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5 Frequently Asked Questions for Trainers … Answered

Trainers and coaches have a wealth of knowledge. Ask them about building muscle, burning fat, losing weight, gaining strength, becoming more flexible, etc., and they’ll have an answer. But if you put yourself in a trainer’s shoes, you’d realize that they end up answering the same five questions, repeatedly. We decided to do our friendly trainers a favor and answer them for you here.

“WHAT ARE THE BEST EXERCISES FOR [FILL-IN-THE-BLANK BODY PART]?”

“Let me stop you right there,” says strength and conditioning coach Mike Mejia, president of B.A.S.E. Sports Conditioning, a company that specializes in athletic performance and injury prevention. “Assuming you just flew in from 1985 and are still under the misconception that certain exercises can somehow magically transform the size and shape of various body parts, allow me to burst your bubble.”

You cannot spot train to melt belly fat, there are no guaranteed ways to add inches to your arms overnight and there are no “can’t-miss” exercises, Mejia says. Instead, “the best exercises are the ones you’ll do with the most consistency,” he says.

“HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO WORK OUT?”

Let’s answer this question with a question: Why do you want to get motivated to work out? “Once you figure out your why, and it’s powerful enough to you, then you’ll get motivated,” says Rachel Cosgrove,a strength and conditioning coach and author of “Drop Two Sizes” and “The Female Body Breakthrough.”

You may think you’re working out to lose 20 pounds or fit into a pair of jeans, but why are you really working out? Think it over. Maybe your powerful why is to be a role model for your children or to be able to enjoy life more and maintain your quality of life as you age.

“SHOULD I FOAM ROLL?”

The short answer is yes. “Self myofascial release helps break up adhesions in your fascia and can help relax tight muscles,” explains Noby Takaki, assistant director of fitness at Chicago’s East Bank Club. “Releasing those adhesions and tight muscles will help you get back to proper, pain-free movement, which will ultimately enhance your performance.”

He recommends taking 5–15 minutes each day to foam roll, focusing on your troublesome spots. If you’re working out that day, it’s a great warmup. (Try this 5-minute routine.) If you’re not working out, foam roll anyway to ease any soreness or tightness.

“HOW DO I LOSE X POUNDS IN Y AMOUNT OF TIME?”

The way Jesse Ochs, a personal trainer at Mountains’ Edge Fitness in Boulder, Colorado, answers this question hinges on several factors, including the person’s age, gender, current weight and desired weight. But it all comes down to the same thing for everyone: “Burn more calories during the day than you consume,” he says.

Portion control is key, so he recommends getting a good kitchen scale. “When you eyeball portions, you’re often way off on how many calories you’re actually consuming,” Ochs says. “But when you use a food scale and measure your portions in grams and ounces, you can be more precise with your calorie intake.” Many of his clients also find that it helps them cook at home more and makes them more aware of proper portion sizes when eating out.

“HOW MUCH TRAINING IS TOO MUCH?”

“Overtraining is typically due to under recovery,” says Ethan Duff, head trainer at FitWit, a physical fitness program in Atlanta. “So if you want to set yourself up for a healthy lifestyle now and in the future, then recovery is one of the key elements you need to think about in your fitness routine.”

He considers recovery to be everything you do outside the gym that helps you perform better inside the gym. So be sure you’re getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet and not just sitting on your butt on rest days. “Taking a long walk or bike ride, or developing a yoga routine a few times a week is a great way to make sure you body is recovering for those days you hit it a little harder in the gym,” Duff says.

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Ways to Amp Up Your Walking to Lose Weight, Tone, De-Stress and More

A walking workout seems simple enough: Lace up your shoes, and put one foot in front of the other — easy.

While it can be that simple, achieving specific goals like losing weight, taming stress, training for a 10K or toning muscle require a more specialized approach to your walking workout. Here are some ways to tailor your training depending on which goals you’re hoping to achieve.

TO LOSE WEIGHT

Walking might even be better for weight loss than more vigorous activities like running, according to research published in the journal Risk Analysis. The study found that those who went for a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes five times a week had lower body mass indexes and smaller waists than those who participated in other fitness activities.

If your goal is to slim down, Malin Svensson, a Los Angeles-based walking expert and founder of Nordic Body, recommends walking a shorter distance at higher intensity. “Increasing the intensity burns more calories,” she says.

To torch additional calories, Svensson suggests incorporating intervals into your walk by walking as fast as possible for 60 seconds and returning to a normal pace for 30 seconds. Do this 10 times to make up the entire 30-minute walk.

TO TAME STRESS

When it comes to stress busters, nothing beats a long, leisurely stroll.

Start destressing with a warmup: Slow, gentle stretching not only helps avoid injuries, says Dr. James Rippe, a cardiologist and author of “The Complete Book of Fitness Walking.” “It’s a good time to get in tune with the fact that you’re about to do something good for your body and mind,” he says.

Aim for a pace of 3–4 miles per hour (15–20-minute miles) for at least 60 minutes. Instead of zoning out on the treadmill, get outside. In 2015 research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that a 90-minute walk in nature had lower levels of repetitive negative thoughts.

At the end of the walk, Rippe suggests closing your eyes and asking, “How do I feel?” as a means of appreciating the impact of movement on mood.

TO TRAIN FOR A 10K

It should come as no surprise that training for a 10K requires a workout that prioritizes distance over speed.

For beginners, training for a 10K will take at least eight weeks. Start slow. The goal is to finish the course, not break a speed record. “Walk at a pace you enjoy,” advises Rippe.

Plan to walk at least five days per week. The amount of time you walk — and the distance you cover — will increase each week. Aim for 15 minutes the first week, adding five minutes per week on four walks. During the fifth weekly walk, aim to double your walking time. For example: On week three, go for four 25-minute walks and one 50-minute walk. In the week leading up to the race, plan one 10K walk as a final training walk.

“You get multiple benefits simultaneously: aerobic benefits, bone building benefits and psychological benefits,” Rippe says about long walks.

TO TONE MUSCLE

No amount of walking will give you rock-hard abs or chiseled biceps, but heading for the hills (instead of walking on flat ground) forces your legs, glutes and core to work harder. “Walking can help you build muscular endurance,” says Svensson.

The steeper the grade, the more muscle activation required, according to research published in the journal Gait and Posture. The research also found that faster walking speeds on uphill grades require the most thigh muscle activation.

Set the incline on the treadmill or find a hilly route for a walking workout that tones your muscles. Svensson also recommends walking with poles. “It increases your muscular endurance by engaging your upper body,” she explains. Research agrees. A study published in PLOS One found significant increases in muscle involvement among Nordic walkers.

The next time you head out for a walk, think about your goals and tailor your standard stroll to improve your walking results.

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Make This Daily Commitment to Ease Your Back Pain

Many of us suffer from an achy back at some point in our lives. And while we may aim to fix it with an hour of physical therapy, it’s really about the other 23 hours in the day.

I came to this realization after 20 years of searching near and far for the best exercises and therapies to alleviate my own back pain. Suddenly, I realized I had completely ignored the influence of how my entire day and typical daily habits affected my back. I came to recognize that the ability to change how my back felt was a minute-by-minute, daily awareness of my habits —  not necessarily a magic exercise I could do once a day.

These four tools will help you gain freedom of movement — and hopefully ease your aching back.

1. NOTICE YOUR POSTURE

Check out how you stand and sit — what’s your posture like? Then see if you can improve any of the aspects of your standing and sitting posture. Is your pelvis drifting forward when you stand? Bring it back over your heels. Is your head tilted in front of your shoulders? Gently bring it back to an aligned position. Just asking yourself “How am I sitting or standing? And can I find a more aligned and effortless position?” will bring great shifts.

2. BREATHE WITH YOUR ENTIRE RIB CAGE

Once you are more aligned, pay attention to how you’re breathing. First, relax your jaw, shoulders and torso, and allow breath to come in effortlessly. Then as you breathe, focus on a full expansion of your rib cage — breathe sideways into your ribs, back into your low back and give the shoulders and neck a break. As you exhale, allow yourself to fully exhale before you take your next breath.

3. MOVE YOUR SPINE

Movement will ensure that you get blood flow, clear metabolic waste and avoid unnecessary guarding strategies, which often create their own cycle of pain. The more you feel your spine, the better chance you have of being able to coordinate muscles when it’s time to lift, twist, chop, punch, run, skip or sprint.

Notice whether you are fearful of moving your spine and what your strategies are to keep it stiff. Find gentle movements — such as cat-cow stretches or slow curling and uncurling your spine while lying on your side — and explore them slowly. Only move into the zone of slight discomfort, staying with a sense of safety in your body, and watch how you can do more each time. Make sure you stay connected to your breathing as you explore slow flexion and extension of your spine, staying relaxed and peaceful. You can do this several times a day or as a warmup to your exercise routine.

4. SIT LESS

If your job or studies require you to sit for long hours, set a timer to remind yourself to get up every 60 minutes or so. This will help the deep muscles that attach to the spine stay supple and moving. It’s enough to walk for a couple of minutes, but if you have time to include an active break (such as stretching your calves, hamstrings, glutes and chest muscles), that would be the best complement to your break. When you sit down again, check that you are keeping your back straight in the most effortless and supported way, and make sure that your pelvis and feet provide good grounding and stability. Then return to your work tasks with your full energy and focus.

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7 Healthy Packaged Foods!

Healthy Packaged Foods!

Hello All!!!

There are a lot of posts on the internet saying how bad packaged foods can be for your health. However, as always there are exceptions. Yes, there are some nutrition loaded stuff that come in packages. Don’t confuse them with processed food though.

Here is a list of boxed and canned stuff that fall in the category of healthy packaged foods:

1) Oats and Flax seed

flax seeds and weight loss

Good old oats and ground flax seed are packaged either in cartons or bags. Oats make a great heart-healthy meal, as you all know, and when you sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flax seed on your bowl of oats you only enhance its goodness. Make sure to pick a pack of old-fashioned oats instead of instant oats so that you get more amount of fibre without added salt or sugar.

2) Frozen veggies

Frozen vegetables- frozen food bad for health

Frozen veggies can be as good as the fresh ones. They might even be prewashed or chopped for your convenience. Use them within a few weeks as the nutrients of veggies start degrading over time. Come on, get some frozen veggies and make your meals easy to prepare and more nutritious.

3) Frozen berries

Bilberry health benefits

Now in some parts of the world you don’t get fresh berries. But you do need to include them in your diet to stay super-healthy. What to do? Well, you have the option of going for frozen berries. Just make sure that they don’t have any added sugar. You can then defrost them and add them to your smoothie, bowl of yogurt, oatmeal or cereal.

4) Granola Bars

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Zeroing on the granola bar that is healthy can be a tough job. You need to shop carefully and read the ingredient list to pick out the healthiest one. The healthiest granola bars can be found in the ‘natural foods’ section of the supermarket. Choose brands that use dates as their chief sweetener as you will get sufficient fibre! The number of calories in a bar can be high. It would be better to have half of the bar at a time or share it with a friend.

5) Cereal

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Picking the right cereal box is essential. You might land up with one having an overdose of sugar if you are not careful. The right cereal can give you the goodness of fibre and vitamins thereby supporting your heart and intestinal health. You can make your bowl of cereal healthier by adding in some plain bran cereal! Top it up with berries and enjoy!

6) Brown rice

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You can easily spot packaged brown rice at the supermarket. They are bound to catch your attention. Brown rice is a grain that is rich in fibre and can easily replace our white rice. You can cook it the way you want.

7) Yogurt

yogurt-packaged, healthy packaged foods

Source: www.naturesbasket.co.in

Yogurt present at the dairy section of the supermarket is a great snack and meal accompaniment. Choose brands that are natural and don’t have artificial colours or sweeteners added.

Hope now you won’t feel that all packaged stuff is bad for health!

Do include the above healthy packaged foods in your diet!

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