Fitness: Time to fulfill those New Year's resolutions

By MARCELLA S. KREITER, United Press International  |  Jan. 5, 2014 at 4:30 AM
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It's that time of the year again when everyone virtuously swears to lose weight, get into shape and eat healthier.

It's also the time of the year when the weight-loss industry kicks into high gear with supplements promising too-good-to-be-true results, health clubs offer deals and exercise equipment-makers hawk machines they say do a better job of burning calories.

The trick is to actually stick to your resolutions.

One of the newest diets on the scene is the shred diet, developed by Dr. Ian K. Smith, who promises followers will lose 4 inches and two sizes in six weeks. The diet involves confusing one's metabolism, using a low glycemic index diet combined with meal spacing and meal replacements, and 3 1/2 hours of exercise a week. Smith plans out the eating plan in "Shred the Revolutionary Diet," so there's no decision-making involved. At week 5, there's a detoxification involved and the caloric intake drops from 1,400-1,800 a day to less than 1,300, reported.

Dawn Napoli of Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Fla., found a number of positives about the diet, including its effect on diabetes and hypertension risk, and its ability to improve energy levels. However, she said dieters should realize all weight-loss plans need to be tailored by "sex, age, height, weight, goal weight and physical activity level."

Juice cleanses are making a comeback. Such diets can be traced back to the 1940s to something called the Master Cleanse, which involved lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for 10 days. There's also usually at least one colonic involved. And we're not talking all fruit juice here. We're talking juice from as much as 20 pounds of vegetables a day. "The Juice Cleanse" diet is a 21-day regimen of juice and water.

The New York Times reported the modern cleanse diets generally include a nut-milk for fat and protein, with veggies providing the vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

Doctors note juice cleanses can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar, especially among those with undiagnosed diabetes. Additionally, because the body thinks it's starving, it can lower the metabolism, sometimes permanently, making weight loss -- or even maintaining weight -- more difficult.

Now for exercise:

A number of new programs from Acacia hit the DVD shelves this year. "R.I.P.P.E.D -- the One Stop Body Shock" and the "21-day Body Makeover" are two of the tougher titles.

"R.I.P.P.E.D" founders Terry and Tina Shorter try to convince participants in an introduction the workout is sane and anyone can do it, offering modifications for various fitness levels. The warm-up itself, however, will leave one panting en route to a 48-minute workout designed to burn 700 calories.

"Body Makeover" provides two 20-minute workouts for each of three body types: hourglass, ruler and spoon (you know who you are). The workout was developed by Edward Jackowski, author of "Escape Your Shape: How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder" and founder of Exude, a motivational and fitness company. The workout promises to trim fat and inches where you want them trimmed.

"Quick Fit" was perhaps the most fun of the batch, combining 30 5-minute workouts for true variety. The DVD, featuring Andrea Metcalf, also offers pre-set workouts, which combine cardio conditioning with strength and pilates routines.

For those focused on the way they look leaving a room, "Real Housewives of Atlanta's" Kenya Moore fronts "Booty Boot Camp," promising three "fat-blasting total-body sculpting workouts." "Booty Boot Camp" promises a smaller waist, toned legs and a rounder bottom. There's also a bonus ab-flattening workout.

After all that work, one might need "Arthritis Rx," which combines yoga and pilates to help with various aches and pains, including chronic back pain. It also provides guidance on various postures to increase relief potential.

Still hurting? "Yoga to the Rescue" is a two-DVD set, one focused on back pain and the other on neck and shoulders. Instructor Desiree Rumbaugh conducts a series of therapeutic yoga exercises to relieve back pain to improve posture, ease pressure, relieve tightness and increase circulation. The second disk provides a 30-minute tutorial along with a 30-minute flowing sequence to teach proper alignment and positioning.

And Shiva Rea has taken her vinyasas to Greece, performing seven 20-minute yoga segments that can be mixed and matched.

To keep track of all this there are a number of new smartphone apps that can be monitored from a smartwatch as well as standalone fitness monitors. Various apps combine food diaries with physical activity while fitness monitors track steps, miles walked, calories burned and hours slept.

The LifeTrak C410 does all that and can Bluetooth sync with an iPhone through the Argus App. It ran into a little trouble when I was washing my hair (it gave me an unearned 500 steps) and had me blissfully sleeping through the night despite having been awakened at 3 a.m. and tossing and turning for the next several hours.

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