Wednesday, 31 December 2014

15 Ways to a Healthier and Happier You in 2015

It's just about 2015 and you are determined to start the year with a fresh new start towards becoming a healthier and happier person. Well you are not alone! I believe that in 2015 we can all experience more Health, Healing and Hope for ourselves and our families, but where do we begin because this is more than just a New Year's resolution? Health is a journey, a plan towards wellness that is intentional and a new way of life. Change is not easy, but it is doable one step at a time, one day at a time. Real health is about addressing our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, because all three are connected and affect our physical health every day. So let's begin.
Here are 15 ways to get started TODAY for a Healthier and Happier you in 2015:
  1. Get a physical and get your hormone levels checked. So many cancers today are caused by an imbalance of hormones.
  2. Begin to eliminate junk food, sweets, soda, boxed foods as much as possible. There is so much research that says that these alone are causing many of our diseases and remember that cancer grows in sugar.
  3. Try to buy organic food and avoid all Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically modified seed. Much of the soy, corn, cotton and canola sold today are now from GMO seed.
  4. Start eating healthier: more fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, seed and berries. Avoid all meats that have hormones, antibiotics, etc. Introduce coconut into your diet which gives the body needed ketones and helps with memory issues.
  5. Drink organic milk, coconut and almond milk, organic tea only. Teas are like spices, they have so many nutritional benefits for the body, but avoid regular teas with hidden pesticides.
  6. Drink filtered water with lemon to balance your body's pH level. Apple cider vinegar also balances the pH levels, but don't forget to add the cinnamon and honey!
  7. Exercise. This isn't necessarily always big workouts, rather daily walks, stretching, weights, bicycling, jump roping, etc.
  8. Detoxify. Consider a detox regime to rid your body of toxins and take fiber for daily elimination. Detoxing doesn't have to be difficult and it can bring the body back to health. Remember toxins brings disease.
  9. Take salt baths, get massages and maybe see the chiropractor. Some salts have over 83 minerals and can regulate close to 325 enzymes which helps the body detox and heal. Massages and chiropractic adjustments also allows the body to rid the body of toxins.
  10. Drink a smoothie everyday. Some of the things I put in mine are: organic fruits, vegetables, coconut milk, an omega 3 source, brewer's yeast (B vitamins), gelatin (collagen), and green powder with all kinds of adaptogens, herbs, plant enzymes, extracts and superfoods.
  11. Take a good multi vitamin if you are not consuming a green powder every day. Research says that most of us are not getting the required vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.
  12. Take a strong probiotic daily for the gut, especially if you have been on a lot of antibiotics or have yeast. Most diseases start in the gut and then proceed into the bloodstream to every organ. Probiotics build up the good bacteria.
  13. Cook with a lot of spices. Research indicates that spices can change blood pressure, blood sugar and heal some diseases.
  14. Get more sleep and try to reduce your stress. Meditation on God is a great way to bring your stress levels down.
  15. Lastly, start reading about health. Today's changes will determine tomorrow's health. It is NEVER too late to get started!
The easiest changes occur when we work one day at a time chipping away at what seems to be an incredibly large mountain in front of us. However, today's changes will make tomorrow a better day with a quality of life that is happier and brighter for each one that meets the challenge. If we take today's health a little more serious, hopefully tomorrow's pain will be a little less, doctor visits a bit fewer and a life more full to enjoy with those we love. Wishing you all a healthier and happier 2015!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Amp Up Your Workout with These Metabolic Drills

It’s that time of year again…holiday parties, cookies, pies, eggnog, spirits, mass consumption. Even for those of us that make fitness our business, we can—and do— overindulge. So, just in case you or your clients happen to overindulge at this time of year, here are a few metabolic drills that can raise your regular training drills to a higher level. Perform these exercises as timed intervals or for a specific number of reps, depending on your class structure or training goals.

Shuttle Runs PLUS 
Place two cones about 5 to 6 feet apart (or more if you have the space). Run and touch each cone as fast as you can.
shuttle run
To amp up this exercise, you’ll need four or five moderate-sized weights. Pick one weight up and run as fast as you can to other weights. Place the one you are holding down, pick up another one and run it to other side. Repeat this pattern until time is up. Try to alternate the side you pick up with and use your hips.
shuttle run
Shins to Tucks 
Traditional tuck jumps—taking a squat jump and drawing your knees into your chest—are a challenge.
tuck jumps
To amp up this exercise, begin kneeling on the floor. Jump up from your shins into a deep squat and then immediately jump into a wide tuck and repeat. 
tuck jumps
Squat Jump to Clap 
Regular squat jumps are a typical part of boot camp-style classes. Lifting the arms helps lift the whole body.
tuck jumps
To amp up this exercise, clap your feet directly under your butt. Begin with your feet slightly less wide than you would have them for a regular squat jump. And, as with any plyometric movement, try to land as if you are on glass, so the hips take the impact rather than the back and feet.
tuck jumps
Over the Bench 
The traditional movement has you jumping over a cone. Keep your wrists stacked under shoulders and be careful not to collapse into the shoulders. Instead, extend through your back like you are pushing the floor away. The goal is to drive the hips toward the ceiling and keep your body weight centered as you jump back and forth over the cone as fast as you can with great form.
over the bench
To amp up this exercise, swap out the cone for a bench that is 2 to 3 feet tall. Follow the same principles of form, recognizing that much more strength, power and stability are required to clear the bench versus the cone.  
over the bench
Traveling Spider Push-ups 
Traditional spider-man push-ups can be very challenging, requiring stability, strength, rotation and mobility to move through all planes of motion.
spider pushups
To amp up this exercise, move across the floor while pretending to crawl under a barbed-wire fence.
spider pushup
Hill Sprints 
Sprints are tough on a good day, and hill sprints take them to a whole new level. If you don’t have a hill to run up, set a treadmill to 1.5% grade and increase your speed until you reach a full sprint. Maintain this speed for 15 to 20 seconds and then use the rails to push off and straddle belt. Rest and then get back on the belt.
hill sprints
To amp up this exercise, set the grade to 10 to 15% and increase your speed to a full sprint. Ideally, you should be able to maintain your sprint in the middle-to-front of the belt.


5 Cardio Fitness Ideas for Weight Loss and Better Health

From weight training to jogging in the park, there are hundreds of ways to improve your health and lose weight. One of the most effective ways is through cardio, both in short, powerful and intense bursts and slow, low-intensity workouts.
In this guide, we’ll share five cardio fitness ideas – from jogging in the park or on a treadmill to swimming at your local pool – that can help you burn fat, reduce your risk of developing heart disease and become far more energetic and active.
Are you just starting to add exercise to your daily routine? Learn how to make your cardio fitness routine a long-term habit and improve your health over the long term in our course, Fit for Life: The Science of Exercise.

Jogging (or walking)

cardio fitnessWhen it comes to cardio fitness, sometimes the most basic workouts are the best for improving your health. Jogging is a fantastic way to burn calories and improve your body’s cardiovascular fitness, improving almost all aspects of your health.
Best of all, it’s a form of cardio exercise that you can do anywhere. From your local park to a treadmill in your garage, all you need for a jogging workout is some open space, fresh air and a supportive pair of running shoes.
Like any form of cardio exercise, it’s best to start small when you make jogging part of your fitness routine. Start with a 15-minute jog around your local park or on your treadmill, then gradually increase your jogging time until it’s at least 30 minutes.
Once you can jog for 30 minutes comfortably, focus on improving your pace instead of extending your workout. Try to add a few hundred yards to you 30-minute jog on a monthly basis and you’ll soon be running at a serious pace.
Jogging is one of the most effective forms of cardio exercise for burning calories, but has some downsides. One of the biggest disadvantages of jogging is that it’s hard on your knees and ankles, particularly if you have flat feet or existing injuries.
Avoid the side effects of high-impact jogging and distance running by warming up well and, if you still seem to be affected by knee and ankle pain, walking instead of jogging whenever you exercise.
Would you like to make jogging part of your cardio fitness routine? Learn the right form for running to avoid injuries, feel better and improve your mile time with some training tips from Right Form Running.


Low angle view of a young man swimming underwaterWhile jogging might be the easiest form of cardio exercise, it’s often quite hard on the joints in your knees and ankles. Swimming is a great alternative cardio fitness workout that’s completely impact-free and far less likely to result in injuries.
From freestyle to backstroke, all forms of swimming are great for pumping blood to your muscles and improving your heart health. A half-hour of swimming will leave any non-athlete feeling tired out and majorly calorically depleted.
Like with jogging, it’s best to start small with your swimming routine. Swim lengths of your local pool – or, if you have a swimming pool at home, your own pool – for 10 to 15 minutes. Once you’re comfortable, increase the pace but not the workout time.
A good swimming workout should include a variety of strokes and techniques, from the classic freestyle to more advanced techniques like butterfly. This variation offers a good blend of cardio fitness and resistance training for your muscles.
Would you like to learn how to master advanced swimming techniques like butterfly and effortlessly glide through the water? Enroll in our course, Swim Butterfly Like a Pro in WEST Swimming Technique, to master the most challenging way to swim.


cardio fitnessWhile yoga isn’t a pure cardio workout, it offers a great mix of resistance training, relaxation techniques and light cardio training. A one-hour yoga session will give your heart a great workout, burning calories and improving your health.
One of the best ways to increase the intensity and difficulty of yoga is to raise the temperature. Hot yoga – yoga in a heated room – burns more calories and assists your body in refreshing itself of toxins by sweating out excess moisture.
Yoga also improves your flexibility, making it easier for you to practice other forms of cardio fitness like running, swimming and kickboxing. Because of this, it’s a great ‘accessory’ form of training that you can add to your weekly exercise routine.
Does yoga sound like the best cardio fitness workout for you? Learn the basic yoga poses for increased flexibility, better heart health and optimal weight loss with Yoga for Weight Loss.


exercises that burn the most caloriesFrom the ancient art of muay Thai to modern forms of karate, there are numerous styles of kickboxing. While their techniques and rules may differ, the results are the same: rapid weight loss, better health and massively improved cardio fitness.
Kickboxing is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness, and it’s something that anyone can do. Although many kickboxers compete in fights, you’ll get all of the benefits with none of the injuries by practicing kickboxing technique.
Think you need to join a dojo to learn kickboxing? Think again. Learn the essential movements and techniques of kickboxing in a simple workout designed for weight loss and cardio fitness in our Extreme Kickboxing Workout course.


bodyweight squatsFrom pushups to jumping squats, plyometric exercises help you get in shape using nothing more than your own weight. Although plyometrics are often used to build strength, they’re also a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Putting together a plyometric workout is simple, and there’s no need for any special equipment or training. From bodyweight squats to pushups, the basic movements of plyometric training can easily be performed in your living room or yard.
Do you want to lose weight, tone your muscles and become more flexible without a gym membership? No Equipment, No Excuses Home Workout will teach you how to improve your cardio fitness and create your dream body in no time.

Which form of cardio fitness is the most effective?

Whether you want to lose weight or simply improve your heart health, some forms of cardio training are more effective at burning calories and getting your body into gear than others.
If you’d like to maximize your results in the shortest possible time, knowing which forms of cardio are the most effective is important. Read our blog post on the types of cardio that burn the most calories to learn how to create an efficient workout.


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Learn to Love A Morning Workout

There's good reason to rise and grind. Here's how you can make the habit stick.

There's a reason the word 'exercise' is so often followed by the word 'routine': When it comes to fitness, we're creatures of habit. But there is ample research to support the idea that change can bring significant benefits to your body. And you can train yourself to accept change. Yoga-averse? Cardio-phobic? You don't have to be. See our first in this series: Yes, You Can Learn To Love A Workout. And read below for the simple ways to embrace the morning session.
Your alarm goes off and the voice in your head says, “Just five more minutes.” For the next 30 minutes, you play the snooze game until it’s official: You no longer have time to work out.
“Many of our clients complain of not being able to drag themselves out of bed in the morning,” says Amy Lao, M.S., National Manager, Equinox Fitness Training Institute. “But there’s less distraction in the morning, so once you get into a routine, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.” Plus, working out in the morning gives you an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and pumps you up for the rest of the day.
There’s also a host of health benefits to hitting the gym at the start of your day. “Exercise helps with mental acuity, making you sharper and more focused,” says Lao. Good news if you have a big meeting or project to tackle. And morning exercisers are more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day, says Lao. Read: You'll bypass the office candy bowl. Working out in the morning also helps rev your metabolism and keeps you burning calories all day.
Night owls are not necessarily doomed. “With the right strategies, anyone can become an early riser,” says Lao. Here, her tips for learning to love a morning sweat session.

1. (Gradually) go to bed earlier
From your ideal wake-up time, count back seven or eight hours, which is the amount sleep experts recommend to feel well-rested (and stave off problems like weight gain, diabetes and cancer). If you tend to stay up late, start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach your ideal bedtime. In other words, don’t expect to fall asleep at 10 p.m. if you usually hit the sack at midnight. The key is to work up to your goal gradually.

2. Have a bedtime snack
If you're getting seven or eight hours of sleep and are still waking up tired in the morning, it could be because you have low blood sugar levels, says Angela Ginn, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Wake up with more energy by eating a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter before you go to sleep to help stabilize your blood sugar overnight.

3. Plan your workout
Before you go to bed, make sure everything you need for the next day is ready. Channel your inner grade school student and lay out your gym clothes. It’s also a good idea to plan your workout: Write down exactly what you want to do—whether it’s take a class or run 10 miles—so you’ll be getting up with a purpose.

4. Do not hit snooze 
Most of us set our alarms with a snooze buffer zone. Whether yours is 10 minutes or an hour, commit to giving it up and rising as soon as your alarm goes off. That way, you can spend that time actually sleeping—instead of groggily coming in out of dreams and enduring a mental battle with yourself to get up.

5. Ease into it
In the beginning, your goal is to simply get to the gym and do something, whether it’s a little resistance training or a quick jog on the treadmill. Research shows that it’s better to work out a little consistently than go hard and fall off the wagon a few days later.

Photography by William Klein

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Where Does the Fat Go When You Lose Weight?

When you lose weight, have you ever wondered where the hell the fat actually goes? Sure, it “burns up,” but it is a little more scientific than that. Actually, it is quite interesting!
ForSia-40 (1)
Fat is a store of energy. When you need energy, you break down the fat. That breaks down into a component called free fatty acid and goes into the liver for energy. When you have a lot of excess fat, it generates so much free fatty acid, the liver can’t handle it, so it stores it.
When people consume more energy or calories than they can burn, guess what happens? The fat cells become larger. And when people burn more calories than they consume and lose weight-they shrink!
When we lose weight or body fat, we lose it from all over. This is the main reason why spot reduction is a myth!
ForSia-40 (1)
Fat cells (aka adipocytes), store excess energy from foods in the form of fatty acids called triglycerides. As the triglycerides are stored within a cell, they force it to expand, increasing the cells diameter.
ForSia-40 (1)
Humans carry about 10 billion to 30 billion fat cells. People who are obese can have up to 100 billion. Though we can increase the number of fat cells in our body, when we lose weight, we don’t lose the number of fat cells. Tragic, right? 
The size of the cells shrinks, but the capacity to expand is always there. Meaning, it is easier for you to gain that weight back! The only way to remove the fat cells would be through a liposuction procedure.
Whether or not your fat cells shrink or become larger ultimately depends on your diet and fitness.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The 10 Must-Know Tips to Stay Hydrated During Your Workout

Not drinking enough water before a morning run, sweating a ton at the gym, forgetting a water bottle to sip during spin class, and steamy temps are surefire ways to put us on a path to dehydration doom. Staying hydrated while exercising is important because of the added sweat loss (compared to day-to-day activities like working at a desk or watching TV). Tossing back some H2O while working out can also help us fight fatigue and prolong endurance. Before you turn into a raisin inside and out, check out these 10 ways to prevent mid-workout dehydration.

1. Drink!
Good old H2O is critical for rehydrating when the body experiences fluid loss, such as when we sweat . Even though many gyms like to keep pricey sports drinks and protein shakes stocked on their shelves, most of the time, water will do the trick just fine. Shoot to sip seven to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise to stay properly hydrated . If you’re working out for longer than an hour or doing a particularly intense exercise (like running a marathon or participating in a tough training session), you will probably need to replace electrolytes, too — this is where a sports drink or electrolyte-enhanced water comes in handy . However, it’s also important to be wary of overhydration: Too much water can lead to hyponatremia, which is when excess water in our bodies dilutes the sodium content of our blood . "It is most often caused by long duration exercise and either drinking fluid at a rate that is more than fluid losses or only replacing fluid losses with hypotonic fluids like water," CamelBak hydration advisor, Doug Casa, says.

2. Sip on sports drinks and coconut water.
When we sweat, we lose electrolytes, which are minerals found in the blood that help to regulate (among other things) the amount of water in the body. Research suggests and sports drinks, such as Powerade and Gatorade, can help prolong exercise and rehydrate our bodies because they contain electrolytes, which plain old water does not While an ordinary workout may not require electrolyte-replenishing, those participating in longer and more intense periods of exertion, such as running a marathon or going through a particularly intense workout, will benefit from a good dose of electrolytes mid-workout . Not in to sports drinks, or want a more natural alternative? Water-enhancing electrolyte tablets, coconut water, or a homemade sports drink could be potentially effective substitutes.

3. Turn to fruit.
Many fruits are a great source of both electrolytes and fluids, though the dose of electrolytes can differ from fruit to fruit . Bananas and dates are known for having high levels of the electrolyte potassium, making them a great option for refueling during an intense workout (for example, a long run) . To stay hydrated while keeping up electrolytes, it’s important to drink water while munching on fruit (fruit contains some water, but not as much as your water bottle).
4. Weigh yourself.
Hop on the scale before and after exercise. For each pound lost during activity, drink an additional 16 ounces of fluid. If your body weight change is three percent or more, you may be experiencing significant to serious dehydration . Losing a few pounds of body weight after exercise can put strain on the body and result in uncomfortable side effects like muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue . To prevent sweating away the water that keeps us hydrated, have a water bottle at the ready.

5. Check the toilet.
If you’re taking a mid-set break to hit the loo, check on the color of your urine to make sure you’re staying hydrated. When properly hydrated, urine should be pale yellow in color. Though it may be tricky to keep an eye on it, try to watch the urine stream, since the color of urine will dilute when it hits the toilet water. Store this handy, dandy urine color test in your phone or wallet to make sure your piddle is up to snuff — dark yellow urine may indicate dehydration.

6. Pay attention to your muscles.
Lean muscle tissue contains more than 75 percent water, so when the body is short on H2O, muscles are more easily fatigued . "Staying hydrated helps prevent the decline in performance (strength, power, aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity) during exercise,"Casa says. When your muscles feel too tired to finish a workout, try drinking some water and resting for a bit before getting back at it.

7. Tame thirst.
Whatever you’re drinking, be it water, juice, or sports drinks, make sure to take a sip or two whenever you feel thirsty. Even if you’re not feeling totally parched, mild thirst is still a sign of impending dehydration.

8. Pinch yourself. (No, really.)
Go ahead, pinch yourself! Skin turgor, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal (or more simply put, it’s elasticity), is an easy way to check your hydration (though not 100 percent reliable for everyone) . Using your pointer finger and thumb, simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand (not too hard!) and hold for a few seconds. When you let go, if the skin takes a while to return to its normal position, you may be dehydrated.

9. Keep dry mouth at bay.
One of the first signs of dehydration is dry mouth. If your mouth starts feeling like the Sahara, head to the water fountain (or take a sip from your reusable water bottle!). A short water break between sets or during quick breaks from cardio can help stave off exercise-induced dehydration.

10. Stop if you get the dizzies.
Feeling lightheaded during a workout is a sign of dehydration and a signal to tone it down a notch. Though willpower sometimes makes us want to push ourselves through a few more reps or another mile, feeling dizzy is an indicator that it’s time to hydrate." Due to the decreased plasma volume with dehydration during exercise," Casa says, "the heart must work harder to get blood to the working muscles." When there’s not enough water in blood, both blood volume and blood pressure drop, resulting in dizziness.

Next time you plan for a sweat sesh, keep these tips in mind for a safe, hydrated workout.


Friday, 19 December 2014

5 Ways to Stop Hating Your Body

Do you hate your body? That question doesn't always have a black and white answer. You might think - "Well, I don't hate all of it, but I do hate my short legs and my flat butt. I hate my big nose and my flabby knees."
Most of us can make a long list of the things we hate. I found such a list when I was researching an article topic and was taken to a forum where readers were listing all of the things they hated about their bodies. Just a sample:
"I feel so ugly, and I hate my body"
"I hate my Butt!!!!"
 "I hate my weight..."
"I hate being fat"
"I hate my natural body type"
Unfortunately, the list went on and on and I thought, there are plenty of things to hate in this world; Ebola, paper cuts, lost keys, that blister on your tongue that you keep biting over and over...but our bodies? Why do we hate them so much when they work so hard?
When you think about it, the human body is pretty amazing, propelling us through each and every day despite all the terrible things we do to it - Too much stress, too little sleep, too much alcoholtoo much junk food and, of course, not enough exercise.
Still, we expect a lot from our bodies. We expect them to lose weight on command and we expect them to lose it exactly where we want, even though we know spot reduction doesn't work. Our bodies do exactly what they're supposed to do and they look exactly the way they're supposed to - Depending on the kind of lifestyle we lead - and yet we get frustrated when our bodies don't conform to our standards and we can't seem to change the basic shape of our bodies.
So, how do you get past that frustration? How do you accept your body the way it is?  It's not an easy process, but there are things we can do to stop the hate.
1. Exercise
Exercise isn't just great for losing weight and burning fat, it's also great for your body image. In fact, studies have shown that exercise can make you feel better about your body, even if you don't lose weight.  Some other boosts to your self-esteem:
  • Exercise connects you to your body - When you exercise, you improve what we call proprioception, or the feeling of knowing where your body is in space. That sounds a little out there, but it's that ability to move smoothly through the world that keeps us strong and injury free.
  • Exercise gives you confidence - Making it through a workout often gives you the confidence you need to tackle other challenges throughout the day or week.
  • Exercise gives you control - You can't control how your body loses weight, but you can control your workouts - How hard you workout, how often you workout and the purpose for your workout.
  • Exercise gives you strength - Not only is your mind stronger, but your body is stronger, giving you even more confidence to get through daily life.
2. Focus On How Your Body Moves
We can all list all the things we hate about our bodies and, no doubt, we could also find at least a few things we like about our bodies, but why not look at things a little differently? We're often so focused on how we look, we don't pay attention to what our bodies actually do. Take a moment and list all the things your body does for you each day.  Just a few:
  • Get in and out of bed
  • Brush your teeth
  • Wash your hair
  • Stand up and sit down
  • Open and close drawers, cabinets and doors
  • Get in and out of cars, trains, taxis and busses
  • Pick up groceries, pets and kids
  • Go to work
  • Sit through meetings, traffic, long dinners, endless weddings
  • Walk up a flight of stairs
  • Walk the dog
  • Take you through a Zumba class or a 3-mile run
  • Being a soft pillow for a sleepless child
How long is your list? I'll bet it's much longer than the list of things you hate about your body. When you think about what your body does all day, maybe those imperfections seem a little less important.
3. Talk to Someone Older
When I turned 40, my mother said, "If I knew how hot I was at 40, I would've spent more time appreciating my body and less time worrying about it." I've never forgotten that and I still think about it when I'm training older clients. I listen to the things they say about their bodies and lives and how little they worry about the size of their thighs or little pockets of fat they just can't get rid of. The things that are important to them are things that really matter like:
  • Feeling better - The single most important thing I hear from my older clients is that they feel better, usually because they're in less pain. Chronic pain, from arthritis or other conditions is a problem as we get older and exercise helps them sleep better and move better, improving their quality of life.
  • Being Healthy - When you're younger, you may worry more about your waistline than things like heart disease or high blood pressure. But my older clients are excited when they exercise enough to get off medications that often have irritating, sometimes terrible, side effects.
  • Being able to do daily activities - I had one client who couldn't even stand up from a chair, she was in so much pain.  Just being able to go out to lunch with friends without embarrassing herself by having to be pulled up was enough to please her.
  • Getting through stressful events - Stress is bad for anyone, but it's worse for older adults, adding to pain and misery they may already feel.  Many say that exercise helps them deal with things that, otherwise, may send them straight to the doctor's office.
A healthy body is something we usually take for granted when we're younger. Talking to someone older may give you a new perspective and, maybe, a new appreciation for your body.
4. Change The Way You Think
Negative thinking is a way of life for many of us and we all have an inner critic that's probably been in our heads since we were children. Maybe that negative voice is your mother's or father's, or that mean kid who bullied you in school. Maybe it's a mixture of voices, but they're all there for the same reason - To tell you how much you suck.  Instead of letting that voice take over, try:
  • Role playing - When the voice in your head criticizes you, imagine saying the same thing to your spouse or your closest friend...even a stranger.  Would you ever say something like that to someone you care about?  Why would you say that to yourself?
  • Think about what's really wrong - We talk about feeling fat or that we're just big failures at exercise, but what's underneath all of that?  Are you being too hard on yourself for not being perfect?  Maybe you're simply overwhelmed by all the things you have to do to lose weight.  Maybe you need help to figure out where you're going wrong.
  • Give yourself a break - Exercise is hard and so is weight loss.  Making yourself feeling guilty about failing may seem like the best motivation, but sometimes encouragement works much better.  Instead of punishing yourself, try, first, forgiving yourself for not being perfect and then asking one important question:  How can I like myself and my body even if I don't look the way I want?  Don't you deserve that?
5. Play the 10-Year Game
One of my favorite ways of bringing things into perspective is the 10-year game. If you find yourself ruminating on how ugly your body is, stop and ask yourself this: Will I care about this in 10 years?  Will that armpit fat matter?  What about that spare tire or belly flab?  Looking ahead forces you to look at your actual life and what you might accomplish, rather than how you look.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

8 Exercises Every Woman Should Be Doing

Strength training is an important part of improving your overall fitness, and for women, it can mean much more. In addition to numerous health benefits, adding weights to your routine can become a form of personal development that builds strength in all areas of life. The purpose of this campaign is to celebrate strength training and the strength of all women, no matter their size or life circumstance.

There are many reasons why women should regularly hit the weights, and the following exercises capitalize on those benefits. So get the girls together and try these female-friendly moves the next time you head to the gym.
Why? Because women have wider hips than men, most of us have a wider “Q-Angle,” which puts us at increased risk for ACL injuries. Lateral lunges and other lateral movements help strengthen and stabilize the hips, thus decreasing the risk of injury to the knees.
How: Begin with feet in a narrow stance and then step to the right side, keeping the right foot pointing forward and the knee in alignment over the foot. Sink the right hip down and back while keeping the left leg straight. Squeeze through the hips for stability and bring the left leg in and step together.
Options: This move can be done traveling (i.e., moving across the room) or stationary (i.e., staying in the same spot while alternating sides). It can also be loaded with a medicine ball or unloaded with a TRX Suspension Trainer.
Why? Having strong shoulders and the strength and power to put a heavy object overhead is no longer just a man’s job. This functional move helps you gain upper-body strength and power so that you don’t have to ask for help.
How: Begin by holding a medium-weight kettlebell in your right hand next to your chest with the palm facing inward. Drop your hips down and back, then drive through your glutes and return to standing while thrusting the kettlebell into the air. Slowly return the kettlebell to your chest and repeat.

Options: This move can also be done with a dumbbell (with a modified starting position). Also, ensure you have proper squat form before adding a load and speed to it.

Why: Strengthening the muscles of the upper back helps improve posture, which leads to decreased risk of injury, better power transfer, and taller and more confident aesthetics.

How: Fully shorten your TRX Suspension Trainer and stand facing the anchor point. Keeping the body perfectly planked, walk under to an angle that is safe, yet challenging. Begin the row by retracting and depressing your shoulder blades and then follow through by pulling your body to your wrists, with wrists facing inward; don’t lose your plank.
Options: Can also be done under a Smith machine bar at varied heights.

Why: With higher levels of estrogen, women have the benefit of building shape through strength training without the extra bulk. Pull-ups strengthen and tone the back, which leads to a smaller-looking waist.
How: Begin your pull-ups in an assisted pull-up machine. Using an overhand and shoulder-width grip, contract your outer back muscles and lift your chin to your hands. Keep the body straight and tight as you lower down to the starting position with control.

Options: When enough strength has been established, try this movement on a pull-up bar with no assistance, but be careful not to swing or arch.

Why? Women make fantastic athletes and this functional exercise that targets the hip and knee extensors should be included in every athlete’s repertoire.
How: Step forward into your lunge stance, ensuring the front knee tracks just over the middle toes and both knees bend to 90 degrees. Keep the hips tight and shoulders down and back as you step together with the other leg.
Options: Perform standing body-weight lunges or unloaded lunges with a TRX Suspension Trainer.

Why? This version of a plank helps realign and strengthen the spine, especially after giving birth. The instability of the ball leads to a full-body strengthening and stabilization from the shoulders all the way to the ankles.
How: Begin with your forearms on top of a Swiss Ball and knees on the ground. Keep the shoulders, hips and knees in a perfectly straight line and roll the elbows forward on the ball a few inches and return. As you progress, this movement can be done with your knees off of the ground, with your shoulders, hips and heels in alignment.
Option: If your hips are sagging during this movement, move your plank to the ground until you have gained enough strength to advance to an unstable environment.

Why? Punching feels GREAT! And adding resistance helps improve posture, supports the back and helps us rotate safely for sport and life.
How? Hold the TRX Rip Trainer with both hands palm down in zones 1 (the end of the bar) and 4 (three-quarters of the way down the bar). Begin in the end range of motion with the punching arm fully extended and back leg pivoted. Slowly release the punching arm and then simultaneously pivot the back foot and push and pull with the upper body to punch with power!
Options: Before beginning this exercise, master proper punch mechanics off of the Rip Trainer. The grip on the bar can be varied to increase or decrease difficulty.

Why? Let’s face it. You want a better butt. The answer? Squats. And for those of you are quite satisfied with your hind quarters, squats, like lateral lunges, build strength to protect your knees and help you become the best athlete you can be!

How: With your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, lower your hips down and back, keeping the back angle and shin angle parallel. Choose a depth that is safe for your knees and hips, yet still challenging (this will vary from person to person). Engage your glutes and drive up from the floor.
Options: Squats do not need to be loaded immediately. Begin mastering your squat form with just your body weight or even unloading your weight using a TRX Suspension Trainer.
Of course, all movement is important for women and exercises should be regressed or progressed as appropriate for the person. By adding any resistance training to our workout regimen, we will have stronger bones, feel better and move better for longer—leading to a much more fulfilling life. Now go add some estrogen to that weight room! 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

How to get and stay fit when you are in a relationship

Studies show that most people gain weight when they are in a relationship. It’s not just that the hunt is over and we already have someone to share our life with and we don’t feel the pressure to stay in shape, it’s also the fact that we now have to coordinate everything we do with our other half we now share everything with. Staying in shape while in a relationship can be challenging, but it can also be something that brings you closer together and helps you bond. Something that makes you and your relationship stronger. It all depends on how you approach it.

Recruit your other half to participate
Work on the principle that couples who train together stay together. All you need is a little bit of planning with all parties being aware of the precise time and the kind of training you will be doing so everyone is mentally and physically ready for it. Talk it out, look at available options together, make it a couple thing and work around your schedules and other commitments. There are many ways to work out together without leaving your house or spend any extra money on equipment or gym membership. You can even make it a habit to work out in front of the TV instead of having a family meal while glued to the screen.  Pick a time during the day when no matter what you both have to drop whatever you are doing and show up for a training session and a work out. People who are in sync and who can find the time for each other also tend to have a more fulfilling and happy relationship and fitness is one of these things that can bring people closer together.
If you can’t recruit your other half for whatever reason and the only option is to work out alone, make sure you talk about it and explain exactly what you are doing, when and especially – why. It’s important that your other half understands your motives and can see that you are serious about your fitness.
Get a plan and have it where you can see it - at all times
Finding a good program to follow is half the battle, sticking to it is another matter entirely. The main obstacle is that we tend to find the plan but then ignore it half the time. Print everything out and put it on display, cross things out on completion and track your progress. It also helps when you need to make sure your family understands what you are doing and especially when so they know not to bother you during these time slots or maybe have an option to join in.
Agree on the menu 
When we are in a relationship we can’t cancel dinners or get by on half a yogurt and some sunlight – it wouldn’t be fair to the person you are with. So there will be cooking and there will be eating no matter what. If you agree beforehand on the healthier options and find the kind of menu you will be both comfortable with, you don’t just get to eat healthier you also get all the moral support you need. It’s easier to follow a plan when you do it together. It helps to sit down and talk about it, not just announce that you no longer eat - period, but reason it out why would you want change your eating habits, what it’ll change for the two of you and how it’ll affect you both in the long run. Explaining the “whys” is vital in this case.
Make your house fitness friendly
The best way to avoid snacking is to remove chips and candy (crisps and sweets) from your house completely. So when you want to have something special and not-so-good for you, you’ll have to leave the house and go get it first. At the very least, you’ll get a walk out of it and best case scenario – you won’t want to bother going out and won’t snack. You can place a bowl of washed and ready to eat apples and pears on a table for when you feel like crunching on something. Clear the area in your house for exercise and set reminders everywhere you can all around to stay motivated. Change your screensaver on your laptop to match your fitness goals and keep your programs and workout charts at hand at all times. Post it notes with messages to yourself will work, too.
- Eat your dinners while talking to each other – it’ll help you mind what you eat and you’ll eat less.
- Go for a short walk after every meal together.
- Plan your cheat meal for the weekend and eat healthy the rest of the time.
- Choose activities that will make you move – try to do at least one active thing every evening.
- Walk everywhere together – you can even race each other on a dare to different locations.
- Get an active hobby as a couple, like cycling or city photography. Going running together is unbeatable.

Monday, 15 December 2014

How to measure your progress

In the past, we used to only diet to lose weight so it was fairly straight forward, all we needed was basic scales to track our progress. These days we all know that just dieting isn’t enough, we also need to exercise to look and feel good, but exercise means muscle and muscle is heavy. The muscle mass is the gains you want but it makes scales all that more irrelevant when you want to see just how well you are doing.
There are several ways to track your progress depending on your goals and how precise you want to be. If you only diet, you will not only lose weight, you will lose fat and muscle (which can have serious health consequences later on in life), and in this case you can use basic scales that only show you your general weight. If you exercise as well you will need to get more creative.
Take weekly or daily photographs. It’s not just a way to see how you are progressing but a way to stay motivated. Seeing yourself as you are can be a good reality check – after all, we all think “we are ok” up until the moment when we strip down. Every morning or every week depending on how often you want to do it, strip down to your underwear and take a full body shot – from front and side. Don’t be tempted to suck your stomach in or take a better picture, you need to see how things really are. Then compare older pictures to new ones to see your progress.
Use a measuring tape. Instead of judging by your weight, use your body measurement as a guide. Every two weeks measure your arms, your chest, waist and butt similar to how you take measurement for your clothes – and note the numbers. If you are trying to get leaner, the numbers should go down and if you are trying to gain weight, the numbers should go up. Alternatively, and this is not as precise, judge by your clothes, if you need new clothes – you are on the right track.
Use scales that measure your body fat %. Unlike the dumb scales that only tell you how much you weigh, body fat measuring scales will tell you how much of your weight is fat and how much of it is muscle, bone and water. These scales are not expensive and they can paint you a very definite picture of how thing stand right now. Keep in mind, though, that your water contents change during the day so it’ll help if you weigh yourself at the same time in the day you always do – preferably in the morning before breakfast.
Although it can help to pay attention to how you are doing, tracking your exact progress can sometimes make fitness mentally harder than it should be, especially if you have a long way to go and your progress is slow. Sometimes it just helps to stop thinking about the progress and just do the thing. Show up every single day and work at it then only occasionally look back and see just how far you’ve come. If you are someone who finds strength in seeing the numbers rising or dropping the measuring tape or the BF% scales are the way to go. Tracking progress using photographs is a good middle ground.
Whatever you pick always remember that everything you do, every positive choice, every training session – these things are never lost, erased or not counted in, it all adds up. As long as you keep going and stay consistent with your training you will get fit and stay fit. Concentrating on the work instead of the numbers will also help you integrate fitness into your lifestyle so even when you are not tracking your progress, you are still progressing.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Tone & Tighten in Ten Days: Arms

No need to hide those guns during sweater season.. This equalizer arm workout will sculpt your shoulders, biceps & triceps!

Got 10 days to make a difference?
This Tighten & Tone in Ten Days workout will challenge you to tone up your arms and keep them firm during the upcoming winter season to stay bikini body ready all year long!
I decided to give this plan a try for myself.

Directions: Complete each exercise for ten days twice daily.
10 Triangle Push-ups
  • Begin the move by positioning the hands on the mat directly under the chest with the fingers spread and the thumbs and forefingers touching, making a triangle shape.
  • Straighten the legs into a plank position (harder) or keep the knees on the floor for an easier version.
  • Make sure the back is flat and the abs are engaged as you bend the elbows, lowering until your chin or chest touches the mat. If you can’t go that low, go as low as you can and work to build enough strength to lower all the way down over time.
  • At the bottom of the movement, your elbows will naturally flare out to the side.
  • Press back to start, keeping the torso rigid.

15 Walking Planks
  • Start in plank position.
  • Move your right hand into standard push up position, then move your left hand into standard push up position.
  • Return to the starting position by lowering onto your right forearm and then your left forearm.
  • Alternate sides, rising onto your left hand next, then your right.

25 Chair Dips
  • Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet positioned together.
  • Place your hands in the edge of the edge with your knuckles facing out.
  • When you do the dips, don’t flex your arms to more than 90 degrees.
  • Keep your abs and butt tensed during the exercise.
  • Slowly lower yourself and then push back up again.
  • Breathe in as you go down and out when you push away.
60 second Basic Plank
  • Start off on a yoga mat in the pushup position. Starting with the pushup position is the easiest way to get into the plank.
  • Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Curl your toes under and engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button toward your spine.
  • Straighten your body but keep your neck and spine neutral. Imagine that you’re a plank of wood, and that you’re straight as an arrow.
  • Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes. These are the two major muscle groups you’ll be working out in this exercise.
  • Hold this position, also known as the plank, until after the burning begins. Keep your eyes on the floor in front of you. Avoid raising your behind. Your body should make a straight line from your heels to the back of your head.

35 Arm Circles
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lift both arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height.
  • Move your arms in a circular pattern, 4-6 inches in diameter with your palms facing down, drawing a small circle with your fingertips. Continue for one minute.
  • Let your arms relax for a few seconds, then raise them again, this time drawing the shape in the opposite direction for one minute.
  • For an added challenge repeat the motion for one minute in each direction, this time with your palms facing upwards.