January 9, 2013 at 11:38 am , by Amelia Harnish
‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions, which means all over the country people are renewing their vows to get fit and lose that weight. Are you working on your own health goal? We figured you might be.
It’s a sad truth that most women who resolve to get their butts in gear in January are back to their old habits by springtime. That’s why we asked Carla Birnberg, the personal trainer behind MizFitOnline.com and a member of our brand new blogger network, to give us some novel tips for sticking with it.
Do less than you think you can do.
Yes, you read that right. Do less. It’s not helpful to push yourself as hard as you can when you’re first getting started, Birnberg says. That’s just going to lead to burnout. Instead, jog fewer miles at a slower pace than you think you can do, or better yet, start by simply going for an evening walk and build from there.
Play instead of work.
Instead of thinking about exercise as another chore, turn your workouts into a game. One of Birnberg’s favorite things is playing hopscotch with her daughter. The hopping around works your balance, core strength and it gets your heart pumping. It’s fun, calorie-torching perfection, she says. (That’s Birnberg above during one of her recent “playouts” with her daughter.)
Break your big goal into smaller goals.
So you want to lose 20 pounds? That takes a long-term commitment, which can easily wane when you don’t see any payoff right away. Instead, try breaking it down into a bunch of smaller goals. For example: “This week I’ll go for a jog three times,” or even, “Today, I will eat five servings of vegetables.” Not only does this way give you more chances to succeed and gain confidence, it also forces you to recommit to your big goal every day.
October 31, 2012 at 11:49 am , by jbrown
How can you avoid over-treating yourself when sugary, chocolate-y temptation is everywhere? Before you reach for the candy bowl, try talking yourself out of the splurge. Ask yourself the questions below and you may find those treats are easier to resist than you think.
Do I absolutely have to have this? If the candy isn’t one your favorites it’s not really worth eating, is it? Take a minute to look at the big picture. You’re going to have so many more opportunities to eat treats during the upcoming holiday food fest: homemade stuffing, your mom’s pumpkin pie, and so on. Wouldn’t you rather eat healthy now and spend the extra calories and fat on special indulgences like those? You can buy candy all year round—there’s no “need” to eat it now.
Can I limit myself to just a few pieces? Some people can eat a mini candy bar or two and feel content. For others, one or two quickly becomes five or ten. If you fall into the latter category, don’t tempt fate—it’s simply too easy to binge on the fun-size stuff. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people consume more high-calorie treats when they’re in small packages than larger ones. The reason? They seem like “innocent pleasures.”
How much will I enjoy eating this candy? That seems like a stupid question—hello, candy is delicious! But keep in mind that it’s delicious for a matter of moments. The first few bites of any food taste the best; after that, the pleasure quotient gradually decreases. More isn’t better—for your waist or your taste buds.
Image via Shutterstock
September 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm , by jbrown
This week is heaven for TV lovers. Several new shows debut (Animal Practice, The Neighbors, Elementary, etc.) and a slew of favorites return (Modern Family, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, and so on…you can see the full schedule here.) What’s not so heavenly is how much time you’ll spend on your butt watching all this entertainment goodness. Studies show that the more hours you log in front of the tube, the more likely you are to develop serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So what’s a health-conscious TV fan to do, other than be very picky about what you watch? Make your tube time less sedentary. It’s a great opportunity to fit in strength training—something most women skip. These six exercises allow you to keep your eyes on the screen while you tone your trouble spots.
Couch push-ups If doing push-ups on your knees feels too easy but you’re not quite ready to do them on your toes, incline push-ups like this one are the perfect happy medium.
Side plank This targets your obliques, aka the muscles under the love handles. (I hate using “love handles” but it’s slightly less loathsome than “muffin top.”)
Wide-leg wall sit with calf raises Proof that sitting isn’t always bad for you! This variation on the classic wall sit works your butt, thighs and calves.
Flamingo dip Think you’ve mastered triceps dips? Give this one-legged version a try—it tightens your triceps and your thighs.
Bridge kick You don’t even have to get off the couch to do this butt- and thigh-toner. Seriously. (See images 3 and 4.)
Hammer curl shoulder press Firm your biceps and shoulders while you ogle McDreamy. How’s that for a multitasking move?
August 1, 2012 at 9:06 am , by jbrown
Let’s take a quick break from the sitting-will-kill-us-all stories* and deal with the fact that spending most of the day on your butt is just plain uncomfortable. It’s brutal on your lower back, which you’ve probably already learned the hard way. But that’s not the only body part that suffers when you’re sedentary. Here’s how to soothe some of the achiest areas.
Sore spot #1: Your hip flexors and hamstrings
Sitting creates tension in your hips and the back of your thighs (ouch), which can pull your back out of alignment (mega-ouch.)
Sore Spot #2: Your (entire) back
Unless you’re one of the rare people with flawless posture, you probably hunch over your desk while you work. The result: a weak, overstretched back that’s practically begging for an injury. To protect yourself, focus on strengthening your upper and lower back.
Sore spot #3: Your chest
The other consequence of serial slouching? Tight pecs and rounded shoulders, which give you that not at all coveted “hunchback” look (technical term: kyphosis.)
* Why is too much sitting dangerous to your health? This piece sums it up.
July 18, 2012 at 9:36 am , by T.K. Brady
Our guide to the green stuff will help you understand what fruits, veggies and grains will not only provide a healthy (and delicious!) lunch, but will also fight diabetes, encourage heart-health, sharpen your senses and aid your digestive track. Who knew you could solve your health problems over lunch? Check out the salads here!
May 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm , by jbrown
* Here’s a trend you definitely want no part of: The latest calculations show that 42% of us will be obese and 11% will be severely obese by 2030. (WebMD)
* Clair Lomas of Britain just became the first paralyzed person to finish a marathon in a bionic suit. It took her 16 days but she did it! (MSNBC)
* Healthy cake—it exists, and it’s delicious. EatingWell shows you how to bake lighter versions of your faves. (EatingWell)
* Feeling unmotivated to exercise? Get pumped by watching these awe-inspiring fitness ads. (Fitness)
Photo via Shutterstock
April 24, 2012 at 11:35 am , by jbrown
* Our friends at Fitness show you how to burn 160 calories in 15 minutes using only a jump rope. Fast and cheap—that’s our kind of workout! (Fitness)
* If you get a really persistent junk food craving today, you can annihilate it in seconds by watching this video of a Russian caviar-eating contest. (Eater)
* One of the secrets of great abs? Changing up your tummy-toning routine regularly. With these seven options, you’ll be set for months. (FitSugar)
* Is your workout wardrobe a little too thin? Stock up at Puma’s big up-to-50-percent-off spring sale. (Deal News)
* Burger King’s new menu items seem healthy(ish)—until you see how the nutrition facts stack up. In terms of fat and calories, the salads aren’t much better than the burgers and fried chicken sandwiches! (HuffPo)
Image via Shutterstock