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5 Workout Habits to Break
Embracing a healthy New Year is all about getting yourself into the right habits. Everyone is trying to eat healthier and work out on a consistent basis. But it’s not only about making the time for your workout, it’s about doing it well. While you’re probably aware of the things you should be doing to maintain a routine, what are the habits that you should have left behind in 2013?
Too Many Distractions – Whether you’re at the gym or at home, your focus should be on your workout. The best athletes get themselves in the zone to maximize the most out of their time. This doesn’t happen if you’re answering texts, wandering around, or chasing after kids in between reps. Make your workout a priority and eliminate distractions to stay focused throughout the duration of it.
All Cardio and No Strength Training – Cardio is an excellent way to burn calories, which is why many people hop on the treadmill and then call it a day. Incorporating strength training into your routine will also burn calories, as well as get your heart rate up and develop lean muscle mass. Why is it so important to build muscle? Those muscles will work more throughout the day to help burn calories even when you are not in the middle of an exercise session. The most complete routine will contain a balance of both cardio and strength training.
No Variation – It’s a great thing when you find a routine that you are able to stick to without fail. However, you don’t want to work yourself into a rut. Doing the same old exercises day after day and week after week without ever changing things up can cause your body to get used to it. If the routine becomes too easy, you’re not working your body as hard as you once were. In addition, you may be neglecting to engage other muscles by not performing a wide enough variety of exercises. It’s important get a total body workout and continual challenge yourself in order to progress.
Longer, Easier Workouts – This is tied into the previous reason of needing to challenge yourself. Walking for an hour at a moderate pace on the treadmill is not as effective as adding intervals of more intense periods. Adding more intensity can even cut down your exercise time, and who couldn’t use a little more time?
Improper Breathing – When focusing hard on performing a difficult move or lifting heavy weights, it’s so common for people to hold their breath. This is something you want to stay away from doing. Practicing regular breathing, especially during the most difficult portions of your workout, is essential for controlling your blood pressure. It also gives you a boost of energy that will come in handy during those tough moments.
Are you guilty of any of these things? Now is the time to kick these habits and make 2014 a more productive year!
posted Jan 23rd, 04:07 pm
The Worst Foods for Weight Loss
If your goal is to lose weight and get fit for 2014, then you’re probably reevaluating your diet. There are certain foods you’ll want to stay away from to achieve success. Even if you’re only looking to maintain your weight, minimizing your intake of these foods will help keep you healthy. Making better choices will also give you the energy you need to fuel your workouts. So, what are the worst foods for weight loss? Here is our list, along with some alternatives for each one.
Healthier Alternative: Craving a crunchy snack? Try munching on some veggies. If you still want chips, opt for those that are baked. When dining out, stay away from anything battered, breaded, or crispy, and try to select grilled items on the menu.
2. Fatty Meats – Taking on a full vegetarian lifestyle can be hard, but cutting back your weekly intake will provide health and weight loss benefits. Fatty steaks and processed deli meats are the worst culprits.
Healthier Alternative: For a good source of protein, opt for grilled fish or chicken. You can still enjoy red meat if you choose lean cuts and small portions.
3. Alcohol – While it may not be fun to hear, alcohol adds a lot of sugar and empty calories. Anyone trying to lose weight should greatly limit their intake.
Healthier Alternative: Even just cutting back the number of weekly drinks will help you see an improvement. For those who don’t want to permanently cut this out, Mimosas or Bloody Marys are your best bet. An occasional glass of red wine with your meal is also OK.
4. Soda – This is another beverage that gets in the way of good health. All of the calories from regular soda are a result of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Diet sodas aren’t any better. Both drinks offer no nutritional benefits, and even come with increased risks of heart problems, weight gain, tooth damage, and weakening of bones.
Healthier Alternative: The importance of drinking water is always stressed. However, if you are looking for something to give you that effervescent feeling, try sparkling water with a little fresh lemon or lime.
5. Baked Goods and Candy – These popular desserts are high in sugar, fat, and calories. Just one candy bar can provide more than half of the recommended daily fat allowance. It’s no wonder these foods are often associated with weight gain.
Healthier Alternative: If you need something to satisfy your sweet tooth, fruit is always a great choice. It’s also not necessary to entirely eliminate chocolate. Keeping portions small and opting for dark chocolate with the highest cocoa content available can provide antioxidants.
6. White Flour – Breads, pastas, and anything else that is made from this refined grain have been stripped of important nutrients and are usually full of empty calories. They also can raise your blood sugar and make you hungrier a lot faster.
Healthier Alternative: Switch to foods that are made with whole grains. Grocery stores and restaurants are full of plenty of options.
7. Fast Food – This should be no surprise to anyone, as it combines almost all of the other items on the list. Most of the reasons why you should avoid this have already been addressed.
Healthier Alternative: Try making some of your favorite fast foods at home with healthier ingredients. Craving a hamburger? Grill a small lean burger and pair it with a whole grain bun. In the event you simply run out of time and need a quick meal on the go, the most important thing to watch is the portion sizes, skip the soda, and select a grilled menu item or one with a lot of vegetables.
Figuring out a healthier way of eating definitely takes some planning. It’s all about making little adjustments. It should be worth it, though, and you’ll gain more energy to complete your workouts. If you start to feel frustrated, just remember that moderation is the key. You don’t have to completely eliminate something. As long as you keep it to a limit and incorporate better alternatives, you can be on your way to a fitter and healthier new you!
posted Jan 16th, 04:18 pm
7 Fitness Trends for 2014
Looking for ideas on how to get fit for the New Year? Here are some of the top fitness trends that are expected to be hot in 2014!
High Intensity Interval Training – This type of training, also referred to as HIIT, has been around for a while, but it has recently seen a surge in popularity. This is all thanks to programs like CrossFit and P90X. HIIT involves alternating between intervals of high intensity and short recovery periods. It’s a great time saver and can usually be performed in 30 minutes or less. However, it’s not for everyone. Although it can be adjusted to meet one’s athletic abilities, it’s best for those who are accustomed to exercise.
Body Weight Training – It’s back to the basics with this simple and effective way of training. There’s minimal equipment as ones use their own weight for resistance. Examples of this are push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, and planking, along with some twists to the classic moves.
Small Group Training Sessions – One of the trends that we saw last year is still expected to remain strong throughout the coming year. These groups usually consist of 2-5 people sharing the help of a personal trainer. Receiving the benefits of a trainer can be an affordable option when you divide up the cost with others.
Yoga – Another item that frequently makes the list is yoga. Even though it’s based around a few ancient traditions, it’s seen a lot of changes over the years. It’s constantly being reinvented into many new types, which keeps it from getting boring.
Strength Training – A fitness program isn’t really complete without this element, which is why it continues to make the list. There are so many options with various machines, resistance bands, and free weights that it never gets old.
Programs for Seniors – The majority of people at the gym tend to be men and women in their twenties and thirties. However, that’s expected to change as more classes are being developed for the baby boom generation. It’s vital to one’s health and quality of life to remain physically active. More people outside of the typical demographic are recognizing the importance of staying in shape and there is expected to be a rise in classes targeted at these individuals.
Barre Classes - This is the latest trend to incorporate elements of dance. It uses a combination of yoga, pilates, and dance to sculpt the body. Barre classes are designed to create long, lean muscle mass like you’d see on a ballet dancer. While many dance studios have been popping up all over to support this growing trend, some gyms have been installing ballet bars to accommodate those who wish to give it a try. It’s surprising just how intense this workout can actually be.
Are you ready to make some of these activities a part of your fitness plan? We have all the gear you need to make this your healthiest year!
posted Jan 9th, 12:59 pm
Make Your New Year's Resolution Last
It’s hard to believe we are less than a week away from 2014! Have you thought about what your New Year’s Resolution will be? It is estimated that only about 20 percent of resolutions are successful. We’ve all seen it time and time again. We make our resolutions and then seem to forget about them by the time February has arrived. We have the best of intentions, but many of us fall short. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can easily find yourself among the successful group. So, what’s the secret for sticking with a fitness resolution in the New Year? There are a few simple things you can do to make your resolution a success.
One of the most important things is choosing a realistic goal. The most successful resolutions are maintained because they are within reason. It’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm and want to start strong. Some people might be so ready for a change that they resolve to hit the gym every single day, instead of several days a week. The problem with that is the fatigue sets in and they aren’t getting a proper recovery time. By staying physically and emotionally well-rested, you can avoid burning yourself out.
Aside from choosing reasonable amounts of activity, you want to make sure the results you are after are also within reason. So many of us want to see big results, and we want to see them fast. It’s important to keep in mind that it takes time to achieve our goals. They don’t happen overnight. However, if you are consistent, you will notice many changes over the course of the coming year.
It’s essential to have a long-term goal in mind, but it’s best to focus on the short-term goals. Start small and feel free to reward yourself for the little milestones you accomplish along the way. Why not treat yourself to some new workout gear when you reach a new goal? The rewards you choose can help further you along on your path to success. Taking it one step at a time will make it seem less intimidating, and noting your progress will help keep you motivated along the way.
In addition to setting goals, you also need to make a plan. The best way to succeed is to know exactly what you need to do every day. Write a personal plan that outlines your workouts, as well as any diet adjustments you may have.
If you’re feeling discouraged from failed attempts in previous years, don’t pick the same old resolution. There may be a reason why it didn’t work, and it may not have been the right choice for you. If you’ve always resolved to completely eliminate sweets from your diet in the past, try giving yourself one cheat day instead. This all goes back to setting realistic goals. There’s no need to set yourself up for frustration and disappointment if it’s simply too hard. Instead of wanting to give up and feeling like you’ve failed if you have a bad day, you can be proud of yourself for sticking to a plan that’s been modified for real success.
Keeping all of the above in mind can make your New Year’s Resolution last the entire year. However, you don’t need to feel too overwhelmed. As long as you incorporate better eating choices and stay active, you’ll find yourself enjoying a much happier and healthier 2014!
Now is the time that everyone is getting together for the holidays. All that celebrating usually takes place over a big meal, complete with plenty of desserts. This should be a fun time so don’t let it set you back in your diet or cause trouble with your fitness routine. Here are a five tips for making your holidays healthier, while still enjoying the celebration with loved ones.
Curb Your Appetite
On the day of a big party, some people think it’s best to skip breakfast to save those calories for later. However, this makes it harder to control your appetite. If you start your day with a healthy and satisfying breakfast, you won’t be starving and wanting to eat more than you can handle by the time you’re ready for the main meal. An egg and whole wheat toast or a bowl of whole grain cereal would be a good option. Taking the edge off your hunger will help you make better choices later in the day.
Don’t skip your workout routine. If you can’t stick to your normal activity, you can still get in some exercise. However busy your schedule gets, just make sure you fit in your workout or fill your day with activities that keep you moving.
Most people leave a holiday meal feeling stuffed and wishing they had eaten less. So, with all those delicious dishes, how do you keep from piling your plate? Luckily, there’s no need to pick between your favorite family recipes. Just a small taste of each will leave you feeling satisfied. Or, you can choose slightly larger portions and only sample a few items. Using a smaller plate helps keep you from piling on too much food. If you feel like you want seconds, take 15 – 20 minutes to relax and converse at the table before digging in for more. This will give your body a chance to digest some of the food you’ve eaten and you may find yourself reaching for much less, or none at all. Besides, having leftovers will allow you to have a hassle-free week of less cooking!
Make Smart Choices
There are certain dishes on the buffet that are simply healthier than others. It can be tempting to reach for the ones that will blow your diet. Try to opt for the healthier choices or limit yourself to cheat with just one of the unhealthier items that you’re looking forward to.
Watch What You Drink
It may also be tempting to keep a glass of wine filled at dinner, or have a few beers with the family. But it’s a good idea to keep it to a limit. Alcohol can increase your appetite. And when you consider that each drink is about 100 calories, they can add up quickly. Substitute some, or all, of the alcohol with water. Drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated and leave you feeling fuller. It will also give you room to enjoy those calories in the form of dessert.
If you’re on a weight loss plan, don’t stress during the holidays. Worry less about losing weight during this time, and try harder to simply maintain your current weight. Above all, remember that the focus is not on the feast at the table. Rather, it’s the conversation that takes place around the table. The overall theme of the holidays is relaxing and enjoying the time spent with family and friends! Have a safe and happy holiday!
posted Dec 19th 2013, 04:39 pm