There are always plenty of new fitness crazes to try out these days, but not all of them are created equal. One trend that has been sweeping the nation is CrossFit.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is an exercise program which allows users to perform a mix of strength and conditioning exercises, as well as cardio. The program includes different exercises like running, jump rope, rowing, weight lifting, rope climbing and more. It enhances physical qualities including flexibility, power, speed, agility, coordination, endurance, stamina, strength, balance and accuracy. The intensity of the program aims to burn a high number of calories in a short period of time, while simultaneously improving aerobic fitness.
The history of CrossFit
While this exercise trend is fairly new, the general ideas behind the physical activity have been around for much longer. In the 1970s, former gymnast Greg Glassman started a concept that closely resembled CrossFit. It began in a Santa Cruz, California, garage in 1995. He discovered that through the use of dumbbells and a barbell, he could tone his muscles more accurately than any other gymnast he knew who was working with bodyweight only. In that same year, he was hired to train the Santa Cruz Police Department, which is when CrossFit was born. It was formally established in 2000 and by the year 2012, there would be 3,400 CrossFit affiliates worldwide. In 2007, the United States Marine Corps even started shifting their focus from a traditional training program to more of a CrossFit-oriented exercise regimen.
How to get involved
CrossFit isn't for everyone, due to the high-intensity exercises it involves. It's not recommended for those just starting to exercise or returning after a fairly long hiatus. It's a good idea to first work with a personal trainer to develop the necessary strength, skills and mobility needed for CrossFit.
If you find that CrossFit is something you would like to try, the good news is that you don't need to join a CrossFit affiliate gym in order to participate in the training program. If you choose to work out on your own, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- For those with little to no gymnastics or weightlifting skills, try to learn the movements for a month or two until you can perform the common exercise.
- Don't hesitate to substitute exercises to meet your fitness level – knowing how and when to substitute is an art of sorts, and as you practice, you'll become more familiar with the moves and which ones need perfecting.
- Follow the workouts of the day, otherwise known as WODs. However, before actually taking part in them, just watch them to get a good idea of what you'll be expected to do. Read the comments people are making on the CrossFit website and the substitutions they may have to make the workout more suitable to their fitness level.
- If you don't attend a CrossFit gym, here are a few of the equipment items you'll want to think about getting: power-lifting barbell, rowing machine, set of dumbbells, lifting rack and bench, plyo-boxes, ab mat and medicine balls.
- Maintain a diet which builds lean body mass. You need to be able to maintain and recover from frequent CrossFit workouts, which means having a healthy diet. Protein meals are essential for building muscle and giving the body the proper energy to continue with CrossFit.
Being in the midst of beach season, everyone is working on tightening up their core. But in between work, family, friends and other obligations, our abs fall pretty far down our list of things to do. Heading to the gym can be an ordeal that not many have the time or energy for, resulting in abdominals that need some work. But worry no more, you only need a few minutes in your living room or office to get to that stomach that you've always dreamed of. And you don't need any weights, balls or other equipment to get there. Here are some easy ab exercises you can do on the go:
Laying on the floor on your back with your arms and legs extended straight out on the ground, lift your arms overhead and begin to curl your body off of the floor. Breathe out when you're halfway up and continue to roll forward to reach your toes. Inhale and reverse the exercise, exhaling halfway down, and returning to the start. The key to this exercise is to move slowly – that's what really works your abdominals.
Modified leg extension
For this exercise, all you need is a chair, whether it's in your office or living room. Sit on the edge of the chair with your arms behind you, holding onto the sides for support. Then slowly pull your knees into your chest, so you're in a tucked position. Then straighten your legs out in front of you, slowly, not letting them touch the ground – only hovering. Your body should be in a straight line from your shoulders all the way to your toes. Then, bring your knees back to your chest to complete one rep. Try to do about 15 of them.
In order to have toned abdominals, you have to work your obliques, which are the sides of your stomach. One of the best ways to do this is with the side crunch. Lay down on the ground in a typical sit-up position and let your knees fall to one side, with your chest, chin and torso still facing the ceiling. Bend your arms, placing them gently behind your head, and lift your upper body and shoulders off of the ground as high as you can. Don't let your knees come off the ground at any point during the exercise. Do about 15 repetitions then switch to the other side.
Using the weight of your own legs is a great way to work those lower abs – especially with this exercise. Lying on your back, straighten both legs and extend them up toward the ceiling. Breathe in and tighten your abs, then exhale and slowly lower your legs toward the ground, until they're about four inches away. Be careful to not let the small of your back come off of the ground. Breathe out as you lift your legs back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. For the beginner, try putting your hands underneath your bottom for extra support.
Now that you're done with your workout, whip up a quick post-workout shake with Naturade Total Soy protein powder to help tone your muscles and get you one step closer to your goal.
Your phone may not be a protein meal, but it can be more helpful than you know when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. Here are some of the best fitness smartphone apps:
1. Nike Training Club
Select your goal and your level and choose from a list of workouts that fit your fitness abilities. A Nike professional trainer guides you through each step of the workouts that you choose. After you've finished breaking a sweat, review a short summary of your training to discover how many calories you burned and how close you are to reaching your ultimate goal.
2. Lose It!
This free app allows you to create a personalized weight loss plan. Enter your goal weight and the app will calculate how many calories you need to consume and how many you should be burning off. You can log the food you've eaten during the day straight onto the app and see how much progress you've made.
Track your workouts whether you're outside or in the gym. The GPS system will track anything you do outside, whether it's hiking, running or biking. The app also alerts you of your progress via their audio system as you workout.
This app helps beginners looking to stick to a strength training and conditioning regimen. Type in your fitness goals and level and it will generate an effective series for you to try out.
When you head out for a run, this app calculates how many calories you burned and even measures the length and time of your run. When you're done exercising, sync your data with your web-based profile and take a look at charts from your past workouts to see how you've improved.
This app brings a little friendly competition into your life. If you're the type who needs motivation from others to get going, this app is perfect for you. You can join virtual teams and compete in challenges, all while tracking your fitness goals and progress. It takes your workout from solo to social!
This app builds customizable workouts for each user's specific needs. Start with your goal, whether it's to lose weight, gain weight or just be healthier in general. Enter in the equipment you have to work with, like a chair or a table, and you'll receive a customizable workout just for you.
8. Fitness Buddy
Featuring more than 1,700 exercises and more than 45 full-length workouts, this app is different in that it allows you to listen to music while you exercise. Just enter in your body weight, reps and the weight you used for each exercise, and the app will track your progress for you.
9. CountEat Calories
A healthier body starts in the kitchen. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be expending more calories than you're taking in. This app helps you to estimate how many calories you consume for each meal and allows you to find a range for how much you should be eating.
This app, despite the name, allows you to track walks, runs, biking and other activities. It collects significant data like calories burned, distance, speed, average speed and time remaining to allow you to track your workouts.
Even during the summer months, we are all susceptible to bacteria which could cause us to fall prey to the common cold or other frequent illnesses. This is why it's important to maintain proper immune system health. Aside from eating healthy, washing your hands and exercising, there is another way to boost your immune health: colostrum.
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is nature's perfect first food. It supplies immune and growth factors along with a perfect combination of vitamins and minerals to insure the health, vitality, and growth of the newborn. Colostrum has applications for every generation and it is never too late to start gaining the benefits of life's precious first food. Colostrum is the pre-milk substance produced from all mammals at birth. True bovine colostrum is the pre-milk in the udder when the calf is born. This true colostrum can be collected during the first milking within 16 hours after birth. After this it becomes transitional milk and after 5 days after birth it is milk. It is estimated that colostrum triggers at least fifty processes in the newborn, including transferring the immune factors and the memory from the mother's own immune system. The most important components of colostrum can be broken down into three major categories: Immune System Factors, Growth Factors, and Nutritional Components.
Benefits of colostrum for the immune system
Colostrum balances the immune system and is a natural source of many vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. Supplementation of colostrum enhances the efficiency of amino acid and carbohydrate fuel uptake by the intestine, making more nutrients are made available for muscle cells and other vital tissues and organs.
Colostrum has been especially helpful to endurance athletes who have long and hard workouts. Such a workout can make them more susceptible to contracting the common cold, which can obviously affect the quality of their training and performance. According to a research review published in the journal Medicine and Sport Science, bovine colostrum is effective at supporting the immune system of endurance athletes during intense training. Some athletes use bovine colostrum to burn fat, build lean muscle and even increase stamina and vitality.
How to get colostrum in your diet
One of the easiest and best ways to get colostrum into your system is through an immune boosting supplement. Symbiotics Colostrum is a supplement which is great for those who experience physical stress or athletes training intensely. It is packed with immune factors which help to promote healthy intestinal flora.
Colostrum is also best consumed when mixed into a drink or combined with yogurt. Symbiotics Proline-Rich Polypeptides with Colostrum PLUS comes in powder form and helps to restore balance to the immune system, stimulates an underactive immune system, and is safe and effective for all ages.
Most of us celebrate the good ol' U.S. of A the best way we know how: with food, flag colors and fun in the sun. But if you're like the average American, one day – or hey, four days – of salty dips, rich desserts and carb-loaded drinks can leave you feeling pretty bloated.
Bloating generally happens for two reasons: increased salt intake and gas. Sodium-heavy foods, which are prevalent on the Fourth of July, cause the body to retain water. Bloat can also be caused by gas-producing foods, such as cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage) dairy products and grains like barley and wheat, as well as foods high in fat and sugar. Even things as simple as taking in more air by drinking through a straw, chewing gum, drinking carbonated beverages or eating too quickly can cause bloat.
Luckily, there are many excellent (and delicious!) natural ways to beat bloat:
These good bacteria – microorganisms, to be precise – help with digestion and keep harmful bacteria away. Greek yogurt, kefir or low-fat yogurt are good foods to eat if you're feeling bloated because they are rich in probiotics. They also have a high water content, which helps reduce bloat as well. However, yogurt might not be the best option if you have even a slight level of lactose intolerance. Yogurts packed with sugar should also be avoided because sugar can cause bloat, according to Kristi King, a registered dietician at Texas Children's Hospital:
"What actually happens with the sugar is, one, you're fueling the bacteria in your gut to start eating those sugars that are being digested, so they may produce more gas," King said.
A probiotic supplement is an excellent option to help regulate your digestive system and reduce bloat. Try one like Naturade Probiotics 30 B CFU to help you stay regulated and bloat-free.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but drinking more water is an excellent way to help you body out – water is a natural diuretic and helps to get things moving in your system.
Another good idea is to snack on water rich foods like watermelon, cucumbers and pineapples. Watermelon are – unsurprisingly – made up of 90 percent water. Cucumbers are water-filled too, and are also rich in sulfur, which stimulates the kidneys. Pineapples – made up of 85 percent water – have the enzyme bromelain, which promotes digestion and helps break down certain proteins in the gut. Oranges and grapefruit are excellent choices too, as are bananas – they're packed with potassium, a good antidote to sodium.
Certain herbs and spices are good for belly-flattening as well. Try ginger, peppermint or chamomile tea, or trying sucking on a peppermint candy. They reduce gas, stimulate the digestive system and have other health benefits, too. Make a broth (with low amounts of sodium) that incorporates things like turmeric, rosemary, garlic and parsley.
And last but not least, remember to exercise. Even if your bloated belly is telling you no – carry on. Thirty minutes a day is good to keep the digestive tract moving efficiently.
Traveling is notoriously harsh on immune system health. Whether you're in a plane, train or automobile, being in an enclosed space for a few (or several!) hours with others can allow the spread of germs from one person to the next quite easily.
But the stress of travel can also contribute to poor immune health. Maybe flying makes you nervous, there's a screaming baby on your plane, you just don't sleep well sitting up or you go stir-crazy if you can't get any exercise. You can boost your immune system with antibiotics and other supplements, but how can you take care of those pesky elevated stress levels and the desire to just move? Here are some exercises to stay mentally and physically healthy during your business or leisure travel:
Hotel room bodyweight workouts
If your hotel doesn't have a weight room or even a lone treadmill, never fear! You can get a great cardio workout while working your entire body – legs, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and abs – with just your body weight, 20 minutes and standard hotel room implements like a bed, desk and chair. Here are several easy exercises to do in your hotel room:
- Do bodyweight squats with arms outstretched, making sure your knees are in proper position.
- Use the edge of the bed or, if you're tall, the ubiquitous hotel room desk to do inclined pushups, keeping your feet on the floor.
- Do the plank, which can be done anywhere.
- Do some jumping squats – they aren't pretty, but they sure do work. Only do them in your hotel room if you have tall ceilings so as not to injure your fingers on the upswing.
- Triceps dips can be done off the edge of a bed or chair.
- In lieu of weights, do one-armed luggage rows – provided you have a small suitcase. The nice thing about suitcases is that you can pack or unpack as much as you need to get the proper weight.
- Lunges are easy to do anywhere as well.
- If you don't mind touching the hotel room floor (some people are picky) you can add in crunches, reverse crunches and pushups.
Pick and choose from the activities above and do several continuous reps for the best cardio workout, but go at your own pace.
Other workout options
- Yoga is a great way to reduce stress. If you get particularly stressed while flying, check out this article about the many different yoga positions that you can do on an airplane. There are great options for both seat and aisle positions, provided you don't mind a few confused looks from other passengers.
- Check out local jogging trails or parks ahead of time for the places you're visiting. There are likely some runners forums online that mention good running paths no matter what city you're in.
- Check ahead of time to see if your hotel has a gym or pool, and don't forget your sneakers, workout clothes or swimsuit.
- Bring easy-to-pack workout items like jump ropes, ankle swim weights, dumbbells you can fill with water or resistance bands.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for your joints and an activity that cools you off during the hot summer months. Whether you're swimming laps, playing pool games or simply treading water, you're burning calories and doing a whole lot of other good for your body. According to ABC affiliate KRCR, swimming can actually help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, promoting a healthier heart. So next time you hit the pool this summer, whip up a protein shake with Naturade Total Soy protein powder for a way to cool off and try out this hot workout:
Start with a warm-up
Get your muscles warmed up in the water by treading water or swimming slowly through the pool to get your blood pumping.
The otter roll
Grab a beach ball and hug it to your chest, floating on your back with your legs extended and feet together. Roll over to your left side and over the top of the ball using your entire body like your shoulders, core, legs and back to make a full revolution back to the starting position. Continue doing this exercise, alternating the direction in which you're rolling. This exercise targets your abs, back, glutes and legs all at the same time.
The underwater V-up
Swim over to the shallow end of the pool and sit back into the water, treading with your hands out to your side and your legs lifted out in front of you so that you fold at the hips to form the letter "V." Slowly try to bring your legs to your chest, keeping them as straight as you can, making the V shape less wide. Return legs to the starting position, continuing to tread water with your arms. Do about 15 to 20 repetitions. If you want to make it a bit easier, feel free to bend your knees into a tuck position. You'll be working your triceps, shoulders, back and abs.
The ball lever
Take the same beach ball you used for the previous exercise and hold it with your arms stretched straight in front of you, so you should be floating chest-deep in the pool with your feet behind you. Next, move the ball under the water toward your thighs as fast as you can. When the ball has reached your legs, bend your elbows to slowly bring it back to the surface. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. The bigger the beach ball, the harder this move will be.
If you're looking to tone up your shoulders, back, arms, chest and abs, grab a kickboard and jump in the pool. Sit on the kickboard with your knees remaining tightly together. Your legs should be dangling over the board. Straighten out your arms in front of your body with your palms facing away from one another. Then, mimicking the breast stroke, sweep arms out the the sides. If you can, stroke your way across the length of the pool, or about 30 seconds, then switch and go in the opposite direction with your palms facing forward – this will work other muscles in the arms.
Despite doing exercises and going to the gym regularly, losing those stubborn belly fat can be an uphill task. But you have to try to lose belly fat, as how much flabby you are around your belly is likely to have a huge impact on your health. Usually, you store fats in two ways, one of which is visible, under the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks etc. and the other, which you cannot see, gets stored in some of the most vital organs of your body, like heart, liver, lungs, digestive tracts etc. However, the later, known as visceral fat, leads to most of the crucial diseases like heart diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer etc. Hence, having a flat stomach is important not only to look chic and smart, but also to have a healthy, disease-free life.
There are a number of foods as well as supplements for weight loss that can help you to burn belly fat naturally. For men and women of all age groups, such supplements, when complemented by a healthy diet and regular exercises, can work wonders.
Let’s take a quick look at the list of fat burning foods, so that you can include some of them in your diet today!
- Apples – According to the common adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. No wonder why apple works wonders for weight loss. As researches have shown, people who made it a point to consume an apple daily lost more weight than those who didn’t. Packed with rich nutrients, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals, this fruit also contains pectin, which prevents colon cancer.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a fiber rich content that stays in your stomach for a long period of time and thus cuts your craving for food, leading to weight loss. Moreover, it’s a great source of selenium and boosts the immune system in your body. Oats also absorb the LDL cholesterol, which is known to be the “bad” one and wash it out from your body.
- Almonds and other raw nuts – You might be shocked to see this in the list! But yes, while having with the skin intact, almonds act as a good food that helps in weight loss. They help to slim down your belly by keeping it absolutely full. In fact, these nuts are rich in fats, which are good for your body and attack the bad fats.
- Whole grains – Though carbohydrates and fats are completely a no-no, especially while you’re on a diet, good carbs are actually required for your health. They are rich in nutrients and the fibers keep you from getting hungry, thus leading to a lesser amount of food intake. Make sure the groceries you buy clearly say “100% whole grain” instead of just “whole grain”.
In case you think that you’re too busy to buy these foods regularly and include them in your diet, supplements for weight loss would be a smart alternative solution for you. Most of these supplements have no side effects, and work wonders to help you get rid of belly fat. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones:
- Green coffee bean extract – Being derived from the coffee beans, which are not roasted, green coffee bean extract contains huge level of chlorogenic acid and helps improve the glucose tolerance in your body. It also reduces fat accumulation in your body and speeds up the fat burning process. Because of these salient features, it is extremely popular as a weight loss supplement.
- Green Tea – Just like green coffee, green tea, too is known to be a popular weight loss product. This product is full of antioxidants, and works as an excellent metabolism booster as well as a fat burner. Since this type of tea contains a huge level of polyphenol, which dissolves triglycerides, it helps to burn fat to a great extent. Moreover, it also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps reduce the level of low density cholesterol in your body that’s largely responsible for blocking the artery walls. Thus, it plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Raspberry Ketone – Largely available in red raspberries, this aromatic compound is highly recommended for weight loss. This is so because raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that enhances fat loss and has a number of anti-oxidant proponents within it.
- Creatine powder – It is another well known weight loss supplement that helps increase the strength of your body as well as improves the muscle mass. You can get the best results of creatine powder when you consume it in combination with a resistance training program.
- Garcinia Cambogia extract – Due to the presence of HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid) – a natural ingredient that promotes you to burn fat faster, this extract helps you to lose weight faster, even from problem areas like your belly.
So, if you are looking for belly fat burning solutions, try these foods and natural supplements for weight loss to notice faster and effective results.
Written by James Hundson. James isa fitness expert that researchs & writes reviews on health, fitness, muscle building, exercise, weight loss, massage, yoga, diet, alternative medicine, sports, etc. If you are looking for better and easier option to lose your Weight, than Green coffee bean, Garcinia Cambogia, Raspberry ketone, Green tea are the perfect choice for you.
You can't have a great workout without great shoes. They may seem like an afterthought before you hit the gym, but in order to maintain healthy bones and joints and be on your way to your goal weight, it's important to choose the right shoes. Generic sneakers may not work as well for the type of exercise you do. For example, a runner wouldn't be wearing the same shoes as a basketball player, because the types of physical activity require the body to move differently.
But whichever type of shoe you end up choosing, there is a general rule for all types of shoes: Make sure they fit right. Be sure your foot has enough room – there should be a thumbnail's width, or about a half inch, between your toes and the end of the shoe. Examine how your heel moves in the shoe as well – you don't want it easily slipping out. The shoe should not pinch or bind any area of your foot, especially across the arch and ball of your foot.
If you're a big walker – you walk to the store, around the neighborhood and also for exercise - you're going to need a shoe that supports all of the physical activity that you do. A good walking shoe should be fairly lightweight and provide ample shock absorption. You should be choosing a shoe that accommodates your arch type. Here are the three categories:
High-arched feet: This type could cause excessive strain on joints and muscles and your feet may not absorb impact as well. Therefore, those with high arches should be looking for shoes with plenty of cushioning to compensate.
Low-arched or flat feet: Muscle stress and joint problems may come from low-arched feet. While taking a joint supplement may help promote healthy joints, choosing the right shoe may help as well. Search for a walking shoe with motion control to help stabilize your feet.
Neutral-arched feet: These feet are neither low or high-arched. Therefore, you should be looking for a shoe with firm midsoles, straight soles and moderate rear-foot stability.
If you plan on running long distances, look for shoes with neutral cushioning and motion control. Mark Sheehan, vice president of product development at K-Swiss, said that the more tired a runner gets, the more his or her form suffers. Therefore, runners need a shoe that is going to give them the stability they need every time their foot hits the ground in order to prevent injury.
Whether you're attending Zumba or breaking a sweat for a spin class, group fitness activities require a shoe that has a multi-purpose outsole, with a durable and breathable upper and lower midsole. This will give you just the right amount of cushioning and shock absorption to cover you in whatever type of activity you'll be doing that day.
Tennis players need to be able to move in a variety of directions, so they need a shoe that can keep up with all of their movement. Look for extra support around the midfoot and a flexible outsole that allows for smooth stopping and starting.
During the summer months, many choose to take their workout outdoors so they can enjoy the beautiful weather. After all, the fresh air can help boost your immune system and an outdoor workout can even improve attention and focus and lower an individual's risk of being overweight, according to the Huffington Post. But in order for you to have a successful workout, you must stay safe while doing so. Factors like sunburn, heat and dehydration can really put a damper on the overall effectiveness of your workout and can be dangerous. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind the next time you venture outdoors for exercise:
Check the forecast
While it's often not too hot to run outside, there may be days during the summer that pose a danger to anyone breaking a sweat outside. Before you begin your workout, check the weather forecast. Pay special attention to the humidity, because about 50 percent humidity can make a 90-degree day feel closer to 96. Debi Pillarella, ACE-certified master trainer and fitness expert, told Fitness Magazine that high humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, which prevents the body from naturally cooling off. If the humidity is too high, you may want to reschedule your workout or take it indoors.
Drink plenty of water
Warmer temperatures often mean you'll be sweating a lot more. Because you'll be losing so much water, you need to be sure that you're taking water in just as fast. Remember to stay hydrated at all times and bring a water bottle with you on those outdoor workouts. The H2O may also help to cool your body down on a particularly hot day.
Even if it's a particularly cloudy day, never skip the sunscreen if you're going to be breaking a sweat outdoors. Use about a shot glass worth from head to to toe. If you're going to be outside for more than two hours, remember to reapply to avoid getting burned. Keep in mind that the more you sweat, the more you're going to have to reapply sunscreen. For extra sun precautions, wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your scalp from the rays.
Go at the right time
The early morning and late evening are when air pollution levels are at their lowest. Things like car exhaust, construction dust and factory fumes can contaminate the air, which could cause poor lung health.