Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Few Ideas on Eating Lean and Low Fat Protein

Protein is a beneficial addition to your diet but often comes with high calories and loads of saturated fat. Despite its downsides, it is necessary to eat enough protein to ensure that your mind, muscle and body are adequately provided with the nutrients needed to stay healthy. If you are a fitness nut and are concerned about the amount of fat in your daily protein intake consider lean and low fat options.

If you like to exercise and improve your fitness level you will need an ample supply of protein to repair your muscles. It is recommended that men consume between .4 and .8g of protein per pound of body mass (1). .4 is an absolute minimum and .8 for an athlete.

-White vs. Dark Mean Chicken: Chicken is a main staple. There is a difference between legs ad breast. Eating white meat chicken with mostly spices versus marinated is the best alternative.

-Lean Beef: Lean beef versus regular beef is best as it substantially reduces the overall amount of saturated fat in your diet. Use it for cooking in any recipe that requires meat.

-Fish: Fish is one of the best sources of protein with very little fat. How you cook it will determine its overall benefits.

-Lentils, Beans and Legumes: If you desire to obtain protein without the burden of high fat check out lentil, beans and legumes as an alternative.

-Nuts: Only a handful is needed to get you a solid portion of protein. It also helps your heart and cardiovascular system.

-Protein Smoothies: Putting protein into smoothies helps find a balanced way of getting your daily intake needs.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Today is International Yoga Day

Yoga is an ancient practice that is at least 5,000 years old. Today marks the first International Yoga Day where millions of people will practice yoga across the globe for a day of health and peace. It was an event called by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Some have criticized the politicization of yoga, but the overall idea could be a good one if it takes on the right objectives.
 Considering that 75% of people in the U.S. are overweight or obese and people have become decensitized to violence a little yoga won't hurt anyone. As a nation we are becoming globalized and engaging in a practice that connects us to the rest of the world in our desire to be of good mind and body is positive. 

Yoga is a practice that is part spritual and part physical. Depending on the type of yoga one practices they can expect to increase focus, reduce stress, improve flexibility and strengthen their muscles. Each person moves through a sequence of actions that speed up the heart and stretch the body. With the right kind of breathing it is possible to slow down and reduce stress. 

By some estimates yoga is practiced by 10% of the country (1). Whether a political stunt, a fitness routine, or part of a meditation program the benefits of yoga are helpful to people's lives. As more people practice the ancient method it is hoped that they will be more reflective of their behavior while improving on their health. Today, Yoga events are planned around the world from New York to San Diego. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Practicing Self-Defense to Complete a Full-Body Workout

Mixing hobbies and fitness is beneficial for achieving multiple goals with the least amout of energy. Self-defense classes can be fun and raise your skill level but in and of themselves don’t necessarily increase your fitness. Mixing kickboxing with cardio, stretch and strength training can help in getting in shape while moving through martial art belts quickly.

Practicing kicks, blocks, and combinations works well for raising a heart rate. Combining this with squats, jumping jacks, burpees and other fat blasting efforts will get anyone huffing and puffing quickly. All that effort will raise the heart rate and improve fitness levels while having fun.

 There is a growing body of evidence that interval training has a higher impact on weight loss and health than a consistent heart rate found in activities like jogging (1). Short bursts of energy with interval periods of rests has a high success rate. The cycle is repeated throughout the entire fitness session of 40, 50 or 60 minutes.

In experimentation I have found it is possible to cycle through kickboxing, strength training, and yoga to achieve a total body workout. For example, kickboxing offers ( kicks, punches, and combinations) to raise the heart rate, slow down that heart rate through Kata (sequenced shadow practice), raise again through strength training (push ups, squats, burpees, weights), stretch and finally strengthen through yoga.

It is a complete practice of raising the heart rate for cardio and weight loss while still increasing the strength of the body. It has the bonus of stretching muscles for maximum flexibility. All of the fitness needs are covered in each exercise session.

This doesn’t mean it works for everyone; nor that it is a perfect workout. However, there are only three types of exercise that include cardio, stretching, and strength training (2). Trying to find an appropriate sequence that maximizes the most benefits of each with the least amount of energy is something that keeps me busy and in shape. If you are going to learn self-defense you might as well get in shape at the same time.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Biking-Working Out While Commuting

Making the decision to put effort into biking is an important one that can do wonders for physical fitness goals. The reasons may be many, but it is possible to save on cost, improve fitness, use time wisely, and help the environment all through the activity of biking. The hardest part about biking is getting the courage to set out on a daily commute.

I am the type of person who jogs or does kickboxing/martial arts 40 minutes every morning and then heads to work. My daily commute takes around 20 minutes in the car. The total commute time and working out is 1 hour. Biking into work is approximately 40 minutes which gives me a net plus of 20 minutes saved in the morning.

The time saver in the morning makes it easier for me to wake up, have a cup of coffee, and make my way to work without being in too much of a rush. Considering the mild weather of San Diego, which neither gets too hot or too cold, it is a great place to bike without the fear of extreme weather differences. You can typically count on the weather being reliable for biking purposes.

A bonus occurs when I come home on the bike and add another 40 minutes to my workout. That is a total of 1.2 hours every time I commute without a car and just about provides most of the fitness I will need. Add a few weights and sports and that is it. Biking may take a lot of motivation but is based on habit. Once I get into the habit, it will become easier. For now, just a couple of times a week.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Eating and Fitness-Seeking Alternatives of Habit

You are busting your rump at the gym and running five miles a day, but you are not achieving your fitness goals. The result is you are not losing weight, staying the same, or worse gaining weight! The problem isn’t how much you work out but what you put in your mouth. Finding healthy alternatives will make a big difference in whether or not you will be able to achieve your desired body shape.

If you look at the average person in this country you will find that approximately 75% are overweight or obese. The problem has become such an epidemic that laws and regulations are being passed to counter the danger. This may be one of the first generations to decline in lifespan.

The problem lies in many areas and can be broken down into sedentary lifestyle and overeating. There are many ways to further break this down into average calories burned and the type of food eaten. Between the two food is likely the hardest challenge to overcome.

Much of what we eat is based on habit, and it can be difficult to change automated habits. The problem is that they are so embedded in your memories, backgrounds and ethnicity that it is strenuous to think about changing. Who doesn’t remember mac & cheese as a child or hot cocoa? Throw in a couple of pudgy pies and you might as well put a few more notches on your belt.

Yummy warm memories that taught you how to be chubby!

Finding alternatives and slowly adjusting your eating is a more successful way of getting in shape. As eating is our biggest challenge, it makes to improve this as soon as you decided to get into a fitness program. Finding small changes and adjustments through the use of alternatives can make a big difference in our overall outcome.

Consider the difference the calories in regular apple pie of 420 and low-fat apple pie of 190. Imagine if you could drop your calorie county by 50% every time you put something into your mouth. Finding alternatives may just turn fat gain into fat loss without changing the actual quantity of food. With a little research, you might be able to figure out how eat more food than before while reducing your overall calorie intake. The next time you eat breakfast have oatmeal instead of your favorite frosted cereal.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Should Yoga be Part of Your Corporate Wellness Plan

Yoga is a sport that is in perceptual search for health and tranquility. Through stretching, breathing and focus one is able to calm their mind and strengthen their body. Because yoga requires almost no equipment and can be practiced by people of any fitness level it is a solid exercise that is included in a growing number of corporate wellness programs. Wellness enthusiasts can expect to find physical and mental advantages when they engage in this ancient practice.

Wellness programs are becoming a popular way to reduce corporate costs associated with obesity, ill health, and disease. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, Johnson & Johnson saved $2.71 per $1 dollar spent on wellness. Wellness programs can include anything from smoking cessation to healthy eating. Yoga seems to tie all the different health improvements initiatives together in an unbrella practice.

Physical Advantages:

Yoga improves flexibility, range of motion, strength and balance that is important for the sports enthusiast and graceful aging. Because yoga is preventative by nature, it encourages your body to adjust slowly before major health complications. Business people should consider the merits of yoga in keeping their health and motivation high.

One of the nice aspects of yoga is that you can start at any fitness level. It is an adaptable activity based on the needs of each person. Strength training can be enhanced by power yoga, cardio through incorporating faster movements, relaxation through slower breathing movements, and flexibility by stretching motions.

Mental Advantages:

Yoga improves focus and stress management. A person will hold a pose, focus, and breath slowly. The hope is that one can move into the higher brain and become part of the "nothingness". When the world around stops a person begins to connect with themselves at a deeper level and understand their needs better. The practice is akin to meditation.

Stress is a major killer in the country, and our complex lives are not getting any easier. There are lots of competing interests and stressful events that go on each day. Reducing stress will have an impact on motivation, satisfaction, health and retention. Reducing chronic stress can free a person to perform to their fullest potential.

Leonard, B., Mirabito, A. & Baun, W. (2010). What's the hard return on employee wellness programs? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Saturday Evening of Fitness with Tennis

The tennis racket that was leaning against the wall for the past few months finally got some use. It seemed to be much useful on the court than as a cheap form of house decoration. Health is becoming important to me and so is the opportunity to meet interesting people. Tennis provides an appropriate balance between fitness and fun so that I can sustain movement toward my fitness goals.

It wasn’t a particularly warm afternoon for Southern California; somewhere near a breezy 60 degrees. A sweatshirt would have been appropriate in most casual outdoor situations. Within a few minutes, you will no longer think about a sweatshirt; or even the outside temperature.

Chasing that green furry ball is all the heat needed to keep warm. Tennis is a fast sport and requires sprinting from one side of the court to the other. The quick dashes, stops, and arm movements  of your muscles, heart and arms.  It is one of those full-body workouts that doesn’t feel like you're doing anything until it is all over.

Accordingly, that is one of the reasons why I like to play tennis. A few competitive games and an hour is up. If there was more time before the sun went down I might have stayed another hour. Because time flew bye we played until the court lights were needed to see anything.

Tennis has its charm as a fun alternative to other workouts that drag on and keep reminding us that we are “working out”. Improving fitness is easy when you engage in activities with enjoyment. Tennis is a social sport that any level player can enjoy. Maintaining an intensive fitness program requires finding alternatives to “traditional” exercises. Tennis seems to fill that gap without all the drudgery of the gym.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Melt Calories Playing Beach Volleyball

Volleyball is one of those sports you don’t move more than a few feet but still reap all of the benefits of a solid work out. It won’t take much time for you to build up a good lather of sweat when you jump, bump, and spike the ball over the net. Within minutes, your heart rate will be into its fat burning zone, and the calories will start melting off.

You can burn as much as 450 calories in an hour playing volleyball. It is comparable with swimming and running. Your heart rate will rise, lower, and rise again as you wait for the ball and run to keep it from hitting the ground. Raising and lowering your heart rate has been known to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

It is hard to find sports that are both fun and fitness packed. Volleyball not only gets your heart rate up but also improves muscle tone. Natural jumping jacks, burpees, and sprints are built into the sport, and you don’t even know it. It takes lots lot of energy to chase that ball around, and you use every part of your body to score the next point.

Unlike many sports that require repetitive use of the body, volleyball uses the full range of motion. This whole range can help people develop total body fitness versus just focusing on one area of the body. As the muscles grow and develop, they do so in an even manner creating a more attractive body form. Look at the serious beach volleyball players and see their sleek and muscular design.

Few sports are as fun and as fitness directed as volleyball. Beach volleyball is one of my favorite games because the sand offers more resistance and freedom of movement than court volleyball. The jumping, running and diving in the sand will put your coordination to the test. Because you don’t even feel like you are exercising you will keep coming back for more.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tennis as the New Fitness and Social Sport

Having fun, getting in shape, and meeting interesting people makes for some of the best fitness routines that will keep you on track. Tennis is one sport that helps you stay motivated while expanding your social network.  

Doctors recommend that everyone gets a few hours of high intensity exercise in per week. That won’t be hard to obtain if you find a group that meets a couple of times a week.

Tennis is a highly cardiovascular sport that shreds pounds.  Constant running and stopping will put your heart rate into the target zone improving your blood flow and strengthening your heart.

As a social sport tennis will introduction to lots of new people quickly.  Players rotate to try out new teams and experience new challenges. It won’t take long before you gain some new friends.

There are plenty of places to find tennis activities. You can visit recreation centers and ask about tennis activities, search online for clubs,  or make a call to the city’s recreation department. Tennis groups love new players and helping them gain new skills.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Volleyball as a Fun and Fitness Sport

Volleyball is one of those popular past time sports that can improve coordination, health, and strength while still having fun.  Engaging in volleyball on a regular basis helps to significantly improve your overall fitness without engaging in routine activity. Jumping, bumping, setting, diving, spiking all contribute a coordinate body that can adjust, shift and move to keep a ball in the air. 

Coordination: It takes time to build the coordination to play volleyball well. At first you will notice that the ball you hit doesn’t move in the direction intended. Over time and with continuous practice you will get better and so will your overall coordination as you learn to connect mind and body into a coordinated activity.

Weight loss:  A 155 lb. person who engages in beach volleyball for a half hour will burn 298 calories versus 149 for jogging (1). Volleyball is one of the most intensive sports that requires significant amount of energy to ensure to keep a ball in play. 

Trying to Get in Shape
Muscle Tone: Sprinters have great bodies because their muscles grow from the regular burst of energy. Volleyball incorporates the use of your legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, and the rest of your body in a fast twitch situation making muscle growth more likely.

Cardiovascular System:  Raising your heart rate on a regular basis helps to develop a stronger cardiovascular system that can more efficiently move blood and oxygen throughout the body. Volleyball offers lots of cardo burning effort as you complete jumps, dives and leaps.  The spiking of your heartbeat will make a big difference in heart health.