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Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss
You know how it goes.
You try to prepare healthy meals for yourself. Maybe you even count your calories. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough.
For those of us who want to lose weight, we need to add some exercise to our routine to see the best results.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose what’s best for you. Let’s talk about the two most popular types of exercise. Weightlifting and cardio.
Why Diet Doesn’t Always Cut It
This is a tough one to say because a good diet has so much to offer.
Don’t think that we’re saying diet isn’t important! You’ve probably heard the expression: “Abs start in the kitchen.” It’s true. Diet can account for the majority of our weight loss results. The issue is that for some of us, it just isn’t enough.
For some people, the problem is having too many cheat meals. For others, it’s simple genetics.
A proper combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Let’s talk about the benefits.
Why Exercise is Important
Let’s start with the basics. To understand which form of exercise is right for you, we need to understand what we’re talking about.
We all know that diet and exercise can lead to a very healthy life, but why?
Here are just a few benefits of regular exercise, in any capacity:
Okay, yes. Sometimes we leave the gym feeling exhausted. There is no denying it.
However, we still benefit from a lot of energy-boosting hormones that develop the more we exercise.
People who work out tend to get better, more effective sleep. This leads to significantly improved levels of energy throughout the day. No more feeling tired at work!
Check out the best times to exercise for better sleep.
Improved Mood and Brain Health
Exercise is known for the benefits to your body. It can go a long way for your overall health, too.
Regular exercise releases hormones and neurotransmitters. These include:
- Serotonin – Known as the “Happy Hormone”. It regulates mood, social behavior, sleep, memory, and digestion.
- Dopamine – Known for pleasurable effects, as well as improved memory and emotions.
- Norepinephrine – Promotes memory and focuses attention.
These neurotransmitters are naturally formed by your body. Keeping a healthy balance of them is believed to have a critical role in preventing conditions. These conditions include depression, anxiety, and even dementia.
If you haven’t heard enough reasons to start hitting the gym, we’re not even done!
This is an issue more and more people are struggling with. Whether we like it or not, we all want to look good.
Nothing helps build confidence like seeing results in the mirror. The best part: the results can keep coming!
Achieve the body you’ve always wanted, and learn to be happy with how you look!
Increased Strength and Endurance
This is the one we hear about the most.
Have you ever been out of breath after walking up a couple flights of stairs? Maybe you’ve had an embarrassing moment trying to lift up something heavy. We’ve all been there.
This is avoidable. Regular exercise can get us in shape, and build our strength!
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to exercise. Enough to fill up a book. So let’s talk about the most popular types of exercise.
Strength training has been a popular and effective tool for humans since the start of their existence. But everything evolves.
There are so many different forms of strength training, it’s hard to keep track. So let’s only talk about lifting weights, which has a few subcategories of its own.
Let’s discuss the most popular.
Weight machines are a new development and are very popular. You’ll see them in almost every weight room.
There are a lot of benefits to machines, including:
- Ease of use – Machines do not require training for form. There are usually images that will show you the proper movement. You also only need to move a pin to change the weight.
- Availability – Almost every gym now has incorporated machines into their equipment.
- Muscle growth – Varying your machine use is typically used for muscle growth, more than strength.
Let’s flip to the other side of the coin. Here are some of the downsides of machines:
- Isolation movements – Machines tend to focus on one muscle or one muscle group. Compound movements are more effective for gaining strength.
- Limited function – These are unnatural movements and do not translate well into functional strength.
- Can increase the risk of injury – With the unnatural movements involved, and the added weight, it can lead to injury.
Here is a helpful guide to weight machines if you want to learn more.
Using dumbbells and barbells is great for functional strength and muscular endurance.
Free weight exercises have a lot of benefits:
- Control and stability – Gain more balance and coordination by mastering the movements.
- Strength – You will see strength gains in free weight training a lot more than with machines.
- Function – Gain functional strength to help you with your daily activities.
The risks of free weight exercises include:
- Learning the form – This can take time, but it’s absolutely necessary.
- The potential for injury – This is especially true if we don’t learn the form!
These exercises can include a very wide variety. Here are some examples of free weight exercises.
This is the best for pure strength. Powerlifting consists of only three functional movements:
- Squat – Mimics the motion of sitting down and standing up. Improves leg and core strength.
- Bench Press – Uses a pushing motion. Improves chest, tricep and shoulder strength.
- Deadlift – Practices the act of lifting something off of the ground. Works on core, back and leg strength.
The benefits of powerlifting are simple: building strength.
The downsides are just as clear:
- Training – There is lots of practice involved in learning the proper form to limit the risk of injury.
- Limited movements – You also commit yourself to train three specific movements. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate other training with it. Most powerlifters do.
So we’ve learned a bit about the different forms of weightlifting. You can learn more about weightlifting here. We will get into the benefits in a bit. For now, let’s talk about cardio.
Let’s dive into a few popular forms of cardio.
Every gym has some treadmills. This can be an easy way to get started.
We all know about other machines like:
- Elliptical machines – Not a very functional movement, but great for burning some calories!
- Stair climbers – These are excellent for cardio, but they wear you out quickly.
- Stationary bikes – Very popular and easy to use.
These are great. The most obvious downside is that it can get boring. Staying in one place the whole time can make you lose your motivation.
An added bonus is that a lot of these machines will give you feedback. Many will even estimate the number of calories you burn while using them.
There are a lot of different cardio machines out there. Here is a guide to the best and worst cardio machines if you want to learn more.
This is something you can do anywhere.
Whether you’re jogging or sprinting, running can be very beneficial.
Find out which type of running is better for you.
This could be anything. It often involves strength training, but typically with body-weight movements.
Circuit training can apply to pure weight training, as well.
For cardio, it can apply to combinations of running, jumping rope, or anything you can think of.
Check out some ideas on how to develop a circuit training routine.
Weightlifting and Cardio: Which is Better?
We’ve gone over a lot about how weightlifting and cardio differ. So which one is better? Let’s quickly summarize and talk about their benefits and risks.
Benefits of Weightlifting
Let’s discuss the overall benefits of weightlifting that all types share:
- Increased metabolism – This is a big key to weight loss. Your starving muscles become a fat-burning machine. Calories burned lifting weights are not as much as with cardio. That’s during the workout. The “afterburn” more than makes up for it.
- Improved strength – This can help you in your everyday life, in more ways than you would expect.
- Long-term benefits – It is easier to get out of shape than to lose strength. On top of that, the metabolic benefits tend to last longer with weight training.
Let’s also debunk the myth that lifting weights will make women too bulky. It’s not a risk unless you are training for it.
An added bonus with weightlifting is you have more freedom. There is a large variety of movements. On top of that, you can change up your weight and rep scheme with ease.
Also, weightlifting can be fun! A lot of people get bored with cardio and other exercises. Weight training can be new and exciting almost every time you start a session.
There are a lot more benefits that we haven’t discussed. Talk to a personal trainer or click here to learn more.
Risks of Weightlifting
Let’s face it, you can have all of the practice in the world. It can be any type of weightlifting. There is a higher potential for injury.
Luckily, there are skilled personal trainers out there to help you avoid this.
On top of that, you are more likely to feel sore after a strength training workout. While beneficial, this can be a pain. Literally.
Weightlifting can be tough for beginners. The more you train, the more you gain. The risks will take care of themselves with proper training and consistency.
Benefits of Cardio
There are a lot. Cardio is largely associated with the health benefits that we discussed at the beginning. Let’s go over just a few:
- Fewer restrictions – Cardio can be done anywhere, at any time. No need for equipment.
- Heart health – It’s in the name.
- Burning calories – This is cardio’s claim to fame.
- Brain health – Cardio is a big help for releasing the hormones and neurotransmitters we discussed. There is really nothing better for it.
It’s easy to see why cardio can be appealing. You can let your mind wander and perform your tasks without thinking about it too much.
You also have the benefit of a pleasurable feeling the next day. There is less risk of feeling sore.
Obviously, these rewards don’t come without risks.
Risks of Cardio
One possible side effect of cardio is the loss of muscle. This is especially true for distance runners and joggers.
Another issue is exhaustion. Doing extensive amounts of cardio can lead to a hard desire to go to bed.
Last, but not least: fat retention. That’s right. Over-training with cardio can make your body adapt to stress. This can make your body lose muscle, and lower your metabolic rate. Research about the pros and cons of cardio to learn more.
No good thing comes without downsides. There are ways to avoid these. The longer you keep up with your training, the easier it gets.
Check out the 6 crucial facts of cardio to learn more.
The edge has to go to weight lifting. The benefits of the “afterburn” are too hard to pass up. That increase in metabolism is extremely helpful in losing weight.
This is not to say that a combination of the two is a bad idea. There is nothing wrong with running and lifting weights. Cardio and weightlifting can go hand in hand.
Think about it. The stress reduction and other health benefits of cardio? The strength and metabolism boost from weightlifting? They make a great pair.
None of this can be accomplished without getting started. If you’re already doing cardio, and want to change it up, read up on how to start weightlifting now!
What’s Right For You?
Honestly, there is no right answer here.
The best advice we can give is to utilize the best of both worlds. Weightlifting and cardio. Or at least to try them both out and see what is best for you. Sticking to the plan is the most important part.
Either way, we’ve learned the benefits of exercising. There’s no need to wait. Now is the best time to start losing weight!
Click here to check out our 21 Day Body Transformation Challenge and get started today!
No More Post-Baby Bump:
14 Tips to Help Busy Moms Lose Baby Weight
As much as you love your new baby, you may not love the body that’s left behind. It can be manageable to lose baby weight with these great tips.
Did you know that it takes most women 3 years to get their confidence back after having a baby?
Although our bodies are incredible and can grow humans in 9 months, it takes time for your body to return to its pre-pregnancy shape.
If you want to learn how to shed fat and keep it off as a new mom, here are 14 tips to lose baby weight permanently.
1. If You Can Breastfeed, Do It!
One of the most effective postpartum weight loss tips is to breastfeed your child.
The reason why breastfeeding helps you lose weight is that your body uses fat reserves to help produce milk. Your body is also more efficient at burning the calories you eat every day.
Do keep in mind that breastfeeding mothers need to keep their energy up, which is why you should never diet after giving birth. The desire to shed your pregnancy weight may be high, but you and your baby’s health should always come first.
Some women naturally don’t produce enough milk for their children or they prefer to bottle feed. If you can’t breastfeed, don’t fret. There are still plenty of other things you can do to fuel your weight loss efforts.
2. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated
Losing weight after pregnancy can be as simple as remembering to drink enough water. This tip works well for anyone looking to shed fat.
There are plenty of reasons why drinking more helps you stay slim. Since our bodies are mostly made out of the water, we need to replenish our reserves every day. If you don’t drink enough, you’ll retain water and feel sluggish.
Drinking water also helps curb your appetite. If your someone who has a hard time knowing when you’re full, drinking plenty of water before and during mealtimes will help prevent you from overeating.
Did you know that our bodies’ thirst and hunger signals are the same? This means your stomach growls could be your body asking for water. A good method to live by is to drink a glass of water whenever you think you feel hungry. If you still feel hungry 20 minutes later, then you know you’re experiencing true hunger and not thirst.
Drinking also helps us eliminate waste easier. The less backed-up your system is, the slimmer you’ll feel.
3. Lose Baby Weight by Exercising Smarter, Not Longer
Lots of people have been brainwashed into believing that logging more hours at the gym leads to more success. While some people may thrive in a gym setting, most of us would rather stay in bed.
The best way to stick to an exercise routine is to find a setting, workout, and timeframe that suits you best.
One tip that all moms should know is that you can exercise for 10 minutes and get the same results as someone else who exercises for an hour. The key to losing weight and toning muscle isn’t how long you sweat, but how effective your sessions are.
If you can pour all of your energy into an intense 10-minute workout, you’ll make progress. This method is much more effective for your goals and happiness than sluggishly pedaling on a stationary bike for an hour while feeling miserable.
4. Take Your Baby for a Walk Every Day
Walking is incredible for weight loss and overall physical and mental health. The best part is that you can also bond with your baby. Even if you don’t break a sweat while you walk, you’re still burning calories and toning your muscles.
This is a great opportunity to get out of the house so you don’t feel stir-crazy at home with your baby. If you know any other moms, invite them to go walking with you. You can have a fitness buddy who can hold you accountable to your goals and help you pass the time with fun conversation.
5. Make Sleep a Priority
Sleeping your fat away sounds too good to be true, but it’s one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.
The reason why sleep deprivation leads to weight gain is that our bodies turn to eat more calories to make up for the lost energy. When we’re tired, we tend to reach for comfort foods full of fats and sugars to feel better.
Sleep also helps fuel workouts. If you’re too tired, exercising will feel like an impossible challenge.
Do you have willpower made out of steel? Even if you can resist junk food and stick to your workout routine, your body is still plotting against your weight loss efforts.
One night of sleep deprivation is enough to trigger the release of ghrelin, a hormone that revs our appetite. Excess calories that come from healthy sources still turn into a fat gain.
6. Meal Prep Once a Week to Make Cooking Easier
Cooking at home is the best way to save money and skip unnecessary calories, sugars, and fats. When you’re the chef, you control how much you eat and the quality of your ingredients.
However, all new moms know how challenging it is to find any time that isn’t devoted to caring for their babies. This is why batch cooking is the perfect method for your weight loss.
If you can get help from your partner or another loved one, dedicating a few hours once a week to batch cooking is easy.
During this time, you can make a big pot of brown rice, quinoa, or other healthy whole grains. You can also bake a pack of chicken breasts or another source of lean protein. Wash and chop all your veggies so they’re ready to eat raw or cook in a flash.
Once your prep work is done, all you have to do is reheat your food and season it to create a new dish for meals during the week. Check out these batch cooking recipes that take no time to make.
7. Join a Weight Loss Program That Does the Planning
Most new moms are exhausted, battle mental fog, and have no time for themselves. Losing weight fast requires lots of planning.
If you want to make life easier, join a weight loss program that has a tried-and-true method for fat loss.
All of your meals and calories will be customized for your unique body type and fitness goals so you don’t have to think. You can also have access to personal coaches and a community of other people in the program who are there to motivate each other and share tips.
These programs are more effective than solo-dieting because all the details are hammered out to a science. There’s no guesswork at mealtimes and the ease of cooking makes it easier to stick to the plan.
8. Eat More Plant-Based Meals
If it comes out of the earth, it’s good to eat! Plants are the best health foods because they are low in calories but high in nutrients your body needs.
Meat is linked to excess body fat and illnesses. The reason why meat and other animal products can sabotage your weight loss efforts is saturated fats and cholesterol.
The more plant-based you can eat, the better. If you’re up to the challenge, you can even try going vegan for a month. Veganism is one of the most popular weight loss lifestyles because you can eat a lot of wholesome foods with fewer calories.
9. Don’t Skip Breakfast or Starve Yourself
Thanks to fad dieting, most people’s first instinct to lose weight is to skip meals or starve themselves. While you can get fast results, you’ll feel miserable. As soon as you start eating again, you’ll put all the weight back on and then some.
In fact, yo-yo dieting is much more dangerous for your health than maintaining a steady BMI. Instead of passing on breakfast, start your day right with a smoothie filled with fresh greens or a hearty bowl of oatmeal with enough fiber and protein to keep you full until lunch.
10. Reward Yourself in Moderation
Did you know that some studies have revealed that cheat meals or cheat days can yield more fat loss than strict dieters?
The reason why treating yourself works is that it gives you something to look forward to after a week of eating healthy. This incentive will help you stay on track.
People who remove all of their favorite foods from their diets are also more likely to binge. Once people binge, they may decide to quit altogether because they think all their efforts have been lost.
Letting the lion out of the cage for a short time each week will help you feel satisfied. Besides, eating more calories one day revs your metabolism so you can continue burning more the next day.
11. Eat Healthy, High Volume Snacks
Have you ever tried eating snacks designed for dieters and felt ravenous 30 minutes later? Although these treats are healthier than other junk food, they’re not substantial.
The best way to fill up is to eat nutrient-dense foods that pack a lot of volume for not a lot of calories.
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of fuel. Check out these no-cook snack recipes that include treats like banana ice cream and sweet potato hummus. If you want a heartier snack, you can dip apple slices in a nut butter of your choice to get a dose of healthy fats.
12. Manage Your Stress and Care for Your Mental Health
Yoga is one of the best exercises that everyone should try. It combines cardio, muscle toning, stretching, and meditation. You can even reap the health benefits by doing it only 5 minutes a day.
Raising a child is one of the most stressful things people can do. Stress turns our bodies into effective fat storing machines. Finding ways to cope with any negative emotions is crucial for your health.
Although yoga is a great place to start, some people can’t stand it. Just because one exercise works for one person, it doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it. Take some time to experiment with different outlets to find your happy place.
Exercise always makes you feel better because of endorphins, but you can manage your stress in other ways, too. Painting, knitting, scrapbooking, and writing are just a few of the hundreds of different activities you could try.
13. Strength Training
Many women are afraid of lifting weights because they don’t want to get bulky muscles like men. However, it’s impossible for females to pile on muscle with casual weightlifting.
Strength training is ideal for new moms because it involves lifting light weights for extended repetitions. This will help tone your muscles and burn fat for a sexy, sculpted look.
You don’t need a gym membership to strength train, either. Try these at-home workouts that utilize your body weight to help you shape up.
14. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself
The most valuable lesson all women need to learn is self-love. Your body can do unbelievable things and you should be proud of it.
Making a baby takes 9 months. During this time, your organs shift, your abdominals split apart, and your pelvis opens to make room for another human being.
Every mom cherishes those 9 months of beautiful change. After you give birth, you should have the same patience and acceptance of your body as you did while you were pregnant.
Remember how long it took your body to come to its current size and give yourself the same amount of time to shrink down. Celebrities who boast about their bodies a couple months after giving birth have a team of personal trainers, chefs, and designers to make them look their best.
The happier you are with yourself, the more likely you are to stick with your goals. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, but never stop loving yourself along the journey.
Ready to Transform Your Body?
The best way to lose baby weight and keep it off is by committing to easy lifestyle changes. When it comes to shedding fat, even the smallest habits can add up.
If you want guaranteed results within a couple of months, then Body Transformation Coach would love to help you get the body of your dreams the healthy way. Contact us for more information on why our program works and how we can help revolutionize your health.
Low on Weights?
12 Ideas for Resistance Training Without Weights
Don’t think you have the budget to get fit? Think again! Try these creative ways to log your resistance training without shelling out for a weight set.
Staying fit doesn’t require a gym membership, nor does it require setting aside a block of time for a full work-out. You can build a resistance training program that can be done anywhere and at any time. Best of all you eliminate the pressure of exercising in front of others.
Imagine working out at the beach on Sunday, in your backyard on Monday, and the park on Tuesday. Experiment and find an inviting place to work out where you are most energized. Grab a yoga mat and get to work using the best bodyweight exercises for your desired results.
Develop a plan and work at your own pace reaching your individual goals. Exercise routines that are free of equipment give you the same results as weights if you know how to work the right muscles.
Ready to work-out without spending money on equipment? Continue reading for 12 resistance training ideas that don’t require weights.
1. Lunge Variations
Lunges are a popular way to do leg workouts at home. There are numerous versions, so you never get bored.
The standard variation, or bodyweight lunge, requires you to stand up straight with your shoulders back and chin up. Step forward with your left foot and with a tightened core, lower your hips and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Keep your left knee level with your ankle and lower the back knee, but do not let it touch the ground.
Using your front heel for support, lift the body back up into the standing position. You can do multiple reps with the left knee leading and then switch to the right.
Once you’ve mastered the lunge, switch it up and incorporate the following into your sets.
The curtsy gets its name from the British greeting for women and girls. In this variation, you will start with your feet hip-width apart. Step backward with one leg and cross it behind you. Follow the steps of lowering your body.
With the reverse lunge, you will follow the same steps as the standard lunge. In this rep, the emphasis will be on the back leg. Use it to lower the body, and the ball of the foot to lift the body back up.
The walking lunge follows the steps of the standard lunge. Instead of doing reps with the left leg and then the right leg, you are going to switch things up. After returning to the standing position step forward with the right leg and go into the lunge.
Continue the motions and move around the room. This is a good time to incorporate small weights if you have them. Raise your hands to shoulder height and reach to the ceiling with each step.
2. Burpees for Resistance Training
Burpees are a good exercise and the key benefits is strength building. There is a burpee for beginners. Once you master these motions we’ll get into the advanced version.
Start in the standing position. Squat down and then kick your legs back until you are positioned on your toes. You will be in a position similar to a plank (we will cover planks later). Bring your legs back into a squat and stand back up with your arms reaching upward.
Continue doing this until your motion becomes fluid.
Now that you have the burpee down interject a push-up when the body is in plank position. Follow that up by jumping up instead of merely returning to the standing position.
3. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers give you a full body work-out. It also increases your heart rate for a high-quality cardio exercise and a natural shot of energy.
With your arms at your side and feet shoulder-width apart, squat to the floor and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Go into the plank position with your arms straight. Do not lock your elbows.
Begin with your left leg. Bring it forward with your knee towards the chest, extend it back out and bring up the right knee. Continue this rotation for your desired set of reps.
Between sets bring both feet forward and jump up similar to a burpee. Rest for about 15 – 30 seconds before starting the next set of reps.
4. Chin and Pull Ups
These upper body exercises will require a sturdy bar high enough to extend your arms over your head. Your feet should not touch the ground between reps. If you are tall or the bar is too low, bend your knees and cross your feet at the ankle.
The difference between the two exercises is the positioning of the hands on the bar. The biceps will get a good work out but the pull-up will have more emphasis on the muscles in the back.
Start with your arms straight but do not lock your elbows. With your hands on the bar shoulder-width apart, pull yourself up until the chin passes the top of the bar. For the chin-up, the palms of your hands will be turned inward. Having the palms turn outward is the position for the pull-up.
Once you have pulled the body up, hold the position for several seconds before descending back down.
Planks, like lunges, can be done in numerous variations. If you’re looking for at home exercises, place this one at the top of your list. We do suggest that you have a yoga mat or some other protective cushioning for your elbows.
The simple forearm plank is used to strengthen the core muscles by forcing you to stabilize your body. For this exercise lie on the ground with your body face down and feet spread waist-width apart. When you lift-up into the plank position you will be supported by the toes and ball of the feet.
Rest your body on your elbows with the forearms resting on the floor and hand clasped. The elbows should be shoulder-width apart and your body straight using your core muscles. Hold the position for at least one minute and challenge yourself to increase the time with each rep.
Do push-ups for resistance training to strengthen the triceps. They also work to build your core muscles. Push-ups can be done the traditional way or the less strenuous method designed for women. You also can vary the placement of the hands to direct the elbows outward or backward.
Stretch out on the floor face down. With your hands should-width apart and in the desired position bend your elbows and push the body up.
To start the exercise, bend the elbows and lower your body stopping before the chest or breast touch the floor. Do short counts before pushing the body back up. Remember, when the arms are straightened, stop before the elbows lock.
Do as many reps as you can before coming to a full rest.
7. Posing for Balance
Resistance training isn’t just about toning, it is also about building core strength that helps the body support your spine. Posing are exercises that help with balance which is the result of a strong core. You will find these techniques in yoga classes but they also provide good at home exercises.
You won’t need a chair for this pose because you will become the chair. Stand with your feet together. Put your weight into the heels of your feet as you bend your knees into a sitting position. Raise your arms upward with palms touching.
Hold the pose for a minimum of 10 seconds and then repeat the motion.
Stand straight with your feet flush together. Bring your right foot up and rest it on either the inside of your lower left thigh or below the left knee. Turn the right knee outward and bring your hands up to the center of your chest pressed together.
Take a deep breath and hold the pose for three – five seconds. Release and repeat.
8. Jumping Jacks
If you had physical education classes in school you should have jumping jacks mastered already. Some people may not think of them for resistance training but they are a total body workout. Jumping jacks target the glutes, quadriceps and hip flexors.
You will also work your shoulders and core muscles. Even better, the help with speeding up your metabolism.
Start by standing straight with your hands down by your sides and palms facing your outer thighs, and feet together. Jump up about two-three inches from the ground spreading your legs shoulder-width or wider. At the same time bring your arms out and up until they meet above your head.
Bring your arms back to your side and your legs together. Repeat this motion nonstop as you count out your jumping jacks. A good warm-up would be 50 – 100 jumping jacks.
Sit-ups have many benefits, the most popular is tightening stomach muscles and strengthening the core. Here are two variations. Both start with a standard sit-up position.
With legs shoulder-width apart and the palm of your hands together, bend your knees slightly and lift your legs off the ground. At the same time lift your upper body as if you are doing a sit-up. Twist the torso to the left and then the right, twice.
Exhale and relax the body on the mat. Repeat for the desired sets
Position your arms against your sides with palms facing down. Tighten your abs and raise both legs toward the ceiling. Lower the left leg to about two inches from the ground. Raise the left leg while lowering the right.
Repeat the repetition for 30 – 45 seconds.
Step-ups are a bodyweight exercise that only requires a sturdy bench that is at least knee high. With hands to you side step-up onto the bench with your left foot. Step down and then step-up with the right.
Your reps can be a straight left leg and then the right, or you can rotate left right left… The goal is to do a continuous 10 step-ups per set. You can also use weights for better resistance.
11. Triceps Dip
Triceps Dip will require a prop. It can be a chair, the edge of a sofa, or a step outside your house. Almost anything that is sturdy and can support your weight without tipping over can be used.
Sit on the edge of the chair with hands shoulder-width apart and palms down. Extend your legs out and then slide your butt off of the chair. Straighten your arms but do not lock your elbows.
Use your arms to lower and lift your body. If using a chair do not go lower than six inches from the seat. When using a step or box that is lower to the ground, do not let your butt touch the surface below you.
Try to perform about 15 reps per set. Return to the seat between sets to allow for a 10-second recovery.
12. Arm Circles
If you are looking for upper body exercises to target the back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps, arm circles are a perfect choice. Arm circles are also a great warm-up exercise that can help prevent injuries.
They are quite simple to execute and can be done while at work during a five-minute break. Start by standing up and extending your arms out with the palms of your hands facing the ground. Do a forward circular motion creating circles that are one foot in diameter.
Continue the rotation for about 10 seconds, or 10 rotations. Stop and then do the same in a backward rotation. One forward and one backward rotation represent a set. You can increase the time of the rotations or the number of back and forth reps, as your arms strengthen.
Also, consider adding small weights for additional resistance.
You’re Now Ready to Log Your Workouts
Now that you know resistance training doesn’t have to come with great expense, what are you waiting for? Before starting your weight-free workouts we recommend consulting with your physician first. Once you get the go-ahead, log your results and celebrate your successes.
Did you find these at home exercises useful? Click here to check out our nine-week body transformation challenge.
Healthy and Happy: 20 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants
Forget the rumors! You CAN get healthy without sacrificing your social life. The next time you’re at a restaurant, try these tips for eating healthy.
Whether you’re dining out with friends, on a romantic date, or during a business meeting, there are times you can’t avoid the dreaded restaurant!
Having an indulgent meal every now and again is no sin. But when it becomes a habit, you need to take action.
There are ways to eat delicious, healthy meals at restaurants without throwing a calorie bomb into your diet. To do it, you need a smart game plan. Read on to find out 20 tips for eating healthy.
The Scout motto is “be prepared.” If you’re prepared with a game plan, you’ll be able to make your restaurant trip a success.
Check out the next five tips for finding the healthiest restaurants.
1. Do Your Homework
One of the best tips for eating healthy is to choose a restaurant in advance. Since most venues post their menus online, it’s easy to find the best ones to visit and the ones to avoid.
If they offer a lot of fatty foods on their menu that could be a temptation, skip it and go somewhere else. Search for healthy food restaurants on Google, and you might find some health-oriented places to eat.
When you’re looking for healthy dishes at restaurants, many ethnic food eateries are a great option. For instance, Japanese, Thai, Greek, or Indian. It’s a lot easier to eat clean at one of these venues compared to an Italian or Mexican restaurant.
2. The Right Vibe
Picking healthy dishes at restaurants isn’t enough. You also have to choose a place with the right atmosphere.
Listen to the music. Restaurants that have loud hectic music make you eat to the beat. If the music is softer and slower, you’ll spend more time at the table, but eat less.
The same applies to color. Restaurant decor can either stimulate you to eat more or calm your mind so you can have a relaxed experience.
For instance, the colors red, orange, and yellow will spur you to order more. Soft blue, gray, and peach, on the other hand, will create a relaxed ambiance.
3. Book in Advance
When you’re waiting for a table at a restaurant, you’ll only get hungrier and hungrier. When you finally sit down, you’ll devour all the table bread and give up on your diet for the night.
The solution is simple. Book healthy restaurants in advance – and you won’t have time to get hungry.
4. Be Wise in Your Seat Choice
When choosing where to sit in a restaurant, most people avoid the area around the bathroom. But an even more dangerous place to sit is near the kitchen.
It’s one thing to see the lip-smacking descriptions on the menu. But to see them coming out from the kitchen and smell the delicious aromas is way too much of a temptation, especially when you’re hungry.
Another tip is to choose a seat near or opposite a mirror. It might sound strange, but it’s backed up by research. Scientists have found that if you watch yourself in a mirror while eating unhealthy foods, they seem less tasty.
5. Eyes Too Big for Your Belly
According to research, people are bad at estimating how much a portion size should be. This means that on any given day, we’re probably eating more than we should.
So, whatever you do, avoid all you can eat restaurants. It’s way too tempting. Plus, these restaurants often have a no waste policy – if you’ve put it on your plate, you must eat it.
If a buffet is the only option, try using a smaller plate. Or fill half of a normal sized plate with veggies before you start snacking on goodies.
You Are What You Eat
You’ve found a healthy restaurant, now it’s time to choose your meal. This is the toughest part. But you can do it if you follow these tips.
6. Know Your Menu
Do your homework and take a peek at the menu before you go. Pre-planning your meal will make life a lot easier for you and help you to avoid temptation.
Restaurants sugar coat the words in their menu so that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. But once you’ve got down with the lingo, you’ll be able to figure out what menu options to avoid.
For instance, anything that is Alfredo, creamed, buttery, or scalloped. Also, anything smothered, pan-fried, crispy, breaded or dipped is a big no-no.
The same applies to meats. Some cuts of meat are fattier than others. Skinless chicken breast, for example, is leaner than chicken thighs or legs.
Healthy dishes at restaurants feature compelling descriptions, such as grilled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Also, anything braised, seared, or broiled is good. These are the healthy keywords to look out for.
7. Watch Out for “Healthy” Labels
When browsing the menu, you’ll see dietary labels like paleo, sugar-free, or gluten-free. You might assume that these would make the meal a healthy choice, but that’s not always the case.
To make the food tasty, restaurants often add hidden added sugars and fats. For instance, if you eat a vegan cake, you may think it’s healthier. But they usually swap the eggs for a ton of oil, which is anything but healthy.
8. Meats and Fish
When choosing healthy dishes at restaurants, you don’t have to opt for a simple salad. Meat and fish will help you feel satisfied without filling up on carbs.
Lean meats, such as flank steak or chicken breast, are full of protein. Fish is also a healthy option as long as it’s not fried. It’s harder to overeat proteins than it is to overindulge in carbs.
9. Load Up with a Salad
Salads can be one of the most healthy dishes at restaurants. But there are sometimes hidden calories. For instance, nuts, croutons, cheese, dried fruit, grains, and fancy salad dressing can add hundreds of salads to your meal.
Don’t force yourself to only eat lettuce as you’ll be hungry again in half an hour. Make sure you’re getting some protein in your salad.
10. Double Trouble
The veggie portions in most meals are often very small. So when you order, ask for double vegetables.
If you want to add a little extra zest to your meal, why not ask for a fruit side? Superfoods like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries can add some zing to your meal without a lot of extra sugar.
11. Don’t Be Shy
Don’t be shy to ask your waiter about the preparation of the food. If you find it out that it’s cooked with a lot of butter and salt, ask for them to prepare it without.
You might feel embarrassed asking, but that’s what your waiter is there for. Ask them what any unfamiliar words mean or ask their opinion on what the healthiest thing on the menu is. They may be able to make some great suggestions.
12. Sharing Is Caring
A sneaky way to keep portions realistic is to split your dish with a friend. This may give you the chance to try a little bit of everything without overdoing it.
You could even order a couple of appetizers as a main meal.
13. Get Saucy
Even if you order a healthy looking menu option, they may smother it with sauces and butter. It may end up being just as unhealthy as that double trouble cheeseburger you had your eye on.
Ask them to prepare your food without the butter and dressings, but to have them as a side instead.
Instead of dousing your meal with the sauce, try the fork-dip method. Dip your fork into the creamy side, then load it up with veggies. This way, you can get the taste without overindulging.
14. Skip Empty Calories
You may have ordered the healthiest dish in the restaurant, but it won’t matter if you stuff yourself with bread before the meal arrives. If it’s too tempting, ask the waiter to take it away.
Another empty calorie culprit is sweet alcoholic drinks or sodas. Avoid cocktails at all costs. They will load you up with sugar, use up all your calories, and you’ll still feel hungry afterward.
If you need an alcoholic drink, opt for a vodka and tonic or a glass of wine instead.
15. The Proof Is in the Pudding
Deserts are a no-no! Even a small piece of cake can add 400 calories or more to your meticulously planned meal. Just say no, kids!
If you have a sweet tooth, why not try sharing a dessert instead? Ask for some fruit, such as berries. Or grab some frozen yogurt on the way home as a low-calorie option.
Now you’ve picked the right healthy food restaurant with the perfect ambiance, and you’ve chosen the healthiest item on the menu. What next?
The next part is the eating! Don’t let this final hurdle trip you up. Follow the next five tips.
16. Box It Up
Up to 94 percent of restaurant meals contain 600 calories or more. That’s because even if the meal is “healthy,” the portion is way too big.
Instead of asking them to box up the leftovers, try asking them to box up half the meal before you even begin. This will keep you from overeating. It will also save you money as you can eat it for your dinner the next day.
It might look a little odd to others, but it’s a smart move for eating healthy at restaurants.
17. Keep Calm, Drink Water
Drinking water can help control your eating and ward off hunger.
This habit makes it easier for you to slow down during a meal. You’ll not only enjoy the food more, but it’ll give your stomach the chance to tell your brain it’s full before you overeat.
Some struggle with the bland taste of water, especially if they’ve got used to drinking alcohol or sugary drinks. Ask for a slice of lemon or lime to improve the taste.
18. Slow Down There
Once you’ve got your plate in front of you, it can be tempting to gobble it down. But eating quickly leads to overeating. This is because your stomach doesn’t have the chance to tell you it’s full.
Try putting down your utensils between each bite. This will give you the chance to savor each mouthful. It will also help gauge your hunger levels before you stuff yourself.
19. Don’t Compare
Keep your eyes on your own meal. Don’t compare what you’ve ordered with your friend’s dinner. We all have different nutritional needs – comparing won’t help anyone.
It’s also handy to have this mindset before ordering. Try to be the first to order. This will stop you from having an “Oh, that sounds delicious, I’ll have the same” moment.
20. A Happy Ending
When you’re finished your meal, pop a mint into your mouth. The mint will help clear your palette. This will discourage you from taking any more sneaky bites of your meal or anyone else’s leftovers.
If what’s left on your plate is tempting even after you’re full, try one of these tricks. Use a napkin to cover the alluring leftovers. Or drown it in salt so that it becomes inedible.
Plan to finish off the night with light activity, such as an evening stroll or a little dancing. You’ll not feel like ordering something too heavy as it will make you feel sluggish for your activity.
Tips for Eating Healthy and More
If you follow these tips for eating healthy, you can enjoy your restaurant experience without the guilt trip afterward.
Of course, you should try to eat healthy foods at all times. And diet goes hand in hand with an exercise regime.
Our 21 Day Body Transformation Challenge combines diet and exercise to transform your look. If you want to turn heads for the right reasons, find out more here.
Tracking Your Progress: How to Take Body Measurements for Weight Loss
You don’t have to rely on the scale to track your weight loss process. Find out how to take body measurements for another way to see your progress.
Want to learn how to take body measurements for weight loss? Then you’ve come to the best place! We’re going to tackle on the sensitive topic of losing weight, and everything it involves.
Many people all over the world struggle with weight loss. It’s no mystery that there is an obesity issue in the United States. But what is the culprit behind so much weight gain, and can we stop it?
We’re going to be answering all your questions about weight loss and tracking results. We’ll take a closer look at all your tracking options, and what’s best for you. You’ll also gain more tips and tricks for keeping up with your weight loss process.
Keep reading to see the best options for tracking your weight loss body measurements!
Getting Healthy and Losing Weight
You’ve made the choice to lose weight, congratulations! That’s one of the hardest parts done. In truth getting healthy and losing weight is all about the right mental state.
That’s where tracking progress carries the most power-encouraging focus. You may be wondering: what’s the point of tracking progress?
While some choose to venture into losing weight without a plan, the best option is to have a goal. Goals are achievable! Tracking your progress is what will get you from point A to point B.
Are there other benefits to tracking? Yes, in fact, there are several. We want you to have a full understanding of why tracking progress is a great option for everyone.
Let’s examine each benefit closer.
Benefits of Tracking Progress
It’s fun to see the difference in your body from start to finish. You might consider taking before and after photos to show everyone your progress. Tracking your measurements is vital for your weight loss progress.
It’s more of a mental habit to focus your brain on continuing to lose weight. In our modern age, there are many temptations that can get us off the path of weight loss. There’s fast food at every street corner, and full-time jobs make us sleepy.
All we want at the end of the night is to curl up and doze off with a full belly, right? This throws a major wrench in the gears when we’re trying to lose weight. That’s why tracking your body measurements will keep you from slipping up.
You’ll see the exact body parts you’ve been neglecting. You’ll know how to better tailor your nutrition plan. Plus, it’ll target a workout routine to get better results.
You’ll get to decide if you should get serious and hit the gym or do at home workouts. Let’s break apart all the benefits of tracking your progress during weight loss.
Keeping Up Your Motivation
Motivation is crucial for losing weight, so you want to ensure you are practicing the best habits. Listen to music, and get yourself ready to pump some iron. Tracking your progress is a good habit to remind you of your success so far.
It’s also going to show you where you need to focus your energy. For example, if you are noticing more weight in your tummy area, you might avoid heavy carb lunches.
Another culprit behind tummy fat is stress hormones! In that case, try out some meditation workouts at the office or during lunch. Quick yoga poses can also release tension that gets stuck in your shoulders from hours of desk work.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. Tracking your progress is a great way to get your mind clear and practice mindfulness. Which leads us to our next topic.
Being Mindful and Understanding Your Triggers
Another benefit of tracking your progress is that you develop mental resistance. That means that it displays all your triggers, and helps you become more mindful. Mindfulness is helpful for losing weight, but also maintaining weight loss.
As you track, you will notice patterns or trends in your data. You will see a clear picture of what makes you overeat or indulge. You can start to avoid foods or drinks that cause your weight to spike.
Drinks like alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals, so keep up the focus. This can be hard to avoid when you want to have a normal social life. Going out to restaurants is a popular way to socialize, or have work meetings.
The most difficult aspect of avoiding triggers is resisting temptations. This is where tracking your progress comes in to save the day. It’s harder to give in to temptation when you know the consequences of overindulging.
While it’s hard to say “no,” you’ll be glad that you were strong and hit your weight loss goal.
What Are Body Measurements
We know tracking progress results are beneficial to our weight loss. Now, let’s get into what body measurements are. Body measurements are measurements of body parts like the neck, arms, torso, hips, and so on.
In America, the metric system most people use is inches to record track results. You might have a fitness coach that uses a tape measure for the body measurements. Most times, they use this to jot down your starting body measurements.
They wrap the tape measurement around each body part and see the total number of inches. Here’s everything you need to know about body measurements…
How to Take Body Measurements
Taking body measurements is all about precision, and placing the tape in the right place. It’s also important to note that taking body measurements will vary in women and men. That’s because, of course, women have a bust.
For the most part, the common body measurements for weight loss are:
- Waist [tummy or gut area]
These areas will reduce in inches as you lose weight. It will also reveal details about your workout. Here’s an example.
If your waist is smaller, but the legs are bigger, then you’re practicing cardio or leg exercises. You body measurements are telling, and will more often tell you what you need to focus on.
How to Measure Biceps
Measuring biceps might be the trickiest of the body measurements. Don’t worry, it’s easy so long as you remember “flex.” That’s right when you’re measuring a bicep, you’ll need to flex the muscle.
The goal is to get the tape measure around the bicep at it’s highest point. The best way to tackle this measurement is to have the person flex their arm up. Then, tell them to flex their bicep muscle.
Wrap the tape measure around the bicep. Be sure not to pull too tight or let it hang loose. You want a good, solid tension on the tape measure for an accurate reading.
Then, write down the total inches on your recording device.
How to Measure Forearms
Measuring the forearm is along the same idea as the bicep. This measurement can be done with the arm pointing straightforward. Again, tell the person to flex their arm muscles, which will flex the forearm.
Wrap the tape measure around the forearm, below the elbow. Don’t put the tape measure on the elbow, and don’t get to close to the wrist. You’re looking for the highest point the muscle juts out.
Make sure your tape measure is level to the zero. Check the tension on the tape measure. Is it too tight or too loose?
Once you check all your bases, go ahead and take your measurement. Record the amount in inches in your recording device.
How to Measure Shoulders
Face the person you are measuring head on. Take the tape measure and hold it horizontal to the person. Then, place one end of the tape measure in the center of their chest area.
Take the other end and wrap it around their body so it goes over their back and around the other shoulder. Allow the other point to meet with the first end of the tape measure.
This is your measurement. Again, check for tape measurement tension and level the ends starting at zero. Record your measurement.
[For Women Only] How to Measure the Bust
Like a shoulder measurement, wrap the tape measure around the person. Keep the tape measure straight and horizontal. With a gentle tension, wrap the tape measure around the back of the woman.
Fishing the tape measure under each arm, let it rest against either side of the chest. Be sure to align the tape measure at the highest point of the bust.
How to Measure the Neck
The neck is the easiest measurement of all. For men, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the middle of the neck, below Adam’s apple. For women, it’s measured around the middle area of the neck.
Here, you want to ensure that the tape measure is straight and horizontal. Check the tense as usual, and line up the tape starting at zero for accuracy.
How to Measure the Waist
The waist for women is at the smallest point. Unlike muscles, you want to get the smallest point where the waist comes in. Picture putting on a belt.
You want to be sure the tape measure is straight and in a horizontal line. If it drops the reading will be inaccurate. Keep a solid tension on the tape measure to avoid inaccuracy.
Wrap the tape measure around the smallest point of the waist. Most times, this is between the space of the bottom of the ribcage and above the belly button. For men, you can gauge placement like women.
Use your hip bones for guidance. Feel out the area above to find out where your body caves in the most on each side.
How to Measure the Hips
For both men and women, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the width of your hip space. Include in your measurement the highest point of your bottom. Wrap the tape measurement straight, tense, and horizontal.
Be sure to align the measurement with the zero for accuracy. Record your measurement.
How to Measure Thighs and Calves
The idea is the same with these bodies parts as it is for the others. You want to get the circumference of the thickest, or highest point of the muscle. Measure each leg by itself.
Wrap the tape measure around one thigh in the mid-section of the quad area. This is about three or four fingers down from the pelvic region. Remember, that the goal is to measure around the high point.
Measure the right leg the same. For the calves, start off with one leg. Again, look for the highest point of the muscle and wrap the tape measure around.
If you flex for one measurement, stay consistent. You’ll need to flex for all measurements to avoid mistakes later on. It’s good to make a note if you keep a body measurements chart or have a record keeping.
Body Measurements and Record Keeping
There are different ways to keep track of your progress. You might have a paper journal or graphing paper notebook. Some prefer other avenues like smartphone apps or even excel spreadsheets.
How you choose to record keep is up to you and your convenience. Each has its perks. Weight loss smartphone apps are versatile and nifty. You can download food apps for tracking food items you intake or tracking your workout.
If you like to check your heart rate during a workout, this is a great option. There are apps which will break down each food item you ingest. Some split foods into different percentage groups of nutrition.
This makes it especially easy to see your calorie count, macros, or fats/carbs/proteins. From here you can see if you are eating too many sugars or taking in too much protein.
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Postpartum Weight Loss: 7 Daily Habits To Help You Shed That Baby Fat
You’re basking in the bliss of new motherhood, but those baby pounds just won’t drop. What can you do? Adapt these 7 Habits to aid postpartum weight loss.
The average woman should gain around 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. The amount you gain depends on your original weight pre-pregnancy.
After giving birth, you do lose some weight, however, your body won’t look the way it did before getting pregnant.
Are you ready to lose those baby pounds? Now is the time to do something about it and adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Need some motivation? Keep reading to learn about 7 habits that can aid postpartum weight loss.
Where Does All the Baby Weight Go?
First thing, don’t be discouraged. Your body just did an amazing thing–you created a life and brought it into this world. For that, you should applaud your body.
Wondering where all that baby weight goes? Here’s a breakdown of the weight you gain during pregnancy–assuming you gain 35 pounds and you’re at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy:
- 8 pounds: Baby
- 2-3 pounds: Amniotic Fluid
- 4 pounds: Blood and other body fluids
- 5-9 pounds: Fat, protein, and nutrients
- 2-3 pounds: Breasts
- 2-5 pounds: Uterus
- 2-3 pounds: Placenta
As you can see, the weight you gain during pregnancy is needed to nourish your baby in utero and prepare your body for birth and breastfeeding.
How Much Weight Will I Lose Postpartum?
You’ll probably lose 10 to 12 pounds after giving birth. That’s the weight of your baby plus the placenta and other fluids.
A few days postpartum, you can expect to lose an additional 5 pounds of water weight.
If you’re breastfeeding, it will help your uterus contract back to its original size faster. You can expect your uterus to shrink back by about 6 weeks.
However, you may still look pregnant after a couple of months postpartum. Your abdominal muscles have stretched out, so you need exercise and time to get back into shape.
How Long After I Have the Baby Can I Begin a Weight Loss Plan?
Don’t expect to get back into shape a week or two after having your baby. In fact, it’s best to wait until your 6-week postpartum appointment so that your doctor can clear you for working out. You want to allow your body to rest for the first few weeks so that you don’t cause further injury or strain.
Make Realistic Goals
Remember that it took 9 months for you to gain the pregnancy weight, so you should expect around the same time to shed it. And if you gained more than 35 pounds, you might need longer to lose the weight.
You should aim to lose about a pound every week or two. If you lose the weight gradually, you’re more likely to keep it off and maintain your weight.
Losing Weight While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can help you lose the weight quicker. That’s because you can burn between 300-500 calories a day from breastfeeding.
However, you should wait at least six weeks before dieting if you’re breastfeeding. You want to first establish a regular milk supply, and cutting calories can affect your supply early on.
Habits to Aid Postpartum Weight Loss
Ready to start on your postpartum weight loss plan? Here are 7 daily habits to adopt.
1. Create a Workout Plan
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.
This may be obvious, but it’s important to create a workout plan and to follow through with it. Before you start your new fitness regimen, you should decide how often you want to exercise and what times and days you can do it. With a little one in tow, it’s not going to be as easy to drop by the gym whenever you want.
Set a schedule based on your baby’s schedule. If your baby sleeps well through the early morning, you can wake up early and workout. If you prefer evening workouts, you can put your baby to bed and then go to the gym during that time.
Do what works for you. Some women find it easier to work out at home instead of the gym. If you have a gym room, you can exercise there or if your apartment has a community gym.
You can even workout in the comfort of your living room. The best thing about exercising is that you can customize your workout based on your needs. If you can’t find the time for longer workouts, you can try mini-workouts throughout the day.
Stick with It
Once you set a workout regimen for the week, you want to stick with it. You can team up with another workout buddy so you can motivate each other and work out together.
You can also join an online community for motivation and for workout tips and advice postpartum.
Another tip is to use fitness apps or a smartwatch to track your workouts and progress. There are many apps available that track your weight loss and send out reminders and motivations to help you reach your goal.
Set Mini Goals
It might help to set mini goals to help you get to your larger, overall goal. If you want to lose 20 pounds overall, you can set 4 mini goals to lose 5 pounds. That way, you can reach your mini-goals faster and will be motivated to keep going.
2. Drink More Water
Drinking water can help you lose the weight faster. Studies show that your resting energy expenditure goes up by 24-30% when you drink water.
Another study showed that women who increased their consumption of water to over 34 ounces a day lost 4.4 more pounds within a year.
Drinking water can also help curb your appetite. Research shows that drinking water before breakfast can decrease the number of calories you eat for that meal by 13%.
Drinking water can help fill you up and you can end up consuming fewer calories. And if you’re breastfeeding, you need to drink more water to replace the fluids you lose while nursing throughout the day.
How can you tell if you need to drink more water? A good indicator is the color of your urine. If your urine is dark-colored, you should be drinking more water.
3. Prepare Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time
Depending on your schedule, you can make this a daily habit or a weekly habit. Meal prepping your meals and snacks ahead of time can save you time, money, and effort. It can also help prevent you from binging on junk food when you’re hungry or craving certain foods.
If you do it weekly, you can pick a day of the week–Sunday is usually best–to make all your meals and snacks for the week. You can cook one or two large dinners and store it in the fridge or freezer for the week. You should separate the meals according to the days of the week.
You can also prep your snacks. You can make yogurt parfaits with Greek yogurt and fresh berries. You can also make overnight oatmeal for breakfast. For snacks, cut up veggies and fruits and place in small containers or plastic bags.
It can be difficult to find the time to make yourself a mealÂ with a baby. This way, you’ll always have something to eat on hand throughout the week. All you need is to invest in some plastic containers or some type of container to separate your meals in.
4. Walk with Your Baby
Another daily habit to adopt–take daily walks. If you take a brisk walk, you can count it as a part of your daily exercise.
Depending on your neighborhood, you can opt to walk to nearby stores instead of driving. If you need milk, you can take a walk to the nearby grocery store. This is a great way to burn calories, and it’s also an environmentally-friendly choice.
You can also show your baby the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. Point out the trees, the birds, and the color of the sky. You can push your baby in the stroller or put them in a baby carrier so you’re on the go.
You can also add walks to your daily schedule. Park far from the store so that you take a mini walk through the parking lot.
If you have a two-story home, go upstairs to change baby’s diaper. This way, you’re always moving and active.
5. Set Limits
There are some foods you should limit if you want to shed the pounds. Candy and soda, for example, you can do without.
However, instead of cutting out these foods, you should replace them with healthier options. For example, instead of drinking soda at dinner time, you can drink fruit-infused water. This way, you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of your favorite sweets.
Other healthy substitutions include replacing candy with sweet fruits such as cherries or bananas. You can replace chips with celery or cut up cucumbers.
Another thing you can do is get rid of all the junk and processed foods in your house. Do an inventory of your fridge and pantry. Get rid of unhealthy foods and replace with lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy items.
6. Don’t Skip Meals
Another word of advice: don’t skip meals. You should especially not skip breakfast. The old adage is true, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
When you wake up in the morning, you have low blood sugar from not eating the night before. You need breakfast to raise your blood sugar and give you that energy boost in the morning
If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to feel tired throughout the day. You’re also more likely to overeat later in the day to replenish the calories you lost. This makes it harder to control food cravings to avoid overeating.
Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, you should at least eat a small, healthy breakfast like yogurt or boiled eggs.
If you eat your regular meals throughout the day, you can maintain your energy levels and have better control over your cravings.
7. Get Some Rest
One-third of us are not sleeping enough. Sleep has become a luxury these days. Many times you hear new parents boasting about how much sleep they didn’t get.
However, getting enough rest is an important form of self-care. It’s true that not getting enough sleep can affect your weight.
In fact, sleeping enough hours during the night is just as important for losing weight as eating healthy and working out. When you’re sleep-deprived, it affects the decision-making part of your brain–the frontal lobe. You’re less likely to make healthy decisions about what you eat.
Research shows that sleep-deprived people were more likely to snack late at night. They were also more likely to pick high-carb snacks.
If you’re tired, you have less strength to say no to food cravings. You might go for that chocolate bar or ice cream cone when you know you shouldn’t.
What’s more, lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that makes your body hold onto energy. This means that your body is more likely to hold onto fat which means a slower metabolism.
Studies reveal that people who slept less throughout a two-week period lost 55% less weight even with the same caloric intake. They were also more hungry and less energetic throughout the day.
How much sleep do you need? Experts say you need between 7 to 9 hours every night.
This can be difficult postpartum with the baby up constantly and your neverending list of things to do. You can at least rest when the baby is napping and sleep when the baby sleeps at night.
Final Advice for Shedding That Baby Fat
Our final advice for postpartum weight loss is to stay focused and not give up. As long as you’re making steady progress, keep going to reach your goal.
Our 21 Day Body Transformation Challenge combines diet and exercise to transform your look. If you want to turn heads for the right reasons, find out more here.
Gym Or Home Workout: Which Type Of Routine Suits You Best?
Are you happy working out at home, or do you have to be among others as you get toned? Here’s how you figure out whether you’re a gym or home workout person.
Many people ask themselves whether they should choose a gym or home workout. They may have limited budgets or time, or strict ideas on what they need from their exercise regimen.
If you are weighing the pros and cons of gyms vs. home for your fitness schedule, there are many factors to take into account. Not only should you think about what kinds of movement you prefer, but you should also think about what motivates you and what inhibits you. You want to choose the best way possible to stick with your program!
Here are 15 questions to ask yourself to determine the right fitness regimen for you.
1. Do You Need The Presence of Others?
It’s hard to slack off and watch TV at the gym. The presence of other people with similar health goals can be motivating.
There is also a healthy competitive spirit at the gym. By measuring your progress against others, you may push yourself more to work harder.
If you thrive on the opinions of others to get moving, you may wish to exercise at a gym instead of at home.
2. Have You Recently Had a Baby?
If you have recently had a baby, you are probably juggling the urge to get rid of the baby fat with exhaustion, child care, and breastfeeding. Getting out of the house may be more of a challenge than it’s worth.
In this case, you may want to start exercising in the privacy of your own home. You will be able to jump up if the baby cries, and you won’t have to compare yourself to a lot of skinny minnies in spandex.
On the other hand, if your gym has babysitting services, going out to work out can be a much-needed break for new moms.
3. Do You Work Irregular Hours?
Maybe you work the late shift and get home in the middle of the night. Maybe you need to jump in transglobal calls at odd hours. It can be hard to schedule training at the gym when real life and work worries get in the way. Not all gyms are open 24 hours a day, either.
Some people’s careers are so demanding and time-consuming that it is hard to schedule any time during the week to get to the gym. When they get home, they may just want to collapse. For these people, maybe a weekend routine or activity is best.
If you are simply too busy to be able to commit to a daily routine at a gym, you can make sure you have an inviting place to work out at home whenever possible. Invest in a treadmill, stationary bike or a set of free weights and keep them in your study or garage.
That way, you can pick up the weights or jump on the treadmill at any time you have the energy, day or night.
4. Are You Shy About Your Appearance?
Maybe you don’t like your current weight. Maybe you are ashamed at how little muscle you have in your arms and legs, and you want to bulk up more.
Going to the gym can be intimidating for people who are inhibited about how they look. They may refuse to go at all, which of course is antithetical to the goal of getting on a fitness regime.
If you are low in confidence about your physical body, start off with an at-home fitness program. You can lose weight and get into shape with exercises or even a private trainer. You will start gaining self-esteem in no time.
5. Do You Have Young Kids at Home?
It can be difficult and expensive to get to a gym when you are taking care of small children. Even though some health clubs have child care, your kids may have other ideas. Some children enjoy the playgroup at sports clubs and other venues, and some would rather relax in the comfort of their own houses.
Exercising at home allows you to save on babysitting while keeping an eye on the youngsters upstairs. You are also setting a good example, that health is an important priority in your family. They may even want to join you!
6. Do You Need to Get Out of the House?
If you are a stay-at-home mom or you work remotely, you may realize that some days you never leave the house! Signing up for a gym or fitness classes can force you to leave your abode. That’s good for not only your physical but your mental health.
A change of scenery can also be inspiring. A different environment plus exercise for even 30 minutes per day can clear your mind and reset your attitude if you are otherwise housebound.
7. Do You Work Out with Your Partner?
If you like to work out as a couple, your decision of gym or home may depend on your partner’s preferences. You can work out either place, so long as you agree.
Working out with a spouse or friend can push you when your energy flags, and pass the time if you get bored. They can inspire you. They can also annoy you-which is actually another great method of motivation!
Gyms sometimes also offer family memberships so you might be able to save some money as well.
8. Do You Want to Meet New People?
If you lead an isolated lifestyle or have moved to a new location, you may want to spend your free time meeting new people. The gym is the new singles bar, church or community center.
Many gyms organize meetups on weekends like hikes, softball games and other healthy excursions. There are even more casual ways to meet people, like at the juice bar after your work out. You will have an opportunity to meet people with similar health goals.
If you have friends at the gym, you are also more likely to return on a continuous basis. Fitness can become one of just many shared fun times.
9. Are You Trying to Lose Weight?
Overweight people are sometimes embarrassed to start working out in front of others who may be more fit. Although everyone will tell you not to worry, if it prevents you from showing up it is a problem.
Some gyms are focused on weight loss and are more likely to have a clientele with goals similar to yours. Alternatively, sometimes you will have more luck with the initial fitness push when you start working out at home.
After a little time with regular exercise and good nutrition, you may start to feel confident enough to integrate some group activities into your regimen. Many gym rats started out as overweight: they will describe to you how they used to hate going to the gym, and now they love it!
10. Do You Have Special Physical Needs?
Maybe you are recovering from an injury. Maybe you have a sensitive back or a sore shoulder. Maybe you are developing arthritis or other age-related weakness.
If you have special circumstances which might risk your well being, you are better off working out at a gym or at home with a personal trainer. You need guidance on the right kinds of exercises to do to prevent you from hurting yourself.
A professional coach or physical therapist can guide you in ways that strengthen the body part in question without risk of additional injury or strain. They can spot you if you are hesitant about certain moves.
11. Do You Like A Certain Kind of Music?
Some gyms blast loud music non-stop. You may love that! Or it might send you screaming for the hills.
You can always wear headphones if you like a specific kind of music to get you going or to block out the noise of others. However, if you prefer to blast Gregorian chants first thing in the morning while doing your sit-ups, you may be better off in the privacy of your own home.
12. Are You On A Strict Budget?
Gyms vary widely in price depending on the services they offer and the location. There are fancy gyms with pools and spas, located in high-end real estate markets, where the monthly membership fees can be high. There are also plain nuts-and-bolts gyms which just provide the basics.
Working out at home can be more cost effective because you save yourself those high monthly fees. However, paying for something sometimes ensures that you actually do it.
If you want to save some bucks, working out at home is a great option so long as you actually stick with the program. One alternative is to hire a coach to come in once per week to create a program you adhere to the rest of the time. They will check up on your progress and adjust your routine as you improve.
13. Do You Need Extra Encouragement?
Sometimes when you work out alone you can just give up. If you get tired or it hurts, there is no reason to keep going! And the refrigerator is just inches away, full of enticing snacks…
If you are pushing through an aerobics class at the gym, the teacher is probably hollering words of encouragement throughout. If you are bench pressing an extra heavy weight in the gym and you are struggling, the words of encouragement from the trainer and your fellow gym members can make all the difference.
Working out with people gives us an extra kick. It’s often too easy to throw in the towel when you are home alone, unless you have a coach by your side urging you to do your best.
14. Do You Crave Variety?
Boredom is a big enemy of fitness. Some people need to shake it up often, or else they just get bored and quit.
If you choose a gym and you are inclined towards boredom, make sure there are lots of different activities. Do they offer a range of fitness classes like Pilates, yoga, and TRX? Do they have a pool, tennis courts or cycling?
If you are working out at home, shake it up. Go for hikes or run outside in nice weather. Use videotapes of different workouts and change your soundtrack often. You can even work out in different rooms of the house.
Changing your exercise routine is not only good for you mentally, but it is good for you physically. It is healthy to work out different muscle groups and alternate between endurance, cardio, and weight training.
15. Do You Want Nutritional Advice?
Most exercise programs work best when they are supplemented by a diet. You will find many different opinions on the best diet plan for your specific goal: to lose weight, build muscle, or address specific health issues.
If you decide you would be happier at a gym, choose one with someone on staff who can help guide your nutritional regimen as well as your exercise program. Many trainers and coaches can advise on specific diets, foods to avoid, and perfect portions. Other gyms even sell nutritional supplements and other items which are better for you than snacking on junk food at home.
If you are working out at home, you can research the many resources available which advise on the best methods to achieve your nutritional goals. You might also work with a coach who is also educated on diet.
Gym or Home Workout? Either or Both May Work For You
If you are trying to decide whether the gym or home workout is right for you, you need to look at your personal preferences, goals, and priorities. But be flexible! Your life may evolve over time.
You may want to go to a gym after working out at home for a few months and losing weight. Your child will soon be old enough to want to participate in a playgroup. You may learn ways to go through your circuit at the gym quickly and efficiently in a way that works with your tight schedule.
Whatever you decide, there is always an option which will work with your specific lifestyle, family, and budget. The important thing is to just do it.
Get Fit, Baby!: How To Keep Working Out While Pregnant
Did you get some exciting news about a baby bump recently? Working out while pregnant is both important and totally possible. Here’s what you need to know.
There are so many benefits that come along with working out while pregnant.
When you make an effort to exercise when you’re expecting, you’ll pack on fewer pounds throughout the course of your pregnancy. You’ll also reduce back pain, constipation, and some of the other side effects of being pregnant. And you might even make your labor and delivery go more smoothly in the end!
But despite the numerous benefits of working out while pregnant, there are many women who choose not to do it for any number of reasons. Some struggle to muster up the strength and energy for exercise, while others complain about not having enough time to do it.
Don’t let these things stop you from working out while pregnant! Take a look at some tips below that will help you create and maintain a workout regimen over the next 9 months with Healthy Food for Pregnant Women.
Start as Soon as You Find Out You’re Pregnant
Did you just find out that you’re pregnant?
Congratulations! There is almost nothing more exciting than finding out that you’re going to be welcoming a new baby into the world.
But before you start celebrating too much, you should commit–right here and right now–to working out while pregnant.
We know that you’re going to have a million and one other things going on in your life soon. From researching which crib would be right for your baby to picking out a pediatrician, there is so much to do!
But the truth is that working out while pregnant is one of the most important things that you’re going to do in the coming months. It’ll be good for both you and your baby and will help your pregnancy go much better than it would otherwise.
So rather than putting off exercise or ignoring it altogether, use the adrenaline boost that you got from your positive pregnancy test to start up a workout routine. It’ll be well worth the time and effort you put into it.
Create Specific Workout Goals
After you’ve made a commitment to working out while pregnant, the next step should be to come up with a list of specific workout goals for yourself. These goals will help keep you on track once you actually start exercising on a regular basis.
Everyone’s goals are obviously going to be a little bit different. But in general, your goals should serve as a guide for you as you move forward in your pregnancy.
Here are some sample workout goals that might work for you:
- Exercise for about 30 minutes at least 3 times every week
- Keep weight loss to a minimum throughout pregnancy
- Use working out as a reason to eat healthier while pregnant
- Stay in constant contact with the doctor about working out
- Monitor how workoutsÂ are benefitting both mom and baby
The key is coming up with goals that are attainable. It’ll allow you to stay committed to working out while pregnant, even when times get tough and you don’t necessarily feel like doing it.
Learn About the Exercises That Will Benefit You
Once you have your pregnancy workout goals in place, it’ll be time for you to officially start working out while pregnant. But before you do, you should take the time to learn about the different types of exercises that will benefit you the most.
The good news is that there are lots of workout options for you to choose from when you’re pregnant. Here are just some of the choices:
- Walking, which can elevate your heart rate and provide you with an upper-body workout if you get into the habit of moving your arms when you walk
- Running, which can elevate your heart rate even more than walking and work out many major muscle groups
- Swimming, which can work out your entire body without putting too much of a strain on your legs, your back, or the other areas that will bother you during pregnancy
- Weight training, which will make your muscles stronger and prepare them for the later stages of pregnancy
- Yoga, which will help you with balance and strength and bring your blood pressure down
Regardless of which first-trimester workout you choose, you should avoid twisting your midsection at any point and ease your way into working out. You usually don’t want to work out for any more than 20 to 30 minutes at a time, and you also don’t want to push yourself outside of your comfort zone at any point.
Avoid Certain Exercises During Pregnancy
While all of the exercises that we just mentioned are great for those in their first trimester and, in most cases, even beyond, there are some exercises you’ll want to avoid at all costs. They could put you and your baby into harm’s way if you aren’t careful.
Steer clear of any exercises that call for you to:
- Hold your breath for long periods of time
- Lift weights that are too heavy
- Lie on your stomach
- Stand still for extended periods of time
- Push yourself too hard
The last thing you want to do is turn working out while pregnant into a bad thing. By avoiding some exercises that could be dangerous, you’ll keep yourself and your baby safe at all times.
Come Up With and Stick to a Workout Schedule
No matter what type of exercise you choose to do during your pregnancy, it’s important for you to create a workout schedule…and stick to it!
If you don’t have a clear-cut schedule in place, you’re going to be tempted to cheat from time to time and skip out on your workouts. This will turn into a habit before long and result in you not getting enough exercise.
Sit down and map out your days, weeks, and even months so that you know when you need to work out. You’re more likely to start working out while pregnant when you have a schedule in place.
Consider Using a Workout Challenge to Stay Motivated
Are you the type of person who has a hard time staying motivated when you work out? If the benefits of working out while pregnant aren’t enough to motivate you, there is something else you can try to give yourself the encouragement you need.
Our 9-Week Workout Challenge is a great option for any woman who wants to start working out while pregnant. You’ll get direct access to a fitness coach who will customize a workout plan to your specific needs.
This is especially helpful for pregnant women who don’t know where to start when it comes to working out. You can work with a trainer both during your pregnancy and after it to keep yourself in great shape.
Make Sure You’re Getting the Right Nutrients
Eating right during pregnancy is just as important as working out. You and your baby need a long list of nutrients on an almost daily basis. During the second and third trimesters, you’ll also need to take in a lot more calories than you usually do.
Rather than just eating whatever you want while pregnant, you should look to eat certain types of foods that are loaded with the nutrients you need. Your diet should include:
- Dairy products, which are a great source of calcium and protein
- Legumes, which will provide you with everything from fiber and protein to iron and calcium
- Salmon, which is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids
- Eggs, which are jampacked with protein, fat, and more minerals and vitamins than we can possibly list here!
- Lean meat, which contains iron, choline, and protein
There are also lots of other foods to incorporate into your diet, including certain berries, avocados, whole grains, and more.
Drink a Lot of Water, Too
Under normal circumstances, it’s important for pregnant women to drink plenty of water on a daily basis. It’ll help you avoid dehydration, which can cause constipation, tiredness, anxiety, and more.
But hydration will become even more of a concern when you’re working out while pregnant. You’re going to be losing fluids as you exercise, and those fluids will need to be replenished.
It’s good to bring along lots of water with you during a workout. Sip on it early and often to keep the fluids flowing through your body.
Stop Working Out While Pregnant If You Don’t Feel Good
Although working out while pregnant is something you should definitely consider doing, there is absolutely no reason for you to overexert yourself in the process. Your No. 1 goal should be to maintain your body and keep your baby healthy, not to set a new personal best while running a mile or learn dozens of new yoga poses.
If, at any point, you don’t feel good while you’re working out while pregnant, you should 100 percent stop and put your exercise plans on hold. Even though it might mean missing a day or two of exercise, you’re much better off taking that approach than trying to do too much.
Speak With Your Doctor About Exercising
When you first find out that you’re pregnant, your doctor is going to give you all kinds of advice as far as what you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy.
Your doctor will tell you what to eat, how much sleep to get, and more. Your doctor should also speak with you about exercising and recommend some workouts that you can do.
If they don’t, don’t be afraid to stop them and tell them that you would like to start working out while pregnant. They will likely encourage you to do it and give you some tips about exercising throughout your pregnancy.
You should also continue to speak with your doctor as you move closer and closer to your due date. There are some exercises that are perfectly fine for those women in their first trimester but dangerous for those in their third.
By keeping an open line of communication with your doctor, you’ll be able to find out which exercises will be best as you move along. Your doctor will know what you’ll be able to do best based on your body type, your goals, and any concerns they might have about your pregnancy.
Commit to Continuing to Work Out After Your Baby’s Birth
At the end of all this, working out while pregnant should allow you to give birth to a beautiful baby that is completely healthy. It should also make your pregnancy a whole a lot easier across the board.
But maybe above all else, it should give you all the motivation you need to continue working out long after your baby is born. By establishing a workout routine while you’re pregnant, you can set yourself up for long-term fitness success.
This will begin to pay off right away when it comes to trying to lose the weight you put on during pregnancy. Most women put on somewhere between 15 and 40 pounds when they’re pregnant and struggle to take it back off. But you’ll be in a good position to do it if you continue working out.
You’ll also be able to keep yourself healthier overall for the sake of your baby. Now that you have someone who depends on you, you need to take your health even more seriously than you ever did before. Working out will make that a reality.
Working Out While Pregnant Is Totally Possible
Working out while pregnant might sound like it’s going to be too difficult to do at the beginning. You might even laugh it off and think that you’re not cut out for the challenge.
But once you start doing it, you’ll begin to see the benefits of it almost right away. You’ll feel better and have more energy at your disposal. You’ll also get good reports back from your doctor during your various visits.
Consider how working out while pregnant could help you before you brush it off. It’s entirely possible and will become a part of your normal pregnancy routine once you give it a shot.
The Office Workout: 8 Fun Office Fitness Tips To Get You Moving
If you have a sedentary job, it’s hard to shed the weight no matter how hard you work out at home. Here are some fun office fitness tips to try at work.
One out of every three of adults is overweight. 30% of children are also overweight.
But it’s not just about obesity rates. Being overweight can lead to other physical health problems like diabetes, heart problems, and even some cancer. And those are just a few of the health issues those extra pounds have on our bodies.
Many people find it hard to find time to fit in exercise. And they often spend eight hours at work being sedentary. That’s why it’s time to incorporate office fitness into your place of business.
Adopting the office workout will help you save costs, help your employees, and boost overall morale. To learn more, keep reading. We’re sharing with you eight ideas for the office workout your employees will love.
Why Office Fitness is So Important
While it may seem counter-productive to incorporating exercises to do while sitting at a desk, the opposite is true. You’ll find you can increase productivity and save a lot of money just by encouraging your employees to exercise while at work.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
Obesity is Expensive
Office fitness is becoming more popular as businesses struggle under the expensive ramifications of obesity. An obese male employee can cost you anywhere from $322 to $6,087 in a loss of productivity.
For females, the estimates range from $797 to $6,694. These ranges aren’t for the entire duration of that employee working for you. These estimates are based on how much money you’ll lose per person per year thanks to health issues associated with obesity.
Mental Health Issues and Obesity
If that weren’t enough, being overweight also has mental health issues associated with it. Depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders are not uncommon struggles associated with obesity.
This leads to a lowering of your office morale when employees are struggles with mental health issues. And, more losses in productivity.
Office Workout Suggestions
Not everyone is physically capable of doing the same workout. Since people are at different levels in their skills, agility, and health, it’s best to incorporate several different exercises at work so everyone can pick their favorite.
Here are eight suggestions with varying degrees of difficulty.
1. A Walking Meeting
Despite our technological advances, sometimes it’s best to have a face-to-face meeting with someone. But that doesn’t mean you need to be sitting down to do it.
Instead, ask if you can do a walk and talk. Not only will you get exercise, you’ll also find that walking helps stimulate your thinking. It’s a good chance you’ll be more productive while walking than you would during a sit-down meeting.
Also, it’s harder for you to be distracted when you’re taking a walk with someone. There’s less of a chance you’ll scroll through Facebook or check your e-mail while you’re walking.
Instead, you’ll be focused on the person you’re walking with. You might even find you look forward to these meetings since your senses will most likely be heightened just by walking around outside.
2. Work Out With Your Colleagues
It’s easy to quit and become lazy when there’s no one holding you accountable. But when you’re in a group, everyone tends to look out for one another.
Groups also help motivate one another. And in one study, it showed that 95% of people who began a weight-loss program with friends stuck with the program to completion.
You’ll also get a better rate at a local gym if you get a group to sign up. You can also hire a yoga instructor (or another type of instructor) to come to your work and give everyone a good workout.
Look if there are any exercise clubs at your office. If there aren’t any, consider starting your own.
It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. You can start a walking club that walks three times a week after work.
Or, you can get some co-workers to join an intramural club with you. There are intramural clubs for almost every ability.
Basketball, baseball, and even kickball clubs are all over the place. You can easily find one by doing a quick Google check. Type in “adult (your sport here) leagues in (your city).
You don’t need to work out every day, but even meeting a group once a week to exercise will improve your overall health. Also, it’s a good way to get to know your co-workers on a more personal level.
3. Swap Your Chair With a Stability Ball
Good posture is important to the health of your body. Having a strong core means that you are less prone to injuries and you get a better overall workout.
But it’s not like you can do a sit-up while in your office. At least, not without getting some funny looks.
However, you can invest in a stability ball to get in your abdominal exercises at work. By swapping your chair for a stability ball, you now can sit and work while getting a great workout.
The stability ball forces your body to keep finding its balance. As a result, it slowly strengthens your core muscles.
Better posture can also lead to fewer employees calling out sick due to back problems. This is great since lower back problems cost employers $34,600 per 100 employees annually.
You may find you also are more able to focus when using a stability ball.
4. Use a Height-Adjustable Desk
Many people are beginning to use what’s known as an exercise desk to help them burn more calories. It’s also known as a height-adjustable or standing desk.
The premise is that standing burns more calories and is healthier for you than sitting for eight hours a day, five days a week is. Which, is mostly true.
Especially if you experience back pain. Standing can help reduce that pain as you’re less likely to slump while standing than you would if you’re sitting in regular office chair.
However, before going from sitting eight hours per day to standing for eight hours, your body needs time to adjust. Start slowly and build your way up.
Ensure you are wearing comfortable shoes made for standing long periods of time. Standing in six-inch Jimmy Choos isn’t going to do your feet or back any favors. You also may wish to sit and stand at specific intervals for best results.
But since studies show that you burn more calories while reducing your risk of certain cancers, stroke, heart disease, it’s worth trying this one out.
5. Take a Break Every Hour With Chair Exercises
All work and no play isn’t good for anyone. Even when you’re at work, taking breaks is highly beneficial.
A five-minute break will help you elevate both your physical and your mental health. You’ll also find you’re more able to make better decisions when you take a few breaks throughout the day.
A break will restore your productivity, motivation, and creativity levels. You’ll also find you can focus better when you give your body and mind a break every once in a while.
Lastly, taking a break can actually help you learn. Use your best judgment as to when and how often to take a break. But at least once or twice a day, use your break to get in some exercise.
There are plenty of different ways to get exercise without leaving your office. Try an under desk workout.
Swivel your chair to work on your abdominals. There are even exercises to do while sitting. You can easily stretch your neck, roll your ankles, and even tone your butt without ever leaving your chair.
6. Get Creative
You don’t need a personal trainer just to get a workout. Just moving your body will do the trick.
Here are a few exercises you can easily do at work. They’re fun, simple, and a good way to get your body moving.
For extra cardio try dancing in your seat every once in a while. This is especially great to do if you just had something great happen at work and are looking to celebrate. Wiggling in your chair along to music, even if it’s in your head, burns calories and gets you moving.
While you’re waiting for the copier or printer to finish, kill time by working on your calves. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-length apart in one place and go from standing flat on your feet to being on your tip toes.
Continue repeating these movements until your calves start burning. Or, just do 12-15 reps.
Stapler Curl for Biceps
Your stapler has the ability to act as a hand weight. And you can do this one while sitting or standing.
Grab your favorite stapler in one hand with your palm facing up. Beginning at your thighs, bend your elbow and curl your arm towards your chest.
Pause for a few seconds and then lower the stapler back to your thighs. You can do this for 12-15 reps or until your biceps begin to burn. Don’t forget to switch and do an equal amount of reps on both arms.
And if someone stole your stapler or it doesn’t weigh enough for you to get a decent workout, try using a filled water bottle or anything else you can find in your office that fits in your hand but is weighted. You can also bring in canned food for this.
Workout Your Shoulders
Building up tension in your shoulders is a common workplace occurrence. Between gaping at your computer all day long and sitting in your chair, it’s bound to happen every once in a while.
Now you have something you can do to ease that tension. Roll back your shoulders until the blades are as close together as possible.
Pretend you’re holding a pencil between your scapulas. You can always use a real pencil to do this. Hold your position (with or without the pencil) for 5-10 seconds and then release.
Do this 12-15 times for best results.
Pull in Your Core
It doesn’t matter where you are or whether you’re sitting, standing or lying down, you can always work on your core. The best part is, no one ever has to know.
Start by taking a deep breath then tighten the stomach muscles by bringing them in towards your spine while you exhale. Squeeze your abs for 5-10 seconds and then release.
Repeat these steps 12-15 times each session.
7. Take the Long Way Home
There are lots of ways you can sneak in extra exercise without heading to the gym. You just need to adjust your travel routine a little bit.
Instead of taking the elevator, opt to use the stairs. While you may not want to walk up 14 flights of stairs, you’ll still get plenty of benefits by walking down them.
If there’s a long way to get somewhere, take it for the extra steps you’ll have to walk. Avoid using the phone if you can walk over to see a co-worker in person.
If you take public transportation to get to work, get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Do the same on your way home. Just make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
You can also choose to reduce your carbon footprint by walking the entire way or biking to work. Not only will you help the planet, and get exercise, you’ll find that you rarely get home grumpy anymore.
That’s because your physical commute will have physical and mental benefits to help you work through your day’s problems so you can leave them behind you as you walk in to greet your family.
8. Replace Pacing With Sitting While on the Phone
When you do have to have a phone conversation with someone, don’t just sit there and talk. Instead, use it as another opportunity to get some exercise.
Stand up and pace around your desk or office. Every extra step you take counts. It also adds up over time.
And your back and neck muscles will thank you for the opportunity to stand up and stretch. You don’t need to incorporate formal exercise into your routine, you just need to move more.
Even unconsciously fidgeting helps burn some calories. And again, moving around helps you stay alert, awake, and focused. You may find you no longer need an afternoon coffee to get you past the afternoon slump because you’ve replaced it with a few extra exercises.
Transform Your Body and Mind
Life is extremely difficult when you don’t have your health. And there are so many things you can do to get and stay healthy.
Adopting an office fitness program is one step in the right direction. Another step is taking our 21 day challenge.