Fitness & Wellness

Get Out Those Tank Tops And Show Those Arms

Get Out Those Tank Tops And Show Those Arms

One of my clients loves the winter months. It’s not because she adores the colder weather or hates the sunshine. It’s that she gets to hide her batwings under long sleeves. Summer is a time to get out those tank tops and show those arms, but a lot of people shy away from doing that because they don’t have toned muscles. Arm flab, bat wings, whatever you want to call it is embarrassing for most women, but there’s a way to change it and have arms you’ll be proud to show the world.

You don’t have to win the genetic lottery to have toned arms.

If you’ve tried to tone your arms before and did all the exercises you thought would give you that dazzling look, but failed, you probably forgot to add weight to the equation. I see it all the time, women who are afraid that if they use weights to tone their arms, they’ll start to look like the Incredible Hulk, sans the green. It just doesn’t work that way. Women, unless they spend their life working out or take supplements to enhance muscle building, just don’t bulk up like men do, even if they’re super strong.

New moms start to see a change in both upper body strength and toning.

Many of the mothers I see note that after their child was born, especially if their weight was normal, started to notice their arms were more toned and looked great until their child was about three. That’s when they carried their child far less than previously. Little did they realize they were toning their arms every time they lifted the baby and as the baby put on more weight, the toning process became more intense. Many of these mothers also carried diaper bags, groceries and other things while carrying the baby. Take note if you don’t have a child yet, toning your arms now can get you into shape for motherhood.

You need to put effort and add weights to upper body exercises for toned arms.

If you want arm definition, use exercises like pushups, rows, presses and pulldowns combined with curls triceps and pressdowns. Both types of movements are important. One shapes your arms and the others build muscles to give you the strength to go heavier and press weights that will make a difference. You need to workout more than just your arms to get the results you want. Our workout will have you looking great and be proud to show off your arms.

  • No matter how toned you are, if you have excess body fat, those great muscles won’t show. Add a healthy diet to your workout to get results faster.
  • Your mix of exercises should include all muscles in the arm, not just biceps. You also need to work on triceps, rotary cuff (the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint- supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) and shoulder muscles, too.
  • A total body workout or strength training can help you get those arms you wanted faster. You’ll have a program that helps you because it fits your goals.
  • Try our one week free boot camp for more ideas on toning your arms and say good-bye to batwings forever.

Nutrition For Your First 5K

Nutrition For Your First 5K

If you want to stay energized all the way to the end, you need the proper nutrition for your first 5K. It starts with good nutritional meals while you’re training that replace the vital nutrients and help your body repair after a tough workout. Get a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fat with a daily amount of about 2.5 grams of carbs and 0.5 grams of protein for each pound you weight daily. Don’t forget the healthy fats, either. Nuts, salmon and butter from grass fed cows are good sources of Omega 3s, which help lower inflammation and speed your recovery time.

Get plenty of these specific nutrients.

While you need a well balanced diet containing all nutrients, three vitamins and minerals are particularly important. Iron is often lost when running, so add some extra lean red meat, lentils or leafy greens to your diet. If you want to maintain muscle function and bone health, eat foods high in calcium. Dairy, bone broth, sardines and leafy greens provide it. Don’t forget the vitamin B if you want to maintain your energy level. Snack on nuts to increase this nutrient.

Don’t worry about carbo-loading.

Eating a diet higher in carbohydrates, while you cut back on fats and protein may be good for races that take 90 minutes or longer. Unless you’re really, really slow (which is okay—at least you’re trying), you’ll finish the race a lot quicker. You won’t need the extra fuel from just eating healthy before the race. In fact, carbo-loading could actually make you feel sick and slow you down when the race starts.

Keep your breakfast light and make it a few hours before the race.

You want to eat something before a morning race, but not a heavy breakfast and not as you’re headed for the starting line. Eating a meal that contains200 to 300 calories, is low in hard to digest fiber and fat and comes from unprocessed carbs is best. Keep the fiber under ten grams and steer clear of spicy foods to avoid an upset stomach. If the race is later in the day or at night, follow the same protocol for lunch and dinner.

  • Make sure you stay hydrated, drink about 20 ounces of fluids a few hours before the race and another ten ounces about 20 minutes before the race starts.
  • Test drive some breakfasts before you go for training so you know what works the best. For example, you might find that a bagel, small apple and an 8-oz sports drink works better for you than a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar. Try a few different combinations and go with the best one the day of the race.
  • Take a snack along in case you’re hungry before the race. A small banana, some animal crackers or anything to curb the hunger that’s about 100 to 200 calories will do.
  • Several weeks before the race, practice mock up races that start the same time as your first 5 K. Create sample diets to eat before the race and see what helps you feel and do your best. Not everyone reacts to specific foods in the same way, find out what works best for you.

Fitness Products You'll Love

Fitness Products You’ll Love

If you find giving yourself a special treat for accomplishing goals, here are some fitness products you’ll love as your reward. You’ll also find some are so low cost and helpful that you’ll want them to help you on the road to fitness. Apps for instance, can be free or very low cost. Clothing and gadgets are far more expensive. If you choose a more expensive item, start tucking away a small amount weekly to save for the time you reach your goal.

Fooducate provides a tool that lets you know the nutritional values of foods while shop.

Just scan the food item with your smartphone and it grades it from an A+ to D-. It averages the grades for your purchases and offers ideas for alternatives that are healthier. While this app is free, the free version doesn’t offer much, except how many calories you should eat daily. To get the best features you have to subscribe. Based on the version, it costs between $4 and $5 a month.

Get a home version of the TRX system.

This equipment at the gym is so popular and there’s a reason why. It’s more than just effective, it’s fun. Now you can get a home version to use on your days away from the gym and it’s portable enough to take on trips. You use body weight exercises like lunges and squats and will get maximum results with this tool. It’s great for those busy weeks when you don’t have time for a full workout at the gym. Just put in 20 to 30 minutes in the morning and you’re set. The price is about $150, so it might be best as a big reward for accomplishing your major goals.

Don’t wait for a reason, get this great sports bra before you start working out.

If you are well endowed and curvy or just want to make sure the girls stay in place, you need a top-notch sports bra, especially for high impact cardio. One of those recommended by some of my clients is the Enell Maximum Control Wire-Free Sports Bra. These bras have wider shoulder straps, easy and secure closure, a wide band to move with your body and a cross-strap design for back comfort and better posture. It also has fabric that wicks to keep moisture away from your skin. Good support, like good shoes, are a must when you first start working out.

  • If you’re overweight and your inner thighs are painful and sore from chaffing when you walk or run, it’s easy to call it quits. Before you start working out, treat yourself to a pain free one with Body Glide Original Anti Chafe Balm.
  • Get some equipment for your home. At about $40, you can get a great start on creating a six-pack. The Ab-Carver Pro Roller can be perfect for core workouts at home, regardless of your fitness level.
  • Sure you pay special attention to your shoes, but have you considered special workout socks. Finding great socks that offer support and exceptional wicking ability doesn’t have to cost a fortune and could be your next great investment.
  • Work out the kinks with a foam roller. Rollers cost less than $10 and will hurt like crazy while you roll out every stiff muscle, but leave you feeling fantastic.

Is It Time For New Workout Shoes?

Is It Time For New Workout Shoes?

You may have your favorite workout shoes that you’ve had for years. Even though you’ve used Gorilla glue to glue the sole back on or ignored the hole on top, that doesn’t mean they’re gymworthy. In fact, it’s probably time for new workout shoes, not because they’re really tattered but because they’re dangerous and can cause injury when you workout.

How can workout shoes cause injury?

There are a number of reasons. One is that they lose their spring. If the midsole is worn, they lose their ability to absorb shocks and also may lead to excess foot motion. The midsole can also change formation after months of use and change the way your foot aligns. That stresses parts of the foot that weren’t meant to be stressed and causes injuries that come from overuse.

There’s no specific amount of time or usage that you can use.

There’s a wide range of estimates on how long a shoe should last. If you have a high quality shoe, it’s going to last far longer than one that’s not as good, which in some cases translates to cost less. One constant is the ability to absorb shock when you jump. In other words, the shoe’s compression ability. The NSCA—National Strength and Conditioning Association—estimated that the average wear for running shoes is about 300 to 500 miles, approximately 6 months, before the compression capabilities are lost. If you’re doing floor pounding cardio, it could be before that. Working with weights and less intense floor pounding give the same shoes a longer lifespan.

The ball of the foot and the heel receive a pounding when you workout and show it.

If your heel is well worn and shows more wear on one side or the other, they’re no longer good for the gym. That means it’s broken down and allows more heel motion. Can you say injury waiting to happen? You can also tell if the heel compresses when you squeeze from side to side.

  • Take a look at the shoe. If the ball of the foot shows a lot of wear, it’s time for new shoes.
  • Shoes can wear without wearing them. If they’ve been with you for ages from that last failed attempt at getting fit, the materials might have dried out in the midsole, outsole and upper area. That affects their functionality, even though they may look great.
  • If you find your feet or knees hurt after a workout, suspect wear on your shoes immediately.
  • Give a good visual inspection. Check the shoe from the side, look at the underside and check the wear at the heel. You’ll notice excessive wear if they’re ready for retirement.

Pros And Cons To A Keto Diet

Pros And Cons To A Keto Diet

One of the latest diets being touted is actually quite old. It’s the Keto diet—which is short for ketogenic diet. Originally, it was used as a substitute for fasting to control epileptic seizures. For 1400 years there’s been a hypothesis that fasting helped control seizures, but you simply can’t fast away your life. In the 1920s, doctors at the Mayo clinic found that super low carbohydrate and high fat meals helped control seizures just like fasting did. By the 1980s, body builder’s latched onto the diet and it became their tool for boosting weight loss and building a great body, while still enjoying the once forbidden foods like bacon, cream and butter. Today, it’s a viable tool for weight loss, but it isn’t for everybody.

The keto diet contains 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates and 75% fat.

If you’ve been on a low carb diet, you’re close to a keto diet, but the protein and carbohydrate numbers are lower. Instead of 40% protein, 10% carbs and 50% fat, you’re cutting carbs and protein in half and throwing those calories into the fat category. That translates to approximately 10 or 15 grams of carbohydrates a day. If you translate that to food, it’s about 15 grapes or a fist-size serving of cooked carrots. That’s not just for one meal but for the entire day. The fat comes from nuts, coconut milk or oil, cheese and avocado. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.

The body normally uses carbs for fuel but with this diet, it uses keytones.

That’s important because ketones come from breaking down fat. They’re formed in the liver and used as energy instead of glucose. In fact, you can even measure the amount of ketones by using urine and ketone strips. It burns ketones because there’s less glucose available. So basically, it reduces the body’s insulin levels and the inflammation that occurs when they’re high.

It helps you shed pounds and eliminate the sugar urge.

You’ll definitely feel fuller with the extra fat in your diet. A few weeks off sugar will also help you curb the sugar cravings, since you won’t have the blood sugar spikes and drops that occur with a high carb, high sugar diet. It also puts more healthy fat into your diet, something many people lack. Healthy fat, like avocados, can boost your mood and improve everything from your skin and hair to cholesterol, heart and brain functioning.

  • One big problem with the keto diet is that it’s hard to follow. You have to carefully plan each meal to ensure you get the right proportions.
  • People often don’t choose the healthiest fat content for their diet. Instead of turning to nuts and avocados, people often turn to bacon and animal fats that don’t come from organic, grass fed beef. That doesn’t promote good health.
  • The weight you lose may not be significant or long lasting.
  • There’s limited fiber. That can slow digestion. Just the very nature of the diet, low carb, can leave you feeling stuffy and out of sorts.

Fat Loss Mistakes

Fat Loss Mistakes

Shedding pounds isn’t easy and fat loss mistakes along the way make it even harder. You’ll often find diet advice on the internet that not only doesn’t work, but can be extremely bad for your health. For instance, fad diets like the cabbage soup diet or grapefruit diet, may take weight off initially, but as soon as you go back to normal eating, put it right back on again. These diets often cause you to lose water weight, rather than real weight or lose muscle mass over actual fat. Sometimes they’re such low calorie diets, that when used over a long period, not only leave you malnourished but put you in starvation mode, which slows metabolism.

Omitting specific types of food from your diet can be a problem.

While you definitely don’t want fried foods or sugary treats, you do need healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat. You notice the keyword is healthy. Vegetables are carbohydrates, just as fresh fruit is. Fruit also contains sugar. You should always have an abundance of fresh vegetables in your diet and at least some fresh fruit, even if they are carbs. Fat isn’t always bad, either. Healthy fat, such as that found in avocados or salmon, needs to be included in everyone’s diet for healthy weight loss.

Doing the same exercise routine will slow your progress.

The body is amazing. It’s not only self healing, it also finds ways to conserve energy and not work as hard. When you do the same routine repeatedly, the body becomes efficient at doing it. While efficiency is normally good, in this case it isn’t. It means the body burns fewer calories and makes weight loss more difficult. Varying your routine helps you keep the furnace at high and shed pounds faster.

Avoiding weights or strength building exercises could be your biggest mistake.

You may be a whiz at cardio and it may be quite fashionable to be a runner, but nothing helps you take pounds off quickly like strength building exercise. Many women avoid it because they worry about building bulging muscles, but that’s not going to happen unless you work very hard and supplement with the right type of nutrients or other substances. Even then, it’s doubtful. Strength building exercises also provide the benefit of helping to prevent osteoporosis.

  • You may be surprised to find that working out longer than a half hour to 45 minutes may actually put on weight, according to one study. The conclusion was that the shorter time left enough energy for more activity following and less hunger.
  • While exercise is a very important part of weight loss, you still need a healthy diet to shed those pounds. Eating healthy and not exercising or visa versa, is a huge mistake.
  • Focusing just on the scales and not looking at inches lost is a big mistake. Muscle tissue is denser than fat tissue, so one cubic inch weighs more. You can lose inches by shedding fat and replacing it with muscle tissue. Your scales might not reflect the loss but your size will.
  • Steer clear of “diet food.” Low fat foods will leave you feeling hungry and many times it may have more calories because of added sugar.

Balanced Nutrition For Digestion

Balanced Nutrition For Digestion

Balanced nutrition for digestion should be a top priority, since many nutritionists believe that a healthy gut is the key to good health. Your body reaps the rewards of healthy eating in your digestive system. While some suggest you use probiotic foods, such as kimchi and yogurt to maintain the proper array of bacteria, eating healthy is also important. There are also foods called prebiotics, which encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. A healthy digestive system allows your body to break down foods better and absorb the nutrients they contain. In other words, it’s both the manufacturing and delivery system for nutrition.

Eat fruits and vegetables, especially crucifers, for digestive health.

A broad colorful range of fruits and vegetables provide both vitamins and minerals, as well as phytonutrients that not only help with your digestive system, but also your overall health. Crucifers, which include broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage, are especially important. They contain glucosinolates that microbes break down that helps reduce inflammation and lower the risk of many ifferent types of cancer, including colorectal cancer and stomach cancer.

You may not believe it, but beans are good for your digestive system.

While this legume can cause gas, you can reduce that effect by soaking them overnight, draining and boiling with a little fennel seed or fresh ginger. They’re not only super beneficial to strengthening the cells of your intestine, while improving absorption, they also are a big aid in weight loss. They do that by making you feel fuller longer. They also provide fiber, folate, B vitamins and protein that help your digestive system and brain.

Get lots of fiber.

Fiber does more than act like scrubbing bubbles for your colon. They also help you regulate blood sugar levels and improve your heart health. They play a role in reducing cholesterol levels, which is why oatmeal is good for it. You’ll get fiber from many different types of plant sources. Apples, for instance contain a lot of fiber and that’s just one reason it keeps the doctor away. The phytonutrients in the skin also play a huge role in overall good health.

  • Bananas contain potassium and magnesium to lower the risk of inflammation. They also make the beneficial bacteria in your stomach happy by restoring their health.
  • Your body needs a wide variety of nutrients and all studies show they’re better when you get them from fresh fruits and vegetables rather than pills. That’s because pills don’t contain the phytonutrients fresh alternatives have.
  • Don’t forget to drink adequate water. It’s necessary for good digestion.
  • Consider adding fermented foods to your diet, such as miso, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. If you opt for yogurt, make sure it has live cultures in it.

What Are The Latest Fitness Trends?

What Are The Latest Fitness Trends?

Whether it’s the newest technology or training, the latest fitness trends can help get you in shape and keep you fit, in many cases. While some of the trends are fads that will fall by the wayside, others make a lot of sense and can help you get fit faster or help you modify your behavior so you can make the necessary changes to do it. Technology is one addition to fitness that’s changed the exercise front. Whether you wear an activity tracker, heart rate monitor or smart watch, you can more accurately plan your workout based on the information it provides.

High Intensity Interval Training—HIIT—is a real calorie burner, which is why it’s popular.

HIIT is a workout that involves a short burst of high effort followed by a slightly longer recovery period of far lower effort. Running for three minutes then walking briskly for six and back to a three minute run is one example of this. One reason it’s extremely popular is that a HIIT workout doesn’t have to take as long as a traditional workout to get the same results. It often takes 30 minutes to get the same results as an hour long exercise in the traditional manner.

Strength training for everyone, not just body builders and weight lifters is another trend.

For years women were reluctant to get involved with strength-building exercises. They worried it would build big bulging muscles, which isn’t the case. Once the word was out that strength-building not only burned calories faster, it also toned muscles and gave a svelte, lean, sinewy look that was far sexier than skinny, women were as attracted to the workout as men were. It’s an important part of overall fitness.

Group training is not only fun, it’s also a cost savings.

Personal trainers became important, but some people couldn’t afford the price or simply wanted to find a less expensive technique. That’s why group training or boot camps led by personal trainers became so popular. They not only have fun and get the support of the whole group, they get a personalized program from the trainer. Since everyone shares the cost of the trainer, it’s far less per person than training in private sessions.

  • As mentioned previously, working with a personal trainer became quite popular recently. That’s because trainers get faster results since they address each individual’s problems and needs at the person’s fitness level.
  • Using exercise, plus diet, for weight loss is extremely popular. There’s a reason for that, it works and gets results faster.
  • Exercise for more than weight loss, but for good health too. Most people now realize that exercising is important for overall health and it’s become part of their fitness plan, in addition to healthy eating.
  • Body weight training has made a comeback. That’s primarily because it requires no equipment, can be done anywhere and works.

Just Make Exercise Fun

Just Make Exercise Fun

One way to improve your attitude toward your workout is to make exercise fun. While many people think only of working out at the gym when they think of exercising, but there’s more than one way to get into shape. Working out on specifics at the gym can be part of it, but not the only part. One way to make it more enjoyable even at the gym is to workout with friends. There are group classes that build comradery, while still providing a great workout. Another benefit is the improved motivation the workout provides.

Try something new and different at the gym.

Don’t stick with the same old program of going from machine to machine. It’s no wonder you look at working out as the bitter pill you have to take for your health. There are great workouts that are different and exciting. It’s one of the things that make people look forward to coming to The Worx. Whether you’re doing strength training or testing yourself in HIIT training, it’s always exciting and fun.

Spend a night dancing or a day hiking.

Getting out and socializing doesn’t mean you have to sit all evening. It can be an active evening or day together. Whether you go out dancing, hike a trail and end the day around a campfire or try rock climbing indoors, you’ll be getting the exercise you need and have fun at the same time. Besides, that’s what all the hard time at the gym is for, to give you the energy to have a great time having fun!

Get outside and enjoy Mother Nature and fresh air.

If you have children, it’s time to have fun with them and go to a zoo. There’s plenty of walking and maybe even some lifting to help the kids see the animals better. Riding a bike can lead you to adventure when you take the roads less traveled. Pack a picnic lunch and eat along the route. Make sure you have reflectors or get back home before dark, as well as the proper safety equipment.

  • Learn some healthy recipes and celebrate with friends when you’ve reached a fitness goal. You’ll probably have them begging you for the recipe.
  • Try something fun that you did as a child. Go to the playground and swing, skip rope, hula hoop or jump on a Pogo stick. They’ll all give you a good workout.
  • Sign up for a weekend sports group. Whether they play hockey, shoot hoops or any other physical activity, you’ll even have more energy because of your workout and enjoy the workout with your group.
  • Try kettlebells. These are a blast to work with and can make each workout more fun.