Home Gym Search Supplier Search Products Fitness Info Business Contact Us
   Profiled Gyms   Special Offers   Advertise with us     List your gym     List your trainers  

Gyms.co.nz Fit Tips

The Atkins Diet - Revolution or Revolting?

Time for breakfast - why not some bacon and eggs, ham and cheese omelettes, perhaps a mixed selection of smoked fish and cream cheese.  Sounds great - the ultimate diet for the red blooded male...  a fantastic eating plan ... a revolution.  But that will surely go straight to my hips, or perhaps my "love handles" - I can't eat that.  Lunchtime - more meat, eggs, cheeses and creams - I love it ...  what genius... I will never eat carbohydrates again.  But wait - my girlfriend won't be interested in dating a lardass...  I think I will have to go on a weight loss diet following all of this over indulgence!!

Actually, according to Dr Robert C. Atkins you are on a suitable diet and so long as you continue to avoid the carbohydrates you will continue to lose weight.  The Atkins diet is probably the most well known low carb / high protein diet and claims that you can eat all of the protein and fat that you wish and still lose weight... rubbish, fat makes you put on weight right?

Renee Zellwegger has tried it, Jennifer Anniston too - apparently... if it works for the celebrities it must work for me.  So what can I expect.

The Atkins Diet claims that you will lose weight fast while cutting out carbs, and indeed there are a range of success stories from throughout the world as individuals try the restrictive high protein diets.  Many individuals become hooked on the diet as they see some rapid weight loss during the initial induction phase of the plan.  However, much of this initial weight loss is due to fluid / water loss and muscle loss - not specifically to reductions in fat so tread carefully.

So we can eat all the meat we want, will lose weight, and don't have to eat our greens ... I can't fault the diet at this stage!

However, there are a number of drawbacks to the Atkins Diet which can be potentially harmful.  The initial 2 week phase of the diet induces a Ketosis phase - which can place significant strain on your kidneys and can even be fatal.  The diet also can cause individuals to report headaches, nausea, lack of energy and extreme tiredness.  It is also very likely that you will be unable to perform vigorous exercise as your muscles simply will not have the energy - as your body cries out for carbs - the fuel for energy in the body.  Add to this very smelly breath and chances are you not going to be the most enjoyable company during the initial phases of your diet.  The restriction of many food groups over a period of time can also lead to vitamin and mineral inadequacy and further potential health risks.

No bread, rice, potatoes, breakfast cereals, milk, sugar, caffeine, pastry, alcohol (heaven forbid) pizza, fruits, curries, biscuits and yoghurts translates into a lot of planning for every meal, also a huge additional cost on your shopping bill as you purchase huge quantities of meat, creams, cheeses, additional vitamins and minerals on every shop!

Hmm... things are starting to sound a little less inviting...  add to this the fact that there are few published results and no long term studies to back up Dr Atkins claims of weight loss and reduced cholesterol and you have yourself questioning the long term feasibility of this method.  Could you continue this diet as a lifestyle option?  You may lose weight quickly - and certainly there are numerous of advocates of this, but how long can you continue to eat in this fashion.  Atkins himself states that as you start to reintroduce carbs you will begin to put weight back on.

As we all probably know weight loss is caused by the simple equation of energy expenditure minus energy intake.  If you burn more energy than you ingest you will lost weight - and in the simplest sense reducing numerous food groups with Atkins translates into a significant daily calorie reduction.  However, numerous studies show that a more healthy alternative is a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and low fat, combined with regular exercise.  

OK, cereal and fruit for breakfast in the morning ...  and can you place my joggers next to the bed for me.  Thanks.


Pilates - Just for the Girls?

That's the stuff that girls do isn't it?  How can exercise be beneficial unless you surround yourself in pools of sweat, or press your body weight in iron?  That Pilates fad will never last!!

Oh contraire mon amie.  Pilates has already stood the test of time.  Back when Hitler was a boy a man called Joseph Pilates - a boxer, performer, skier and all-round sportsman began teaching this form of exercise to other camp members during his forced internment - along with other German nationals - in Lancaster, England.  Joseph had developed the exercises over 20years of self study and apprenticeship in Yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens.

Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that incorporate a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training designed to improve posture, reduce stress and create long lean muscles without bulking up.  The exercise method is directed at stretching, strengthening and balancing the body with the systematic completion of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns.  Pilates has a particular focus on strengthening the abdomen, back and pelvic region - the "core" of the body, and movements occur with smooth continuous motion - rather than explosive sets and reps as in traditional resistance training.

While traditional Pilates is practiced on equipment such as the Reformer, Cadillac and Ladder Barrel - under the watchful eye of a qualified practitioner - many basic exercises can be performed on a standard floor mat.  Indeed fitness centres throughout the country have adopted this as a regular part of their group exercise and fitness classes.  Back in Josephs Pilates early days a lot of the Pilates techniques were used for rehabilitation of those injured in the war.  Nowadays Pilates is used by all walks of life - with Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts, Madonna - and even the San Francisco 49ers claiming to have adopted regular Pilates workouts.

"It must be right.  Never an aspirin.  Never injured a day in my life.  The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises.  They'd be happier."  - Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965, Age 86.