a T-shirt, grab your sunglasses and seek out some shade.
Wrinkles happen to everyone no matter who you are. We can't stop our
skin from wrinkling, especially since it is mostly due to aging. When we
reach a certain age, our skin starts to wear out and wrinkles and
lines start to appear. Other causes of wrinkles include exposure to the
sun and smoking. Although there are many expensive options such as
Botox and chemical peels, here are some cheaper ways to diminish fine
lines and deep wrinkles.
Skin care is the key. To prevent future wrinkles, and get rid of a couple of fine lines, take good care of your skin. Wear at least SPF 20 daily, and reapply it at least once or twice throughout the day. Every morning, wash your face with a hydrating cleanser followed by a light moisturising lotion. At night, use baby oil to remove any eye makeup, a hydrating cleanser for face makeup, and replenish moisture with a rich, anti-aging face cream. The idea is to protect your skin from the drying effects of the sun, and to replenish moisture and elasticity with face creams and lotions.
Yogurt mask. Gently wash and exfoliate your skin first to prepare it. Mix 1 tsp. of plain yogurt, 1 tsp. of honey, 1/2 tsp. of orange juice, and 1/4 cup of bananas into a bowl. Spread the mixture on your face using your fingers, and lay down for 15 minutes. Yogurt and honey helps tighten enlarged pores, and orange juice helps smooth wrinkles. The bananas help hydrate dry, irritated skin, which causes wrinkles. After 15 minutes, wipe your face clean with a warm wash cloth to soothe your skin. Now is a good time to apply a moisturiser, as your pores are open and refreshed, and will lock in hydration better.
Lemon juice. Lemon juice acts as a natural skin tightener. This will tighten wrinkles and enlarged pores. You can rub this over your entire face and neck twice a day, and over time you will see a difference. Make sure that you use a light moisturiser after this though, as lemon juice can be a bit drying. It will also help get rid of other signs of aging such as dark circles.
Vitamins. There are 3 vitamins that do a great job of reversing aging. Vitamin E helps protect your skin from free-radicals that damage your skin and cause deep wrinkles. Things such as pollution and UV rays can be neutralised by proper intake of Vitamin E. Good sources are nuts, seeds, and supplementary capsules. Vitamin C can be used to tighten skin, creating a firmer and younger look. It also helps to restore collagen. A great way to get vitamin C is through lots of citrus fruits and veggies. As you age, leaking of capillaries around the eyes cause dark eye circles, making you look older than you really are. Vitamin K helps constrict these capillaries to reduce dark under-eye circles. Load up with dark leafy greens, such as broccoli and kale.
Reduce stress. Stress causes wrinkles on the forehead and eyes from squinting and grimacing, and sagging frown lines around the mouth. Light relaxing lavender candles around the room. Try to drink herbal tea before bed to help you sleep better, it will also help your body and skin recover.
Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your side causes you to get wrinkles on your cheeks and chin while sleeping on your belly causes you to get wrinkles on your forehead but If you can't get out of the habit of sleeping on your back or side then get an anti-wrinkle pillow that doesn't put too much pressure on your face as you sleep. You also want to make sure you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day to keep your skin elastic and thick.
Follow a diet. Cut back on sugar. Prefer Cocoa rather than coffee. Chocolate is also not bad for smoother skin. Drink at least half of your weight in ounces of water daily.