Your Questions About Better Weight Loss Yoga Pilates

by Maricela on April 12, 2013

Ken asks…

What is a good exercise program for back problems?

I injured my back leaving me with multiple herniated discs. I used to do Karate and am no longer able to do it. I feel so inactive now. I was thinking about Yoga or Pilates but I haven’t done them before so I don’t know if they put any stress on the back or neck. I want to do something that is somewhat strenous instead of just stretching. Any suggestions??

Maricela answers:

I like swimming, but it can require a lot of leg and ab strength, and if you have been out of the game for a while, that might be difficult to start with. I think that Winsdor Pilates should be definitely looked into for you; it was created by a doctor in WWII who wanted to rehabilitate soldiers who were incapacitated from various war wounds (like loss of limbs, paralysis and such) and help them regain muscle strength.

Both mat and “machine” Pilates have their benefits and drawbacks, but because they were created for the purpose of strengthening back, abs, and general core muscles, both types of excercise will do the trick. Trust me, they are both quite heavy on the toning side of things,which may not sound strenous, but just try it for the first time and see how strenous they are!

Yoga is along the same lines but is, in my opinion, something one should attempt once some core strength has been realized. If you have back injuries, any knowledgeable person would probably tell you to find a class, instructor or situation that combined all of these techniques. There are quite a few yoga studios that encompass all of these techniques; look for one in your area that works with all of them.

The other thing is to make sure that you follow up your routines with appropriate chiropractic care. Even before your injury, the impact of Karate probably was doing a number on your spine and associated parts. A chiropractor should, in my opinion, be the backbone of your workout. Your chirporactor can, over time, help your bones and attached skeletal muscles hold in the right positions so that as you do your workouts, your discs don’t go anywhere they are not supposed to go. They can take a lot of the pain and inflammation that has plagued you for so long, and will help you speed up your recovery. Once your back is in good shape, it will be much easier for you to do everything, not just exercise.

You cannot stretch enough. I know it doesn’t seem like it’s doing much, but as you do get back into the swing of things, your flexibility will be invaluable. Once you have gained some initial strength through the Pilates and yoga, move back into some assisted help, either with a trainer, physical therapist, or someone of that ilk, with some light weight training and walking-not running-on the treadmill or cardio machine of your choice. It’s important not to go it alone in this stage, as someone can help spot you, particularly on free weights with your injuries at first.

I think that the most important thing to remember is that you can’ t spot train your spine into behaving. It is the nerve center of your body and requires the toning of all the skeletal muscles that interact with it. This is why you really need to listen to your body. Stuff like stair climbing on a cardio machine might be too much for you initially, so just try it for a few minutes and see how things go. So whole body workouts, whether or not they include impact exercise, will tone and burn fat gradually as your back strengthens.

If you have some weight to lose as a result of a lack of activity, be patient with yourself. You only get one spine, and yours may not ever be the same if you beat it up too much. If you work your way back into things slowly, you will be back to your best shape in no time.

Donna asks…

What is the difference between pilates and yoga?

I just wanted to know and I was wondering what the difference was. I was thinking of taking a class and I want to know which is better for a 13 year old girl that is slightly overweight?

Maricela answers:

Yoga, is aimed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. Yogis view that the mind and the body are one, and that if it is given the right tools and taken to the right environment, it can find harmony and heal itself. Yoga therefore is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body’s posture, alignment and patterns of movement.
Pilates seek to reach much the same goals, also via a series of controlled movements. The major difference is that the Pilates technique not only has a full complement of matwork, but it incorporates work on the Pilates machines. The emphasis of the exercises is to strengthen the abdominals, improve posture, stabilize and lengthen the spine, improve balance and overall strength. Pilates gives you a longer, leaner, dancer-like line.

The question is, will they help u to loose some weight?
In order for Yoga or Pilates, or any other form of exercise, to assist with weight loss, it has to be accompanied by a well-balanced, carefully monitored diet. For the body to lose weight, it must burn more calories than it consumes. While this seems a simple enough concept, many people mistakenly believe that any form of exercise will initiate weight loss regardless of what they eat. The truth is, you have to be participating in an activity that actually burns off more calories than you are consuming each day, making a healthy diet equally as important as the form of exercise you choose.

Good luck.

Carol asks…

What is an easy way to gain weight while staying fit?

I play baskeball and my coach tells me that im strong but if I were heavier I could move bodies easily. Im about 160 lbs now. How should I put on weight while staying in shape; such as guys like Lebron James lol.

Maricela answers:

It may be easier to eat six or more smaller, balanced meals rather than eating three large meals, especially if you’re not used to eating much at one time.

Protein powders and nutritional supplements such as Ensure can be added for in-between meal snacks. You can also make your own delicious protein shakes at home with a blender using milk, yogurt, frozen fruit, etc. Look for some easy recipes here:
Exchange the skim milk and fat-free yogurt for regular since you don’t want to lose weight. Most protein powders are not very tasty unless mixed with other ingredients.

Exercise is an important part of healthy weight gain. Strength training is especially important and will build muscles. This can be done at home or in a gym. Cardio exercises are healthy and should be a part of your routine, but they burn maximum calories and may cause you to lose weight if you don’t eat consume plenty of calories. Limit your cardio workout to 30 minutes. Consider activities such as: power walking, jogging, biking, swimming laps, jumping rope, dancing, skating, etc. Yoga and Pilates are excellent additions to your workout as well. Here are some exercises you can do at home to help target certain areas:

Some suggestions to help you gain weight:

1)Add healthy calories to your menu. Start breakfast with a slice of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter.
2)Trail mixes, nuts, dried fruits, and protein bars are healthy high-caloric snacks.
3)Drink healthy beverages such as milk and fruit juice. Avoid sweet drinks that add no nutritional value.
4)Choose the healthy option every time. Avoid fried foods. Eat larger portions of healthier foods such as baked potatoes, chicken, fish, etc.
5)Follow the food pyramid guidelines and make sure that you include all the major food groups in your diet.
6)Consume heart-healthy oils by eating olive, walnut, or canola oil in your homemade salad dressings. Add cheese and nuts to salads for additional healthy calories.
Good luck!

Jenny asks…

What are some good pills that help with weight loss?

umm…well im 15, 5’5 and i weight 167 pounds and i want to weight 130 pounds…..and im also really self conscience about my weight…im wanting to start exercising in the summer and dieting but i want a little boost to help me see improvement so that i dont give up on myself. Any ideas?
i meant like, flax oil and vitamins and fish oil stuff…..vitamin c and b and stuff that will raise my metabolism

Maricela answers:

DO NOT TAKE DIET PILLS! They are dangerous!!

Last year I was visiting my parents and took diet pills on top on my exercise routine and normal diet. I was 26 at the time, 5’11, 180 lbs. By week three I was sick. I had diarrhea, dry heaves, dizziness, headaches, and a general feeling of being sick. I thought I had caught the flu or something. I had lost 13 lbs in 4 days. One morning I told my mom I didn’t feel good. My vision kept blacking out and I felt (for lack of a better way to say it) stoned. Later that afternoon I was walking from the bathroom to my bedroom (a 5 foot walk) and I passed out. I was rushed to the hospital emergency where they did a bunch of tests on me.

My pulse was up to 120, My blood pressure was 150/40, they had to start me on an IV, the did an EKG on me, took blood and urine samples, and a whole barrage of other tests.

They finally got me stabilized and said that I was dehydrated and malnutritioned. I told him that I took diet pills. When I mentioned diet pill, the doctors face lit up and said that’s why. He said they can cause a whole bunch of health problems, including death. He told me to toss the diet pills or next time I might not be so lucky.

I was kept in the hospital for almost 10 hours, given 3 or 4 IVs, potassium, juices, and monitored (by the EKG, blood pressure, and heart rate machines) every 15 minutes.

Please take my story as a warning. If you seriously want to loose weight there are better ways (I know because I’ve lost weight after this)

The quickest way is to cut out red meats, starches, breads, sugars, alcohol, and sodas.

Eat veggies (salads are good), soups, and drink TONS of water. If you get hungry between a meal, drink water to fill up.

In moderation eat white meats, and fruits (fruits contain natural sugars, and that can put on weight)

Practice portion control. Yes, you’ll feel hungry at first, but think of your goal, and soon your stomach will start shrinking and you won’t have that feeling anymore.

Eat 5 times a day. A small breakfast. A mid-morning snack, such as an apple. A small lunch. A mid-afternoon snack, such as carrots. A lite dinner. Do not eat any later than 7pm (6pm is better.)

Go exercise for at least an hour – two a day, incorporating weight training along with your cardio. Cardio helps to melt the fat, while weight training builds muscle. Muscle burns fat, even when you are resting. You get the idea. It also gives tone and definition. Also do a few yoga and pilates exercises to help tone those hard to reach and stubborn areas.

Thomas asks…

What are some effective ways to lose overall body weight and to get a flat stomach?

I cant do any crazy diets or go to the gym. Just some good aerobic/cardio excersises that I can do with just my body, and maybe some weight lifting. Im hoping for fast results, because I want to look good in my bikini by the time pools open! Thanks.

Maricela answers:

Here are my best tips for diet and exercise

Always eat breakfast and always include protein for your breakfast. Protein builds muscle, improves your feeling of fullness and will help to keep you satisfied until your next meal.

Choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, dry beans or lentils. You may even use some protein powder to get more protein with less sugar and calories. I put chocolate whey protein powder in my oatmeal for breakfast, and I don’t need any sugar. If you want to use protein powder, do some research to make sure it does not have unhealthy ingredients.

Increase your daily consumption of vegetables. You can’t have enough vegetables! Raw, steamed, in soups, whatever you can do to get more vegetables in your diet is a good thing. Vegetables are very important to losing weight.

Limit how much fruit you eat. Many times when people are dieting they reach for fruit to satisfy hunger between meals. While fruit is good for you, it does contain a lot of sugar and if you want to lose weight you are better off limiting your fruit to 2 – 3 pieces a day.

Eat 4 – 6 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones, if possible. The intent is to stabilize your blood sugar level throughout the day. This will help you to lose weight. If you do try this, be sure you do not overeat, because it is easy to eat too many calories at each meal. Decide how much you want to eat for the whole day, then divide it up into individual meals.

Include protein, complex carbohydrates and good fats at every meal. Try not to eat meals that consist of only one or two of these. An example would be soup for lunch that has no protein.

Eliminate “bad” fats but be sure to eat “good” fats. Bad fats are butter, margarine, corn oil, canola oil, trans fats, and saturated fats. Good fats are olive oil, the omega 3 fats in some fish like salmon, avocados and nuts, especially walnuts. Even though a fat is “good” be conscious of how much you eat. Don’t overdo it!

Avoid all processed foods. These not only add a lot of calories, they are very high in sodium and unhealthy ingredients. High sodium intake can cause many health problems, but it can also cause you to retain water, which will make you bloated and feel fat. This is not what you want!

Drink plenty of fresh, pure water. At least 64 ounces a day. Every day! This will help keep your cells nourished and it’s important to eliminating toxins that are stored in your body that keep you fat. Also, don’t drink your calories. Soda, sweet tea, sports drinks, etc all contain sugar. Avoid artificial sweeteners also. They have been shown to make you gain weight.

For the best health, it is advised to get both cardio and strength building exercise. Weight bearing (strength building) exercise is great because it requires the body to engage multiple muscle groups at once. Building muscle will increase your metabolism as muscle requires more calories to sustain then fat.

Yoga, Pilate’s and calisthenics build muscle and provide a light cardio workout. They are simple to do from your living room. Books and DVD’s are great ways to gain Inspiration and ideas.

I tried to give you a long list of options so you find something that works well for you. It is not essential to do ever one of these things, but the more you do, the healthier you will be and the better your chance of reaching your weight loss goal. The most important thing is to pick changes you can live with in the long run. Just control when and how much you eat. For long term success, make small changes, one at a time. Then once you are used to it, make another.

For more advice, motivation and products that can help you reach your goals check out my website

Good luck to you!

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