5 Essentials for Healthy Snacking

Stock up on these healthy foods to make countless healthy, portable snacks that are delicious and good for you. Plus, these foods are proven disease fighters, energy boosters, and heart helpers so you can snack your way to better health.

Disease Fighters: Fruits and Veggies

Munch on blueberries, apples, peppers, and spinach, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Plus, the potassium, magnesium, and calcium in most fresh produce may help lower blood pressure.

Quick Tip: Buy extra cartons of your favorite seasonal berries, gently wash, and pat dry. Freeze in a zip-top plastic bag. Let the fruit defrost on your counter overnight, and mangia!

Heart Helpers: Dark Chocolate

Both regular and sugar-free dark chocolate decrease blood pressure in overweight adults, according to new research.

Consuming just a small amount of flavanol-rich cocoa powder daily can increase blood flow to your skin, making it softer, smoother, and more resistant to sun damage. (This is not your excuse to skip the sunscreen!)

Quick Tip: Add cacao beans, the source of all chocolate, to your diet for an extra flavanol boost. Try Sweetriot Flavor 65 (pieces of the bean covered in dark chocolate) or Hershey’s 65% Cacao Premium Dark Chocolate with Nibs (the center of the cacao bean).

Energy Boosters: Whole Grains

Good news for carb lovers: You need at least 130 grams a day to keep your memory and concentration sharp. Opt for the whole-grain kind — it’s higher in fiber, giving you energy with staying power.

Bonus: Including five servings of whole grains daily in your low-calorie diet can help you lose belly flab and lower your levels of C-reactive protein, a predictor of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Add two more servings and you could lower your risk of diabetes by more than 20 percent.

Quick Tip: Tired of your usual whole wheat? Mix things up with Holly’s Cranberry Almond Oatmeal (38 grams of whole grains per half cup) for breakfast, Arnold Grains & More Double Protein Hearty Multi-Grain Bread (19 grams per slice) for lunch, and World of Grains Cookies (15 grams and only 130 calories per pack) for dessert.

Bone Builders: Low-Fat Dairy

Just 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day can help you maintain bone mass when trying to lose weight. Including dairy, such as skim milk, in a low-calorie diet can help you shed belly fat.

Quick Tip: Instead of sour cream, use low-fat cottage cheese in dips. It has less fat and more protein. Put it in the blender for a thick and creamy texture.

Belly Shrinkers: Nuts

Snacking on nuts may help you shed pounds. Researchers found that people who ate almonds as part of a low-calorie diet for six months lost 18 percent of their body weight — slimming their waistlines and reducing body fat to boot. (Scientists suspect that the fiber-plus-protein combo keeps hunger in check.)

Extra credit: Monounsaturated fats found in some nuts have been shown to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels while preserving the good kind that your body needs.

Quick Tip: Toast raw nuts for extra crunch. Put a handful of your favorites on a baking sheet and roast in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

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Posted on June 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health, Nutrition

How to Recover From a Long-Distance Run

Race season has started! After a long-distance run you need to take the necessary steps to recover and take care of that body. Read on for a few tips:

Give your bod a break. After being pushed to its limits, your body is in need of some serious rest and relaxation. As soon as you can handle it after your run, try to take an ice bath to help all your sore aches and pains. Getting a massage is a great way to treat your body right too. If you can’t give up running for a few days, when you head out, be sure keep things really easy and light (if you’ve just completed a marathon, you should take a break from running for at least three days to help prevent injury).

•Eat and drink the right things. After a big run or race, it’s crucial to continue with a healthy diet. You need to build your muscles back up with foods that are packed with protein and good, healthy carbs. In addition, as soon as you finish your race — and for a few days after — drink lots of fluids to replenish what you lost during your big race.

•Stretch it out. Having a flexibility routine will aid the recovery of your sore joints and muscles. If you love yoga, no need to run out for a strenuous vinyasa class, but maybe check out some yin or restorative yoga sessions that you normally don’t make it to.

•Sleep it off. If you rest now, you’ll feel better later. Remember: you just ran a huge race! You’re going to experience some serious fatigue after pushing your body’s boundaries. Be sure to take it easy and get lots of rest.

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Posted on June 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health

8 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress

1-Listen to Music: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing classical music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

2-Call a Friend: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved-ones are important to any healthy lifestyle, and there’s no time that this is more evident than when you’re under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.

3-Eat Right: Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. Unfortunately, it’s when we have the most work that we forget to eat well and, instead, resort to using sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up. Try to avoid the vending machine and plan ahead. Fruits and vegetables are always good, as is fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress. A tuna sandwich really is brain food.

4- Breathe Easy: The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds real truth when it comes to stress. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been conscious of deliberate breathing during meditation. For an easy three- to five-minute exercise, sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on top of your knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.

5- Laugh it Off: Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks our nervous system into making us happy. [Give YouTube a whirl to find a short, funny clip that will bring a smile to your face and hopefully cause a little laughter to ring through your office.

6- Exercise: Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.

7- Sleep Better: Everyone knows stress can cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of whack and only gets worse and worse with time. Make it a point to get the doctor-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Turn the TV off earlier, manage your time, and do your best to get into bed. It may be the most effective stress buster on this list.

8- Be Mindful: While most of the tips we’ve suggested provide immediate relief, there are also many lifestyle changes that can be more effective in the long run. The concept of “mindfulness” is a large part of meditative and somatic approaches to mental health and has become en vogue in psychotherapy. From yoga and tai chi to meditation and Pilates, these systems of mindfulness incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem in the first place. Try joining a class—many are free to try on the first day.

What helps you to relieve stress and unwind?

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Posted on May 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Health

A Happy Heart Really is a Healthy Heart

A new paper by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that positive psychological well-being may reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other adverse cardiovascular events.

Many previous studies have shown that negative mental states, like depression, anger and hostility, can be harmful to heart health. But the new report — an analysis of studies from the last 15 years — is the first large, systematic review of data on positive mood and cardiovascular outcomes.

Not suffering from depression is not the same as having a high level of optimism, note the authors of the study, published Tuesday in the journal Psychological Bulletin. “Even if a person doesn’t have depression or anxiety, that only puts them at a neutral point,” says study author Julia Boehm, a research fellow in the department of society, human development and health at HSPH. “That doesn’t mean they have happiness and optimism.”

After reviewing more than 200 studies published in two scientific databases, PubMed and PsycINFO, the authors found that optimism, life satisfaction and happiness were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and its progression. “For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50% reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers,” Boehm said in a statement.

The association remained true regardless of factors like age, socioeconomic status, smoking and body weight. “Even if a person is overweight, smokes a lot and has high cholesterol, they can still benefit from positive emotions. It is something unique about well-being itself,” says Boehm.

Why exactly positivity may benefit the heart isn’t clear, but the researchers suggest that optimistic people may be more motivated to treat their bodies well. “Having a purpose in life motivates people and gets them thinking about the future and how they can structure their lives. They want to get out and do things. They are not sitting at home watching TV,” says Boehm.

“We found that if you have a positive disposition you’re more likely to exercise, eat well and get enough sleep at night. This can have positive biological effects in terms of inflammation, cholesterol, blood pressure and lipids,” says Boehm. “Engaging in healthier behaviors can lead to healthier bodily functions.”

If further research supports the current findings, the authors hope it will allow for improved heart-disease prevention and treatment methods. “We are finding that bolstering psychological strength might be a useful target for future intervention. We don’t just want to fix what is wrong with someone, but we want to improve their overall well-being.”

“I think we can identify people who are socially isolated and pessimistic and find a role for cognitive therapy,” says Dr. Nieca Goldberg, an American Heart Association spokesperson and director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at New York University Medical Center. “When dealing with cardiovascular patients, we often see these negative emotions. Stress management and physical activity can help boost moods.”

For now, the authors recommend people “treat” themselves by focusing on the little things in life that are meaningful to them and make them happy.

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Posted on May 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health

A Daily Walk Can Reduce the Power of Weight-Gaining Genes

Body weight, like so many of our individual characteristics, is the combined result of the genes we’re born with and the way we live our lives — how much and what we eat, and whether we exercise. The question is, how much does one influence the other?

In a new study, reported at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting on Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism in San Diego, researchers offer evidence that lifestyle can actually change the effect our genes have on the number on the scale.

Qibin Qi of the Harvard School of Public Health and his colleagues say that walking for about an hour a day can reduce the weight-promoting effect of certain genes by 50%. What’s more, the scientists say, sedentary activities like watching TV can trigger the weight-gaining effect of the same genes.

The study involved more than 12,000 men and women enrolled in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which track lifestyle behaviors and health outcomes among doctors and nurses and other health care professionals. In order to determine how much influence the weight-gaining genes had on the participants’ weight, Qi and his colleagues focused on 32 genes that have previously been linked to body mass index (BMI), a ratio of height and weight that is used to determine overweight and obesity.

The researchers plotted the participants’ BMI against their so-called weight-gene score, a measure of how many variants of the 32 genes they possessed. Because we obtain one copy each of every gene from our mother and father, the maximum number of weight-promoting variants a subject could have was 64, and the minimum was zero. It turned out that no one was burdened with two copies of every BMI-increasing gene; the maximum number of variants in the study subjects totaled 43, while the minimum number of variants was 10. Based on this comparison, the researchers determined that for every genetic variant, the effect on BMI was to increase it by 0.13 kg/m2.

But among those who walked briskly for about an hour a day, this genetic effect was reduced by 50%, to 0.06 kg/m2. It’s the first study to bring the effect of exercise down to the genetic level, and to measure how physical activity can change the way genes work — in this case by inhibiting the activity of genes that promote weight gain.

The study also documented an increase in the activity of these genes among those who were more sedentary. For every two hours spent in front of the television every day, there was a 0.3 kg/m2 increase in BMI.

The fact that walking and TV watching each had independent effects on BMI hints that it’s important both to increase exercise and reduce sedentary time in order to lose weight. In other words, it’s not enough to be physically active most of the day if you’re still sitting on the couch watching TV for several hours. “We suggest that both increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior can lower the genetic predisposition to obesity,” says Qi.

The authors acknowledge that it may not be the act of TV watching itself that enhances the activity of the weight-promoting genes. It may be that people who watch more TV also tend to eat more and exercise less, for example. But the latest findings provide some hope that even if you’re not blessed with lean genes — and not many of us are — you can modify the fattening effect of your DNA by changing how you live your life.

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Posted on April 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health

Jumping Rope—It’s Not Just For Kids

Want to get a great workout in a short amount of time and burn up to 1,000 calories per hour? Pick up one of your oldest childhood “toys”–a jump rope!

Remember the endless hours you spent jumping rope with friends around your neighborhood or on the playground at school? Well, I recently picked up rope jumping again. I thought I would add something different to my workout routine…something fun. I was in for a surprise after my first day of jumping. I was shocked at just how difficult it was. Not that I couldn’t jump anymore, but the coordination required to swing the rope and jump at the perfect time proved to be more difficult than I remembered. I would (a) whip my shins or (b) land on the rope once every 30 seconds during my first few days of jumping. However, with a little practice I think I am bringing back my skill that has been suppressed since I was 10 years old.

Another shocker that came with my rope jumping—I was surprised to feel my heart rate increase, my breathing became heavier and little buds of sweat dripped down my face… after only a few minutes of jumping rope. Not only was it fun, but it was a great workout! Give it a shot.

Benefits That Come With Jumping Rope:

-Jumping rope will improve your agility, hand/eye/foot coordination, jumping, fluidity of movement and timing, hand and foot speed as well.

- Jumping rope skills transfer to most athletic endeavors.

-It’s small and light-weight. Perfect for traveling!

-A jump rope is possibly the most inexpensive exercise accessory out there.

-You can jump anywhere—work, home, school, etc.

-Rope jumping works every major muscle group in your body! It tones and strengthens upper and lower body muscles.

-Jumping rope is one of the best ways to blast away cellulite.

Things to Know When Jumping Rope:

-To size your rope so that it is fit for you, make sure the handles reach your armpits when standing on the rope.

-You will need at least a 4’ x 6’ area to jump. If it is difficult to find an open space in your home just take your workout outside.

-It is ideal to jump on a wood floor, impact mat, or piece of plywood.

-Check with your doctor if you have any doubts about your ability to withstand the impact and high aerobic intensity of jumping rope.

Jump Rope Exercise Routines:

Beginners Workout

To begin, warm-up then jump for 20-30 second intervals then rest for 1 minute in between each set. After you become comfortable this basic workout move on to something more technical.

Warm up—brisk walk for 2-3 minutes

Jump rope—20 to 30 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Repeat nos. 1 to 3, five times.

Jumping Rope With Intervals:

Build up strength and dexterity by continuous jumping for 3 minutes, with a basic interval workout that alternates between fast jumping and slow jumping:

Jump rope fast for one minute.

Jump rope slowly for 20 to 60 seconds, you may increase the speed gradually.

Repeat 6 times.

Advanced Jump Rope Workout:

When you have developed focus and stamina, you can proceed to advanced rope routines. Jumpers skip for 15-20 minutes. You can opt to add more time when jumping becomes effortless. Here is an intense fat-melting workout:

Jump rope for 5 minutes

25 push ups

25 squats

25 crunches

Repeat 10 times

Improve Footwork:

The fat-burning effect of jumping rope comes from improved footwork. Once the hop, or running in place is spot on you can try these fat-buster routines:

Line hop – achieved by drawing a line on the ground with chalk and through the hopping motion, jump over the line facing forward or side to side.

Diamond: draw a diamond pattern using your feet when jumping rope. Can be done both clockwise and counterclockwise.

For an additional butt-kicking workout check out this article from Fitness Magazine.

Need a Jump Rope?

If you are like me, I hadn’t owned a jump rope since grade school. For a great deal you can get the Alpine Tech Jump Rope Weider®, which is currently on SALE. This rope has a ½ pound weight in each handle that can be used for weight adjustment.

Happy jumping!

Source: WebMD

Written by Amy Jensen

Posted on March 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health

How Exercise Fuels the Brain

Moving the body demands a lot from the brain. Exercise activates countless neurons, which generate, receive and interpret repeated, rapid-fire messages from the nervous system, coordinating muscle contractions, vision, balance, organ function and all of the complex interactions of bodily systems that allow you to take one step, then another.

This increase in brain activity naturally increases the brain’s need for nutrients, but until recently, scientists hadn’t fully understood how neurons fuel themselves during exercise. Now a series of animal studies from Japan suggest that the exercising brain has unique methods of keeping itself fueled. What’s more, the finely honed energy balance that occurs in the brain appears to have implications not only for how well the brain functions during exercise, but also for how well our thinking and memory work the rest of the time.

For many years, scientists had believed that the brain, which is a very hungry organ, subsisted only on glucose, or blood sugar, which it absorbed from the passing bloodstream. But about 10 years ago, some neuroscientists found that specialized cells in the brain, known as astrocytes, that act as support cells for neurons actually contained small stores of glycogen, or stored carbohydrates. And glycogen, as it turns out, is critical for the health of cells throughout the brain.

In petri dishes, when neurons, which do not have energy stores of their own, are starved of blood sugar, their neighboring astrocytes undergo a complex physiological process that results in those cells’ stores of glycogen being broken down into a form easily burned by neurons. This substance is released into the space between the cells and the neurons swallow it, maintaining their energy levels.

But while scientists knew that the brain had and could access these energy stores, they had been unable to study when the brain’s stored energy was being used in actual live conditions, outside of petri dishes, because brain glycogen is metabolized or burned away very rapidly after death; it’s gone before it can be measured.

That’s where the Japanese researchers came in. They had developed a new method of using high-powered microwave irradiation to instantly freeze glycogen levels at death, so that the scientists could accurately assess just how much brain glycogen remained in the astrocytes or had recently been used.

In the first of their new experiments, published last year in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Neuroscience at the University of Tsukuba gathered two groups of adult male rats and had one group start a treadmill running program, while the other group sat for the same period of time each day on unmoving treadmills. The researchers’ aim was to determine how much the level of brain glycogen changed during and after exercise.

Using their glycogen detection method, they discovered that prolonged exercise significantly lowered the brain’s stores of energy, and that the losses were especially noticeable in certain areas of the brain, like the frontal cortex and the hippocampus, that are involved in thinking and memory, as well as in the mechanics of moving.

The findings of their subsequent follow-up experiment, however, were even more intriguing and consequential. In that study, which appears in this month’s issue of The Journal of Physiology, the researchers studied animals after a single bout of exercise and also after four weeks of regular, moderate-intensity running.

After the single session on the treadmill, the animals were allowed to rest and feed, and then their brain glycogen levels were studied. The food, it appeared, had gone directly to their heads; their brain levels of glycogen not only had been restored to what they had been before the workout, but had soared past that point, increasing by as much as a 60 percent in the frontal cortex and hippocampus and slightly less in other parts of the brain. The astrocytes had “overcompensated,” resulting in a kind of brain carbo-loading 

The levels, however, had dropped back to normal within about 24 hours.

That was not the case, though, if the animals continued to exercise. In those rats that ran for four weeks, the “supercompensation” became the new normal, with their baseline levels of glycogen showing substantial increases compared with the sedentary animals. The increases were especially notable in, again, those portions of the brain critical to learning and memory formation — the cortex and the hippocampus.

Which is why the findings are potentially so meaningful – and not just for rats.

While a brain with more fuel reserves is potentially a brain that can sustain and direct movement longer, it also “may be a key mechanism underlying exercise-enhanced cognitive function,” says Hideaki Soya, a professor of exercise biochemistry at the University of Tsukuba and senior author of the studies, since supercompensation occurs most strikingly in the parts of the brain that allow us better to think and to remember. As a result, Dr. Soya says, “it is tempting to suggest that increased storage and utility of brain glycogen in the cortex and hippocampus might be involved in the development” of a better, sharper brain.

Given the limits of current technologies, brain glycogen metabolism cannot be studied in people. But even so, the studies’ findings make D.I.Y. brain-fuel supercompensation efforts seem like an attractive possibility. And, according to unpublished data from Dr. Soya’s lab, the process may even be easy.

He and his colleagues have found that “glycogen supercompensation in some brain loci” is “enhanced in rats receiving carbohydrates immediately after exhaustive exercise.” So for people, that might mean that after a run or other exercise that is prolonged or strenuous enough to leave you tired, a bottle of chocolate milk or a banana might be just the thing your brain is needing.

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Posted on March 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health, Industry News

8 tips to get the results you want

Are you working out and still not seeing the results you want? There are so many factors that come into play when striving to be healthy, lose weight and/or tone up. Don’t throw in the towel just yet…I stumbled upon a great article from SparkPeople that highlights eight reasons that could be to blame for the lack of noticeable results from your butt-kicking workouts. Don’t feel discouraged. Take this as an opportunity to reevaluate what you are/aren’t doing.

We all know how fantastic working out is for your health. But what happens when your workouts aren’t delivering the results you want? Or you’re not getting the results you think you should be getting? While any kind of physical activity is good, some workout plans are better than others and—as you might suspect—a lot of other factors come into play when trying to lose weight and tone up. So if your workout isn’t working for you, one of the following eight reasons could be to blame. Find out how to turn that around and get the results you deserve! 
1. You’re not working hard enough.
If you have been exercising consistently for several weeks, months or years, it’s definitely time to increase the intensity and start pushing yourself. As you work out more and more, your body adapts and becomes more efficient at doing that certain activity. This means that over time, the 30-minute workout that was challenging for you three months ago doesn’t provide the same results. In fact, you’re actually burning fewer calories and your body is no longer changing if you’re still doing the same old thing.

Get-Results Remedy: In order to get results from exercise, you have to regularly push yourself beyond your fitness comfort zone. Whether you increase the frequency, intensity, or duration of your workouts, you have to switch it up. Not sure where to start? Try adding an extra day of cardio into your routine, testing out a new group exercise class at the gym, adding another loop around your walking track, or bumping up the incline and speed on the treadmill. Remember, when it comes to exercise, change is good—and that change should be challenging!

2. You’re working too hard. 
Yes, you can actually work out too hard and too much. If you’re someone who goes all out in every workout, or rarely ever takes a day off to rest, you could actually be breaking your muscles down instead of building them. If you always feel tired and sore, have unexplained headaches, insomnia or just a general lack of motivation and an inability to complete your workouts, you may be overtraining.

Get-Results Remedy: Take three to five days off of exercise altogether. It may be hard for you to do this, but know that you must allow your body the time it needs to rest and recover. Get plenty of sleep each night and fill up on nutritious foods. Then slowly ease back into your routine, making shorter, less intense workouts part of your workout plan. And remember to always take one to two rest or easy active recovery days a week!

3. You haven’t changed your diet. 
Exercise is awesome, but if you’re not eating a nutritious diet with the appropriate number of calories for weight management, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Proper nutrition fuels your workouts, but eat too much and you could gain weight (or hurt your weight-loss efforts), and eat too little, and you won’t have enough energy to exercise.

Get-Results Remedy: If you can’t seem to see those muscles you’re trying to build, start logging your foods to see how many calories you’re eating a day. If you’re regularly eating more than you should (it just takes an extra 100 calories a day to gain an extra pound a month), then try choosing lower-calorie versions of your favorite foods and slowly decreasing your caloric intake until you’re at the right level! On the flip side of that, if you find that you’re eating too few calories, that can also slow your metabolism and leave you drained at the gym.

4. You’re only doing cardio. Yes, cardio is important for calorie burning, but a proper exercise plan includes cardio, strength training and flexibility. If you’re just doing cardio, then you will be burning calories and strengthening your cardiovascular system, but you won’t be really changing your body composition by building more muscle. For that you need strength training!

Get-Results Remedy: Lift weights or do body-weight exercises, such as lunges and push-ups, at least twice a week to reap the amazing benefits of resistance training; including decreased body fat, increased muscle mass and stronger bone density. For hardcore cardio fans, you can also try kettlebell training or circuit training, which is like getting a strength and cardio workout at the same time!

5. You reward yourself with food.
Do you allow yourself to have that extra piece of pizza or order that dessert when dining out because you “went to the gym” earlier? If so, you may be undoing all of that good calorie-burning with too many treats.

Get-Results Remedy: Familiarize yourself with the calorie contents of your favorite foods—and find out how many calories you’re really burning through exercise. Remember that while you may have run 3 miles at the gym, that only burned 300 calories, which isn’t nearly equivalent to the calorie count in that brownie sundae you ate later. Focus on how good exercise makes you feel rather than what it allows you to eat after; and choose foods that fuel your workouts, rather than the other way around.

6. You’re doing too much too soon.
Unfortunately, results don’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to get in shape over the long haul. But how many of us decide that we’re going to get in shape and then get totally gung-ho, spending hours at the gym only to find ourselves tired, sore and no thinner after a week or two?

Get-Results Remedy: Be patient. Remember that you’re creating a lifestyle change that you can sustain for the rest of your life. While there’s temptation to start off doing extra long and hard workouts, don’t. Build up to doing those tough workouts gradually as the weeks go by. Not only will this prevent injury and give your body more time to adapt and change, it will also give your life and habits time to change—permanently!

7. You’re trading sleep for workouts. 
We’re all so busy these days, and sometimes the only time to work out seems to be early in the morning—even if you were up late the night before working or with a child that couldn’t sleep. But regularly swapping sleep for workouts can seriously hinder your weight-loss, as sleep triggers a number of hormones that influence cravings and a tendency for weight gain. In addition, too many sleepless nights will leave you tired and unfocused for your workouts, which means that you won’t get much from your efforts. And did you know that sleep is a much needed part of a fitness plan, since a lot of recovery and repair happens while you rest each night? Skimp on the shut-eye, and it could also lead to symptoms of overtraining.

Get-Results Remedy: Start scheduling both your sleep and your workouts—and treat both as unbreakable appointments. Exercising after an occasional sleepless night shouldn’t pose too many problems. But if you’re regularly swapping sleep for a sweat session, you could be doing more long-term harm than good. Sleep should come first—even before working out.

8. You sit all day. 
Sure, you work out regularly, but what you do the rest of the day matters, too! If you put in a solid exercise session only to sit at a desk all day and lounge in a recliner watching TV at night, you may be undoing all of your hard work at the gym. Plus, there are a number of new studies that say too much sitting can be bad for our health and our waistlines—even if you exercise during the day.

Get-Results Remedy: Try to work more activity into all areas of your life by going for a walk after dinner, choosing to stand whenever possible, taking the stairs, parking your car further away and replacing your TV time for more active relaxation (like playing with your dog). Also, if your job requires you to sit in front of a computer all day, set a timer to beep every half hour or hour to remind you to stand up, stretch and do a quick lap around the office.
If you’re not seeing the results you want, you may be guilty of more than one of the mistakes above. Follow these tips to feel better, have more energy and get the workout results you want and deserve!

What do you do to get out of your fitness ruts??

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Posted on March 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health

What is Your Resting Metabolic Rate?

Even if all you do today is sit on the couch, your body is still using calories—how many is determined by your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Whether your RMR burns high or low “depends on your age, body composition and gender,” says Jeffrey A. Potteiger, Ph.D., professor of movement science at Grand Valley State University. Young people burn more than old people do, men more than women, lean folks more than flabby.

RMR x activity level = calories you can eat per day without putting on pounds

You can discover your RMR with a little easy math. First, convert your weight into kilograms (divide pounds by 2.2) and your height into centimeters (multiply inches by 2.54).

(10 x weight) + (6.25 x height) – (5 x age) – 161 = calories burned at rest

Here’s what it would look like for a 30-year-old woman who is 5 foot 4 and weighs 130 pounds:

(10 x 59) + (6.25 x 163) – (5 x 30) – 161 = an RMR of 1,298 calories

Next, multiply your RMR by the following number that best represents your activity level. That’s it! Now you know the number of calories you need to consume per day to maintain your weight.

Source: Self.com

Posted on February 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health

Take Care of That Body!

You’re quite a piece of work. No, we mean it: Among its valuable parts, your body contains more than 200 bones, 600 muscles, 22 feet of intestines, dozens of organs, and nearly 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Heck, just one of your eyes contains more than 15 working parts. But of all your bits and pieces, which ones are the most indispensable? On these pages you’ll find your body’s five anatomical all-stars—and how to keep each one in tip-top shape.

Brain

There are no brain transplants, so taking care of this organ should be your top priority. “The best thing you can do is get enough sleep,” says Rhonna Shatz, D.O., associate professor of neurology at Wayne State University in Detroit. Snoozing less than seven hours a night doesn’t just compromise your ability to write witty IM’s; it short-circuits your memory. “You don’t cycle enough through deep sleep, the stage when your body solidifies and stores memories,” Shatz explains. 

Breaking in those new Adidas can tone up your gray matter too. “Research shows that aerobic exercise increases the generation of new cells in the memory areas of the brain,” says Ausim Azizi, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at Temple University. Of course, the reason Rafael Nadal hasn’t solved the global-­warming crisis is that “more is not more,” Azizi says. To boost your brain, you only need 15 minutes three times a week.

And be smart about what you eat. “Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the brain healthy and may even ward off age-related damage,” Shatz says. She recommends several servings a week of omega-3-rich foods, such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, and grass-fed beef.

Heart

Though it won’t turn heads at the beach, your heart is the main muscle you’ve got to keep in top shape. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women,” says L. Kristin Newby, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center. 

First step: Shrink your muffin top. “Research has linked fat in the belly, more than in any other area, to hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease,” Newby says. Thin your middle by avoiding processed foods; studies have shown that the trans fats they contain create more belly blubber than other forms of dietary fat. 

Newby also recommends getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked at least once during your twenties—more often if you have a family history of heart disease or if your numbers are high (your BP shouldn’t top 120/80, and your total cholesterol should be under 200). Left unchecked, high cholesterol and blood pressure can clog your arteries and increase your risk for a heart attack later on.

Liver

This multi-tasker performs more than 5,000 functions, including storing vitamins and minerals and straining alcohol and other toxins out of your system. The more martinis you filter through your liver, however, the more likely you are to injure the organ’s cells. And that increases your chances of developing liver disease and cirrhosis, which can lead to cancer and liver failure.

Downing 10 shots in a row is certainly not healthy, but you also put yourself at risk if you drink just a little too much regularly—for example, two or three glasses of wine most nights. The USDA recommends that women have no more than one drink (a “drink” is a shot of liquor, a glass of wine, or a bottle of beer) per day.

But surprisingly, the largest contributing factor to liver disease is obesity. “Fatty deposits in your liver can cause inflammation and scarring, which can contribute to cirrhosis and cancer,” says Melissa A. McNeil, M.D., chief of women’s health at the University of Pittsburgh. Pump some iron and include protein in every meal to help add lean muscle to your frame. Finally, use your head in bed: Hepatitis B and C can be transmitted through unprotected sex.

Lungs

Your lungs don’t take in just oxygen; they also trap viruses, bacteria, and other airborne particles. So the better shape your airbags are in, the less likely you are to get sick.

To keep them pumping, stub out the butts. Twenty percent of women in their twenties and thirties still puff, and “smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, a disease that kills more people than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined,” says Jennifer McCallister, M.D., a critical care and pulmonary medicine specialist at Ohio State University’s Heart and Lung Research Institute. 

It’s unclear how much specific nutrients influence overall lung health, but one thing scientists know for sure: Trading fried shrimp for less-fatty fare is a smart move. “When you’re heavy, your respiratory system has to work harder, in part because excess fat in your torso compresses your chest wall,” McCallister says. A recent study found that losing 10 percent of excess body weight (if you’re 40 pounds overweight, that’s just four pounds) improves lung capacity by 5 percent.

Pancreas

Got that “I’m so hungry I could eat a dozen doughnuts” feeling? That’s your pancreas at work. Sandwiched between your stomach and your spleen, this organ creates insulin—the hormone that regulates your blood sugar and makes you feel either sated and energized or ravenous and shaky, depending on how much is in your system.

“The steps you take to care for your other organs—not smoking, hitting a healthy weight, and exercising regularly—will keep your pancreas healthy, too,” McNeil says. But it’s also a good idea to load up on fiber. It reduces the risk of gallstones—tiny pieces of crystallized cholesterol that can cause pancreatitis, a nasty condition that can lead to pancreatic cancer. (They’re also twice as common in women.) A study at the University of California at San Francisco found that people who ate two or more servings of high-fiber whole grains a day (equal to about a cup of high-fiber cereal) had a 40 percent lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who ate one serving or less daily.

Source: Women’s Health Magazine Online

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Posted on February 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm by Weider · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Fitness, Health