Selasa, 25 Januari 2011

Five Simple Tips To Lose Belly Fat

Whenever I go back to China, I'm so happy to see my friends and family that I eat too much delicious food, and  I'm always much heavier coming back to the UK than I was leaving. I used to be able to lose weight quickly but now I'm in my late thirties, I find it harder to shift and I notice that all the fat goes to one place: my belly. Belly fat slows a fighter down and for middle-aged people it can lead to health problems  later on. The belly is a very stubborn keeper of fat. To successfully shift weight from this place, we need to tackle it from not only a fat burning angle but also hormonal and diet. These are my top tips.

1) Eat breakfast

Studies show that people who eat a quality breakfast, consume less calories during the day as whole. If you're like me, and you like to workout after waking, then eat a banana or a healthy milkshake. I use a food processor to blend  a banana with some cashews, walnuts and milk. Food eaten before a workout boosts performance and enhances your workout.

2) Reduce Cortisol Levels

Too much stress leads to an increase in cortisol which leads to fat gathering around the belly.  Holistic workouts like Qigong balance the hormones so it's important to factor these in as part of your workout. If you're  rundown, stressed or busy then take a holiday from your workout and focus only on doing  Qigong. Once you're feeling better then do a regular workout and include strength training, cardio and interval training. Shaolin Kung Fu has all of these elements in one fully integrated unit.

3) Eat Mindfully

At the temple we say a prayer to our food before eating it and use the eating of our food as a meditation. Mindful eating not only makes us eat more slowly, and enjoy our food, it also helps us to eat less.

4) Eat less fat and sugar

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, grains and healthy proteins.  Try to cook your own food. Avoid processed food, ready-meals, cakes and sugary drinks. I never saw cereals before I came to the West. They are full of sugar and salt. Try not to eat these types of cereals and also don't drink sugary drinks more than once a week.

5) Listen to your body

Our life is complicated enough so don't over complicate your healthy living and workout. Listen to your body, tune in to it on a daily basis and listen to your own intelligence. Your body has the intelligence of the universe, it knows what it's doing. Let it talk to you and take action on its guidance. 

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Selasa, 11 Januari 2011

Ask The Shifu - Part 1

These are some of the questions I regularly get asked via email from my students. You can ask me questions by email: 

Q: What are the proper times to do Qigong?
A: The only times that are not optimal for practicing Qigong is between 11- 12 in the morning and 11  - 12 in the night. If there is heavy rain or thunder then you should refrain from doing Qigong.

Q: How many times should I practice Qigong if I'm a beginner?
A: This depends on what you want to get out of Qigong. The first thing is you need to remember the movement and secondly you need to make the movement correct. If you don't spend enough time mastering the movement then you can't reap the benefit of the practice. Qigong is for your health so you should do it at least four times a week. Quality is better than quantity so a 20 minute fully focused session is better than one hour. It's best if you can make Qigong into a daily routine the same as if you eat your lunch or dinner and then it will be automatic and you don't need to think about it.

Q: Should I wait a number of days after sexual activity before doing Qigong?
A: Qigong builds up your Yang energy and sexual activity uses Yang energy so many people believe that there needs to be a number of days between practicing Qigong and having sex but this isn't necessarily true. For the Qigong that I teach in my DVDs and book , having sexual activity and doing Qigong is not a problem unless you are very weak. If you do practice Qigong then it is necessary that you don't have sex for 100 days. If you are not very strong and you want to build your Yang energy then it's good to stop having sex for at least 30 days when you are building up your practice. People's bodies are different. Focus on what your body is feeling. There are no rules.

Q: How many times should I be practicing the Qi Gong from the beginner DVD before I can move onto the next DVD?
A: Once the movement feels natural and your body feels as if it is getting the benefit and you will never forget this movement so you can swap the movements around  and you know exactly when to inhale and exhale then you are ready to move onto the second DVD. Once you know the forms from all of the Qigong's you can then practice different forms at different times.

Q: Is it safe to practice Qigong without the supervision of a Shifu?
A: It depends on what Qigong you practice. The qigong I teach on my DVDs and books is safe but there are some Qigongs that you can't learn from a DVD or book such as Shaolin Steel Jacket and other hard Qigongs.

Q: Most Shaolin masters seem to be vegetarian, is this true?
A: The Shaolin masters who I know that do martial arts are not vegetarian but they are very in tune with their body and know what food they need to eat to get a proper balanced diet optimal for their training. In the temple we are vegetarian but if we go out of the temple grounds then we do sometimes eat meat.

Q: Do you do weight lifting? Is weight lifting good for martial arts?
A: I don't do weight lifting. I use my body weight to do exercise. Lifting can be good but it depends on how you use it. You need to be clever. If you are a martial artist you need to be flexible, your punch and kick need to quick and strong so you need to make your body lean. When you use weights you have to know what you want. If you want to build up power then you need to use light weights & do more reps. If you want to build up strength then you have to use very heavy weights for a short time.

Q: What kind of diet do you have?
A: Your diet depends on what your are doing, are you training or not? All my life I have trained so my diet is very simple. If I train very early in the morning this means I can't cook breakfast and wait an hour before training so I make an energy drink with four or five different nuts, milk or soya milk or coconut milk, four of five fruits and vegetables like banana, carrots, or apple. I put this all in a food processor and drink it. Then I train for two hours. This gives me enough energy to do my training. Throughout the day I eat nuts and fruit to keep my energy up. For lunch I eat a very big meal which usually consists of meat, rice and vegetables . I eat less for dinner, sometimes just five different fruits. If I train later in the morning then I will eat my dinner for breakfast. I think it's best to eat heavy food earlier rather than in the evening.