To say time flies is putting it mildly sometimes. And it seems to fly at an accelerated rate when spring break is creeping up. The sun and beach is calling your name, but you’re frustrated with that bit of extra fat around your middle.
The good news is that you don't have to panic just yet. By getting started now — and adhering to the following steps — you'll hit the beach with the flat stomach you desire. And what’s great is these tips are simple and don’t require you to work yourself to death to get swimsuit-ready.
1. Cut out processed foods
No matter how hard you train, a bad diet is going to keep you from reaching your goals. A good place to start diet-wise is by cutting out processed foods, microwave dinners, fast food, chips, soda, etc. The extra sodium and sugar in these foods and beverages will derail your best training efforts.
2. Limit your alcohol intake
No, this isn't everyone's favorite suggestion, but it's a very important part of the gut-tightening process. Alcohol not only consists of empty calories, but it also releases estrogen that can cause weight gain. Here's something else to consider: alcohol has nearly twice as many calories as it does protein and carbs.
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3. Work on your core
You may be wondering why those endless sets of ab crunches haven't produced any noticeable results. The truth is, working your whole body has a far greater impact in regards to tightening your stomach.
Core strength training works the entire body, which means you're constantly engaging the abdominal region during your workout. Training your core at least two to three times a week will spare you the tedium of the hundreds of crunches you've been doing.
4. Drink more water
There are so many reasons to drink water, including the fact that what we perceive as hunger might actually be thirst. So, water serves as an appetite suppressant and can help keep you from snacking and overeating during meals. Plus, proper hydration leads to better athletic performance as water makes up 75% of our muscle tissue.
If you're burning the proverbial midnight oil, you aren't doing yourself any favors when it comes to keeping your body in spring-break shape. Getting adequate sleep plays an integral role on our weight because a lack of sleep decreases the release of fat-burning human growth hormone (HGH) while increasing the amount of cortisol — a stress hormone that leads to weight gain. Eight hours of sleep is preferable, but seven will do.
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Circuit training is a combination of cardio and strength exercises. Circuits range from as few as three exercises to upwards of 15. The goal of this training is to complete the circuit to boost your body's strength and endurance.
After each circuit, you'll need some downtime to recover. The optimal rest time between sets for you depends on your fitness goals and your physical condition.
Why Do Circuit Training
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) reports circuit training is one of the leading fitness trends. Circuit workouts are gaining popularity because they aren't as time consuming as other workouts but are still highly effective for enhancing physical fitness.
Strength circuits alternate between upper and lower body exercises so one portion of the body can rest while the other is in motion. In general, rest time is minimized as much as possible. The typical circuit training session takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Short rest periods allow for a highly efficient workout that frees up time for additional exercise. Because of this, most people take about 20-30 second breaks between sets. Taking a longer period of time to rest somewhat defeats the purpose of circuit training. After all, circuits are designed to maximize your workout time.
Why Rest Is Important
The amount of time you rest between circuits plays a significant role in how you feel and how much your workout changes your body. If you don't rest long enough, you burn out quicker. If you rest too long, your workouts lose their intensity. Studies have shown that growth hormone and testosterone are generated in higher levels when you rest for moderate to short periods of time. Rest will also give the body a chance to build muscle.
The bottom line is your muscles and your body's central nervous system require time to recover from work. Failing to rest will reduce your ability to lift, push, run and move freely. Insufficient rest will also reduce your rate of recovery and affect your performance in later exercises.
How Long Should You Rest?
In general, you should give yourself a minimum of 15 seconds and maximum of 60 seconds between circuits. That said, there is no perfect number that applies to every single person. You need to rest as long as it takes to catch your breath and move to the next station with energy and confidence. If you feel like you aren't pushing yourself hard enough, shorten your breaks. If you're overheating, extend them. Just remember to always have some break between circuits.
Rest may not seem like a big deal, but it has the potential to make or break your workout. Don't attempt to teach yourself all the ins and outs of proper exercise and fitness. Get a specialized trainer to help you build the body you've always wanted.
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If you're dealing with the pain and stiffness of arthritis, working out may not be high on your priority list. But exercise might be exactly what you need to relieve arthritis pain.
Exercise is crucial for people with arthritis because it increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and even relieves fatigue. If you suffer from arthritis, here are some things to know before you start a workout routine.
1. Can You Exercise With Arthritis?
Studies show that people with many forms of arthritis can participate in exercise that's appropriate and safe for their condition. Even individuals with severe inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from moderate intensity workouts.
People with osteoarthritis of the knee or other joints can reduce symptoms by combining strength and aerobic training.
2. Why Is Exercise Beneficial For People With Arthritis?
Here are just a few benefits to working out with arthritis:
Make sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you've been inactive. Your doctor can tell you how to incorporate exercise into your arthritis treatment plan.
It's vital to develop an exercise plan that provides the most benefit without aggravating your arthritis pain.
4. Best Types Of Exercise For Arthritis
Among the most common types of exercises are range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises and aerobic exercise.
Range-of-motion exercises relieve stiffness and help you to move your joints through their full motion. Strengthening exercises help you build strong muscles that support and protect your joints. Aerobic or endurance exercises improve your cardiovascular health, control your weight, and give you more stamina and energy.
Here are some specific workouts ideal for arthritis sufferers. But it's important to know that any type of sustained movement, from raking leaves to walking the dog, can help.
Water Aerobics & Swimming
Water aerobics has 75 percent less impact on your joints than regular aerobics, while swimming works all of your muscles groups and builds cardiovascular endurance.
Weight lifting and resistance training are great ways to help manage arthritis pain. They keep the muscles around the affected joints healthy, lubricate joints and decrease bone loss.
All types of walking, whether outdoors or on a treadmill, help to relieve arthritis pain, strengthen muscles and reduce stress. Start slowly if you haven't been exercising and work up to 30 minutes of continuous walking on a flat surface or slight incline.
Cycling works all the muscles in your lower body, including your feet. If upright stationary bikes and outdoor biking aggravate back or knee problems, use a recumbent bike instead.
Yoga improves flexibility, strengthens muscles, reduces stress and more.
Pilates stretches the spine and strengthens muscles.
Bosu ball workouts are a great way to tone muscles and strengthen your upper and lower body. They are also lighter on joints than traditional aerobics.
Ready to get fit? My bosu ball guide will provide you with 7 full-body to help you get the body you've always wanted – right from home.
Feeling fatigue can affect every area of your life. It's not normal to feel exhausted if you're getting enough sleep. If your overall health is good but you still feel tired all the time, other factors could be at play.
Here are seven reasons why you might not be able to shake that constant feeling of exhaustion.
1. You Skip Workouts When You're Tired
You're tired and decide to skip your workout to save energy. But studies show that regular exercise boosts your endurance and strength, makes your cardiovascular system run more efficiently, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body's tissues.
Plus, people who exercise as little as three days a week for 20 minutes reported feeling less fatigued and more energized.
2. You Don't Drink Enough Water
Even minor levels of dehydration can cause energy loss. Not drinking enough water causes dehydration, which causes a reduction in blood volume. This makes your blood thicker and requires your heart to pump less efficiently. In turn, oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs at a slower rate.
It's worth noting that eating fruits and vegetables can increase your fluid intake as well. (And, since September is Fruits & Vegetables: More Matters month, what better time to start adding produce to your diet?) Experts suggest dividing your body weight in half and drinking that number of fluid ounces per day.
3. You're Sitting Too Much
Your desk job may be sapping your energy level because prolonged sitting can slow your metabolism and diminish your overall health. The good news is that short stints of light-intensity walking will combat those feelings of fatigue.
Health experts say you should set an alarm reminder to get up and walk around every hour and stand when you're talking on the phone.
4. You Don't Consume Enough Iron
Studies show that an iron deficiency makes you feel tired because a decreased amount of oxygen is sent to the muscles and cells. There are many foods that increase your iron intake, including lean beef, eggs (with the yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, kidney beans, tofu and more.
5. You Eat Too Much Junk Food
The negative impact junk food has on our health is well known, including its relationship with fatigue. Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbs cause blood sugar spikes (followed by sharp drops) that cause exhaustion over the course of the day. Eating lean protein and a whole grain at every meal will prevent spikes and falls of blood sugar.
6. You Skip Breakfast
Your body uses what you consumed at dinner the night before to keep your blood and oxygen flowing. That said, you need to refuel in the morning, and when you skip breakfast chances are you're all but guaranteed to start your day sluggish. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism - especially if it includes protein, whole grains, and healthy fat.
7. Your To-Do List Is Too Long
You'll feel defeated if your list of things to do is never-ending. You'll also notice your energy draining as you try to get everything done to no avail. If you've got a lot on your plate, break your day down into achievable goals and write down approximately how much each task will take. You'll feel empowered by your manageable list, not overwhelmed.
Get your energy back. Do these seven TRX moves every morning and you'll start each day off more awake and alert.
Aerobic and anaerobic exercises sound like the same thing, but they each have different pros and cons. So which is better for losing weight? And which should you add to your workout routine?
Here's a breakdown of the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and which is better for losing weight.
Aerobic is best described as exercise that makes use of oxygen to generate energy. These exercises are meant to boost the efficiency of the cardiovascular system to absorb and transport oxygen.
Aerobic exercise usually lasts a minimum of 20 minutes. Anytime you workout on a bicycle, treadmill, elliptical machine, running track, or stepper, you're doing aerobic exercise.
Aerobic Exercise Pros
The benefits of aerobic exercise include weight loss, improved circulation, enhanced cardiovascular health, and a boosted immune system. Aerobic exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and specific types of cancer.
Aerobic Exercise Cons
Aerobic exercises are great for burning fat, but they don't build much muscle. Add in the fact that some people can't handle exercising for 20 minutes or longer and it is easy to see why many prefer anaerobic exercises.
Those who have chest pains or any sort of discomfort in the chest should avoid intense aerobic exercise. This style of exercise will also prove unsuitable for those who often experience breathlessness when working out. Those who take medications for a heart condition, high blood pressure or stroke should go easy on these exercises.
This style of exercise involves physical activity without relying on oxygen to produce energy. Instead, the body generates energy that stems from glycogen, also known as carbohydrates.
Examples of anaerobic exercise include high-intensity interval training, resistance training and weightlifting. These exercises typically last a couple of minutes at most.
TRY IT: 30 Minutes Anaerobic Workout
Anaerobic Exercise Pros
The benefits of anaerobic exercises range from muscle development to improved bone density, improved cardiovascular health and the reduction of body fat. Every workout routine should include some sort of anaerobic exercise to help tone your body.
Anaerobic Exercise Cons
With anaerobic exercise, the focus is primarily on building muscle rather than improving endurance. If you're looking to boost your stamina, burn lots of fat and get in shape for something like a marathon or a team sport, anaerobic workouts won't help you reach your fitness goals.
One of the most important disadvantages to this style of exercise is that it causes the accumulation of lactate within the blood. These ions irritate muscle tissue and contractions. They also create a burning sensation within the muscles that causes muscle fatigue and, in some instances, muscle failure.
Which Is Better For Weight Loss?
In terms of overall fitness, neither of these forms of exercise is superior to the other. Aerobic exercise is best for immediate weight loss. If you have a lot of excess fat, you'll want to incorporate cardio-boosting aerobics into your workout regimen. However, you'll also need anaerobic workouts for toning and to prevent those pounds from coming back.
Aerobic and anaerobic exercises ultimately work best if done together. If you want to lose weight and tone your muscles, the best way to do that is with a balanced workout with both.
Though you don't have to perform aerobic and anaerobic exercises every single time you work out, you shouldn't just do one or the other. Instead, try alternating the two. Do thirty-minute aerobic exercises every other day and thirty-minute strenuous anaerobic exercises on the day in-between.
Work with your personal trainer to find the right mix for your fitness goals.
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Meditation has become part of mainstream Western culture like never before. That's no surprise when you consider its many benefits – from improved concentration to overall peace of mind.
But does meditation also help you lose weight? While researchers are still conducting studies on the topic, some research shows there is a connection between meditation and weight loss. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. Meditation Reduces Stress
Stress has long been shown to trigger weight gain while hindering efforts to lose weight. Meditation may lower levels of cortisol – a stress hormone that has a huge impact on metabolism and insulin insensitivity. Cortisol helps you be more aware of what you're eating and why. Moreover, stress hormones tell the body to store extra weight while leading to physical problems that result in weight gain.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that 25 minutes of daily meditation for three days significantly reduced stress. Another study showed that meditation prompts brain waves to shift into a relaxed state that's similar to sleep. This relaxation lowers your body's amount of stress hormones, which can decrease overeating and weight gain.
2. Meditation Improves Self-Control
Other studies show that meditation affects the parts of the brain that aid with self-control. Improved self-control helps you be more mindful of what you're eating and how much, and makes it easier to pass on unhealthy foods when you're feeling down or distressed.
3. Meditation Helps You Become More Mindful
Daily meditation practice helps you let go of the past and excessively thinking about the future. Your past may include previous attempts at weight loss that failed or faded away when results were slow in coming. You may also experience anxiety about the future, including whether or not you can consistently practice habits such as healthy eating and exercise.
Being present helps you keep your head on straight. It can also help you pay attention to how your mind and body feel as you eat.
4. Meditation Leads To Strong Intention
It's no secret that the power of intention can have a tremendous influence on our lives. By meditating on losing weight, you're putting in the positive energy and intent to accomplish it. You're also leaving yourself open to what the world can provide you. This dedication is crucial for helping you stay on track with your weight loss goals.
5. Meditation Creates A Sense Of Purpose
Meditation not only reduces stress and creates feelings of peace within you, but it also helps you to develop a sense of purpose. Lowered stress eases the fight-or-flight syndrome that can cause hormones to become out of balance.
Although there is still a lot of ongoing research out there about meditation and weight loss, there does seem to be a relationship between the two. Meditation can help lower stress hormones like cortisol, which stops you from overeating. It also improves your frame of mind, decreasing anxiety and improving your self-control, mindfulness and sense of purpose.
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If you feel stressed out, you're not alone! Just about everyone experiences stress, especially when the temperature is soaring and other life events ramp up in intensity.
Stress is normal, yet it can be alleviated through exercise. Physical activity decreases the human body's stress hormone known as cortisol.
Exercise also spurs the release of endorphins within the body. These are the “happy chemicals” that help your mind and body relax. Incorporate the exercises outlined below in your workout and you will feel a liberating sense of relief.
Enjoy a lengthy run and you will undoubtedly feel better. Your run will take your focus off the issues or stimuli that are stressing you out. If possible, go for an outdoor run. Running outdoors is optimal as connecting with nature helps to calm the brain and melt that nasty stress away. If it is too hot to head outdoors, hit the treadmill or run in place.
Kickboxing is a fantastic, on-trend means of eliminating stress. It is best defined as a combination of traditional boxing and martial arts. This intense workout burns calories much faster than most other forms of exercise. It also helps to maintain a high metabolic rate.
Kickboxing decreases stress as it forces you to learn nuanced breathing techniques during intense physical activity. Commit to regular kickboxing sessions and you will feel more relaxed and confident in your ability to defend yourself. This means you won't stress out as much about potential physical attacks when venturing outside on your own.
This ancient Chinese martial art provides wide-ranging health benefits including stress reduction. Tai Chi combines specialized breathing techniques with flowing physical movements.
It enhances muscular strength, boosts immunity, improves flexibility, relieves pain and promotes a sense of internal peace. This is exactly what you need to unwind after a stressful day.
Most people don't think dancing does much but provide an outlet for music-lovers to move to the beat. Dancing relieves stress, tones the muscles and maintains flexibility.
Turn on your favorite music, shut the door and dance your heart out. This is your chance to express yourself, be creative and eliminate all that built-up stress.
Dancing boosts your confidence and helps you establish a healthy mindset that you can carry forth for the rest of the day and beyond. Studies have even shown that dancing boosts heart health, builds muscle, strengthens bones and spurs weight loss.
Mix yoga into your workouts and you will feel an empowering sense of inner calm and balance. Yoga boosts flexibility and strength while promoting mental and physical relaxation. Give yoga a chance and you will learn all sorts of different poses, mindfulness and controlled breathing.
The Mayo Clinic reports the benefits of yoga include decreased stress, a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.
The best part is that yoga can be performed by anyone in just about any environment. Yoga requires minimal space and has a very short learning curve. All you need is a yoga mat and a few feet of room. It takes a mere 15 minutes of yoga to reduce your stress and boost your physique.
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As someone who lives in the Texas Panhandle, you know how hot it can get during the summer — especially in Palo Duro Canyon. Temperatures during the hottest months average around 90 degrees, and at times the heat can seem relentless.
It can also cause serious health issues — such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke — if you're not careful. Staying hydrated is a big part of staying healthy out in the heat.
Follow these steps to prevent heat stroke and other illnesses when you're out hiking in the sun.
1. Drink Before You're Thirsty
It's important to drink fluids even when you're not thirsty. When you do feel thirsty, your body is telling you that it's approaching dehydration. Replenish your fluids frequently rather than drinking simply to quench your thirst.
2. Water Is Best
While advertisements for sports drinks and other beverages may claim that they're the best way to stay hydrated, in the majority of cases, you're better off sticking with water.
Sports drinks provide certain electrolytes that are helpful for high-intensity training, but they usually contain high amounts of sugars (and calories) that you otherwise don't need.
The amount of water you should drink may vary depending on your age, weight, gender and activity level. Drinking water regularly throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.
3. Drink Cool Fluids
There's nothing quite like a cold drink on a hot day, but experts advise drinking cool water because the body absorbs it faster than it does cold water. Cool fluids will also encourage you to drink more during activity in hot weather.
4. Keep A Water Bottle
At Your SideA reusable water bottle is a great investment. You should always keep one nearby. You can easily replenish it during the day, and having a water bottle on hand allows you to drink fluids regularly whether you're doing strenuous activity or not.
5. Eat The Right Foods
Drinking water is the easiest and fastest way to hydrate, but eating foods that have a high water content can also ward off dehydration. Foods with high water content include watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and celery.
Loose clothing that allows your sweat to evaporate and absorbs less heat will keep you from becoming overheated and dehydrated. If you're exercising outdoors, you should always wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Few things sound better than a cold beer or other alcoholic beverage during a summer heat wave. But if hydration is your goal, alcohol isn't your friend. It acts as a diuretic and causes you to urinate more frequently — which leads to dehydration.
8. Watch The Clock
There's nothing wrong with exercising outside during the summer — as long as you do it during the appropriate time of day. Plan your workout for early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun isn't bearing down on you.
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Going to the gym is an excellent way to get in shape, meet like-minded people and stay motivated. Unfortunately, many gym-goers make mistakes while working out that prohibit them from getting the results they desire.
Here are five common mistakes to avoid if you want to get the most out of your time at the gym.
1. Performing The Same Workouts At The Same Intensity
Repeating the same exercises at the same intensity for the same number of reps creates a plateau effect in your body. You’ll see results to begin with, but after a while, your muscles will become accustomed to the moves and won’t change any further.
To truly get fit, you need to stress your body to recover and grow, then repeat that process. Switch up your workouts, add weight to your favorite technique, or strive for more reps each session.
2. Training Too Hard
While pushing yourself is a good thing, going to the point of muscle exhaustion is too far. Muscles grow when stimulated, not when crushed.
Exercising this hard puts excessive stress on your muscles and nervous system—making it more difficult for your body to recover and easier for it to sustain injuries.
Instead of maxing out your muscles every time you train, add a little more intensity each session to gradually increase the stress on your body.
3. Overextending Your Spine
Maintaining a neutral spine is crucial when working out, especially if you’re lifting heavy weights. Overarching causes back pain and leaves you more susceptible to injury.
To combat this, keep your core and glutes tight to stabilize your lower back.
4. Stopping Short Of The Full Range Of Motion
Failing to complete a move with each and every rep is harmful to your joints. There’s a reason fitness pros have designed exercises certain ways.
Be sure to watch your technique and complete the range of motion for each move. This improves your results and strengthens your joints.
5. Not Paying Attention To Safety
When exercising with a barbell and weight plates, it’s vital to utilize the safety features that go with the equipment.
Weight collars and clips keep weight plates in place while you work out, and safety bars offer a solution in case you need to drop the bar. Each of these items is designed to prevent equipment-related injuries and should always be used.
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Fitness bands have certainly been hyped up by the media. However, a growing number of Fitbit-wearers are finding that their tracker has caused weight gain rather than weight loss or weight maintenance.
Why Fitness Trackers Spur Weight Gains
Part of the problem with fitness trackers is that they don't always provide sound advice. These monitoring devices gauge one's activity level and suggest a corresponding amount of calories that can be consumed and burned.
However, the device isn't completely accurate in terms of measuring fitness activity and caloric consumption levels. As a result, some fitness trackers have caused health-conscious individuals to consume more calories than they should. These bands mistakenly overestimate physical activity levels, making people think they are exercising more than they actually are.
The bottom line is that fitness trackers don't account for each wearer's unique metabolism and other biological idiosyncrasies. Some people process food quickly while others have a comparably slow metabolic rate. If your metabolism is faster or slower than the tracking device anticipates, you might not be provided with sound advice regarding daily caloric consumption and physical activity levels.
Fitness Trackers Don't Account For Well-being
Some fitness tracker users consume fewer calories than they burn yet still don't experience weight loss. Aside from metabolism speed and possible technical errors, an alternative explanation is that fitness bands don't account for overall well-being. In the end, weight loss is more than mathematics. One's well-being and other variables like hormones, the time of day/night when meals are consumed and sleep patterns, also play a role in weight loss.
The key is to not become overly fixated with the quantification of food consumption and exercise. Recognize that fitness bands have their limitations. For example, fitness trackers can't monitor the type of calories one assumes. Try to eliminate as many simple carbohydrates, artificial sugars and high-calorie foods/drinks to maximize the accuracy of your fitness tracker.
What To Do If You've Gained Weight
If you've gained weight, you can still get your body back. The summer is the perfect time to work off extra pounds. Join a gym. Try out a new workout program. Change up your diet. It's never too late to get the body you've always wanted.
Not comfortable working out at a gym? Try out my 2 Weeks Of At-Home Workouts and get back into shape from the comfort of your living room.
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