Featured

Your Ultimate Summer Workout Plan

 

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Summer is right around the corner. It’ll be time to shed your clothes, put on your swim trunks, and hit the beach. Ahhh, such a liberating experience; unless of course you’ve sat around and accumulated a hefty amount of junk in your trunk. If so, you may find yourself looking at your reflection hoping it’s actually a circus mirror.

 

Monday

Start out with five to 10 minutes of walking or jogging to get warmed up. It’s time for some bodyweight calisthenics. There are a few ranges you can work with. Beginners may want to start with less and the more advanced fitness folks can use the upper range. We’re going to do two sets of 10 (beginners) to 50 (advanced) of each exercise. Go through the list and do each exercise one time with 10 jumping jacks in between. Then do the circuit again.

  • Pull-ups (regular or modified)
  • Burpees
  • Sit-ups or crunches
  • Starbursts
  • Push-ups
  • Speed skaters
  • Dips
  • Alternating lunges
  •  Leg lifts

Repeat and remember to do the 10 jumping jacks between each exercise. Finish it off with five to 10 minutes jogging or walking and 10 to 15 minutes of stretching.

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Tuesday

It’s time for hill or stair repeats. Always remember to start with a five to 10 minute warm-up and finish with a five to 10 minute cool down and 10 to 15 minutes of stretching. Find a hill or set of stairs—the steeper the better. I always say, “Gravity and fat are bitter enemies and one’s gotta give!” We’re hoping it’s the fat. You can do 20 to 30 minutes of straight repeats up and down or change it up. I like to do forward up, then backward. Do side shuffles. Add a burpee every 10 feet. Change it up and have fun.

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Wednesday

Bring out your dumbbells (or makeshift dumbbells if you don’t have equipment—there’s not excuse not to get moving!). Do your warm up then do two sets of either 10 or 50 reps of each exercise. It’s your choice. This time you’re going to add a 100 meter jog between each exercise. Here we go:

  • Burpees
  • Dumbbell squat/curl/press (all one motion)
  • Dumbbell alternating lunges
  • Sit-ups/crunches with a dumbbell
  • Dumbbell flies
  • Dumbbell squats
  • Dumbbell bent over rows
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Overhead triceps extensions
  • Dumbbell Hammer curls
  • Flutter kicks

Finish off with a cool down and some stretching.

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Thursday

“I feel the need, the need for speed!” is what you should tell yourself today. It’s time to pick it up. You can do this work out on a track, at the park or around your neighborhood. It should be about 20 to 30 minutes. Jog a couple laps to warm up. Run each distance with about a minute break in between. Start with 100 meters. Then go to 200 meters. Or start at 400 meters and go to 800 meters then work your way back down 800 meters to 400 meters or 200 meters to 100 meters. Remember to modify the workout to your fitness level. You can take away or add. I like to add 1200 meters and 1600 meters to this pyramid. Do a couple cool down loops and stretch.

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Friday

The weekend is almost here, so let’s end the week with a bang. This time you’re going to take all the exercises from Monday and Wednesday and put them together on one list. The goal is to go through the list only one time, but to do as many reps of each one as you can. Nothing to it, right? Do an exercise then 10 jumping jacks. Then do another exercise and run 100 meters. Then do another exercise and follow it up with five burpees. Repeat this between each exercise. This is a barn burner that’ll really get your heart rate up, burn calories fast and keep it fun.

That’s all there is to it. Now you can take this format and use the basic outline for the next four to six weeks. Take ownership of it. Make it yours. Add things that you like or remove those you don’t. My motto is, “The worse it is, generally the better it is for me.” The goal of this workout is to shock your body and really get you fired up. The sky is the limit, so remember: you get out of it what you put into it. Have fun and get after it. Can I get a Gut Check?!

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Featured

Benefits of Quitting Sugar

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What happens when you quit sugar? A lot of good shizzzz. Kicking a sugar habit is challenging—even for the most strong-willed among us. Avoiding processed sugar is a challenge to daily life, but for some adults, stopping sugar is something that has to occur for health reasons. Sugar consumption can have long-term effects on your health, and sugar is associated with some conditions in multiple ways. For starters, consuming sugar in large amounts can lead to a strong addiction to sugar.

My sweet tooth developed as a child. I loved sugary cereals, chocolate chip cookies, homemade brownies and ice cream. Ice cream was on the menu before bed every night. This kind of snacking got increasingly healthier as I got older, but the habits still stuck. I found myself always reaching for “sweet” snacks over savory ones, and while those snacks didn’t include processed sugar, they still contained high amounts of natural sugars

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Benefits of not eating sugar

I know that cutting out sugar from my diet would produce some favorable results. Here are some common benefits of not eating sugar include:

  • Weight loss: Sugar has calories, but no nutritional value; eating sugar causes us to crave even more sugar

  • Reduced bloat: Artificial sweeteners are notorious for causing bloating

  • Mindful eating: Consciously avoiding certain ingredients (in this case: sugar) leads to more mindful eating habits

  • Better dental health: Sugary sodas, juices and candies create an acidic, cavity-promoting environment in the mouth

  • Sustained energy: Sugar crashes become a thing of the past; experience stable energy levels all day long

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How to Avoid Sugar

Now that you have information on what to expect when you stop eating sugar, it’s time to make quitting sugar happen. For this to be a successful journey, consider the tips below to boost your overall success.

1. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

If at all possible, consider avoiding artificial sweeteners whenever you can. When you stop eating sugar, your brain will more than likely crave something sweet initially, and consuming artificial sweeteners can increase the cravings.

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2. Read all Food Labels

Every food product you purchase in packaging by law should contain a list of ingredients. The best way to avoid sugar is to carefully read your food labels and ingredient lists to ensure that added sugars are not included.

3. Prepare your Own Food at Home

The best way to ensure that you are not consuming any sugar in your meals is to prepare your meals at home. You should expect that any time you eat out somewhere that there is some hidden sugar included, so the best way to avoid sugar is to prepare your meals yourself.

4. Swap Soda for Carbonated Water

If you like drinking soda, then consider making the switch to seltzer or club soda. Many carbonated water options now include natural flavors as a way to enhance the water you drink. The best part about these is that they include no sugar or sweeteners  (but make sure to still double-check the labels for yourself).

5. Clean out Your Kitchen

If you want to avoid sugar, then you need to get rid of the sources of sugar in your home. This should be considered rule number one when it comes to avoiding sugar from here on out. 

There is a lot that can happen when you stop eating sugar, and generally speaking, the hardest part of stopping is in the initial stages. Typically, lethargy sets in and a slew of sugar withdrawal symptoms can set in, which include headaches, nausea, and mental fogginess. However, once you get past these issues, you should expect to notice health improvements including blood pressure and mood. To achieve this success, it is important to find ways to avoid sugar at all costs. After all, if you reintroduce sugar too soon in your diet, you could have a setback, and the process might start all over again.

It will be hard, but you can do it

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Featured

10 Ways to Relieve Stress & Anxiety

 

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People of all ages, genders, and nationalities experience stress, and it seems like every year the world moves at a faster pace. Today, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness across the country, with 40 million adults affected every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

If you are feeling stressed, there are steps you can take to feel better. As you read the following suggestions, remember that conquering stress will not come from a half-hearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress level doesn’t seem to improve, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes.

Try these 10 tips when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:


Yoga

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With its series of postures and controlled-breathing exercises, yoga is a popular stress reliever. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines which may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. Yoga can help you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Buy some Yoga Accessories Online and you can do yoga at your home. This is a good stress reliever because of its slower pace and easier movements.


Meditation

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Meditation, it teaches you to be aware and live in the moment and to accept the way things currently are (feel), and to let it go. Meditation is scientifically backed by reducing overall stress and anxiety as well as depression. There are LOTS of ways to do that besides focusing on your breath.


Breathe

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Breathing techniques, there are all sorts of breathing techniques to help relieve anxiety. And stress. Breathing changes your chemical make up. When you’re stressed and anxious you have shallower quick breaths, but when you change it to full belly breaths you start to feel more relaxed. Often times people have panic attacks because of the way they are breathing.


Exercise

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Exercise can be a very effective tool to help you be able to find your center once again. Not only will the exercise help you be able to reduce overall mental fatigue, but you’ll receive a natural energy boost and get more sleep at night.


Recognize you are stressed

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That sounds so 12-step program but as soon as you start to feel really stressed try to avoid letting it get to a panicked state by addressing it head on. Because here’s the deal, any more than just a little bit of stress/anxiety about something is just completely unnecessary. It’s only making you feel terrible and spiral into a state where you can’t help yourself. Worrying about things doesn’t make them or you any better, and it will only affect your health negatively.


Be in Nature

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Hiking in the woods or heading out for a walk in the park can help you feel peaceful and grounded. Try to choose the areas where you feel safe so you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. Trail biking, walking, hiking, snowshoeing offer the extra benefit of exercise. Take a family member or invite a friend and enjoy feeling connected to people as well.


Sleep

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Lack of sleep causes physical and mental stress due to release of stress hormone and decrease the stress coping ability of the body. Thus proper 8 hour sleep is advisable in patients with anxiety. This would help the body to be capable of taking stress.


Eat Well

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Magnesium helps in muscle relaxation and deficiency of it can contribute to anxiety. Lack of calcium and vitamin B can also contribute to anxiety. Daily diet should contain whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, low-fat dairy products. Do not skip any meal and do healthy snacking.


Garden

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There are a number of ecological benefits to growing your own food or planting a butterfly garden, but these activities can benefit your mental wellbeing too. It is said that only 30 minutes of gardening could relieve the impacts of a stressful activity. 


Take your mind elsewhere

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Whatever it is that is stressing you out — stop — and go do something else for a while. Read a book, watch TV (even reality TV or trash TV), take your dog on a walk, hang out with a friend who is always fun, anything to take your thoughts out of your head and focus on something else. Change what you are doing and get out of your head as soon as possible