Gain weight in a healthy way

Dearest readers,

yes, you have read correctly! Today I will write about the difficult issue of gaining weight. Not the weight gain in the sense of bodybuilding, but in the sense of underweight people who need to put on weight. They do exist and gaining weight can be just as difficult as losing weight. Believe it or not. People who need to gain weight often get the compassionate look by the rest of the world and are not taken serious at all. Losing weight needs a lot of discipline concerning food restrictions and exercise. I know that. But people who need to gain weight often battle just as desperately and even worse since there is a limit of food intake and the risk of serious illness and damage to the body is very imminent.

I just had lunch with a colleague, a lady of about 60 years, 1,60m of height, who used to be in great shape, slim, but rounded and muscular in the right places and who over the last 6 months due to a lot of stress and personal issues has lost a lot of weight and is now seriously struggling to put the weight back on. Same issue I came across a few years ago when I was approached in Dubai by a worried parent who saw his teenage boy just growing in height, but not at all in weight.

The problem of people like this often is that even though the maybe do like to eat their metabolism burns the calories so fast that they would have to eat heaps and heaps of food in order to gain weight. I myself had the same problem some years ago when my doctor told me “If you want to get pregnant you have to put on at least 3-4kg.” HELP! What to do?


Help weight gain

So already at that time I started to look more detailed into the matter since for me it was definitely no option to stuff myself with sweets, cream, fatty cheese etc and then surely gain weight, but in a very unhealthy and uncomfortable way.

We have to be aware that there are many reasons for underweight and it is vital to define the cause of it in a first step and adapt the diet to the individual person. For someone, who has had for example parts of his stomach removed, fatty foods make no sense just as an older person with tooth issues cannot be recommended to eat lots of nuts. There is always an individual approach, designed to the particular patients needs.

But in the end the important thing is – as it always is – to eat the right things and I just would like to present you with this overview of nutritious foods, which are appropriate for a healthy weight gaining diet.

Your diet should – as always – consist of mainly vegetables, fruit, salad, nuts, sprouts, healthy fatty acids, healthy carbohydrates and healthy protein. For an underweight person the consumption of protein and energetic food has to be increased.

healthy fat

These are:

1. High quality fatty acids, like nuts, nut mousses, almonds, oil seeds (like hemp, fresh linseed), avocado, coconut, coconut milk olives, organic cream and natural, cold-pressed oil (olive oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, organic butter, ghee etc).

2. High quality carbohydrates, like dried fruits, quinoa, amaranth, chestnuts and derived products, millet, wholegrain rice, buckwheat, spelt and rye, oats.

3. High quality proteins, like nuts, almonds, quinoa, millet, oats, pulses, chia seeds, organic eggs, fish, organic meat, hemp protein, rice protein and natural, organic protein powder.

6-8 meals per day would be ideal, like this the calorie quantity can be systematically increased. It is important to never exhaust the glycogens in the body and thus avoid the reduction of proteins and fat in the body. Bitter food increases the appetite, fruit as a starter stimulates the appetite as well.

As I mentioned before: not everyone can eat just all of these recommended nutrients! It is very important to first determine the reason for a person’s underweight before starting the diet. And never neglect exercise, just stay out of the fatburn mode. Immobility though is a killer for everyone, overweight or underweight.

To all of you, who have to gain weight: good luck! I know how hard it is! ….

Give your body some health tuning – try HIIT and HIRT

Good morning dear readers,

still in hibernation or already on the verge of starting to get fit for the first short dress you’re going to wear under the springtime sun? Getting ready to show off in the gym in front of your buddies?

Or are you still in wintry reflection on where to start? Or you do not find the time because you’re just working too much? Don’t we always find some good excuse not to workout? How many have I heard, how many do I keep hearing. In the end there is no excuse unless you are tied to your bed with two broken arms and legs! No time? Okay, we are all miraculously short of time, I do not exclude myself. But! There are these new – not so new, but still unknown to many – training methods on the horizon, which will get you fit in no time and you have to invest not even 1 hour/day.

exercise-weight-loss

The miracles are called HIIT and HIRT training! We are talking high intensity trainings, you’ll feel like dying, you’ll be panting and swearing and shouting, but afterwards you will feel like a queen or king, especially when you see the results after little time. Put stress on your body and it will change! So, if you are not a fan of endless sessions on the treadmill and equally long hours of weight pushing try these highly efficient trainings, do them 3-4 x / week and in between add some exercises for lean muscles and stretched tendons. This kind of exercises will make your heart fit, push your metabolism, make you burn fat and build up muscles – all in one. And then don’t forget: even God rested, so award yourself with one exercise free day per week.

Following 2 links, which explain the idea of HIIT and HIRT. Maybe your gym is already offering these trainings? Or simply come to my place in beautiful Italy and let me train you :).

http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/high-intensity-hiit-workout/ and from www.strengthreliance.com the following extract:

 

High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) is a mix of cardio and resistance training. HIRT is the most effective way to increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and the number of calories that you burn.

During a HIRT workout, several exercises are done in rapid sucession for a certain number of reps. Each workout lasts for a certain number of minutes. And there is no rest.

What makes HIRT, well, HIRT?

Several Exercises Done in Rapid Succession

A ‘set’ is when you do one exercise for a certain number of reps and then resting. Such as doing 15 box jumps in a row and then taking a short break. With HIRT, you’ll do 2, 3, or 4 exercises in a row without rest. This is referred to as:

  • Super-set (2 exercises)
  • Tri-set (3 exercises)
  • Giant-set (4 exercises)

The exercises should work multiple muscles at the same time. You don’t want to target certain muscles, such as only the biceps. Recruiting more muscles both helps to spread the load out between them as well as getting a better workout.

An example of a tri-set in one of the workouts I created was: 10 box jumps, 10 decline pushups with feet on the box, and 10 tricep dips.

Done for a Certain Number of Reps

Each exercise is done a prescribed number of times. As fatigue sets in, you might need to take a short (1-2 second) break to finish out the number of reps.

The number of repetitions for each exercise should be in the range of 6-15. You’re trying to maximize intensity. The more reps you do, the less intense you can do them.

In the example I gave above, each exercise was to be done 10 times before moving on to the next exercise. I used 10 for all exercises for simplicity (you don’t need to remember how many your supposed to do for this one, just do 10), but you can change that up if you want.

Lasts for a Certain Amount of Time

These workouts are designed to be intense. As workout intensity increases, the length of time someone can keep it up decreases. I chose 10 minutes for the length of time for this workout. Each set of exercises should be done for 8-10 minutes.

Again, looking to the example, the workout was to cycle through box jumps, pushups and dips. Then you go back to box jumps and continue through each exercise until the timer goes off at 10 minutes.

What are the benefits of High Intensity Resistance Training?

Burns Calories

  • Outperforms aerobic exercise
  • Burns more calories than endurance cardio
  • Speeds up metabolism for up to 36 hours after the workout

Build and Maintains Lean Body Tissue

  • Helps to maintain muscle mass on a restricted calorie diet
  • Helps to build muscle mass on a moderate to high calorie diet
  • Helps to increase muscle density
  • Minimizes fat gain on a high calorie diet

More Endurance

  • Helps to improve anaerobic endurance
  • Helps to improve aerobic endurance

Better Life

 

You can do it! Feel the endorphines, the adrenaline and go for it!

 

HIRT

Healthy living – how to save calories easily

Dear audience,

there are so many simple ways to save calories apart from your diet, your self-imposed restrictions or the ones your nutritionist imposed on you. Easy to follow and easy to remember small things in your daily life that you can do to save calories and thus make it easier to support your diet.

1. and maybe most important: use small plates! You automatically load more food onto a big plate and you will not have the feeling to eat less when filling up your small plate – but in fact you do.

2. when you feel hungry in between meals: have a big glass of water and chew (sugar free!) chewing gum – the latter especially to eliminate your craving for sweets.

3. sleep deeply and if possible around 7 hours. This allows your body to really digest your food and to avoid hunger attacks as you balance out all your hormones, also those responsible for your metabolism.

4. and surely second most important: avoid carbs in the evening and have your dinner as early as possible and be sure to let at least 2-3 hours pass between dinner and bedtime.

5. don’t skip breakfast! A common mistake. Breakfast initiates and fires up your metabolism and it is proven that you will eat less throughout the day if you have breakfast as this early meal helps you to keep your sugar level balanced and thus avoid hunter attacks.

6. don’t buy the family pack – of anything – but only the portion you need for yourself and your loved one(s). If the family pack is there it will be consumed.

7. follow the Japanese eating habit of eating only 80% of what you think you need to eat and keep 20% of your stomach “empty”.

8. exercise even when you don’t actually exercise: walk faster, remember to use the stairs, keep your stomach in and maintain an upright posture while walking and standing, use your shopping bags or luggage for mini muscle exercise, keep your butt tight when standing and and and…no limit here, use your fantasie!

9. remember the calories in your drinks. Sweet drinks, fruit juices, alcohol…they all have to be added to your calorie counting list.

10. and last but not least remember to enjoy, celebrate and love your food!

 

Mixed fruits

Yoga – nutrition for body and soul

Dear readers,

since this is not supposed to be a pure nutrition blog and I have just finished my morning yoga practice I decided to write a quick post on yoga.

First I have to make one thing clear for those, who still don’t believe it: Yoga is NOT for old people! It is ALSO for old people as it is for everyone at any age! Main thing is to start at some point.

Yoga – the way I do it for example – can make you sweat like a pig and give you the same (or more) muscle pain as you get from your gym workout. When I am nearly through with my practice usually some of my limbs shake, I am drenched and – happy and centered. Yoga is for your body and your soul. I do relax on the treadmill as well, i.e. my mind does, my body does not. I put stress on my body. Which is good, which is necessary, but you also need to bring awareness to your body.

Download

Let me give you some facts:

-Yoga is holistic. It exercises your body to turn it into the most beautiful it has ever been and harmonizes body and soul through the right mix of exercise and relaxation.

-Yoga is not to be underestimated. Doing it by yourself without any previous knowledge or under the wrong guidance you can do a lot of harm to your body.

-Yoga vitalizes. It fills you with energy, makes nagging pains disappear and strengthens your immune system as well as your self confidence.

-You decide which type of yoga you want to exercise. There are so many ways, more relaxed, more strenuous, more focused on meditation, more on weight loss – get yourself informed, there is a world to discover.

-Yoga can expand your awareness if you allow it.

Apart from your exercise routine you can “use” single asanas (body exercises/positions) to relief pain or balance your hormones, wake yourself up again if you’re feeling tired or calm you down if you cannot rest. If you feel cold you can quite easily warm up your body, on the other hand you can cool down your body if you’re feeling too hot – there is no limit. Yoga goes hand in hand with Ayurveda, but it is helpful in any kind of lifestyle.

Personally, I am a big fan of Jonathan Urla https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIQZcsyf75A and Robert Steinbacher http://www.bodyart-training.com/en/. The latter one is very special though and not for beginners whereas Jonathan is presenting Yogilates, a very nice and effective mix of Yoga and Pilates, but he also does genuine Yoga.

Whatever you choose for yourself, remember this: Yoga is exercising! It strengthens your muscles, makes them long and toned (not short and round like you do in the gym) as well as your cardiovascular system and connects your body with your soul. It is not easy to learn, but if you stick to it you will see and feel its benefits very soon.

Yoga

 

Since it is still winter in many parts of this planet, in some even more wintery than it has been in a long time, here a nice quick warm up, which is suitable for beginners and which you can fit in easily in the morning while you’re having your Ayurvedic warm water or warm water with lemon 🙂  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtolxC-55ic.

This is NOT the exercise that makes you sweat and scream and I will not post any videos like that here in order to prevent you from causing yourself body injury at home. Be safe!