Tag Archives: Fitness

Weight loss with exercise, Habits and yoga

If you stand up straight and look straight down, and you can’t see your toes, then you probably have a pot belly. Like most people, your mind probably jumps straight to solutions like ‘more exercise’ or ‘a better diet’ as ways to reduce your pot belly naturally. 

But there are actually a lot of things that contribute to a pot belly, and some of them are an easy fix.

Here are 7 effective ways to reduce your pot belly naturally.

1. Good Posture – The Quickest Way to Reduce Your Pot Belly Naturally

Photo by Andres Ayrton

Stand up ‘straight’, and you’ll immediately see that your belly looks flatter.

Try it and see.

Posture is one of the easiest and most natural things to change, that will noticeably reduce your pot belly naturally. To find your ideal standing posture, try this:

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart
  • Make sure your knees are ‘soft’ (not locked out)
  • Point your tailbone down toward the ground (push hips slightly forward)
  • Lift your ribs up and straighten your spine
  • Roll your shoulders back, and then down
  • Pull your chin back
  • Lengthen your neck, as if your head was pulling toward the ceiling.

What sorts of cues or reminders could you use to help you improve your posture?

2. Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Downsize Me | Reduce Your Pot Belly Naturally
Ladies exercising

Good posture is supported by strong muscles – especially your core muscles. Try doing pot belly exercises every week to work your core.

And there are actually many different core muscles:

  • your lower (transverse) abdominals
  • your ‘6-pack’ muscles (rectus abdominus)
  • your diaphragm
  • your pelvic floor
  • your multifidus (deep muscle along your spine).

As you probably know, certain types of physical training can help to strengthen and stabilize these muscles as an important part of improving posture.

Actually, the double benefit of exercise is building and maintaining muscle mass – and this means a healthier metabolism and greater fat-burning capacity.

Common core strengthening and stabilising exercises include pilates, yoga, properly performed strength exercises, horse riding, Swiss ball exercises and balance-focussed sports (surfing, skiing etc).

3. Manage Your Alcohol Intake

Downsize Me | Reduce Your Pot Belly Naturally
Alcohol and related substances

Reduce your alcohol intake and you will absolutely reduce your pot belly. At Downsize Me, we’ve found that our clients who regularly drink alcohol have bigger bellies than those who don’t.

During the program, those previous ‘regular drinkers’ lose more inches off their waist – they tend to lose their pot belly fast.

Why? Well, it’s mostly due to the fact that they’re no longer drinking excess, empty calories. After all, that a bottle of wine is nearly a meals’ worth of calories.

Then of course, alcohol makes you hungry, and your inhibitions melt away, so then you reach for your fourth slice of super supreme pizza. In other words, you end up adding a full meal to that bottle of wine and that gives you a huge calorie load.

If that wasn’t bad enough, when you have too much alcohol and food together, then your metabolism lets you down.

That’s because alcohol is easy to burn, so your body starts working on that right away, at the expense of everything else.

After you’ve burnt off the alcohol, your body will start on the next easiest thing to break down – carbohydrates. Proteins will be used up next. Lastly, your body will metabolize fat.

So in conclusion, when alcohol is at the start of the metabolic queue and your metabolism is sluggish, then a big part of the meal you ate with the wine will probably be stored as fat.

Just to back that up, several studies also show that the majority of alcohol calories consumed seem to be deposited as belly fat (1).

Sigh. It seems so unfair.

4. Improve Your Water Balance

Downsize Me | Reduce Your Pot Belly Naturally

You easily can get rid of that bloated, puffy, ‘water retention’ feeling by drinking the right amount of water and managing your salt intake. 

After all, your body likes equilibrium, that nice balanced state. If you don’t help your body by getting that balance right, your body will try to regulate water and salt levels on it’s own, via the process of osmosis.

Consequently, if you eat a lot of salty food and don’t balance that out with enough water, your body will take up and hold onto water, in an attempt to dilute the salt in your cells.

So if you’re feeling like a puff ball, try reducing your salt intake, and increasing water intake.

5. Watch Your Portion Size

Downsize Me | Reduce Your Pot Belly Naturally

You may not realize that portion size affects your pot belly in two ways. And portion size is one of those things that take a bit more time and effort to get right. 

Consider the short term and longer term scenarios.

In the short term, eating until overfull causes your stomach to expand temporarily and stick out. It’s not rocket science to conclude that simply eating too much at one time will give you a ‘food baby’.

Luckily, that’s a temporary feeling.

But in the long term, overeating leads to fat storage. Therefore, your pot belly is gradually increased by regular overeating.

This means that you need to watch your portion size over each week, and try to listen to your body’s natural signals for fullness, so you know when you’ve had enough.

By managing portion size 85% of the time, you’ll be well on your way to shrinking your pot belly.

6. Reduce Stress

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Yes, stress belly is actually a thing. If you reduce stress and manage it better, and your pot belly will start to shrink.

That’s because when you get stressed, levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase, your body dumps insulin into your blood. This process encourages fat storage and inhibits fat burning.

Why? Well, in ancient times, this fat storage process helped us save fat stores for ‘lean times’.

But let’s face it – we don’t really have many ‘lean times’ these days – just lots of stress.

Stress can come from many sources such as:

  • processed food and additives
  • blue lights from electronic devices including phones and tables
  • chemicals (e.g. body care products)
  • other toxins, and of course,
  • emotional challenges.

All of these types of stressors can promote belly fat.

If you follow a hormone balancing eating plan like the one we use at Downsize Me, then you can actually lower cortisol levels and reduce your stress belly a lot quicker.

7. Check Your Carbohydrate Intake

Downsize Me | Reduce Your Pot Belly Naturally
Carb foods

Carb intake is relatively easy to manage, and makes a big difference to your pot belly.

Insulin resistance is one of the biggest health issues of the modern era.

Of course, there are many contributing factors, but a big one is the fact that too many carbohydrates – especially refined, processed, sugary carbohydrates – all of which can cause an imbalance in insulin and promote fat storage (2).

Unfortunately, there is a double whammy here – ageing means an increased risk of insulin resistance. In other words, you probably need to consider your carbohydrate intake a little more carefully after the age of 40.

One trick is to make sure you get the right balance of carbs, proteins and fats at each meal.

Why? There are two reasons:

If you eat a high carbohydrate diet without the right balance of proteins and fats, you’ll get hungry quicker because: 

  • there are no ‘satisfying’ elements in the meal (proteins and fats) that would lower your blood sugar
  • then, the high-carb meal is quickly metabolized, leaving you empty and hungry, sooner, and
  • the high carbohydrate content spikes your blood sugar temporarily which gives you energy. When that wears off you start looking for something sweet or starchy to increase your blood sugar again.

As you can see, it’s important to get your meal balanced properly to avoid those situations.

With all that said and done, is there one thing you could do this week to start shrinking your pot belly?

Let us know what you will do in the comments below.


(1) Boucher, Dr Stephen. 2014. Belly Fat Breakthrough – Understand What It Is and Lose It Fast.

(2) Lee, MW and Fujioka, K. 2011. Dietary prescriptions for the overweight patient: the potential benefits of low-carbohydrate diets in insulin resistance http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1463-1326.2010.01328.x/full

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.



Follow Us

Workouts for the lower extremities (Active)

Active exercises help keep your joints and muscles from tightening up and becoming weaker. Your exercise program is planned for your specific needs because not all your muscles have the same degree of strength or weakness.  The goal of active exercise is to keep your muscles strong and flexible.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your physical therapist or nurse.

  1. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your back.  Bend your right knee toward your chest then lower it to the floor.  Then bend your left leg and lower it.  Always keep the other leg flat (straight).

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  2. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your back and bend your right knee up.  Lift your left leg up as high as your right knee.  Then lower it slowly.  Repeat with your right leg.  Always keep your other foot flat on the floor.  

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  3. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your back with your legs straight.  While keeping one leg still, slide the other leg out to the side and pull it back to the middle. Repeat with your other leg.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  4. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your side with your bottom leg bent and your top leg straight.  Lift your top leg up then lower it slowly.  Keep your top leg in line with your body; do not let it “roll out.”  Repeat with your other leg.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  5. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your back with legs straight and slightly apart. Roll your legs in with your knees and toes turned in. Then roll your legs out with knees and toes turned out.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  6. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your back. Keep your knee straight and bend your ankle upward until you feel a stretch behind the knee. Then point your toes downward. Repeat this with your other foot.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  7. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Keep your leg still and rotate your foot in a circular motion. Make circles in one direction, then the other direction. Repeat with your other foot.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day. 
  8. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your stomach with your legs straight. Lift your right leg, keeping your knee straight. Lower it. Then lift your left leg and lower it.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  9. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Lie on your stomach. Place a small pad under your knees. Bend your right knee bringing the heel toward your buttocks then lower your leg. Then bend your left leg and lower it.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  10. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Stand with your feet away from the wall and your hands placed on the wall at shoulder height.  Move your right foot forward and bend your knee.  Keep your left leg straight and the foot flat on the floor.  Lean your body toward the wall until you feel a “pull” in the back of your left leg. Return to the starting position. Then repeat, putting your left leg forward.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.
  11. Exercises: Lower Extremities (Active)
    Stand with your feet away from the wall and hands placed on the wall at shoulder height.  Move your right foot forward and bend the knee.  Bend your left knee.  Lean forward until you feel a “pull” in the back of your left leg.  Return to the starting position. Then repeat, putting your left leg forward.

    Do this motion ________ times. This exercise should be done________ times a day.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.



Follow Us

FITNESS: WHAT Muscle Groups Are Best to Work Out Together?

Staying active is vital for overall health, and it is also the best way to build skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is one of the three major muscle types. Tendons attach these muscles, which contract and cause movement, to bones.

People are best able to improve their muscle mass by performing the right exercises and eating particular foods.

In this article, we look at how to develop the skeletal muscles, including what types of exercise to engage in, which foods to eat, and when to rest and stretch.

How does muscle grow in the body?

a woman lifting weights in the gym to build her muscle
Age, sex, and genetics can all affect the rate at which a person can grow muscle.

Muscle size increases when a person continually challenges the muscles to deal with higher levels of resistance or weight. This process is known as muscle hypertrophy.

Muscle hypertrophy occurs when the fibers of the muscles sustain damage or injury. The body repairs damaged fibers by fusing them, which increases the mass and size of the muscles.

Certain hormones, including testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin growth factor, also play a role in muscle growth and repair.

These hormones work by:

  • improving how the body processes proteins
  • inhibiting the breakdown of protein
  • activating satellite cells, which are a type of stem cell that plays a role in muscle development
  • stimulating anabolic hormones, which promote muscle growth and protein synthesis
  • enhancing tissue growth

Strength and resistance training can help the body:

  • release growth hormone from the pituitary gland
  • stimulate testosterone release
  • improve the sensitivity of the muscles to testosterone

Do males and females grow muscle differently?

A variety of factors — including genetics and the levels of  testosterone in the body — can affect how rapidly a person can develop muscle.

Regardless of biological sex, muscle grows at different rates for people with different body types.

Both males and females can have the following body shapes, and each requires a different approach to muscle building:

  • Mesomorphic: People with this body type tend to be muscular and generally build muscle mass far more quickly than people with other body types.
  • Ectomorphic: This term describes a slim or straight frame. Ectomorphs have a lower chance of building muscle mass but can increase their strength through resistance training.
  • Endomorphic: This body type is more rounded or curvy. People with an endomorphic body can build muscle most effectively through strength training.

Building muscle through exercise

People build muscle at different rates depending on their age, sex, and genetics, but muscle development significantly increases if exercise is:

  • consistent
  • challenging
  • long-term

People also achieve the best results when they follow exercise with enough rest.

The best type of exercise to build muscle is strength training, although cardiovascular activity can also provide benefits.

Strength training

It takes several weeks or months of consistent activity and exercise before muscle changes become visible.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020Trusted Source, adults should engage in muscle-strengthening exercises that involve all major muscle groups at least twice weekly.

Examples of strength training activities include:

  • lifting free weights
  • using stationary weight machines
  • resistance band activities
  • body weight exercises, such as pushups and squats
  • strength training classes that incorporate some or all of the above activities

2019 reviewTrusted Source looked at the effects of resistance training on the conditioning of crew members preparing for spaceflight. Its findings suggest that resistance training with three weight sets was generally more effective than performing one set.

However, a one set resistance program also yielded benefits.

Strength training and aging

As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of limited mobility and other skeletal and muscular problems, such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.

However, older adults should try to meet adult exercise guidelines if they can. If they are unable to do this, they should remain as physically active as their physical limitations allow.

Strength training is also beneficial for older adults to prevent injury and aid recovery.

Cardiovascular activity

Also known as aerobic activity or simply “cardio,” cardiovascular exercise benefits a person’s heart and respiratory system.

Cardio is vital for overall health. Current guidelines recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.

While some people believe that aerobic exercise does not help build muscle, recent research disagrees. Regular cardio can support muscle growth and function. It also increases overall fitness levels, which may help reduce the riskTrusted Source of injury.

For optimal muscle building, the authors of a 2014 reviewTrusted Source suggest that people carry out aerobic exercise:

  • at 70–80% of their heart rate reserve, which a person can calculate by subtracting their resting heart rate from their maximum heart rate for 30–45 minutes at a time on 4–5 days per week

Muscle groups

There are three types of muscles in your body: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Cardiac muscles are the muscles that control your heart. Smooth muscles control involuntary functions like constricting your blood vessels. Skeletal muscles are the muscles that you target in the gym that help your body move. They make up about 40 percentTrusted Source of your body weight.

Many fitness experts often consider these to be the major muscle groups in your body:

  • chest
  • back
  • arms
  • abdominals
  • legs
  • shoulders

Some people also divide these muscle groups into more specific categories such as:

  • calves (lower leg)
  • hamstrings (back of upper leg)
  • quadriceps (front of upper leg)
  • glutes (butt and hips)
  • biceps (front of upper arms)
  • triceps (back of upper arms)
  • forearms (lower arm)
  • trapezius (traps) (top of shoulders)
  • latissimus dorsi (lats) (under the armpits)

Working multiple muscles

Few exercises truly isolate only one muscle group. For example, the biceps curl is one of the most common exercises to strengthen the biceps in the front of your upper arm. However, several other muscles also help your body flex at the elbow including brachialis, which is beneath your bicepsand brachioradialis, which is a large muscle in your forearm. Other stabilizer muscles need to brace your shoulder and core so you can efficiently lift the weight.

When designing your program, you may find some exercises fit into more than one category. In general, the more joints that bend in an exercise, the more muscle groups you’re using.

What to pair together?

There’s no right way to group your muscles together. You may want to experiment with a few different pairings until you find one that works best for you. If you’re training for general fitness, you can follow a program that balances all the different muscle groups. If you’re training for a sport, you may benefit from emphasizing certain muscle groups frequently used in your sport.

Many people find it helpful to pair muscle groups that are close together. For instance, you may want to pair your shoulders and arms together since many exercises, such as rows, use both body parts.

The primary benefit of splitting different muscle groups onto different days is your ability to give each muscle more rest. For example, if you’re training on a weekly schedule and have one leg day per week, your legs have seven days to recover between sessions.

Examples for beginners

Here’s one example of how you could combine your muscle groups together using the six basic groups we listed above:

  • Day 1: chest and shoulders
  • Day 2: legs
  • Day 3: back, abdominals, and arms

If you’re only planning on lifting twice per week, a good way to structure your workouts may be:

  • Day 1: chest, arms, and shoulders
  • Day 2: legs, back and abdominals

If you’re a beginner, sticking to those six basic muscle groups is enough to build a great workout plan that can help you improve your fitness.


Follow Us

Fitness/Sport: Role of Nursing

What is fitness nursing?

If you love fitness and want to complete an RN to BSN program, a career that combines both may interest you. Fitness or sports nursing is a relatively new and developing field. While there is not yet an academic or professional fitness nursing specialty, registered nurses (RN) are increasingly finding jobs that combine their knowledge of exercise and their medical skills. As a fitness nurse, you may work with athletes, companies and their employees, cardiac patients or health club members.

The Role of Fitness Nursing

Fitness nursing integrates physical training, wellness and disease prevention. Nurses help patients or clients live a healthy lifestyle by developing an exercise routine and a nutrition plan. In April 2015, Scrubs magazine ranked fitness nursing fifth on a list of the ten most exciting jobs in nursing.

Employment in Fitness Nursing

The field of fitness nursing is still in its early stages, so it may still be difficult for nurses to find jobs specifically titled “fitness nurse.” However, these nurses can work for corporations, hospitals, surgical recovery centers or spas, and they may also find employment in cardiac rehabilitation or sports medicine. Some nurses have even started their own health coaching businesses. They guide clients through the processes of quitting smoking, losing weight or managing stress. They can also help clients design exercise regimens.

Fitness Nursing and Cardiac Rehabilitation

For patients who have suffered a heart attack or other cardiac event, physical fitness is critical to improving and maintaining their health. Cardiac rehab nurses teach patients how to exercise safely while monitoring their vital signs; they also educate patients about healthy diets and stress reduction, and they partner with physical therapists and nutritionists to improve patients’ overall quality of life. Nurses who work in a cardiac rehab program must have Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.

Fitness Nursing in Sports Medicine

Sports medicine covers a broad array of nursing specialties. Nurses who want to work in this type of medicine should be in good physical shape and have experience as an athlete or know about sports conditioning and injuries. Nursing jobs in sports medicine are often available in the following environments:

  • Professional sports centers.
  • Universities and colleges.
  • Fitness clubs.
  • National and international sporting competitions.

Working in Sports Medicine

Nurses have a variety of employment opportunities in sports medicine, which includes the following specialized fields:

  • Radiology nursing.
  • Rehabilitation nursing.
  • Pediatric sports medicine.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy nursing.

Bone and breathing injuries are common problems for athletes. Radiology nursing uses medical imaging like MRIs, CT and PET scans, and ultrasonography to diagnose those conditions.

Rehabilitation nursing deals with all types of patients — not exclusively athletes. Patients regain their strength and range of motion under the guidance of nurses and physical therapists.

Nurses employed in pediatric sports medicine are part of a team of healthcare professionals who administer care to pediatric patients who may seek medical assistance due to injuries or disease.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy facilities provide special medical services to professional athletes. Often, these athletes are older or retired with severe injuries. Patients inhale pure oxygen under elevated pressure in a hyperbaric chamber. This treatment is used to promote healing.

Why Is Fitness Important to Overall Health?

Fitness is a result of exercise. Exercise can consist of a daily regimen of walking, biking, running or lifting weights. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity include the following:

  • Weight management.
  • Disease prevention.
  • Mental health.
  • Boosting energy.
  • Improving sleep.

Physical activity burns calories, which prevents weight gain and sustains weight loss. Being active increases the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lowers the amount of unhealthy triglycerides. This reduces your risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Other benefits include preventing stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis and some cancers.

When you exercise, the brain releases chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed. You may also gain confidence and improve your self-esteem. Routine exercise strengthens your muscles, increases endurance and helps you achieve restful sleep.

Earn a BSN Online

BSN-prepared nurses are well positioned to begin a career in fitness nursing. The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers an accelerated BSN online degree program. You will take technology-enhanced courses online and participate in clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state under the supervision of UTA faculty. The online format does not rely on traditional, semester-based schedules, so you can complete the program without interrupting your existing personal and professional obligations.

Learn more about the UTA online RN to BSN program.


Follow Us