Fitness & Wellness

 Nutrition For Weight Loss

 Nutrition For Weight Loss

No matter how many hours you spend at the gym or how hard you workout, you still need good nutrition for weight loss to occur. Feeding your body right is a top priority when it comes to shedding pounds. Not only do you need to eliminate junk food and foods that have a high calorie count but no nutritional value, you also need to ensure you have all the nutrients necessary for your metabolism to do its magic and help you burn calories. It takes more than just lowering calories to ensure you lose weight, it takes nutrition to drive the fires to burn those calories.

Potassium and magnesium boost your weight loss efforts.

Grab a handful of cashews or almonds to get magnesium. It is so important for loads of processes in the body, including contracting muscles. That action improves the the synthesis of protein and helps burn fat in the process. Magnesium also makes it harder to store fat and gain weight by lowering fasting glucose levels. A banana, nuts or green leafy vegetables can boost your potassium levels. It helps reduce bloating that can occur when water accumulates from too much salt.

You’ll feel fuller with choline and resistant starch in your diet.

Eggs contain choline and rolled oats and cold cooked potatoes have resistant starch. Both leave you feeling fuller longer, but for two different reasons. The B vitamin, choline, helps the body shed pounds by shutting off the gene that causes the body to store fat. One study showed that people who ate eggs for breakfast lost weight faster than those who ate toast or other carb for breakfast. You can toss some rolled oats in your smoothie to boost your weight loss resolve. If you replace just a small percentage of the carbs you eat each day with a resistant starch, you’ll lose weight far faster without feeling deprived in the process.

Get the protein leucine and Omega-3 fatty acid to boost your weight loss efforts.

Lean meat like chicken is a great way to boost the protein leucine that helps build muscles, while you’re losing weight. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does so you’ll boost your metabolism, while also staying healthy. Omega-3 fatty acid is found in flax seeds, grass fed cows and salmon. It’s provides a number of health benefits, besides reducing inflammation and reducing abdominal fat storage. You’ll get rid of your belly fat with Omega-3 fatty acid.

  • Vitamin D can help you shed belly fat and also speed the fat loss process. While your body converts it from sunshine, you can also find it in shitake mushrooms, fortified milk and eggs.
  • Grab an avocado for monosaturated fat. This type of fat leaves you feeling fuller and can help eliminate the fat on your abdomen.
  • It’s good for your bones and teeth, but also for your waistline. It’s calcium and is found in dairy products and other foods, like black-eyed peas and sardines.
  • EGCG found in green tea can help you shed pounds, plus green tea has other weight loss benefits. Switch out a cup of coffee for a cup of tea and you’ll get better weight loss results.

How Do You Relax After A Long Day

How Do You Relax After A Long Day

How do you relax after a long day? Do you go to the local watering hole and throw back a few brewskis or sit and watch television for an hour or so to decompress? You might be surprised that these aren’t the best way to unwind after a long and arduous day. Not only will alcohol add more stress to your body while it’s metabolizing, it adds extra calories. To really relax, you often need to drink more than just one or two glasses and that’s definitely not good for your health. Sitting down and watching television might help if you get completely involved in the show, but most of us are prone to half watching and stewing about everything that went wrong in the day…Again, not healthy.

Workout at the gym.

The harder the day, the harder you should workout. It burns off the hormones created by stress and replaces them with ones that make you feel good. Tossing around the kettlebells can be tough, but also fun and invigorating. The total body workout will take away the stress and leave you feeling refreshed. You’ll enjoy it while you’re doing it and get a feeling of freedom as you swing them. Suspension training can also be fun, but also very tough! It will have your body back to a normal relaxed state in no time.

Try meditation.

You can combine meditation with yoga or deep breathing exercises. Once you learn the technique, you can use it anywhere to help reduce stress and relax. In fact, using this technique for a few minutes throughout the day can help prevent the overload of stress you feel at the end of the day. If you want to try it first, go to a quiet area and breathe deeply, focusing on your breath while intentionally relaxing every muscle in your body. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels.

Go for a walk.

Alternate your pace between rapid and leisurely to get the most out of your walk. Enjoy the scenery as you start to feel the pent up emotions slowly drain from your body. Make sure you walk in a location that isn’t crowded, but not too isolated either—for safety’s sake. Crowded conditions can often bring on more anxiety and stress than the walk releases. Remember how bad it was shopping during the holidays or on Black Friday?

  • If you need a quick way to get rid of stress and it’s not time to go home, excuse yourself for a minute and take to the stairs. Running up and down the stairs a few times will relieve the stress and help you make it through the rest of the day. Jogging in place will also help if you’re in a one story building.
  • Take a warm bath or shower. Adding a lavender scent to the water is known to bring quick relief.
  • Give yourself a break. Schedule in an hour or two a week just for you. Even if you give yourself a ten minute break to do nothing, it can go a long way to relieving stress.
  • Sit in a dark quiet room by yourself for a few minutes. The room doesn’t have to be pitch black, just not bright. It’s a way to decompress and help bring you back to normal.

Indoor Activities For Winter Workouts

Indoor Activities For Winter Workouts

If the sky has been gray for weeks with loads of drizzling rain, you’ll find that you start to crave indoor activities for Winter workouts that won’t force you out the door to face the chill. That five mile run can be put on hold while you pamper yourself with the warmth and get a good workout in the process. The easiest way to get your workout without facing the weather is to stop at the gym on the way home from work. A group workout or boot camp in the gym can be a great alternative when it’s too hot or cold outside.

Break the monotony with an indoor sport.

Whether you want to rock climb, do power lifting or shoot some hoops, not only will doing it in a gym save you from the chill of the outdoors, it also can help add a pleasant break from traditional workouts. Get a group together and spend your night out with the gals or guys getting a great workout while having fun. Martial arts, kickboxing and regular boxing can also be invigorating.

Create an indoor workout.

If you aren’t a gym member or just want to stay inside completely, create your own workout at home. If you have a yoga mat and some simple homemade equipment or exercise bands, that’s even better. Homemade equipment can include clean milk jugs filled with water as weights. Make sure your routine includes a warm up and cool down. You can work on strength one day, flexibility and endurance another or ask your personal trainer for some ideas for a workout you can do in a pinch at home.

Take up walking, indoors.

Mall walking was embraced by seniors because it was free and the walk outdoor came with cold blistery weather. You don’t have to be a senior to appreciate the benefits of walking in the mall. If you’re a compulsive shopper, leave your credit card at home, but otherwise, you might even find a few items you need or just want. Carry the weight of the bag around the mall can build strength, too.

  • Get active with the kids. Whether you dance with them, do jumping jacks and other exercises or just have another active game, you’ll have quality time with the kids and get a workout, too.
  • Embrace the cold. Go to the mountains to ski or try some ice skating. You may find the cold isn’t that bad at all.
  • Try yoga. It’s not as easy as you think and one session will prove that to you.
  • Take a self-defense course. Not only will you get fitter while staying warm, you’ll feel safer after you learned how to protect yourself.

Great Gifts For A Healthy Christmas

Great Gifts For A Healthy Christmas

Whether you’re crafty and make your own gifts or opt for purchasing one, there are some great gifts for a healthy Christmas that include gifts of food. Food gifts that you make at home can include soups, granola and spiced nuts or popcorn. For those soups, you can either make them ahead of time and freeze them, or create a kit in a mason jar with directions, such as three bean and barley soup with elegant layers of dried beans and barley peeking through the jar. Of course, purchased healthy gifts can be anywhere from fruit baskets to the healthy boxed meals that are delivered to the home and then “assembled.”

Want something that lasts longer that a few settings?

There’s nothing better than a gym membership or a few sessions with a personal trainer, but then, I’m a bit prejudice. However, some appliances, such as a juicer, steamer or Magic Bullet can also be a welcome addition to a home where eating healthy is a top priority. The novelty may also encourage someone to become a healthier eater.

Get home exercise equipment.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment that might just gather dust or become a clothes hanger. In fact, some of the best equipment is easy storage and inexpensive. A few of the items include resistance bands, kettlebells, weights and a yoga mat, which you can use for all exercises—not just yoga. One session with a trainer can help the person learn how to use it with the proper form. However, you can also get an exercise video to show the movements. It’s a guide, but not one that’s as good, especially when you’re working with kettlebells.

Go techy with the gifts.

There’s loads of great technology and aps that you can purchase for your phone. For smaller gifts, find the type of phone they have and get them an app to help with diets, exercise or tracking. For a bigger gift, consider a pedometer, heart rate monitor or fitness watch. The fitness watch seems to be the hot item this year, but the other two will help the dedicated and not so dedicated, but must exercise person.

  • Buy your favorite guy or gal a mountain bike and one for yourself. It’s the perfect way to start working out together, having fun and even saving gas. You can often find these at second hand shops and pawn shops at a super low price if cash is a problem.
  • A gift certificate for a massage can be a welcomed gift for anyone that works out regularly.
  • Get them a gift of essential oils. Some oils, such as lavender, are great to promote sleeping. Some oils invigorate. Aromatherapy bath salts are also great.
  • Create a window herb garden for your special friend. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either.

Get Over Your Biggest Hurdles

Get Over Your Biggest Hurdles

Whether you’re trying to get fit or lose weight, you’ll probably be like most people and have a laundry list of reasons you can’t do it. Here are some ways to get over your biggest hurdles to a fit life. Most of the reasons are common and I’ve heard them hundreds of times previously. Of course, the first is lack of time. People often don’t realize that regular exercise boosts your energy level and helps you get tasks, both mental and physical, completed more quickly.

Lack of time, try these options.

Don’t try for a thirty minute walk each day or a thirty minute exercise ritual. Instead, break it down to two or three 10-15 minute sessions. You’ll get the same benefit. Walk more if you can’t workout. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the store and walk. Ride a bike to work instead of a car. Get up earlier. Yep, it’s the top way to get in exercise and while it may not sound appealing, you’ll be amazed at how good you’ll start to feel.

Avoid boredom when you workout.

If you hate the mundane routine of working out, you probably are working out on your own because trainers vary it. However, for those who actually hate running and body exercises because they’re boring, here are some other ideas to try. Try kickboxing, boxing or martial arts. These give a total body workout and there’s never a boring minute. Workout with friends or a special friend. That can make it more fun. Vary your routine. Monday shouldn’t be the same as Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. One day should be bike riding, while another body weight exercises. Pack in the variety!

You want to get in shape before you join a gym.

I can’t tell you how many people put off coming here until they look good in workout clothes. While I find it surprising, since we have a very supportive team here, it’s real for them and that’s all that counts. Start by finding out the least crowded time and exercise then. Better yet, start building your own self-image and confidence by praising yourself for all the benefits you’re getting with each workout. You don’t have to wear tight fitting clothes to workout or make a fashion statement, just know you’re getting results.

  • If you’re too tired after work to exercise, workout in the morning or at lunch. However, once you find how exercise is a stress buster, you’ll definitely want to hit the gym as soon as you can after a day at work.
  • Schedule your exercise with your peak times. Nobody is up and energetic continually. Make sure you’re not scheduling on your low energy times.
  • Make an appointment with yourself to exercise in your planner on your phone and set the phone’s alarm to remind you of it.
  • Keep exercise clothes ready at all times. Loose fitting clothing and comfortable shoes can have you ready to exercise at a moment’s notice. You’re more apt to use those extra minutes to workout or walk if you’re prepared.

 Meet For Yoga Instead Of Coffee With A Friend

 Meet For Yoga Instead Of Coffee With A Friend

One thing you simply can’t buy is time. Sure, you can create more time for yourself by paying someone to do extra tasks for you or buy the latest labor saving devices, but you have to earn the money to do that and it takes time. Making every minute count is important. Socializing with friends and regular exercise are also important. In order to maximize the use of your time, you can meet for yoga instead of coffee and you’ll get the benefits of socializing and exercising at once.

You’ll get rid of stress faster than you would talking over coffee.

While you may find a solution to your problem when talking with a friend. That doesn’t get rid of that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. That’s stress, my friend, and any type of exercise helps burn off the hormones created by stress and leaves you feeling good. Yoga also encourages relaxation to help you make it through the balance of the day and any tough times that lay ahead. You’ll think clearer and probably be able to come up with the perfect solution on your own.

You’ll build both strength and flexibility with yoga.

If you have ever seen someone go through the various yoga poses, you probably can tell it stretches you muscles and helps you improve your range of motion, leaving you far more flexible each time. However, most people don’t realize just how good yoga is at building strength, too. Not only do they relieve muscular tension, they build the muscle strength in the process. Once you try to hold a pose for a short period, you’ll know why it builds strength. It’s tougher than you think.

Yoga helps to relieve pain and to lose weight.

There are presently several studies that show how helpful yoga is in pain relief. The combination of practicing the asanas, focused breathing and meditation can help with a number of painful conditions, such as MS, arthritis, cancer and auto-immune disease. It aids in lowering blood pressure, too. The reduction of cortisol, the stress hormone associated with abdominal fat, is one way it helps to shed pounds even in the least active type of yoga. Many people say that yoga helps you get in touch with your body, which helps you to eat healthier and eat less naturally.

  • You’ll improve your breathing. The focus on slower deeper breaths not only helps lung function, it triggers a relaxation response, while also improving oxygen levels.
  • Yoga is cardio-friendly. No matter what your present shape, it can help improve your cardiovascular system in safely.
  • Yoga helps improve your mental functioning. It improves memory, concentration, reaction time and co-ordination.
  • You’ll be relaxed and happier when the session is through and be able to talk with your friend in a more productive manner, finding solutions rather than just complaining.

 Say Yes Before You Can Say No

 Say Yes Before You Can Say No

If you’re debating starting a program of healthy eating and regular exercise, say yes before you can say no. It’s too easy to find reasons that now is not a good time to begin a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, once you postpone starting, the drive to begin often falls to the wayside and it’s put on hold indefinitely. There are so many reasons to start today, one of which is to salvage the muscle mass you already have. Every decade from thirty on, if you don’t exercise, you lose up to five percent of your muscle mass. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get back on track.

Eating healthy can keep your body slender and make dieting unnecessary.

Learning to eat healthier not only takes pounds off, it keeps them off permanently. The more you learn, the more tricks and tips you’ll have to enjoy every bit of life, including food, but never worry again about an ever growing midriff. You’ll also be healthier and find you have far more energy because you’ve fed your body the right fuel. Eating healthy can keep you looking younger, too. It helps all parts of your body from the crown of your head down, including your complexion. Don’t wait to see the first wrinkle to start. Even if you have massive wrinkles, eating healthy can still help your complexion. A healthy diet is a great weapon against aging.

Exercise boosts your energy and creates the extra time to workout, PLUS MORE.

I hear so many people say they just don’t have time right now to start a healthy lifestyle. Those are the people that actually need to workout and eat healthier. Busy people live a stressful life. Successful busy people often have just as many stressors, but they take time to exercise and eat healthy. They often find it boosts their energy level and reduces the potential for illness. One of the reasons many top executives have a personal gym in their office or are members to exclusive health clubs is that they know that a healthy lifestyle gives them the energy to succeed.

Don’t let your metabolism slow. Exercise to prevent that from happening.

The more sedentary you are, the more you’ll tend to be and the harder it will be to lose weight. That’s because your metabolism slows the older you get…unless, you take action to prevent that from happening. No matter how out of shape you are, you can still slow, stop and reverse that process by starting a program to develop muscle mass, but it is harder the longer you wait. Strength training will burn extra calories and boost weight loss, but also builds muscle mass that can boost your metabolism.

  • It’s never too late to change to a healthy lifestyle. Even senior citizens who never worked out previously, benefit greatly from it. Don’t wait until you start to see physical changes, say yes before you have a chance to say no.
  • You’ll save time at the doctor and stay healthier when you workout. Within weeks after starting, you’ll notice the change.
  • You’ll reduce the risk of injury doing simple tasks when you workout regularly. Strength, flexibility and balance training can help prevent pulled and strained muscles.
  • The more you learn about healthy eating, the more freedom you have when it comes to food. Sometimes just substituting one food for another, such as brown rice for white, can save calories and provide more nutrition.

 Ever Thought About Biking To Work

 Ever Thought About Biking To Work

In today’s world of massive traffic jams, there’s an alternative that you might find quite appealing, biking to work. If you have ever been stuck in morning or afternoon traffic, you’ve probably thought, I could walk faster than this. That’s probably true. What is definitely true is that often you can bike faster than you can drive when the traffic gets congested. It does take a little more planning and effort, but it could be just what you need to ward off road rage and get great exercise in the process.

It takes planning to ride to work.

If you’re out of shape, it’s time to get into shape before you try to ride to work. Start a month or two ahead of time and ride every night, building it up until you can ride for an hour without the need to stop and rest. In the meantime, start plotting your course toward work. If you have a short ride, it makes it easier but for those with a longer ride it may take some planning and making certain adjustments in the riding arrangements.

Time to use the regional transit and your bike.

No matter how long the ride, you can still get some time in pedaling to work, you just have to be a bit smarter about it. All RT buses have bike racks and if your home and work are reasonably close to a bus line, you can mix riding the bus with pedaling, getting on at a later stop or off the bus earlier each time. You can combine biking with the light rail. They allow bikers to bring their bike on the train. You can even rent a bike locker and just ride to and from the train if you’re at quite a distance.

You don’t have to ride every day.

Whether you ride your bike to work just one day a week or do it every day, you’ll be improving your overall health and helping the environment in the process. If everyone rode their bikes to work just one day a week, those horrible traffic jams that take hours to get from one exit to another would be considerably reduced. For those brave enough to do it, switching out your bike for your car completely can reduce your annual cost. The average cost of owning an automobile is about $9,000 a year and increasing. Owning a bike averages a little over $300 a year. That’s a considerable savings, too.

  • Biking can help build stronger bones, which is particularly important for pre and post menopausal women.
  • Biking on a regular basis can reduce the number of sick days and keep you healthier. If you’re taking the bus on a regular basis, be aware the air’s not so fresh in there. Not only are bus riders more prone to respiratory infections, those who drive are exposed to a number of illness causing viruses in their car.
  • The government actually allows up to $20 a month tax free reimbursement when you ride your bike to work. Of course the expenses have to be bike related.
  • You’ll save time and burn off the stress hormones accumulated at work. You’ll also boost your cognitive thinking, so even mental functions will be easier.

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

It takes a lot to finally decide you want to get into better shape and live a healthier lifestyle. However, in order to achieve that, you have to create goals. Setting realistic fitness goals can be tough. You want them difficult enough to be exciting and push you beyond your comfort zone, but you don’t want them so hard that they’re unachievable. Goals need to be specific and have a timeline. For instance, “I want to lose weight,” is not a goal. Neither is, “I want to lose five pounds.” You need to be specific about the amount of weight you want to lose and have a time frame. “I will lose five pounds within a month,” is more like it.

What’s wrong with, “I want to get fitter?”

That sounds like it might be a general goal, but what does it mean? You need to be able to measure a goal. That’s one reason trainers first assess each client before training starts and records that information. They then help the client set a goal based on the information. If the client isn’t fit, a goal of doing three sets of five pushups by the end of three weeks may be super challenging, but still doable and is extremely specific, with a time frame to complete the task at hand.

Goals are a roadmap on your journey to fitness.

You wouldn’t take a trip without knowing where you’re starting and where you want to end, plus, the amount of time you have to get to that point. That’s what goals do. They’re a path to follow to your destination of fitness. They also serve another important purpose. They help you to stay focused and motivated, both while you’re trying to achieve them and much later in your workout program. If you’re feeling punked out because you don’t think you’re making much progress, look back at the first goals you set and you’ll feel much better.

There are long term goals and short term goals.

When a client has a huge amount of weight to lose or is a long way from being fit. The first goal they think of is usually huge! This is where being realistic is important. If you have 100 pounds to lose, focusing on that 100 pounds will be discouraging. I’ve had one client who had close to that amount to lose and wanted to shed it in a month. That’s just ridiculous and unrealistic. Big goals should be broken down into smaller goals that are easier and quicker to achieve. For instance, losing ten pounds for the month and dropping from 210 to 200 in one month is realistic and achievable. The following month, it could be shedding another ten to drop from 200 to 190.

– Fitness goals don’t have to be weight loss goals. They can be endurance goals, such as increasing your distance or length of time, strength goals that include lifting more weight and flexibility goals, such as being able to touch your toes.

– Setting goals can actually help you find creative ways to achieve those goals. They’ll be on your mind and that puts your focus on fitness.

– To be successful, your goal needs to be something you really want, so you’ll commit to it. Keeping goals realistic not only provides motivation, it provides a sense of


– Always write down and record goals. It adds another dimension to the dedication of achievement.

How Much Exercise Is Enough

How Much Exercise Is Enough

People often wonder how much exercise is enough and there is no one right answer, but a range of possibilities that start at 150 minutes a week. The reason for the range is that everyone’s goal’s are different. If you’re a professional athlete, you’ll workout more than the person who just wants to stay fit. Even within the “staying fit category,” there will be differences. While 150 minutes a week is the recommended amount to start, it’s also noted that 180 to 300 minutes is even better.

Identify your goal.

Do you want to shed weight, build muscles or endurance? The benefits you get from a workout depends on what you put into it. Are you working out for heart health? One new study showed that you may need as much as 120 minutes a day five days a week or ten hours a week at the gym to get maximum heart health benefits. Of course, there are other goals besides good health, even though it’s normally part of every goal. Some people workout to lose weight and others want to build muscles.

Shedding pounds is a combination of working smart and putting in the time.

Not all exercises are alike when it comes to burning calories. Kettlebells burn more calories per minute than most other exercises. One reason we use the various exercises and workouts at Innovative Strength & Conditioning is because the various combinations get the most results, whether it’s building strength, burning calories, improving flexibility or increasing endurance. You need a minimum of 120 to 180 minutes a week for weight loss.

Building strength and endurance keeps you healthier throughout your life.

Strength training should be part of everyone’s workout. It not only helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis, it also builds lean muscle mass while you shed fat. Endurance training is heart healthy and keeps you going throughout the day, no matter how long it is. Spending 30 minutes on each a week is a starting point.

– Discuss your goals with your personal trainer to find how much time you should spend working out each week.

– While working out more can bring better results, there comes a point when it slows results and can even cause injury or illness. Your body needs recovery time.

– Make sure you include all four types of exercises in your workout. While strength training is important, so is flexibility, balance and endurance.

– Putting in the right amount of time with the right combination of exercises is important, but not as important as staying focused an maintaining motivation to continue until you reach your goal.