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5 Ways to Hit the Fitness Reset Button This Fall

By Maire,

Fall Running

We’re more than halfway through 2016. How are your New Year’s resolutions shaping up? It’s never too late to re-start, and Fall is a perfect time. With school and a new season starting, it’s a great time to get your fitness goals back on track. Here are our tips for kick-starting a fresh fitness routine.

Fall Fitness Tips

Revisit Your Goals & What Didn’t Work Last Time

The best way to pave the way for success is to identify what bumps derailed you last time. Why were you unable to keep your last fitness goal? Was it too large? Did you not equip yourself with the tools you needed to succeed? Figure out what didn’t work last time and what you can do to right it moving forward. If your goal is to eat healthier, maybe you need to do a better job of pre-planning meals.

Fall Superfoods

Try New Tactics

Sometimes the approach is the reason for failure. For example, if your goal was to work out more often and you didn’t, were you setting unrealistic expectations? Were you approaching the goal the wrong way? If you want to exercise more and don’t like running, don’t try to become a marathon runner overnight. Try out different workouts to get your heart pumping, it just matters that you’re moving! (No matter the workout, find your perfect playlist on Fit Radio to set you up for success.)

Find a Partner

Were you trying to go at your fitness goals alone in January? Goals are much easier to attain in a group. Grab a workout buddy and hold each other accountable– you’ll be surprised at how much more driven you can become when you’re working as a team!

_main_partner

Respect the Process

Many people quit on their fitness goals because they don’t see results fast enough. It’s important to fall in love with the process and not perfection. Remember, reaching goals is more about the journey than the destination! If you learn to respect and enjoy the process and small wins, you’ll be more successful in the long-run.

Get Outside

As the weather changes, explore opportunities to change your workout too. Get outside and enjoy the crisp air on your next run or if your gym makes a change to its schedule seasonally, try taking your go-to workout class at a new time.

Fall Running

A new season is a great time to start a new fitness routine and hopefully, these ideas will help you get motivated to do just that. Embrace the change in seasons, weather, and your health habits. Soon enough, you’ll become healthier and happier for the new season ahead.

 

6 Reasons You Should Workout With A Partner

By Maire,

_main_partner

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.

The Ultimate Guide to 10 Different Types of Yoga

By Maire,

yoga-for-beginners-2

How to find the best class for you.

by Jake Panasevich

When I first started yoga, I wanted a fast-paced, physical and sweaty flow class. After a few months, I tried other styles, but they were hit or miss. In one class I ended up in, for example, the teacher talked about philosophy and led us in chants for nearly half the time. I was confused, bored and in pain from sitting cross-legged. If that had been my first experience with yoga, I’m not sure I would have continued.

If you are looking to get into a yoga routine this fall, choosing from all the different styles can be overwhelming. Studios offer more variations of yoga than ever before, but don’t let all the trends and gimmicky classes distract you. Be clear about what your goals are before you choose your path. Once you know what you want, choose a program that fits you best. Here’s how:

Yoga for the Athlete

  • Flow: If you want to get in shape and tone up without bulking up, an exercise-heavy flow class is a good choice. When I first started yoga, I lost 40 pounds practicing heated power yoga or hot Vinyasa. These classes include plenty of lunges, core work and pushups, which are effective movements to build strength and burn calories fast. The temperature of a power yoga class is around 90 degrees, and you move very quickly through the poses. It is very fitting for those who want to sweat more and talk less about alignment and philosophy.
  • Fusion: Classes that blend yoga and exercise are popping up everywhere. CorePower Yoga, for instance, is a newer, popular branch of the standard power yoga class. CorePower offers heated flow classes as well as yoga with resistance and weights. The weights will help increase the intensity and help you get a more chiseled physique. However, the stakes are much higher if you misalign. Another fusion of fitness and yoga combines yoga and barre, which involves a workout using a ballet barre. All of these options are focused on physicality and moving quickly to get a workout.
  • Vinyasa: “Vinyasa” can mean many different things – so much so that it is difficult to tell exactly what you are signing up for when you attend a class. However, most Vinyasa classes move briskly in cadence with your breath. These classes are not heated, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a good workout. While Vinyasa is fun and moving fluidly can be beneficial, these classes are not the best choice if you have an injury or joint pain.
  • Bikram: Bikram yoga is also a very intense method that builds focus. It is a very different physical challenge than Vinyasa. The yoga studio is heated to a sweltering 104 degrees and it is humidified to 40 percent so you break a sweat almost immediately. In Bikram, you practice 26 postures in 90 minutes, and hold the poses for a set amount of time. Bikram teachers repeat the same script each class, and it is the same sequence every time. If you enjoy the intensity of the heat and thrive with consistency, you will excel with Bikram yoga. If you enjoy variety, you should consider a different class.

Yoga for the Engineer

  • Alignment: If you have injuries or tend to be more tight and strong than flexible, an alignment-based class like align and flow, Iyengar or alignment-based Hatha is a good fit. The classes focus on subtleties where you learn by intellectualizing the biomechanical components of the practice. At some point, whether it is from getting hurt or just longing for more depth and knowledge about yoga and the poses, most people eventually seek out a slower, more thought-out, mechanical practice. Each class focuses on key alignment principles that provide insight on how to progress, and they are normally organized around a peak pose or a general focus. Additionally, alignment-based classes are great for beginners. You will move more methodically through poses and hold them longer than in a flow class. Pausing in a posture allows for more depth in a pose. This will provide a completely different challenge than moving at a quick pace.

Yoga for the Poet or Mystic

Yin and restorative yoga are perfect for those who love being still and who just need to stretch, restore and relax. In these classes, you will hold just a couple of positions for long periods of time. Exercise is involved in either style. Sequences are slow-moving and you use props to set up poses in a way that you can hold them for five to 10 minutes and attune them to your breath. If you are already on a grueling workout regimen, this type of yoga is a nice way to recover. By finding stillness in the poses, it becomes more of a meditative practice.

  • Restorative: Restorative is focused on alignment and positioning your body in a way that engages your muscles to protect your joints. This often requires props or using the support of the wall. For example, you may be asked to lie on your back with your legs up the wall for five minutes. This pose encourages students to attune to their breath and body.
  • Yin: Yin is slightly different from restorative yoga in the way instructors teach the poses. In this style class, you settle into the poses and stretch. There is less emphasis on engaging your muscles and, instead, you relax into each position.

Yoga for the Light-Hearted

If you are just looking to try something new and to not take yourself too seriously, there a couple options that are very playful and can be fun to try with a partner:

  • Aerial: If you’re feeling adventurous, you might try this style, in which the teacher helps you move through yoga poses while you are suspended in midair. I recommend trying a beginner’s class first and be willing to laugh at yourself when you fall and enjoy the anti-gravity effect.
  • Acro: Acro yoga normally involves coordination and time to build strength and to learn how to spot your partner. Usually, it takes some time for students to build self-awareness in their own bodies before trying these classes.
  • Partner: Practicing with a friend is helpful to go deeper into your poses. Events are also a fun way to make friends and try a class with a twist. Workshops range from music-themed classes – think metal music paired with Vinyasa – to yoga followed by beer tasting.

 

Find your flow and check out the latest Fit Radio Yoga mixes on our Yoga Station!

15 Best Superfoods for Fall

By Maire,

Fall Superfoods

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. 

15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Best Tips For Getting In Shape

By Maire,

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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.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-10-28-23-am

“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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A Beginner’s Guide to Getting in Shape

By Maire,

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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,

Runner

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,

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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.”

10 Reasons Exercising on Vacation is Worth it

By Maire,

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With the last days of summer upon us and the holiday season rapidly approaching, we want to know: Do I really have to workout when I’m on vacation?

It only took a little research to find a clear answer. While it might feel like vacation is the perfect excuse to hit the beach chair rather than the gym, there are actually a ton of benefits to working out on your time off. And best of all, it really doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t “forget” your running shoes on your next trip.

 

1.It’s meditation in motion.

According to the Mayo Clinic, focusing on a single task, such as physical activity, can result in energy and optimism. It can calm you down and clear your mind. The Fit Radio yoga mixes can help you get in the zone for a relaxing yoga session.

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2. It improves your mood.

Elle Woods said it first: “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy.” And isn’t the whole point of vacation to be happy?

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3. It’s a chance for extra alone time.

We’ve all wished for just five minutes of alone time on family vacation before. Going for a run, or even just a brisk walk, is a great way to enjoy some time to yourself. (Plus, have you tried our new Running Feature?)

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4. Or, it can be a great family activity.

Maybe you just can’t get enough of your loved ones, in which case physical activity is a great way to bond. Plan a family tennis tournament or basketball game. Go for a hike or rent kayaks. No matter the activity, it’ll bring everyone closer together and get everyone’s heart rate up.

 

5. It’s a great way to sightsee.

If you’re in a beautiful location with a lot to see, don’t spend valuable sightseeing time on the treadmill! Run through a local park or on the beach or up a mountain. Use exercise as an opportunity to do things you might not otherwise, like hitting the other side of town or catching the sunrise.

Asian woman running on waterfront path

 

6. It doesn’t have to take long.

Strapped for time? Don’t stress yourself out by trying to fit in an hour-long workout. Exercise trends like HIIT and tabata training can be done in as little as seven minutes and there are plenty of Fit Radio mixes to keep you entertained.

 

7. It doesn’t have to involve any equipment.

Skip taking the elevator and put on Fit Radio’s Stair Climber station as you take the stairs to your room. Workout complete.

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8. It’ll get you outside in the fresh air.

Running outside is reportedly connected with “greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Plus weather conditions can be a bonus; wind resistance creates a tougher workout and sunny skies provide much needed Vitamin D.

 

9. It will help you sleep.

It’s much-cited fact that exercising can help you sleep better. Vacation workouts will help you not only catch up on sleep, but get better quality sleep.

 

10. It’s part of your routine.

Could you really go a week, or even a long weekend, without listening to your favorite Fit Radio DJs? We sure couldn’t.

The Key to the Perfect Spinning Workout Mix

By Maire,

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Last week, we caught up with DJ Monopoli – a Fit Radio DJ favorite and creator of his wildly popular workout cycling mixes on our ‘Spin’ workout station. But how exactly does he craft these perfect spinning mixes? He broke it all down for us here:

Q: How do you choose your music?

A: I tend to gravitate toward tracks that build into a really intense drop, but also have a very melodic breakdown. I also love digging for unique remixes of classic tracks.

 

Q: How does your mix formula help during Spin classes?

A: Every instructor likes to do things a little bit differently. The general formula consists of a warm up track (something relaxed that allows everyone to get their mind right as they begin to pedal and get warm), followed by something that’s very high energy to get everyone going. After that, I tend to mix it up. I love to use a variety of different genres and tempos to really keep people engaged. More focus on the music = less focus on how bad your legs are burning!  And then I always try to end with a feel good track that leaves everyone in a positive state of mind.

 

Q: What do you think about when you put a spin mix together?

A: I really try to visualize myself being a part of the class so that I can determine which tracks will provide the boost riders need to keep pushing forward.

 

Q: What is most important element in a Spin mix?

A: ENERGY! Every track has to play its part in fueling the riders to keep going. A track’s energy can single-handedly provide that little extra push even when someone thinks they have nothing left. But with that, there must also be balance. People can’t cycle at full speed forever, so the music needs to provide that balance.

 

Q: What feature do you love about Fit Radio?

A: I LOVE having the ability to set my intervals and rest periods. I’m in the gym listening to Fit Radio daily, so setting my intervals really keeps me working at the pace I want to.

 

Q: What are the benefits being a Fit Radio DJ?

A: I really enjoy having the ability to interact with my listeners. Everyday I have new listeners reaching out via Twitter to let me know how much they enjoyed my mixes. That’s what it’s all about and Fit Radio provides that platform.
Learn more about DJ Monopoli and listen to his latest mixes here.