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Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Celebrity Trainers and Nutritionists Stay Healthy on Black Friday

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Don't Just Stand There! 7 Stretches For Waiting in Line

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yoga Class Fears (and How to Overcome Them)

As one of yoga's biggest fans, I'm always trying to persuade newbies to try a class. Whether you suffer from pain, stress, or you just want to get in shape for ski season, I'm convinced yoga is the answer. The problem is, some people are afraid to try yoga. Here are some popular yoga class fears and how to get over them.
"I'm worried I'll pass gas in class"
A valid fear, but at some point, all those twists and bends are bound to get things moving, and just about everyone I know has passed gas in class once or twice. Other students are very adult about it by pretending nothing happened. There are a few things you can do to prevent this possible embarrassment. Avoid eating gas-producing and high-fiber foods like beans, broccoli, and apples before class, and finish eating one to two hours before you head to the studio so your body has time to digest. If you know certain positions are bound to result in a loud outburst, move into them slowly. You can also choose classes that are highly populated or involve loud music so if you do let one go, it will be less obvious.
Keep reading to see what other fears keep people from trying a yoga class.
"I'll pass out from the heat."
Hot yoga classes like Bikram are crazy hot — think Florida in the Summer with 100 percent humidity. If you don't do well in the heat, start out with a different style of yoga such as vinyasa or jivamukti where the heat isn't turned up so high. Drink lots of water the day you plan to take class, eat something beforehand that's full of carbs and protein to give you energy, and if at anytime during the class you feel lightheaded, sit on your mat and take a break or step out of the room for fresh air.
"I'm the only one who can't touch their toes."
Yoga classes aren't only for the lithe and limber. That's the whole point of going — to become more flexible. Don't worry if you can't touch your toes, do a back-bend, or stand on your head; most people can't. If you're really self-conscious, start off with a beginner class filled with other newbies (rather than intimidating Patty Pretzels). Since it moves at a slower pace, you'll learn the basics and become comfortable, strong, and flexible enough to try out a regular class.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 Tips For Strength-Training Newbies

Aside from toned and sculpted muscles, strength training can also make you a better runner, cyclist, or swimmer. Increasing your muscle mass also increases your metabolism since muscles burn calories at a higher rate than fat. These are all great reasons to include strength training in your routine. If you're new to the scene, here are some helpful tips for beginners.
  1. Start off nice and easy: You may have a goal of doing 50 push-ups or five pull-ups, but building your strength takes time. At first, start with lighter weights and less reps, and gradually increase as your body is ready.
  2. Learn proper form:When starting out, it's important to learn proper form, which ensures that the exercises you're doing are effective while also preventing injuries. To do this, it's best to set up a few sessions with a personal trainer; aside from proper form, they'll also personalize your routine and show you moves to specifically target your weak areas.
  3. There's more to strength training than dumbbells: Hand weights are inexpensive and easy to use and can strengthen every part of your body, but you'll get more out of your session (and prevent boredom) by mixing up your fitness equipment. Take advantage of your gym and use the machines, resistance bands, exercise balls, medicine balls, kettlebells, battle ropes, and TRX training system — whatever they have. Also peruse the class schedule and try out classes with name like Body Pump, Body Blitz, Cardio Sculpt and anything else specifically designed to tone and define muscles.
Continue reading for more essential tips and for links to five strength training workouts.
  1. Don't just target your trouble spots: If you have a little junk in your trunk, it makes sense to want to devote your time to squats and lunges, but when strength training, it's important to target all your major muscle groups, even the ones you don't feel need attention. Constantly working a few areas will create muscular imbalances in your body, which can result in muscle strains or injuries. It's OK to focus on your butt and thighs for one workout, but the next time you strength train, do moves that target your arms and upper back, then the next day work your core. If breaking up your workouts by body part seems confusing, follow a routine that works your entire body each time you hit the gym.
  2. Mix up your routine: Once you learn a few signature moves, you want to keep your muscles guessing by doing your workout in a different order each time. As you learn new moves, start incorporating them for even more variety.
Need some ideas? Here are five strength training workouts to try:
  • Full-Body Circuit Workout With Weights: you'll need a set of dumbbells for this workout
  • FitSugar Circuit Workout: these moves require no equipment at all
  • Glutes and Hamstring Workout: you'll need a set of dumbbells, an exercise ball, and a resistance band for this lower-body workout
  • Core Exercises For Runners: target your midsection with these five dynamic moves
  • Arm Plan: basic yet effective moves to target your arms and upper back
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

6 Things I Always Do Before Heading Out For a Run

After noshing on a little preworkout snack I always do six things before heading outside for a run.
  1. Check the weather: It may look like blue skies, but that can change any second, especially in Vermont. Before getting all layered up, I take a peek at my local forecast map to stay on the lookout for any precipitation or storms headed my way so I can dress accordingly or plan to run later.
  2. Make sure my iPhone is charged: Since I love listening to music on speakerphone (it's safer than wearing earbuds), a charged iPhone is a must, but more importantly, I carry it with me on every outdoor run just in case I need to call for help (a morbid thought, I know, but better to be safe than sorry).
  3. Hit the ladies room: Nothing is worse than that uncomfortable feeling of needing "to go" halfway through my run, so I always hit the loo one last time before heading out.
Continue reading to find out the other three things I always do before heading out for a run.
  1. Stash tissues: While I'm in the bathroom, I grab a few tissues and stuff them in my right sleeve by my wrist. It makes them easy to grab, which is key since my nose tends to run while running, especially in cold weather. I stuff used tissues in my left sleeve so they don't contaminate the clean ones.
  2. Hit the stairs: Warming up is essential, especially now that it's getting chilly. I could walk briskly outside, but I find jogging up and down the stairs in my house is the best way to warm up. It not only gets my heart pumping, but it also works the muscles I use when running. I do the stairs for a couple minutes, enough to get my heart rate up, but not enough to start sweating. Then I head out the door.
  3. Tell someone I'm going: I'm so paranoid that I'll be out for a run, will twist my ankle and fall to the ground in pain, and won't be able to get home. Whether I'm running on my neighborhood streets or on the woodsy trails near my house, I always call my hubby as soon as I head out the door. I tell him where I'm running and what time I'll be back. He can expect to receive a call or text once I return, and if he doesn't, he knows to call and make sure I'm OK. If I don't answer, he'll know something is wrong. Knowing he's looking out for me while I'm outside running always makes me feel safer.
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4 Things I Wish I'd Known at the Start of My Weight Loss Journey

No stranger to the Freshman 15 in college, in fact, I experienced something closer to the Freshman 30. It wasn't until I saw a photo of myself heading into my sophomore year that I realized I was carrying quite a few extra pounds and that it was time to do something about it. It took me a very long time to lose the weight (we're talking not until after graduation), all because I thought I knew what I was doing. Boy was I wrong. Here are four things I wish I had known at the start of my weight loss journey.

You Can't Eat Peanut Butter Out of the Jar
While peanut butter is full of heart-healthy fats, it's not void of calories — one tablespoon contains 105. I found myself spooning it straight out of the jar, wondering why my jeans weren't any looser. This is important to remember with all healthy foods: just because they aren't considered junky, doesn't mean you can eat as much as you want. Be aware of portion sizes when it comes to whole grains, nuts, seeds, and health food store snacks.
Keep reading to find out what else I wish I had known about weight loss.
Being Vegan Doesn't Automatically Cause Weight Loss
My two roommates in college were tall, skinny, and vegan, so I thought eating a plant-based diet was the key to dropping pounds. I may have ditched animal products, but I ended up eating tons of pasta, bread, french fries, and dairy-free ice cream instead. Had I focused on fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains, a vegan diet might have helped me reach my weight loss goal, but my junk-food vegan diet actually caused me to gain weight.
Walking Isn't Enough
Walking is definitely a better workout than just sitting on the couch, so I thought strolling through the mall and walking to class would do the trick. But walking isn't a major calorie burner like running. When it comes to losing weight, you need to burn or cut out 3,500 calories a week to lose a pound. A 30-minute walk only burns around 122 calories, which is well under the 500 it takes to affect a weekly weigh-in. If you want to lose weight, you'll need to kick up the intensity and the length of your workouts.
One Workout Doesn't Mean You Can Eat All You Want
After hitting a Step class with my college roommate, we'd hit the dining hall and fuel up. We worked out so we deserved it, right? Little did I know I was undoing all the good I had done and actually eating way more than I had burned, which was making the scale numbers go even higher. If you need a little workout reward, don't do it with food. Download some new songs on iTunes, pick up a fitness mag, or buy yourself a new top to motivate you to get to the gym.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

How to Burn More Calories on Your Next Run

Running is an awesome way to lose weight because it burns mega calories and tones your lower body. If you want to burn even more calories the next time you are on a run, try these three tips.

  • Raise the incline: Running on a flat surface for 30 minutes burns 270 calories*, but if you raise the incline up five percent, you'll burn 363 calories. Raise it even more to 10 percent, and you'll burn a whopping 420. If you're not on a treadmill, incorporate natural hills into your run.
  • Increase your pace, even a little: A 30-minute run at a pace of 10 minutes per mile will burn 270 calories, but if you run a little faster at a pace of nine minutes per mile, you'll burn an extra 30 calories. You can also include bursts of sprinting intervals, running as fast as you can for 30 to 60 seconds, and then taking two minutes to recover by running at a slower pace. Each 60-second sprint running at an eight-minute per mile pace will burn 13 calories. The same amount of time running at a slower 10-minute per mile pace burns nine calories. It may not seem like a huge difference but those extra calories burned will add up over a workout.
  • Push yourself an extra five minutes: Sticking with your run for an extra five minutes will tack 49 calories on to your total calories burned. Do that five runs in a row and that's an extra 245 calories — it's like a whole workout full of calories burned!
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Will Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?

Trying to slim down and wondering if yoga is the answer? In order to lose weight, you need to burn calories, and like anything physical, doing yoga can help you achieve that goal, but it depends on what style of yoga you do. You want to choose vigorous vinyasa, power, or ashtanga classes rather than slower-paced styles such as kripalu or iyengar. These classes move quickly so they really get your heart pumping — you can burn over 400 calories per 90-minute class! These styles also incorporate poses that strengthen your muscles, and more muscle mass also contributes to your caloric burn.
What about Bikram? While this style of yoga involves practicing in a super-hot room so you sweat your butt off, sweating alone isn't what results in dropping pounds. You'll experience water weight loss, but as soon as you rehydrate with a few gulps from your water bottle, you'll "gain" it right back.
Keep reading to find out how to get the greatest calorie burn from yoga.
In order to see results, practice 90-minute classes three to five times a week. Although yoga is an awesome total body workout, weight loss might happen more gradually than you want. In order to lose weight faster, I recommend supplementing your exercise routine with heart-pumping cardio sessions such as running, cycling, or hitting cardio classes at your gym.
Aside from burning calories and strengthening your muscles, yoga also helps you focus on having mind and body awareness. When you bring your attention inward, you may notice a shift in your perspective about how you treat your body and what you put into it as fuel. Doing yoga regularly can inspire you to take care of yourself as you become more aware of your physical and mental states.
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What's the Best Piece of Fitness Advice You've Ever Received?

When starting any new fitness routine, you often look to the experts for tips and advice. But the sheer amount of advice out there can be daunting for any fitness newbie.
Beginning runners, for example, often find taking up the pastime difficult because the sheer amount of advice out there gets confusing, according to a New York Times article. Figuring out the best running form, the type of shoes to buy, or the best time to work out can be confusing for a novice, and running studies have confirmed that there isn't just one answer for everyone.
Every piece of advice you hear may not work for your specific situation, but a tip from a friend or a helpful magazine article can be just the motivation you need during workouts. Whether it's a pre-workout snack recommendation or a pal teaching you correct push-up form, what's the best piece of fitness advice you've received?
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