Monday, May 25, 2015

Why do weight training? Isn't cardio enough?

Question for Penny:
Why can’t I just do cardio to stay healthy or lose weight (stay in shape)? Why do I have to do weight training or “weight-bearing” exercises?

Answer:
Strength training burns more fat and calories, and build more lean muscles (which also burns fat). Muscle tissue is more "active" than fat tissue, with each pound burning about 30 calories a day just to stay “alive". So even if you’re sitting on the couch or stuck at your desk for eight hours a day, the extra lean muscles you develop will burn more calories, helping you keep weight off for good.

It has been proven that even though you are burning calories during your cardio session, with strength training you don't only burn calories during the workout, but you can burn more even after the workout, due to the “after-burn" effect. This means that for up to 24 hours or so after the workout has ended, calories are being burned at an elevated level for recovery, blasting more fat even while you’re at rest.

Also, without regular strength training (at least twice a week) to build and maintain lean muscle mass, your body’s metabolism cools down over time and burns fewer and fewer calories. This doesn’t give you much leeway when it comes to enjoying your “fun” foods. Not to mention, without strength training, don’t be surprised if you end up with a not-so-tight, not-so-flattering body composition. 

Another important thing to remember: Putting pressure on muscles not only makes them stronger, but it also puts pressure on bones which forces your bones to make new cells, building bone density. This is a good way to avoid osteoporosis (degeneration of bones). So learn to use the machines or dumbbells properly and make it a part of your lifestyle regimen. Heck, you don’t even need equipment; bodyweight exercises such as squats, pushups and planks will do the trick! (As long as you’re doing them regularly.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Should you stress out over this?

Question for Penny:
How do you handle moments when you encounter unpleasant or unkind people? I can’t help but get so angry or annoyed and I know it’s not healthy for me to feel this way so much. How do I protect myself from taking it so personally??

Answer:
It takes a lot more courage and wisdom to be kind to someone than it does to be unkind. If you treat someone in a pleasant way, and they do not extend to you the same courtesy, just remind yourself "it’s unfortunate they’re not feeling their best" and then, kindly walk away or put your attention somewhere else. Don’t let others sway you so easily and have you spin the situation into streams of negative thoughts. 

Look at it this way: When you’re extending yourself in a positive way, it’s like a “gift” you’re offering to others. What you receive in return from them is "their gift” back to you. If in this moment, a person is not in a kind mood, then their gift to you will somehow reflect this mood. And this is their gift to share — it has noting to do with you. You do not need to make this gift yours.

We all have our moments where we don’t feel our best, so have compassion and understanding that one can only truly give what they have. So if in this moment, a person does not have it in them to extend kindness, then so be it. Understand that it is their choice, and their challenging life lesson. 

Remember: You possess a powerful personal tool called “choice”. You can choose to accept "their gift" and allow your mood to be easily swayed by them. OR you can choose NOT to accept their gift and leave it behind. If you leave it behind, this means the gift will remain in their hands — not yours. You do not need to unwrap it into your life. Just leave “that gift” behind and put your attention elsewhere. There’s an abundant amount of gracious gifts in this world ready for you to accept, unwrap, and uncover. You don’t need to hold on to gifts you do not appreciate.