Exercise

Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design

Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design

Are you tired of feeling guilty for “cheating” on your diet?

Does the guilt cause you then to overeat for several days afterward which sabotages some of your progress?

Are you looking for an easier way to manage your healthy lifestyle choices? So you can stay on track and finally meet (or maintain) your weight and fitness goals?

If so, then applying the 80/20 rule to your diet and exercise plans may be the right fit for you.

What Is the 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule comes from the famous Pareto principle that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  While this originally related to the distribution of wealth in Italy, it’s now being applied to other things, including healthy lifestyle choices.

By following the 80-20 rule, you will focus on eating well and exercising 80% of the time. For example, eating well and working out during the week and indulging (a bit) on the weekend. Or, if you tend to go out with your coworkers for lunch on Friday or out with your friends on Friday night, perhaps your indulging days could be Friday and Saturday. The choice is yours.

In short, it doesn’t matter which times/meals you choose to have as your 20% indulging time, you need to keep it under 20% of the time.

What Can You Eat Following the 80-20 Rule?

For the majority (80%) of the time, you should focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods.

This includes a low-calorie breakfast, packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer and fight off the desire to snack (or eat those bagels one of your coworkers loves to bring to the office). By limiting your calories at breakfast, you start your day off on the right foot.

Lunch and dinner options can vary widely depending on your personal preferences. Focus on whole foods that offer a variety of nutrients: lean proteins, whole grains, and veggies and fruits chosen from the colors of the rainbow.

For snacks, choose foods like nuts, yogurt, fruits or veggies with hummus or salsa.

During your 20% “indulging” time, try to choose things you really enjoy. Don’t grab the first sweet or salty snack that comes your way. Make it something you have been craving all week or that you don’t want to live without.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you get to eat an entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.

While following the 80/20 rule, as with any dietary plan, practicing portion control is a key factor for success.

How Much Exercise Do You Need to Do?

The experts say the average adult should do 2 1/2 hours of moderate activity per week and do muscle-building exercises at least 2 days per week.

This equates to a minimum of a half-hour each day (Monday through Friday) and a weight training session two days a week.

Or, if you prefer or your schedule doesn’t allow time every workday, you can add some time to your workouts and cut the sessions down to a few days per week.

How you choose to get your half-hour of “moderate activity” is up to you.

Walking at a rate where you are breathing harder than normal but can still talk well enough to keep up a conversation works fine.

Of course, biking, rollerskating, dancing, running, or any other kind of physical activity you enjoy works just fine, too!

Many may find keeping an exercise log beneficial in making sure they get the right amount of each type of exercise each week.

You just need to get moving. Your heart and body will thank you!

Give the 80/20 Rule a Try

Try following the 80-20 rule diet for a few weeks and see how great you’ll feel. Say goodbye to guilt and not having flexibility in your healthy lifestyle choices. Losing weight and staying fit doesn’t have to be complicated.

The right mindset doesn’t hurt either. For more about that, here’s a podcast about how to maintain the right mindset to succeed following the 80/20 rule.

How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Months? How to Set Weight Loss Goals that You Can Smash

How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Months? How to Set Weight Loss Goals that You Can Smash

Are you depressed by the statistic that 95% of people regain weight after losing it?

So many diets claim that you can lose weight with a magic pill or an expensive gym membership. What you really need is a heavy dose of realism!

Do you want to know how much weight can you lose in 2 months?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safe amount of weight to lose in a month is 4 to 8 pounds. So, in over 2 months you can lose up to 16 pounds. But, it’s up to you!

Follow our tips to find out how you can set weight loss goals that you can smash this time. Let’s get started!

1. Concentrate on the Process

Imagine you want to achieve your weight loss goal of 16 pounds in 2 months. But, that’s not the whole story!

It’s important to concentrate on the process rather than the outcome. Your outcome goal is 16 pounds in 2 months. Your process goals are the steps you take to reach your outcome goal.

For example, your process goal may be to do 30 minutes of physical exercise each morning. Or eating a vegan diet during the weekdays.

Instead of thinking about the abstract goal at the end of the tunnel, you need to focus on the habits and behavior which can help you make it to the end.

2. Setbacks are Normal

Weight loss is not easy. You’re going to have setbacks along the way.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you binge eat after a difficult day at work. Or when you skip your yoga class to watch television.

If you expect setbacks are going to happen, you can prepare for them when you encounter them.

When you know your friend’s birthday party is around the corner, you can plan how you’re going to deal with it. How are you going to say no to the slice of pizza?

3. Adapt Your Goals

You begin with a goal of 16 pounds in 2 months. But, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it!

If you’re making significant progress after a couple of weeks, you could increase your weight loss target to 20 pounds in 2 months.

You could decide that you were too ambitious with your goal the first time around. Instead, you need to reduce your weight loss goal!

Instead set a different target. This time ask yourself – can I lose 10 pounds in a month?

4. Get a Weight Loss Buddy

Social support is really important when it comes to weight loss. Your network of family and friends is hugely valuable. You also need a weight loss buddy who is going through the same thing as you.

When you’ve hit rock bottom and you’re on the edge of reaching for the refrigerator, you can call your weight loss buddy for help. Your weight loss buddy knows your weight loss goals and your strategies to achieve them. Your buddy keeps you accountable to your promises.

Instead of a weight loss buddy, you can also hire a professional coach to help you keep your weight loss goals.

5. Remind Yourself of Your Goal

Don’t allow yourself to forget your weight loss goal! There are numerous different techniques to remind yourself on a regular basis of what you set out to achieve.

You can visualize your success! Imagine what you’re going to look like when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Spend time repeating phrases which help you to stay motivated in hard times. Such as, “no thanks, I’ve already eaten” and “I can do this!”

6. Track Your Progress

It’s helpful to keep a weight loss journal which tracks your progress each day. Include everything you’re eating, your time spent doing exercise and your current weight and measurements.

It is easy to pretend you’re losing weight when you’re actually not. Telling yourself you’re eating healthy, but not counting the snacks you had in between meals is not helping.

7. Meditation to Focus

You may wonder what meditation has to do with weight loss. After all, surely sitting down and meditating is time wasted when you could be burning calories, right?

And yet, there is scientific evidence that meditation improves your ability to concentrate on your goals in weight loss. There are also numerous other health benefits of meditation practice. These include relieving the symptoms of stress and improving your emotional awareness.

8. Always Meal Prep

When you come home from work, the last thing you want to do is prepare and cook a delicious healthy meal. Instead, spend one day per week meal prepping for the rest of the week.

Then, when you come home from work, instead of getting a take-out, you just warm-up the healthy meal you made earlier. If you really need to order take-out, then choose a healthy option.

9. Buy New Clothes

We reward ourselves with tasty foods a lot of the time.

Did you get a promotion? Go buy some yummy candy from the store!

Graduated from college? Congrats! Let’s go out for an expensive meal.

When you want to lose weight, eating and drinking can longer be your reward for your achievements. When you’ve achieved one of your weight loss milestones, go shopping for clothes instead!

This doesn’t undo your hard work. But also, you get to enjoy your slimmer look in a new get-up.

10. Sleep Well

If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, then you need to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is just as important as healthy eating and physical activity for weight loss.

Many people don’t get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. In fact, over one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

Poor sleep increases your risk of obesity by up to 55%. So, make sure you get plenty of shut-eye.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in 2 Months?

If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, then follow our tips for staying on track. We can help you to determine how much weight can you lose in 2 months. We’ll help you every step of the way.

If you want to know more about how we can help you, check out our 9-week challenge now!

Tools of the Trade: 15 Must-Have Gym Accessories You Should Keep in Your Gym Bag

Tools of the Trade: 15 Must-Have Gym Accessories You Should Keep in Your Gym Bag

Are you just getting started in fitness? At least the kind of fitness that involves going to the gym or working with a trainer?

A lot of people never start because they feel intimidated. They feel like there’s a workout learning curve and they don’t want to feel silly. First of all – everyone looks silly at first and second, that’s why you need a plan from respected trainers.

Once you get past the anxiety, you learn that there are gym accessories you need as well. But don’t worry about figuring out what they are. We have thirteen essentials for you to throw in your bag below.

1. Gym Bag Dividers

If you’re the kind of person who gets serious at the gym: like changes and showers out of their sweaty clothes after, then you need dividers or at least a gym bag with good pockets.

You don’t want to be standing in the locker room hot and sweaty trying to find all the things you need to take to the shower. Instead, they should be in some sort of shower-friendly bag/kit.

Look for materials made out of mesh or netting, so if they get wet, the water can escape and dry. If they do get wet, wrap them in your used towel on your way home.

The towel will soak up any water and it won’t get anything else in your bag wet.

Dividers or pockets are also great for shoes so that the dirty bottoms don’t touch your other clothes. Ideally, you’ll have gym shoes that you only wear in the gym – but there are germs indoor too.

2. Deodorant

Yes, this one seems like a no brainer, but we all know that person in the gym that forgets it. You should have a separate deodorant that only lives in your gym bag.

When you use it, put it right back in its little pocket. This way, you’ll never be without.

But having deodorant on hand has another, less known use. If you forgot your chafe cream or you’re starting to rub a blister, you can glide deodorant on.

For a blister-to-be, the best solution is duct tape. But aside from that, you can rub some deodorant on the skin (under your sock) where you’re getting rubbed.

Some people like to rub deodorant on the outside of the sock over the spot, but that’s your choice.

If this happens to you a lot or you’re a bigger person (you’re welcome here), look into Body Glide. It’s a product made to prevent skin-on-skin chafing.

3. Hair Accessories

As long as you have hair, this point is for you. Whether that means a hairbrush, a comb, or both and some hair ties.

Being without a hair tie at the gym with long hair is only second to forgetting your headphones. A good trick to make sure you never forget them is to loop some around your water bottle.

Or, keep them around the base of your hairbrush. That way you’ll have them at hand. You can also throw in bobby pins, dry shampoo, and headbands if you’d like.

For shorter hair, don’t forget any styling products like gels.

4. Arnica Gel or Icy Hot

It happens to everyone — even us. You step wrong or you over-lift and you already know you’ll be hurting tomorrow. Prep yourself and decrease the inflammation with some pain-relief gel.

Some people like the sensation of Tiger Balm or Icy Hot — while others hate it. If you don’t want to tingle into tomorrow, try Arnica gel. It’s a natural remedy for soreness (and bruises).

5. Cleansing Wipes

In a perfect world, you should have time to shower after a workout. But we don’t live in that perfect world — do you? Many of us have to run off to another thing, lucky if we have time to change clothes.

Working out at home can help with the rush factor, but still, you shouldn’t run around all sweaty and smelly. Throw both some face wipes and baby wipes in your gym bag.

Neutrogena has a great product for this use, their Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes. We love the smell and their effectiveness. The wipes have cleansers in them, so they shouldn’t be used on sensitive body parts.

One of the most important places to wipe down (if you can’t shower) after a workout, is your crotch. A soggy crotch creates a perfect environment for bacteria.

That’s why our next item is on the list.

The baby wipes are perfect of wiping down those more sensitive areas and you can use them for all sorts of things too. Spill some protein powder in your bag? Now you have what you need to wipe it up.

6. Fresh Underwear

Yes, we said it. You should never, ever, stay in the same pants and underpants you just worked out in.

The yoga pants-type material most workout bottoms come in don’t breathe. That means whatever sweat that gathers there during your workout, stays there.

If you don’t change your underwear after a workout, you’re more likely to get both yeast infections and UTI’s.

Even if you didn’t bring a whole new outfit, make sure you stash a few pairs of clean underwear in your bag in case you forget.

And men – it’s not likely you’ll get those annoying conditions, but it’s still more sanitary to change after.

7. A Shaker Bottle

The two tips that follow this one aren’t any good on their own. You can “dry scoop” your pre-workout, but it’s not good for your taste buds (or lungs).

So, you want to make sure you have a good shaker bottle. The brand name Shaker Bottle came out around 2010. It has a little round ball in it which breaks up clumps of powder in liquid.

But there are other brands as well. The hurricane cup is a great one, as are bottles that have screens and shaker balls combined. You can find these at any large store near you.

Or check online if that’s more your jam.

If you do both pre and post workout drinks, look for a bottle that has a powder container. They usually screw on the bottom of the cup.

That way you can mix your pre or post workout fresh once you get to the gym.

8. Pre-Workout Powder or Drink

There’s one thing a lot of people don’t realize they need when working out – pre-workout. Pre-workout is a powder made of proteins, vitamins and some caffeine – all things that help you blast through your reps.

Right now, BANG is the big name in pre-workout, but it changes every couple of months. People like BANG because it’s low carb, which is great for people following the keto diet.

When you’re looking for pre-workout, make sure you read reviews online first. Some brands put too much caffeine and people note feeling jittery and anxious, not motivated to get through their workout.

If you’re jumping out of bed and running to the gym bright eyed and bushy tailed, then you can skip this. But if you’re trying to get through a workout after work and you’re already tired, try pre-workout.

The difference in your energy will surprise you.

9. Some Form of Protein (Post-Workout)

You need to eat protein within 20 minutes of finishing your workout. That’s what your muscles and your body needs to “lock in” the muscles you just built.

And yes, even if you’re not lifting large amounts, this applies to you too.

A lot of people take protein powder to the gym or keep it in their car for their way home, but that’s not the only option.

You can throw some almonds or pre-packed snacks full of protein in your bag as well.

Along with your protein, some people like to take amino acids after they workout. They find that they’re less sore the next day, so they can go just as hard as they did the day before.

You can look for those as post-workout or recovery drinks. Just make sure they have the essential amino acids in them before you buy.

10. The Right Shoes

We know that workout shoes are expensive, but think of them as a specialty item. Cross trainers are made/shaped differently than shoes meant for running.

And that’s a good thing! When you’re doing fast footwork, you don’t want shoes that have a big or tall bottom part. Why? If you move side to side in those shoes, you have more chance of rolling your ankle by stepping sideways.

Another example: runners need a lot of cushioning in their shoes. They are literally pounding the pavement after all. If you’re weight lifting, usually the gym floor (or your home carpet) is padded.

You don’t need as much cushioning as those continuously hitting the pavement.

If you use our program, look for some minimalist cross-trainers. They’re going to serve you best for the large range of exercises in our most popular programs.

11. Wireless Headphones

One of the best things about Bluetooth technology? Not having to be tied down to headphones in the gym. If you workout as hard as we do, you’re always accidentally yanking one out or the other.

And it’s annoying to feel that little bounce from the wires as you do cardio with headphones attached to your phone.

Go the route Google and Apple are already pushing people and invest in wireless headphones. The pair you choose shouldn’t have too long of a cord connecting them if there’s a cord at all.

Airbuds are the ideal solution, but they’re expensive and get lost easily.

If you don’t go the airbuds and look-alikes route, look for some that will hook over your ears. This will keep the buds in when you’re really giving those moves everything you’ve got.

And hey, when you’re done, wipe them down with a baby wipe to keep sweat and bacteria from building up on them. Good thing you already have those in your bag!

12. A Timer (or SmartWatch)

We already know that using some form of interval training is essential for burning fat. And to do interval training, you need some sort of timer.

Phones have timers, but they can be obnoxious to mess with and you can fall into looking-at-your-apps land. Instead, look for a smartwatch or fitness watch that has pre-set (or settable) timer/HIIT options.

These are also good to track your heart rate, potential calorie burn, and make sure you don’t miss an important call while your phone is in your pocket.

Fitbit is the big brand name, but there are plenty of other good options.

13. Portable Phone Charger

The worst thing that could happen (okay, at least one of them) is that your phone dies before your workout. Now not only do you not have your notes or exercises, but you don’t have any music.

Doing a hard workout without music isn’t something we’d wish on even our worst enemies.

So, make sure you’re never stuck in that position. Get a small portable charger and throw it in your bag. That way you have juice on the go.

And if you use it while you’re working out – plug it into the car jack on your way home. That way you remember to grab it and it’ll be charged next time you get out of the car.

Your Gym Accessories

Obviously, this list is going to change from person to person and from gym to gym. Maybe your gym doesn’t even have showers, so you don’t need to worry about that.

Or maybe you do all your workouts from home, in which case, there’s a different set of things you need (like hand weights).

But those are the basic gym accessories, at least according to us.

Ready to get started with your new, perfectly packed gym bag? Click here.

Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss

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:

Increased Energy 

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!

Gaining Self-Confidence

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.

Weightlifting

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.

Machines

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.

Free Weights

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.

Powerlifting

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.

Cardio

Let’s dive into a few popular forms of cardio.

Machines

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.

Running

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.

Circuit Training

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 Winner

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!

Check out our 9-week challenge and get started today!

Postpartum Weight Loss: 7 Daily Habits To Help You Shed That Baby Fat

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 meal 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.

Are you ready to lose that weight and look and feel your best? Learn more about how we can help you be the happiest and healthiest you can be through diet, exercise, and motivation.

Gym Or Home Workout: Which Type Of Routine Suits You Best?

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.

For more information on working out and living right, check out our blog.

Get Fit, Baby!: How To Keep Working Out While Pregnant

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.

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 workouts 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.

Do you need help getting started? Contact us to see how our fitness challenge could work for you.

The Office Workout: 8 Fun Office Fitness Tips To Get You Moving At Work

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.

Cardio

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.

Calves

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 nine-week challenge.

In just nine weeks you’ll see a dramatic difference in yourself. Learn more about how it works today!

This Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise For Better Sleep

This Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise For Better Sleep

The link between better sleep and exercise is well known. We’ll tell you the best time of day to exercise so you can rest easy and wake up refreshed.

As well as whole host of benefits, from weight control to fighting depression, exercise is also important for getting a good night’s sleep.

In fact, just 30 minutes of exercise three times a week was enough to improve sleep quality for sedentary women suffering from insomnia.

So, the jury’s in – working up a sweat during the day is key to sleeping soundly at night. But, is the effect is the same regardless of when you exercise? After all, it’s not unreasonable to assume that a late night exercise session might leave you too wired to fall asleep.

While it is true that the timing of your workout can have an influence on sleep, there are lots of different factors to consider. Read on to find out the best time of day to exercise for better sleep.

The Connection Between Exercise and Sleep Quality

It’s safe to say there’s little debate over the fact that exercising helps you sleep better.

In a recent poll, the National Sleep Foundation found that up to 67 percent of exercisers report getting a good night’s sleep. Only 39 percent of non-exercisers were able to report that they experienced the same high sleep quality.

And, the more intense the workout out, the bigger the difference. Seventy-two percent of vigorous exercisers said that they rarely or never experienced symptoms of insomnia. In contrast, 50 percent of non-exercisers said that they often wake up early, while 24 percent experience insomnia nearly every night.

Further research studied over 3,000 adults who tried to complete the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. These participants showed a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. They also reported feeling less sleepy during the day.

And, this effect runs both ways too. Getting enough sleep means that you feel well-rested the following day and have enough energy to exercise. On the other hand, feeling tired after a bad night’s sleep is more likely to make you skip your workout.

But, what’s the best time of the day to get active for optimum sleep quality? Here, we compare how exercising in the morning, afternoon and at night affect how well you sleep.

Working Out in the Morning

Many people favor exercising in the early hours because it ensures that you’ve got your workout in before the demands of the day take hold. And, making the effort to wake up early and work out means you’re sure to reap the benefits of better-quality sleep.

In fact, working out in the morning has the added bonus of even deeper sleep at night. One study compared participants who worked out at 7 AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM for three days per week. Those who worked out at 7 am experienced longer, deeper sleep than the other exercise groups.

The same study also found that morning exercise has a greater effect on reducing blood pressure. During sleep, your blood pressure dips by around 10 to 20 percent.

The 7 AM exercisers experienced a 25 percent drop at night and a 10 percent reduction in blood pressure throughout the whole day. This drop in blood pressure is associated with deeper sleep as it one way that the body restores itself during the night.

And, if you exercise outside in the morning, you’ll also benefit from a dose of sunshine. Not only does this boost your vitamin D levels, but it also helps regulate your circadian rhythm for a more consistent sleep/wake cycle.

Working Out in the Afternoon

If hitting the gym at the crack of dawn isn’t for you, don’t worry. Working out in the afternoon also has benefits, for both your performance and your sleep quality.

By the afternoon, your body has had more of a chance to warm-up. In fact, it’s one or two degrees warmer than when you first get out of bed.

As a result, your muscles can work more efficiently and there’s less chance of you injuring yourself. You’ll body will be supple and more flexible. Dance steps will come easier and you’ll be more adept at complex full-body movements like swinging a tennis racket.

In addition, afternoon workouts can also help you fall asleep more quickly and wake up less often during the night. This is because exercise raises your body temperature for around four or five hours. Following this period, your core temperature decreases, sending a signal to your body to start preparing for sleep mode.

Exercising in the afternoon is also a great way to release stress and tension after a hard day at work. Focusing on the physical later in the day allows your body to take over from your brain. This then reduces the possibility of being kept awake at night by an anxious or busy mind working overtime.

Working Out at Night

Maybe exercising in the morning isn’t for you. And perhaps an afternoon workout is impossible with your schedule. Whatever your reasons, many people find a late night sweat session the most convenient for them.

But, does late night exercise have the same positive effect on sleep quality? Or, is it possible that working out before bed actually negatively effects your sleep?

There’s no single answer to these questions. It can depend on the workout you do, but when to exercise depends more on your individual reaction.

For example, doing yoga and Pilates at night is said to be beneficial for those kept awake by stress. This is because of the stretching movements and focuses on breathing help you to relax and unwind before bed.

Also, strength training at any time of the day has been found to improve sleep quality. That said, the time of day that you lift weights does make a difference to how your sleep improves.

Those who get their pumps and curls out of the way in the morning tend to drift off to sleep quicker than night exercisers. But, those who pump iron at night wake up less often and sleep better overall.

But, what about cardio before bed? It’s logical to think that a high-energy workout that has your heart pumping and increases your body temperature is not the way to ease yourself into a pre-sleep state. And it’s true – for some people exercise before sleep can cause insomnia.

But, that doesn’t mean that night-time cardio should be off-limits. The National Sleep Foundation found that exercisers report improved sleep regardless of when they worked out. In fact, in one study, male cyclists rode stationary bikes for three hours up until 30 minutes before bedtime and had no trouble sleeping.

Make Your Workout Schedule Work for You

To reap the many benefits of exercise, improved sleep included, your workout schedule must have all of ‘the three Cs’ – commitment, convenience, and consistency.

Commitment means making a plan and sticking to it. But, just as your plan is individual to you, so is your idea of convenience, as is how you can ensure consistency. If rolling out of bed and into the gym is the only way you can stay consistent, great. But, if it’s convenient for you to work out at 9 pm and you sleep well afterwards, don’t feel you have to change your routine.

Likewise, if you find that your workout schedule isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it. Many people swear by working out first thing as there’s less going on to side-track your best efforts to get a workout in. But, if you feel sluggish and tend to struggle through your morning workouts, don’t feel obliged to continue exercising early.

You might find that you feel more energetic in the afternoon or evening. Not only is your body temperature higher during this period, but your endurance also peaks around this time of day. And, getting outside for a mini workout at lunchtime is also a great way to boost your afternoon productivity.

Feel free to experiment with exercising at different times of the day and use an activity tracker to analyze your sleeping patterns. This way, you’ll know for sure which time of day is best for you to exercise.

And, if it’s more convenient to work out later, but you experience reduced sleep, try playing around with your schedule. Move your workouts around by half an hour or so and see what time works best for you. After some trial and error, you’re sure to find when to exercise for the best sleep quality.

The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Better Sleep

Some people are firmly in the early-exercise camp. Others say that a moonlit jog is the only time to get in their daily activity.

Whichever side you’re on, you’ll be pleased to learn that the best time of day to exercise is whenever it’s most convenient for you. And, whatever time of the day – or night – you prefer to exercise, you’ll still sleep soundly come bedtime.

For more information, check out our FAQs, or contact us to find out how our Body Transformation Challenge can help you achieve your fitness goals, and get a better night’s sleep too!

Work Harder, Get Stronger: How to Start Weightlifting

Work Harder, Get Stronger: How to Start Weightlifting

The secret to getting stronger isn’t much of a secret. It’s weightlifting. We’ll show you how to start weightlifting and begin your journey to a stronger you.

Weightlifting has been one of the most popular fitness methods, for good reason.

Weightlifting does more than bulk you up. Strength training has a myriad of benefits; you gain more strength, you burn fat, and you’re able to keep more fat off for a long time.

Here’s the catch: many newbies aren’t sure where to start. Here’s how to start weightlifting.

To PT or Not to PT

When a beginner starts their weightlifting journey, they often debate about hiring a personal trainer, or a PT.

There are many benefits of hiring a personal trainer. A trainer can identify your current fitness stance and fitness goals and can develop an effective weightlifting routine for you.

The Benefits of Hiring a Trainer

Beginners can easily get lost in the myriad of weightlifting machines, weight types, and lifting techniques. Trainers are experienced in all of these areas.

Trainers are also your best bet to ensure you lower your injury risk and are in correct form.

Personal trainers are also beneficial if you plan on competing in competitions or if you need to lose an exceptional amount of weight. Trainers can provide fitness and diet tips to get you in the best shape of your life.

Trainers also closely monitor your routine, your progress, and provide constant motivation for slackers.

When to Not Hire a Trainer

What if you have a decent amount of strength training experience but are simply altering your weightlifting regimen? You’ll still benefit from a trainer. But if you’re comfortable with lifting, you can try developing your own fitness routine.

More PT Information

If you have regular (once a week) personal training sessions on top of solo workouts for at least a year, you’ll gain enough education and comfort in your fitness routine.

While hiring a trainer is almost guaranteed to give you the results you want, by going out and conquering your fitness goals, you’ll likely still gain the results you want. So hiring a trainer is a choice that you should consider.

How Much to Lift?

The weight you lift depends on the results you want.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to lift extremely heavy to increase your strength, tone your body, and even bulk up.

 

Weights are separated into a few categories:

  • Light
  • Moderately Light
  • Moderate
  • Moderately Heavy
  • Heavy

Here’s a more detailed explanation of each weight type.

Light

These are weights you can pick up with ease. You won’t feel any strain and can even make it throughout your full set without feeling any tension.

Moderately Light

Differentiating between moderately light and light weights are difficult at work. With moderately light weights, you should still be able to pick up the weight with ease. But at the end of your set, you’ll feel a little bit fatigued.

Moderate

When you first lift a weight at moderate strength, you can easily lift the weight but you will have to use extra effort compared to the previous two weight types. You’ll likely feel fatigued after your set, but not completely exhausted.

Moderately Heavy

This is where most people train. You’re able to pick up the weight but still feel like you need to make an effort for each rep. But you’re still able to achieve correct form and have a lower injury risk.

Heavy

It’s ill-advised beginners lift heavy on their own without the aid of a trainer.

You’re not able to easily lift the weight and have to use all of your strength and effort to even do a rep. You’ll find doing each rep difficult and will feel completely exhausted after your set.

Which Weights Should You Lift?

For best results, you should lift all weights. Different workouts call for different weight types. You’ll also notice certain muscles can lift heavier than other muscles.

For example, you probably notice you can lift moderately heavy when you do bicep curls. But you have to decrease your weight significantly when you lift shoulders.

That’s because most people, men and women, are used to lifting with their arms and not lifting overhead.

The Different Types of Weights

When most beginners think of weightlifting, they usually only think of dumbbells and bars. While these are crucial weight types, there are many types of weights and they all have their benefits.

Here are the most basic weight types:

  • Barbells
  • Dumbbells
  • Machines
  • Cables
  • Kettlebells
  • Standalone weight plate (the weights that go on machines – you can also use these alone)

Which ones should you use? You’ll have to take your fitness goals and weight preferences into consideration. But beginners should try each weight type.

If you’re working legs, deadlift with barbells. When squatting, use kettlebells or a weight plate.

Then, use dumbbells for lunges. There’s a myriad of hamstring exercises you can do on the cables. There are also many machines that increase your leg strength, such as the leg press.

After you experiment with all weight types, you can substitute certain weight types with those you prefer.

Reps and Sets

“Reps” and “sets” appeared a few times in this article. As a beginner, you may not know what this teams. When you start weightlifting, you’ll realize how often you use this information.

A rep is each time you lift a weight. Reps are often combined with something called a set. Most weightlifters do two or more sets of a specific number of reps.

For example, let’s say you do 20 reps of ab crunches. You break the 20 reps up into two sets. This means when you do ab crunches, you do two sets of 10 reps.

How Many Reps and Sets?

Now that you know what reps and sets are, you’re probably wondering how many you should do.

Well, this depends on the workout and the weight you’re lifting.

Let’s make this easy and break up the reps-weight ratio in three categories: light, moderate, and heavy lifting.

Since heavy lifting requires lots of strength, several reps aren’t required for heavy lifting. But you won’t get results with light lifting unless you increase your reps.

Here are general numbers to remember:

  • Light lifting: 40-50 reps
  • Moderate lifting: 20-30 reps
  • Heavy lifting: 5-10 reps

You can break the rep count in as many sets as you need. Unless you’re lifting heavy, most lifters do sets of 10-15 reps.

How Reps and Weight Affect Your Results

When you start lifting and make fitness friends, you’ll hear a ton of advice. Some people will tell you to lift lighter with more reps or lift heavier with fewer reps.

The truth is, both methods are effective. But every weightlifter is different.

Lifting heavy with fewer reps forces your body to use maximum strength. This results in quicker results; your strength will increase, you’ll bulk up, and get toned quickly.

But lifting only at your maximum not only increases your injury risk, but you’ll be less flexible. If you decide to jump into maximum lifting, go back and forth between heavy lifting and using lighter weights or resistance bands.

So you may think lifting lighter weights with more reps is the solution. But this depends on the results you want. If you want leaner and toned muscles, lifting light is the way to do it. You won’t bulk up or increase your strength as quickly.

This method is more challenging for beginners than they would expect. Lifting light requires endurance – something you develop when you gain experience lifting.

It’s easy to immediately feel fatigued after the 25 rep mark, especially when you’re supposed to reach 40 or 50 reps for one exercise.

No method is better than the other. It all depends on your weightlifting goals.

Creating a Routine

Finally, it’s time to create a routine. Many weightlifters focus on one area, such as arms or abs, in one day.

It’s also important to do cardio; have a cardio day or two each week and do about 10-15 minutes of cardio after lifting to burn more calories.

And never forget to stretch! Stretching decreases your risk of injury and you’ll improve your flexibility.

First, decide what you’re training. To start, you can divide your days between upper body (arms, chest, and back), core (abs) and legs (hamstrings, glutes, and hips).

After you’re comfortable lifting, you’ll know your muscle groups and can devote days to one or two specific muscle groups.

Then, take about five minutes and stretch out those muscles.

And now you can start lifting! To start out, don’t go too intense. Take about 15 or 20 minutes to lift.

End with a little bit of cardio. Once you become more experienced, you can stop post-workout cardio or replace it with light lifting or resistance bands. The goal is to burn extra calories but cool off from the intensity of weightlifting.

Now You Know How to Start Weightlifting

Now that you know how to start weightlifting, what are you waiting for? Start picking up those weights! If you need extra help, try our 9-week challenge!

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