How to Break Free of Emotional Overeating

how-to-break-free-of-emotional-overeating

how-to-break-free-of-emotional-overeating

Some Tips to Stop Emotional Overeating

It’s a well-known reality that thirst can sometimes feel to our bodies like hunger; this is why it’s recommended that those trying to cut calories drink a glass of water before eating to see if that satisfies the craving. In a similar vein, we can feel hunger—or we can simply want to engage in the act of eating—when the need isn’t related to the fullness of our stomachs at all.

If you’re feeling stressed, drained, empty, or any number of other strong emotions, the temptation can be to make it feel better by indulging in an extra plate of nachos or a late-night chocolate chip cookie binge.

If you regularly find yourself eating even after you feel full, rewarding or soothing yourself with food, turning to food when you don’t feel you can talk to anyone, or simply feeling powerless over your own reaction to food, you may very well be an emotional eater.

The good news is, there are several ways you can break free of that pattern and reestablish a healthy relationship with food.

Realize the Cause

Since many different factors can impact the way we interact with food, it can be helpful to figure out what’s triggering your times of overeating. Possible contributing factors include biology, tuning out while eating, a belief (conscious or otherwise) in the therapeutic nature of food, convenience, entertainment, or a general feeling of happiness and good memories upon consuming certain foods, according to psychologist Susan Albers in “Tips to Stop Emotional Eating” on the Dr. Oz website. If you’re having trouble pinpointing the exact reason behind your sessions of overeating, keeping a food diary can help. Try to record not only what types of food you’re eating but also the way you feel before and after eating.

Deal With Depression and/or Loneliness

When you feel depressed or lonely, it’s easy to turn to food as a temporary fix. Unfortunately, overeating not only fails to address the true underlying problem but it can also make you feel worse in the long run. It’s best, of course, to handle serious matters such as depression with long-term solutions, such a therapy, but there are also short-term tactics you can use to help boost your spirits and stave off feelings of isolation.

This can be a simple as calling a good friend, taking a walk in the park to see children playing, spending time with pets, or getting out a photo album or other keepsake that brings up pleasant memories.

The most important thing to realize is that you’re not alone. There are people out there who want to help you. Reaching out can be tough for a depressed person, hell, it can be tough for anyone, but it’s a crucial step to getting better. Depression is one of those things that can exist without any rhyme or reason, you may not even realize the reasons for your depression, let alone understand them. But you have to remember that it’s better to seek help from friends or professionals than it is to self medicate with things like food or drugs.

Distract Yourself

Sometimes the problem doesn’t necessarily stem from a deep-seating emotional problem but from boredom. To figure out of ennui is triggering your desire to eat, engage in a different activity before you snack. This could mean reading a book, taking care of a few household chores, or breaking out a board game. You may find that once your attention is engaged in something pleasurable, the urge to eat passes.

Another word of caution regarding distraction: make sure you aren’t unduly preoccupied when eating. It’s easy to eat past the point of hunger when you’re distracted.

The best distraction you can possibly have to overcome your emotions is exercise and fitness. Join a gym, or a yoga studio or a dance studio, run a marathon, etc. Anything that will keep you physically active is going to help you tremendously in the long run. Not to mention you’ll meet new people!

No More Anxious Eating

Anxiety is another common emotional trigger of overeating. Consider taking a two-pronged approach if anxiety seems to be a problem for you. Stop it before it starts by making sure to a get a full night’s sleep, prioritizing your own health with a sensible diet and hydration, and taking breaks to simply relax throughout the day. Try meditation, jogging, or sitting somewhere comfortable and listening to soothing music.

sources

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/diet-weight-loss/emotional-eating.ht

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/tips-stop-emotional-eatin

http://www.webmd.com/diet/stop-emotional-eating

How To Start A Morning Workout Routine

how-to-start-a-morning-workout-routine

how-to-start-a-morning-workout-routine

Start a Morning Workout Routine

Not everyone loves waking up in the morning. Only a few of us may love to wake up early to attend their various tasks in the course of the day, let alone to workout or lift weights.

How you get up in the morning and what you do afterwards can be essential to your health, and may set a good precedent for the rest of your day.

There are many benefits to working out as soon as you wake up. First of, if you workout or lift weights before you eat breakfast, your body will be burning strictly stored fat as energy, which can result in a lot of quick weight loss. This isn’t recommended for anyone who isn’t looking to lose weight though. It’s best to have some food before you workout to prevent over-exhaustion.

Also, working out in the morning is going to get you ready for the rest of your day since it builds discipline and releases dopamine which makes you feel good.

How to Get in the Habit of Working Out Early

Get the Right Amount of Sleep

This is a crucial step. The number one reason people can’t wake up period, let alone to workout, is because they simply are too exhausted too. Which almost always stems from the fact that they didn’t get enough sleep the night before.

Aim to get at least 7-8hrs of sleep so that you can get up much easier without the morning grogginess.

Set Two Alarms

Set one alarm to wake you up and the second alarm to make sure you’re up. A good trick is to set your alarm clock far away from your bed so that you are forced to get up to turn it off. This is going to force you out of bed which will in turn, hopefully, wake you up enough to start your day.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Thirdly, eating a healthy breakfast is one of the best nutritious healthy routines which should be considered in the morning, taking a healthy breakfast provides your body with enough energy that you need to help you go on with the activities of the day.

Food and fruits that are very rich in protein have been found to work nicely as they provide your body with enough food substance, and helps it start metabolism process.

For those who are tea  or coffee addicts, grabbing a cup of tea or coffee very early in the mornings makes their minds work better hence improving their level of concentration. However, this may not apply to everyone, especially those with caffeine sensitivity.

Start Small

This is an important step. One of the biggest reasons people fail is because they bite off more than they can chew.

Start small with your routine, form a habit. You don’t have to build Rome in that single day. You don’t have to just wake up one day and workout for 3 hours. You’ll only hate it and quit so fast, you’ll forgot that you even started.

Instead tell yourself that you’re going to walk or run for 5 mins the first day, then 6 mins the next day and so on. Then after a week or two, tell yourself that you’re going to add in 1 day in the gym per week, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, 6 or 7.

Everything you do should start small and build up. This is how things get done.

Benefits of Morning Exercise

Exercise in the morning will energize your body and also raise your self–esteem, knowing that what you have done is good for your body and that you have accomplished something.

Studies have also shown that exercising increases your mental capacity and normally lasts for five to ten hours after your workout comes to an end. This is also supplemented by the fact that exercise releases dopamine in our brains, which is what makes us happy.

Exercise in the morning helps you harness your brain power, which you may have wasted if you decided to snooze.

When you make morning exercise a habit, it will adjust your circadian rhythms and body endocrine in a way that your body learns to do the same activity each and every day, hence waking up in the morning never become a problem. The hormones also prepare your body for exercise as they regulate blood flow to muscles, blood pressure and, heart rate.

Think Positively

Lastly, if you find yourself in a bad mood early in the morning, you should sit upright on your bed and do some appreciation mediation. Think of the people you love such as your family, the work you do and the best hobbies that you love.

Spend about fifteen minutes thinking about the good things that you have in your life. In conclusion, a good workout routine is very beneficial to your life and should be a huge part of it.

sources

https://open.bufferapp.com/lasting-early-morning-routine/

http://www.inc.com/drew-hendricks/6-better-ways-to-start-your-morning.html

http://www.inc.com/magazine/201506/diana-ransom/2015-best-in-class-awards-products.html

http://fitnessreloaded.com/healthy-morning-routines/

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=468

How to Let Go of Negativity and Start Your Fitness Journey

how-to-let-go-of-negativity-and-start-a-fitness-routine

how-to-let-go-of-negativity-and-start-a-fitness-routine

Letting go of Negativity and Starting a Fitness Routine

When it comes to starting an exercise regimen, you can be your greatest enemy. You have too many excuses about why you can’t do it. You’re too busy, you aren’t strong enough, or you have too many health problems.

Sometimes your biggest enemy is yourself. This is particularly true when it comes to doing things that are sometimes hard and do not show immediate results. Such as fitness.

It takes a long time and determination to look like a shredded model in a magazine, so most of us just never even try. We say things like, “well that person has better genetics” or “they have more time than me” or worse yet “that person is on something”. We’ll say anything to make ourselves feel better about the fact that we lack the will to start, let alone finish something such as a workout routine.

Not only do we keep making up excuses, we actually delude ourselves into believing in them, to the point where we being to feel resentment towards those who don’t feel the same way or share the same views. This is why the fat acceptance movement is such a big thing nowadays.

The list keeps adding up, keeping you in the same place. It’s time to move forward. You have to shut the door on negativity and embrace your fitness journey. Make the first move and start now.

It Begins with Determination

You have to focus. Dig deep inside of yourself and think about all of the reasons that you need to become active. Start keeping a journal and tell yourself that today is the day that you begin a positive change. Write down how exercise can become a habit and all of the benefits that come with it.

Break down what you have to do and make a plan of action. When it’s staring at you in black and white on the page, it gives you something tangible to hold on to. You can do this. Take a lesson from Noah Galloway and tell yourself, “No excuses.”

Start Small

In order to begin your fitness journey, begin with small steps. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and overwhelm yourself. Otherwise, you’re more likely to give up. Break down what you need to do one goal at a time. If you haven’t been exercising at all, begin with a short workout session of 20 minutes. You can gradually build up more time.

Try something low impact, like walking. As you become stronger and your stamina improves, pump up the intensity, even if it means walking faster and for longer distances. You can make it work.

Find Something that Excites You

Light a spark of excitement inside of you. Finding your passion isn’t only important when it comes to making a living. You need to choose a fitness plan that inspires you to keep going. Choose activities that you really enjoy, whether it’s swimming, hiking, riding your bike in the countryside, or taking up a dance class.

When you love it, you won’t mind putting in the work, sweat, and energy. It’s a reciprocal relationship. You’ll feel good about your exercise regimen and your fitness plan will make you feel good in every way imaginable.

Change it Up

You need variety. Your body will become accustomed to patterns and you won’t see results over time. Make sure you do a variety of exercises, including strength and cardio. You could lift weights on one day, walk on another day, go for a swim, and try interval training as another option.

Try new things. You never know what type of exercise is going to get you pumped up. Don’t forget to include physical activity throughout your day, from taking the stairs to parking your car far away from the building to give yourself an additional workout. A body in motion will stay in motion.

There’s Strength in Numbers

Don’t go it alone. A fitness partner can be like having a personal trainer. You’re more likely to stick with it if you have a friend by your side who has similar goals. You’ll keep each other going and it will be harder to say no when someone else is counting on you.

Build each other up and remind yourselves that you are in this together. Keep your eye on the prize and never forget that your fitness journey can extend your life. Take care of your body and you can be in it for the long haul.

sources

http://zenhabits.net/get-off-your-butt-16-ways-to-get-motivated-when-youre-in-a-slump/
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-find-your-passion.html
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/why-you-should-have-a-workout-buddy.html

How To Change Your Fast-Food Breakfast Habit

how-to-stop-eating-fast-food-breakfast

how-to-stop-eating-fast-food-breakfast

Fast Food Breakfast and Why It’s so Popular

The facts are indisputable: while fast-food sales in general are going down, breakfast menus and sales are growing in numbers. According to one recent Los Angeles Times article, where once breakfast meals made up only a small percentage of the sales, as of last year, they produced $34.5 billion making up 25 percent of the 45 billion fast-food customers world-wide.

Fast breakfast is booming and it’s no surprise. People are working harder, working earlier, working more in general. The American people don’t sit down at the breakfast table anymore and take their times to eat. Mostly because they don’t have the time.

The Reason For Increased Fast Food Breakfast Sales:

Why this increase in fast-food breakfast meals? There’s only one word that comes to mind: convenience. In a world of microwave meals, snooze buttons and digital devices to check emails, text and other means of present day communication, people are just too hurried to stop and eat that vitally important meal.(1)

A quick drive through a drive-in window at fast-food eateries for that morning coffee, chocolate glazed doughnut and/or Danish pastry has virtually eliminated the time needed for preparing that hearty breakfast at home.

How To Break The Fast-Food Breakfast Habit

Let’s begin by saying that it won’t be easy. A bad habit that’s been done for years is not going to vacate the premises without a struggle. Howbeit, it is not impossible, and there are means to break those nasty bad breakfast fast-food habits–now!

Take Inventory And Get Serious

Do you want to eat at home for breakfast, or take it to work with you? Either way, you’ll have to plan ahead. To start off, what are the foods and beverages you can part with, and what are those you can’t do without–for now?

Plan Ahead

Making an impromptu breakfast meal the night before may be your best plan for this meal. Making your own one-handed breakfast food the night or week before and keeping it in the freezer for a quick microwave nuking session is one good way to go.

You could also put some yogurt and fruit into plastic or glass containers, and grab them in the morning along with your own rendition of Egg McMuffin–minus all the trans fats, salt and Lord knows what else.

Know Thyself And Keep A Journal

One article published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommended keeping a journal.(2) This really needs discipline, but keep a piece of paper handy and mark down every item that goes into your mouth. Make note of the time you ate it, how you felt after eating it 20 minutes after the meal and/or 2 hours later. Learn to listen to your body.

Now, review your diary at the end of the week. Check your eating pattern while eating, and decide what you can drop from your menu. Even if it’s a small item, like one tiny Dunkin Donut Munchkin donut–drop it!

Slow And Easy

While some nutritionists feel one should go cold turkey with nutritional changes, others feel it is best to gradually change the habits as you taper off. Don’t overwhelm yourself with wanting to shift gears too quickly; moreover, your mind and body will try to revert back to its former eating habits.

Never Skip Breakfast

Eat something within the first 30 minutes after waking up. Always try to include some food that is high in protein such as bacon, sausage links or a cheese/egg omelet.

Avoiding that mid-morning cup of coffee will help regulate your blood glucose level and lessen the cravings for more high-starch carbs and high-sugary meals at the fast-food restaurant come lunchtime.

Don’t Judge Yourself Too Harshly

No two body types are the same. What is right for one person is not necessarily the best diet for another. Experience and listening to your body may be the only true gauge we can go by in regulating our bodies to its proper nutritional type.

Tweak Yourself

Let’s say you start off your new breakfast regimen and find it hard to adjust. If this is the case, then eat several small portions of nutritious foods every two or three hours. A protein shake, a spoonful of non-fat cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg are all excellent choices.

In a nutshell, that’s how we can all break the fast-food breakfast habits, save money and live longer starting–tomorrow morning.

Reference Sources:
(1) http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-breakfast-wars-20150421-story.html
(2) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000349.htm

The Hidden Benefits of Hiking

hidden-benefits-of-hiking

hidden-benefits-of-hiking

Hiking and Its Hidden Benefits

Hiking is great way to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the outdoors. One of the main advantages of hiking is that it is an activity that is highly adaptable to many individual circumstances, such as fitness level, free time, monetary constraints, and length of travel desired.

In fact, this sport is one of the easiest physical pastimes to begin enjoying. Aside from providing a great source of physical activity and exercise, this fun hobby also has many hidden benefits that you will enjoy as you explore the hiking opportunities available in your locality.

Fight Stress With Each Hike

The modern world is demanding and nearly everyone must adhere to hectic work and family schedules. Taking time out to relax is important, and most people are already aware of the stress relieving properties of exercise.

Hiking not only provides the physical relief of other exercise options, but spending time outdoors and in nature has been shown to be a powerful stress and anxiety reliever. People who spend more time in outdoor green spaces exhibit lower levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which translates into a happier, healthier and more relaxed state of mind. Hiking perfectly combines exercise with time in nature.

Improved Quality of Sleep

Sleep deprivation has almost become the norm in today’s society. Whether you’re kept awake from stress, a constant flow of emails or an inability to shut off the TV, computer or mobile device, you’re not alone.

Nearly 20 percent of Americans report getting 6 hours or less of sleep a night. Most people need, on average, about 6-7 hours of sleep nightly to be adequately rested. Hiking, along with the benefits of aiding relaxation and reducing anxiety, can also help people to achieve a higher quality of sleep.

Regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep by over 50 percent in those who engage in a regular schedule of exercise. Thus, hiking can be an important part of getting a better night’s sleep.

Bonus Sleep Benefits of Camping

If you choose to take your hike to the next level and decide to spend an entire night in nature, or a few nights, you are helping your sleep cycle tremendously.

Most of us in the modern world have gotten so used to the artificial lights, noises and distractions of modern technology that our bodies have forgotten how and when it’s time to sleep. A night under the stars is a good way to reset that.

Your body will be in complete darkness at night and teach itself to wake up with the sun, as you’re meant to naturally. Just remember to not bring any electronic gadgets that you don’t absolutely need. Having a phone and GPS for emergencies is the only one I’d suggest, and only turn them on when you need them.

Hiking Helps to Build Stronger, Healthier Bones

Not only does hiking strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility, it also helps to build stronger bones. Exercise that is weight bearing, meaning that you are on your feet and supporting your entire body weight with your legs,causes new bone tissue to form.

Adding to your bone mass helps to avoid accidental breaks or fractures, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and strengthens your entire body. Hiking is a low-impact weight bearing exercise, making it appropriate for nearly any age group or level of fitness.

Hiking – A Whole Body & Mind Workout

Hiking requires that you utilize every part of your body, improves your balance and coordination and helps to build overall core strength. It also stimulates your senses as you bask in the beauty of nature, improves your mental capabilities as you maintain your trail route and creates an increased awareness of your surroundings.

Hiking lets you take full control of your workout, because you can go as fast or slow as you want and can control the level of intensity you experience. Because of the adaptability of hiking, both beginners and seasoned fitness aficionados can benefit from and achieve a satisfying workout.

You don’t need any special equipment other than a sturdy pair of shoes, you don’t need to pay for a fitness club membership and you don’t have to deal with the anxiety of learning how to operate exercise machines.

Hiking is good for your body, mind and soul.

Awesome Workouts You can do With Just a Pull Up Bar

workouts-to-do-with-just-a-pull-up-bar

workouts-to-do-with-just-a-pull-up-bar

5 Workouts that Only Require a Pull Up Bar

You can have an awesome workout even without any equipment! All you need to get in shape is yourself – push-ups, sit-ups, body weight squats and sprints can all be done without workout equipment of any kind. If you add a single piece of equipment – a pull-up bar – the possibilities for your workout are almost endless.

While a lateral bar about 6 – 9 feet off the ground may not sound terribly modern, exciting or intimidating, the truth is that innocent looking length of metal is about to put you through a routine that will leave you completely spent, build some serious muscle, and have people commenting on your physique.

What are the specific exercises you can use a pull-up bar for? Besides the fact that pull-up bars can be used for regular pull-ups (which is not exactly breaking news), pull-up bars have a multitude of other uses.

1. Medium Grip Pull-ups

This is your standard pull-up. Grip the bar slightly more than shoulder width apart, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, and slowly lower yourself back down again. If this sounds easy, just give it a try. Unless you are the Incredible Hulk, you’ll start to feel it after just a few reps! Medium grip pull-ups are one of the most effective upper body muscle building exercises, and target nearly every muscle group above the waist. While shoulders, triceps, biceps, back, and core all get a great workout from each of the three types of pull-ups, this grip gives your back an extra good workout

2. Close Grip Pull-ups

These may be slightly easier than a medium grip pull-up, but will still leave your arms burning! Grip the bar about shoulder width apart, or slightly closer. As with a medium grip pull-up, a close-grip pull-up will work basically everything above the waist, with a special focus on your triceps.

3. Wide Grip Pull-ups

These are killers! Wide grips are the hardest type of pull-ups and are not for the faint of heart. To perform a wide grip pull-up, grip the bar with each hand about 8 inches outside of your shoulder. As with the other pull-up exercises, these will work your entire upper body, but you will especially feel wide grip pull-ups in your shoulders.

4. Chin-ups

These are similar to pull-ups, but instead of gripping the bar with your palms facing away from you (as with pull-ups), hold onto the bar with your palms facing towards you and about shoulder width apart. Just like pull-ups, chin-ups are compound exercises and work every major upper body muscle group. However, chin-ups specifically target your biceps.

5. Leg Raises

This exercise is somewhat unique compared to the ones listed above. To perform a leg raise, grab hold of the bar with your palms facing towards you or away from you – it does not matter for this exercise. Instead of pulling your body upwards, swing your legs forwards by tightening the muscles in your stomach and, while keeping your knees as straight as possible, lift your legs until they are at a 90 degree angle with your upper body. Make sure to do each rep at a controlled tempo; don’t just use momentum to swing your legs forward. Although this exercise targets your core, as with all the other exercises mentioned in this article, leg raises will work all the muscles in your upper body.

Home Pull Up Bar

Some people may have access to a gym or a park with pull up bars and some might not. That’s why this nifty little invention came about called the home pull up bar. The cool thing about these bars is that you can put them up on almost any door way and do any of the workouts listed above on them. They’re designed surprisingly well and once you get past the initial “holy crap will this thing hold me up?” thought, you’ll be able to get in a solid workout.

I recommend going with this one that I found on amazon.com. I’ve never used it myself since I have access to a gym with a pull up bar, but from what i’ve read and all the reviews, it’s a solid buy, and it’s a decent price.

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

iron gym pull up bar

 

$23.38 @ amazon.com

By combining the five exercises listed above, you can get a complete upper body workout with a specific exercise targeting each of the five major upper body muscle groups.

So get ready, grab a pull-up bar, and prepare for an awesome workout!

Reasons Why Protein is Good for Weight Loss

reasons-why-protein-is-good-for-weight-loss

reasons-why-protein-is-good-for-weight-loss

Why is Protein Good for Weight Loss?

What goes in to your body affects how well your body maintains itself. That’s why your diet is just as important as how much exercise you get, especially when you’re trying to cut the pounds and add some lean muscle mass to your body.

The problem is that too many people focus on things like herbs, how much fat is in food, and other minute details that may not have as great of an influence on weight loss as you may have been lead to believe.

The answer to your weight loss woes may be simpler than you ever imagined. By shifting your diet to consume more protein, you may be helping yourself gain an upper hand in the war against weight.

Let’s explore the three biggest benefits that protein has when it comes to losing weight and getting shredded.

1. A Feeling of Fullness

One of the most prevalent problems with diets concerns eating too much and snacking too often. This problem is anything but simple, as it can be derived from everything including the desire to taste more of something that’s good to full-blown depression.

This wide range of causes can make treating the symptoms of overeating difficult. Couple this in with the low feeling of fullness that refined foods rich in processed sugars provides, and the problem becomes even larger.

Protein is one thing that can help with the feeling of fullness. Something as seemingly simple as consuming more protein in your breakfast meal can leave you feeling fuller for the remainder of the day.

The reason protein works to make you feel fuller revolves around the way that it’s broken down in the body. Compared to carbohydrates, it’s absorbed slowly.

The difference between protein and fat is that protein tends to be more prone to be turned into energy. This allows your muscles to absorb the nutrients you gain from protein rather than storing it in fat due to an extremely sluggish digestion period.

2. More Energy to Digest

Protein has another advantage over fats and carbohydrates: it has a higher thermic effect of food (TEF). This means your body must expend a significant amount of energy before breaking protein down into a form of energy that your body can use.

Studies have shown that protein has a TEF that is roughly five times that of lipids. While energy derived from proteins is readily accessible, this added energy required to break it down has a few neat implications when it comes to your diet.

For example, it means that your body would rather use protein for building muscles before it uses it to make energy. This makes any exercise and muscle building you perform have far better gains.

The other major implication TEF has for protein and dieting is that it forces your metabolism to work harder when you consume more protein. This results in a higher basal metabolic rate, which means that your body is more prone to burn energy.

3. Protein Promotes Muscle

It’s common knowledge that people with more muscle on their bodies burn more calories than people with less muscle mass.

The only way to gain more muscle mass is to eat a diet rich in protein. By utilizing the two mechanisms already covered, a diet with more protein allows you to add more muscle to your body.

As you gain muscle, the composition of your body will have a tendency to preserve muscle while burning fat for fuel.

The good news is that this additional muscle doesn’t have to be in the form of muscles that help your arms increase in size. You can add lean muscle to your body that helps you with endurance to reap similar benefits.

Protein is the Dieter’s Building Block

Developing lean muscle mass requires you to consume more protein in addition to exercise. By simply adding protein to your diet, you can reap the benefits of increased muscle mass, a higher basal metabolic rate and a tendency to eat less.

These three benefits combine together to form the building blocks of a strong diet. This is why foods rich in protein may be the first step for any dieter trying to lose weight.

Post Workout Stretches To Combat Muscle Soreness

stretches-to-help-you-recover-after-a-workout

stretches-to-help-you-recover-after-a-workout

4 Stretches to do after a workout

Are you trying to take control of your health? Do you want to reach all of your fitness goals this year?

If you do, then don’t get injured before you can reach your most important goals! Did you know stretching after your workout is one of the most important actions you can take after all of that hard work so that prevent against injury?

Stretching is not just important for flexibility. It’s also beneficial to preventing muscle injuries and to allow your muscles to heal faster. If you’ve ever had a hard session in the gym, then you know how sore you can be the next few days. Hint: really sore!

While stretching isn’t a magic cure for soreness, it is going to help you diminish the soreness a little bit. Plus it’ll increase your flexibility which is going to allow you to perform more workouts in a more proper way and prevent injury.

Follow our guide of these quick post-workout stretches that you can do to prevent muscle soreness and injury in the future.

Exercise #1: Heel to Butt

walking-heel-butt

Lift your heel to your butt with your arms and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg as well. Do this at least two times and maybe three depending on the intensity of your workout. This feels good and stretching your leg muscles.

Exercise #2: Standing Calf Stretch

standing-calf-stretch

The standing calf stretch is a great exercise to really lengthen your leg muscles and help them feel fully extended after an intense run or other workout. Find a spare wall with nothing on it. Place your palms flat against the wall. Push one leg behind you and the other in a lunge position. Press against the wall, stretching your calves on each side for 20-30 seconds. Repeat two or three times.

Exercise #3: Reclined Twist

reclined-twist

Find an open, flat surface and lay down on it. You may want lay down a comfortable yoga mat. Stretch your legs out in front of you. Then bring one leg over, twisting your body slightly and lifting your knee with your arm. This is called the recline twist stretch and works your legs. Hold for 20-30 seconds once again and then move to the other side. Repeat this stretch three times.

Exercise #4: Arm Across Stretch

arm-across

This stretch works your arms and is exactly how it sounds. Stand straight with your legs comfortably together or apart. Make sure you are steady. Bring one arm across your chest. Wrap your other arm in a hook around the straightened arm. Gently press your hooked arm to get a deeper stretch. Hold 20-30 seconds. Shake out your arms to release the stretch. Repeat on the other side. Continue to do this two or three times until you feel fully stretched.

Dynamic Stretching

So, while post workout stretching is crucially important, dynamic stretching is almost just as important. What do we mean by dynamic stretching?

Dynamic stretching means stretching DURING your workouts. Doing a quick stretch after every set of your workout is going to keep you limber and flexible throughout your routine which is going to prevent your muscles from going cold and getting injured.

You can employ the same 4 stretches above during your workout, just not as much or often. For example a quick “across arm stretch” after every bench press stretch, is going to keep your muscles engaged and less likely to cramp up or fail on your next set.

Stay Hydrated!

While stretching is important, the number one reason our muscles get injuried, cramped up or sore is because we don’t get enough hydration. Hydration is what life depends on, 70% of our bodies are made of water, so why would you deny yourself such an element?

Sweating and working out use up A LOT of our hydration, so its important to hit the water fountain or your water bottle as much as possible during your workout to prevent dehydration. Dehydration itself has many worse side effects than just muscle cramps and soreness. It can lead to a lot of other health issues, so make sure you’re getting enough water!

Wrapping Up

So are you ready to get to work now? If you’re on your way to an intense workout, remember that your post-workout stretches are very important as a preventative measure to injury.

Don’t subject your muscles to soreness and injury! Make sure you are stretching after your workout. It only takes minutes — a short time in the long run when you consider how you’ll pay in soreness and/or injury in the future. Good luck on your workout and keep at it!

Follow our small guide of four great stretching exercises to do in your post-workout routine, and you’ll be feeling great and ready for your next fitness routine. Happy exercising…and stretching!

Link to images: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/stretches-for-sitting-long-periods-of-time

How We Sabotage Our Health and Fitness Goals

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Tips to Stop Ruining Your Own Goals

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Are you trying to get in shape? Trying to run a marathon? Trying to reach a new weight? Trying to get a six pack?

Do you have that you go through the ebb and flow of an exercise routine — pushing yourself extremely hard only to skip one day and think you’ll never progress? If you’re on a roller coaster of health and fitness goals, then it’s hard to stay on track and feel good about what you are doing.

The worst feeling in the world is the feeling of hopelessness. Feeling like you aren’t doing enough, or you aren’t talented enough or you’re not trying hard enough. But the truth is, odds are you ARE. You’re just mentally psyching yourself out. You’d be amazed at the things you can achieve if you just never gave up. Now obviously there are limitations to this, like you’re not going to play in the NBA if you’re 5’5, but for most other things you can achieve them. You just have to keep pressing forward.

We know these feelings so we have put together a small list of four ways we all sabotage our health and fitness goals that will help you stay on track and feel good about your progress — no matter what your goals are and where you are in the process. The key to reaching your goals is not to beat yourself up before you even start — and certainly not to put yourself down in the process.

Learn how to gain self-confidence and reach your goals by reading on:

How We Sabotage Ourselves

Tip #1: We Use Negative Self-Talk

Have you ever caught yourself talking down to yourself? It doesn’t have to be audible. Often we are telling ourselves negative statements in our heads, and this is true for our health and fitness goals. “I’m so fat.” “I’ll never be able to lift that.” “I’m not making any progress.” Sound familiar? Don’t beat yourself at your own game. Catch yourself in these statements and turn them into positive ones. You’ll instantly feel better and more confident.

Tip #2: We Give Up

Sometimes we find ourselves setting our goals to high at first. When your goals are too big at first, it is really easy to give up. Don’t sabotage your health and fitness by giving up on all your goals just because you fall short of one. Instead, make smaller goals that are much easier to achieve. You’ll build confidence as you go and feel that you can take on greater and greater challenges.

Tip #3: We Get Injured, Unnecessarily

Learn the proper way to lift. Stretch before and after you exercise. Drink the appropriate amount of water. Combined, these and other preventative measures will help ensure you don’t get seriously injured. If there is anything that will sabotage your health and fitness goals its being so injured that you cannot exercise.

Tip #4: We Don’t Get Enough Sleep

It’s not just exercise that is part of a good health and fitness routine. Our mental and emotional health also is very important. We sabotage our chances of having a happy, productive day when we don’t take care of our physical needs — getting enough sleep, staying away from drinking too much alcohol (which can act as a depressant), not eating healthy foods, skipping meals and like activities.

Take control of your mental and emotional health by making sure you are taking care of your physical body. Know the factors that affect you negatively throughout the day and manage them by doing what is best for you. Don’t hurt goals by hurting your mental health chances!

Wrapping Up

Are you ready to reach as many of your health and fitness goals as possible? Do you feel more empowered and ready to take on the challenge? Remember that you can and you will if you keep trying. Sometimes trying is enough.

Take it day by day and celebrate accomplishing even the smallest goals you reach on your health and fitness journey. And finally, don’t give up! Print out this guide of tips reminding you of the four ways in which we all sabotage our health and fitness goals, and then counter all of them.

You’re on your way to achieving success!

A Beginner’s Guide to Carbohydrates

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A Quick Guide to Carbs for Beginners

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How much do you know about carbs? Do you understand the difference between “good carbs” and “bad carbs?” You will, once you read this quick but concise guide to carbohydrates.

What are carbs?

Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides, are macro-nutrients that comprise the starches and sugars that are found in dairy foods, fruits, nuts, grains and some vegetables. Insoluble cellulose fiber is also considered a carbohydrate.

They are an excellent source of energy for our bodies.

Types of carbohydrates

Simple carbs

Simple carbohydrates are also known as monosaccharides. According to the Mayo Clinic, the simplest carbohydrate is sugar. Simple carbs include fruit sugar, or fructose, lactose, or milk sugar, and sucrose, commonly known as table sugar.

Processed flour is loaded with simple carbs. The human body expends virtually no energy digesting simple carbs. Simple carbohydrates do not provide long-lasting energy. For this reason, simple carbohydrate sugars are sometimes called “bad carbs” or “fast carbs.”

Complex carbs

Complex carbohydrates are also known as polysaccharides. Complex carbs take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates. They are found in whole grains, unprocessed oats, dairy products and vegetables. Nutritionists consider complex carbs to be more healthful than simple carbs.

This is why complex carbs may be called “good carbs” or “slow carbs.”

Starch and fiber carbs

Found in foods such as dry beans, corn, potatoes and peas, dietary fiber and starches are considered complex carbohydrates. Foods rich in dietary fiber and starch include nuts, seeds, oats and whole grains.

According to the Center for Disease Control, or CDC, insoluble dietary fiber is found in foods such as barley, brown rice, couscous, fresh unprocessed fruit and some vegetables. Bread and pasta made with whole grains deliver a significant amount of beneficial dietary fiber.

White bread and pasta made from white flour deliver none.

What carbohydrates do

The human body turns carbohydrates into energy. Excess carbs are stored for future energy or turned into fat. Carbs both simple and complex are processed through the liver, stimulating pancreatic production of insulin in the process. Simple, fast carbs cause a quick spike in insulin levels. Complex, slow carbs stimulate significantly less insulin production.

As the liver processes carbohydrate, it converts it into glucose. Some glucose may be used as energy right away. Excess glucose converts to glycogen for future energy use. The amount of glycogen that can be stored in the liver and muscles is limited; excess glycogen is stored as fat.

Glycemic index

Carbohydrate foods are measured on the glycemic index, or GI, according to how much and how quickly they raise blood sugar levels. Each food has its own GI number on a range of 1 to 100. Simple, fast carbs rank higher on the glycemic index than complex, slow carbohydrates.

Foods such as candy, muffins and cookies rate highly on the glycemic index. They provide a rapid burst of energy that does not last. For this reason, many people report feeling a “sugar hangover” after consuming foods that have a high glycemic index number. For energy that lasts, choose foods that rank closer to 1 on the GI scale. Opt for fresh fruit, whole grain bread, cubes of hard cheese, a handful of nuts or a big bowl of popcorn.

For optimal health, eat more complex carbs and fewer simple carbohydrates

Up your intake of healthful dietary fiber by choosing whole fruit instead of juice. Incorporate more beans into your weekly diet, and limit your consumption of meat products.

Begin your day with a serving of unsweetened, whole-grain cereal topped with fiber-rich fruit such as sliced peaches or chopped apples. Add a few shelled walnuts for an extra dose of beneficial dietary fiber carbs.

When you snack, snack smart. Skip the sugary refined snacks and opt instead for raw veggies or whole fruit.

Why are Carbs important to people who are into fitness?

Carbohydrates are an EXCELLENT source of energy. Our bodies do a wonderful job of turning carb rich foods into fuel for our activities and bodily functions.

So it’s pretty obvious why this is a benefit for people who are into fitness, weight lifting, sports and any other action that requires high amounts of energy.

Carbs also play an essential role in helping protein repair and build your muscles.