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Fitness experts say there is no "magic bullet"

The percentage of overweight Americans has increased considerably in the past 20 years. You've probably seen the statistics. Moreover, you may be one of the statistics: More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and more than 38 percent of adults are trying to lose weight.

As people strive to manage their weight and health, consumers have been bombarded with the latest "miracle" weight-loss supplements and diet programs. Many of these options offer a quick fix promise, as opposed to a balanced, healthy approach to long-term well-being. This leads to unrealistic expectations from diet supplements and programs. In fact, research indicates that as many as 95 percent of weight-loss plans do not work.

Dr. Bill Wheeler, Ph.D. and RD, a former staff nutritionist to the President of the United States and the U.S. Olympic Decathlon Team, suggests that three of the most notable red flags in weight management are: "effortless," "overnight" and "dramatic."

"If a product or program promises, 'effortless,' weight loss, it does not have consumers' long-term health and wellness in mind," said Wheeler. "Likewise, any product or program that guarantees ‘rapid results’ is designed for temporary loss of water weight, which can lead to yo-yo dieting and the risk of serious disease. Furthermore, a weight-loss product or program should complement your lifestyle, not require a dramatic change to it. Using supplements to promote weight loss simply must accompany a balanced diet and exercise program."

The fitness and nutrition experts at Life Time Fitness stress that there is no magic bullet. Individuals who want to lose weight should employ a balanced approach that includes exercise, education and nutrition, combined with safe, effective weight-loss supplementation.

"Our advice is based on research and recommendations from accredited biochemists, dieticians, exercise physiologists and the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines on weight management," says Jeff Zweifel, vice president of Life Time Fitness' Nutritional Division. These guidelines state that people should not lose more than two pounds per week, which ensures that they lose fat and maintain lean body mass. "Purported quick-fix programs may ultimately damage their long-term health," Zweifel adds.

Exercise

Regular exercise sends the human body messages to increase its metabolism, strength and aerobic capacity. Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities throughout the day and night. Fitness specialists at Life Time Fitness recommend engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise four times a week for 20 to 30 minutes per session and participating in resistance training four times per week for 20 to 25 minutes per session. This balanced approach provides a one-two punch, incorporating aerobic exercise to burn fat and deliver more oxygen and resistance training to increase lean body mass and burn more calories around the clock.

Education

Education is one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. Once you have the baseline knowledge you need to make intelligent decisions about your health, fitness and diet, you achieve the healthy lifestyle you desire. To encourage ongoing education, Life Time offers free nutrition and exercise seminars, certified personal trainers and group fitness staff, accessible Web site information and corporate wellness programs.

Nutrition

A common-sense approach to healthful eating and nutritional supplementation is important to any weight loss program. The human body has the natural ability to maintain a healthy weight automatically until it is forced to store fat through a lack of physical activity and/or a low calorie diet. Research has shown that the consumption of fat calories has dropped more than 20 percent in the American diet in the past 25 years. However, a calorie-restricted diet forces the body into a "starvation response" of storing as much fat as it can for later use. The easiest way to lose weight is to maintain a well-balanced diet with a mild decrease in caloric intake and increased physical activity.

A weight-loss supplement may help to accelerate weight loss only when combined with nutrition and exercise. Life Time Fitness recently introduced LeanSource Thermogenic Supplements, an ephedra-free, soft-gel weight-loss aid that utilizes metabolically active ingredients to accelerate weight loss, decrease body fat and increase energy and metabolism. Scientifically designed to promote rapid weight loss without the use of harmful stimulants, the supplements are part of a comprehensive weight-loss program, which also involves 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 20-25 minutes of resistance training four times per week.

For more information on Life Time Fitness or LeanSource, visit www.lifetimefitness.com. LeanSource products are also available at all LifeCafe locations inside Life Time Fitness Centers.

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