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5 Steps to the Perfect, Crisp Mason Jar Salad

As it turns out, leafy green salads travel way better than you might think. They pack quite well for long flights, lunch or as leftovers for a later meal. But keeping your leafy greens bright, delicious and fresh does take planning. Here are our quick tips for packing the perfect (non-soggy) salad:

1. FIND THE RIGHT JAR

Canning jars hold salads beautifully, but wide-mouthed jars are easiest to pack and shake your salad. Pint-sized jars are great for smaller side salads, but larger quart-sized or 2-quart sized jars are handy for dinner salads. You’ll likely want two quart-sized jars if you’re taking a salad to a potluck.


READ MORE > 5 MAKE-AHEAD MASON JAR BREAKFASTS


2. CHOOSE DEEP LEAFY GREENS

The greens are the foundation of your salad, and like any meal, you want to start with a solid base. For salads that travel and keep well on the go, choose the darkest, deepest leafy greens you can find. Kale and collard greens are best, followed by spinach and arugula, then delicate spring greens.

3. PACK YOUR SALAD IN LAYERS

When you make a healthy salad at home, your inclination is to mix it all up and eat it. But all of that changes when you’re packing salads to go. Instead of pre-mixing, start packing your salad by placing the dressing alone in the bottom. Then, pack your salad in layers starting with the heaviest and most non-absorbent ingredients (grains and meat) at the bottom. Work your way up through the lighter ingredients (fresh vegetables), placing the delicate greens on top. This layering system will protect your greens from the dressing until you’re ready to shake it up and enjoy. For ease of mixing, leave a little space at the top of the jar.

4. SEAL TIGHTLY

With the lid sealed, Mason jar salads  keep for up to five days in the fridge. If you’re making a salad that includes more perishable ingredients like avocados, tomatoes, chicken or hard-boiled eggs, you’ll want to wait until the day you eat the salad to add these ingredients.

5. SHAKE IT UP

When you’re ready to enjoy your salad, simply shake the jar vigorously to incorporate the ingredients. They’ll get pretty compact in there. Pour salad into a bowl and toss gently with your fork to be sure everything is well combined.


READ MORE > 3 QUICK AND EASY MASON JAR DESSERTS


HOW TO MAKE A CRISP SALAD IN A MASON JAR

INGREDIENTS

  • 1–4 tablespoons salad dressing
  • Mix of raw and cooked vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, cheese and other salad ingredients
  • Salad greens

EQUIPMENT

  • Wide-mouth canning jars with tight-fitting lids:
    • Pint jars for side salads, quart jars for individual, meal-sized salads, quart jars (or larger) for multiple servings
  • Large bowl for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour salad dressing in the bottom of the jar. How much you use depends on the size of the salad. Add any hard-chopped vegetables: carrots, cucumbers, beets, and so on. Next, add beans, grains or pasta, like chickpeas, black beans, cooked barley or quinoa, as well as any crunchy nuts or seeds.
  2. For same-day salads, add protein like crumbled cheese, meat or eggs. For make-ahead salads, add these ingredients to the top of the jar the day you plan to eat your salad.
  3. Next, add softer, more perishable ingredients like avocados, tomatoes, diced apricots or berries. Similar to the proteins, add these now if you’ll be eating your salad within the day. If you’re preparing salad for later in the week, wait until the day you plan to eat the salad.
  4. Fill the rest of the jar with chopped salad greens.
  5. Screw on the lid and refrigerate up to five days (or until lunchtime). When you’re ready to eat, unscrew the lid and shake the salad ingredients into the bowl. This shake is typically enough to mix the salad with the dressing, but a good toss with your fork won’t hurt.

The post 5 Steps to the Perfect, Crisp Mason Jar Salad appeared first on Under Armour.

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5 Steps to Your First Pushup

The pushup may seem like a basic exercise, but it’s challenging at first. If you can’t do a pushup from the floor yet, we’ll show you the path to your first real pushup.

It takes an impressive combination of upper body strength, full body coordination and core control to do pushups from the floor. Follow these five steps to enhance your pushup prowess:

STEP 1: HIGH PLANK

The first step toward a full-blown pushup is learning to support yourself on your hands. The high plank teaches you to stabilize your upper body with your shoulders while supporting your lower half with your core muscles.  

Coaching Cues

  • Keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Maintain a straight line from your head to your toes. No sagging hips or poking your head forward.
  • Breathe normally. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

STEP 2: HAND-ELEVATED PUSHUP

When you’re ready, try pushups with your hands elevated on a box, bench or wall. The higher your hands are off the floor, the easier the exercise will be. All the same pushup techniques apply, but raising your hands reduces the amount of weight your muscles have to move.

Coaching Cues

  • Lower your chest down first. Don’t let your head or your hips lead the way.
  • Keep your elbows tucked to your sides at about 45 degrees.
  • Choose a box or bench height that allows you to do 8–12 reps per set. Once that’s easy, move to a lower height.

STEP 3: ECCENTRIC-ONLY PUSHUP

Once your upper body is strong enough to put your hands on the floor, try the eccentric-only pushup. Most people struggle to do a pushup because they lower themselves to the floor incorrectly. This exercise focuses on lowering under control while using your shoulder blades and core muscles to maintain perfect positioning.

Coaching Cues

  • Take 3–5 seconds to lower yourself to the ground.
  • Imagine pulling yourself to the ground with your upper back muscles rather than passively lowering your body.
  • Drop to your knees between reps and take as much time as needed to reset your position.

STEP 4: BAND-ASSISTED PUSHUP

After you’ve mastered lowering yourself to the ground, use a resistance band to help you dial in the push portion of the pushup. The band-assisted pushup is virtually identical to a pushup from the floor, but the band helps your upper body muscles to make things slightly easier.

Coaching Cues

  • Keep the band directly under your belt line.
  • Lead with your chest. If your hips or face hit the floor first, focus on squeezing your glutes and making a double chin.
  • Start with a heavy band for sets of 8–12 reps. Once that’s easy, move to a lighter band.

STEP 5: PUSHUP FROM THE FLOOR

The time has finally come: your first pushup from the floor. Keep your technique identical to what you did during hands-elevated pushups, eccentric-only pushups and band-assisted pushups. Trust that you’ve built the strength and technique to do a pushup and don’t be intimidated — you’ve earned this!


READ MORE

> A 20-Minute Glider Workout That’ll Tone Your Upper Body
> 6 Exercises That Burn Calories in Overdrive
> 3 Pushup Workouts for Any Fitness Level


THE PUSHUP PLAN

You’ll need to build strength in your chest, upper back, arms and core if you want to bust out pushups like a pro. Here’s a sample routine you can use to achieve your first pushup, including some of our favorite accessory exercises to build your pushup strength:

Week 1 (Perform this workout 3 days per week)

Hands-elevated pushup: 3 sets x 6–8 reps (stop 2 reps shy of failure)
Eccentric-only pushup: 3 sets x 4 reps
Lat pulldowns: 3 sets x 8–12 reps
Triceps pushdowns: 3 sets x 12–15 reps
High plank: 3 sets x max time (stop just before your hips drop or elbows bend)

Week 2 (Perform this workout 3 days per week)

Hands-elevated pushup: 3 sets x 6–8 reps (hands lower than week 1)
Eccentric-only pushup: 3 sets x 6 reps
1-arm dumbbell rows: 3 sets x 8–12 reps per side
Dumbbell bench press: 3 sets x 8–12 reps
1-leg high plank: 2 sets x max time per side (stop just before your hips drop or elbows bend)

Week 3 (Perform this workout 3 days per week)

Band-assisted pushup: 3 sets x 6–8 reps (stop 2 reps shy of failure)
Eccentric-only Pushup: 3 sets x 8 reps
Inverted rows: 3 sets x 8–12 reps
Incline dumbbell bench press: 3 sets x 8–12 reps
Front plank: 3 sets x max time (stop just before your hips drop)

Week 4 (Perform this workout 3 days per week)

Band-assisted pushup: 3 sets x 6–8 reps (use a lighter band than week 1)
Eccentric-only pushup: 3 sets x 10 reps
Machine-assisted pullups: 3 sets x 8–12 reps
Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 3 sets x 8–12 reps
Side plank: 3 sets x max time per side (stop just before your hips drop)

After four weeks, rest for a few days then attempt your first set of pushups from the floor.


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The post 5 Steps to Your First Pushup appeared first on Under Armour.

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Your 14-Day Plan to Walk More Steps

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For the next 14 days, it’s time to ratchet up your fitness level. Wherever you are on the fitness spectrum — an off-the-couch beginner, beginner/intermediate or intermediate — it’s time to lace up those shoes and take some laps. This fitness plan is meant to be a shot in the arm or a quick jump-start.

The plan is simple: For the next 14 days, you need to double-down on your steps. This two-week challenge is progressive, simple and short.

Numbers are the name of the game for this challenge. You have one simple task: Walk more! Your daily goal will be to walk more than you did the day before. If you can find someone to do this with you, that would be an added boost. It’s always easier to have a friend or family member to hold you accountable and cheer you on.

If time, weather or your job are obstacles that have stood in your way in the past, you might have to use some creativity. Here are some ideas to squeeze in your steps:

  • Walk laps inside your office building on your lunch break
  • Use a treadmill
  • Go to the mall and walk around
  • Wear a path in your carpet around your house

Where there is a will, there is always a way. Good luck!

Off-the-Couch Beginner

WOO HOO! So, you have decided you’re going to make some lifestyle changes to improve your health. Great choice. Creating new habits takes time, patience and a strong will. But guess what? This plan is perfect for you because it’s only two weeks long and simple to follow.

This plan assumes you are capable of averaging 1,000–3,000 steps a day before you begin the routine. You’re going to add 500 steps a day — except for the last day — with the goal to hit 10,000 steps (roughly 5 miles) on Day 14. . If you don’t reach 10,000 steps at the end of the 14 days, it’s OK. Just keep moving. The goal is to simply hit 10,000 steps, and then move up to the beginner/intermediate group.

If you’re not yet able to take 3,000 steps, have no fear. Just start from where you’re able, and try your best to walk a little more every day.

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Beginner/Intermediate

So you guys have been around the block a few times, so to speak. If you are currently averaging 5,000–6,000 steps per day, this group is perfect for you. Now is the time to step up your game — 750 extra steps each day to be exact, with the last day being an exception of 1,000 extra steps. The plan below starts with 5,000 steps. Your goal is to hit 15,000 steps, roughly 7.5 miles, by the end of the two weeks. After the two weeks are finished, you can attack another goal: the intermediate plan. You’ve built momentum; continue to push toward the next fitness goal.

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Intermediate

The pros! Getting your steps is part of your everyday routine. The biggest hurdle for you will not be adding more steps each day, but finding the time to do so. Your time is precious; all we’re asking for is a short-term sacrifice. If you average 6,500–8,000 steps per day, this plan is for you. You have to add 1,000 steps per day, with the goal of hitting 20,000 steps on Day 14. It’s going to take some work to add 1,000 steps per day, but it can be done. The model below starts with 7,000 steps. After you finish this challenge, I strongly recommend you go to a spin class, start jogging or begin lifting weights. Your body is more than ready for the next fitness chapter.

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