superadmin

Workouts For Real Life

Workouts For Real Life

Workouts for real life help your body prepare for those activities you do everyday. If you’ve ever bent down and picked up something relatively light, only to have a sharp, stabbing pain in your back that continued for days, you know what I mean. Functional fitness helps all the muscles of the body work together and gets you ready for tasks you would do daily, whether at home, work or play. It emphasizes core stability too.

Squats simulate getting up and out of a chair.

I remember a routine done by a comedian long ago talking about his father’s noise. It was that low growl older men made when getting up and out of a chair. While you may not be ready to make the noise, as you lose muscle fitness, eventually it will become more of a task. Just as picking up items off the floor can be challenging and even cause injury from the simple movement. Performing squats can keep your body fit for these types of tasks.

Kettlebells, fitness balls and weights are part of functional fitness training, but you can do functional fitness exercises without any equipment.

A reverse lunge with dumbbells incorporates movement, muscles working together while changing position and balance. It challenges core stability too. Opening up the hips and thorax area with certain exercises helps prevent back problems by loosening tight hips. Kettlebells workouts give a total body workout and helps coordinate the muscles to get them working together. Kettlebells also build core muscles, which is important in functional fitness. Fitness ball workouts also work on core stability.

Functional fitness workout help people of all ages.

You can modify the workouts to match the level of fitness of each person. Older individuals, particularly if they haven’t exercised in a long time may be best off starting with body weight or even water based functional fitness workouts. Of course, as with any program of exercise, checking with your health care professional is of utmost importance before beginning.

  • Consider all the daily moves you make, from reaching for something overhead, running up stairs, getting out of the car or even just vacuuming the floor. Preparing the body for these types of tasks is the goal of functional training.
  • Functional exercises focus on more than one joint and muscle group. It’s all about getting the muscles to work together as one. It’s utilizing the whole body with each exercise, even if part of it is just for support.
  • Functional fitness works on all types of fitness. It employs exercises to improve range of motion—flexibility, improves power—strength, balance and endurance.
  • You may already be doing many of the functional fitness exercises. It may be just a matter of working with a personal trainer to create a program that combines them safely.

Is Sugar Ruining Your Health?

Is Sugar Ruining Your Health?

You may avoid chocolate, candy, cakes and cookies, never letting a bit of carbonated soda touch your lips and think you have the sugar problem conquered. You may be wrong. Sugar seems to be in everything from the ketchup on your burger to commercial soups and bread. It’s often in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is disguised by using other names such as natural corn syrup, isolated fructose and glucose/fructose syrup. My favorite is maize syrup. It sounds so natural, since maize is a derivation of the name the indigenous people of pre-Columbia America gave to corn. Sugar was never meant to be eaten in such quantity and studies show there’s a price to pay. Is sugar ruining your health? I believe the answer may be yes.

Sugar has an effect on the immune system that leaves you open to a number of conditions.

Your immune system fights off foreign invaders such as bacteria, fungi, virus and even cancer cells. It needs vitamin C to do it. When glucose is in your bloodstream, the structure is much like vitamin C. Phagocytes, white blood cells that envelop the offenders, grab it up instead and it leaves these cells almost powerless to fight. Even healthy foods can have the effect. Orange juice, for instance, raises blood glucose levels. However, if you eat the orange instead, the fiber in the orange slows down the absorption of glucose into the blood stream and allows the cells to work the way they were meant to work.

Sugar can cause insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is the start of type II diabetes. It’s the precursor to metabolic syndrome, obesity and cardiovascular disease too. When there’s glucose in the bloodstream, the body produces insulin to unlock the cells so the glucose can get in and feed them. Sometimes, the cells don’t respond to the insulin, leaving the glucose free in the bloodstream, so the pancreas continues to produce more. It becomes a vicious circle with the pancreas working overtime. While scientists don’t know the exact reason that this occurs, they do know that obesity, lack of exercise, stress, poor diet and certain diseases can cause it.

Sugar can cause heart disease.

It’s known that excess sugar in the bloodstream can raise blood pressure and that a diet high in sugar, more than 25% of total calories, causes the liver to dump excess fats into the bloodstream. Both of these factors can boost the potential for heart disease. The American Heart Association suggests that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of extra sugar daily, with men’s limits being about 9 teaspoons. Since a 12-ounce can of soda contains about 9 teaspoons of sugar, just one can would put most people over the limit.

  • Sugar can lead to a myriad of conditions that are as varied as weaker eyesight, arthritis, gall stones and varicose veins.
  • Sugar causes premature aging by combining with proteins in a process called glycation. They form a new molecule called advanced glycation end products—AGEs. These attack other cells like collagen and elastin that keep the skin firm, making you look older before you should.
  • Sugar can lead to emotional swings and contributes to anxiety and depression.
  • Consuming too much sugar is bad for the teeth, but also extremely bad for the memory. One study showed that sugar slows the brain and hinders memory and learning. Think about that the next time you forget where you left your keys.

Hormones And Your Health

Hormones And Your Health

If you’re like most people, when the word hormone is mentioned, their attention goes toward sexual hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. Your body has a myriad of other hormones that aid in the body functioning properly. In fact, there’s a huge link between the right balance of hormones and your health. Hormones influence all bodily functions from how much energy you have to how much fat you store. Even your brain health depends on the right balance of hormones.

HGH—human growth hormone—is often considered the antiaging hormone.

When you’re younger, HGH is responsible for those growth spurts and muscle development. As you age, it’s production can slow. It’s responsible for body fluids, bone growth, fat metabolism, regulating body composition, sugar metabolism and even heart function. It’s made in the pituitary gland. It’s produced synthetically for a number of conditions, including chronic kidney disease and muscle wasting that occurs with AIDS. However, even though shots are available, there’s no evidence it helps to slow aging or even if its safe. Oral HGH is useless since the stomach digests it. One way to increase HGH naturally is with exercise. Intense exercise, such as HIIT—high intensity interval training—and a healthy diet can boost your body’s HGH and act like a fountain of youth.

Insulin is an important hormone.

Insulin plays a role in both diabetes and metabolism. It helps the body create complex molecules. It opens the cells to take in glucose—blood sugar—that’s in your bloodstream. That keeps your cells healthy and nourished while keeping your blood sugar levels normal. When too much insulin is released, over time, the cells become insulin resistant, which means they don’t open, leaving sugar in the blood. At which point the body releases even more insulin and eventually the vicious cycle causes Type II diabetes. Luckily, regular exercise and healthy eating habits can prevent insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes.

Cortisol is associated with both abdominal fat and stress.

Which came first, the stress or the abdominal fat. Fat can cause stress and that stress produces hormones like cortisol to prepare your body for the flight or fight response. Too much cortisol is associated with abdominal fat and can create heart problems, too. While exercising regularly can burn off the cortisol and get your body back to normalcy, overtraining can cause stress and create more stress hormones. Make sure you keep hard workouts more infrequent and alternate days of exercising with days of light or no workout. To keep stress at bay, meditation is also good.

  • Testosterone is a male hormone that women also have in much smaller amounts. It helps build muscle tissue. If you need to boost your levels, interval training and healthy fats in moderation can do the trick.
  • Estrogen, another sex hormone, is also found in both men and women. It boosts sex drive and has many of the functions, including brain health and muscle recovery. Exercise and a healthy diet can boost its production. So can consuming soy products.
  • Serotonin is a hormone that helps with mood regulation, sleep cycles, memory, appetite and specific muscular functions. Low levels can cause weight gain, depression and insomnia. Foods containing tryptophane and regular exercise can regulate the levels of serotonin.
  • Melatonin is a sleep-promoting hormone. It only works in total darkness. It not only counteracts stress, it also is an antioxidant. Lower levels are linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes. Keep the bedroom dark and avoid restrictive clothing when sleeping. Restrictive nightwear can reduce melatonin levels by as much as 60%.

Surprising Fat Loss Facts

Surprising Fat Loss Facts

It’s only recently that there’s been such a focus on weight loss. That’s probably because obesity is now the leading cause of preventable death. Much of the new research has uncovered some surprising fat loss facts that not everyone is going to like. They may fly in the face of what was once conventionally thought of as fact or just make you rethink your weight loss program. For instance, people who eat in restaurants gain more weight than those who don’t. Eating just one meal out a week can translate to two extra pounds a year, no matter how carefully you choose the fare. According to the Department of Agriculture study, meals eaten out boost the caloric intake by 134 extra calories.

Extra exercise doesn’t translate to extra weight loss.

This is proof that you can get too much of a good thing. That doesn’t mean that an active lifestyle doesn’t help, because it does. It also provides many other benefits than just weight loss. Danish researchers found that sedentary men who added a thirty minute workout to their schedule actually lost more than those who included an hour of the same intensity workout. The hypothesis from this was that the men working out a shorter period were less tired and therefore more active after working out. They also tended to eat about the same number of calories while the hour workout men ate more. The real takeaway is that both groups lost more than the control group who added no exercise to their daily activities….an average of five to seven pounds more in just 13 weeks.

Training hard will guarantee you’ll have a six-pack. NOT!

That’s actually both right and wrong. If you’re overweight, training hard may really guarantee that you have that set of abs you’ve dreamt about, it will just be hidden by a layer of abdominal fat. No matter how hard you train, if you have a fatty layer of skin hiding the results, nobody, including you, will be able to tell. The key to getting the six pack abs? Lose weight. It comes off all over the body, but once your weight is down low enough, all your hard work will show.

Cutting out carbs and fat and focusing on just protein will help you shed fat and build muscles.

Wrong again! You need all food groups for your body to function properly, including weight loss. Healthy fat plays an important role in that, just as good carbs do. After all, fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and you know you need them in your diet. Don’t compromise your health or your weight loss efforts with an all or nothing lopsided way of eating. Eat healthy!

  • Your body is bigger than the world community when it comes to fat cells. This is actually a depressing fact. The average adult body contains 50 billion fat cells. That’s more cells than there are humans on the earth.
  • Every 150 seconds, a fat cell on your body dies. That’s a little more uplifting.
  • Eating too many calories makes you fat, which doesn’t mean that eating fat or any other particular food does it. Too often people feel that one particular type of food is the enemy. While some foods are healthier than others are, it’s the total caloric intake that puts on weight.
  • Some diet foods, such as low fat yogurt, may actually make you gain weight. When they take the fat out of it, they replace it with sugar to make it taste good and that adds more weight than the fat would have.

Nutrition For The Traveling Athlete

Nutrition For The Traveling Athlete

Nutrition for the traveling athlete is important, but can be hard to do. The areas to focus on include ensuring the athlete reaches the necessary protein and carbohydrate needs, gets daily mineral and vitamin requirements, gets adequate hydration, a balanced diet and when traveling to other countries, make sure the food source is safe. Planning ahead is of utmost importance and may even include carrying your own source of food.

Pack extra food in your carryon if you fly.

Whether traveling by car, bus or plane, having easier access to food that’s healthy will keep your energy level up without depending on the driver to stop at the next restaurant on the way or relying on the airplane meals that are often inadequate to meet the dietary needs of an athlete. Taking extra food items along will help ensure that you’ll end your travels with an adequate store of both energy and nutrition. Fresh fruit snack packs, dried fruit and nut trail mix, PB&J sandwiches, protein or energy bars, powdered meal supplements or canned liquid supplements can help meet caloric and nutritional needs.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Whether you’re traveling on the road or by plane during the summer or winter, make sure you carry your own large bottle of water. The cabins in planes are extremely dry, making it even more important when flying. In the summer, when driving, the air conditioner removes the water from the air, but without it, sweating has the same effect. During winter months when driving, heating the vehicle creates dry air. Staying hydrated requires you to have at least a cup of water every hour. The glasses on airplanes are so small, they don’t fill that requirement. You can carry on juice as well to boost your nutritional requirements.

Travel with a cooler on the road or learn how to eat healthy from gas station food.

You can solve many of the nutritional problems of travel if you’re driving by simply packing adequate food to meet your nutritional needs. Plan your meals ahead of time and make sure it includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Canned tuna with the pop top cans don’t need to be in the cooler, but can be a good source of protein. Other protein choices can include yogurt, hard boiled eggs, ham and cheese. If you’re relegated to eating at gas stations across the nation, make smart choices. Most have at least one or two sources of fresh fruit, canned tuna and yogurt.

  • Mix and match snacks so you get a balance of protein rich foods, fruits and veggies, grain products and calcium rich foods. For example, a can of V-8, a bran muffin and either yogurt or cheese fills all four groups.
  • Check out the food at your destination before you go. Do a little research to find the foods at the hotel or local restaurant and even their hours. Find out if there’s a refrigerator in the hotel room and stop at a local grocery before checking into the hotel if there is.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t get all the nutrients you need if your trip is short. Take a nutritional supplement along to fill in the gaps.
  • If you’re traveling with a group or team, get together ahead of time to plan out nutritional needs. Not only will you have more selection when you take your food along, you’ll all save money and eat better.

Build Muscle And Lose Fat

Build Muscle And Lose Fat

Some people want to focus on losing weight, and then start working on building muscles. They think it’s the best way to do it, but they’re wrong. Not only is it possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, it’s the best way to do it. If you focus on weight loss, without including exercise, you’re more apt to shed lean muscle tissue, leaving you more unfit than previously.

Exercising builds muscle tissue and boosts your weight loss efforts.

Strength building exercises also are great for burning fat. They build your strength because they build your muscles, so you’re getting a two-fer when you add these to your workout schedule. Best of all, the more muscle tissue you build, the more calories you burn, since muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. That means even when you’re playing couch potato, you’ll be boosting your caloric output and helping to lose weight.

A personal trainer can help you calculate the balance you need to achieve both weight loss and building muscles.

Unless you’ve calculated your caloric intake before or just want to rely on the averages, trainers are the best resource to use to help you judge the amount of calories your body needs to both shed pounds while still building muscle tissue. If you cut calories too low, you’ll lose weight, but won’t have the fitness results you want. Cutting them too little won’t result in the weight loss you hoped to achieve and can lead to discouragement.

Focus on protein intake and lifting weight.

That doesn’t mean you have to actually lift weights, although it’s one way to do it. It means any strength building exercise, whether it’s kettlebells, body weight or actually pumping iron. While you can restrict your caloric intake, don’t skimp on protein. Your body needs protein to create muscle tissue. If you just want to eliminate fat and build muscles, eating a well balanced diet that has extra protein, but slightly fewer calories will result in that. You may actually lose inches but gain weight with this strategy. That’s because muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch. It’s like comparing the size of a container to hold exactly a pound of feathers and one containing exactly a pound of iron. The one containing the iron, although weighing the same, will be smaller.

  • Focus more on inches than on weight when trying to gain muscles and lose fat. As noted previously, you might gain weight, but look thinner and fantastic.
  • Identify your caloric need and slowly lower the intake when you workout to build muscle tissue. It helps you burn fat, but still allows you to build.
  • Cutting calories requires you to boost your protein intake. Some of the protein will be used to replace the calories for energy, so you need extra to help build muscle tissue.
  • Distribute your intake throughout the day, don’t just slug a protein shake or two and think you’ve accomplished your goals.

What Can You NOT Live Without This Month?

What Can You NOT Live Without This Month?

It’s tough to change your ways, but in order to live healthier, that’s just what you may have to do. It’s easier if you start making changes slowly. That requires you to prioritize and eliminate the things that aren’t important. You have to learn what can you NOT live without this month before you find out what you can eliminate. If you’re budgeting, food, shelter, heat, transportation to work and clean clothing are on the must have lists. That infomercial pan that even a melted piece of plastic won’t stick to probably won’t be on the list. You therefore don’t purchase it. Making lifestyle changes always include this step.

Budgeting your time.

There are items on a time budget are important; time to eat, time to sleep and time for work. If you’re in a nine to five job, your time budget for work is easy, but self-employed people have to break it down further to what brings me business and brings in money. Meal preparation should be on the list. Remember, you cannot live an unhealthy life and get things done quickly if you’re sick, so you may add extra time to avoid grabbing fast food. You also need to add exercise. Not only is exercise essential to a healthy life, it also boosts your energy so you get other jobs done quicker. Identify important tasks and eliminate those unimportant.

Narrow your time expenditure by learning the most effective techniques.

If you’ve done a specific job for a long time, you’ve probably created shortcuts that save hours every month and help you get more done during the day. The same is true of everything, including exercise. That’s one reason it helps to have a personal trainer. They already know the best exercises to get quicker results and cut your exercise time, while keeping it effective. Our nutritionist can help you learn to create healthy meals that won’t take hours and can be just as quick as waiting in line at a drive-through. It’s a matter of planning.

Knowing what you want and need is the first step to creating a better lifestyle.

No matter what the area, you have to know what’s important to YOU. Nobody else can tell you that. Even if Aunt Milly thinks you should take the time to go to a singles dance she heard about, if you’re not ready for a relationship or simply hate the thought of attending, don’t do it. Prioritizing is the beginning of goal setting and you should control what your life goals.

  • Always ask yourself whether your actions, purchase or the time you’re spending are helping you to achieve what you REALLY need.
  • Once you recognize the needs in your life, start identifying the ways to achieve them.
  • Make sure the steps you outline to achieve those goals are measurable, so you can pinpoint a specific result.
  • Give yourself a timeline and make it realistic. While you may need to shed fifty pounds, one month to do it isn’t realistic and can make you feel like a failure.

Hacks For Surviving The Winter

Hacks For Surviving The Winter

Whether you hate the cold weather and overcast skies or just want longer days, here are some hacks for surviving the winter that can make it easier and may even have you looking forward to the winter months…although, that may be stretching it a bit. If you’re tired of cold wet feet, a candle and a hair dryer are perfect hacks to make your winter better. Rub the candle on your shoe and ensure it’s all coated then put your hairdryer on high and melt the wax. When it’s cool, it will be an imperceptible thin layer that will aid in keeping the moisture out and your feet dryer. Of course, boots are better, but sometimes with changing weather, we all get a surprise and this will help you stay dry and warm.

How and what you cook can keep you warm.

Winter is the best time to make roasts, cakes and soups. When you use your oven for cooking, it can do double duty. Just make sure that you leave the door to the oven open a bit after you’ve taken out your dinner and turned it off. It allows the excess heat to warm the rest of the house…and may even become a favorite spot for family members on cold days. When the weather turned icy cold, my mother used to make the family’s favorite soup. It was normally a vegetable soup packed with all the leftovers from the refrigerator. She also made bone broth, which is a super healthy option that I heartily recommend. Not only did the smell of the cooking soup add a delicious scent to the air, it also added warm moisture that kept the house feeling warmer.

Socks can make your drive easier.

You’re probably thinking that I’m telling you to wear an extra pair of socks in the winter, which isn’t a bad idea, but not it. If you have a few old socks missing mates they can help you get a good start in the morning if you don’t park in a garage. A sock filled with new kitty litter left on the dashboard prevents a foggy window in the morning. Keep a heavy pair of socks in your glove box to put over your shoes or boots in case you get stuck. The socks will provide extra traction if you have to push your car in the snow.

Chase a cold away by making shower pellets.

Mix a spoon of Vicks Vaporub with a cup of boiling water. Slowly add that mixture to baking soda, until you have a toothpaste consistency. Pour in a mold or ice tray, let dry for 18 to 24 hours and store in an airtight container. Take one in the shower with you when you have a cold. Allow the hot water to hit it to create steam that will break up congestion and help you sleep better at night.

  • Soak a cloth with alcohol and thoroughly wipe your windshield wiper blades to help prevent sticking to the windshield or spray the windshield with a mixture of three parts rubbing alcohol and one part water to remove the ice.
  • Shave the pills off sweaters. Keep an inexpensive disposable razor on hand just for this purpose and you’ll always look well groomed.
  • Keep warmer by adding an extra layer of clothing. Panty hose under slim jeans won’t add bulk but do add warmth. Layering lighter weight sweaters and tops keeps you warmer than one heavier sweater.
  • Keep warmer with the help of a dryer or hair dryer. Start your day right by throwing your socks, work clothes and undergarments in the dryer before your put them on and you’ll be toasty warm to start the day.

Great Book Ideas For Snow Days

Great Book Ideas For Snow Days

Don’t let the weather get you down. Take some time to relax and expand your mind or enjoy the latest novel. Here are some great book ideas for snow days that will provide entertainment while the weather is foul and give you a boost to tackle the world again when the snow stops. I’ve created a list that include both fiction and non-fiction, since everyone has different taste. I’d love it if you’d share some of your favorites in the comment section, since I’d like to find a few new ones myself.

Novels can keep you enthralled and make the day fly by quickly.

You may not want to start War and Peace or another long novel, but there are many short novels that won’t take longer than a day. Downloading the books from Amazon is inexpensive and you’ll often find other choices that are intriguing while you’re there. Binary Star is an inside look at a battle with eating disorders, while on a long trip with a boyfriend. At 172 pages, it won’t take long to get to the end. A classic short book that you might have missed is The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.

Find novellas for quick reads you can finish in a day.

Novellas are short novels that are under 200 pages. They let you start the journey the author created and end it in record time. Some of my favorites include the most recognizable names that you may only have seen in movies. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is only 166 pages and you get to see what started the rash of movies through the decades. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is thrilling and just 55 pages and Silas Marner by George Elliot another classic that’s just 160 pages.

Plan a garden, learn healthier cooking or study rocks in your extra time.

While we often think of reading time as a time to read a story or novel, non-fiction writing can be as riveting if it’s about something you really love. If you’re a gardener, there’s nothing better than thinking of warm weather and the perfect garden on a snowy day. You can download these books or may have one or two already at the house you’d like to review. I love reading cookbooks, not necessarily cooking the items. Scouring a book on healthy recipes may inspire you to try a few. Whether you collect stamps, rocks or have another hobby, books about it will make great ready while the weather is cold.

  • Go to the classics that are short, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (64 pages), The Picture of Dorian Gray (180 pages) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (128 pages) are great short ones.
  • You’ve probably watched A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but have you read the book? It is just 80 pages and a super quick read. You can impress others when you watch the movie by saying it isn’t as good as the book.
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck is thought provoking and just 96 pages.
  • Heartburn by Nora Ephron will make you laugh and also provide a few recipes. It’s both funny and poignant at the same time. (She’s the woman who created Sleepless in Seattle.)

Start With Small Goals

Start With Small Goals

One of the biggest problems in fitness training is discouragement. Even though people may be doing the right things to achieve their goals, they’ve made their goal way too big to achieve quickly and after a few months, find themselves discouraged and ready to quit. Rather than create a big goal that takes a long time to achieve, start with small goals so you can get success more quickly and build toward the bigger, ultimate goal.

Goal setting requires a specific goal with a specific time frame and a plan to achieve that goal.

You can still have the ultimate goal set, but you need to break it down into smaller bites. Use the SMART technique. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. Breaking that 50 pounds into 10 pound goals, and setting the time frame for a month creates a specific goal that’s relevant, measurable, attainable and has a time frame. It also creates a goal you can achieve before you become discouraged.

The goal should be exciting.

Setting a goal too short term, such as losing two pounds a week, simply isn’t as exciting as setting a goal for ten pounds a week. There’s also another reason for monthly goals over weekly goals. Sometimes the body plays tricks and seems to take on weight from nowhere. If you have a different type of fitness goal, such as one for strength, a weekly goal doesn’t allow for physical fluctuation of strength based on health and work load.

Smaller goals are stair steps to achieve the ultimate fitness goal.

You’re not going to run a marathon after working out for a month if your only previous marathon was marathon watching the first season of “Game of Thrones.” Neither will you lose fifty pounds in a month. That doesn’t mean you can’t set them as long term goals. Everyone needs an ultimate goal to strive toward with short term goals leading the way.

  • Don’t expect the first few weeks of working out will be smooth as silk. Everyone feels a little awkward and intimidated initially.
  • Once you achieve your fitness goals, you’ll start to realize you can do anything as long as you have a goal and a plan to achieve that goal.
  • You need to make sure you know your starting point, which is one reason trainers take so long finding your present fitness level. Even Mapquest won’t give you directions if you only input your ultimate destination but not your starting point.
  • Short term, smaller goals are important because they help people identify where they need to make changes in their plan to achieve them before too much time elapses.