The 5 Top Brands for Spring Sports Gear

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Uncategorized
If you’re new to spring sports, you may be a bit overwhelmed by all the gear and lingo that gets thrown around by the more experienced athletes. You may wonder if you really need everything people to talk about, or if it’s OK to start out with a few basics. Nike, UnderArmour, Puma, Reebok, and Adidas all offer spring sports gear. One of the easiest ways to save money on sports equipment is to check online for Adidas deals before heading out to the store or ordering online. 

Baseball

Having a baseball player in the family can be an exciting time, yet it can also be a little confusing when it comes to buying equipment. The biggest question that needs answering is “What equipment is really important to have?” For starters a glove is essential. Baseball cleats are important to prevent injury. A mouth guard would be more for the infield positions. Even if your baseball player isn’t an infielder, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have one just in case they were asked to play an infield position. A batting glove is good to have during adverse weather conditions like cold or light rain. 

Lacrosse

Regardless of your level of play, there are a few essential pieces of lacrosse equipment that every athlete will need in order to be successful. Lacrosse helmets have traditionally only been worn in the men’s game, but women recently introduced a soft version to make the game safer. There’s only one piece of equipment that will touch the ball, and that’s your stick. Players will need shoulder pads to protect them from checks and balls. The fastest game on two feet requires players to cut quickly, so cleats are required if you plan to play on grass or turf. Many players go with mid-level cleats, similar to the models worn in football. All players wear gloves to protect their hands, fingers, and wrists on the field. Mouthguards are required to be worn at all times when you’re on the field and help to prevent concussions. 

Tennis

There are two basic things you will need to buy or borrow for your first tennis game. A tennis racket and tennis balls are essential items you will need. If you have some sports shoes, shirts and shorts you are basically covered in terms of clothing for your first tennis experience. But later on, you will need to buy shoes or shirts for particular court surface or weather conditions.

Shoes are the most important thing (after a tennis racket and balls) in your tennis career. Different surfaces need different shoes for better movement on the court and preventing unintentional slides resulting in injuries.

How to Make Your Own Home Fat-Burning Workout

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So if you’re ready to do a fat-burning workout, but don’t can’t go to the gym or studio because of covid-19, there is a way you can do combined cardio and resistance training at home. Try this workout:

  • Do 10 push-ups or knee push-ups,
  • Then stand and do 15-20 jumping jacks.
  • Next to 10 squats or lunges,
  • Then do 15-20 more jumping jacks.
  • Next, move on to 10 crunches, again followed by 15-20 jumping jacks.
  • Finally, pick a set of dumbbells off the floor and lift them overhead up and down a total of ten times, and
  • Then finish with a final series of 15-20 jumping jacks.

How to Burn Fat Faster

To ensure that reap the greatest fat-burning benefits, remember to also follow these simple rules:

Don’t exercise hungry. A fed body will burn more calories.

Warm up first. Warm muscles will be able to burn more fat.

Use good form. Doing cardio before a resistance exercise makes that exercise more difficult to do properly, so don’t injure yourself. It’s tough to burn fat if you’re laid up on the couch with a thrown out back.

Eat after your workout. Post-workout nutrition will help you build metabolism-boosting fibers of lean muscle.

When Shouldn’t You Combine Cardio and Resistance Training

So when wouldn’t you want to combine cardio with resistance training? If your focus is not to burn fat, but to build strength, you’d be better off doing your resistance training as a separate workout. Similarly, if you’re training for endurance, then you should focus on a high-quality cardio workout that isn’t interrupted by strength training. But if your focus is pure fat loss, then you should absolutely follow the recommendations in this article and combine your weight lifting and cardio in one workout.

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The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

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The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

It’s every weight loss enthusiast’s dream to zap belly fat but, far from pure vanity, there’s actually a reason why having a lot of fat in the abdominal region can be dangerous. Fat is stored all over our body, but how does an expanding waistline grow your risk for chronic illness?

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Your body’s fat impacts your health differently depending on where it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of our bodies (think arms, legs, buttocks) are considered “subcutaneous fat,” belly fat is more likely to be “visceral.”

PINCHABLE VERSUS PRESSABLE

“Subcutaneous fat” is the pinchable, squishy fat right between your skin and muscle that helps keep you warm, cushions you against shock, and stores extra calories. “Visceral fat” stores calories too, but isn’t as pinchable because it is located in and around your organs. It’s hidden deep within the belly region, which is what makes it firm (rather than squishy) when you press it.

PROXIMITY

Fat doesn’t just store calories—it’s a living tissue capable of producing and releasing hormones that affect your other organs. Because visceral fat sits near our organs, its release of these chemicals is poorly situated. Having more visceral fat can raise your LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) and blood pressure. Visceral fat can also make you less sensitive to insulin, which increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

TELLING BAD BELLY FAT APART

Even if you’re thin, you can still have visceral fat around the abdominal region—being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no sure-fire way to tell visceral from subcutaneous fat short of an expensive CT scan, but it’s important for you to get a rough idea of what your visceral stores are. Here are a few tricks to figure out where your belly stands:

You’re probably wondering, “What does fruit have to do with it?” These two fruits give a quick visual of where most of your fat is stored on the body. Pears tend to store fat in the lower extremities (hips, thighs, buttocks) as subcutaneous fat while apples tend to store fat in the upper region (belly, chest) as visceral fat. It takes a quick inspection, but this is an imperfect way to tell these two fats apart.

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE (WC)

Feel for the top of your hip bone (it’s at the same level as the top of your belly button) and circle a tape measure around this point. Remember to relax and don’t suck in your gut (be honest!). Take 2-3 measurements and figure out the average. Men should have a WC of less than 40 inches (102 cm) and women should have a WC of less than 35 inches (89 cm).

WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO

The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) takes the circumference of your waist (see above) and divides it by the circumference of your hips. To measure your hips, stand in front of a mirror then figure out the widest part of your butt and measure that circumference. Then use this formula:
WHR = (Waist circumference) / (Hip circumference).
Men should have a WHR of less than 1 while women should have a WHR of less than 0.8.

KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY HISTORY

If your parents or siblings have insulin resistance, heart disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver, you may be at a greater risk for storing visceral fat. Keeping an eye on your visceral fat may be beneficial, but know that the causes of these chronic diseases are complex. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider.



BANISHING VISCERAL FAT

If you fall in the normal range for WC and WHR, that’s great! Keep working at your weight goals as you see fit. If you’re not there, don’t despair. Because of its proximity to the liver, visceral fat is usually the easier fat to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that likes to stick around.

Unfortunately, you can’t forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly no matter how many crunches you do. The next best thing is to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Go beyond weight tracking. You can track your waist, hip and even neck circumference in the app. Use this feature to see how your measurements change over time as you lose weight.
  • Sweat for 30-60 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds well to regular endurance exercises, such as running, biking, rowing, swimming, that elevate your heart rate. As your body uses fat to fuel exercise, it’ll start using up your visceral stores.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein with calories set for gradual weight loss (e.g. about 1-2 pounds per week). Cut way back on added sugars and alcohol since these nutrients will more likely end up as visceral fat.
  • Sleep more, stress less. It’s easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night’s rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your health; it’s about your happiness, too.

SOURCE: BY TRINH LE, MPH, RD 

What to Drink When Water Isn’t Enough

Fitness on a Budget, Food & Nutrition, Uncategorized
drinking water

We all know hydration is key. Yet it seems like the whole country is on an H2O hiatus. After all, who needs regular old water from the tap when you can chug coconut water? Courtesy of the energy and sports drink retail market, which recently topped $25 billionthere are more hydration options than ever before.

It’s a big business that wants us to imagine big things (like a single drink might make us perform like a star athlete). Yet the truth is, if you’re averaging an hour at the gym a few times per week, eating healthy snacks and drinking water before and after your workouts provides adequate fuel and rehydration. According to a recent UC Berkeley study, most people who drink sports drinks at least once a day aren’t as physically active as they should be.

Instead of overdoing the designer drinks, think before you sip and make sure you’re not taking in more calories or sodium than you should.

COCONUT WATER

While this all-natural, refreshing drink is hyped as a super-hydrating powerhouse, the majority of studies don’t prove that it rehydrates the body much better than water. On the plus side, it contains less sugar than sports drinks and far less than juice. It’s also naturally rich in potassium, a key electrolyte that supports blood pressure and heart health, as well as bone and muscle strength. Yet one cup still packs 45 calories, which can add up quickly if you’re drinking it frequently. Bottom line: An occasional coconut water is fine, but don’t go overboard and read the label: Coconut water with added juice or extra flavorings can contain as much sugar as regular juice.

HYDRATION TABLETS

Portable tablets like those made by Nuun are designed to be dissolved in 16 ounces of water to provide key electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. There’s no hidden high-calorie pitfall: Every tab has one gram or less of sugar and around 12 calories. Not everyone can get on board with the fairly weak taste, which is similar to lightly flavored water. However, if you’re active outdoors especially in the sun, where excessive sweating makes electrolyte replacement important, the delivery system is awesome: the tabs come in cylindrical tubes that are lightweight, making them easy to stash in your backpack for any on-demand needs if temps soar during an afternoon bike ride or if that Sunday hike takes hours longer than expected.

SPORTS DRINKS

A simple, effective sports drink is one that refuels the body with some carbs (aka sugar) and electrolytes (aka sodium and potassium). The formula has launched a dizzying number of “performance” beverages, with some brands like Gatorade going so far as to promote distinct products for before, during and after exercise.

Yet these drinks contain tons of sugar, ranging from 35–52 grams per bottle. In truth, the idea that sports drinks are “good for you” entirely depends on whether your body needs them to recover from extra-challenging exercise. So: Was your last workout a grueling endeavor that lasted two hours or longer? A super sweaty run on an extra hot day? Congratulations, you earned a sports drink! If not, skip the unneeded sugar and drink water instead.


“FITNESS” WATER

Zero-calorie drinks in this category include Propel, water designed for “performance” with an electrolyte content similar to Gatorade (which owns the brand). Then there’s what some call “designer” waters, such as Smartwater from Coca-Cola or the the recently introduced Lifewtr from Pepsi. These contain very small amounts of electrolytes, mainly for flavor and are more similar to regular bottled water than sports drinks. Yet another entry here is VitaminWater Zero, lightly flavored zero-calorie version of regular VitaminWater. (The latter, although promoted as “healthy,” actually contains tons of sugar, and tends to have vitamins such as B and C, which are the ones most people get enough of already.) Not sure which one is best? Keep it simple and drink a glass of regular water — nature’s perfect hydration system.


Source: BY KATE CHYNOWETH

5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
5 Common Strength Training Mistakes to Stop Doing

There’s a saying that if you’re new to lifting weights, any program will make you stronger. While it’s true that “newbie gains” can be attained doing just about anything, experienced lifters will often tell you that in hindsight, they wish they’d known what they know now when they first started lifting.

There are a handful of common mistakes fitness novices make all too often when starting a training routine. Rather than accepting that anything will work, it’s best to learn the basic principles of strength training so you can ride out the progress of your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Here are five mistakes to avoid and how to fix them:

Beginners are often introduced to strength training through body-part splits, which are exercise routines that dedicate an entire day to a specific muscle group. For example:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: Shoulders
Friday: Arms
Saturday and Sunday: Rest

While this may be effective for experienced bodybuilders, for beginners it’s like drinking water through a fire hose and here’s why.

Beginners need to learn how perform basic exercises like squats, pushups and deadlifts. These exercises take lots of practice, and you don’t get good at anything by only practicing it once a week. Second, beginners rarely have the ability to recover from workouts that smash a single body part with so many sets and reps that your muscles feel like they’ve been put through a meat grinder.

Beginners are better off with either three full-body workouts per week or four workouts that are split between upper- and lower-body. For example:

3-DAY FULL-BODY WORKOUT

Monday: Full body
Tuesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Wednesday: Full body
Thursday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Friday: Full body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

4-DAY UPPER/LOWER SPLIT

Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Lower body
Wednesday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Thursday: Upper body
Friday: Lower body
Saturday: Rest or low-intensity cardio
Sunday: Rest

Beginners are often encouraged to use machines because they’re easier to learn than free weights. While this may be true, free weights build more strength and coordination in the long run.

It’s best to learn proper technique with free weight exercises while you’re still in a novice stage. That way, as you get stronger, your technique will be on point, and you’ll be less prone to injury. A strong lifter with lousy technique is like a racecar with no brakes, so get your brakes tuned up early on to set yourself up for a lifetime of safe workouts.

You can still use free weights and machines (because they’re both awesome), but if you’re new to working out, trade these common machine exercises for their free weight equivalents:


READ MORE > SHOULD YOU LIFE WEIGHTS TO FAILURE?


Many beginners avoid using a full range of motion during some exercises because they either haven’t been taught proper form or they heard some old wives’ tale that an exercise is dangerous. Examples of such myths include:

  • Deep squats are bad for your knees.
  • Touching the bar to your chest on the bench press is bad for your shoulders.
  • Locking out your joints keeps the stress on your muscles.

These myths are born from dogma and misinformation. They’re often spread by people who haven’t learned proper technique or have hurt themselves by using poor form.

In reality, research shows that proper lifting technique performed with full range of motion results in more muscle and strength gains than using partial range of motion. So the next time you’re tempted to cut a rep short, remember that full range gets better results and is perfectly safe if you use proper form.

A “no pain, no gain” approach to lifting weights might sound cool in theory, but doing too many sets to failure may be holding you back. Overzealous lifters often like to take every set of every exercise to the point where they can’t complete the final rep, but turns out you can make the same gains with far less pain.

A 2016 review in the Journal of Sports Medicine tells us that non-failure training results in slightly more gains in strength and muscle than failure training. After looking at eight studies, it appears that you don’t have to go to failure, although you have to do a few more sets to make up the difference. This is important because stopping each set shy of failure means you’re less likely to use improper form, reducing the likelihood of injury.

The takeaway? Stop most of your sets at least 1–2 reps shy of failure. The heavier and more complicated the exercise (i.e., heavy barbell deadlifts), the further you should stay from failure, while lighter single-joint exercises (i.e., dumbbell biceps curls) can be trained to failure with less risk.

As the saying goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Heading into the gym without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map (or a GPS, for the youngsters who don’t remember maps). Sure, you may get somewhere interesting, but you’re more likely to get to your destination with a specific route to follow.

Rather than flying by the seat of your pants, find a tried-and-true workout program that suits your goals. There are plenty of them right here on MyFitnessPal, including:

While a premade program may not be tailored exactly to you, it keeps you accountable and on track toward a more specific goal than just “getting a workout in.”

Smarter, Not Harder

Just like any new endeavor, you don’t need to know everything about lifting weight to be successful. But a little knowledge goes a long way in helping you get stronger, so avoid these five common mistakes to ride out your “newbie gains” as long as possible.

Source: by Tony Bonvechio

What Exercise Machines Burn Calories Most Efficiently?

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What Exercise Machines Burn Calories Most Efficiently?

Exercise machines help you burn calories, build muscle and improve your endurance. Certain machines deliver a more intense cardiovascular workout than others, meaning you burn calories at a faster rate. The way you use cardiovascular exercise equipment also affects how efficiently you burn fat. Use the machines’ settings and additional tools to maximize your workout’s aerobic and strengthening benefits.

Burn Calories on a Treadmill

Of all the equipment in your gym or club, the cardiovascular exercise machines deliver the workout that burns the most calories. Running on a treadmill burns more calories than any other machine-centered workout. Before you begin, check the settings and select an intense pace to burn more calories. If you weigh between 125 and 185 pounds and jog at 5 mph for one hour, you burn between 480 and 710 or more calories, depending upon your fitness level and weight. Pick up your pace to 7.5 mph and you burn between 750 and 1,110 calories, which means you can lose up to 2.5 pounds per week running six of the days. Rather than running faster, you can also intensify the workout and burn extra calories by setting the treadmill at an incline, so you’re running “uphill.”

Use an Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer can offer you an excellent aerobic workout. However, because you power the pace of an elliptical trainer, it is easy to slip into coasting when you get tired. To maximize its calorie-burning benefits, work out at high speed and use a machine that has movable handles so you work your arms as well. An added benefit of exercising on an elliptical trainer is that your feet never leave the pedals, making it a low-impact aerobic workout. An hour on the elliptical can burn 540 to 800 calories or more. You can also adjust the resistance and incline on an elliptical trainer to burn extra calories.

Other Cardiovascular Exercise Machines

Other machines that make you raise your heart rate also burn calories efficiently. For example, climbing a stair treadmill burns between 360 and 532 calories in one hour. The workout is lower-impact, so it will not stress your joints, muscles and tendons as much as running high speed on a treadmill. Stair-climbing also provides a strengthening workout for your gluteal, thigh and calf muscles. However, avoid leaning on or holding onto the machine; it reduces the number of calories burned. Using a stationary rowing machines provides a total body-strengthening and aerobic workout, burning between 310 and 754 calories in one hour. Doing indoor cycling at a vigorous rate burns 630 and 932 calories per hour.

Interval Training on Exercise Machines

Most exercise machines feature settings that allow you to make the workout more intense, thus burning more calories. If your machine has an interval setting, using it will dramatically boost your calories burned. This setting varies your pace, usually starting with a warm-up, moving to a vigorous pace then adding in some sprints. The sprints boost your heart rate higher and keep it there, even when you slow down to a recovery pace. You can program your own intervals on an exercise machine by increasing the pace or changing the incline every few minutes and sustaining the sprint or climb for at least 30 seconds. Consult your doctor before beginning interval training or any other new exercise regimen.

Source: NINA MAKOFSKY

20 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine

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From workouts to gear (time for new kicks?), how to recharge your body

It’s that time of year again—the snow’s melting, the sun’s shining, and those thick sweaters in the closet are about to go into storage. It’s the perfect time to reignite your motivation by breaking away from your boring gym routine and embracing the great outdoors. Kick off spring with a healthy start by getting the right gear, revamping your routine, and doing some “spring cleaning” in your pantry. Here are 20 simple tips to get you started.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Book a Physical
Believe it or not, only about 20 percent of Americans get an annual check-up. Be one of them! While you might look and feel just fine (or really hate needles), it’s important to keep tabs on things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and vitamin deficiencies before designing your workout program.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Set a Schedule… but Be Realistic
If you haven’t been working out much this winter, don’t write down that you’ll do outdoor cardio exercises for 30 minutes a day, six days a week. You’ll only find yourself getting frustrated and will be more likely to give up on your workout program. Post your exercise plan in places you’ll look frequently, like the calendar app on your smartphone or at your desk at work.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Team Up
You’re more likely to stick with your plan if you’ve got a partner in crime. Choose someone who has similar goals who’s schedule fits with your own. Your best bet: Get together at the same time four days a week, whether it’s before work or just before dinner.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Buy New Running Shoes
If you’ve been hitting the gym (and the treadmill) all winter, chances are, you’re due for a new pair. Most running shoes last somewhere between 300 and 400 miles—but if you use them to walk around or do other parts of your gym routine, that wear and tear counts, too. Go to a running specialty store to get fitted, and have them look at your gait/pronation to find the best shoe for you.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Clean Out Your Pantry
Still have that tin of popcorn from the holidays or a box of chocolates from Valentine’s Day? Get rid of them. And while you’re at it, throw away other foods low in nutritional value, like chips, pretzels, sugary cereals, white bread and, yes, even those 100 calorie snack packs (a cookies still a cookie, even if you squash it flat and drop five in a bag).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Protect Your Skin
Now that it’s warming up, you’ll be heading outside again. This means more sunshine (and vitamin D, which is a good thing), but it also means that your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays. Rub waterproof lotion with at least SPF 15 or more over all exposed areas of your body. Don’t forget easy-to-miss areas like behind your ears, the back of your neck and the crease near your underarms.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Pump Up Your Playlist
Still listening to the same tracks from December? Do some iPod “spring cleaning” by downloading a fresh workout playlist to get you going.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Jump Rope
Heading outside and doing this favorite childhood “workout” can burn about 208 calories in just 20 minutes. Add other outdoor cardio exercises like walking lunges, short sprints, and jumping jacks, and you’ve got yourself a circuit program you can do right in your backyard.

RELATED: 20-Minute, Fat-Blasting Jump Rope Workout

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Update Your Workout Wardrobe
Still sweating it out in cotton T-shirts? Throw away worn-out workout duds and replace them with shorts, tanks and tees in breathable, wick fabrics. While you’re at it, update your sports bras, too (a typical bra has a lifespan of about six months, although hand-washing can make them last longer).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Stretch Out
The best way to prevent injury is to stretch before and after your workouts. Here’s how it’s done: Warm up with 10 minutes of light outdoor cardio exercises, then do dynamic stretching—as in, stretching while moving. This includes lunges, touching your toes and walking your hands forward, swinging your legs while standing and twisting from side to side. After your workout, complete “static” stretches—a.k.a. your typical “touch and hold” routine. Yoga, Pilates, and dance classes are also great ways to stay flexible.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Stay Hydrated
Avoid muscle cramping and fatigue by drinking about two liters of water a day, and 17 ounces about two hours before exercising. Another general rule of thumb: The more you sweat, the more fluids you need to replace, so drink up after a vigorous workout. Use stainless steel bottles to avoid some of the chemicals associated with certain plastic varieties (such as Bisphenol A, or BPA).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Plan a Trip
Outdoor exercises are great, but if the weather’s still cool where you live, take a “health” vacation to a resort with hiking, biking and other activities (plus warm weather), or sign up for a yoga retreat.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Get Sporty
Break up your routine with outdoor exercises like tennis or golf, or team up with friends for an afternoon of ultimate Frisbee. Even kickball will get your heart going—and you don’t have to be athletically gifted to play!

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Hit the Farmers Market
Soak up some of that spring sunshine while you shop for fresh fruits and veggies. Other items worth picking up include fish, dried fruits, and nuts.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Change Your Thinking
Instead of designing goals based purely on weight loss, concentrate on how you feel. If counting calories has you down, think in terms of portions instead. Constantly checking the clock during your workout? Chances are you need to find a sport or activity you actually enjoy.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Step Off the Scale
Muscle weighs more than fat, so although you may look more toned, there’s a chance you might not be shedding pounds at the rate you’d expect. To get an accurate measure of your progress, use measuring tape once every two weeks to see where you’re trimming inches from your waist, hips, and other target areas.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Jump On the Twitter Train
Get vocal about your fitness routine and goals and make friends with other women looking to get motivated this spring with a Twitter feed. Give updates on your progress, post links to your favorite fitness articles and products, and cheer on others (they’ll do the same for you).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Tie On Weights
Tone up arms and legs by doing your regular routine—whether it’s walking to the store, cleaning your house or walking the dog—while using wrist and/or ankle weights. The resistance will help strengthen muscles (and get your body that much more ready for bikini season).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Sign Up for a Race
Adding positive goals to your fitness routine will make you feel better and also give a purpose to your training other than losing weight or fitting into those skinny jeans. Look into local road races—the 5K distance is perfect for beginners—and sign up with your training partner. It’s also a great way to get involved in your local fitness community!

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Reward Yourself
Don’t forget to take care of your hard-worked body! A sports massage is the perfect way to pamper yourself, while alleviating toxins and speeding up muscle recovery. We love Just Calm Down Spa in New York City; even if you can’t get there, you can still get your hands on the muscle-soothing cream their therapists swear by: Topricin. Rub this fast-absorbing topical pain reliever on after a tough workout and your muscles will thank you.

Source:

10 Simple Things to Do Every Day to Lose Weight 

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

You’ve made the decision to lose weight, and you are so pumped right now! Great — so how do you begin? What should you eat? How should you work out? Here are the 10 healthiest, most effective things you can do to lose weight . . . and keep it off.

Set Small, Realistic Goals and Have a Plan

Even if you have big weight-loss goals, set mini weekly or monthly goals to act as stepping stones to get there. “Lose one pound this week” or “exercise five times this week” are great specific goals you can work on every day. Get out a notebook, your calendar, or your laptop and set a weekly plan. Write down your meals for the week and include your workouts, too.

Eat These Three Things Every Time You Eat

In order to feel satisfied and stay full longer, aim to eat protein (20 to 30 grams), carbs (40 to 75 grams), and healthy fats (six to 25 grams) at every meal. Go for lean or plant-based protein, such as grilled chicken or tofu, and choose complex carbs like baked sweet potatoes rather than processed carbs. And eat whole grains and unsaturated fats like nuts and avocado.

Keep a Food Journal

It’s important to know how many calories you should be eating each day so you can figure out how many you need to stick to in order to lose weight.

Just remember to tally every single thing you eat for accuracy — taking photos of what you eat can help you remember. It’ll not only allow you to track your calories and your macros, but you’ll also be able to see if you’re eating healthy most of the time.

Do These Two Types of Workouts

Commit to exercising every single day. Five days out of the week should be 45- to 60-minute workouts that include a mix of calorie-burning cardio (especially HIIT!) and muscle-building strength training. And the other two days of the week can be active rest, like some light yoga or going for a walk.

While cardio will burn fat, weightlifting boosts your metabolism and will allow you to gain more muscle mass, which lets you burn even more calories. Aim to strength train three to four times a week.

Drink Mostly Water — and Drink a Lot of It

Skip the soda (yes, even diet!), juices, and milk, and make your go-to beverage plain, refreshing water. With zero calories, it not only hydrates you and prevents bloating, but it also fills you up. Many times thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so aim to drink water throughout the day, around 70 to 100 ounces. If you hate plain water, add fresh lemon or grapefruit slices for flavor.

Eat Veggies at Every Meal

Certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition says there’s one simple thing you need to do to jump-start your weight loss and start seeing results: “eat more veggies.” Aim to eat them at every meal, even breakfast. Since they’re low in calories and high in fiber, they’ll fill you up without using up a ton of your daily calories.

Get Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain. It lowers levels of the hunger-regulating hormone, leptin, while raising levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Studies show that women who don’t sleep enough eat an average of 300 more calories than those who get enough sleep. So snuggle into bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep.

Keep the Hunger Scale in Mind

Counting calories is one way to lose weight, but this is going to be a lifestyle for you, and you can’t always count calories 100 percent of the time. That’s where the hunger scale comes into play when it comes to practicing portion control. Don’t eat unless you’re hungry, and eat until you’re satisfied but not stuffed.

Live by the 80/20 Rule

Eating healthy most of the time and allowing indulgences every once in a while, known as 80/20, is a lifestyle you can maintain forever. This means that 80 percent of the time, you eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, and that you cut down on the sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Then, 20 percent of the time, you get the green light to enjoy some chocolate, a glass of wine, or some french fries. Knowing you can indulge a little satisfies cravings so you never feel deprived.

Monitor Your Progress

Find a way to keep track of your progress. The scale can be a great measure of how much weight you’ve lost, but don’t rely on it as your only method. Take photos of yourself every month, have your body-fat percentage measured. How you feel is also an excellent judge, so if you feel great and your clothes are fitting better, you might want to ditch the scale entirely!

For more information on Meal & Workout plans, send us an email:  bricksbybk@gmail.com.

 

THIS LIFE-SAVING FITNESS ADVICE IS VITAL TO YOUR WELL-BEING

Before & After Photos, Built Like A Brick, fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Uncategorized
laughter
Exercise is kind of like laughter: it’s one of the few things in life that is free (though yes, you may pay for instruction with the former and entertainment to facilitate the latter), will make you feel better, and has no negative side effects. It’s also something that can be experienced alone, but is always better with a friend or a group. Exercise, like laughter, will pick you up when you’re feeling down. Both are also positive lifestyle traits that can be taught and shared with succeeding generations.
 
Exercise: it’s vital to your survival. Here’s some life-saving fitness advice. 
Exercise has been part of humanity throughout history, albeit in different forms and with perhaps different goals than today. Our ancestors depended on physical fitness for survival: it offered the ability to effectively hunt, fight, or flee, depending on the situation at hand. These days, it’s a common misconception that exercise is a leisure activity or hobby. However, this mentality is not only incorrect, but potentially life-shortening. While exercise may not be as vital for our immediate survival, but it’s just as important for our quality of life and longevity.
Exercise improves your vitality and quality of life. The older you get, the more important these things become! Fitness should be part of a healthy lifestyle from youth through old age. It has been widely proven that increasing lean tissue muscle mass and bone density in your younger years (through exercise) can decrease risks for age related ailments including osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, and falling related injuries caused by loss of coordination and balance.
 
Need proof? Check out the results of this study by the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Based on the results, it’s clear that fitness can save (or at least improve) your quality of life!
 
Exercise like your life depends on it.
Workout
 
It’s true: I believe that fitness can do more than simply improve the quality of your life. I believe that a regular fitness regime can literally save your life. This is something I feel compelled to share, as unfortunately I recently faced the loss of someone close to me, which has served as a powerful reminder of how precious our time is and how we must make the most of it!
 
My all-time favorite illustration of this concept is the Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuumwhich was published by Greg Glassman in the CrossFit Journal back in 2002. In this article, Glassman proposes that if you take any measurable value of health and put it on a continuum, with sickness on one side, and fitness on the other, your exercise/fitness regimen should be one that drives all of those health markers further to the fitness end of the spectrum and away from sickness.
 
Fitness prevents sickness.
Fitness and sickness
 
A health-conscious person will pursue fitness as a hedge against sickness. The more you work toward health and fitness, the harder it is to become sick. If and when you do become sick, you’re more likely to recover quickly and return to a state of fitness. On the other hand, if you have poor health markers and are not committed to physical fitness, you’re not only more prone toward illness, but you’ll remain sick longer and will have a more difficult time with recovery. When you look at fitness from this point of view, it becomes far more than just a measure of pounds lost and body fat percentage. It becomes a sum of all of our health markers.
 
Loss and life lessons.
 
Last month, I suffered an incredible loss when my older brother Joe died unexpectedly, at the age of 38. A bad case of the flu turned into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and he was gone 4 days later.
 
My brother was not extremely fit, but had more of a “middle of the road” fitness level. His sudden illness was a freak occurrence, and I don’t know if anything could have saved him. While I don’t think that his lack of fitness level was completely responsible for his death, I do believe a higher level of physical fitness could have saved him. As it was, his body was simply not strong enough to fend off an abnormally bad case of influenza.
 
Within grief, there is gratitude.
 
The grieving process has been incredibly difficult. But it has also opened up a huge well of gratitude. I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude for my family, my health, and for friends and loved ones who have shown support. I also feel gratitude for my physical fitness.
 
This loss has acted as a powerful reminder to never take my health and fitness for granted.
I urge you, too, to appreciate and respect your physical form.
 
Now is the time to take an honest assessment of your own health, to pinpoint areas where you have room for improvement, and to take action to improve in those areas. Whether it’s cutting out processed foods, sleeping more, finding a gym that works with your busy schedule, adding in a some meditation every morning, or taking a good fish oil supplements, take positive steps toward health. Even the smallest and humblest step toward fitness is one that takes you further from sickness.
 
Your future self will thank you for taking proactive action toward your own health…hell, it could even save your life.
 
 
image courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
SOURCE: https://newyouchallenge.com/fitness/life-saving-fitness-advice/

Find the Workout that Matches Your Personality

Built Like A Brick, fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
There may be no “best” workout for getting fit, but there definitely are right and wrong options for everyone. With so many gyms and boutique fitness studios opening around the country, how do you know what workout fits your lifestyle best? We developed a quiz to give you some ideas for the workouts and activities you will enjoy the most. Here’s what you will actually look forward to doing — therefore giving you the most success.

Add all of your answers to find your most common one then find your workout type below:

You are most likely a classic introvert, meaning you enjoy quiet, introspective moments. Yoga and Pilates are both meditative practices that require you to focus on the mind-body connection. Though barre classes are often done in a group setting, you will enjoy the structure and small, pulsing movements of the exercise that can often be calming (even though yes, it totally burns). Should you be looking to hit the gym, working with a trainer one-on-one is your best option — with a ‘cheerleader’ type versus drill sergeant — who can coach you through moves and help you learn your way around the gym, which can be intimidating for newcomers.

These are all great fitness options that will not only get you outdoors, but can be done either solo or in a group, offering some flexibility. All of these have a meditative quality your introverted side will enjoy — whether you are swimming laps in the pool, paddling through the water watching the sunrise or focusing on your breathing as you train for a 5K. You’ll also get some great aerobic fitness along the way.

You love being around people and these group, full-body workouts let you get fit with your friends. These activities are great because they offer some adventure but still allow you to talk and socialize during the process. You won’t be too out of breath to congratulate your friend as they execute the perfect right hook or take a water break together after a game in your tennis set.

You are hardcore. You want adventure and you crave extreme challenges. These high-energy, loud workouts are perfect for you and you won’t get bored thanks to the constant change-up from workout to workout. If you are the competitive type, CrossFit lets you compete against others (and yourself) — or if you prefer to get outdoors, rock climbing will give you an adrenaline rush as you rappel down from a high peak. Mix it up with a spin class for some high-energy moves and music and to add cardio to your routine.

BY ASHLEY LAURETTA

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