Knowledge is Power
While they're okay for some purposes...
Crunches require your spine to go into flexion, which places unnecessary stress on the back. They also don’t engage the transverse abdominus (your deepest core muscles), which are key for a flat stomach.
How to fix it: Do planks instead! Any variation of plank strengthens all the muscles in the core, legs, and arms and improves posture.
(courtesy of Shape magazine)
"If you’re trying to lose weight, it may seem like a good idea to skip a meal after your workout. This could not be further from the truth. After your workout, your body needs to start restoring and repairing itself from your training session. In other words, it needs calories. Your body will automatically use the calories you eat for good (repair and recovery) and not bad (fat storage)."
(from SHAPE magazine which we LOVE BTW!)
What you eat after rolling out of bed has the power to banish cravings, turbo-charge energy, and keep your waistline in check. Whether you strength train in the morning, do cardio, or are just running out the door, find the best breakfast for you:
From Shape Magazine. <3
Jumping rope burns more than 10 calories a minute while strengthening your legs, butt, shoulders, and arms.
Visit Fit For Your Adventure's Exercise Library for cool combo moves to add to your jump rope routine.
20 Foods that Can Ruin Your Workout
Could you be sabotaging your fitness success by eating any of these?
By Jessica Smith
While they are great for your body (and weight loss), flaxseeds are full of fiber, which could impede your workout efforts by causing gas and/or bloating, says Stella Metsovas, a clinical nutritionist and diet expert in Los Angeles, Calif.
"You definitely want to limit the amount of fiber you take in 2 hours before and after exercising. In addition to flaxseeds, stay away from fiber supplements, bran, and high-fiber breads and opt for a mixture of protein and carbohydrates instead right before your workout."
Think that energy gel is a great way to prep for your workout? Think again! "Unless you are very athletic (engaging in over 90 minutes of cardiovascular training per day), chances are you don't need those gel packs, Metsovas says. "Taking in all that sugar will disrupt insulin levels and lead you to a dietary-binge later on in the day."
Don't get us wrong, we love healthy hummus just as much as you do, but you may want to stay away from it right before a workout.
"Bean-based foods (such as hummus) are high in indigestible carbohydrates that may cause uncomfortable gas and bloating," says Mary Hartley, a registered dietitian in New York City.
While low-fat dairy may be part of a healthy diet, consuming it before a workout could slow you down. "Most athletes I work with have issues consuming dairy 2 hours before and after exercise," Metsovas says. "I'd advise limiting the use of dairy if you feel lethargic, acidic, or experience excessive burping."
Even though most flavored waters are touted as great 'fitness' drinks, many are full of sugar, or worse, artificial sweeteners that could hinder your workout.
"I would not recommend drinking artificially sweetened beverages prior to working out. I'm against artificially sweetened anything. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to disrupt beneficial bacteria in your gut, and optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients begins in a healthy gut," Metsovas says.
High Sodium Foods (Roasted Nuts)
Even though nuts are a great snack (and can help with weight loss) most roasted nuts are also salted, and salty foods can disrupt the delicate fluid-balance required for optimal workouts, Metsovas says.
"I'd avoid [high sodium foods] at all costs. Using a little bit of salt in your meals is OK, but stay away from the following foods: beef jerky, salted and roasted nuts, lunch meats, and processed snack foods like chips (you shouldn't be consuming these foods anyway)."
While bananas are a great pre-workout snack, make sure you grab a ripe one! Unripe fruit isn't a good idea before you work out, as it could cause uncomfortable gas and bloating, Hartley says. Choose a banana that's completely free of any green at the stem. Brown spots on the skin indicate it’s in the ripe stage. At this stage the sugar content will be absorbed easily, otherwise, the unripe banana is in the starch stage and more difficult to digest.
It makes a great healthy snack, but crudite is best served post-workout. Even though they are super nutritious, veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers are also high in indigestible carbs and can cause bloating or gassiness, Hartley says. Not a good feeling when you're sweating on the treadmill.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of lean protein, but they don't provide carbohydrates for energy. Plus, their protein stays in the stomach and takes a long time to digest, which could weigh you down at the gym, Hartley says.
Thai or Mexican food
Spicy foods may help you burn up more calories overall, but they won't help you burn more during your workout if you eat them right beforehand. Even if they are 'healthy' dishes, spicy leftovers (like last night's Mexican or Thai food) can cause heartburn if they backwash into the esophagus, Hartley says.
Stopped by Starbucks on your way to the gym? Leave the muffins, croissants, and scones behind for a better sweat session, Hartley says. "They have too much butter, oil, or shortening to leave the stomach quickly."
In other words, you might feel like one of those weights made its way into your stomach.
Don't be fooled. Many protein bars on the market are no better for you than a candy bar! If your bar has more than 200 calories and too little protein, it could be weighing down your workout, says Rania Batayneh, a certified nutritionist and eating strategist.
"If your bar has less than 10g of protein, it could cause a drop in your blood sugar, leading you to feel more tired during your workout. To stay energized, look for a bar (that's under 200 cals) with a protein to sugar ratio of 1:1."
Need an afternoon pick me up? Skip the whipped coffee drink if its within a few hours of your workout time. While caffeine can improve your workout, the excess sugar and calories won't.
"They pack on the calories, but they won't keep you full. And many [coffee drinks] can contain the equivalent of 20 packs of sugar," Batayneh says.
Most energy drinks are carbonated and full of sugar (or artificial sweeteners), which can cause gas, bloating, and fatigue. Not only are they not very good for you, they aren't very good at keeping you hydrated, which is key for a great workout.
Caffeine can help if you need a pre-workout boost, Batayneh says. "But think high-antioxidant green tea or black tea or even a nonfat latte (you get some protein in) which can provide an energy boost. Pair it with the right protein bar for the perfect balance."
While the right smoothie can be a great pre-workout snack or meal, if you buy one on the go, chances are you may get weighed down by extra sugar and fat. Blending your own fruit smoothie (use real fruit, not juice) with a scoop of protein powder is your best option, Batayneh says.
Gulping a glass of OJ might seem like a good idea before your morning sweat session, but you'll question your decision halfway through spin class, when climbing that hill seems impossible. What gives? You are better off eating the orange instead, Batayneh says. Juice (even 100-percent fresh-squeezed) has a lot of sugar, and no fiber. While it still offers some vitamins, it will go right through your system, causing a blood sugar crash later.
Bodybuilders swear by them, so they must be good for workouts, right? Wrong! Not all, but most pre-made protein shakes contain a lot of processed ingredients, excess sugar (or sweeteners), and dairy products that can cause bloating, gas, and fatigue. Not exactly what we'd call a fitness trifecta.
Sure, they may be low-cal, but besides containing some sugar and salt, rice cakes offer zero nutrition or protein to help you stay full or power through your workout routine.
While it seems like the perfect portable pre-workout snack, trail mix can take a long time to digest and can be gassy for certain people, Hartley says.
Steer clear of foods high in fat (even the good kind of monounsaturated fat) like avocados just before exercise. "Fats are very important and should be consumed at other intervals in the day, just try to limit your fat intake two hours before and after exercise," Metsovas says.
Foods with a lot of fat or fiber can be very difficult and slow to digest, and they remain in the stomach a long time. They also pull blood into the stomach to aid in digestion, which can cause cramping and discomfort.
Fun circuit workout from SHAPE magazine.
We are so trying this today!
Try this power circuit to slim and define your thighs
(and become stronger and healthier all around!)
All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That's because they're full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily 1/2-cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It's also low in calories and free of saturated fat.
(from 8 Food to Eat Everyday)
Subway, Red Lobster, Chik-Fil-A, Starbucks and Jamba Juice have been named the Best/ Healthiest Option Filled Restaurants in America by Eat This, Not That.
Now check out the Worst...
During a BICEP CURL, having your palms facing up emphasizes using your bicep brachii (your most obvious bicep muscle), palms facing in emphasizes the brachialis (a smaller muscle that assists in bending the elbow), and having your palms facing down will emphasize your brachioradialis (a muscle that sits mostly in the forearm area). So try several reps with each palm position! (and start with lighter weights for the positions your aren't used to)
People who ate a small handful every day improved their working memory by 19 percent, according to a Spanish study. Polyphenols in walnuts are thought to reduce improve communication between neurons.
A recent British study found that 20 to 30 milligrams of caffeine can boost brainpower—that’s less than a cup of coffee.
They’re packed with omega-3s—and people with the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acid in their blood cells had smaller brains compared to those with high levels, according to a recent study in Neurology.
Spinach Filled with magnesium, these greens can help dilate blood vessels, boosting blood flow throughout the body and brain, according to Japanese researchers.
Fatty acids and polyphenols help to reduce inflammation in your joints and cells.
Flaxseed They may be small, but they’re big in terms of protein and fiber. Add them to yogurt or cereal to give your brain a boost.
These bad boys have some of the highest levels of the vitamin B12 which helps insulate your brain cells—important as you age. Did you know? Mussels house 27 grams of protein in a quarter-pound serving. Click here to learn the best recipe to Feed Your Muscles with Mussels.
Not a whole bar—just a few ounces of cocoa can help you concentrate improving blood flow to the brain. Stick with as pure as you can get.
It’s loaded with calcium, which when in low supply can lead to anxiety, irritability, and slow thinking—all brain functions.
Research shows that almost half of people with depression have low folate levels. Asparagus is packed with the nutrient.
Gum or teas, the smell has been associated with an increase in alertness and memory functioning by acting as a stimulant, researchers believe.
Oranges Your body can’t make vitamin C—and a team of Oregon-based researchers recently found that the retina cells—many of which are the same type your brain is filled with—could burn out when denied C.
Flavonoids in berries may cut your risk for Parkinson’s disease because of their anti-inflammatory powers, research suggests.
Courtesy of Men's Health:
Charity Bidegain, ACE Certified Personal Trainer. Supporting all who live the mission of helping us all to live healthier, more fulfilled lives.