Fitness & Wellness

Is It Better To Workout In The Morning

Is It Better To Workout In The Morning

You often read how a workout in the morning is exceptionally good and how it sets the day with more energy to spare. However, if you look at our scheduling, you’ll notice we have sessions in the morning, in the afternoon and early evening. There’s a reason for that. Not everyone is the same. Not only do people have different schedules, their bodies have different schedules, too. Some people are at their prime in the morning and others can barely ask for coffee, let alone think about a workout.

You make the difference!

If you’re an early bird, then getting the workout out of the way and moving on to your next task can make an early morning workout perfect. You get it done and never have to worry about the occurrences through the day that can interrupt your plans for the gym. It can also boost your energy and set your day off right. However, for those night owls, that old song, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” could be changed to “Waking Up Is Hard to Do.” You’ll be more apt to skip your workout and spend a few more minutes in bed, plus your body may not be ready to take on the hard work, like it might be later in the day.

Some studies show that people who workout in the morning tend to be more consistent.

That’s easy to understand. Morning people tend to have their own inner clock that wakes them when the sun rises. There’s really nothing else going on at that time either, unless the farm report on TV is of particular interest. Working out later may have it’s drawbacks, like scheduling problems and other diversion pulling you away from the workout, but it also lets you blow off steam from all the garbage you faced throughout the day and the stressors.

Morning workouts are a benefit if you’re trying to shed weight.

here’s a lot of scientific studies, like the 2012 BYU study, that showed early morning exercises lost weight faster than those that didn’t. One reason was that it gave a jumpstart to metabolism that helped burn calories throughout the day. You exercise after fasting all night, which also helps, exercising while fasting burns fat stores, rather than the calories from food.

  • If you workout later in the day, you don’t have to do as much warming up. Your body is 20 percent more flexible as it is the first thing in the morning.
  • Studies show that people who worked out later in the day often had a more intense workout and worked harder. Lungs are at peak efficiency later in the day and protein synthesis peaks. Endurance is better, too.
  • Evening workouts can raise the body temperature and interfere with sound sleep. Weight lifting proved different when it came to evening workouts. It actually improved the quality of sleep better than people who lifted in the morning.
  • No matter what time you work out, doing it is important. If you’re simply not a morning person and will probably miss sessions because of it, workout in the afternoon or evening.

Is Warming Up Really Necessary

Is Warming Up Really Necessary

You may have questioned whether warming up was really necessary and never pursued the answer, but it’s one that most trainers get asked frequently. Once you understand the role that the warm up plays in your workout, you’ll agree that it’s really important and while you may still hate doing it, won’t neglect it when you’re starting your routine. Just as important as warming up is the cool down phase. Another addition to a workout that people often feel is useless, but is extremely important.

Why warm up?

Warming up for maximum exertion is extremely important if you want to get the most benefit from the workout and avoid injury. A good warm up will let you get the most out of your workout and leave you feeling satisfied and like you did a great job with the most benefit. There’s a reason it’s called a warm up. It raises the core temperature of the body. It also increases your heart rate and sends blood flowing to every muscle in the body, alerting the nervous system to prepare the brain for stress.

You need the increased temperature to get the maximum benefit from the exercise.

As the blood surges into the muscles, the increased core temperature warms the blood and increases their temperature, too. That prepares them for the tough workout ahead. The warmer temperature increases the effectiveness of the shortening and lengthening process muscles undergo in a workout. If they’re not warm or functioning at their best, it increases the potential for injury from muscle tears and pulls.

Dynamic stretching is the best possible warm-up.

It’s not just warming up, but the type of warming up you do that counts, too. If you’re standing in place, touching your toes and holding for ten seconds, you’re doing static stretching. That’s not the best type of warm-up. Dynamic stretching keeps you moving while you’re stretching, which helps circulation and increases the core temperature faster. It’s a more active form of warming up that boosts blood flow and gets the brain and body ready to work. Static stretching actually tends to relax muscles and reduce blood flow, so they’re far better as a cool down exercise.

  • For dynamic stretches, think jumping rope, agility drills and jogging. For static stretches, think touching your toes and holding, side bends and hamstring stretches.
  • Dynamic stretches used as a warm up increase your range of motion and make you not only feel more limber, but actually be more limber.
  • Studies show dynamic warm ups can actually help athletes perform better. Studies compared performance after no warm up, static stretching and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching improved performance.
  • Dynamic stretching warm ups tend to activate more muscles, since you’re moving as you’re stretching. That prepares your entire body better for the workout ahead.

Can Working Out Improve Posture

Can Working Out Improve Posture

There are many different ways to look thinner, without actually losing weight. One is by wearing concealing clothing. When you stand taller, it pulls everything in and that also makes you look almost instantly thin. Unfortunately, it’s hard to maintain if you’re out of shape. In order to get the benefit of that great look, working out can help improve posture and let you maintain it throughout the day. It’s one of the reasons many of the exercises I use with clients in Alexandria, VA are core exercises.

When your core muscles are weak, your posture suffers.

Not only is it hard to pull your tummy in for very long when core muscles are weak, but you also won’t walk as tall. The core muscles consist of lower back and abdominal muscles, plus the buttocks and thighs. The lower back and abdominals help keep the spine erect and the thighs and glutes help align the hips. There are many different ways to build core muscle strength from kettlebells to resistance exercises. Working on overall body strength improves posture tremendously.

Back, neck and shoulder exercises help keep your head held high.

An adult head weighs about ten to eleven pounds, but you don’t notice the weight when it’s balanced properly in line with the neck and upper back muscles. If you move your head forward just one inch, the increased pressure is like adding ten more pounds. Move it forward two and you have twenty pounds. Lean forward like you’re reading a text, approximately three inches and now that ten pound head exerts the pressure of a 40 pound weight. That’s as much as a four year old weighs and is inviting back, neck and headaches! Diligent attention to back, shoulder and neck exercises can help. Of course, avoiding the awkward position when texting does too.

Doing stretching exercises can improve your posture throughout the day.

You don’t have to wait to do exercises until its time to go to the gym. You can work on your posture throughout the day. Make it a conscious effort to sit up straight with your shoulders back. Periodically throughout the day do stretching exercises to relieve muscle stiffness. Stand up, roll your shoulders, stretch your arms in the air. Do shoulder blade rolls and back rounds to get the kinks out and move those stiff muscles.

  • Improved posture does more than make you look thinner and more confident, it helps reduce the risk of injury by reducing muscle and ligament stress.
  • When you have good posture, it helps reduce the effort to walk, sit and move. You’ll move more efficiently and that means, you’ll use less energy and won’t tire as rapidly.
  • Learning how good posture feels is as important as exercising to achieve it. Once you know how you should feel when your body is aligned, it’s easier to ensure you’re in that position.
  • Poor posture can also affect your digestive tract. It can lead to acid reflux, compress the abdomen creating gas and constipation.

Should You Workout When You Have A Cold

Should You Workout When You Have A Cold

Cold season comes to every area of the country at one time or another, even to Alexandria, VA. Knowing whether you should workout when you have a cold will prepare you for the inevitable. There really isn’t one right answer, but many different answers, because, let’s face it, every situation is different. First, think of others. You’re contagious with a cold from a few days before symptoms until the symptoms disappear. If you go to a gym, you could be infecting others, so be kind and workout at home instead.

Take note of whether your symptoms are just in located in your head.

No, that doesn’t mean that the symptoms are imaginary and all in your head. It means if you have a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion or a slight maybe a slight sore throat from drainage, it’s okay to exercise. The intensity of the exercise you do makes a difference, too. Don’t go aggressive and try to break your speed record running. Instead, go for a walk.

Is there something going on below your neck?

A bad sore throat might be one of the symptoms that keep you from doing your workout, but there are others and they all take place below the neck. Chest congestion and a bad cough make it hard to breathe, so your workout will be miserable at best and harmful at worst. Is your stomach upset? It could be a sign that your cold has gone to the next level into something more severe. Stay at home and get some rest.

There are some sure signs you need bedrest and maybe even a visit to the doctor.

If you’re running a fever, you have more than a common cold. Do you have chills, fatigue and achy muscles, check with your health care specialist and get rest. The illness is more than just a common cold. Your workout will be miserable if you attempt to workout. Remember that if you do workout, you risk the potential of making your illness even worse and putting yourself at risk of getting sicker. That could interfere with workouts even longer.

  • Some people want to work through their illness and if that’s you, just take it easy on yourself and workout with less intensity. Cut your workout short or break it up to several smaller sessions.
  • Beware of working out if you’re taking cold medication. Some cold medications, like decongestants, speed up your heart rate. When you workout, your heart rate also increases. That can lead quickly to shortness of breath.
  • Listen to your body. You know when you feel too miserable to workout and take heed. If you’re unsure, try walking a bit. If you start to feel better, then exercising is the right thing to do.
  • A strenuous workout triggers a stress response, which can lower your immune system. If you find you’re getting more colds than normal, look at your workout. Do you allow yourself a day off for recovery after a tough workout? If not, you may be adding to the problem.

Is It Really Possible To Get A Flat Stomach?

Is It Really Possible To Get A Flat Stomach?

A six-pack, great abs, a flat tummy are all the same and something almost everyone envies. After all, it’s easy to bulge out your belly, but no matter how hard you try, if you’re not in shape, no matter how hard you suck in your tummy, you’ll never get a flat stomach. It’s not magic and there’s no quick fix. Achieving a flat stomach takes work and dedication.

There’s no such thing as spot reducing.

If you could really exercise away only certain troubled areas, everyone would have the body they want with minimum effort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. If you have excess pounds in the form of fat, then you have to lose it. No matter what you do, you can’t dictate exactly where those pounds are going to be lost. In fact, your body dictates that. Most of the excess weight will be lost evenly on your body, but there are some pesky pounds that are reluctant to leave called visceral fat. Where is it located? You guessed it! Right around the middle.

Visceral fat is the most dangerous type of fat.

Visceral fat lands in the belly area and hangs on for dear life despite your efforts to rid yourself of it. It crowds the organs and makes you more susceptible to serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes. There’s good news on the horizon, however. You can get rid of it, it’s a wee bit tougher than normal fat. When you’re working on weight loss, cut out sugar and sugary drinks like cola that add to the problem. Even diet cola can be an offender. Eat more protein, cut the carbs (like bread and pasta–stick with veggies and fruit) and get plenty of fiber (that’s where veggies and fruit fit in).

Bring out the big guns and start an exercise program.

You need to replace fat with lean muscle tissue. While you’re working on a healthy eating plan, you can start a program of exercise. Do all types of exercises, including strength-training, endurance training, flexibility exercises and exercises that improve balance. As you build muscle tissue throughout your body, you’ll be burning more calories, since muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does.

  • Remember, even if you build the most powerful abs in the world, if they’re covered with a layer of fat, nobody will know.
  • While cardio is an effective way to burn fat, weight training works extremely well and the muscles you build help you lose even more weight. Don’t worry that you’ll bulk up if you’re a woman. Mother Nature prevents that by providing hormones that won’t let you do it. You’ll just look toned.
  • When you’re not working out in the gym, try going for a bike ride. Riding a bike can help get your muscles get in shape and the abs stabilize you while riding, so they’ll get a workout too.
  • Don’t expect overnight miracles. It may take months before you see a change, depending on how much weight you have to lose. It will be worth it when you do.

What To Do When You're Too Tired To Workout

What To Do When You’re Too Tired To Workout

It’s easy to find yourself too tired to workout. After a tough day at work, just thinking about spending 45 minutes to an hour at the gym can be overwhelming. In fact, thinking about the effort to go there and just changing your clothes without being able collapse on the couch immediately following the change can make you wince. There are ways to combat this or even find alternative routes if you plan ahead. No matter how much pep you have in your step right now, you know that one day you’ll be too pooped to pop, so have a plan of action ready.

Combat fatigue with water or a healthy snack.

Your first thought may be a cup of coffee when you’re absolutely out of steam, but reconsider. Actually, water is often the quicker picker upper that I turn to when I’m tired. Dehydration can take its toll and you won’t even know it. Try drinking an ice cold bottle of water and see if you have a bit more energy. Follow it up with a healthy snack to boost your energy level. If that doesn’t work, try the next approach.

Tell yourself you only have to workout for a short time.

You don’t have to get a full workout, go for ten to fifteen minutes, but go. If after that first ten minutes, you start to feel more alive and awake, extend the time. Give yourself permission to leave if you just aren’t feeling it after the initial time. You really may be physically exhausted and need the rest. Go home, get some sleep and workout the next day instead.

Have a shorter five minute version of the workout that you can do anywhere.

I can’t take credit for this one. Reading an article about a workout called the nitric oxide dump by Zach Bush, MD, got me thinking about it. His four minute workout is simple. It’s doing three sets of four exercises for 10 to 20 repetitions each. The exercises are deep knee bends, tin soldier (alternating 90 degree raises of each arm), snow angel (It’s arm only version of the jumping jack) and the military press (a pull up without the bar–arm movement only). These four exercises are done a minimum of three times a day, at least two hours apart. While I like his version, find your own. Create a mini workout you can do throughout the day to keep stress at bay and keep you going. If you’re too tired to go to the gym, at least you have some exercise in that day.

  • Know yourself. If you’re consistently exhausted after work, exercise before work. Skipping one day because you REALLY don’t have the energy is one thing, but never let it be more than once in a while. If it is, rethink your exercise time.
  • Practice deep breathing. When you’re exhausted, deep breathing can often help you regenerate and boost your energy level.
  • Move more during the day. If you’re at a desk job, get up at least once an hour and walk around. Not only is that healthier, it also aids in keeping your energy level higher.
  • Check your sleep schedule. The problem may really be with the amount of sleep you’re getting. Make sure you have adequate ZZZs to get you through the day.

Tips To Lose The Baby Fat

Tips To Lose The Baby Fat

If you’ve recently had a baby and are like most women, you’re probably looking for tips to lose the baby fat that are quick and simple. Quick is not an option unfortunately, especially when your body is already struggling to get hormone balances reset and you’re probably exhausted. However, simple can be one of the features that might make you feel better. It’s all about consistency. One aid that has helped many women be more active is a postpartum wrap. The decision to use one should be between you and your doctor. While shedding your extra baby weight is important, your first priority should always be to helping your body recover from the trauma of pregnancy and delivery, enjoying and caring for your little one and adjusting to the new role of mom.

Just move.

You don’t have to do anything strenuous right away. In fact, you shouldn’t. However, taking the baby out for a walk in a bassinet stroller where he or she can lay flat and strolling around the park or even just around the block, for about 20 minutes can be a healthy way to begin your workout routine. Bad weather shouldn’t stop you if you have a mall near you. Go early in the morning before the shopping crowd arrives. Worse case scenario, walk the baby around the house, either held in your arms or in a stroller. Save the tough workout for later, about six weeks later, based on your doctor’s recommendation. There are no magic numbers, just guidelines. Everyone is different. However, short walks are also great stress reducers, so you’ll actually feel better and be less frazzled.

Turn your walk into a HIIT workout.

Okay, I know I said nothing strenuous, but this is an idea I loved from Kristen Horler, the founder of Baby Boot Camp. It’s perfect for everyone, since it allows you to go at your own pace, lets you take the baby with you and gets the right amount of exercise. It is a version of taking the baby out in a bassinet stroller or stroller that allows the baby to lay flat, but with an HIIT twist. Warm up with five minutes of moderate speed walking. Walk 30 seconds at a challenging pace and then slow it down for 60 seconds. Adjust your pace and time as you get fitter.

Eat smart.

Consuming junk food isn’t going to make you thinner or healthier. Don’t have it in the house. You’ll probably be ravenous for sugar, especially when you’re up all night with the baby. Have healthy snacks ready. If mom or friends come to help or want to know what you would like, ask them for some healthy snacks you can munch on every time you feed the baby. It will help you get through the day without feeling ravenous. If you have a super helper, key them in on your plan for healthier whole food meals, just in case they want to cook for you.

  • If weather permits, besides taking a walk outside, go out and sit in the sun with the baby. Take a few minutes just to relax. You need it and deserve that time.
  • When the baby’s asleep, take a nap, too. Don’t worry about housework. It will all get done when you’re feeling less frazzled.
  • Prepare vegetables ahead of time. Buy baby carrots, prepare celery, broccoli and cauliflower and have them on hand. Make a dip from Greek yogurt or have hummus as a dip for a quick snack.
  • Always remember, this is the most important time for you and baby. Make that first six weeks about both of you and your relationship with baby, but take ten minutes for yourself every day. It can be when baby sleeps or when your partner takes the lead on baby care.

How To Stick To Your Diet When No One Is Supporting You

How To Stick To Your Diet When No One Is Supporting You

Whether you’re eating healthier for weight loss or to become fitter, it’s hard to stick to your diet, especially if you don’t have anyone supporting you. If your family insists on sitting at a table filled with fried or fast foods and your whole goal is to eat fresh and healthy, you find yourself struggling with your resolve, at best, feeling disdain for your family or at worse, giving up entirely. There are solutions to this problem.

Remember, it’s your decision, and not theirs to make.

People may not be ready to eat healthier and you’re reminding them with every bite that they should. They may feel threatened that if you change, you’ll leave them behind in the dust, change your overall relationship—especially true where the other person is the dominant one—or simply don’t believe you’ll stick with it. You must remember, no matter what they THINK, ultimately you decide whether you’re going to eat healthier or not.

You might need to ask for their support.

Some people just aren’t aware that you need their help or are in the dark why you made the decision to eat healthier. Share your plans with your family and tell them that you need help. Approach it as a healthier eating style, rather than a diet and see if they’d like to join you in it. You may get some moans and groans, but if you focus on yummy recipes, fixing your food separately and only sharing a bite after they beg, you’ll often find each one slowly jumping on the bandwagon of healthy eating.

Find people who do offer support.

Your healthy eating family doesn’t have to be your immediate family. It can be friends who share your interest or are just super supportive or a group class at the gym. You’ll often be surprised that most of these people would love support from you, too. That’s one reason I’m proud of the program we have here. Not only are the trainer’s super supportive, all the members are too.

  • Plan, plan, plan. To make it easier, create menus for yourself, shop and prepare a week’s worth of meals over the weekend. You won’t have to rush around when you’re exhausted after work and be tempted to stop at Burger Quickie.
  • Eating healthy doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing. Start introducing your family to healthier foods, supplementing their meals with traditional favorites. Eventually, change those recipes to healthier ones. Be careful, do it slowly, or they’ll notice.
  • Focus on flavor. Learn to add more herbs and spices to create new, more exotic tastes.
  • Have snacks ready to eat. If you have a bowl of cut up watermelon in the refrigerator, you’ll be more likely to eat it rather than searching for a sugary treat. Have healthy snacks like veggies, dip and nuts and seeds ready.

Male Eating Disorders

Male Eating Disorders

If you though only women were prone to eating disorders, think again. Today, the rise in male eating disorders is disturbing. In fact, one in every three people with an eating disorder is a male. It occurs for the some of the same reasons female eating disorders occur, but many have the added burden of trying to hide their disorder and avoiding seeking help, since it’s often thought of as primarily a “problem faced by women, not men.”The type of disorders are the same and include binge-eating disorder, anorexia and bulimia. These, especially anorexia, can affect males as young as 8.

Just like their female counterparts, it starts with societies vision of the perfect body image.

You don’t find overweight and flabby men who flaunt sex-appeal and attractiveness in commercials. Check out GI Joe action figures. They’re buff with the perfect V and if they were human, would have no body fat. Little boys look at the images presented by society as the ideal physique and hope to achieve those unattainable results. It’s similar to young girls idealizing the bodies of Barbie dolls, who would have a bust line that’s 39 inches, a waist that’s 18 inches, hips that were 33 inches, a shoe size of three and she’d be 5’9″ in height if you used the same proportions of her body.

Men have another disorder that’s more a male thing.

Men who have eating disorders may also have an unsatisfied need to develop huge muscles. I use the term unsatisfied, because no matter how buff they are, it’s never enough. They may even see themselves as skinny or underweight. This dysfunction is called muscle dysmorphia and is seem often in body builders. It reflects a compulsion to build muscle tissue, spurring the individual to spend hours at the gym bulking up, eating an odd selection of foods specifically to build muscles, spending far too much on supplements and even taking dangerous substances to enhance muscle building, such as steroids.

It’s not just how those with eating disorders view the media hype that causes these problems.

While media hype may put the “perfect” body in front of men, there’s more going on than just blindly following society’s perception of perfection. Many of those suffering from it have other issues, like lower self-esteem and feeling out of control and helpless. Controlling their weight and the way they look may be their way of regaining control of their life. Perfectionism tends to be a trait that these men have in common.

  • Eating disorders are linked to depression and other mental issues. While it’s unclear, which came first, the disorder or the depression, one thing is certain, those with eating disorders have a disproportionately higher incidence of anxiety disorder, depression and substance abuse.
  • Watch for signs of danger, such as extreme dieting, weight loss and over exercising for those with anorexia and bulimia. Anyone who binges frequently, may be the start of binging. If you notice the obsession with food has affected other areas of life, that man may need the help of a professional.
  • People with bulimia don’t necessarily share an issue of perfectionism with anorexics, but rather have a more spontaneous and impulsive nature.
  • If you recognize yourself or others in any of the descriptions, seek help. These disorders can damage organs, like the brain, heart and bones. Karen Carpenter, famous for her singing in the 70s and 80s both solo and part of the group, the Carpenter’s, died of heart damage attributed to anorexia at the age of 32.

Can You Relieve Arthritis Pain With Diet And Exercise?

Can You Relieve Arthritis Pain With Diet And Exercise?

Today, there’s far more known about what causes arthritis and what helps it. More and more scientists discover that you can relieve arthritis pain with diet and exercise. The right type of exercise is important. It’s one of the reasons trainers ask about special needs, such as physical limitations. Inflammation is the cause of some types of arthritis. It can come from an infection, injury or every day overuse. Non-inflammatory arthritis comes from an autoimmune problem. Both types produce stiffness and pain.

You need exercise to help you maintain flexibility, strength and endurance.

You may groan thinking of working out while you’re in pain, but it can do a lot to reduce that pain and is crucial. Exercise also helps to keep weight gain in check and even helps you shed a few pounds that can add an extra burden on joints. You’ll help maintain bone density, strengthen the muscles around the joints and improve the quality of life. It also helps you sleep better and improve your balance.

Eating healthy with some emphasis on certain foods can improve your arthritis.

Healthy eating for arthritis sufferers can begin with a generous serving of the cruciferous family. These veggies include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale or cauliflower. One study showed that the sulforaphane found in crucifers can help slow cartilage damage from osteoarthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important. Salmon, walnuts, soy beans, chia seeds, flaxseeds and tuna all have Omega-3. The juice of tart cherries also may bring relief from joint pain. It’s the anthocyanin that does the job. Anthocyanin gives the cherry the red color.

Vitamins, spices and herbs can also help.

Turmeric is a well-known anti-inflammatory and easy to use. Keep a bottle on hand and sprinkle a bit in your food as you would with salt. It adds a warm, mellow taste to food and is loaded with benefits. The curcumin in the turmeric that does the job. It’s been used as a treatment for arthritis in India for centuries. Garlic is another supplement that cures a lot of ailments. It contains diallyl disulfide that shows promise in reducing damage to the cartilage. Taking a vitamin C supplement can also reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.

  • Supplementing with fish oil and krill oil tablets is one way to boost the amount of Omega3 in your system.
  • Losing weight is extremely important when you suffer from any type of arthritis. Not only will eating healthier help you shed pounds, it also can reduce inflammation that exacerbates the arthritis and may even cause it.
  • Always check with your health care provider first before starting with a training program. Getting the help of a specialist, such as a personal trainer can help ensure it’s right for you.
  • Get out in the sun and soak up the rays so your body can create vitamin D or take a supplement. Vitamin D lowers the risk of cartilage loss in the knee.