If you're buying a gym membership or fitness class package for your significant other as a gift – at his or her request, of course – a good accompaniment is brand spanking new workout clothing. Here are some tips for picking the right outfits to help your spouse be ready to hit the gym:
The type of workout gear needed depends on what your spouse likes to do for exercise. If he or she is a yoga fanatic, long pants for men and cropped pants for women are the ideal garb because they're comfortable for a meditative state and allow people to do interesting poses without accidentally revealing too much. If your spouse enjoys biking, long spandex shorts are preferable to prevent chafing. The necessary fitness clothing also depends on where your spouse will be working out, and when – a run in an air-conditioned gym is much different than a run outside in 90-degree weather.
Also, look for products made from breathable fabrics, like 100 percent cotton or a cotton blend. Another excellent rule of thumb is to look for clothes made from dry-fit materials, which keep the skin dry by removing moisture from the body. This is particularly important in cold weather, where any extra moisture from sweat can cause the body to cool too much.
Buying for her
If you don't know what color to buy for her, black is always good for pants or tight-fitting wear. Bright, colorful options are good for running shorts and loose-fitting tanks or tops. Workout clothing doesn't have to be highly fashionable, but oftentimes, people feel more confident and are more motivated when they're wearing something they like. Unless you know your spouse's exact brand, style and size preferences in sports bras, it's best to avoid guessing and buying her one. Women often have to try on several styles before they find one that works perfectly because fit is really important in support garments. When in doubt, stick to the workout basics!
Buying for him
If you're shopping for him, it should be pretty easy to find workout wear as men are notoriously unconcerned about what they put on to run or hit the gym. However, if your spouse is into yoga, you'll have to shop online or look at specialized yoga stores to find yoga pants – you're unlikely to find these at typical department stores. When shopping for support garments, the same goes for men – unless you know the exact brand, size and style that he prefers, avoid buying compression shorts and other supportive underwear.
Whether she's playing svelte Quorra in the "Tron" film series or the secretive-but-sexy Dr. Thirteen in "House M.D.," others look to Olivia Wilde for tips on how she stays healthy and fit.
It's a well-known fact that Olivia is a fully committed vegan. In fact, she was named PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity in 2010. In an interview published in the January/February 2011 edition of Women's Health Magazine, she and the interviewer spent some time at a vegan macrobiotic hut on Venice Beach. Though one can't speculate what Olivia eats, a vegan diet is typically much lower in fat and cholesterol than that of meat-eaters, and it includes several other health benefits: it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and decrease one's risk for cancer and heart disease. Olivia said she likes to experiment with leafy greens and other veggies she finds at the farmers' markets.
In the same article, Olivia also reveals that she has a varied and active workout routine, including biking, hiking, taking ballet and modern dance classes, doing yoga and attending spin classes. She said that to fit into her snug and sexy cat suit for "Tron" she did 45 minutes of cardio per day and added in martial arts, weights and cross training to get her fabulous muscles. Olivia revealed that, though it was fun, being muscular is not a priority – at least not until the next film.
"It's not my natural resting state," she told the magazine, "Striving for physical perfection takes a lot of energy."
Tips from her "Tron" Trainer
But if you liked Olivia's look in "Tron", you can get her results. After the first film, Olivia's trainer, Patrick Murphy, revealed to Self magazine that Quorra's role required a demanding combination of strength, balance, stability and grace, all of which Wilde perfected with a specially designed routine. He said that many of his celebrity clients use his circuit workout:
"These multi-dimensional, compound exercises help many of my clients gain muscle and burn mass calories, giving them the lean look that they strive for," Murphy told the source.
The regimen includes 5 to 10 minutes of cardio, followed by a circuit of various lunges, squats, bicep curls, shoulder presses, rows and pushups. This routine is very similar to the one Olivia used for her role.
Yoga and Pilates both focus on flexibility and strength training of the entire body, as well as breathing, and they both have benefits ranging from heart to immune system health. However, yoga and Pilates are different in that yoga is often more spiritual – it's about the union of the mind and body - while Pilates is an exercise routine focused on precise movements to target particular areas. Here are the basics of both types of exercise along with an overview of their respective fitness foci:
Most people don't realize that pilates was actually developed by a man named Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, though it didn't become popular until the 1980s. This exercise program focuses on strength, flexibility and balance through controlled movements based on dynamic tension – exercising muscle against muscle for self-resistance. You need very little equipment to practice Pilates – a majority of the exercises can be done on a mat.
Pilates exercises often require repetitive, quick and controlled movements for the best results. The most basic Pilates exercises are the hundred, the roll-up, the one-leg circle and the saw.
The practice of yoga has a much longer tradition than Pilates and is more focused on achieving the unison of mind and body in a meditative state. There is evidence of yoga in remnant Shamanistic texts dating back to 3000 B.C. Yoga is also deeply connected to Buddhism and the sought after goal of attaining self-enlightenment. Today, there are more than 100 schools of yoga, though all are based on meditation, breathing, relaxation, and proper diet and exercise.
The most common form of yoga practiced in the U.S. is Hatha yoga. Another popular practice is Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, were a series of 26 postures are performed in a room that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Many people like Bikram because it raises your heart rate and tires your muscles with demanding poses. However, exercising in such high temperatures can be dangerous so people are encouraged to check with their doctors before practicing.
Some basic and popular yoga poses for beginners include cat, cow, downward dog, tree, lotus, and warrior one and two. Advanced practitioners of yoga may be able to complete demanding poses like crow, peacock and standing split – all of which require supreme balance, strength and flexibility.
This is by far the most important and hardest skill to have when you are training the human body. Why is it so important? The body is a very complex system but it can do so much more than any of us can imagine. It does not happen overnight and it requires patience, time, consistency, proper intensity, nutrition, timing, and a great work ethic. Some people listen to their bodies and succeed and then some people listen to their inner voice and fall short of their fitness goals.
There is a certain skill that one needs to obtain to differentiate between “my body really is physically exhausted and it needs to stop working out so it can be repaired”VS. “I really just want to quit because I’m mentally tired and mentally ready to give up, but truthfully my body is not tired, it’s just in my head”. We can be our biggest hero, or biggest enemy, but self honesty and self awareness will help us accurately listen to our bodies and become mentally and physically tough. It may seem like a simple thing but you would be very surprised at how many athletes have absolutely no idea what is going on with their own bodies.
We listen to our bodies to:
- Identify injuries before they become serious.
- Figure out if we are working TOO HARD or NOT ENOUGH.
- Measure progress or decline in our fitness.
- Identify if our nutrition is adequate.
- Identify if our sleep / rest is adequate.
- Hey, you only get one body… So listen to it!
Here are some tools that can help you become more self aware of what is happening with your body.
Heart Rate Monitor (or HRM) – Helps to measure heart rate during exercise or to measure your resting heart rate. An HRM will help you maintain the proper intensity needed to obtain your specific fitness goals.
Weight Scale - Your weight is not the main factor of determining your health. BUT, a scale can provide raw data that can help you become more aware of how your body is reacting to the training you are putting your body through.
Calorie counter on your smart phone or computer - Try this! Don’t change anything and for one week and track every single calorie that you consume. Most people will be utterly shocked at the large number of calories they are consuming. Others will be shocked at the lack of calories they are consuming. Either way you can track the amount of food you are taking in and figure out if you need more or less food to increase your overall performance with your fitness goals.
I’ll leave you with this, more data equals a greater chance of success, period. Flying blind and constantly guessing will eventually lead to failure, decline, or inconsistency in your fitness performance. Inform yourself by learning to listen to your body.
Cheers and Happy Training!
I’m Dustin, and this is my son Boston… First, I’m a dad before anything else, after that I’m a 31 year old vegan expatriate Hoosier living right outside of New Orleans, LA.
On June 12th, 2011 I had a bit of a wake up call and began my road to the ironman 140.6 mile endurance event and after that I’ve got some big plans, so it won’t end there… This is my outlet to vent, rant, promote, and let everyone know what’s up.
Busy people don't often have time to eat three balanced meals daily. If you need to have lunch on the go, you might find yourself in a situation where your only option is a bag of potato chips, a handful of cereal and a candy bar. If you're a vegan, your quick lunch options are even more limited due to a restricted diet. However, there are still choices that are fast, healthy and even tasty.
One great option is the VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake, which comes in chocolate, vanilla or chai flavors. These shakes have everything you need for a great addition to your well-balanced meal, including 20 grams of non-GMO, plant-based proteins; 6 grams of dietary fiber; 200 mg of Omega-3s; 22 vitamins and minerals, including more than a full serving of vitamin B12, which can be difficult to find in a vegan diet; whole foods with natural antioxidants and flavonoids (from nine different vegetables and fruits); probiotics and digestive enzymes.
The VeganSmart nutritional shakes are also healthy because they include no trans fats, cholesterol, or artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors or preservatives. Additionally, they are gluten, dairy and soy free.
Whether you choose to use VeganSmart for a quick addition to your meal on a busy day or you hope to cut junk out of your diet by filling up on a healthy shake instead, it's a great vegan option. Mix 2 full scoops of VeganSmart into 11 ounces of cold juice, water or another beverage, then shake it up and you're done. The best thing about this nutritional shake is that it is a well-balanced option. Keep a container of it at home, at work or even in your car if you roll like that.
Doctors often warn vegans and vegetarians about the importance of getting enough protein, but having a good protein intake isn't as simple as eating a steak every now and then. The truth is that even the most avid meat eater can have too little protein in their diet, while some vegetable lovers may have too much! There are pros and cons to a diet that's high in vegetable protein as well as one that's high in animal protein, so here's what you need to know about both of these lifestyles.
Most muscles and organs are made up of proteins, as protein is responsible for nearly all of the processes that occur in the body. The body doesn't store protein, which is why it's so important to ensure that you're getting enough in your diet each day.
According to Mother Nature Network, protein is made up of amino acids, which our bodies break down to form new proteins. From there, protein allows us to build cell and muscle tissue in our bodies. It also helps with tissue repair in the event of an injury, keeps you feeling energized and contributes to healthy hair, skin and nails. The key difference between animal and vegetable protein is in their amino acid profiles and the rate at which our bodies can absorb amino acids and put them to use.
Because animal protein is more similar to protein found in the human body, it is used up more rapidly than those found in plants. Protein that comes from animals is considered to be more complete, because it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs to function effectively.
But despite these proteins' completeness and compatibility with the human body, there are risks associated with animal proteins. They can be high in cholesterol and fat – especially saturated fat – and a healthy diet shouldn't contain too much of either. Many animal proteins are also high in sodium.
Veggies are great because they're low in calories and fat, and packed with vitamins and minerals - but most don't contain nearly as much protein per serving as meats do. In addition, the proteins that they do contain are less complete than those found in animal meat, meaning that they don't contain all of the various amino acids that the body requires.
However, there are vegetable products that are high in protein and can act as a great substitute for meat in most vegan and vegetarian diets. FitDay reported that tofu and other soy-based products actually do contain all the essential amino acids, and can therefore be a protein-packed alternative to red meats. Additionally, lentils and other legumes are a well-rounded snack that's high in protein, iron and fiber. Beans and peas are both versatile vegetables that are full of protein and vitamins like folate and zinc that aid in cell growth. Artichokes are another veggie that's full of protein and fiber and low in calories, making them a great choice for those who don't get a lot of animal protein on a daily basis.
Finding a balance
Vegetarians and vegans need to ensure that they're getting a variety of different vegetable proteins in their diet, including nuts, legumes and grains but also fruits and vegetables. This ensures that your body is getting all of the various amino acids it needs to perform at its peak.
For meat eaters, it's important to strike a balance between animal and vegetable protein. It's a good idea to limit your intake of red meat, as it's higher in cholesterol and fat, and instead opt for fish or poultry. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike should also consider a protein meal replacement like VeganSmart All-in-One Nutritional Shake or a healthy protein-rich snack like pea protein powder to ensure that they're getting enough.
Going vegan can be an excellent choice because it makes you more conscious about the things you're eating. Here are some of the biggest health benefits of choosing to eat a vegan diet:
- A healthy vegan diet is typically rich in whole grains and legumes. These foods have a low glycemic index and are high in fiber, meaning they are digested slowly and thus keep blood sugar steady. This can help reduce cholesterol and, in turn, improve one's heart health.
- Vegans do not eat red meat (or any meat, of course), which the World Cancer Research Fund announced in a 2007 report is good for colon health.
- Vegans often have – but not always – less processed foods in their diets. Several studies have affirmed the unhealthy attributes of processed foods.
- Adherents to a vegan diet avoid all animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy and gelatin-based products. Thus, they are likely to eat less saturated fats and are more likely to have a lower cholesterol, meaning a vegan diet can boost your heart health and potentially help with weight issues.
- Vegan diets are often very high in fiber – beans, lentils, whole grains and various vegetables all pack in plenty of fiber, which is good for the body's digestive system.
Aside from the various health benefits that vegans acquire from their diets, veganism also has several more benefits for individuals and society as a whole:
- You'll save money, as grains, beans, soy and similar foods are fairly inexpensive compared to animal proteins.
- You'll do your part to reduce pollution and environmental deterioration because factory farms take more energy and resources to produce animal meats and runoff can pollute local water sources.
- You'll be contributing to animal wellbeing.
While there are clearly several individual and societal benefits to eating a vegan diet, making this change can require a lot of work at first. It takes time to plan meals that meet all of our bodies' important nutritional requirements, and restricting your food sources means you'll have to get creative. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with a nutritional shake to make sure they are getting adequate amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3s, nutrients that are available in a vegan diet but not always in large enough amounts to meet the bodies' needs.
When talking about what a vegan can eat (answer: a lot of things), it's probably better to first talk about what they can't – or choose not to – eat. Without getting into the various moral or health reasons that people choose to eat vegan, here's some basic information on what vegans do and do not eat to help you if you're debating whether to meatless or not:
What vegans avoid
Basically, vegans do not eat any animal products, including products derived from animals. Most obviously, this means that vegans avoid eating beef, chicken, pork, fish and everything in between, as well as dairy products and eggs. However, many other foods contain animal products, though we often don't realize it. Here are some other items that people who are vegan often attempt to avoid and why:
- Honey: Bees are living things and they make it.
- White sugar: PETA asserts that it is made with bone char.
- Marshmallows and gummy bears: These sweets are made with gelatin that is derived from animals.
- Breads and baked goods made with butter, eggs, white sugar or whey – a dairy product.
- Beer: Believe it or not, some beers are filtered using egg whites, seashells or gelatin from fish bladders.
- Salad dressing: Many dressings use lecithin, a product from animals, to keep vinegar and oil from separating in the dressing.
- Additionally, many vegans avoid other animal products, including leather, wool, cosmetics and certain types of soap.
Though vegan diets are often low in cholesterol and fat and high in nutrients, it's good to keep in mind that not all certified vegan products, like certain junk foods, are healthy for you. Here is an idea of what vegans often eat to get important nutrients:
- Protein: lentils, peas, chickpeas, soy milk, almond milk, nuts and nut butter, whole grains, tofu
- Calcium: dark green vegetables, soy milk and orange juice fortified with calcium, tofu made with calcium sulfate
- Iron: dark green leafy vegetables, black and kidney beans, bulghur wheat, lentils, beet greens, black-eyed peas
- Vitamin B12: nutritional yeast
- Zinc: legumes, nuts and grains
- Vitamin D: fortified rice milk and soy milk
Though vegans are able to find some good sources for important nutrients, it takes a lot of time and effort to plan a well-rounded meal. Many vegans make sure they get enough B12 and calcium – two important ingredients that are often lacking in their diet – by finding a supplementary method like the VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake, which is gluten, dairy and soy-free and provides 20 grams of non-GMO protein per serving.
If you find that your diet and exercise plan isn't having the effects you were hoping for, it could be because you're implementing a strategy that isn't best suited for your body type. There are three main types of bodies – ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph – and knowing which one you have can ensure that you develop a fitness regime that best suits your individual needs.
The ectomorph body is defined by its delicate bone structure and features such as skinny limbs, a flat chest and buttocks and narrow shoulders. According to Daily Fitness, ectomorphs have a high metabolism and lots of lean muscle, and because their bodies burn calories so quickly, they often find that it's difficult to gain weight.
If you have an ectomorph frame, you may find that you get full quickly or don't have a big appetite. High density foods with plenty of fat – including avocados, almonds and peanut butter – can help you put on pounds. If you get full quickly, you should try eating several small meals a day rather than three large ones. Ectomorphs can also try a calorie-packed snack like Naturade Weight Gain Mix. When training, ectomorphs should use heavier weights and do only 5-10 repetitions. Take longer rests in between sets, and do cardio exercise less frequently than weight training.
Endomorph bodies are essentially the opposite of the ectomorph. This body type is large, round and soft, with a low metabolism and muscles that are less defined. Endomorphs often fatigue easily, and may have a very high appetite. If you're an endomorph, you probably find that it's easy to gain weight and difficult to lose it.
It's important for endomorphs to drink plenty of water to stay full and hydrated, and in addition, they should eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Non-processed foods and whole grains are also important, though an endomorph diet should only include between 30 and 40 percent carbohydrates. When exercising, people with this body type should do as much cardio as possible. Endomorphs should use weights that are slightly lighter and do 15 or more reps during a set, taking a 30- or 45-second break in between sets. Compound lifts like squats are great for endomorphs, as they burn more calories and increase strength quickly
According to Muscle and Strength, mesomorph bodies are typically those that are "naturally athletic," with a large bone structure and defined muscles. Mesomorphs are strong and gain muscle quickly, and they generally have broad shoulders and a narrow waist.
A mesomorph diet can be high in calories as long as you are getting enough exercise, as this body type gains fat more quickly than ectomorphs. Carbohydrates should make up between 40 and 60 percent of food intake for mesomorphs, and you should consider breaking your food intake into five or six medium-sized meals over the course of the day. Mesomorphs should have a fitness routine that combines cardio and weight training, doing enough cardio to stay lean and doing eight to 12 reps during weight training. If you're a mesomorph, you'll likely see results from your fitness regime very quickly.
You may think that you have your fitness routine down to a science, but gym-goers of all experience levels and body types can probably do more to make the most out of every minute spent at the gym. If you're thinking about updating your workout, try one – or all – of these seven tips!
1. Start your routine with something you like
If you find that your workouts are getting a little stale, try beginning your fitness routine with the exercise you enjoy the most. This will help you get your heart rate pumping while also getting you psyched up for the workout ahead.
2. Eat before you go
While you don't want to wolf down a steak before hitting the treadmill, eating a small meal or light snack before the gym can help boost your metabolism and keep you from fading during your routine. Try an antioxidant-rich snack like blueberries, a yogurt packed with probiotics or a shake made with a total soy meal replacement.
3. Use your upper body during cardio
Using a treadmill or stationary bike to improve heart and lung endurance is a great way to stay fit, but chances are you're ignoring your upper body during these workouts. Using a full-body elliptical machine that works on arms as well as legs can help you burn more calories while improving your overall stamina.
4. Get a little competitive
Notice someone on the treadmill near you who's really giving it their all? Use their motivation to work a little harder! Friendly competition can give you the boost you need to spend a few extra minutes on the machine or convince you to push yourself to run just a little faster. However, be sure that you don't do anything that's outside of your limits.
5. Try eccentric exercises
It's tempting to focus solely on improving muscles like your abs, but many abdominal workouts shorten and "crunch" those muscles. Mixing in movements that lengthen your spine and strengthen back muscles can help you achieve all-over body fitness.
6. Take advantage of unilateral training
Most of the time, when you're using a leg press or extension machine you're using both of your legs at the same time. While there's nothing wrong with that, most of us tend to favor one leg over the other, even when using both at once. Try doing a full set with your weaker leg – for most people, this is their left – and then doing a full set with your stronger leg. You'll immediately notice that one side completes the exercise with greater ease. Doing this can also help improve balance!
7. Invest in a personal trainer
Maybe you haven't achieved the arm tone you wanted, or maybe your runs are still leaving you feeling exhausted after five minutes. If it seems like your workout isn't having the effects you were hoping for, you may want to consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you reach your fitness goals. Sound too expensive? Try splitting a session with a friend or looking into group fitness programs.