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New Year’s Health & Fitness Resolutions- How to Make Sure You Stick to Them! December 23 2015

                      

We’ve all undoubtedly made dozens of new year’s health and fitness resolutions, with a genuine intention of following through, yet they always seem to fall by the wayside after a couple of weeks. Sure, life gets busy, but sometimes we also set unrealistic standards and expectations for ourselves that actually become intimidating and set us up for failure. Here are a few general rules to follow when making your resolutions that will make your goals more attainable, and therefore make you more likely to stick to them!

         

Set Realistic Goals

If you set out to work out 7 days a week from a 1 or even 0 day a week schedule, you’re inevitably going to burn out quickly. It’s important to set goals that are realistic, and that won’t seem so overwhelming that you’re tempted to give up. It helps to set a plan in motion to increase your exercise regimen gradually, making it less intimidating and more motivating. Start with 2-3 days a week, go with this for a couple of weeks, then increase your limits. This applies to your exercises as well, start slow and build your strength and endurance by pushing your threshold gradually. Remember it’s not a race, it’s a marathon!

     

The same rules apply to your diet- don’t try to cut everything out at once. Ease your way in so you don’t end up in a starve and binge cycle where you limit yourself so much that you overindulge every time you allow yourself. This is hard on the body and not effective for weight loss. Sugar and carbohydrates are common groups that come up on the “elimination list,” just make sure to maintain a balanced diet and match your efforts with regular exercise. It’s all about building a healthy, maintainable lifestyle. Starving yourself will only cause low energy, and less productive workouts as a result. You need your fuel! Just make sure it’s the right kind.

    

Sign up for Programs in Advance

Because the fitness world has figured out that the first couple of months of the New Year is probably the biggest time for people to try to find their inner health and fitness buff, there are hundreds of programs available to help get you on track come January. Signing up for a program in advance is a great way to give yourself a little nudge to follow through on your resolutions. Once you start going regularly, you will find yourself part of a like-minded community and thus more inspired to follow through and chase your end goal.

If you enjoy yoga, sign up for the 30 day challenge at your local studio. There is almost always one happening in January! If you’re looking to build some muscle at the gym, sign up for a few sessions with a trainer there. They’ll get you on the right track, and feeling more confident to continue on your own thereafter. These kinds of programs also make amazing Christmas gifts! If you have a close friend or family member that you know is looking to make some improvements to their health in the New Year, grab them a fitness package. They’ll thank you for it now, and then again later!

           

Don’t Keep Your Resolutions a Secret

Sharing your goals and resolutions with friends or family will also help you stick to them. Saying them out loud makes them real, and signifies a deeper commitment. Plus, once you’ve brought your best pal or your mom in on your secret, they won’t likely let you give up easily either. It’s nice to have someone else nudge you once and a while too, especially if you’re starting to feel uninspired.

         

Track Your Results

Whether it’s at the end of each workout, or the end of each week, take a moment to track down what you’ve accomplished that week. This will depend on what your goal is- eating healthy, losing weight, toning up, etc. Track down any headway you’ve made towards your goal, or any lapses. This will help you keep track of your progress, and not let any cheating slip through the cracks!

        

Be Patient and Persistent

Visible results are never immediate, however, the way you feel physically after upping your exercise regimen and improving your diet will improve almost immediately. If the endorphins aren’t enough to keep you motivated, remember that all things worth having take time, commitment and effort. Remember why you set your goals in the first place, you will achieve them eventually! In the meantime, you will enjoy feeling a lot more energized, healthy, and positive.

We hope these few pointers will help you stick to your resolutions this year, and wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


Low Impact Exercise- Why Everyone from the Youngin’s to the Geezers are Doing it! November 20 2015

                     

If you are a runner or an athlete, you have no doubt felt the effects that high impact exercise can have on your joints, muscles and bones after a while. This is why athletes have been making a real movement toward lower impact forms of exercise such as body weight training, swimming, spinning, and even yoga. Sports are hard enough on their joints, they don’t need to be putting extra strain on them off the field, court, ice- whatever it may be. Us every day folk could take a page out of this book too. There are many different forms of low impact exercise that are quite effective and easier on the bod! These types of exercises help prevent injuries associated with traditional, high impact exercise and equipment, and is great for all ages and fitness levels. It can also be beneficial for rehabilitation purposes. Most importantly- despite popular belief, it produces visible results the same way that more traditional, heavy duty exercise does. So put down the bench press and try a different approach. Your joints and bones will thank you, and you’ll be surprised at the results you see!

                      

Body Strength Training

It’s a common misconception that we have to push ourselves on strength building machines and lift heavy weights to build strength and muscle. It’s actually a much better workout to use your body weight and movement to build strength and muscle. Body strength training is a great combo of cardio and strength training, as opposed to weights which only target certain areas to build isolated strength. (Ex. Bicep curls, bench pressing, lat pull-downs, etc.) Another benefit is that because there is no machinery involved, you can transition more rapidly from one movement to another. Circuit training is a popular form of body strength training, which entails progressing through a series of movements such as lunges and knee lifts. This fluid range of motion not only helps with flexibility (allowing your joints to move more freely) but it builds core strength, helps with posture, back strength and endurance, and burns fat like crazy! You will also develop better balance through control and awareness of your body. The best part about this form of exercise is that there is lots of variety in the movements and exercises you can do. You can always switch it up which helps keep you motivated to push your boundaries and break plateaus. Oh, and it’s free and can be done anywhere, anytime… which leaves little room for excuses!

                    

Swimming

Swimming is often thought of as more of a leisure sport, when it actually works every muscle and offers quite an amazing full body workout! Because water is non-weight bearing, the workout often feels much easier as there is really no strain on the muscles. This is probably the lowest impact form of exercise, so it is particularly good for those already suffering from joint or bone issues, pregnant women, those in rehabilitation, or the elderly. However, it is an excellent alternative from anyone’s regular gym workout as it works both the upper and lower body all at once. Interestingly, as opposed to other forms of exercise, because those carrying a little extra weight tend to be more buoyant, this form of exercise will be less intense for the overweight and probably more intense for those with a lower BMI.

                                  

Spinning

This is where all the runners live- it’s the same intense workout, without the heavy pounding feet on the pavement. Spinning has a lot of the same physical benefits of running- it increases endurance, strengthens legs, and ups your cardio fitness. The difference is that it is done in a controlled environment, and it is low impact and a whole lot easier on your muscles and joints. This form of exercise is great for anyone craving that high intensity workout, but not the achy knees and ankles. It is particularly beneficial for athletes training off season in helping them stay fit, while taking it easy on their bodies that will no doubt take a beating during the next season.

                        

Hot Yoga

Love that heavy sweat you work up during a serious workout? Hot yoga is no joke, and no- it is not for sissies. While it’s not always the highest intensity workout, hot yoga is known for building incredible core strength and balance, and increasing flexibility and endurance. It also helps with toning and weight loss with regular practice. Being in a 90 plus degree hot room also helps you work up quite the lather, and sweating out all those toxins can be very cleansing and therapeutic! Another known benefit of yoga is that it has positive psychological effects, as it fosters a stronger mind-body connection. Yoga is also a low impact form of exercise that uses only bodyweight and movement to build strength and balance, and really stretches out the muscles. There are many different types of hot yoga, all at varying levels of intensity. (Bikram, Moksha, Vinyasa, the list goes on.) Be sure to check the class descriptions at your local hot studio to see which best suits your needs.

So, next time you hit the gym, will you think twice about picking up the barbells? Ask a trainer to show you some body strength training exercises, you won’t regret it when you’re old and nimble!

 

 

 

 

 


The Benefits of Walking- For the Non-Workout Buffs! October 21 2015

              

As you may have noticed, we talk a lot about living the “sweat life” and, being major sweat junkies ourselves, generally cater more to the fitness buffs in our blog topics. However, we do recognize that there are many people out there who don’t share the same affinity for the adrenaline rush of a good workout, or get the same therapeutic experience from strenuous exercise. Whichever category you fall into, it is important to understand the importance of basic exercise, and the body’s need for movement. You don’t have to kill yourself on the treadmill, but at a minimum you should be walking regularly to keep your joints and bones strong, your heart healthy, your muscles moving, and your energy level elevated.

 

Walking has many known benefits, both physical and mental. For instance, it’s gentle and easy on the joints, and therefore appropriate for people of all ages and fitness levels. (It’s especially useful for those with arthritis and the elderly.) Whether you’re a gymaholic or a gymophobe, here are four major benefits of regular walking that you just can’t ignore!

It’s great thinking time.

               

Another major benefit of walking is that it’s less strenuous than other forms of exercise, and therefore requires less attention, allowing us to focus on internal issues. Walking gives you a chance to think; it’s a time to solve problems, hatch brilliant ideas, think about your loved ones and relationships, and generally pay more attention to life. Unlike driving, walking really allows you to be in the moment and be more engaged with the outdoors and the world around you.

It Improves brain function and reduces stress.

                

Walking, particularly outdoors, is a great way to clear the head. It rejuvenates and refreshes you, and provides an opportunity to sort through your thoughts and deal with any anxieties you may be having. Walking lowers cortisol levels, reducing stress, and also improves circulation which allows more oxygen into the blood stream. This improves your focus, energy level, mood and overall productivity. If you’re starting to feel burnt out after sitting at your desk for a while, taking a quick walk is a great way to get your creative juices flowing!

It boosts the immune system and strengthens the heart and bones. 

                            

Regular walking has been proven to increase overall health on a long term basis. Particularly when done outside, walking allows us to soak up lots of vitamin D that can be difficult to get through food. Vitamin D is essential for good bone health and boosts the immune system. Frequent walking also maintains healthy joints and keeps the bones and heart strong, preventing heart disease and osteoporosis.

It keeps you toned.

                                            

Though walking won’t have the same impact on your physical appearance as more intensive exercises like running or lifting weights, walking briskly on a regular basis will keep your metabolism working help you burn more calories, which is helpful in maintaining your weight. Power walking will also keep your legs and bum toned, and if you walk fast enough that you are using your arms for momentum, you may even notice more definition there, too!

The best part about walking is that it really doesn’t take more than 15-30 minutes a day, but the more you walk the better! It’s all about finding opportunities. Opt for the stairs instead of the escalator, every time. Take a brisk stroll on your lunch break, or skip the subway and take the scenic route to work in the morning on foot. Your body (and mind) will thank you! What is your favourite time of day to get your walk on?

 

 

 


Travelling Lots this Season? 5 Easy Tips to Help You Stay Healthy on the Road! October 05 2015

                

It’s so common when travelling to let all of your usual inhibitions and good habits go, and let the “vacation” mentality take over. If you’re someone who travels quite frequently, for work or otherwise, this “vacation mentality” can easily turn into your everyday regime if you’re not careful! There are ways to avoid this, it just takes a little mindfulness, and some preparation.

Don’t indulge.

          

Just because you’re outside of your regular routine doesn’t mean you have an excuse to go for the junkiest item on the menu. It’s important to give yourself a little kick every time you are inclined to indulge, whether it’s at the airport or that fancy patisserie in the base of your hotel. Ask yourself before every meal- would I order this at home? If the answer is yes, then go for it. The goal isn’t to restrict yourself, only maintain your regular diet and habits to avoid weight fluctuations or falling under the weather due to a drastic change in your dietary régime.

Hydrate.

                             

Hydration is key always, but especially while travelling. Being on an airplane or stressfully racing through a busy airport is a draining and dehydrating experience. Being in a new city will also likely involve a lot of walking and a jam packed day of activities, and let’s face it hydration is often an afterthought. It’s important to compensate for all this extra movement with lots of water. Staying hydrated will keep you alert, looking fresh, and has also been proven to curb an appetite. Half the time we feel like snacking we are actually confusing our body’s response to dehydration with hunger!

Pack your Vitamins!

           

There’s no easier way to catch a cold or flu than to sit on a crowded airplane full of people from all walks of life, sharing re-circulated air for an entire flight. Yuck, I know. Kind of unavoidable though. The only answer is to equip yourself as much as possible by taking immune boosting vitamins and supplements before (and after) your flight. Echinacea is a wonderful herbal supplement that can be hugely helpful in preventing sickness. Vitamin C is an obvious second. Also, don’t neglect any other supplements you take on a regular basis. Make sure to pack them all for your trip! It may seem like extra weight, but especially if you are travelling frequently, falling off your vitamin schedule will only make your chances of crashing that much greater. It’s important to keep our bodies on a regular routine with vitamins, maintaining their levels on a daily basis for optimum health and performance. Travelling usually means foreign germs and less sleep, so vitamins are a huge saving grace in helping your body keep up.

Book a Hotel with a Gym.

            

As with your eating habits, it’s equally important to keep up your fitness regimen as much as possible while on the road. It’s all about maintenance. If you’re on a trip for pleasure, and doing a ton and walking and shopping, this will naturally compensate for the half hour or so you spend on the treadmill at home. However, if you’re spending your week with your butt in a chair at a conference, make sure to book a hotel with an accessible gym. This way there will be no excuse not to take a short half hour out of your morning, head down the elevator and sneak a quick sweat in.

Pack Healthy Snacks.

                                 

Before you head out to your hectic day in an exciting new city, wherever it may lead you, make sure to toss a healthy snack into your purse. Bring a pack of individually packaged almonds, or some protein filled granola bars. Having these handy will make the “don’t indulge” factor a whole lot easier. It’s a lot harder to say no to the baked ziti when you “didn’t have time” to eat all day. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by snacking regularly, and you’ll find it a lot easier to make healthy choices when you finally see a real meal.

Do you have any more tricks for keeping up your health routine on the road? We’d love to hear your input!


Morning Workouts- Early Bird Gets the Worm. September 24 2015

                 

As a non-morning person, I have traditionally struggled to find the motivation to leap out of bed and get my disoriented, grumpy self to the gym. The snooze button and I have become close friends, despite my better attempts to pretend it doesn’t exist. After giving it a chance, however, I’ve started to see the benefits of getting my exercise in at the beginning of my day, as opposed to near the end. Here are the top 6 reasons that starting my day with a workout has officially turned me into a morning person!

                  

It starts your day on a positive note.

Starting your day with exercise gives you a sense of accomplishment that you will carry with you throughout the day. Beginning on a healthy tip inspires you to keep this momentum throughout your day, swaying you toward the salad bar on your lunch break, or giving you a little extra nudge toward taking the stairs over the crowded escalator.

                             

It elevates your mood and productivity.

As Elle Woods in Legally Blonde so eloquently put it- “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Regular exercise has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on our overall mood and stress levels. Starting your day with exercise will release endorphins, improving your mood throughout the day. Naturally, starting the day energized and alert with a positive mindset will increase your productivity.

                     

It boosts your metabolism.

Often, for those of us too sluggish to give up that extra hour of sleep in the morning to get our bodies moving, our digestive systems tend to be a bit more sluggish. I often didn’t feel an appetite in the morning, and would end up skipping this essential meal and waiting for lunch. Getting your body moving first thing is a great way to work up your appetite for the day’s most important meal. Exercise boosts metabolism, so by getting it in earlier on, you will burn more calories throughout the day. (Especially high cardio or interval training exercises.) Eating a healthy breakfast is also key in getting your digestive system moving and kick-starting your metabolism for the day.

                

It’s the best time to build muscle.

Our hormones are elevated first thing in the morning, and drop progressively throughout the day. Testosterone, for example, is at its peak level in the morning, and is an essential hormone in building muscle. (Hello, abs!) With proper sleep, the morning is also when our bodies have the most energy and thus the most potential for a productive workout. Also, sweating regularly is great for the skin. Who needs makeup with that post workout glow?

                                        

It’s just you and your thoughts... and maybe a few others.                 

The gym in the morning is a far different vibe than it is after work hours. The snarling guy waiting to use your machine, the girl hogging the mat- these un-pleasantries are far less likely to be an issue in the wee hours of the day. The morning shift at the gym is a much more peaceful, serene experience. You will find yourself far less distracted or intimidated, and have a chance to really escape and experience the therapeutic aspect of exercise. Even if you’re not a gym rat and you prefer to jog outdoors or hit an early yoga class, these spaces will also likely feel much more calm and private earlier on in the day.

                             

It improves your family & social life.

Getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning is a great way to make sure it actually happens! There are so many distractions that can arise throughout the day- a last minute work assignment, a friend’s get together, a sick child, etc. Hitting the gym before you start your day checks off that box, leaving more flexibility for other priorities throughout your day, such as spending quality time with family and friends.

                        

So before you turn your nose up at the early morning keeners and hit that snooze button, give the morning workout a shot. It might take you a little while to adjust to the new routine, but once you start feeling the positive impact it has on your life, you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 


The Importance of a Healthy Body Image in Young Children July 08 2015

         

This subject may feel somewhat tired at this point, but I am glad to see the media beginning to focus more on the saturation of dieting and weight loss incentives and their negative impact on young children, particularly girls. With growing access to technology and various media outlets, children are being bombarded with messages about “losing weight fast” and seeing headlines like “get thin in just a week” on a daily basis. They are also being shown images of “the ideal body” that have been edited and manipulated, creating an unrealistic (and unhealthy) idea of what “normal” should look like. This is so common that they are growing up with the mentality that they should constantly be trying to lose weight, to be thinner, no matter their size or weight. Weight loss has gone from being a health requirement for the obese, to a common goal of the majority of the population, at least in Western society. It’s almost like a competition, who is the thinnest? Who has lost the most weight in the shortest amount of time? Exercise has become only about losing weight, as opposed to building strength, energy and endurance.

                        

These negative messages impact all people, but children are the ones in the most danger as their bodies are still growing and developing and need proper nutrition to do so. They are also extremely impressionable, and are developing their habits and mentality towards their health and bodies that they will carry with them throughout their lives. Creating a positive body image in young people isn’t just about telling them that they are beautiful no matter what shape or size they are. Though this is important, there is more to it. Instilling a healthy body image entails focusing on the important factors, like health, nutrition and balance. There is a fine line between making sure they are conscious of their health and making good decisions when it comes to eating and staying active, and over focusing on these areas.

               

The best way to ensure that your kids maintain a healthy mentality toward eating and fitness is not to over- focus. Lead by example and provide them with healthy, balanced meals from an early age. Get them accustomed to eating this way without harping too much on the importance of it. This being said, don’t completely deny them of treats. This will only come back to haunt them later as they will likely have self-control issues when they are no longer restricted from these “forbidden fruits”. It’s all about balance and lifestyle. Treats are treats…simple as that.  In terms of fitness, try to provide an active lifestyle for them. Don’t focus on the results of fitness, but the importance of staying active and involved in extra-curricular activities. Sports are a great way to keep them active, as they are social, fun and team based which builds trust and companionship. Companionship is a really key factor in my opinion. It’s healthy to have a little competition between peers, but competing with oneself can become obsessive and self-destructive, particularly when it comes to weight loss goals.  

                  

Long story short- sign your kids up for lots of activities! Encourage them to find an active sport that they love. Keep them well fed with a healthy attitude toward nutrition, and too busy to over-focus on things like being super thin or losing weight. If they remain healthy and happy, the physical results will come naturally.


Staying Fit as a Busy Working Parent May 22 2015

It's really easy to find excuses not to exercise when you're a parent of young ones working a full-time job. Life gets BUSY. But would you ever deem it excusable to neglect looking after your child for these same reasons? Didn't think so. The first step in the right direction is to start viewing fitness as a necessary part of taking care of yourself. You wouldn't skip a basic necessity of caring for your child, like food, education, or sleep, because you were too busy, would you? So why should your own body get the shaft? I'm not suggesting that every mother or father should make it a priority to resemble a fitness model or have "abs of steel," just that you incorporate fitness as a regular part of your routine to maintain your mental and physical well being. Trust me- your family will thank you for it!

 Without regular exercise, we eventually become low energy, burned out human beings (which can equal lacklustre parents and spouses!) Maintaining a regular fitness regimen keeps your metabolism going, your energy levels higher, and your mood elevated. This has obvious benefits for your relationships with your loved ones, and even your sex life. But who has the time or energy to hit the gym after a long day at work, then feeding, bathing and coaxing a bunch of rambunctious kids into bed? It's never going to be super convenient, but here are a few tricks you can use to find the time. 

 Take Turns

If you're married with young kids and both working full-time jobs, you're just going to have to accept that for the next few years, you will need to rotate the morning and evening shifts. No one loves waking up at 6am to hit the gym before heading to the office for a long day of work. However, once you get there and get going, it's surprising how exerted you feel going into your day. Getting those endorphins going first thing in the morning is a great way to start, hard as it is to get yourself there. This means your spouse takes the breakfast shift with the kids, gets them to school etc. and when you get home that night, you're on deck for dinner, bath, and bedtime while your spouse heads straight to the gym. You'll probably be ready for an early slumber yourself at that point, but it will feel well deserved. The next day, swap. Or, find a similar way to divide and conquer, allowing for balance of responsibility between you. 

 Single parent? Bite the bullet and hire a babysitter for an hour or two after work to do the dinner shift while you hit the gym. It's a worthwhile investment. 

8 Minute Abs, Arms, Legs and Buns. 

Are you a stay at home parent with no nanny or assistance? I get it- there's literally no time to hit the gym, at least not on a regular basis. This is where home workouts come in handy. I am going to let you in on a little secret of mine. I swear by these hilarious "8 minute workout" videos (below) that I found online a few years back. Judging by their attire, they must be from the 80's. It amazes me that they're still up but I'm not complaining! If you can get past the funny clothes and hairdos, these videos are super useful and get you toned up in no time. There's one for abs/core, one for arms, one for legs. 32 minutes and Ta Da! Full-body workout. When you put your kids down for a nap, grab your laptop and set up in a room with a little floor space to do your exercises. Not in the napping stage? Set up in a room within sight while they eat their lunch. Or better yet, create an arts and crafts activity (no sharp objects!) that will keep them busy for a half hour. These are only a few examples of the masses of online workout and yoga videos available online. Do some research and find a few that work for you!

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSby1UUhyts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSby1UUhyts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLIfN-31Bgs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnBhn7YSsnM

Play With the Kids! 

Don't underestimate the amount of cardio you actually get running after your little ones. As they get older, continue creating games that involve running, such as a family soccer or baseball game, capture the flag or even scavenger hunts. It keeps you AND your kids active and is a great bonding experience. 

 

Image Sources: 

Image 1-http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1026531/images/o-MOM-STRESS-WORKING-MOM-WORKING-MOMS-facebook.jpg

Image 2-http://www.thehabitproject.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/stressed-out-parents.jpg

Image 3-http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/11/03/1414973592839_Image_galleryImage_A_stock_photo_of_a_father.JPG

Image 4-http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/2010/09sep/stk2010_09_iStock_000010562074Small_424x302.jpg?width=475

Image 5-http://1.slimshortcut.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/mom-exercising-660x400.jpg

Image 6-http://f.tqn.com/y/grandparents/1/S/Y/S/-/-/CaptureTheFlagHillStreetStudioBlendImages.jpg 

 


Outdoor Workouts- So Hot Right Now. May 07 2015



With spring in the air and fitness rising on the priority meter, (hello, bikini weather) I thought I’d share with you the benefits and multi-uses of Mother nature’s back yard. Outdoor fitness is becoming more and more of a popular phenomenon. From fitness mobs  and running groups, to park workouts and TRX training, there are dozens of ways to use the outdoors as your gym, and soak up some vitamin D while you’re at it! Just follow these few easy steps and you’re on your way to an awesome beach bod, and some extra cash for summer fun!

                   

Image Source: http://www.domesticdork.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/NoGymNoProblem.jpg

Cancel your gym membership (for now).

Every spring, I cancel my gym membership. Why? I don’t see the need for a treadmill when I can run outside. I don’t see the need for machinery when I can use the monkey bars at the local playground for chin-ups and other exercises. I don’t need a floor mat when I can use my yoga mat in my back yard to stretch and do ab exercises. Most importantly, I save a solid few hundred dollars, and don’t burn fossil fuels driving to a gym or waste energy on electrically run machinery!  Most gyms will offer a 6 month membership. If you can do month to month, even better! Save money, travel time and energy consumption by using the outdoors until the weather no longer permits it.

Join a running group.

       

Image Source: http://trainingcampsf.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Group_running.jpg

As we’ve discussed before, community is a key element of staying motivated and driving performance when exercising. Most neighborhoods have a local group that gets together a few times a week to run. It’s a great way to meet people, and will keep you motivated to stick to a workout routine.

Use the outdoor elements.

      

Image Source: http://thefitchronicles.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/pre-beach-workout-photo-51.jpg

 Often if you drive past your local park or even the beach, more and more you will see people exercising. Many beaches (south Beach, Miami for instance) actually have designated bars set up designed for strength conditioning exercises! Otherwise, any local playground will have monkey bars and other useful equipment that have multipurpose use, you just have to get creative!

 Some tips:

1.  Use the stairs. Find a set of three or four stairs (or even a picnic table). Step up 2 stairs with your left foot, then back to the ground with your right. Repeat with the other foot. Then step  up 2 with your left, then 2 more with your right, then back. Repeat. Who needs a stair master?

        

Image Source: http://www.fitnessbyd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/P1030157.jpg

2Use the monkey bars. For chin-ups, grab on with both hands, pull yourself up to chin level, release and repeat. You can also use the monkey bars to strengthen your core. Hang on to the bars with both hands, and slowly lift your legs up as far as you can. Hold, and release. Repeat. Or, try any of the exercises above. They're tough, but will give you killer abs!

        

Image Source: http://redefiningstrength.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/monkey-bar-exercises.jpg

 


How to Survive the Inevitable Christmas Binge December 15 2014

                  

Tis’ the season to drink and eat lots… And lots… And then some more. And then hate yourself for it after. We all have a sort of hate/love relationship with the holidays, all the cheer and festivities- so much fun, so many calories. Between the abundance of sugary cocktails and hors d’ouvres at cocktail parties, to the big ol’ turkey dinner itself, even those of us with supernatural willpower are bound to slip a little. Well we think that’s OK! It’s all about balance, which includes allowing ourselves to indulge at certain times of the year, while being super diligent at others. That being said, there are a few party tricks we’d like to share to help you stay SOMEWHAT balanced over the next couple of weeks.

         

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Seems simple, but don’t underestimate the power of lots of H2O to counteract bloating from all that salt you’ll inevitably consuming, and those under eye bags from lack of sleep and too much sauce (nope, not the gravy kind…)

                                       

The Rinse Cycle:

This sort of ties in to trick #1, but following each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water will help with your hangover as well as your level of intoxication (no one wants to be the girl who sat on the bosses lap and slobbered all over his tie at the Christmas party.)

            

Squeeze in some exercise every day:

We know- with the back to back events and hangovers to boot, hitting the gym may seem next to impossible. But even if you can squeeze in a daily power walk with a family member or friend, it will make a difference. Get some fresh air and exercise and keep your metabolism going. Bonus- a great way to get a quality hour in with someone special during all the madness!

    

Don’t skip meals: 

A lot of people operate under the mentality that since they will be snacking at parties, they should skip dinner beforehand. This is a big NO, as you will be hungry and over eat. It’s harder to keep track of these small morsels, which seem deceivingly harmless. If you have a nice healthy (small) dinner before, you won’t go crazy on the apps. You’ll spend more time dancing, and end up consuming fewer calories throughout the night- guaranteed.

           

Bring a Healthy App:

Inevitably you will be paraded with an endless display of cheesy, carby, delicious appetizers at every party you attend. (Which could be 3 or 4 in one day!) So, it’s a great idea to bring along a veggie platter and some dip so you know there’s something to busy your hands with if you want to resist the temptation of the more gluttonous options.

   

 Happy holidays from the No Sweat team to you!!!

 


Limberness- The Silent Secret Behind a Killer Bod September 05 2014

               

Image Source: http://astoldbylaura.wordpress.com/category/college-life/page/2/

Ballerinas, Gymnasts, Cirque Du Soleil performers and Martial Arts experts are some of the most graceful, beautiful athletes to look at.  What do they all have in common? They are extremely fit, strong and FLEXIBLE. While many workout devotees focus on improving their general level of fitness and strength, flexibility seems to have been the ugly step-child of our gym culture- underrated and often an after-thought. 

In truth, the athletic performers that wow us the most had it figured out long ago. Flexibility is not only impressive, it is often what differentiates an average body from one that is super fab.

What:

 Flexibility can be termed as the ability of your joints and body parts to execute their full range of motion. In spite of common belief, flexibility is NOT genetic.  Yes, some bodies are more naturally supple than others but all bodies have the capacity to achieve a fuller range of motion with the right practice.  A focus on dynamic stretching  (“stretching while moving”) and isometric stretching (or “engaging the muscle while stretching”) is a good place to start.  These kinds of stretching increases core temperature, muscle temperature, elongates the muscles, and stimulates the nervous system all while yielding faster results.

            

Image Source: http://itrainthereforeieat.com/2013/11/22/should-you-stretch/

Why bother?

  1. It will save you from injury- muscles lose their natural suppleness are prone to tears, aches, and pains. Over time, loss of flexibility could lead to permanent changes in posture and normal muscle function.
  2. It will help “tricking” you’ll be able to take your yoga practice to the next level or really just impress the heck out of your friends and your kids at the park
  3. It adds a whole new dimension to your movement. Flexibility can’t be forced.  It takes time and patience and teaches “Kinesthetic awareness” where your body is in space and time. 
  4. It’s easy, fun, and impressive, so why not?

              

Image Source: http://loora.gym-space.fi/2013/05/07/kehonhuolto/?id=112&comment=1

How?

You should never feel actual pain. For the muscle/tendon stretches, a burning feeling lets you know that you’re doing it right. For joint stretches like the side split, etc., the feeling is odd. It’s uncomfortable, but not really painful. If a stretch ever genuinely hurts, then STOP! “No pain, no gain” does not apply to flexibility training.

Stretches to Improve Flexibility:

Shoulders-

   

image source: http://www.sensational-yoga-poses.com/images/bennitasana-chest-stretch-3.jpg

Spine- back bends, twists

image source: http://www.yogacurious.com/blog/one-legged-seated-spinal-twist-ardha-matsyendrasana-yoga-pose/2013/12/

Torso- side bend

                  

 Legs- side splits, splits, pvc foam roller

                 

image sourcehttp://www.fitsugar.com/Stretches-Sore-Lower-Back-24108098

                    

image sourcehttp://www.fitsugar.com/How-Do-Splits-3551904

                     

Knees- malasina

             

image source: http://crossfitwaterloo.com/2013/09/18/crossfit-kids-underway-yoga-schedule/

When?

The best part about stretching is that you can do it anywhere, any time. Try stretching while you watch TV. It keeps you from snacking and is great way to relax. Also, get your kids or spouse in on the action! Have them sit on your back, pull your arms, etc. to help deepen your stretch.

           

Image Source: http://funnymadworld.blogspot.ca/2011/10/funny-stretching-leg.html

Remember, flexibility isn’t something that happens overnight, nor is it something that will be achieved by putting in the bare minimum. Two months of 10–20 minutes of solid stretching every day should make a noticeable difference.   While, age, genetics, and how much you stretch, all play a role in determining how long it will take to achieve a particular goal, a reasonably fit person should take no more than 6 months or so to achieve a healthy to advanced level of flexibility.

                                

 Image Source: http://loora.gym-space.fi/2013/05/07/kehonhuolto/?id=112&comment=1

 

 


Sweat Therapy as a lost Art June 29 2014

                            

Image: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/fitboard/board/category/motivation/user/anbisel

Has the active community become too focused on visible results, and less about the joy of escapism and the natural high that exercise can bring you? The fitness world today seems to be so consumed with the body changing element of exercise that it’s become a completely result-driven, mundane series of robotic and strenuous exercises we push ourselves through on a daily basis to make our bodies look a certain way. People have stopped seeing their workout as a time to escape, think, and regroup, and instead find themselves eagerly anticipating the finish line.

                               

             Image via: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/61924563597131201/

Well get off the treadmill, I say- and go find something that you can get lost in. Stop pushing yourself, and start losing yourself. We’ve all felt the uplifting effects of a good sweat session- the endorphins, the release. Finding a sport or class you like is the key, something that you can connect with physically as well as mentally. The focus in your fitness regimen should always be to keep the body strong and healthy, and to feel energetic and balanced on a daily basis. Finding escape in sweating it out can be the best kind of therapy for your body and mind, so ditch your shrink, and go enjoy it! 

              

Image via:http://www.alfievente.com/acupuncturemassageforsportsinjuries