Sunday, May 31, 2015
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Saturday, May 30, 2015
If you want gorgeous, radiant locks or to heal fast from that pulled hammy after dropping into a split, then protein is a must. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies is made up of protein, so getting your fill is important when it comes to building and repairing your cells. Protein is made up of amino acids, 12 of which are produced by the body. The other nine, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from our diet. Complete proteins contain all nine, and since red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy are complete proteins, those who eat meat and milk are in the clear. If you're avoiding animal products, then you'll need to eat plant-based complete proteins and combinations of foods to make up the difference.
While it isn't necessary to eat complete proteins at the same meal - you can eat beans for lunch and rice for dinner - if you're a busy vegetarian, you'll find it easier to enjoy them together. This dish of Mexican tempeh with black beans and quinoa is a perfect example of a complete protein as it contains both legumes and whole grains. Keep reading for more vegan meal ideas that contain complete proteins - all under 400 calories.
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Friday, May 29, 2015
I've always been passionate about being active, but I'd be lying if I told you that passion wasn't once attached to the passion to be skinny. Skinny is a word I cringe at now, but for most of my life, skinny was everything.
Part familial and part societal pressure, I grew up truly believing that being thin was synonymous with being beautiful. I've been on a diet for most of my life, not because I was overweight, but because the idea of being overweight was always a lingering worry, taunting me in the background. Although I was active, healthy, and toned, I never felt skinny enough, and it haunted me. I truly believed if I was skinny I would be happy and feel more confident.
The first time I ever gained real weight was my freshman year in college. I was ordering in, eating out, and drinking nearly every night. Immediately, I started up with two-a-day cardio sessions, barely ate a bite all day, then binged on a huge late dinner. At the time, I felt like I was being "good" and taking control of my body. I dropped weight so quickly, but it was at the price of my mental clarity, energy, and happiness. It was an unsustainable solution, and I put back on the weight just as quickly as I had taken it off - I knew I had to go about things in a different way. I cleaned up my act, cut out processed foods, and starting doing yoga every day, but I am embarrassed to admit that yoga wasn't my primary form of exercise just because of all the healthy benefits it brought to my life - I saw it as a way to get skinny. A month into committing to a regular yoga practice, I began to acknowledge that my physical fitness was much more than a number on the scale or a body type I idealized. The stronger I felt in my yoga practice, the better I felt in the rest of my life. I stopped being as concerned about the skinny and started wanting more of that strong stuff.
This desire to be strong helped me realize the myth that lifting weights would bulk me up and make me feel unfeminine was just that - a myth. As soon as I unveiled the truth behind the myth, I started lifting and moving through bodyweight moves at home, and I began to see and feel a huge difference in my shape. I stopped stressing into fitting into a certain body type, because I was attaining something stronger, better, and more beautiful than I had anticipated. I was no longer about the number on the scale or the size of my jeans, and I found so much relief in giving up the numbers. Instead of obsessing over a tiny drop on the scale, I started reveling in the new definition I saw in my deltoids. Instead of trying to squeeze into my too-tight college pants, I realized that my backside had a little lift and was filling out my current jeans beautifully.
Once I realized I didn't need to be thin in order to feel whole or content, I felt like I had been handed the keys to the kingdom. I am both thrilled and relieved that what was once referred to as a trend is starting to have some serious staying power. There is so much power in strength, and even more when there's strength in numbers - I'm so ready for even more women to live by this truth! If you can relate to the anxiety I grew up with or you simply feel like the standard of skinny is unattainable (or, honestly, doesn't sound like that much fun), stop being intimidated by the weight room, and try a workout program that supports your strength. If you're anything like me, it will transform your life.
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Move over, meat! Dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, shows us how to give our meals a meat-free protein boost.
You don't need to follow a Paleo diet rich in red meat, eggs, and poultry to get enough protein to build muscle and tamp down hunger. There are plenty of plant-based protein sources, like soy, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and even some veggies, that not only provide protein but also contain nutrients that may help fend off chronic conditions. And since these proteins are lower on the food chain, they're a more planet-friendly way to eat. Here are four plant-based proteins to add to your shopping cart. All have proven health benefits plus at least as much protein as an egg!
Pea protein is popping in ingredient lists, from breads and snack foods to breakfast cereals and protein powders. A cup of cooked split peas packs in about 16 grams of protein compared to six grams in regular green peas. If you're looking to build muscle, pea protein has been shown to provide the essential amino acids to help build and repair muscle tissue, similar to whey protein. What's more, they're also diet friendly: a meta-analysis study published in the journal Obesity reported that eating about one cup of beans, peas, lentils, or chickpeas resulted in subjects feeling 31 percent fuller.
How to Get More: Split peas are great when made into a hummus-like dip or veggie burgers. You can also use a pea-protein-based protein powder for recovery smoothies. Frozen green peas are an easy side dish; perk them up with lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Whole-grain oats pack a serious protein punch, with about five to six grams per cup of cooked oats. They also provide beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to curb cravings and can keep you satisfied for hours. And you can't forget that decades' worth of research consistently show that oats can help lower risk for heart disease.
How to Get More: Look for brands of oats with no or little added sugar and high protein counts. I buy Modern Oats Nuts & Seeds because it has even more protein than traditional oatmeal due to the eight different nuts and seeds. One (2.3 oz.) serving is loaded with eight grams of protein and six grams of fiber, making this a filling breakfast.
You might think that all nuts are the same when it comes to protein, but they're not. Pistachios have six grams of protein per serving, more than most other tree nuts. In addition to protein, pistachios have plenty of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, iron, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Plus, they won't wreck your diet. Research conducted at Eastern Illinois University and published in the journal Appetite found that people who snacked on in-shell pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories compared to those who ate shelled pistachios. The researchers suggest that the empty shells may be a helpful visual cue to help you snack more mindfully.
How to Get More: My go-to craving crusher is Wonderful Pistachios' sweet chili flavor, as the flavor satisfies my appetite for tortilla chips. I also use chopped pistachios when cooking to make a "crust" for salmon or chicken or as a crunchy salad topper.
Whole grains are surprisingly high in protein. Some of the grains with the most protein include kamut, spelt, wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, and barley. In addition to packing in seven to 10 grams of protein per cup of cooked grain, they provide a healthy dose of fiber and an array of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Studies show that adding whole grains to your diet can help you maintain a healthy waistline and reduce risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
How to Get More: Swap out white bread for 100 percent whole wheat, and you'll get nearly eight grams of protein. Add brown rice or quinoa to salads to keep you fuller longer. For breakfast, look for whole-grain cereals that have at least six grams of protein per serving. One of my favorites is Post Great Grains Protein Blend - Honey, Oats & Seeds. A cup has eight grams of protein and six grams of filling fiber.
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We only spend a third of our life actually sleeping, but the art of catching z's can rule the majority of our lives. Between figuring out our circadian clock, juggling work and home, and battling insomnia-inducing factors, we can't get enough of perfecting our sleep routine.
And we have good reason. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a multitude of not-so-great things. Why is sleep so important? Here are 10 consequences of not getting enough sleep.
- You'll eat more. Three-hundred calories more, to be precise. A recent study found that sleep-deprived subjects, when allowed to eat whatever they wanted, ate more than when they had a full night's sleep, even though they stuck to their normal eating schedule.
- You may not live as long. Researchers may have found the secret to long life - a study found that women who slept fewer than five hours a night were less likely to live as long as those who got more.
- You'll weigh more. Logically, if you are regularly consuming more calories every day it stands to reason you may weigh more, but the weight gain is not only caused by what you consume. Not enough sleep also causes stress on the body, which triggers it to slow metabolism and store fat.
- It shrinks your brain. Researchers found that chronic insomniacs had smaller, less-dense brains, which affected crucial parts of their neurological systems like decision-making.
- It raises your blood pressure. A study found that adults who missed an hour of sleep each night for five years ended up increasing their risk for hypertension by almost 40 percent.
- It increases your risk of getting sick. Not enough shut-eye has been proven to leave people susceptible to cold viruses.
- It can worsen your memory. Ever feel like you can't remember your to-dos after a night of tossing and turning? Those REM waves we experience at the beginning of a sleep cycle can boost memory and creativity, so if you've underslept the night before, try a quick power nap to recoup some of your memory skills.
- You'll skip your workouts. Lack of sleep means lack of energy, which probably means lack of gym time. In fact, research has shown that sleep deprivation is a key reason people stay inactive.
- It makes you cranky. Or, as researchers say, more "primitive." Without sleep, we revert back to a more primal version of ourselves, meaning we can't appropriately cope with emotions or respond maturely to situations.
- You're not on your game. On top of all these consequences, not enough sleep just makes us feel, well, blah. We've all found ourselves reacting less quickly after a sleepless night, not to mention foggy-headed, so if you need to catch more z's, check out some of our eating and exercise tips to help you sleep soundly.
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We love delivering our favorite products to your doorstep each month with the POPSUGAR Must Have box, and for the first time ever, you can find us on QVC for an exclusive collaboration!
We teamed up with QVC to curate some of its most amazing brands inside a unique Must Have box that will make your beauty routine more glam, your style chicer, and your day-to-day life sweeter overall. With limited quantities available, this box won't be around for long. Order your own QVC POPSUGAR Must Have box online now or tune in to QVC today, May 29, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT.
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- Check out the foods nutritionists say you should eat every day - Self
- You never thought running could be this fun - Real Simple
- Your excuse to lace up a brand new pair of running shoes today - Shape
- Find out what lies you've been told about cellulite - Health
- An upper-body guide to get you ready for crop top season - Women's Health
- Be smarter with these 100-calorie food choices - Cooking Light
- The 16 hacks you never thought of before - POPSUGAR Smart Living
- The truth behind skipping workouts and getting out of shape - Greatist
- You might not know how to do a proper burpee - Fitness
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Who doesn't want strong, sculpted, shapely arms? If you're not seeing the results you're after from basic strength-training exercises, you'll be surprised how quickly yoga can offer you results. These nine challenging poses require holding your own body weight in unique positions, so you end up working the muscles in your upper body more effectively. The burn you'll feel in your arms and upper back lets you know that you'll soon be loving your sexy, strong arms, just in time for strapless-dress season.
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Thursday, May 28, 2015
Want to have a perfect day of eating? Registered holistic nutritionist Yuri Elkaim shared these science-backed tips with YourTango on what you should and shouldn't be eating every day.
No excuses. Eat like a champ.
While chatting with one of my coaching clients last week, I heard something I hear a lot:
"Thank you for making this so straightforward. I hear so many different diet suggestions, and so many of them are contrary. I can't tell what I'm really supposed to be eating, so I get confused and frustrated, and just fall back into old, familiar habits."
Yep, I hear that. I get that. And I bet you do, too.
Diet advice is all over the map. Some diets say you can have your cake and eat it, too. Others tell you cake is the root of all evil. So, which is it?
The answer to that question is: it's both. All these diets are mostly right about there being a thousand ways to drop pounds. You can count calories or cut carbs. You can focus on fat and eat bacon, or go 100 percent vegan and never touch a piece of pork again.
After years of studying nutrition and fitness, it's clear to me that different people want different things from their bodies. And there are diets and plans for all of them.
If you want to bulk up, you'll chase protein.
If you want to optimize for marathons or extreme sports, you'll need a precisely balanced plate of carbs and proteins and fats.
If you want to heal illness and inflammation, you'll start by cutting sugar.
But, what if you just want to eat right?
What if you want to do all the things - lose weight, cleanse toxins, find a flat belly, boost energy, and live a long and healthy life?
There is a way to optimize your health, to give your body exactly what it needs. There is a perfect way to eat. One that will give you a vibrant, healthy, youthful body. As grand as that promise is, it's actually really easy to follow.
If I could take all my years of nutrition schooling, hundreds of hours of fitness coaching, and thousands of hours of reading and researching, and distill it into a single one-page plan, this is it.
Following these basic concepts will change your body for the better. Ready? Let's walk through the basics. I've also created a simple 1-page downloadable plan so you can start today.
You don't just deserve to read about the perfect day of eating; you deserve to enjoy it.
The Perfect Day of Eating is going to turn 1 day of eating into 2 simple basics:
- What not to eat
- What to eat
That's it! We're going to make this so easy. There are things that should be going into your body and there are things that should not.
Here are a few things 100 percent worth cutting from your diet:
We've become accustomed to it, obsessed with it. Though many diets flirt around with sugar as a "sneak" or "cheat," sugar is completely unnecessary.
It adds zero nutritional value, and actually causes measurable harm to the body. Sugar weakens your bones, causes obesity, creates drug-like cravings, and more. Nixing sugar is a vital first-step for a perfect day of eating.
Download my FREE 7-Day Sugar Detox Plan.
Avoiding gluten isn't just a good idea for celiacs; it's a good idea for everybody. Wheat, especially refined white flour, stops up your gut, promotes inflammation, and leads to "brain fog" and other mood disorders.
If you deal with nightly bloating, low energy, or mood swings, omit grain for a week and see if you don't notice an incredible difference. Of course, in the perfect day of eating, we're focusing on cleansing and healthy foods. Gluten simply doesn't make the cut.
If added hormones and antibiotics don't turn you away from milk, consider this: cow milk contains 4 times more protein than human milk. That's because baby cows have to get big really fast.
Cow milk is designed to grow a little cow into a big one. Unless you want to be a big cow, drop the dairy. You'll likely drop weight and notice fewer gut issues, as well.
4. Processed foods.
With labels on the back of every package, it's easy to see why you don't need this stuff in your diet at all. The ingredient lists are atrocious - a tongue-twisting mix of refined carbs, artificial additives, and unpronounceable chemicals.
Processed foods are dead foods. Put a fresh apple on a shelf for a year and you'll end up with a clump of compost. Put a granola bar on a shelf for a year and you'll end up with ... well, a granola bar. Your body needs living foods to live. It needs plants that contain the chemicals and nutrients that make a body thrive.
Most processed foods are largely foil-wrapped hunks of sugar and refined carbs. Your body can't use them, so your liver panics, and frantically tries to balance your body and blood sugar, storing the excess away as fat. A perfect day of eating will give your liver a rest, and give your body what it needs to work right.
Nutrition coaches, doctors, and dietitians are seeing a huge rise in adrenal fatigue - the effect of overworked, tired adrenal glands. Stress, poor nutrition, and high caffeine intake can all lead to adrenal fatigue, and it's been estimated that up to 80 percent of the population will deal with adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.
Cutting caffeine is the first step. It's the easiest way to start giving your adrenals a rest. As you're heading into your Perfect Day of Eating, swap out that coffee for a green smoothie instead. You'll enjoy a natural energy boost, without the dramatic side-effects of coffee.
Now that you know what the perfect day of eating doesn't include, let's get to the great stuff.
Here is what you should you eat when you're eating perfectly:
1. 80 percent raw.
The easiest way to eat right is remember: 80 percent raw. Focus on raw, whole foods and you'll be supporting your system with powerful plant-based nutrition. Raw foods alkalize the body, creating an optimized environment for health and wellness.
2. Leafy greens.
If there's a single food everyone could be eating more of, it's greens - leafy, vibrantly colored greens. They're chock full of vital nutrients. They're cleansing.
Pound-for-pound, they're also surprisingly high in protein. Fill your gut with greens instead of sweets, treats, and processed filler foods. You'll notice a marked difference in your health and energy levels in just 7 days.
3. Plant-based protein.
Contrary to popular belief, it's easy to get protein from plants. Protein is an important part of a strong, healthy system. It's also important to eat because it keeps you full.
So many diets are bereft of proper protein. They count calories and give you tiny portions of high-sugar foods or juices that actually create a starving sensation.
They tell you willpower is all you need to muscle from one meal to the next, but this is a recipe for diet disaster. When you're not giving your body satiating protein, it doesn't matter how often you eat - you're going to be hungry.
So, fill up on plant-based protein and feel full. The only way you'll ever be able to stop that constant hunger is to quit eating the stuff that creates cravings, and start eating the stuff that stops them.
Check out my Free Vegan Protein Printable, which makes it easy to know how much protein you need, and how to get it.
4. Healthy fats.
If you've got prom photos from 1986 with big hair and shiny braces, you'll have some idea of how I feel about diet advice from the 80's. I wish it had never happened. Like acid-washed jeans and Axl Rose mullets, the whole fat-free eating movement was a horrible idea.
Too many of us today are still operating under outdated, misguided diet principles. Fat doesn't make you fat; healthy fat is actually a requirement for a healthy body.
So, toss the low-fat yogurt and let your perfect day of eating be boosted with coconut oil and avocado. Those healthy fats will satiate hunger, help you drop pounds, and super boost skin, hair, nail health.
5. Grassfed meats and wild-caught fish.
My 80 percent-raw approach leaves 20 percent up to you. If you're a meat-eater, focus on the highest quality meats you can find. Organic, grassfed is infinitely better than corn-raised, and sustainable fish consumption can offer dietary benefits.
With both meat and fish, consciously farmed and fished meat makes a difference. Choose grassfed and wild-caught whenever possible.
The above DO and DON'T principles are a great place to start, but, let's make it even easier.
I've prepped the following printable for you. It summarizes all these basics, then offers up a go-to guide and eating plan for your Perfect Day of Eating. Just click on the link above, then right-click and copy to download. It's all yours!
Yuri Elkaim is a registered holistic nutritionist and author of the NY Times bestselling book The All-Day Energy Diet. In his upcoming book, The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet (Rodale, 2015), he walks readers through a five-day food cycling program guaranteed to double your weight loss. Look for it in bookstores December 2015.
More From YourTango:
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Crop top and bikini season is nearly upon us! You can't spot reduce belly fat, but strengthening and sculpting the muscles underneath will only help you feel more confident in your skimpy styles. Add these three effective moves to your strength-training routine for big results. And you'll be glad to know there's no equipment necessary whatsoever.
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Do you constantly wake up feeling like you could sleep for another three hours? Not everyone's a morning person, but when you wake up so tired you have a pounding headache, pour orange juice into your cereal, or practically fall asleep while checking your morning emails, then something's not right. Keep reading to find out what might be preventing you from waking up energized.
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Need more fiber in your diet? Turn to the smooth and satisfying avocado. Just half an avocado contains almost seven grams of fiber. Too high in fat, you say? Don't fret, because avocados contain the good-for-you monounsaturated fats (MUFA) your body needs to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and maintain the HDL (good) ones. Here are 12 delectable ways to snack on the melt-in-your-mouth creaminess of an avocado.
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If you saw Katy Perry rock this year's Super Bowl halftime show, then you won't be surprised to find that this lady stays superfit. Our friends at Made Man recently caught up with her to find out how she stays looking and feeling good while she's on tour.
How do you stay "on" every day?
I'm not on every day. I'm sometimes 85 percent but I try my best. I always prepare myself, my mind, my body. I'm looking after my health which is most important because if I get sick I can't play a show, and thankfully I've not gotten sick!
You have done so many shows already. How do you keep things fresh?
It's really hard because sometimes there are people on the road that are sick. There've been puke buckets on the side of different instruments and hidden behind different lifts and things like that. And sometimes people are lonely, sometimes people have personal things going on in their life. I think you just have to continually remind yourself that these fans have waited so long, they're probably not going to see this show ever again, they may not ever see you ever again, this is like their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So we always try our best and are really grateful that we have such a successful tour. From the California Dreams tour to the Prismatic world tour it's grown so much and people still want it. That isn't always the case, so we're seizing the moment for sure.
How long does it take you to get ready to perform?
The shows are typically at nine p.m. and when it's show day it's all reserved for the show. So I sleep a lot, that's kind of like where I get all my strength and rejuvenation. My operating hours are very strange. I'm not a nine to five girl, in a Dolly Parton kind of way. I'm like a nine p.m. to five a.m. girl. I really start my day about noon and end my day about three a.m. So I'm getting quite a lot of sleep. It's about nine hours, sometimes even more and there's a regime that I start from the moment I wake up usually.
What are you going to do when you finally do get time off? Are you good at switching off?
No. You have to place me on a deserted island with no phone and I'll already probably have like a phone hidden in some box! But I love what I do. I have a lot of energy now, things will change. I think this summer it will be very important for me to kind of step outside of my world and my bubble and have real genuine normal experiences and go to the farmers market and pick out fruit.
What's your favorite late night snack after a show?!
Well I try, I really try on the road to keep it all very healthy but the crew always has pizza around so I'm always like 'Give me a slice bro! Give me a slice. I'll give you an extra hour's sleep if you give me a slice!'
Check out more articles like this from Made Man:
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- Walk your way to better health - Real Simple
- See the 7 reasons people lie and cheat while playing sports - Self
- Why your noisy apartment is making you gain weight - Shape
- The key to staying slim when your schedule is packed - Health
- How you could be getting younger with every workout - Women's Health
- Your no-guilt guide to snacks - Cooking Light
- Be a green goddess with these natural beauty recipes - POPSUGAR Beauty
- Why your Nutella habit is slowly poisoning you - YourTango
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Q: Do you have any tips about healthy cooking when you live with other people or have a family to take care of?
The post Q&A Wednesday: How Do I Cook For My Boyfriend and Me? appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.
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It's no secret that we love Greek yogurt around here, and there's good reasons. It's a perfect way to get more protein and calcium in your diet, and the probiotics are nothing but good news for your insides. And not only that - substituting Greek yogurt for cream, mayonnaise, and other high-fat options saves big in the calorie department. From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, here are some of our favorite ways to add flavor, not calories, with Greek yogurt!
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I love making homemade hummus - it's so easy and so cheap! But I must admit, eating the same flavor each time is a little boring. Inspired by the farmers market, I baked up some heirloom tomatoes and added them to my finished hummus. The result was simply delicious and I couldn't stop dipping my veggies in it. Here is a basic hummus recipe that you can easily jazz up with things you have on hand, but I highly recommend roasting tomatoes to add.
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 1-pound, 3-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup tahini, well stirred
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/2 to 1 cup roasted tomato
Add all of the ingredients to a food a processor, and blend until smooth.
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Even though I'll be working on my reverse six-pack this summer, I put together a little ab burner for you! It's perfect to add to your cardio routine, or something you could do at home before bed. All the moves are explained thoroughly with the photos, except the beast. For this one, come onto your hands and knees (knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders.) Engage your core to lift your knees into a hover off the floor. It burns so good.
For more details about this workout, check out the post on The Fitnessista.
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For many people, exercise is therapy. For Angelica Jimenez, Zumba is a lifesaver. The Marine Corps veteran nearly died in Afghanistan in 2005 from an attack by a suicide bomber, and she's still in the recovery process today. But she's also teaching a Zumba class in Emerson, New Jersey, and she says the dance class is the therapy she needed to get her life back on track. The classes have helped her "keep her strength and put a smile back on her face," CBS News reports.
Angelica isn't the only one who finds a significant mental and physical boost from Zumba - it's scientifically proven to make you happier. "This is the best therapy I could ever have," she said. Watch the inspiring video above to hear her full story.
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It's the moment when you feel like you could run a marathon after completing a workout. Whether you just kicked butt in a kickboxing class or released unwanted toxins from hot yoga, that natural post-workout high is something everyone wants to last as long as possible. Shape Magazine tells us seven ways to make your post-workout high last longer. Check out how easy it is to tack on these steps after your workout.
You hear a lot about a runner's high. But, really, any activity that gets your heart rate up for 30 minutes or more will trigger the release of endorphins (like anandamide) that are similar to THC, the chemical responsible for the high you get from marijuana, according to research from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Those chemicals are why you feel that buzzy, happy glow after hitting the gym. But, the downside is that the feeling wears off faster than you'd like. Luckily, these tips can help you fight the fade, and make your post-gym high last longer. (And, by the way, Science Is Trying to Decode the Runner's High, so you can maximize your potential.)
Prolonging your natural high starts with getting the biggest boost possible during your sweat session-something to remember when you're powering through the last 10 seconds of your next plank. When you're in pain, your body releases natural opiate-like endorphins with the same buzz-inducing (and ache-numbing) properties as their chemical cousins, says Matt Bellace, Ph.D., author of A Better High. To get the best, longest-lasting high, then, you've got to get uncomfortable during your workout. Add some sprints into your run, grab a heavier weight than usual, push out an extra set… You'll thank yourself later. (Punishment Can Be a Key Incentive for Exercise.)
Take It Outside
For a more sustained high, Bellace suggests opting for outdoor workouts like hiking, surfing, or swimming. Research has shown that fresh air (especially what's around oceans and mountains) contains negative ions, molecules that have an extra mood-boosting effect on the body.
Sweat With a Friend
People who work out with friends tend to enjoy their sweat sesh more and exercise harder, studies show. (Learn six more reasons Why Having a Fitness Buddy Is the Best Thing Ever.) And that translates into a happier post-workout glow.
Spread the Joy
Savoring these moments of euphoria are as important as experiencing them in the first place: When you fail to focus on good things, the resulting mood boost is weaker and shorter-lived, according to findings from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. The easiest way to hold onto your happiness is by sharing with friends, directly or via social media posts, says Bellace. Doing so encourages you to reflect on and feel gratitude for your blessings, which deepens the pleasure you experience. Plus, when you look back on these posts or texts later, you get to relive the high. (The Right-and Wrong-Ways to Use Social Media for Weight Loss.)
Eating something tasty releases dopamine in the pleasure center of the brain, says Bellace. And while sugar and caffeine will give you a short-term rush, they can also lead to a crash-especially if you eat them after a workout, when your muscles are screaming for wholesome nutrients. A better bet: these nutrition expert-approved post-workout foods.
First of all, studies have shown that exercise boosts genital arousal-so you'll already want to have sex. Plus, a roll in the hay will flood your body with more feel-good endorphins and hormones, bringing your workout-induced bliss to the next level. Pro tip: You might want to hit the showers first. (See 5 Surprising Reasons to Have Sex Tonight.)
Pump Up the Tunes
You might already listen to a playlist during your workout, but keep the music cranked up after you've cooled down too. Listening to music you like can cause your brain to release dopamine, according to researchers from McGill University. That explains why your favorite song (hey, "Uptown Funk"!) can make you feel so happy-even on your hundreth listen-and may mean that if you keep iTunes playing once you leave the gym, you can keep the good feelings going too.
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- Don't make these breakfast smoothie mistakes - Cooking Light
- The 1 ab exercise that's more effective than 1,000 crunches - Real Simple
- No-cook ideas for a low-calorie lunch - Shape
- Gwyneth Paltrow will release a line of healthy foods - HuffPost Healthy Living
- Try this 7-minute body-sculpting workout ASAP - Self
- The reason you're always hungry is right here - Health
- 8 weight-loss tips that just don't work - Fitness
- 11 ways for the hummus-obsessed to enjoy their favorite food - POPSUGAR Food
- The borderline embarrassing things all yogis do - Women's Health
- Is Pedialyte the hangover cure you've been missing? - Greatist
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All you need to be ready to take on the day is this morning stretch from our friends at Self.Source: Shutterstock
Bring your body to life first thing in the A.M. and give your muscles a natural caffeine-like boost with this feel-good stretch from Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at Flex Studios in New York City.
Consider this your chance to ease into your day.
Your Stretch: Thread the NeedleSource: Jay Sullivan
This is a good way to release the upper and mid back, which tends to get very tight, especially if you spend the majority of your day in front of a computer, explains Seracuse. (Guilty!)
Do It: Come to all fours on the floor. Reach your left arm straight up toward the ceiling and rotate your chest slightly in that direction. Prevent sinking into the right side of your body by keeping your right shoulder stacked over wrist and right hip over knee. Hold for three to five breaths. Now take your left arm, bring it down and reach it under and through your right armpit as if you're "threading the needle" (as shown). Bring your left shoulder and ear to graze the floor. Hold for three to five breaths. Repeat on opposite side.
More from SELF:
- Watch: Michelle Obama Shares Her Full-Body Workout
- Skip the Gym With This Trendy Workout
- Should You Put Matcha in Your Mouthwash?
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015
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Note: I purchased this spiralizer with my own money, acquired through no affiliation with any outlet. However, if you use my links in this post to purchase your own spiralizer, the brand will pay me a few coins that I can use to purchase and review more items! One of the latest food trends to […]
The post Fit Gear Review: The Excalibur Vegetable Spiralizer appeared first on A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss.
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Trainer to the stars Harley Pasternak shares some inside secrets in this article from Billboard.com on some of his most famous celeb clients. From Kanye West to Rihanna to Lady Gaga, this guy has worked with some of the biggest stars in the industry.
Apparently, working out with the stars can actually be detrimental to your health. While hiking with "close friend" Kanye West in Hawaii, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and West were nearly blown to bits in an abandoned military minefield. Then there was the time Pasternak bicycled alongside Alicia Keys across Vancouver Island with a broken ankle and full leg cast. Only slightly less intense are basketball standoffs with Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine.
But when it comes to the nuts and bolts of his fitness philosophy, Pasternak, 41, is strictly no-nonsense. The gluten-free fad? "Truth is, less than 1 percent of Americans are actually allergic to wheat." Working out for hours? "It just makes you hungry." Instead, Pasternak instructs his superstar clients - from Lady Gaga to Ariana Grande - to simply walk 10,000 steps (they all wear FitBits) and complete 10 minutes of resistance moves each day.
Along with being helicoptered onto private yachts in the Indian Ocean for training sessions and sculpting the multiplatinum likes of Bono, Rihanna, Katy Perry and John Mayer, Pasternak has become a best-selling author. His latest book, 5 Pounds, which hit stores in March, details five daily must-dos including eating the "holy trinity of satiety": protein, fiber and healthy fat.
"Every night my clients email me about the five things," he says. Yep, even "LG" (Lady Gaga) checks in. Not so much West, "who is such a creative, it's tough getting him to work within a structure," notes Pasternak. "He's more likely to send an email mocking something I've worn!"
Check out more articles like this from Billboard.com:
- Madonna's Hard Candy Fitness Expands Into Licensing
- Sean Paul, Victoria Justice Rock Zumba Fitness Concert in Orlando
- The Current (and Crazy) Diets of Madonna, Taylor Swift and More
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When you're bored and you want to feel productive, you might go for a run (and feel pretty good about your choice). Barclay Oudersluys was bored and decided to go for a run across the entire country. Dubbing his adventure Project Gump, the 23-year-old Michigan native is running from California to Maine partly for fun and partly to raise money for the Hall Steps Foundation, a nonprofit that strives to fight poverty around the world through better health. "What better way is there to promote healthy living than by running?" Barclay wrote on his Crowdrise fundraising page, where he has already raised over $3,500 of his $10,000 goal.
The real-life Forrest Gump told the Detroit Free Press that the spontaneous idea was sparked by an everyday run. "I was at the University of Michigan and I was on a run there one day, bored, and I tried to come up with something big to do and decided to run across the country," he said. "I'm out here just having fun." He started on May 9 and mapped out his entire route, and if all goes as planned, Barclay will run for 100 days, spanning over 3,000 miles.
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- The squat mistake almost everyone makes - Health
- What you need to know to teach your teen to love their body - Real Simple
- The go-to guide for making the perfect smoothie for weight loss - Cooking Light
- Why strict diets may actually pack on the pounds - Women's Health
- The key to running back-to-back races - Women's Running
- Look like a surfer without having to catch a single wave - Shape
- The stretch that can transform your entire day - Self
- Get ready to live your happiest life ever - POPSUGAR Smart Living
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When you think healthy fast food, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell don't exactly pop into mind (especially when there are calorie bombs like this one on the menu). But the two fast food brands announced today that they are getting just a little bit healthier by removing many artificial ingredients in their foods.
Yum Brands, the company that owns both Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, said that it is removing key artificial ingredients soon. Starting in July, you can say goodbye to artificial flavors and colors in Pizza Hut's offerings, while Taco Bell will remove artificial colors, flavors, and high-fructose corn syrup by the end of the year and artificial preservatives "where possible" by the end of 2017. That means no more Yellow No. 6 dye in its nacho cheese, no Blue No. 1 in its ranch dressing, and real black pepper instead of "black pepper flavor."
Taco Bell is also going one step further, pledging to eliminate the use of unsustainable palm oil in its restaurants. While palm oil is a natural ingredient, the harvesting of unsustainable palm oil has led to widespread deforestation, several endangered species, and increased pollution as well as other environmental and economic consequences.
Panera Bread recently announced a similar pledge to remove over 150 artificial ingredients, and while the debate on the dangers of GMOs still hasn't been settled, Chipotle said it has stopped using genetically modified ingredients as well. Whether or not you ever indulge in Pizza Hut or Taco Bell, these small changes signal a step in the right direction when it comes to more- conscious eating and consumer demand for higher-quality food.
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When Desiree Richards first stepped into TITLE Boxing Club at almost 400 pounds, she could barely finish a class. Now she's an inspiration to everyone in her hometown - her local paper even covered her amazing weight-loss journey! Read on for her incredible transformation, how she started, and what's different now that she's down 200-plus pounds.
POPSUGAR Fitness: What made you decide to start?
Desiree Richards A trip to the ER due to my heart racing. The doctors had to restart my heart. At that moment, I knew I had to change something. I had tried losing weight before, lost 80 pounds, and gained it back and more. I knew that I had to make a lifestyle change in order to lose the weight for good.
PS: What's your favorite way to work out?
DR: Boxing. I have been taking boxing classes at TITLE Boxing Club in Arlington, TX. Boxing has influenced my life in more ways than one. It has been a large tool in my weight loss, a stress reliever, and a confidence booster. I encourage other people to find a form of exercise that is enjoyable for them. And when you find it, stick with it.
PS: What's your weekly exercise schedule?
DR: I started out about four times a week at TITLE, and at first, I was barely able to finish a class. Now I work out six days a week: four times at TITLE and two weight resistance workouts. I also have started using a weighted vest and weighted gloves. I am always looking for ways to improve and become better than I was yesterday.
PS: How do you keep workouts exciting?
DR: I work out with friends. I also enjoy working out at TITLE Boxing Club because some of the instructors have experience in martial arts. Every instructor brings a different feel to the class, which helps keep it exciting.
PS: How much weight have you lost?
DR: Two hundred and ten pounds in about a year and a half.
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
DR: I would say the things I started to be able to do that I could not at almost 400 pounds. Some of those things include:
- Being able to sit in a classroom chair and be comfortable and being able to use any stall and not just the handicap stall in public places.
- Being able to wear a seat belt without it being uncomfortable anymore and being cold instead of hot all the time.
- Feeling more confident in myself.
- Being able to ride roller coasters.
- Being able to shop at any store instead of only places with plus sizes.
- Sit in a theater seat comfortably.
The life of someone severely overweight is hard physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of that changed as I lost weight.
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
DR: I weigh myself once a week on the same day and at same time. I have also recently been keeping track of my BMI and body fat. My BMI use to be in the 60s and is now in the 20s. Every once in a while, I will take my measurements, but unfortunately do not have my original measurements from when I started.
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
DR: I tend to have Ezekiel bread and hummus for breakfast. My first snack is usually a smoothie or another kind of fruit. Lunch is normally tofu with seasoning and mushrooms. Second snack is either a protein bar or mixed nuts. I normally eat a bowl of baked veggies with vegan cheese for dinner. I also enjoy snap peas because they are healthier than normal chips. Zevia is a natural soda I enjoy. I love eating pickles because the ones I eat do not have calories and are a good snack to grab if I have already eaten my calories for the day.
PS: What's the range of calories you eat per day?
DR: I started at about 1,200 to 1,300 calories a day. At that time, I ate 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent carbs. Now I eat about 1,400 calories per day. I use to keep track of the calories with an app on my phone, but now I have a general understanding of healthy foods and nutritional information. I usually eat three 300-calorie meals and two 200-calorie snacks. I also eat about every three hours.
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
DR: Apples, oranges, raisins, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, juice, carrots, vegan cheese, flaxseed, protein powder, almond milk, tofu, salsa, brown rice, quinoa, frozen mixed veggies, sweet potatoes, frozen vegan pizza, Bragg's soy sauce amino acids, mustard, almond milk coffee creamer, frozen mixed berries.
PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
DR: I have enjoyed finding vegan restaurants because the food is lighter and healthier. When not at a vegan restaurant, I like to find somewhere that has veggie burger or a salad. I usually have one cheat meal a week when I eat out or eat my frozen pizza at home. I have also had to learn to be OK with going out with friends and not eating. It was hard at first, but if you want to be healthy, you have to place your own health above what others may think when you don't eat with them. I love spending time with friends, and oftentimes we do eat out. Sometimes I will join them and eat if I can find a healthy option, and other times, I won't.
PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?
DR: The first couple of weeks are the hardest, but once you get past the sore muscles of those first few workouts, just keep moving forward. Find what works for you. My journey to health and fitness will look different than yours. It is never too late to never give up. Consistency is key, and it must be a lifestyle change. Diets or pills may work for a while but will not be sufficient. Celebrate the success and keep moving forward even if you may not see the results you were expecting. Sometimes we just need to trust the process. Find people who are also on a journey of health. It's important to have support and accountability. I have lost a lot of weight and I am proud of who I am. But I am even more proud of the person who walked into the gym at almost 400 pounds and continued to come back again and again. Others say that I am inspiring, and I am grateful. But I am also inspired by those who I see come back to TITLE again and again as well - the moms, dads, students, teachers, brothers, sisters, and many more.
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Thinking about working out with a personal trainer? We partnered with C9 Champion® for questions you should take the time to go over with your workout motivator.
Making the decision to work with a personal trainer should be about the goals you want to accomplish, which might leave you feeling a bit selfish, but it's so important to have your voice heard when meeting with potential trainers. You're going to be spending some quality (and sweaty) time together, so run through a few questions you might not think to ask. While learning more about your future workout buddy, you might discover a few things about your fitness goals too.
- Why are you a personal trainer? You don't have to be blunt and toss out this question first thing, but it's a smart question to weave into your conversation. Learning how and why your trainer became certified can help create a bond - and it provides legitimate information about background and training.
- What's your fitness philosophy? If you're more easygoing and your potential trainer is big on pushing the limits, you might not be the right fit. But even if your personalities are different, it doesn't mean you shouldn't consider working together. Go with your gut, and you'll find the right match.
- Are you CPR/AED certified? You never know when an emergency might happen, which makes knowing if your trainer is up to date on CPR/AED training a comfort. And while you're on the subject, it's an opening to ask about other certifications or accomplishments your trainer is proud of, which provides the opportunity to share shining accomplishments.
- What's the longest you've worked with a client? It's good to know if your personal trainer has long-term regulars, which proves they're dedicated to your success. This is also a chance to inquire if she's ever had to break up with a client and why. It's always good to hear both sides.
- Are you a nutritionist? Many trainers toss out dietary advice, but if they aren't a certified nutritionist, all those suggestions are annoying. Let your trainer know up front if you're into dietary advice. This way you'll avoid uncomfortable conversation in the future.
- What's your honest opinion? After taking a few moments to size up your future professional trainer, ask about her feelings about your goals. Are you being realistic? Maybe there are a few key things you're missing when thinking about reaching your workout expectations. And if you aren't satisfied with answers, it might be a sign you aren't a match.
More from C9 Champion®
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Monday, May 25, 2015
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No one ever wants to drink too much, but sometimes festivities happen. Keep this guide handy for preventing and dealing with the horrible hangover.
Preventing a Hangover
Know this: if you're going to go out and toss back more than a few drinks, you're going to pay the price; the body isn't designed to binge on bad stuff and feel great the next day. But before you even get to the worst-case scenario, there are a few things that can help you prevent a hangover altogether - or at least make it a bit more manageable.
- Don't drink, or at least drink less: Instead of giving yourself unlimited access to the champagne bar, limit yourself to one or two cocktails. Drink slowly, and as a rule, don't consume more than one drink per hour, which helps give the body time to metabolize the alcohol. Also, one drink does not mean a Long Island Tea. We're talking a beer, a glass of wine, or roughly one ounce of hard liquor.
- Drink water, and lots of it: Since alcohol dehydrates the body, begin and end your night of drinking with plenty of water, and for every alcoholic beverage you consume, match it with another glass of water. An easy trick is to alternate between a cocktail and a glass - or two! - of water while you are out for the night.
- Don't drink on an empty stomach: Having food in your stomach helps dilute the concentration of alcohol in your belly. Fill up on good-for-you foods with an emphasis on complex carbs.
- Be choosy with what you drink: Whenever possible, stay away from sugary and carbonated drinks, since they speed up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, and opt for choices that have a low alcohol content, like sake, soju, or low-cal vodka. Drink clear liquors over colored ones: darker alcohol like bourbon or red wine contain more congeners, a substance that help contribute to hangovers.
Too Late! What to Eat Once a Hangover Hits
If the old adage everything in moderation was tossed out the window, next-day food choices can be your saving grace. Even if a greasy breakfast sandwich is the only thing you're craving, make sure to eat; food helps break down the alcohol in your system. Once you've eaten, ward off a headache with some OTC ibuprofen (avoid pain relievers containing acetaminophen, like Tylenol, because they may cause liver damage), and don't skip that cup of coffee; aside from being a little pick-me-up, it's been shown to help ward off a hangover-induced headache. If you had a few drinks too many and are suffering from specific symptoms, here's which foods to reach for.
- Dehydration: You need to hydrate. Your throat and mouth are dry due to dehydration, which is caused by the diuretic properties of alcohol. Dehydration also affects your muscles, making them feel weak. Drink plenty of water, and replace lost electrolytes with a low-sugar electrolyte-replacement drink or coconut water.
- Upset stomach: Excessive alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach, causing nausea, digestive issues, or, in really bad cases, vomiting. Start with some Alka Seltzer, and eat bland and easily digested foods like bananas, saltine crackers, or broth.
- Irritability and fatigue: Because the liver gets backed up trying to metabolize the alcohol, you might be experiencing low blood sugar, which can result in you feeling irritable and moody. While most any food can help spike up sugar levels in the body, in small studies, fructose has been shown to speed up the body's ability to metabolize alcohol. Give yourself a tall glass of orange juice after a night of drinking, or press your hangover away with this fresh juice recipe.
The Best Exercise Remedies
Before you hit up that hour-long indoor cycling class, you may want to think twice. On its own, exercise is not an effective cure against a hangover, said Ruth C. Engs, RN, Ed.D., a professor at Indiana University who has done extensive research on the effects of drinking. While the endorphin rush can counteract the pain (albeit momentarily), the dehydration that comes along with an intense exercise session can worsen symptoms. Take into account how bad you're feeling, and if you can't bear to miss a workout, then opt for a light cardio session or restorative yoga class. But what your body probably needs right now is rest.
Alcohol does a number on sleep patterns; the pituitary gland becomes confused and releases the wrong amount of hormones that regulate sleep; the central nervous system also becomes overexcited, causing sensitivity to light, sound, and touch. All of the above means you do not get a good night of quality sleep. If your hangover is really bad, don't feel guilty for taking the day off to relax and get some shut-eye.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015
Let your body be your gym with this no-equipment workout. It's quick and fun and will torch calories while toning you all over. Press play, and get ready to rock this workout. No excuses - it's only 15 minutes long.
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Saturday, May 23, 2015
Prevention is the key to burn-free skin, but sometimes SPF lotion and a cute hat don't stand up to the Summer sun. Once you've been burned, start out by replenishing your fluids from the inside out by drinking plenty of water. If you're still in pain - or looking a little fried - then try out one (or a combination) of the following natural sunburn remedies to soothe your skin naturally.
Colloidal oatmeal: Think that oatmeal baths are just for kids with chicken pox? You won't be saying so once you've soaked in some milky oatmeal after a long day in the sun. But tossing the rolled oats from your kitchen into the tub won't do. Look for a colloidal oatmeal bath like this Aveeno Oatmeal Bath ($7) that calms down and works to heal inflamed skin.
Vitamin C: Instead of popping aspirin, upping your vitamin C can help alleviate sunburn damage. "I tell my patients to take 1,000 milligrams [of vitamin C] for three days, as opposed to the recommended daily allowance of 75 milligrams, and also apply the vitamin topically," says dermatologist Mary Lupo, MD. She suggests Philosophy's Turbo Booster C Powder ($35) as a topical solution for sunburn woes.
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is king of the natural remedies. Whether you have an inexpensive gel lotion or a fresh plant at home, aloe vera will help soothe your skin naturally, since it contains nutrients that heal your skin back to health and prevent infection simultaneously. To heighten the cooling sensation, refrigerate your aloe vera gel before you apply.
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If warm, sunny weather is inspiring you to get hot and heavy, you may want to skip getting it on in the pool and save your nookie time for dry land. Although making sweet love in the water sounds sensual and natural, since you're wearing next to nothing already, it's not exactly the safest way to get it on.
Here's a mood killer for you: lake, river, ocean, and pond water contain bacteria, so getting intimate can introduce that bacteria into your vagina, which could put you at risk for infections that you don't want up there. Pool water is no better since it contains chlorine, which could irritate your lady business or disrupt the natural pH balance in your vagina, leading to a yeast infection. As for hot tubs, they're often not chlorinated enough, which means they're teeming with who knows what.
You may have heard that getting busy underwater will prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy, but this is far from true. As long as there is contact between two partners, semen and other bodily fluids can still pass from one person to another, which makes conception or contraction of STIs possible. You're using a condom, you say? Although in the bedroom, condoms are very effective at preventing both pregnancy and the spread of infection, in the water, the lack of natural lubrication can make condoms more likely to break or slip off without either person realizing it. Not to mention, the lack of natural moisture can also cause friction, which will chafe your sensitive lady parts. Water and sex just don't mix, so the best advice is to reserve pool time for swimming, and save the shagging for later.
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Beginner yoga poses may look easy at first glance, but after holding your body still and feeling your muscles burn, you'll realize these poses are the ticket to rocking your swimsuit. Here are seven beginner yoga poses to strengthen and tone your bikini body.
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Friday, May 22, 2015
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Germaine Yeap just proved that "fight like a girl" means fight like you're a boxing champion who can beat out the guys. She's a pro Muay Thai fighter who's had over six years of training, but the new Muay Thai trainers at a local Malaysian gym never would have guessed that. Germaine shows up to the gym and tries her best to look like a weak, helpless girl who has no idea what she's doing. When she suggests that they practice in the ring, the male trainer is hesitant, saying, "I just don't want to hurt you." If only he knew who he was really going up against. You have to see the hilarious result when Germaine switches from faking it to killing it the way she always does. Way to take them by surprise, girl.
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Q: Hey Erika, I’ve seen people at my gym using foam rollers all over the place. What exactly is their primary function? Is it stretching?
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- Did you know these things can affect your period? - Shape
- Is cracking your knuckles as bad as you think? - Real Simple
- Learn how to grill fruits and veggies like a pro - Cooking Light
- This 5-minute workout video is quick but intense - Women's Health
- These foods are crazy-high in protein - who knew? - Fitness
- Are you eating these healthy foods wrong? - Health
- 10 steps to kick sugar cravings for good - YourTango
- How to save hundreds on groceries - POPSUGAR Smart Living
- Would you ever try rucking? - Self
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A sexy back will help you rock your tank top with confidence this Summer. So grab a set of five-pound dumbbells and get ready to sculpt your shoulders and tone your arms with our 10-minute workout. Don't forget to work your gams with this leg and butt workout!
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Thursday, May 21, 2015
I've always been an eggs and avocado enthusiast when it comes to breakfast, but recently, a smoothie's combination of being refreshing and ready in one minute has helped me make the transition from the stove to the blender. I've been playing around with a number of ingredient combinations, but regardless of what I toss into the mix, there's one nutrient-dense item that remains: spinach.
This leafy green might turn everything a grassy hue, but you should not be afraid to drink up. Here's why I always toss (at least) one cup of spinach into my breakfast smoothie.
It helps tone muscle: Popeye had the right idea! While your spinach-filled smoothie won't make you muscles grow immediately, a Swedish animal study found found that nitrate, found naturally in spinach, may improve muscle tone and endurance in humans.
It restores your energy: Iron helps transport oxygen around the body, and people with an iron deficiency often feel fatigued and groggy without realizing it's the problem. Bumping up your iron intake can make a huge difference in how you feel, and spinach is one of the best natural plant sources out there.
You can't taste it: While kale can leave your smoothie looking and tasting very green, spinach easily sneaks in without affecting flavor. If you're not convinced, try this pear, grape, and spinach smoothie or this chocolate-banana blend. These recipes will help you turn into a spinach smoothie convert, too.
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Planks are one of the most effective exercises because they fire up so many muscles at once, especially the core and upper body. You can make them even harder - you know you want to! - by adding a pair of dumbbells. Grab a pair of three- to 10-pounders and throw these moves into your next routine. Since plank position can be tough on the wrists, alternate these plank variations with moves that give your hands a break, such as squats or lunges.
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Ugh, we've all had bad days at the gym, and after seeing these honest gym confessions, you'll know you're not alone.
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