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Tips for Running With Your Pet

By Maire,

With the weather cooling down for fall, there’s never been a better time to try out a new outdoor workout, like running outside! If you need a companion to keep you accountable, look no further than fido. With the right preparation and gear, dogs can make great running partners, not to mention it will benefit you both! If you’re both new to the sport, here are our tips to getting started.  More

3 Ways to Boost Your Health This Fall

By Maire,

A Fall Wellness Routine To Boost Your Health

by: Dolores Baretta

The leaves are blowing in the wind. The sun is setting earlier, and the air has a certain crispness to it. The yang, or hot energy of summer has started to wane, and fall is in the air!

Fall is an important transitional time from summer, the most yang time of the year, to the densest yin season of winter. Everything starts to slow down and turn inward and descend. Nature is consolidating and disintegrating, returning to the soil so as to nourish the earth and allow it time to become fertile again. The yang energy of summer still hangs in the wind, though, as the harvest begins.  More

15 Best Superfoods for Fall

By Maire,

These amazing seasonal foods are the perfect excuse to visit your local farmers market.

Fall superfoods

The weather is getting cooler, but your produce choices are heating up.

These amazing superfoods are either hitting their peak in the garden or can easily be found in your local farmers market or grocery store.

They’re the perfect excuse to get cooking on cool nights!

Apples

Sweet or tart, apples are satisfying eaten raw or baked into a delicious dish. Just be sure to eat the skin—it contains hearty-healthy flavonoids. Health benefits include:

• Full of antioxidants
• 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving

Harvest season: August-November

Brussels sprouts

Made the correct way, these veggies taste divine. They have a mild, somewhat bitter taste, so combine them with tangy or savory sauces, like balsamic vinegar. Health benefits include:

• 1/2 cup contains more than your DRI of vitamin K
• Very good source of folate
• Good source of iron

Harvest season: September–March

Parsnips

Though these veggies may resemble carrots, they have a lighter color and sweeter, almost nutty flavor. Use them to flavor rice and potatoes or puree them into soups and sauces. Health benefits include:

• Rich in potassium
• Good source of fiber

Harvest season: October–April

Pears

The sweet and juicy taste makes this fruit a crowd-pleaser. Cooking can really bring out their fabulous flavor, so try them baked or poached. Health benefits include:

• Good source of vitamin C and copper
• 4 grams of fiber per serving

Harvest season: August–February

Rutabaga

A cross between a turnip and a cabbage, rutabagas are a popular Swedish dish. To utilize their earthy flavor, add them to casseroles, puree them with turnips and carrots to make a sweet soup, or roast them with ginger, honey, or lemon. Health benefits include:

• Good source of fiber
• Good source of vitamin C

Harvest season: October–April

Cauliflower

The sweet, slightly nutty flavor of cauliflower is perfect for winter side dishes. It’s wonderful steamed, but it can also be blended to create a mashed potato-like texture or pureed into soup. Health benefits include:

• Compounds that may help to prevent cancer
• Phytonutrients may lower cholesterol” “Excellent source of vitamin C

Harvest season: September–June

Squash

Unlike summer squash, winter squash has a fine texture and a slightly sweet flavor. Because of its thick skin, it can be stored for months. It tastes best with other fall flavorings, like cinnamon and ginger. Health benefits include:

• Contains omega-3 fatty acids
• Excellent source of vitamin A

Harvest season: October–February

Pumpkin

A type of winter squash, pumpkin can be used for much more than jack-o’-lanterns. Its sweet taste and moist texture make it ideal for pies, cakes, and even pudding! Health benefits include:

• Rich in potassium
• More than 20% of your DRI of fiber
• Good source of B vitamins

Harvest season: October–February

Sweet potatoes

These veggies are for much more than Thanksgiving casseroles. More nutritionally dense than their white-potato counterparts, try roasting them—they’ll taste delicious, and you may maintain more vitamins than boiling. Health benefits include:

• Excellent source of vitamin A
• Good source of iron
• Anti-inflammatory benefits

Harvest season: September–December

Turnips

Tender and mild, these root vegetables are a great alternative to radishes and cabbage. To flavor these veggies, use fennel, bread crumbs, or even brown sugar. Turnip leaves, which taste like mustard leaves, are easy to cook and dense in nutrients. Health benefits include:

• The roots are a good source of vitamin C
• Turnip leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and folate

Harvest season: September–April

Continue here reading at Health.com. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting in Shape

By Maire,

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting in Shape – by Steve – NerdFitness.com

You woke up today and looked in the mirror.

And you said to yourself, “Gosh darnit (or #$^@  $#@$@%), I’m going to get in shape!”

Just one problem – you don’t quite know HOW.

It’s okay; we’ve all been there.   This might be the first, tenth, or the fiftieth time you’ve tried to lose weight and get healthy.  Sure, things didn’t work last time, or the time before that, or even the time before that…”but things are going to be different THIS time,” right?

So you hop on the internet, search “how to lose weight,” and see 7.8 billion websites that promise you fast results with minimal effort.  You get overwhelmed, intimidated, and then go back to playing Modern Warfare 3 or Hello Kitty 2: Island Adventure.

Somehow, you stumbled across Nerd Fitness…which means there is hope for you yet 🙂

By the end of this article, you’re going to know exactly how to get in shape.

Get your act together

First and foremost, if you suck at life…it’s time to stop.

I know it.  You know it.  Even your mom knows it (she called me).

So let’s get started.  Think back to the last time(s) you tried to get in shape and lose weight.  How successful were you?  What made you fall off the wagon?  Congratulations, you already know what “get in shape” method doesn’t work for you.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Unless you’re insane, don’t try to get in shape the same way you did last time…it’ AIN’T gonna work!  If you counted calories, ran on a treadmill, did kickboxing, tried starving yourself, or whatever, and you’re not happy with the results, it’s time to try something new.

May I recommend the Nerd Fitness method of success: the Triforce of Winning!  Well, I just came up with that title, but now that’s what I’ll call it henceforth.  If you want to succeed at changing your life, you need three things:

  • Education: know HOW to get in shape
  • Inspiration: know WHY you’re getting in shape
  • Support: having others help you along the way to get in shape

If you can successfully combine these three crucial pieces, then you’lldefeat Ganon and save Hyrule have a fightin’ chance at getting in the best damn shape of your life.

Education

1) If you made some New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, make sure they don’t suck.  Be incredibly specific with your goals so that you can actively plan what steps are needed to achieve those goals.  Alternatively, if you somebody that NEVER succeeds at your goals, instead try making a new habit every 30 days…put the focus on the habit and not the goal.

Whichever method you decide, it’s important to be deliberate in your actions:

  • If you are setting goals – be SUPER SPECIFIC, write them down, and plan them out.
  • If you are making new habits – add them to your calendar, set phone alarms or alerts, and do them EVERY DAY.
  • Understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Optimus Prime didn’t transform in one move.  This is NOT a diet, or a quick fix, but a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.  Don’t expect overnight results, or abs in two weeks.  Slow, steady progress.

2) Identify your kryptonite.  If you tried to get in shape in the past and failed, it’s important to know WHY.  Did you get sick and give up after a few days?  Did you go on vacation and say “why bother?”  Maybe you just got bored?  If you sucked at getting in shape last time, educate yourself on the hurdles and kryptonite that made you suck, and work on either avoiding those pitfalls or develop methods to deal with them.

3) Clean up your diet.  Believe it or not, 80% of your success when it comes to getting healthy will depend on your diet – unless you are running marathons on a daily basis, you cannot outrun your fork, and you can’t out-train a bad diet.  I honestly cannot stress the importance of this enough.  Whether you want to count calories, cut out certain foods, or attempt a new diet all together, this is the most important step you can take:

Now, most people suck at eating better because they try to make TOO many changes at once, their stomach freaks out and they run back to their comfort foods.  My advice?  Pick one food change every few weeks, and stick with it.  Whether it’s eating less calories per day, drinking one less soda, eating more vegetables or cooking your own meal once a week…small changes can lead to big successes in the long run.

4) Find an activity that makes you happy, and do it all of the time.  Do you like to run?  Awesome, do that (just do it right).  Do you like to lift weights?  Awesome, make sure your workouts don’t suck.   Maybe you like yoga, or dodgeball, or Ultimate Frisbee, or rock climbing, or whatever!  If you tell me that “I don’t like to exercise,” then you just haven’t found the activity that makes you happy yet.

We’re genetically designed to be active.  If you don’t like to move, then it’s time to try new things until you find something that you DO like.  Sign up for a new class, join your company’s running club for a day, try out something in your basement or living room, just keep trying new stuff until you find something that you like.  And then do it as often as you can.

Remember, your diet is 80% of your success or failure.   Exercising regularly will help you build muscle, strengthen your heart, lose weight, increase your endurance, stamina, and/or flexibility.  On top of that, regular exercise keeps your mind thinking healthy, which in turn will keep your stomach thinking healthy, which will cause your mouth to want to continue eating healthy foods.  It’s the circle of life, sucka.

Now, if you want specific direction on weight lifting, weight loss, or running, I’ve offer a few premium resources on Nerd Fitness.  Yes, they cost money, but they work.  These guides have helped hundreds upon hundreds of NF readers transform their lives.  Each guide comes with specific workout plans depending on your fitness level, video demonstration of exercises, and more…they all come with 1-year, 100% money-back guarantees as well.

  • Rebel Fitness Guide: a fitness guide for beginners who want specific diet and exercise advice.
  • Rebel Strength Guide: a guide for people looking to build strength and muscle, either bulking up or slimming down
  • Rebel Running Guide: a guide for new runners who want to have fun while AVOIDING INJURY

If you want to buy more than one guide, email me atSteve@NerdFitness.com for combo pricing.

If you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can build your own workout, or get started with a free resource like my Angry Birds workout.  The important thing is to GET STARTED, and then try to get better each time.

5) Put it all together:  These are the steps you can take today:

  • Determine your goals or habits you want to establish.  Write them down and hang them up.
  • Determine why you sucked in the past and how you can avoid it in the future.
  • Start cleaning up your diet in whatever method works best for you.
  • Pick an activity that makes you happy, and do it.  A lot.

Inspiration

WHY do you want to get in shape?  What is your reason for wanting to do so? Do you want to get in shape to…

  • Impress a cute coworker?
  • Win a weight loss competition at work?
  • Eventually play with your newborn son?
  • Grow old with your significant other?
  • Prove everybody wrong who said “you can’t do it?”

Have a freaking reason, friend!  Write it down, hang it up in your bedroom, have a calendar alert pop up every day, whatever.  But keep that reason for wanting a better life at the front of your mind at all times.

Many people get inspired by reading success stories of folks like them.

Lucky for you, Fit Radio has plenty of them on our blog.

Support

Last but not least, you need support.

Yes, I understand its kind of fun to be an army of one: the lone ranger trying to succeed against insurmountable odds….but it’s not necessary.

Once you decide to get in shape, want to know the best way to guarantee success?  Make it public.  Tell all of your friends, start a blog, and/or inform your co-workers and ask them to keep you accountable!  Unless you like being called a quitter, you’ll probably think twice about skipping out on your workouts.

Maybe your word isn’t your bond, and you need a different kind of motivation and support to succeed.  Try money.  My buddy Saint said he would pay his friends $500 if he didn’t get in absolutely incredible shape for his wedding six months down the road.  Saint didn’t have $500 to lose, so he decided instead to just get in great shape…and it worked.

Build your own Jedi Council – find people who are stronger than you and work out with them, or faster than you and run with them, or more educated than you and ask them questions.  These are people that you can turn to when you need advice or help.  If you don’t know anybody in real life, keep reading…

Find a workout buddy!  There are going to be days when you want to sleep in and skip your workout.  There will be afternoons following a crappy day of work where all you want to do is play Halo.  Find somebody who’s at a similar level of fitness as you, and work out with them!  He/she will push you on days when you’re dragging, and vice versa.  You can inspire and support each other, feed off of each other’s success, and offer up tough love when the complaining gets too much (and yes, there will be complaining).

Read more about how Fit Radio, the number 1 fitness music app, is designed to help keep you motivated and reach your fitness goals here.

When to Replace Your Running Shoes

By Maire,

3 Signs You Need a New Pair of Running Shoes

BY: Julia NaftulinHealth.com

The relationship you have with your running shoes isn’t meant to last forever. Here’s how to know when to buy a new pair to prevent injury and prolong an enjoyable running experience.

A comfortable and supportive pair of shoes are a runner’s best friend, but even the best aren’t built to last forever. Avid runners know working out in worn-out sneakers can cause unwanted running injuries like shin splints or runner’s knee. But how do you know it’s time to trash your sneaks and invest in a new set? Here, two running experts share the signs that cue a much-needed trip to your local shoe store.

You’re racking up miles

“As a rule it’s best to update your running shoes every 300 to 400 miles,” says Nikhil Jain, senior footwear product line manager at Brooks Running. Since wear and tear on the shoe itself isn’t always obvious, this method ensures you get new shoes before your worn ones cause pain or an injury.

You can easily track your runs with apps such as Strava, MapMyRun, or Wahoo, or with a fitness tracker. You could also opt for an old-school approach and hand write your runs in a journal. If you’re looking to eyeball your mileage based on time, take advice from a pro: New York City-based running coach John Henwood says he replaces his own shoes every two months.

You feel aches and pains

“As soon as one of my runners feels a shin splint, the first thing I do is ask them how long they’ve had their shoes for,” says Henwood. Knee pain and shin splints, which cause pain in the lower part of the leg, could both signal you need new shoes, especially if you haven’t changed up your running routine at all.

Not ready to part with your precious sneakers? Jain suggests keeping them around for leisurely walks or running errands. “While they may no longer be in good condition to run in, it’s likely that you won’t need as much cushion and support in your other activities,” he says.

Your shoes look shabby

According to Henwood, there are three areas on the shoe itself that signal it’s time for a replacement: the sole, the tread, and the exterior fabric.

“The cushioning in your shoe will be the first thing to break down because midsoles are designed to absorb shock and protect the body,” says Jain. “The tricky part is that this wear isn’t easily visible.” If the soles are shot, the shoe may appear lopsided from putting more pressure on one part of your foot than the others.

The tread of the shoe will be the next area to wear out, so if the bottom of the shoe appears flat and smooth, chances are your soles have lost their support and cushioning. Any holes that appear in the shoe’s exterior fabric provide a third red light that they’ve deteriorated.

To prevent your shoes from wearing out before you hit 300 to 400 miles, Henwood suggests using them exclusively for your runs. “If you’ve got running shoes, don’t walk around in them,” he says. “Have your running shoes for running and other shoes for walking because how you use them changes how they last.”

Jain also suggests rotating between two pairs of running shoes to prolong each pair’s life. “In addition, having more than one running shoe in your rotation helps you work a slightly different set of muscles in your feet, helping you strengthen them,” he says.

How Fat Turns to Muscle Through Exercise

By Maire,

How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells

BY: Gretchen ReynoldsNY Times

Exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risks of developing diabetes and growing obese. But just how, at a cellular level, exercise performs this beneficial magic — what physiological steps are involved and in what order — remains mysterious to a surprising degree.

Several striking new studies, however, provide some clarity by showing that exercise seems able to drastically alter how genes operate.

Genes are, of course, not static. They turn on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from elsewhere in the body. When they are turned on, genes express various proteins that, in turn, prompt a range of physiological actions in the body.

One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body. In this way, the behavior of the gene is changed, but not the fundamental structure of the gene itself. Remarkably, these methylation patterns can be passed on to offspring – a phenomenon known as epigenetics.

What is particularly fascinating about the methylation process is that it seems to be driven largely by how you live your life. Many recent studies have found that diet, for instance, notably affects the methylation of genes, and scientists working in this area suspect that differing genetic methylation patterns resulting from differing diets may partly determine whether someone develops diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

But the role of physical activity in gene methylation has been poorly understood, even though exercise, like diet, greatly changes the body. So several groups of scientists recently set out to determine what working out does to the exterior of our genes.

The answer, their recently published results show, is plenty.

Of the new studies, perhaps the most tantalizing, conducted principally by researchers affiliated with the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and published last month in PLoS One, began by recruiting several dozen sedentary but generally healthy adult Swedish men and sucking out some of their fat cells. Using recently developed molecular techniques, the researchers mapped the existing methylation patterns on the DNA within those cells. They also measured the men’s body composition, aerobic capacity, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and similar markers of health and fitness.

Then they asked the men to start working out. Under the guidance of a trainer, the volunteers began attending hourlong spinning or aerobics classes approximately twice a week for six months. By the end of that time, the men had shed fat and inches around their waists, increased their endurance and improved their blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.

Less obviously, but perhaps even more consequentially, they also had altered the methylation pattern of many of the genes in their fat cells. In fact, more than 17,900 individual locations on 7,663 separate genes in the fat cells now displayed changed methylation patterns. In most cases, the genes had become more methylated, but some had fewer methyl groups attached. Both situations affect how those genes express proteins.

The genes showing the greatest change in methylation also tended to be those that had been previously identified as playing some role in fat storage and the risk for developing diabetes or obesity.

“Our data suggest that exercise may affect the risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity by changing DNA methylation of those genes,” says Charlotte Ling, an associate professor at Lund University and senior author of the study.

Meanwhile, other studies have found that exercise has an equally profound effect on DNA methylation within human muscle cells, even after a single workout.

To reach that conclusion, scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and other institutions took muscle biopsies from a group of sedentary men and women and mapped their muscle cells’ methylation patterns. They then had the volunteers ride stationary bicycles until they had burned about 400 calories. Some rode strenuously, others more easily.

Afterward, a second muscle biopsy showed that DNA methylation patterns in the muscle cells were already changing after that lone workout, with some genes gaining methyl groups and some losing them. Several of the genes most altered, as in the fat cell study, are known to produce proteins that affect the body’s metabolism, including the risk for diabetes and obesity.

Interestingly, the muscle cell methylation changes were far more pronounced among the volunteers who had ridden vigorously than in those who had pedaled more gently, even though their total energy output was the same.

The overarching implication of the study’s findings, says Juleen Zierath, a professor of integrative physiology at the Karolinska Institute and senior author of the study, is that DNA methylation changes are probably “one of the earliest adaptations to exercise” and drive the bodily changes that follow.

Of course, the intricacies of that bogglingly complex process have yet to be fully teased out. Scientists do not know, for instance, whether exercise-induced methylation changes linger if someone becomes sedentary, or if resistance training has similar effects on the behavior of genes. Nor is it known whether these changes might be passed on from one generation to the next. But already it is clear, Dr. Ling says, that these new findings “are additional proof of the robust effect exercise can have on the human body, even at the level of our DNA.”

How to Boost Your Metabolism at Any Age

By Maire,

A Faster Metabolism at Any Age

The secret? Eating more often, sleeping longer, and spending less time working out (really!).

You’d like to do something—anything—to speed up your metabolism, but it’s out of your control. Right? Not quite. Although genetics and your age both play a role, recent studies suggest you have plenty of say over how well your metabolism—which involves your body’s ability to break down food into usable energy—functions.

In fact, you can all but negate the metabolic slowdown that happens after 40 by tweaking your diet, exercise, and sleep habits. “Think of your body as an engine—your metabolism is the rate at which your engine runs,” explains Scott Isaacs, MD, an endocrinologist in Atlanta and author of Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight By Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism. “By making adjustments to these three elements, you can actually make your engine rev higher.”

The eating and exercise plans on these pages were designed to keep your metabolism humming to the tune of up to 10 pounds off in 21 days. Read on for the keys to not only losing, but losing for good.
Key 1: Eat early
Your basal metabolic rate—the number of calories your body burns at rest—is based on things like age, height, and body type, so there isn’t much you can do to alter it. But there is a lot you can do to change the number of calories you burn above that, beginning with your diet. Specifically: Eat breakfast.

We already know the reasons you may not want to (you don’t have the time/energy/stomach for it), but leaving for work on an empty stomach is like hitting the pause button on your metabolism. Here’s why: When your brain senses your stomach is empty, it sends a message to your cells to conserve energy in case another meal doesn’t arrive. In other words, your body holds onto the fat stored in your cells instead of helping you burn it off.

“Breakfast triggers a process called thermogenesis, where the body signals the brain to activate the metabolic process of turning food into energy,” says Mark Hyman, MD, author ofThe Blood Sugar Solution.
Key 2: Eat often
To keep your metabolism humming, Dr. Hyman suggests eating small meals every three or four hours. Aim to make each of those meals at least one-quarter protein—whether it’s animal protein, beans, or dairy, says Marissa Lippert, RD, who designed the eating plan on page 39. A recent study in the journal Neuron suggests that consuming protein stimulates the cells responsible for switching on the body’s calorie-burning mechanism.

Foods high in sugar and processed carbs, on the other hand, can lead to another problem: insulin resistance. “As we get older, it’s crucial to pay attention to how much sugar we’re consuming,” says Diane Kress, RD, author of The Metabolism Miracle. “Too much messes with your metabolism by causing your body to store extra calories as fat.”

Key 3: Sweat off the weight
Even more important? Exercise. “Not only does it affect your metabolism while you’re doing it, but research shows you can keep burning calories up to 24 hours after you finish because your metabolism stays elevated,” Dr. Isaacs says.

That’s especially true if you challenge yourself: A new study in the journal Cell Metabolismsuggests that intense bouts of exercise can “turn on” genes responsible for energy metabolism. Researchers found that the activation of these fat- burning genes was higher in cyclists who pedaled at 80 percent of their aerobic capacity versus those who did a more moderate cycling session at 40 percent. So although you can’t permanently change your DNA (if only!), experts say exercise can fire up certain genes that initiate the fat-burning process.

Exercise is particularly helpful once you pass the age of 40, when your metabolism naturally begins to slow down. Experts used to believe it slowed due to an inevitable loss of muscle mass. However, a study in the journal The Physician and Sports Medicine found that fit women ages 41 to 81 who continued to exercise four to five times a week as they got older had little change in body composition. The real reason you lose muscle with age? You stop using it. “We now know that women who keep up a regular vigorous fitness routine don’t experience the metabolic decrease,” Dr. Isaacs says.

Key 4: Sleep away the pounds
No, it’s not your imagination. Too little sleep can cause you to gain—and not just because you’re spending those extra waking hours in front of the TV nursing a bag of chips. Research suggests that people who sleep two-thirds of their usual amount (five hours instead of eight, say) eat an average of 549 extra calories the following day without realizing it. Experts believe this is because too few zzz’s upset the balance of important appetite-regulating hormones.

But that’s not all: A Swedish study found that even one night of disrupted sleep can cause the body to burn up to 20 percent fewer calories the following day. “Sleep deprivation impacts multiple hormones related to metabolism,” Dr. Isaacs says. “Resistance to leptin—a hormone that regulates body weight—increases, while levels of ghrelin, a hormone that signals to your brain that you’re hungry, also increase.”

Aim for seven to eight hours of pillow time a night, advises Dr. Hyman. “Just a small change in your sleep schedule can make a big difference in your health.” Not to mention your ability to burn calories.

(Article Source: Health.com)