Tag Archive | "body"

joanna-turner-breathing

Joanna Turner: I lost 25 kilos with deep breathing

“It took me a while to hear the message about breathing that everyone kept talking about. I was ‘hearing’ the message but not actually doing it. After a stressful day at work (I was formerly a corporate accountant), I would literally say, ‘I haven’t even breathed today!’

I am a firm believer that stress makes you fat. The right breathing – proper belly breaths – is a quick way to calm stress, and reduces all that cortisol that’s pouring in to our body (when you’re in the ‘fight or flight’ stress response mode).

I have a new career as a health and life coach, and now actually teach my clients how to breathe. Breathing the right way has calmed me down and helped me lose weight.

So far I’ve lost 25 kg and find myself spending less time doing excessive long-distance sports, like triathlons and half-marathons, and spend more time doing yoga, Pilates, weights and short HIIT-style (high intensity interval training) workouts for fast results. This change has given me better results, in much less time.”

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Joanna Turner: I lost 25 kilos with deep breathing

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Upgrade your lunch break workout

Forget clocking extra office hours – lunchtime is the perfect time to burn calories!

 Making it to the end of the working day is so much harder if you don’t take a break. A study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports shows that even a 30-minute lunchtime stroll can significantly boost a person’s ability to handle stress at work. But why not ramp up the intensity of your workout and amplify results? ‘It sounds obvious, but don’t use the time to just go through the motions,’ says Georgia Gray, Fitness First personal trainer. ‘Be focused. Get the most out of every rep. Don’t text during your rest periods. Basically, just work hard.’ Heading to the gym this lunch hour? Follow these smart strategies to get more from your session.

GET WITH THE PROGRAMME

Guilty of wandering around the gym aimlessly? What you need is a game plan for workout success. ‘Know exactly what you’re going to the gym to do,’ advises Gray. ‘Not only will you be more motivated to beat your weight or rep targets, but you’ll also save the time you’d normally spend thinking about what bit of kit to use next.’ If you’re not sure what sort of plan you should be following, speak to one of the gym instructors and ask if you can book a gym induction, during which they should provide you with an exercise plan. Get in there and just do it. Got it?

WORKOUT WITH LESS

Modern gyms may be fitness-lovers’ playgrounds – with battle ropes, tyres, sleds and plenty of exciting new-fangled kit – but it’s important not to simply ‘play around’ with the latest equipment. In fact, New Balance ambassador Shona Vertue thinks it’s best to use as little equipment as possible. ‘There’s nothing worse than getting to a packed gym only to spend half your time waiting for kit. Standing in line won’t burn calories! If you’re using the gym at a peak time, such as during the lunch hour, find an empty corner, grab a kettlebell or resistance band and do a circuit. That way, you’ll spend your lunch hour working out rather than waiting it out,’ she says.

MAXIMISE ON MOVES

When time is short, compound exercises that work multiple muscles at once are the key to strength rewards. ‘Revolve your session around big, compound moves such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, chest presses, bent-over rows, chin-ups and dips,’ says Gray. ‘These moves require oodles of energy and are great for fat loss. A lot of my clients love the adductor (inner-thigh) machine, but a squat will work the adductors, rest of the lower body, core and lower back.’ In short, these moves offer more bang for your exercise buck.

GIVE IT A REST

Sure, rest periods are important. They give your body a chance to restore, recover and replenish, meaning you can hit the next set just as hard as the last one. But, by cleverly selecting exercises that work different muscle groups, you can skimp on rest, give worked muscles a chance to recoup and keep up the intensity. ‘Switch between upper- and lower-body movements,’ says Vertue. ‘For example, perform 10 squats, then immediately [without rest] do 10 push-ups. By going from a lower- to an upper-body exercise, your body is quickly shunting blood from the legs (from the squat) to the arms (for the push-up). This takes quite a bit of energy and will burn lots of calories.’

CURB THE CARDIO

Love spending the entire hour on the treadmill? Bad news – unless you’re training for an endurance event, spending that long on a cardio machine isn’t the best use of your time. What you need to do is to up the intensity and decrease the time of your aerobic session to supercharge cardiovascular results. ‘There are lots of ways to increase the intensity of your workout,’ says Allyn Condon, personal trainer at The Gym Bristol. ‘You could vary the sets [try doing hill intervals, for example] or increase the speed of your movements to improve your overall performance and get more from your workout.’ Do this and you’ll free up time to spend using the other kit as well.

DROP IT LOW

If you’re still plugging through the 3 x 12 reps session that the gym instructor gave you a year ago, it’s time to mix up your weights workout. ‘Your body needs progressive overload to make progress,’ says Gray. And this means taxing your muscles more this week than you did last week. ‘If you’re coming in and going through the motions, you’ll struggle to see results. Try doing dropsets, which involves completing an exercise at a certain weight before dropping the weight slightly and performing the same exercise. This is a great way to push the body to failure [when it can’t physically do that move anymore, which leads to strength gains].’

TRACK YOUR TIME

If you’re motivated by competition, one of the most effective ways to gain strength and improve your fitness results is to compete with yourself by tracking your workouts. ‘When you’re not sticking to a plan, you really will struggle to see results,’ warns Gray. ‘To get the most out of any workout – whether it’s long or short – you need to be recording what you’re doing and aiming to improve on that [by running a bit faster, lifting more weight or clocking more reps, for example] week-on-week.’ Yes, it’s time to invest in that workout diary you’ve been promising yourself.

 

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Grind To Grow: Try Your Squats And Presses With Kettlebells!


I’ll never forget the first time I squatted with a pair of 32-kg kettle bells on my chest. It felt like an elephant was sitting on me. The pressure in my gut was immense, and I could barely breathe. Afterwards, my abs were almost immediately sore. I was shocked, because as a competitive weightlifter I could front squat, butt-to-ankles, more than 400 pounds. But these two 70-pound balls of iron made me feel like I was fighting for my life!

I quickly learned that kettlebells are unjustly overlooked as strength equipment; they are often only favored as endurance tools for high-rep ballistic movements like swings and snatches. They’re equally adept and providing muscular overload on slow, heavy lifts like squats and presses.

Why? It’s simple: Your body knows that to get stronger, as well as to continue burning fat, it must adapt. Heavy kettlebells give it a challenge that is uniquely difficult to overcome. Because of their odd shape, kettlebells actually make the body do more work than traditional implements such as barbells and dumbbells. Sub them out even just for a couple of movements you already do, and you may be surprised at the benefits you receive.

The Toughest Squat You’ve Never Done

The reason the double-kettlebell front squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head. In this arrangement, the barbell becomes virtually one with the lifter, making it easier to move the external resistance. This allows you to move much more weight.

With a kettlebell, it’s almost the opposite. In the rack, the weight rests low, against the outside of the forearms, with the elbows pointed down rather than out. The bells try to pull your body forward and off-balance, which forces your entire midsection to reflexively contract in order to keep you from folding in half.

If you’ve been lifting—or just reading about lifting—for a few years, you’ve probably heard this same argument used as a reason to do barbell front squats rather than barbell back squats. But the truth is that the simple substitution of two kettlebells—or even just one—for a barbell means your midsection will take even more of a beating. And this has benefits beyond building core strength.

To start with, you’ll become a better squatter. Because the spine is protected due to the increased reflexive core activation from the rack, lifters can usually squat deeper with kettlebells than they would with a barbell. The difference here is one you’ll likely feel on your backside for days after the first time you try it, so consider yourself warned.

Kettlebell Exercises
Watch The Video – 0:44

Grind To Grow

The increased stability demands upon your core musculature during the front squat are also present in other slow kettlebell lifts—or “grinds,” as they’re often called. Look at the double kettlebell military press, for example: The increased demands placed upon your core mean your body has to work harder to stabilize your joints so your prime movers—the lats and delts, in the case of the press—can do their work.

The upshot, as with the front squat, is that you’ll need less weight to make all types of muscles work more efficiently—particularly the crucial stabilizer muscles around the shoulder and other joints. Efficiency, in this case, means they’ll do what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to do it. To pick one painful example for many lifters, a strong rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder joint so you can safely bench press. A weak or injured one, on the other hand, keeps you from benching heavy, or from doing it at all.

Double Kettlebell Military Press

I’m also of the opinion that one of the causes of what are commonly called workout “plateaus” are actually stabilizer muscles that are weak or don’t work properly. Faced with a heavy load that might damage the joint, your body intuitively protects itself by shutting down the nerve force to the bigger muscles—the prime movers—that traditionally do the work.

You may have heard similar logic used to tell you why you should train with free weights rather than with machines. Yes, it’s true: Core and joint stabilizer activation happen to a certain extent with any training tool, but both are more intense with a kettlebell, due to the increased muscular activation from the offset handle. Consider them the freest of free weights.

You Only Need One

“Resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other.”

Want to know what’s even tougher than a double-kettlebell grind? The same movement loaded unilaterally. Working one side of your body at a time, as with a single-kettlebell military press, requires your body to make all the muscles on the side opposite of the load—and especially the core musculature—contract to keep you from being pulled over sideways.

Another interesting result from training with a single-kettlebell is that you can even-out strength imbalances from side-to-side. Often, side-to-side imbalances are responsible for holding back your progress on traditional bilateral exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift, and military press. Many people find a single-kettlebell front squat to be much more challenging on the core than a double front squat. The same thing holds true for the military press.

If you find you have a strength imbalance, resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other, both in the number of reps and the amount of weight you put over your head. You may feel like you’re holding back at first, but don’t be surprised if your big barbell lifts get stronger as a result.

Grind to Burn

Strength is a worthy goal on its own, and it’s more than enough reason to try kettlebell squats and presses. But getting stronger is also essential for burning fat and getting leaner over the long term.

Think of it as a cycle. The increased muscle activation and range of motion you experience from doing deep, difficult squats and overhead presses demand that more muscles work harder than they would otherwise. When you work harder, you burn more calories. And since training the core, especially in an integrated manner while standing, makes the body stronger, you’ll be able to lift heavier and work even harder in the future—which burns even more calories. And so on …

The downside, if there is one, is that kettlebell grinds are known to leave bruises—on your ego. I think you’ll be just as surprised as I was at just how hard they make you work. But stick with them, and you’ll also be surprised by the fruits of your labor: A stronger midsection, a more powerful and defined body, and more strength you can put to good use.

Swing For The Fences: Kettlebell Training – Burn Fat And Build Muscles!

Make the kettlebell swing your 1-stop shop for increased muscle size, definition, fat loss, and the heart of a racehorse!

Kettlebell Explosion: Harness The Power Of The Kettlebell Swing

Don’t try to learn the kettlebell swing by watching it get butchered in your local gym. Use these drills to nail this powerful movement once and for all!

Meet The Squats: 7 Squat Variations You Should Be Doing

In the old days, there were two kinds of squats: ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Today, you can shop around between multiple versions of the movement. No more excuses. Get off the machines and give the squat a shot!

Contributing Writer

Check out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.

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Grind To Grow: Try Your Squats And Presses With Kettlebells!

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Rowing machine workout

Hands up if you find the rowing machine a little daunting?

We don’t blame you. On a treadmill, you run. On an exercise bike, you cycle. Perfect rowing technique, however, can seem far less straightforward, which means many people are steering clear of this effective piece of gym kit – and missing out on its big-time benefits.

But, master the moves for this machine and you can expect weight loss, better fitness and increased upper and lower-body strength – all without the harsh impact that some cardio exercise can have on joints.

‘Indoor rowing is a complete form of exercise,’ explains Olympic rowing coach and Concept2 fitness expert Terry O’Neill (concept2.co.uk). ‘Rowing is a combination of cardiovascular and strength conditioning, making it a great addition to any fitness regime or training programme – for people of all ages with a wide variety of goals.’

Whether you’re a beginner or an Olympian, there’s a way to make rowing a key player in your workouts.

Full-body workout

One of the main reasons that people opt for a workout on the rower to get their cardio fix is because – unlike the treadmill, stepper and stationary bike – it offers plenty of added value. Using correct technique harnesses the power of both the upper and lower body, so your bum, thighs and calves will get a real push as well as your arms and shoulders. Rowing also requires solid activation from your core and back to maintain good form (particularly in the upper back) with each and every stroke, which means that a good session on the rower can hit almost every muscle, offering total-body conditioning. Plus, the cardiovascular movement of rowing gives your heart and lungs a great workout, too.

‘Indoor rowing is great for toning up, as it involves more muscle groups over a wide range of movement, with little pressure on the joints,’ says Terry. ‘No matter why you choose to row, the rowing machine will offer just the right level of resistance for your goals, as well as an infinite variety of workouts.’

Fuss-free intensity

If you think rowing is just for steady-state fitness, think again – the machine is great for both endurance and interval training. ‘Because the rowing machine activates a large muscle mass, it helps you achieve better cardio results in less time,’ Terry explains. ‘It can also provide excellent anaerobic workouts complementary to explosive power sport training. Plus, indoor rowing is a great endurance exercise that really helps to boost both your heart and lung functions.’

If you’ve ever tried high-intensity interval sprints on the treadmill, you’ll know how annoying it is having to repeatedly press buttons while you’re trying to run to adjust the speed of the belt. One of the great things about the rowing machine is that – although the resistance can be tricky to adjust once you’ve got going – you can control the speed simply by increasing or decreasing your own work rate. So, while some people enjoy longer, steady-state sessions on the rower, those looking for a heart-pumping interval session
can get on with focusing on their technique, instead of pushing buttons.

Of course, the crucial element here is technique – the better your form, the more efficient your workout. Use the steps below to perfect your stroke and practise rowing at a comfortable pace until you’re ready to up your speed.

The rowing masterclass


Use these simple step-by-step instructions to get to grips with perfect rowing technique. Remember to avoid letting your shoulders round or your lower back arch beyond its neutral position. Ready, set, row!

• Keeping your legs straight, lean back slightly with the handle close to your body and your forearms parallel to the floor.
• Extend your arms fully, rocking your body forward slightly and keeping your arms extended.

• Slide your lower body forward from the hips until your knees are above your feet, keeping your arms extended.

• Push down on your feet to drive your body back, straightening your legs and leaning your body back slightly as you do so.

• Pull the handle back past your knees towards your body to return to the starting position. Repeat.

 

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Body Transformation: Catherine Biery Busted Into A Figure Physique!

Name: Catherine Biery

Why I decided to transform

My weight skyrocketed during my 20s due to lifestyle choices, low self-esteem, and poor relationships. Even though I earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, I couldn’t get my weight under control. At one point, I got up to 175 pounds on my 5-foot-3 frame.

I started dating my husband in my early 30s, regained some of my lost self-esteem, and became more serious about exercise and nutrition. I became a cardio queen and steered clear of the weight room. I ran on the treadmill for hours and wondered why I didn’t lose weight. My husband later introduced me to weightlifting and I loved it. I developed a passion for strength training, slowly lost weight and eventually hit 135 pounds, which felt amazing. Rather than focusing on being skinny, I wanted to be strong.

I became pregnant at age 33 and gained weight again, but weighed less than I did in my 20s. I lost all of my pregnancy weight with continued training. I also paid attention to portion sizes by measuring food in a food journal. I was mostly fit again but wanted to take it to the next level.

Before

After

AGE 37 / HEIGHT 5’3″ / BODY FAT 25%

AGE 37 / HEIGHT 5’3″ / BODY FAT 10%

Post To Fitboard

My ultimate goal was to compete in a figure. I learned about figure competitions years before, but always assumed I wouldn’t make it to that level. The physical and mental strength required to accomplish my goal seemed inspiring and appealing.

Before my daughter turned 3 years old, something clicked. I realized I could accomplish my goal if I set my mind to do it. I wanted to set a good example for my daughter who could watch me follow through with something important. A fire was ignited inside me at age 37. I was ready to see what I was made of, so I cleaned up my diet, increased my training, and watched myself transform.

On November 16, 2013, with support from my family and friends, I competed in my first figure competition. My confidence and inner strength are through the roof. I feel better mentally and physically now than at any time in my life. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me and am excited to compete again.

How I accomplished my goals

Accomplishing my goals felt like a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. When I made the commitment to compete, I was determined to follow through. I wasn’t going to let myself down.

 

“Rather than focusing on being skinny, I wanted to be strong.”

I vocalized my goal to my friends and family who became my support team. Having their support motivated me when times got tough. It would’ve been easy to quit if I hadn’t let those I care about join my journey. The month before my contest was tough physically and mentally. I reached out to my support team on tough days and asked them to send me their favorite motivational quotes, stories, and experiences, which helped a lot.

On tough days, I’d look to individuals I admire. I visited Erin Stern’s Facebook page often and read transformation stories on Bodybuilding.com. I also read fitness magazines for new workout tips and clean-eating ideas. Most of all, I thought about who I wanted to be for myself and my daughter. I want her to know that it’s important to chase and complete your goals, even when it’s hard and you’re afraid.

I’ve been told countless times by friends, family, and random strangers at the gym that I inspire them. If I told my 20-year-old self that one day people would say that I inspire them, I would’ve never believed it. It’s those moments that keep me motivated to push toward my future goals.

Apply Here To Be A Transformation Of The Week!

Apply Here To Be A Transformation
Of The Week!

Bodybuilding.com honors people across all transformation categories for their hard work and dedication. Learn how our featured transformers overcame obstacles and hit their goals!

Diet plan that guided my transformation

I drink at least one gallon of water per day and increase that to two gallons per day three weeks before competition. This is my maintenance diet that keeps me running like a well-fueled machine.

  • Salad
  • Spring Greens Spring Greens2 cups
  • Mixed Veggies Mixed Veggies1 serving
  • Light Asian Sesame Dressing Light Asian Sesame Dressing2 tbsp
  • chicken Chicken5 oz
  • cottage cheese Cottage Cheese1/2 cup
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk Unsweetened Almond Milk1 cup

Training regimen that kept me on track

I strength train six days per week and work each muscle group twice per week. I also do 3-4 hours of cardio per week on the stairmaster.

What aspect challenged me the most

The most challenging part of my transformation was three weeks out from my contest date. I increased my cardio from four to seven days per week and depleted additional calories from my diet.

The combination left me with low energy and an energetic 3-year-old to keep up with. Knowing it was temporary kept me going. I leaned on my husband and support team for motivation and visualized myself on stage completing my goal.

“Don’t obsess about the number on the scale!”

My future fitness plans

I learned a lot from my first figure competition. I met many wonderful people and had fun. I’m excited to get back on stage and do it again. I have specific improvements that I want to make for my next show and will give myself a few months before I step on stage again.

Even though I have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, I was too embarrassed to pursue my dreams and help others meet their fitness goals because I hadn’t completed mine. I now have the confidence to pursue it and plan to become a certified personal trainer when my daughter is in preschool.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers

  • Believe in yourself and make long-term changes.
  • Surround yourself with positive people to lean on when you need help.
  • Seek inspiration from others who have been there to ignite your inner fire.
  • Take progress photos.
  • Keep a food log and measure your food.
  • Don’t obsess about the number on the scale!
  • Reach for the stars!

How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals

My husband and I use Bodybuilding.com for our supplementation needs because it has the best prices and fastest shipping. Bodybuilding.com keeps us happily stocked with supplements and motivates us with articles and transformation stories.

Catherine’s Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. “Shut It Down” by Pitbull (Feat. Akon)
  2. “Shake It” by Metro Station
  3. “Remember The Name” by Fort Minor (Feat. Styles Of Beyond)
  4. “Berzerk” by Eminem
  5. “Hella Good” by No Doubt

Body Transformation: Jen Wade Turned Body Fat Into Hard Muscle!

Jen was fooled by misleading food packaging and steadily added weight for several years. At age 31, she made a stand, lost 11 percent body fat, and competed. You can too!

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Eat-fasting-diet-plan

Eat-fasting 2.0 = two meals within a 12 hour period

 Eat-fasting 2.0 sanctions eating two meals within a 12-hour period. So does this diet planwork?

The whole fasting and eating at the same time thing has become so ubiquitous, we’re inured to the fact that it’s the stupidest oxymoron since skinny-fat.

But suspending logic and intellect for the sake of being able to buy lunch and stovepipe jeans, we’re digging scientific backing for a pro-grub upgrade to the 5:2 fad.

How does it work

Eat-fasting 2.0 sanctions eating two meals within a 12-hour period, which is – knock us down with a catwalk model’s thigh – almost normal.

According to Salk Institute researchers, the program can help the body to burn fat rather than store it, despite no weird food or kJ rules and occasional cheat meals.

They also put the kibosh on the six-meals-a-day boosting metabolism theory.

Breakfast is crucial to good health. It’s the first meal we eat after a night’s sleep, kick starting the body back into action, or ‘breaking the fast’. The longer you go without foodafter waking up in the morning, the longer you are in the state of shutdown your body adopts during sleep.

“When people skip breakfast they are putting their body into a prolonged fasting state,” says accredited practising dietitian Lisa Renn.

“That is, they haven’t eaten anything since the previous night’s dinner and are asking their bodies to hold off without food for even longer. When this occurs regularly the body is forced to slow its metabolism down in order to conserve energy. The result is usually weight gain.”

The US National Weight Control Registry bears this out, showing that of those people who have lost more than 30 pounds (around 14 kilograms) and kept it off for more than a year, 90 per cent reported eating breakfast most days of the week.

Breakfast is also the meal farthest away from our next sleep, which means the body has lots of time to digest and metabolise what we ate for breakfast throughout the day. So you can eat more and gain less.
It’s why it’s important to eat ‘the breakfast of a king, the lunch of a prince and the dinner of a pauper’. We don’t have time to metabolise a heavy, late dinner before we go to sleep at night. On the other hand, breakfast gives us all the energy we need to lead active lives during the day.

Breakfast improves alertness, concentration, mental performance and memory,” Renn says. “It can also help improve a person’s mood – that’s why people get tired and irritable when they miss breakfast.
“The optimum breakfast will come from a low GI, high fibre carbohydrate source that is low in saturated fat and sodium. Ideally fruit or vegetables will form part of the mix, and it is a good idea to include a low-fat dairy or dairy-equivalent product.”

The spice of life
Some women don’t feel they can stomach a big breakfast – for many it is the most unappealing meal of the day. The repetitive and routine nature of the meal – cereal or toast each day, without much variation – can be an issue, as can the pressure to eat on the run. For many busy women it’s a question of simply ‘forcing something down’ on the way out the door.

Because of a declining respect for the meal itself, brought about by the way we order our lives and the time constraints we impose as a result of juggling work, children and other commitments, breakfast just doesn’t have the variety or pleasure factor of other meals.

But it’s a very good opportunity to see food as an important fuel for the body rather than simply an indulgence, and to eat foods that are good for you. It’s also a chance to consume important nutrients like fibre, calcium, vitamin C and folate all in one go – a bowl of muesli, yoghurt and berries will achieve this in one sitting, and hopefully you’ll agree it isn’t an entirely unpleasant experience.

There are also plenty of ways to increase breakfast variety, even if you’re time-poor. Consider the range of foods available to us today that are now ‘acceptable’ for breakfast, not to mention the brunch menu of any good café.
The modern continental breakfast includes items like smoked salmon, avocado, bagels, ricotta pancakes, cheeses, bruschetta, fruit compotes – and none of these need too much time to prepare.

A traditional breakfast
Eggs are high in protein and nutrients and are the classic cooked breakfast food. They are easy to prepare, and not as high in cholesterol as you may think.

But to play it safe, stick to the National Heart Foundation’s recommendations and limit your egg consumption to six a week. Boiling, poaching and scrambling (without cream) are the best low-fat preparation options for eggs. Omelettes can add variety – try fillings such as potato, pumpkin, cheese and tomato.

It is now also possible to purchase very lean or soy bacon. Grill or barbeque to ensure the fat drips off during cooking, or use a non-stick pan. A healthy vegetarian variation, or an addition for omnivores, is to add baked beans and vegetables like spinach or mushroom to increase the nutrient content of your cooked breakfast.

Ultimately, however, bacon and eggs is simply not a viable option seven days a week. If you eat this sort of breakfast every day, you are not only consuming high levels of sodium and saturated fat, but you risk missing out on dietary fibre and calcium.

Renn suggests overcoming this by mixing up your breakfast options, saving the cooked breakfast for the weekend and having a high fibre cereal with low-fat milk, a low-fat smoothie, a bowl of porridge or pancakes with yoghurt and berries during the week.

“The more variety in your food intake, the more likely you are to get the right balance of nutrients,” she says.

Get more diet tips and start planning your healthy eating program.

 

 

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chest-press-with-resistance-band

Chest press with resistance band

How to

1. Attach the centre of the band to a stationary object and hold one end in each hand

2. Stand with your back to the attachment, elbows bent and shoulders abducted to 90 degrees (upper arm level with shoulder) so that your hands are next to your chest.

3. Push forwards and straighten your arms out in front of you.

4. Slowly return to the starting position.


Why use resistance bands?

They are super affordable and the ideal fitness multi-tasker. Just choose the right band based on your weight – it’s all written on either the packaging, online or ask in store. As you get stronger you’ll need to lower the assistance to account for your new strength.

For example, a robust general tension band combined with a heavy band offers roughly the same amount of resistance as a power band, but the combination gives you three different levels of assistance (one with the heavy band, one with robust, and one with both bands). Colours denote the different band strengths and vary between brands.

Source

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injury1

How to exercise smart and prevent injury

When you hit the gym, the field or the track, the last thing you want to take home is an injury.

But the more time you spend exercising, the higher the risk. Here are several tips to help manage, treat and prevent injuries so you can keep doing what you love, for longer.

Research has shown that women are especially susceptible to debilitating ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which helps to stabilise the knee joint. A combination of anatomical, biomechanical and other factors is at play. When comparing a woman’s physiology to a male, women have smaller, weaker muscles supporting the knee, a wider pelvis, and thigh bones which angle inward more sharply from hip to knee.

Women also have a greater imbalance between the quadricep and hamstring muscles, which can contribute to knee injuries. And there are biomechanical differences between the way men and women land on their feet, as in running or jumping. Researchers have also suggested that the female hormone oestrogen makes women more vulnerable to ACL injury by weakening this ligament.

 

The importance of warming up
A proper warm-up will heat and loosen the body. Different forms of sport and exercise require different warm-ups, but as a general rule, a dynamic warm-up will get all the joints moving one at a time, then all together, taking the body through progressive movements that loosen and stretch your muscles. Classic dynamic warm-up moves include walking lunges, toe touches, and high knees.

Your outfit counts

For some sports, protective equipment is important to prevent damage. This is particularly relevant for sports involving physical contact, think football and hockey (shin guards) and boxing (boxing gloves and protective head gear).

It’s also important to wear the correct footwear. The right shoes will support the foot and ankle, helping to prevent twisting and injury. In addition, many athletes wear supports, such as knee, ankle, or elbow supports, to offer additional support and protection to joints which may have been weakened by an earlier injury. Supports help stabilise the joint and prevent further damage.

Keep moving post-workout

More exercise is probably the last thing on your list after a big session, but according to a study recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, performing light exercise post-workout may help ease your soreness, and can be just as beneficial as having a massage.

Another useful tip is to use heat to increase blood flow, which will ease your sore muscles. Soak in a hot bath, or if the pain is isolated, apply heat directly to your trouble spot. Many peel-and-stick heating pads stay in place for hours and are thin enough to wear under clothing.

Finally, taking an Omega-3 pill once a day reduces soreness and eases inflammation 48 hours after a strength-training workout, according to research published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Omega-3s — which are also found naturally in foods such as salmon, spinach, and nuts — may help boost circulation to sore muscles while also reducing inflammation.

Rehab your injury

If your injury is severe (i.e. you can’t put weight on the area, or have swelling, numbness or severe pain) you should see a doctor. If you can treat the injury yourself, the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method is tried and tested and very often effective.

Rest. Reduce your regular activities. If you’ve injured your foot, ankle, or knee, take weight off of it.

Ice. Place an ice pack on the injured area for 20 minutes, four-to-eight times a day. You can use a cold pack or ice bag. Take the ice off after 20 minutes to avoid cold injury.

Compression. Put even pressure (compression) on the injured area to help reduce swelling. You can use an elastic wrap, special boot, air cast, or splint. Ask your doctor which one is best for your injury.

Elevation. Place the injured area on a pillow, at a level above your heart, to help reduce swelling.

Be prepared with a first aid kit

The type of first aid that may be required varies for every sport. Because bruises, abrasions, and sprained ankles are more common in some field sports, their first aid kit, for instance, needs to be stocked with cold packs, elastic bandages, and Band-Aids. A track team’s kit, on the other hand, needs to have plenty of supplies to treat blisters, abrasions, pulled muscles, and sprains. Sunscreen and allergy kits may also be appropriate for outdoor sports.

If you are regularly involved in sport, it’s worth having some knowledge of first aid, especially if you are playing sports in areas where there is no immediate access to trained medical people. At Real First Aid, you can sign up for first aid courses, or they can visit your workplace or sports club to work with larger groups. Think of it as an essential investment into your health and wellness, and that of everyone around you.

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How to sculpt your core

The vision

Fat loss is key to what the majority of women want in a stomach: one that is ‘flat’ or lean, with a little definition and no love handles.

“The most common complaints I receive are from new mums who have a flabby stomach or saggy skin after giving birth, or from individuals who have gained weight and now have a ‘pot belly’,” says director of Soul Centre Yoga & Pilates Studio Libby Wever (soulcentre.com.au)

“Beyond aesthetics, core conditioning also improves posture, which contributes to a trimmer appearance, and improves flexibility and balance. Moreover, developing core muscle strength can boost the effectiveness of workouts and reduce the risk of injuries that sideline our efforts to stay in shape. It also protects your back, which is very important to maintain.”

Key features

Your core is actually a highly complex set of muscles, encompassing the pelvic floor muscles, transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, and the rectus abdominis. Minor core muscles include the latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus and trapezius.

“The transverse abdominal muscles, which wrap from the sides of the lower back around to the front, are well-coordinated core muscles that stabilise the spine and help create a firm base of support for virtually all movement,” says Wever.

The plan

From an aesthetic point of view, there is little point smashing out the crunches if your obliques are hidden by layers of fat. That said, like any muscle, the abs still need to be worked for proper function and image once the fat does come off.

“Exercises that strengthen abdominal and other core muscles should be part of an overall fitness plan that includes regular moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking 30 minutes per day, most days of the week. Strength training two to three times a week designed to work the core (think Pilates and compound lifts) will also help,” says Wever.

Given the abs are notoriously resistant to fatigue and contain predominantly of slow-twitch (endurance) muscle fibres, they usually respond best to higher volume training. Think upward of 12 reps, for multiple sets.

“Performing basic movements such as sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, squats and lunges – 12 reps by three sets – as well as holding a full-body plank for two minutes will help to engage and strengthen the core, aiding in your performance across other sports and activities, such as running or swimming,” adds Wever.

http://ww.womenshealthandfitness.com.au/fitness/25-popular-topics/2368-how-to-sculpt-your-core

 

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7 days to ultimate health with Tegan Haining

With the help of the author of The 7 Day Quickie and personal trainer Tegan Haining, we’ve come up with an approach to the week-long kickstart.

Haining’s book is a simple yet detailed guide to seven days of health and fitness that combines a balanced diet with a more active lifestyle. Nourishing food and drinks Haining says simple, nourishing food is key to incorporating good food habits into your lifestyle. Throughout the seven days, meals should be built around a palm-sized portion of protein (such as chicken, fish, organic grass-fed red meat, eggs, quinoa or tempeh), two cups of vegetables and a thumb-sized portion of healthy fats (such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado or nuts).

When it comes to carbohydrates, Haining includes nutrient-dense carbohydrates in her plan but advises to add them last. “Carbohydrates are part of The 7 Day Quickie but we have brown rice instead of white rice, sweet potato instead of potato or rye toast with almond butter instead of white toast with jam, so the general person wouldn’t feel deprived eating this way,” says Haining.

Choose your vegetables wisely by including carrots, cauliflower, beetroot or pumpkin on your plate and you get your carb hit simultaneously. To get the most out of your week, drop all processed foods, sugar (if you fancy something sweet Haining suggests low sugar fruit such as blueberries, green apples or ruby red grapefruits) and pre-packaged food.

For liquids, maximise your water intake and aim for two litres daily. For caffeine lovers, Haining says one coffee per day before 2pm is fine. But for those keen on a glass of red, the news isn’t good. “Having a glass of wine in the evening really affects my sleep pattern because the liver often detoxes around 3am in the morning.

This is when you want to be getting that rejuvenating sleep, not detoxing the glass of wine or bad food from the day before,” says Haining. “Without an evening wine, I find I wake up before my alarm clock and feel really good. So give it a try for one week and notice what it does to your morning motivation.”

Exercise smart If you think the seven-day period of amazingness means you’ll be smashing yourself in the gym two hours every day, think again. Haining believes a balanced approach achieves the best results, including two rest days. “The people who give themselves rest days and time to allow their lean muscle mass to develop actually become more efficient at fat burning than those constantly running on the treadmill,” says Haining. “Yes, they’re burning fat, but they’re burning muscle too, and their cortisol is very high and they’re stressed…it’s not an ideal way to get a happy life at the same time.”

Instead, factor in two days of strength or resistance training, two days of interval training and a day or two of gentle yoga stretches over the week. Instead of leg or arm days, Haining recommends whole body workouts that work the front and back for ideal posture. “Work the front and then the back of your body so you’ve got nice posture, balance the upper and lower body exercises, work both pushing and pulling movements so we don’t get any rounded shoulder positioning that produces tightness in the chest – all of these are factors to consider,” says Haining. “Focus on a balanced, flexible and strong body – be really mindful of tightness because that’s where injury starts.”

Sleep The importance of sleep this week (and always) cannot be underestimated. When we get less than eight hours of quality sleep, our body produces the hormone ghrelin, making us crave foods (especially sugar) and our hunger is often insatiable. On the flipside, a decent eight-hour sleep produces the hormone leptin, which increases satiety, reducing the urge to overeat. “It’s often the most challenging thing for my clients when I talk about going to bed at 10pm. They think I’m from Mars, but it makes such a difference,” says Haining. “One of the models I trained in London couldn’t shift weight from around her waistline and when we looked at her sleep, she wasn’t ever going to bed before 1am. As soon as we got her to bed at 10pm, she lost that layer.”

The magic time between 10pm and 6am, working with the sun, seems to be the ideal sleep format to prevent us reaching for stimulants the next morning. “When we’ve had a good night’s sleep, everything else flows from there,” says Haining. “We’ll make better food choices and we might be a little bit happier about going to the gym. A bad night’s sleep messes with our mindset, and positivity is what gets us through the day and kicking goals!”

Self-care When you’re exercising hard plus eating lighter and healthier than ever, you may find some sore muscles and detoxing symptoms are the result in the first few days. Haining says self-care over the week is crucial to staying on track. “Choose one wellness factor, whether it be going for a massage, going to a sauna or a feelgood thing you wouldn’t usually do on one of your regeneration days,” suggests Haining. “Day six is good because you’re nearly at the end of the week, you might have detoxed and be feeling a bit average, so give your body some extra love.

Even an Epsom salt bath for half an hour at home will feel really good on sore, tired muscles.” For a daily hit of love, Haining is a firm believer in the power of affirmations, twisting any negative thoughts around. “Affirmations are a huge thing in my life and they really work,” she says. “If you’re feeling negative about something, you have to change your thinking, which might involve writing down a positive flip on that thought, such as ‘How am I ever going to get through these seven days’ and turn it around to ‘I can’t wait to feel how good I’m going to feel after these seven days’.

Write it down and put it on your fridge or on your phone as a daily alert; just constantly remind yourself.”   Pros & Cons Pros Seven days is achievable for anyone and Haining’s The 7-Day Quickie caters for all fitness levels and most taste buds. The balanced approach with carefully thought out nutrition alongside a mixture of exercise means you are unlikely to feel hungry or exhausted during this plan and, by the end, your energy levels will only increase.

While Haining is reluctant to mention a number on the scales as everyone is different, she says people will lose a layer and gain a flatter tummy. Without alcohol and processed foods, your sleep pattern should improve, which means you’ll look fresher and experience better moods.

Cons Whenever we go full throttle and deprive ourselves of favourite foods, there’s the possibility of backlash once we reach the finish life. Haining says slips are part of being human and if you fall off the wagon on day eight, don’t sweat it. “I worked with James Duigan for so many years and his motto or mantra is to be kind to yourself – which I so agree with. At the end of the day, you might have the worst eating day of your life on day eight after the program,” says Haining. “Drink your wine and eat your chocolate but know on day nine you can go back and do the quickie again for seven days and you’ll feel great.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a day of bad eating, it’s when you have a bad couple of years of eating that we have a problem. Be kinder to yourself: it’s more important to feel happy and enjoy life, and not feel as though you’re being deprived of anything so you can maintain longevity.”

Source:

7 days to ultimate health with Tegan Haining

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