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7 Reasons You Should Listen To Music When You Workout

By Maire,

Research consistently finds that listening to music distracts athletes from their “bodily awareness”. And a recent study found that not just listening, but controlling and creating music in time to one’s pace had an even more profound effect on perceived effort during a workout. Here are seven very good reasons to rock out during your next gym session. More

How to Use Cheat Days to Lose Weight

By Maire,

Science says go for it.

 

Bigfoot. The deadly combo of Pop Rocks and cola. Uncontrollable holiday weight gain. Turns out, not even that last one was ever real.

When National Institutes of Health researchers looked into the oft-repeated claims that most people pack on five or more pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (some estimates have gone as high as 10!), they found the actual average gain was less than a pound.

“The concerns are very exaggerated,” says Traci Mann, Ph.D., author of Secrets from the Eating Lab. “Yes, your scale might show a temporary blip, but it’s unlikely you’ll move up to a higher weight and stay there unless you start and maintain a new habit.”

Data published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology earlier this year found that designating a weekly cheat day (in science-speak, planned hedonic deviation) improves people’s ability to stick to a healthy eating regimen in the long run. (Sweat towards your weight-loss goals with these moves from Women’s Health’s Look Better Naked DVD.)

The key word here? Planned. Spur-of-the-moment splurges can set in motion what University of Toronto researcher Janet Polivy, Ph.D., has dubbed the “what-the-hell effect”: You feel like you’ve already blown it, so why not chow down?

“You don’t want to be heavily restrictive about what you eat during the holidays, nor do you want to go overboard to the point of discomfort,” says Mann.

Use the novel cooking tips that follow to make the feast less of a beast. (See ya, belly bloat.)

Get a head start on starch.

Cooking and then cooling potatoes, pasta, and rice converts some of their carbs into what’s known as resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that your body can’t digest. As it passes through your system, it occupies space in your stomach, filling you up. Besides helping you feel sated, one study showed that replacing just over 5 percent of a meal’s carbohydrates with resistant starch increases fat burning by about 20 percent. So at least 12 hours before the big meal, cook any potato, pasta, or rice dish you plan to serve. The effect persists even when you reheat, so you’ll save both time and calories at your dinner.

Make over your mash.

Once you’ve cooked the spuds ahead, lighten them more by using a contraption called the Smood ($25, dreamfarm.com). Its shape—a cross between a whisk and a plunger—is perfect for making fluffy potatoes without cream or butter. Other handheld mashers require a lot more elbow grease and still leave chunks behind, but this tool forces potato between gaps in the coil to iron out lumps.

Be a bread winner.

If you want to indulge in white bread on your cheat day rather than the more blood-sugar-friendly wheat, try this: Freeze it, then pop it in the toaster. That will lower its glycemic index (a measure of how quickly a food spikes blood glucose) by nearly 50 percent, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers suspect the two-step process changes the structure of the starch molecules in bread, leading it to behave more like a complex carb (those good-for-you whole grains) than a simple one (the nonfilling, fast-digesting, refined baddies). Result: fewer blood-sugar roller-coaster rides that promote cravings.

Ban cans.

Canned food = processed food. And the more processed a food, the faster your body can turn it into glucose, a.k.a. sugar. Biologists at Pomona College served calorically identical meals, but gave one group food made with processed ingredients while the other group was served whole foods. When they measured diet-induced thermogenesis—the additional calories burned when eating and digesting—in the hours afterward, it was nearly 50 percent higher in the group that ate the unprocessed meal. Swap canned green beans for fresh, and store-bought fried onions for caramelized ones or toasted nuts, which provide the same crunch but have healthier fats. In sweet potato casserole, nix the marshmallows and top with a mixture of fat-free Greek yogurt, honey, chopped mint, toasted walnuts, and a pinch of salt, suggests chef Isaac Bancaco of the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii.

This article was originally published in the November 2016 issue of Women’s Health, on newsstands now.

7 Ways to Make Your Lunges More Effective

By Maire,

Lunge Tips

These aren’t your average lunges.

by: Alexa Tucker | Self.com

 

Lunges are a fantastic compound exercise to target your legs and glutes, but if you rely on the same movement to work your lower body in every workout, you might be hampering the butt-strengthening benefits of the exercise. You can avoid this by mixing in different lunge variations, explains David Juhn, CPT, personal training manager at Life Time Athletic at Sky in NYC.

“The body can adapt to same sequence of exercise over time,” says Juhn. “It’s important to constantly challenge our bodies with different movements.” Changing things up can help avoid fitness plateaus, whether your goal is to gain strength or lose fat.

Plus, many lunge variations incorporate other fitness benefits, including twists that work your core and plyometric jumps that jack up your heart rate. “[Variations] can turn normal mundane workout to dynamic and challenging routines,” says Juhn. Here are seven amazing ones that will make your regular lunge envious.

Lunge Exercise Tip

Step Up With Reverse Lunge

“This entire sequence demands coordination, balance, and core stability,” says Juhn.

  • Stand in front of a box or step, about one foot away.
  • Step up with your left foot and drive your right knee up towards your chest.
  • Step your right foot back to the starting position and step your left back into a lunge, lowering your knee toward the ground (make sure your right knee doesn’t go past your right toes).
  • Step your left leg back onto the step or box to repeat the movement.

3 Reasons Why You Hate Running

By Bianca M,

1. You’re doing it all wrong 

When most people think of running, they chalk it up in their minds to be this huge ordeal in which they should be huffing and puffing, bent over with hands on knees at every stop light, and drenched in sweat about 30 seconds in – sound familiar? In fact, this is the experience that a lot of people have. Why? Because they’re basically going out for a sprint, not a run.  More

30-Minute Indoor Workout to Beat the Cold Weather Blues

By Maire,

There are going to be days when you just don’t want to go to the gym. It might be raining, snowing or it might just be darn right cold. There are a lot of exercises that you can do at home to get an efficient and challenging workout on those days.

Here is a quick workout routine that targets your entire body in approximately 30 minutes without using weights or bulky machines.  More

Fit Radio Success Story – Meet Jennifer T.

By Maire,

Fit Radio Success Story

Meet Jennifer T.

Fit Radio is EXACTLY what I have been looking for. I love that I have the ability to let the app detect my pace for my “jogging” days and generate my BPM target rate to help me maintain my pace on “running” days. The controls are really intuitive and easy to set up by target pace and genre.

Fit Radio Success Story
I saw a Facebook Ad for Fit Radio. I just completed a great 10K race, but I was frustrated with the playlists I had cobbled together on Apple Music. Not being a big Trance or EDM music fan, I wasn’t crazy about the few 170 BPM running albums I found in my search either. In the past, I tried a couple different music apps that claimed to work with my playlists and music library, but they didn’t sync correctly with my Apple Music subscription and they didn’t offer their own mixes.

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The ad for Fit Radio popped up in my feed and I figured, “It’s worth a shot,” but I never expected to be “wowed” by it. I’m so glad I clicked! The different genres make it so easy to quickly choose music that fits my mood. Being able to choose mixes based on my BPM helps me keep a steady running pace. I love the integrated timing, distance, and cadence features too. (Which also save me from draining battery life by opening other fitness apps.) I have a feeling my next races will have much better soundtracks!

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Do you love Fit Radio? Tell us about your experience for your chance to be featured! Click here to learn how.

6 Reasons You Should Workout With A Partner

By Maire,

Here’s why hitting the gym with a workout partner is a good idea.

1. YOU’LL BE MORE MOTIVATED.

Don’t feel like working out after work? It’s one thing to cancel plans with yourself—it’s another to cancel on a friend or partner who’s counting on you. “No one wants to be Debbie Downer by bailing and letting down your friend,” says Steve Stonehouse, personal training manager at Crunch in New YorkCity. You’re much more likely to meet your friend for a planned workout session at 6 p.m. compared to tentative plans you made with yourself for, say, sometime after lunch.

“After three or four weeks, once you’re in the habit, you won’t even think about canceling on your friend,” adds Stonehouse. (But if your main man keeps bailing on you, then you might be better off picking a new gym partner.)

2. YOUR WORKOUTS CAN BE MORE FUN.

News flash: The treadmill and the bench press aren’t the most exciting ways to pass the time. With a partner, though, you can get your heart racing with some one-on-one basketball, racquetball, or even just a partner workout like the ones in our three-day program for training partners.

Workout Partner

 

“You can also take turns leading new exercises and switching up the routine,” suggests Stonehouse. Maybe you know a brutal leg lunge that you used to do on your own? Teach it to your buddy one day, and the next, let him teach you something new. “Your body adapts and becomes efficient at moves that you’ve done again and again,” says Stonehouse. “The more you change up your workout, the better your body is going to respond.”

3. YOU’LL WORK OUT HARDER.

“Whenever you’re working out with someone else, the intensity is always going to be greater than when you’re alone,” points out Stonehouse. (You don’t want to be the wimp who can’t keep up with a seven-minutes mile.) One key tip when picking your partner: Your athletic abilities should be in the same ballpark. A more seasoned gym-goer won’t get as much out of working out with a newbie, while a beginner can find it frustrating if he’s only doing a third of what his partner can do.

“If you’re on the same level, you can push each other,” Stonehouse says. Odds are, you’ll both want to quit around the same time but you’ll go a little longer if your friend is still at it.

4. YOU’LL FINALLY BE ABLE TO AFFORD A PERSONAL TRAINER.

Sharing a cheeseburger is cheaper than buying one yourself (and fewer calories). The same math applies when it comes to a personal trainer. At Crunch, for example, a one-on-one session costs about $85, but a partner training session runs around $50 per person. “One-on-one training is still the bulk of my day, but I’m seeing more and more partner training for financial reasons alone,” says Stonehouse.

5. YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE A SPOTTER.

Never again will you have to approach a random meathead and ask him to spot you. Never again will you have to count your own reps.

It’ll also save you from forced reps: “Let’s say you’re on the bench press and you want to stop at 10 because you’re not sure you can make it to 11,” Stonehouse says. “If you have a spotter, you don’t have to worry as much. You’re more likely to power through the 11th, 12th, and 13th reps—and each of those little lifts will add up and make a difference.” Use your spotter to keep an eye on your form as you work, too.

6. YOUR FRIENDS WILL BE THINNER.

Before you judge us, we’re not being totally shallow here—having thin friends is for your own good. Researchers at Harvard University found that you can “catch” obesity (along with smoking habits and happiness) because it spreads like an infectious disease. The experts found that a person’s risk of becoming obese rises by two percent for every five obese social contacts they have.

Fortunately, the reverse is true, too. Overweight people tend to lose more weight if they spend time with their fit friends—and the more time they spend together, the more weight they lose, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Obesity. “If you’re surrounded by people who are active and eat well, there’s a good chance you’re going to do the same,” Stonehouse says.

15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Best Tips For Getting In Shape

By Maire,

15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape –  – BuzzFeed

So you want to eat healthier and get in shape? That’s great! Learn from some people who’ve definitely been there.

Getting into shape and living a healthier lifestyle can be seriously daunting.

That’s why BuzzFeed Life reached out to people who’ve been there to ask them to share their advice. For one guy, that meant learning a way to trick himself into using the spin bike more often. For another woman, that meant transforming her eating and fitness habits, losing over 150 pounds, and getting her diabetes and blood pressure under control.

Whether you’re looking to make a big change in your life or a few small ones, you can probably use some of the tips these former couch potatoes shared. And if you’ve made a healthy living change in your own life, share it with everyone in the comments!

1. Make it easy for yourself to workout in the mornings.

“I never exercised. Very rarely. I knew I needed to because I needed the outlet for stress, and I wasn’t sleeping well. But I also didn’t want to exercise after work, because I’d always want to go out with friends, or come home and relax and just watch TV. So I knew I needed to try morning exercises if I was going to fit it into my day.

Here’s how I do it: When I get home from work I lay out my exercise clothes. I fill a bottle of water and put it in the fridge. I pack the outfit I’m going to wear to work the next day. I pack everything — makeup, shoes, outfit — have it all ready to go, and then set my alarm for the next morning. I do everything I need to do before I start to unwind. This forces me to just get up and do it, and not have to take the time to find everything or make excuses for why I can’t.”
—Cat Fuentes, 28

2. Master the art of portion control.

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“It hasn’t happened overnight, but in the past seven years or so I’ve lost over 70 pounds. I’m about to run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday — it’ll be my second marathon. Back 70 pounds ago, I never could’ve dreamed that.

Tricks for myself, in terms of weight loss: Portion control is huge when you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve never been someone who wants to cut something out completely, so I had to figure out a way to allow myself little indulgences. I still go to restaurants, but now I’m all about tapas-style dining, which allows me to try a little of everything. It’s something I’ve gotten myself into that allows me to eat better without sacrificing my lifestyle.

Another tip: I snack throughout the day to keep up my energy, so I keep healthy things by my desk. My trick is making sure the snacks are in reasonable portion sizes, so I’m not just mindlessly munching on them all day.”
—Emily Abbate, 26

Emily Abbate is an editor at Fitbie, where she writes about health and fitness. She’s also been actively training for the 2014 New York City Marathon, and has beendocumenting her progress in a video series on Fitbie.

3. Get enough sleep.

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“I had a breast reduction a couple months after I graduated high school, and then moved to Chicago to start college. Once I was out on my own, I had to learn to cook, which is typically healthier than dining out. And because of my class schedule, I had a lot of time on my hands to workout. Now that I no longer had HUGE BOOBS, working out was easier/more fun.

My number one tip for living healthier is to get enough sleep every night. You cannot eat healthy or stay motivated if you’re really tired. Sleep is legitimately the basis of all my healthy decisions. I just set a bedtime and stuck to it. Also, setting the alarm on your phone is really good for creating a new bedtime routine. Like if you need to be in bed sleeping at 11 p.m., set an alarm for 10:15 to remind you to like… stop checking Facebook and go wash your face. And sort of related: Unplug before bed. I put my phone in airplane mode to sleep better.”
—Rachel Miller, 29

4. Don’t aim for perfection.

“In 2007 I lost about 80 pounds, and then in 2012 gained most of it back. I wanted to get back in shape, so I decided to try running every day. And I was maybe running half a mile, maybe a mile at the most — I wasn’t good at it. I gave up about three times, saying, “It’s not working out, I’m not good at it,” and just went back to doing nothing.

I had a friend who lost 100 pounds running. And she helped to hold me accountable to get in shape. She would send me texts and Facebook messages saying, “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” That became my motto. Every time I didn’t want to get up: “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” So I started running every day.

I run probably three times a week now, I go to a simulated surfboard class three to four times a week, and I swim three to four times a week. And I’m so happy I do — I feel great.”
—Laura Prescott, 30

5. Find a workout you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.

“I was never active or in shape… at all. I had years of failed attempts at fitness that mostly included running on the treadmill and failing at the gym. After a doctor ordered me to quit drinking, I needed an outlet to keep me sober. I looked into hip-hop dancing but felt out of place and hated it.

I used to pass a Krav Maga school every day on the way to work. One day, I stopped in for a trial class and signed up for membership that day. Feeling empowered and excited, I went four times a week. I was hooked. Not long after I started, they invited me to join the instructor program. After weeks of grueling training, I completed it — an accomplishment my 220 pounds, 20-year-old self would never have imagined.”
—Ben Ronne, 34

6. Try to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes (or three miles) every day.

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“I suffer from body dysmorphia, and consequently I really abused my body like crazy. Whether it was overeating, eating the wrong things, or eating to stuff my emotions down. I was also drinking a lot. Those habits didn’t go away when I became a trainer, and I felt like a humongous hypocrite. As time went on, I realized that I had a responsibility to my clients to walk the walk and talk the talk. I needed to make changes.

My big tip is consistency is key to getting in shape. The rule I set for myself (and that I set for my clients) is Thirty by Three: 30 minutes a day of some sort of exercise, whether that’s walking for 30 minutes, or five exercises that last about five minutes each with some breaks in between. OR you do three miles of something — three miles on a treadmill, elliptical, hiking. Sometimes an hour feels like just way too much, but 30 minutes always feels attainable.

For the past eight years, since I began focusing on my health, I’ve remained consistent — my body has stayed the same weight, I’m healthy, I’m a normal weight, I’m fit, and I’ve maintained it, and that’s what matters to me.”
—Kit Rich, 31

Kit Rich, an NASM certified personal trainer, is a Los Angeles-based celebrity pilates trainer. She’s been featured in Vogue, SHAPE, SELF, Women’s Health, Real Simple, US Weekly, and Pilates Style. She’s also made appearances on Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood LIVE!, E! News, E!Online, EXTRA, and The Today Show. She blogs regularly for Beautylish.com.

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