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The Dos and Don’ts of Enjoying a Healthy Lifestyle

The Dos and Don’ts of Enjoying a Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle and enjoying doing it is easier than you may think. It honestly is not hard to maximize your health through your lifestyle mentally, physically, and spiritually without giving up on the parts of life you love.

Get Enough Quality Sleep

Unless you’re one of the few people on the planet who has a genetic predisposition to needing less sleep, you need to plan for getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every single night. It will help if you schedule your day to fit in the things you need to do and the sleep you need to maintain health.

Exercise Daily

You really don’t need very much exercise to maintain health. Walking at a moderate pace of 150 minutes a week is really all you need. That isn’t very much in the scheme of things. If you have a sedentary job, try to go on a brisk, 10-minute walk at least every four hours of sitting.

Eat Healthy

Eat as much healthy food that is as close to nature as possible each day. Crowd your plate with veggies, whole grains, legumes, and other plant-based food. If you’re still hungry, you can still eat the other things you enjoy because food makes us happy.

Don’t Aim for Perfection

Learn about the 80/20 rule as much as you can and apply it to all areas of your life. You never have to be 100 percent perfect at anything you do, mostly because that’s impossible, but also because if you are 80 percent perfect, you’re going to experience most of the results anyway.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

For some people, living a healthy lifestyle is difficult due to temptations that are around. This can cause them to retreat into their own space for safety. The truth is you need people. If your healthy lifestyle is so hard to do that other people are not comfortable with it, maybe it’s not that healthy.

Don’t “Go Cold Turkey”

Anytime you’re trying to change your behavior habits, going “cold turkey” can be a mistake. Instead, chunk changes down into small incremental changes. For example, if you want to eat healthier, add healthy things instead of taking away unhealthy things. If you eat healthy food until you’re truly satisfied, you won’t be able to eat as much of the other things.

Don’t Diet Too Often

You’ve heard it many times that dieting is not good for you. You can call your eating plan a diet if you want; however, don’t focus on a specific diet too much. Rather, focus more on eating the healthy foods that you like at each meal and snack time. Plants and other whole foods are always healthy.

Enjoying a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to ensure you live joyfully life. Health and happiness do go together. It’s up to you to practice good eating habits and what you know to be true at least 80 percent of the time. This enables you to enjoy 100 percent of the benefits.

5 Great Core Workouts

5 Great Core Workouts

Every great workout routine includes an intense core workout designed to improve core strength and tone the abdominal area. While it’s important to focus on your core at least once a week, there’s no evidence that daily core work will give you washboard abs and a flatter stomach.
What you do need to remember about targeting your core muscles is the variety of muscles that make up the core. That means selecting exercises that focus on your abdominal muscles as well as your obliques.
Here are five incredible core exercises to help you tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles!


Planks
Planks are great stationary exercises for stimulating the core muscles and building endurance in the abdominal muscles. This exercise requires you to hold a position similar to a pushup but holding the position on your elbows instead of your hands.
To build endurance, you should be holding this position as long as possible while keeping your body flat and stable. If you’d like to target your obliques as well, you can perform side planks on each of your elbows.
Planks can be made easier by holding the “up” position of pushups or made more difficult by holding a plank with your feet elevated.


Leg Raises
Leg raises are an incredible exercise if you’re looking to target the lower section of your abdominal area and your hip flexors. Lying flat on your back on the floor, you’ll raise both of your legs to a 90-degree angle and then return them to the floor.
To get the most out of this exercise, you should be making every effort to keep your legs straight throughout the exercise. This exercise can be made significantly more difficult by gripping a dumbbell between your two feet and performing the exercise as normal.


Crunches
Crunches are much easier to perform than sit-ups but provide somewhat similar benefits. When you’re performing crunches, you should be making sure that your feet or legs remain stationary while you bring your head and neck upwards.
The form is most important when it comes to performing crunches. Placing your hands behind your neck or head or purely for support purposes and you should not be using your hands or arms to help bring your upper body forward.
To make crunches more difficult and yield greater benefits, you can hold a weight or dumbbell at your chest as you bring your upper body forward.


Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches require a similar form to regular crunches but place more of an emphasis on the obliques. This exercise requires alternating movements of your legs and arms in order to work on the oblique muscles.
That means as you bring your right knee inward, you’ll extend your left leg and rotate your left arm inward. You’ll then alternate the movement to hit both sides, one after the other.


Russian Twist
Russian twists are the easiest oblique exercise to perform. You’ll sit on the floor and allow your feet and upper body to hover. Then, you’ll rotate your upper body to the left and right while holding this position.
This exercise not only targets your obliques with the rotational movement, but also requires some effort from your lower abs to keep your legs elevated throughout the exercise. If you want to make this exercise more difficult, you can hold a weight or dumbbell in your hands.


Final Thoughts
If you want a six-pack or just more tone in your core, you need to make sure you’re doing exercises that focus on the core muscles. There are plenty of exercises that you can choose from to target every area of your core, which gives you more control over your exercise routine!

Post Workout Rituals For Better Fitness

Post Workout Rituals For Better Fitness

If you are currently in the habit of dedicating your precious time and energy to a consistent workout routine, I applaud you. This devotion certainly places in an ever-decreasing percentage of individuals taking accountability of their physical health.

Here are a few methods to really maximize the benefits already available to those who prioritize exercise in their daily lives.

Consistent as you may be with your workouts, this habit only includes a small fraction of the day as a whole. You’ve heard all the usual remarks about how real progress is made outside of the gym.

Although redundant, this idea does hold merit. If you are going to devote an hour or two of the day to exercise, the last thing you want to do is negate the benefits you have certainly earned! Here are some small tweaks to your post-workout routine that will serve to enhance those hard-fought gains.

Stretch

We have all seen gym rat that lumbers their way around the building completely incapable of any movement aside from the occasional bicep flex or head nod. This same individual struggles to place their headphones in their ears and always seems to walk as if they are carrying several large boxes underneath each arm.

While you might not fit this description, there is a good chance that you are not emphasizing mobility enough. Resistance training is a great way to build strength and improve your overall appearance. However, all the muscles in the world don’t provide much benefit if you can’t use them.

Increasing muscle mass leaves the body more susceptible to overall stiffness and decreased mobility. Not only does this hinder functionality in day-to-day life, it also increases risk of injury. Instead of smashing that last set of bench press and heading to the car, take some time to perform a basic stretching routine.

This doesn’t have to include complex yoga poses and back bends, simply stretching those worn out muscles will do a world of good!

Don’t Neglect Those ZZZZ’s

Sleep is by far the biggest factor in maximizing your workouts. You can be an absolute workout warrior, but if you are not providing the body with proper recovery time, the progress you desire will perpetually allude you. Sleep is intended to repair the damage our bodies accrue throughout the day.

A slew of hormones and biological processes are revved up during this time period that allows us to hit the ground running each morning. This is especially true for those of us who consistently ask more of the body in terms of vigorous exercise.

While the specific amount of sleep needed to ensure full recovery differs slightly amongst individuals, 6-8 hours is the general consensus. After working out for a while, you can take note of how you feel each morning and adjust this equation to suit your personal needs.

Don’t minimize your physical progress by staying up binge-watching Netflix after a knockout gym session. Prioritize your sleep the same way you value exercise.

Fuel Your Progress

Many individuals, including the avid gym goer, use working out as an excuse to consume whatever food craving they desire.

While life is meant to be enjoyed and the occasional milkshake or pizza buffet is certainly warranted, it is important to consider what your body needs after a workout session.

Consistent workouts followed by junk food marathons are nothing but an endless cycle of stagnation. If you want your body to function like an Italian sports car, you better be filling up with premium gas!

The occasional cheat meal is perfectly okay as long as your overall dietary habits are promoting the physique you have in mind.

Eating correctly after working out means focusing on carbs and protein and maybe some fat.

Eating right means:

• Decreasing muscle protein breakdown
• Increasing muscle growth (protein synthesis)
• Restoring glycogen stores
• Enhancing overall recovery

Protein repairs and builds muscle (i.e.: chicken, meat, beans)

Carbs help the body recover (i.e.: fruits and grains)

Fats Can Help Too: One study found that whole milk was better than skim milk for muscle growth (17Trusted Source)

Pat On The Back

While not technically a “workout ritual,” we can make it one. Say congrats and pat yourself on the back for doing a great workout. Positive reinforcement helps tremendously in sticking with and succeeding in fitness for the long term.

4 Fun Ways To Get Off The Couch

4 Fun Ways To Get Off The Couch

I don’t need to spend any significant amount of time harping on the importance of physical activity and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. You are probably well aware that, without physical activity, you will not enjoy the maximum quality of life otherwise available.

Here’s the thing though, most advice pertaining to getting off of your couch and getting moving is all about getting into the gym and pumping iron. Every fitness plan promises to “build this amount of muscle” or “melt away this number of pounds in no time.” While you probably do not mind the idea of either of these things, the odds of you sticking to something you do not enjoy long enough to reap any benefits is slim to none.

Exercise does not have to be the primary variable in a situation. Although intense, focused workouts are certainly more challenging and probably beneficial, any time you get your body moving for an extended period of time, you are exercising.

The focus of this article will be to discuss four ways that you may not have considered that will cause you to get out of the house and get your body moving the way it was intended!

Try Your Hand At Martial Arts

If I asked you to describe some of your favorite movie scenes of all time, I can bet that at least some of them would involve action packed scenarios involving your favorite good guy engaged in hand-to-hand combat with their evil nemesis. These choreographed movements are certainly fun to watch, and you may have never even considered that these are real movements, taught at a real close, probably REALLY close to your home.

Martial arts gyms are really starting to pop up all over the place as sports like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) and fitness in general are gaining traction.

The great thing about going straight from your couch to a local gym is that, in whatever gym teaching any of the various forms of martial arts you find your way into, no one is going to judge you. As a practice, martial arts is a sacred, inclusive form of training in which you will commonly find people of many levels of expertise training alongside one another.

Visit Your Local Driving Range

The truth is golf is really hard. You are very unlikely to hop straight from the sofa to the tee box and perform like a pro. However, for the sake of getting outside and moving around, the driving range can be a lot of fun even if you happen to be horrible at golf.

Whether you go alone or by yourself with a group of friends at a similar skill level, something about a pretty day and a bucket of cheap golf balls really sets a nice tone. Most driving ranges even have clubs available for you to rent, should you show up not even slightly equipped for golf.

I can guarantee that as you hack away at your allotted range balls, you will have a good time, even if most of the balls don’t travel more than a few feet. I will also assure you that you will notice you have been moving. Swinging a golf club, especially for the number of repetitions required to empty a container of driving range balls, will cause even the seasoned fitness junkie to break a sweat.

Experience Your Local Downtown

If you are like most people, your weekly outings regarding where you get the things you need is literal clockwork. If you were to trace your weekly route on a map and compare it week by week throughout the year, you would probably find yourself with one solid, overlapping shape.

A fantastic way to get off the couch and get moving is to check out your local downtown. The great thing about these places is that new small businesses tend to pop up all the time, helping with the monotony of your trips to the local supermarket.

In the way of physical activity, most downtown markets require you to park your car and then go from store to store on foot. This forces you to avoid finding the closest parking spot to the door at the grocery store, navigating aisles with pinpoint accuracy and getting back to your car with as little wasted steps as possible!

Sign Up For A City League Sport

If you live in an area with even a relatively decent population size, there are probably city-sponsored athletics events available to you. These usually include sports like softball and basketball, but larger cities often offer a much greater array of athletics.

A great thing about these types of leagues is that they are very welcoming and usually scaled to the level of intensity you are looking. Within each sport, there will usually be several divisions or “leagues” that offer a different level of competition, so you are able to find the one that works for you.

City league sports are a fantastic way to get moving, and possibly even make new friends (further increasing your odds of getting off of the couch).

4 Best Ever Fat Burning Exercise Programs

4 Best Ever Fat Burning Exercise Programs

Introduction

If you find yourself carrying a little extra “cargo”, you are far from alone. Current statistics report that as many as 40% of Americans are overweight. Fret not, however, the fact that you are reading this article is a clear indication that you have identified an issue.

Unfortunately, taking the first step in resolving the issue can feel overwhelming due to the massive amount of information out there demanding you to do a million different things. Throughout the course of this discussion, we will examine four different training styles that provide a simple and effective means of getting rid of that excess body fat.

Strength Training

For a large number of individuals, strength training is nothing more than a means to build rock-hard muscle. This interpretation is more than enough incentive to become involved in lifting weights for a lot of us. However, if your primary goal is to burn body fat, strength training has still got your back!

Losing weight almost always comes down to burning more calories than you consume, simple math. While exercise alone certainly assist this process, what about the other 23 hours per day outside of the gym? Interestingly enough, lean muscle tissue has a very high caloric requirement even during periods of inactivity.

Some estimates state than each pound of muscle tissue added to the body burns an extra 50 calories per day. In a nutshell, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will automatically burn all the time, every day.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is basically cardio on steroids. This form of exercise involves the repetition of short, intense bursts of activity followed by brief rest periods. This could look something like sprinting full speed for 10 seconds followed by walking at a slow pace for 20 seconds, repeated 10 times.

HIIT is superior to typical aerobic exercise in several ways. The first and most obvious reason is that working out at a higher intensity requires more calories. The real magic of HIIT actually begins when your workout is over.

This form of exercise induces a profound metabolic effect, increasing a slew of hormones such as adrenaline and testosterone, which promote an increase in the burning of fat. Sometimes referred to as the “after burn”, this effect continues in the body even hours after the workout ends!

Tabata Method
Tabata is similar to HIIT in that it involves high-intensity bursts followed by rest periods. However, there are enough differences to justify a separate explanation. The Tabata training method includes performing the same exercise for 4 minutes. This time is further divided into 20-second intervals of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 8 cycles. A great example of this would be performing squat jumps as fast and hard as you can for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds.

Tabata not only possesses the ability to accelerate caloric consumption and induce the “after burn” effect described earlier, it also provides a simplistic approach to weight-loss training that can be practiced by even the most inexperienced fitness enthusiast.

Walking (You Read That Right)

Compared to the other fat burning methods described, walking may seem like the odd man out. Think again! Using your two feet to go from point A to point B is the unsung hero of burning calories. Furthermore, walking doesn’t even need to be considered an exercise program. Just do MORE of it.

As you navigate through the day, you will no doubt identify scenarios requiring you to choose between walking and more convenient modes of transportation. Allow yourself the resilience to make the hard choice. Take the stairs, walk to lunch, enjoy a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk in your neighborhood. While walking may not boast the calorie-shredding abilities previously discussed, the extra fuel used quickly begins to add up!