Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #049 10/05/10 CUTTING OUT AND ROCKING OUT

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5 Things to Cut Out of your Diet

By Tony Horton, creator of P90X

When I begin training new clients, the first thing I do is ask them about their diets. Because if you want to get major results, you have to cut out what I call "food porn"—food that's doing nothing to fuel your body, and in some cases is actually doing more harm than good. To keep things simple, I tell them there are 5 things that they absolutely, positively, MUST stop eating and drinking if they want to achieve their fitness goals:

Sugar, Beer, Coffee, and Meat

  1. Processed sugars. I'm talking about white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, or pretty much any kind of sugar that came from a factory instead of a piece of fruit. Processed sugar negatively affects your metabolism, your insulin response, even your mood—and all for totally empty calories. Cutting sugar out of your diet means you're going to have to read some labels, because it is by far the most common food additive in the U.S.
  2. Alcohol. Calories that are as empty as sugar, and at 7 calories a gram, booze can really pack it on. Alcohol also dehydrates your body, which compromises muscle growth. Plus it slows your metabolism, so you burn fewer calories. In short, drinking gives you less muscle and more fat—you're just undoing everything you're trying to achieve with your workout.
  3. Caffeine. I know there are a lot of people out there who say caffeine can give your workout a little extra "oomph." Obviously, it can give you some extra energy to make you push harder, but the cost is that it increases cortisol levels in your body, which inhibits lean muscle growth. Plus it can negatively affect your sleep patterns, and you're better off working out when you're rested than when you're juiced.
  4. Anything with a face. It used to be that you could find some decent lean meat sources, but in the last few decades, the hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals that have been used to process meat and fish make them pretty worthless as a source of protein. There are plenty of excellent vegetarian protein sources, like beans, tofu, and nuts, so you can eat clean while you get lean.
  5. WheatGluten. Gluten is a grain-derived protein found in lots of different foods, mostly wheat, rye, and barley products. The name comes from the Latin word for "glue." You don't need to eat glue. Even if you're not one of the millions who are sensitive or allergic to gluten, you'll be operating a much cleaner machine if you cut it out of your diet. There are plenty of other healthier gluten-free alternatives, like millet, amaranth, quinoa, and oats.

By eliminating these empty or harmful "foods" from your diet, you can start turning your body into the well-oiled machine nature intended it to be. By eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you can give yourself the premium fuel to get into the best shape of your life.

Peace,
Tony

Related Articles
"7 Foods That Make You Smarter"
"8 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism"
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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, October 11th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Getting in Sync! 4 Easy Steps for Creating the Perfect Workout Playlist

By Omar Shamout

It's said that music is a universal language. No matter what part of the world they call home, anyone can connect with a good song. And The New York Times reports that new research has confirmed that music is not only appreciated by our minds, but by our bodies as well. It may sound like common sense, but scientists have proven that music can motivate you not only to work harder during exercise, but also to enjoy it more. You achieve the best results during a workout when your target heart rate matches a song's tempo (also measured in BPMs), making the music feel like a natural, organic extension of you.

Woman Listing to Music

Figuring out new ways to liven up your exercise time is a smart and fun way to stay motivated. It's easy to create a playlist fairly quickly that has a sustained tempo that matches the pace of your run, bike ride, or preferred form of cardio. Let's break down the necessary steps for creating a music playlist that's individually tailored to your body, heart rate, and level of intensity.

  1. Identify your workout goals. Before calculating your target heart rate, you first have to establish what you're trying to accomplish with your workout. For instance, people who are only interested in losing weight will have a different target heart rate than athletes looking to train for a 10K or triathlon, and their recommended durations at these rates will also differ. Beachbody® advises you to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program to help you figure out what the best approach to exercise will be for you and your specific needs.
  2. Find your "zone." If burning fat is your goal, you'll want to spend the longest duration of your workout in the "Temperate Zone," or 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Thirty minutes of cardio at this level three times a week combined with a heart-healthy diet will have you shedding the pounds in no time. If you're just starting out, this is a fantastic goal to set for yourself. On your off days, try a low-intensity walk for 20 to 30 minutes to keep up your activity level. If you have better endurance and more experience working out, you'll benefit from spending more time in the "Aerobic Zone," or 70 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, during which your lung capacity and blood vessels expand, before you move into the "Anaerobic Zone," or 80 percent to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, where your muscles learn to work with less oxygen and you really build your stamina. We recommend meeting with a personal trainer at least once to tailor a cardio regimen with built-in intervals designed specifically for your body that will help you meet your goals.
  3. Calculate your target heart rate. The American Heart Association provides this chart of age-specific target heart rates, or the zone in which our bodies are most geared toward burning fat:
    AgeTarget HR Zone 50–85%Average Maximum 100%
    20 years100–170 beats per minute200 beats per minute
    25 years98–166 beats per minute195 beats per minute
    30 years 95–162 beats per minute190 beats per minute
    35 years 93–157 beats per minute185 beats per minute
    40 years90–153 beats per minute180 beats per minute
    45 years88–149 beats per minute175 beats per minute
    50 years85–145 beats per minute170 beats per minute
    55 years83–140 beats per minute165 beats per minute
    60 years80–136 beats per minute160 beats per minute
    65 years78–132 beats per minute155 beats per minute
    70 years 75–128 beats per minute150 beats per minute
    Man wearing a Heart Rate MonitorNow that you know what you're aiming for, try using a trusted heart rate monitor to get a truly accurate readout of your heart's BPM. You could do it the old-fashioned way by feeling your pulse for 10 seconds, then multiplying it by 6, but we all know how awkward that is to pull off in the middle of a workout. Plus, one less reason to do math in your head is always welcome, right?
  4. Calculate the BPM of your music.

    iTunes
    In its endless wisdom, Apple has conveniently added a BPM tag to the description of each song in your library. You can access this feature by highlighting the chosen song and either right-clicking it to access the "Get Info" option on the menu bar that appears, or finding "Get Info" on the "File" pull-down menu at the top left of the screen. Once you're in the "Get Info" pop-up window, select the "Info" tab. Here, you'll find all available details about the song, including BPM. If that sounds far too easy and convenient to be true, well, it is. Most digital music files (MP3s) contain no BPM information at all, and if they do it's probably inaccurate. You'll probably need to download one of the following applications:

    BeatScanner
    Windows XP and Vista users should try downloading this free application, which will automatically analyze all the music in your library to detect the BPM. What's more, BeatScanner is specifically designed for the exercise enthusiast, and will change the pace of any song you select (without altering the pitch or quality) to your desired BPM, so that you can export it as a new MP3 file, and walk, jog, run, or bike at your preferred speed, and still listen to your favorite tracks! How cool is that? But wait, there's more. Creating a playlist with BeatScanner is very easy, and it also allows you to insert your own interval cues at desired points in the playlist so that you'll know when to step it up a gear, or slow it down a notch. Pretty soon, you'll start to wonder how you lived without it!

    Tangerine
    Tangerine Music PlayerMac users are advised to try Tangerine, which is a program similar to BeatScanner, but is much more integrated with iTunes itself. The only catch here is that Tangerine costs $24.95 to download. Because Tangerine is synced with your iTunes, it will automatically analyze your entire library, as well as any new music you add to it, in a manner of minutes. The playlist creation feature is also very convenient, and allows you to organize songs according to your desired BPM range. However, it doesn't allow you to alter the pace of songs the way BeatScanner does. Luckily, there's a 15-day free trial option that should give you enough time to decide if it's worth the money.

If any of our readers would like to recommend other BPM-analyzing programs for either PC or Mac, please feel free to share in the comments below!

There's no reason at all for a workout to be boring, and we strive to give you new and interesting ways to stay focused and committed to the idea of fitness, and to provide you with all the tools and information you need to enact them in your own life. So take advantage of the technology available and create a personal power mix for your iPod that'll keep your workout in high gear!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Beachbody programs like TurboFire® and Hip Hop Abs®, have all their music tracks mixed so you get the maximum BPM benefits.

References
  1. Reynolds, Gretchen. "Phys Ed: Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?" The New York Times. August 25, 2010. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/phys-ed-does-music-make-you-exercise-harder/
  2. BeatScanner can be downloaded here: http://bestworkoutmusic.com/beatscanner.html
  3. Tangerine can be downloaded here: http://www.potionfactory.com/tangerine/

Related Articles
"5 Cheap and Cheerful Ways to Stay Fit While Dating"
"12 Ways to (Painlessly) Go Green in 1 Year"
"Fun in the Sun without Getting 'Well Done'"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, October 11th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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P90X® Facebook Fan Page Hits 200,000—Tony Rejoices!

A message from the home office of Tony Horton, who's exultant over the huge number of people (including Billy!) who are following P90X on Facebook®. Not content to stop there, Tony announces a contest for the next big-number milestone. Watch the video below.

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Recipe: Lentil Soup

Recommended by P90X nutritionist Carrie Wiatt
Lentil Soup

Even though Southern California is currently recovering from a triple-digit heat wave, much of the rest of the country is getting ready to dig into hearty fall comfort food. This savory classic has been given a healthful twist by P90X nutritionist Carrie Wiatt. Low in fat and high in protein, this vegan soup recipe will warm you up and lean you out.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-1/2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. uncooked lentils, sorted and washed
  • 5 cups fat-free vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Large soup pot
  • Colander
  • Large bowl
  • Food processor, blender, or food mill

Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot. Add onions, garlic, and carrots and cook over moderate heat until onions are limp. Add lentils, broth, and water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are very soft. Stir in more warm water if soup becomes too thick. Pour soup through colander, catching liquid that drains off in a large bowl. Return liquid to soup pot. Puree 1/3 of lentil mixture in food processor or blender or through food mill; return to pot. Stir in remaining whole-lentil mixture. If desired, season with salt and pepper. Makes 12 servings.

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
165 11 g 12 g 27 g 2 g 0 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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