Fitness

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!

No More Post-Baby Bump: 14 Tips to Help Busy Moms Lose Baby Weight

No More Post-Baby Bump:

14 Tips to Help Busy Moms Lose Baby Weight

As much as you love your new baby, you may not love the body that’s left behind. It can be manageable to lose baby weight with these great tips.

Did you know that it takes most women 3 years to get their confidence back after having a baby?

Although our bodies are incredible and can grow humans in 9 months, it takes time for your body to return to its pre-pregnancy shape.

If you want to learn how to shed fat and keep it off as a new mom, here are 14 tips to lose baby weight permanently.

1. If You Can Breastfeed, Do It!

One of the most effective postpartum weight loss tips is to breastfeed your child.

The reason why breastfeeding helps you lose weight is that your body uses fat reserves to help produce milk. Your body is also more efficient at burning the calories you eat every day.

Do keep in mind that breastfeeding mothers need to keep their energy up, which is why you should never diet after giving birth. The desire to shed your pregnancy weight may be high, but you and your baby’s health should always come first.

Some women naturally don’t produce enough milk for their children or they prefer to bottle feed. If you can’t breastfeed, don’t fret. There are still plenty of other things you can do to fuel your weight loss efforts.

2. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated

Losing weight after pregnancy can be as simple as remembering to drink enough water. This tip works well for anyone looking to shed fat.

There are plenty of reasons why drinking more helps you stay slim. Since our bodies are mostly made out of the water, we need to replenish our reserves every day. If you don’t drink enough, you’ll retain water and feel sluggish.

Drinking water also helps curb your appetite. If your someone who has a hard time knowing when you’re full, drinking plenty of water before and during mealtimes will help prevent you from overeating.

Did you know that our bodies’ thirst and hunger signals are the same? This means your stomach growls could be your body asking for water. A good method to live by is to drink a glass of water whenever you think you feel hungry. If you still feel hungry 20 minutes later, then you know you’re experiencing true hunger and not thirst.

Drinking also helps us eliminate waste easier. The less backed-up your system is, the slimmer you’ll feel.

3. Lose Baby Weight by Exercising Smarter, Not Longer

Lots of people have been brainwashed into believing that logging more hours at the gym leads to more success. While some people may thrive in a gym setting, most of us would rather stay in bed.

The best way to stick to an exercise routine is to find a setting, workout, and timeframe that suits you best.

One tip that all moms should know is that you can exercise for 10 minutes and get the same results as someone else who exercises for an hour. The key to losing weight and toning muscle isn’t how long you sweat, but how effective your sessions are.

If you can pour all of your energy into an intense 10-minute workout, you’ll make progress. This method is much more effective for your goals and happiness than sluggishly pedaling on a stationary bike for an hour while feeling miserable.

4. Take Your Baby for a Walk Every Day

Walking is incredible for weight loss and overall physical and mental health. The best part is that you can also bond with your baby. Even if you don’t break a sweat while you walk, you’re still burning calories and toning your muscles.

This is a great opportunity to get out of the house so you don’t feel stir-crazy at home with your baby. If you know any other moms, invite them to go walking with you. You can have a fitness buddy who can hold you accountable to your goals and help you pass the time with fun conversation.

5. Make Sleep a Priority

Sleeping your fat away sounds too good to be true, but it’s one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.

The reason why sleep deprivation leads to weight gain is that our bodies turn to eat more calories to make up for the lost energy. When we’re tired, we tend to reach for comfort foods full of fats and sugars to feel better.

Sleep also helps fuel workouts. If you’re too tired, exercising will feel like an impossible challenge.

Do you have willpower made out of steel? Even if you can resist junk food and stick to your workout routine, your body is still plotting against your weight loss efforts.

One night of sleep deprivation is enough to trigger the release of ghrelin, a hormone that revs our appetite. Excess calories that come from healthy sources still turn into a fat gain.

6. Meal Prep Once a Week to Make Cooking Easier

Cooking at home is the best way to save money and skip unnecessary calories, sugars, and fats. When you’re the chef, you control how much you eat and the quality of your ingredients.

However, all new moms know how challenging it is to find any time that isn’t devoted to caring for their babies. This is why batch cooking is the perfect method for your weight loss.

If you can get help from your partner or another loved one, dedicating a few hours once a week to batch cooking is easy.

During this time, you can make a big pot of brown rice, quinoa, or other healthy whole grains. You can also bake a pack of chicken breasts or another source of lean protein. Wash and chop all your veggies so they’re ready to eat raw or cook in a flash.

Once your prep work is done, all you have to do is reheat your food and season it to create a new dish for meals during the week. Check out these batch cooking recipes that take no time to make.

7. Join a Weight Loss Program That Does the Planning

Most new moms are exhausted, battle mental fog, and have no time for themselves. Losing weight fast requires lots of planning.

If you want to make life easier, join a weight loss program that has a tried-and-true method for fat loss.

All of your meals and calories will be customized for your unique body type and fitness goals so you don’t have to think. You can also have access to personal coaches and a community of other people in the program who are there to motivate each other and share tips.

These programs are more effective than solo-dieting because all the details are hammered out to a science. There’s no guesswork at mealtimes and the ease of cooking makes it easier to stick to the plan.

8. Eat More Plant-Based Meals

If it comes out of the earth, it’s good to eat! Plants are the best health foods because they are low in calories but high in nutrients your body needs.

Meat is linked to excess body fat and illnesses. The reason why meat and other animal products can sabotage your weight loss efforts is saturated fats and cholesterol.

The more plant-based you can eat, the better. If you’re up to the challenge, you can even try going vegan for a month. Veganism is one of the most popular weight loss lifestyles because you can eat a lot of wholesome foods with fewer calories.

9. Don’t Skip Breakfast or Starve Yourself

Thanks to fad dieting, most people’s first instinct to lose weight is to skip meals or starve themselves. While you can get fast results, you’ll feel miserable. As soon as you start eating again, you’ll put all the weight back on and then some.

In fact, yo-yo dieting is much more dangerous for your health than maintaining a steady BMI. Instead of passing on breakfast, start your day right with a smoothie filled with fresh greens or a hearty bowl of oatmeal with enough fiber and protein to keep you full until lunch.

10. Reward Yourself in Moderation

Did you know that some studies have revealed that cheat meals or cheat days can yield more fat loss than strict dieters?

The reason why treating yourself works is that it gives you something to look forward to after a week of eating healthy. This incentive will help you stay on track.

People who remove all of their favorite foods from their diets are also more likely to binge. Once people binge, they may decide to quit altogether because they think all their efforts have been lost.

Letting the lion out of the cage for a short time each week will help you feel satisfied. Besides, eating more calories one day revs your metabolism so you can continue burning more the next day.

11. Eat Healthy, High Volume Snacks

Have you ever tried eating snacks designed for dieters and felt ravenous 30 minutes later? Although these treats are healthier than other junk food, they’re not substantial.

The best way to fill up is to eat nutrient-dense foods that pack a lot of volume for not a lot of calories.

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of fuel. Check out these no-cook snack recipes that include treats like banana ice cream and sweet potato hummus. If you want a heartier snack, you can dip apple slices in a nut butter of your choice to get a dose of healthy fats.

12. Manage Your Stress and Care for Your Mental Health

Yoga is one of the best exercises that everyone should try. It combines cardio, muscle toning, stretching, and meditation. You can even reap the health benefits by doing it only 5 minutes a day.

Raising a child is one of the most stressful things people can do. Stress turns our bodies into effective fat storing machines. Finding ways to cope with any negative emotions is crucial for your health.

Although yoga is a great place to start, some people can’t stand it. Just because one exercise works for one person, it doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it. Take some time to experiment with different outlets to find your happy place.

Exercise always makes you feel better because of endorphins, but you can manage your stress in other ways, too. Painting, knitting, scrapbooking, and writing are just a few of the hundreds of different activities you could try.

13. Strength Training

Many women are afraid of lifting weights because they don’t want to get bulky muscles like men. However, it’s impossible for females to pile on muscle with casual weightlifting.

Strength training is ideal for new moms because it involves lifting light weights for extended repetitions. This will help tone your muscles and burn fat for a sexy, sculpted look.

You don’t need a gym membership to strength train, either. Try these at-home workouts that utilize your body weight to help you shape up.

14. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself

The most valuable lesson all women need to learn is self-love. Your body can do unbelievable things and you should be proud of it.

Making a baby takes 9 months. During this time, your organs shift, your abdominals split apart, and your pelvis opens to make room for another human being.

Every mom cherishes those 9 months of beautiful change. After you give birth, you should have the same patience and acceptance of your body as you did while you were pregnant.

Remember how long it took your body to come to its current size and give yourself the same amount of time to shrink down. Celebrities who boast about their bodies a couple months after giving birth have a team of personal trainers, chefs, and designers to make them look their best.

The happier you are with yourself, the more likely you are to stick with your goals. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, but never stop loving yourself along the journey.

Ready to Transform Your Body?

The best way to lose baby weight and keep it off is by committing to easy lifestyle changes. When it comes to shedding fat, even the smallest habits can add up.

If you want guaranteed results within a couple months, then Body Transformation Coach would love to help you get the body of your dreams the healthy way. Contact us for more information on why our program works and how we can help revolutionize your health.

Low on Weights? 12 Creative Ideas for Resistance Training Without Weights

Low on Weights?

12 Ideas for Resistance Training Without Weights

Don’t think you have the budget to get fit? Think again! Try these creative ways to log your resistance training without shelling out for a weight set.

Staying fit doesn’t require a gym membership, nor does it require setting aside a block of time for a full work-out. You can build a resistance training program that can be done anywhere and at any time. Best of all you eliminate the pressure of exercising in front of others.

Imagine working out at the beach on Sunday, in your backyard on Monday, and the park on Tuesday. Experiment and find an inviting place to work out where you are most energized. Grab a yoga mat and get to work using the best bodyweight exercises for your desired results.

Develop a plan and work at your own pace reaching your individual goals. Exercise routines that are free of equipment give you the same results as weights if you know how to work the right muscles.

Ready to work-out without spending money on equipment? Continue reading for 12 resistance training ideas that don’t require weights.

1. Lunge Variations

Lunges are a popular way to do leg workouts at home. There are numerous versions, so you never get bored.

The standard variation, or bodyweight lunge, requires you to stand up straight with your shoulders back and chin up. Step forward with your left foot and with a tightened core, lower your hips and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Keep your left knee level with your ankle and lower the back knee, but do not let it touch the ground.

Using your front heel for support, lift the body back up into the standing position. You can do multiple reps with the left knee leading and then switch to the right.

Once you’ve mastered the lunge, switch it up and incorporate the following into your sets.

Curtsy

The curtsy gets its name from the British greeting for women and girls. In this variation, you will start with your feet hip-width apart. Step backward with one leg and cross it behind you. Follow the steps of lowering your body.

Reverse

With the reverse lunge, you will follow the same steps as the standard lunge. In this rep, the emphasis will be on the back leg. Use it to lower the body, and the ball of the foot to lift the body back up.

Walking

The walking lunge follows the steps of the standard lunge. Instead of doing reps with the left leg and then the right leg, you are going to switch things up. After returning to the standing position step forward with the right leg and go into the lunge.

Continue the motions and move around the room. This is a good time to incorporate small weights if you have them. Raise your hands to shoulder height and reach to the ceiling with each step.

2. Burpees for Resistance Training

Burpees are a good exercise and the key benefits is strength building. There is a burpee for beginners. Once you master these motions we’ll get into the advanced version.

Start in the standing position. Squat down and then kick your legs back until you are positioned on your toes. You will be in a position similar to a plank (we will cover planks later). Bring your legs back into a squat and stand back up with your arms reaching upward.

Continue doing this until your motion becomes fluid.

Now that you have the burpee down interject a push-up when the body is in plank position. Follow that up by jumping up instead of merely returning to the standing position.

3. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers give you a full body work-out. It also increases your heart rate for a high-quality cardio exercise and a natural shot of energy.

With your arms at your side and feet shoulder-width apart, squat to the floor and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Go into the plank position with your arms straight. Do not lock your elbows.

Begin with your left leg. Bring it forward with your knee towards the chest, extend it back out and bring up the right knee. Continue this rotation for your desired set of reps.

Between sets bring both feet forward and jump up similar to a burpee. Rest for about 15 – 30 seconds before starting the next set of reps.

4. Chin and Pull Ups

These upper body exercises will require a sturdy bar high enough to extend your arms over your head. Your feet should not touch the ground between reps. If you are tall or the bar is too low, bend your knees and cross your feet at the ankle.

The difference between the two exercises is the positioning of the hands on the bar. The biceps will get a good work out but the pull-up will have more emphasis on the muscles in the back.

Start with your arms straight but do not lock your elbows. With your hands on the bar shoulder-width apart, pull yourself up until the chin passes the top of the bar. For the chin-up, the palms of your hands will be turned inward. Having the palms turn outward is the position for the pull-up.

Once you have pulled the body up, hold the position for several seconds before descending back down.

5. Planks

Planks, like lunges, can be done in numerous variations. If you’re looking for at home exercises, place this one at the top of your list. We do suggest that you have a yoga mat or some other protective cushioning for your elbows.

The simple forearm plank is used to strengthen the core muscles by forcing you to stabilize your body. For this exercise lie on the ground with your body face down and feet spread waist-width apart. When you lift-up into the plank position you will be supported by the toes and ball of the feet.

Rest your body on your elbows with the forearms resting on the floor and hand clasped. The elbows should be shoulder-width apart and your body straight using your core muscles. Hold the position for at least one minute and challenge yourself to increase the time with each rep.

6. Push-Ups

Do push-ups for resistance training to strengthen the triceps. They also work to build your core muscles. Push-ups can be done the traditional way or the less strenuous method designed for women. You also can vary the placement of the hands to direct the elbows outward or backward.

Stretch out on the floor face down. With your hands should-width apart and in the desired position bend your elbows and push the body up.

To start the exercise, bend the elbows and lower your body stopping before the chest or breast touch the floor. Do short counts before pushing the body back up. Remember, when the arms are straightened, stop before the elbows lock.

Do as many reps as you can before coming to a full rest.

7. Posing for Balance

Resistance training isn’t just about toning, it is also about building core strength that helps the body support your spine. Posing are exercises that help with balance which is the result of a strong core. You will find these techniques in yoga classes but they also provide good at home exercises.

Chair

You won’t need a chair for this pose because you will become the chair. Stand with your feet together. Put your weight into the heels of your feet as you bend your knees into a sitting position. Raise your arms upward with palms touching.

Hold the pose for a minimum of 10 seconds and then repeat the motion.

Tree Pose

Stand straight with your feet flush together. Bring your right foot up and rest it on either the inside of your lower left thigh or below the left knee. Turn the right knee outward and bring your hands up to the center of your chest pressed together.

Take a deep breath and hold the pose for three – five seconds. Release and repeat.

8. Jumping Jacks

If you had physical education classes in school you should have jumping jacks mastered already. Some people may not think of them for resistance training but they are a total body workout. Jumping jacks target the glutes, quadriceps and hip flexors.

You will also work your shoulders and core muscles. Even better, the help with speeding up your metabolism.

Start by standing straight with your hands down by your sides and palms facing your outer thighs, and feet together. Jump up about two-three inches from the ground spreading your legs shoulder-width or wider. At the same time bring your arms out and up until they meet above your head.

Bring your arms back to your side and your legs together. Repeat this motion nonstop as you count out your jumping jacks. A good warm-up would be 50 – 100 jumping jacks.

9. Sit-ups

Sit-ups have many benefits, the most popular is tightening stomach muscles and strengthening the core. Here are two variations. Both start with a standard sit-up position.

Russian Twist

With legs shoulder-width apart and the palm of your hands together, bend your knees slightly and lift your legs off the ground. At the same time lift your upper body as if you are doing a sit-up. Twist the torso to the left and then the right, twice.

Exhale and relax the body on the mat. Repeat for the desired sets

Scissors

Position your arms against your sides with palms facing down. Tighten your abs and raise both legs toward the ceiling. Lower the left leg to about two inches from the ground. Raise the left leg while lowering the right.

Repeat the repetition for 30 – 45 seconds.

10. Step-ups

Step-ups are a bodyweight exercise that only requires a sturdy bench that is at least knee high. With hands to you side step-up onto the bench with your left foot. Step down and then step-up with the right.

Your reps can be a straight left leg and then the right, or you can rotate left right left… The goal is to do a continuous 10 step-ups per set. You can also use weights for better resistance.

11. Triceps Dip

Triceps Dip will require a prop. It can be a chair, the edge of a sofa, or a step outside your house. Almost anything that is sturdy and can support your weight without tipping over can be used.

Sit on the edge of the chair with hands shoulder-width apart and palms down. Extend your legs out and then slide your butt off of the chair. Straighten your arms but do not lock your elbows.

Use your arms to lower and lift your body. If using a chair do not go lower than six inches from the seat. When using a step or box that is lower to the ground, do not let your butt touch the surface below you.

Try to perform about 15 reps per set. Return to the seat between sets to allow for a 10-second recovery.

12. Arm Circles

If you are looking for upper body exercises to target the back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps, arm circles are a perfect choice. Arm circles are also a great warm-up exercise that can help prevent injuries.

They are quite simple to execute and can be done while at work during a five-minute break. Start by standing up and extending your arms out with the palms of your hands facing the ground. Do a forward circular motion creating circles that are one foot in diameter.

Continue the rotation for about 10 seconds, or 10 rotations. Stop and then do the same in a backward rotation. One forward and one backward rotation represent a set. You can increase the time of the rotations or the number of back and forth reps, as your arms strengthen.

Also, consider adding small weights for additional resistance.

You’re Now Ready to Log Your Workouts

Now that you know resistance training doesn’t have to come with great expense, what are you waiting for? Before starting your weight-free workouts we recommend consulting with your physician first. Once you get the go-ahead, log your results and celebrate your successes.

Did you find these at home exercises useful? Click here to check out our nine-week body transformation challenge.

Tracking Your Progress: How to Take Body Measurements During Weight Loss

Tracking Your Progress: How to Take Body Measurements for Weight Loss

You don’t have to rely on the scale to track your weight loss process. Find out how to take body measurements for another way to see your progress.

Want to learn how to take body measurements for weight loss? Then you’ve come to the best place! We’re going to tackle on the sensitive topic of losing weight, and everything it involves.

Many people all over the world struggle with weight loss. It’s no mystery that there is an obesity issue in the United States. But what is the culprit behind so much weight gain, and can we stop it?

We’re going to be answering all your questions about weight loss and tracking results. We’ll take a closer look at all your tracking options, and what’s best for you. You’ll also gain more tips and tricks for keeping up with your weight loss process.

Keep reading to see the best options for tracking your weight loss body measurements!

Getting Healthy and Losing Weight

You’ve made the choice to lose weight, congratulations! That’s one of the hardest parts done. In truth getting healthy and losing weight is all about the right mental state.

That’s where tracking progress carries the most power-encouraging focus. You may be wondering: what’s the point of tracking progress?

While some choose to venture into losing weight without a plan, the best option is to have a goal. Goals are achievable! Tracking your progress is what will get you from point A to point B.

Are there other benefits to tracking? Yes, in fact, there are several. We want you to have a full understanding of why tracking progress is a great option for everyone.

Let’s examine each benefit closer.

Benefits of Tracking Progress

It’s fun to see the difference in your body from start to finish. You might consider taking before and after photos to show everyone your progress. Tracking your measurements is vital for your weight loss progress.

It’s more of a mental habit to focus your brain on continuing to lose weight. In our modern age, there are many temptations that can get us off the path of weight loss. There’s fast food at every street corner, and full-time jobs make us sleepy.

All we want at the end of the night is to curl up and doze off with a full belly, right? This throws a major wrench in the gears when we’re trying to lose weight. That’s why tracking your body measurements will keep you from slipping up.

You’ll see the exact body parts you’ve been neglecting. You’ll know how to better tailor your nutrition plan. Plus, it’ll target a workout routine to get better results.

You’ll get to decide if you should get serious and hit the gym or do at home workouts. Let’s break apart all the benefits of tracking your progress during weight loss.

Keeping Up Your Motivation

Motivation is crucial for losing weight, so you want to ensure you are practicing the best habits. Listen to music, and get yourself ready to pump some iron. Tracking your progress is a good habit to remind you of your success so far.

It’s also going to show you where you need to focus your energy. For example, if you are noticing more weight in your tummy area, you might avoid heavy carb lunches.

Another culprit behind tummy fat is stress hormones! In that case, try out some meditation workouts at the office or during lunch. Quick yoga poses can also release tension that gets stuck in your shoulders from hours of desk work.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. Tracking your progress is a great way to get your mind clear and practice mindfulness. Which leads us to our next topic.

 

Being Mindful and Understanding Your Triggers

Another benefit of tracking your progress is that you develop mental resistance. That means that it displays all your triggers, and helps you become more mindful. Mindfulness is helpful for losing weight, but also maintaining weight loss.

As you track, you will notice patterns or trends in your data. You will see a clear picture of what makes you overeat or indulge. You can start to avoid foods or drinks that cause your weight to spike.

Drinks like alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals, so keep up the focus. This can be hard to avoid when you want to have a normal social life. Going out to restaurants is a popular way to socialize, or have work meetings.

The most difficult aspect of avoiding triggers is resisting temptations. This is where tracking your progress comes in to save the day. It’s harder to give in to temptation when you know the consequences of overindulging.

While it’s hard to say “no,” you’ll be glad that you were strong and hit your weight loss goal.

What Are Body Measurements

We know tracking progress results are beneficial to our weight loss. Now, let’s get into what body measurements are. Body measurements are measurements of body parts like the neck, arms, torso, hips, and so on.

In America, the metric system most people use is inches to record track results. You might have a fitness coach that uses a tape measure for the body measurements. Most times, they use this to jot down your starting body measurements.

They wrap the tape measurement around each body part and see the total number of inches. Here’s everything you need to know about body measurements…

How to Take Body Measurements

Taking body measurements is all about precision, and placing the tape in the right place. It’s also important to note that taking body measurements will vary in women and men. That’s because, of course, women have a bust.

For the most part, the common body measurements for weight loss are:

  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Waist [tummy or gut area]
  • Hips

These areas will reduce in inches as you lose weight. It will also reveal details about your workout. Here’s an example.

If your waist is smaller, but the legs are bigger, then you’re practicing cardio or leg exercises. You body measurements are telling, and will more often tell you what you need to focus on.

How to Measure Biceps

Measuring biceps might be the trickiest of the body measurements. Don’t worry, it’s easy so long as you remember “flex.” That’s right when you’re measuring a bicep, you’ll need to flex the muscle.

The goal is to get the tape measure around the bicep at it’s highest point. The best way to tackle this measurement is to have the person flex their arm up. Then, tell them to flex their bicep muscle.

Wrap the tape measure around the bicep. Be sure not to pull too tight or let it hang loose. You want a good, solid tension on the tape measure for an accurate reading.

Then, write down the total inches on your recording device.

How to Measure Forearms

Measuring the forearm is along the same idea as the bicep. This measurement can be done with the arm pointing straightforward. Again, tell the person to flex their arm muscles, which will flex the forearm.

Wrap the tape measure around the forearm, below the elbow. Don’t put the tape measure on the elbow, and don’t get to close to the wrist. You’re looking for the highest point the muscle juts out.

Make sure your tape measure is level to the zero. Check the tension on the tape measure. Is it too tight or too loose?

Once you check all your bases, go ahead and take your measurement. Record the amount in inches in your recording device.

How to Measure Shoulders

Face the person you are measuring head on. Take the tape measure and hold it horizontal to the person. Then, place one end of the tape measure in the center of their chest area.

Take the other end and wrap it around their body so it goes over their back and around the other shoulder. Allow the other point to meet with the first end of the tape measure.

This is your measurement. Again, check for tape measurement tension and level the ends starting at zero. Record your measurement.

[For Women Only] How to Measure the Bust

Like a shoulder measurement, wrap the tape measure around the person. Keep the tape measure straight and horizontal. With a gentle tension, wrap the tape measure around the back of the woman.

Fishing the tape measure under each arm, let it rest against either side of the chest. Be sure to align the tape measure at the highest point of the bust.

How to Measure the Neck

The neck is the easiest measurement of all. For men, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the middle of the neck, below Adam’s apple. For women, it’s measured around the middle area of the neck.

Here, you want to ensure that the tape measure is straight and horizontal. Check the tense as usual, and line up the tape starting at zero for accuracy.

How to Measure the Waist

The waist for women is at the smallest point. Unlike muscles, you want to get the smallest point where the waist comes in. Picture putting on a belt.

You want to be sure the tape measure is straight and in a horizontal line. If it drops the reading will be inaccurate. Keep a solid tension on the tape measure to avoid inaccuracy.

Wrap the tape measure around the smallest point of the waist. Most times, this is between the space of the bottom of the ribcage and above the belly button. For men, you can gauge placement like women.

Use your hip bones for guidance. Feel out the area above to find out where your body caves in the most on each side.

How to Measure the Hips

For both men and women, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the width of your hip space. Include in your measurement the highest point of your bottom. Wrap the tape measurement straight, tense, and horizontal.

Be sure to align the measurement with the zero for accuracy. Record your measurement.

How to Measure Thighs and Calves

The idea is the same with these bodies parts as it is for the others. You want to get the circumference of the thickest, or highest point of the muscle. Measure each leg by itself.

Wrap the tape measure around one thigh in the mid-section of the quad area. This is about three or four fingers down from the pelvic region. Remember, that the goal is to measure around the high point.

Measure the right leg the same. For the calves, start off with one leg. Again, look for the highest point of the muscle and wrap the tape measure around.

If you flex for one measurement, stay consistent. You’ll need to flex for all measurements to avoid mistakes later on. It’s good to make a note if you keep a body measurements chart or have a record keeping.

Body Measurements and Record Keeping

There are different ways to keep track of your progress. You might have a paper journal or graphing paper notebook. Some prefer other avenues like smartphone apps or even excel spreadsheets.

How you choose to record keep is up to you and your convenience. Each has its perks. Weight loss smartphone apps are versatile and nifty. You can download food apps for tracking food items you intake or tracking your workout.

If you like to check your heart rate during a workout, this is a great option. There are apps which will break down each food item you ingest. Some split foods into different percentage groups of nutrition.

This makes it especially easy to see your calorie count, macros, or fats/carbs/proteins. From here you can see if you are eating too many sugars or taking in too much protein.

Changing Your Life With Us

Want firsthand help on how to take body measurements? Let us give you a hand! Try out our popular 9-week challenge for the ultimate body transformation.

Leave 2018 in the past, and embody the new you with a literal new body. This challenge will get you access to all the resources you’ll need to make the change of a lifetime. You’ll get information on diet and nutrition, and workout routine tips and tricks.

Do you still have questions? Contact us today with any doubts or concerns. You can also check out our FAQ section for quick answers.

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!

10 Workout Motivation Tips to Avoid Fitness Fatigue

10 Workout Motivation Tips to Avoid Fitness Fatigue

Everyone starts working out with a lot of dedication. Unfortunately it can fade fast. These are our best tips for workout motivation to meet your goals.

Working out isn’t something you can do every once in a while or whenever you feel like it if you really want to see results. It requires you to show up every single day. You have to be dedicated to your workout routine, learn how to create healthy eating habits, and start taking better care of yourself as a whole.

That’s when the physical and mental transformations begin to happen.

However, it is common for people to experience some ups and downs on their fitness journey – like struggling to find workout motivation or stick to their diet. Everyone goes through these things at one point or another, but it’s on each person in the gym to push past them.

If you’ve been having a serious lack of motivation to get in the gym and work toward your goals, use these tips to build your drive back up.

1. Put on Your Workout Clothes

This is the simplest thing you can do to get your mind into workout mode. Putting on your workout clothes doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym right away, but it does help significantly in making sure you show up.

If you seriously don’t feel like going to the gym today, try this trick. Grab your favorite workout outfit, put it on, and see how you feel once you look in the mirror or even in the next hour or so. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this little trick makes.

2. Try Different Kinds of Workouts

Maybe the issue with your workout motivation right now isn’t that you’re not showing up to the gym, but that you can’t wait to leave once you’re there. Maybe you’re bored with your workouts or feel like they’ve plateaued.

The quick fix for this is to switch up your routine.

Try out different kinds of workouts until you find what engages you the most. For some people, there’s no better way to do cardio than to take a spin or Zumba class. For others, lifting becomes a lot more fun in a CrossFit gym or some other group setting

Keep in mind you don’t have to do one single kind of workout, either. It’s possible to do yoga on Monday, lift on Tuesday, then run on Wednesday and still reach your goals!

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

No matter where you are or what you’re doing to exercise, remember that you’re there to work on you. This means you have to focus on what your body needs to do to get a good pump and stop paying attention to what other people are doing.

You won’t be as buff as the strongest person in the gym right away and you’re not going to be as fast or as slim as them, either. More so, you have to keep in mind that they were once in your shoes as the newbie to working out and being fit.

Work on putting all your energy into your fitness journey instead of others’. This will do wonders to motivate you to keep going and work harder than you have in a while.

4. Stay Hydrated All Day Long

Comparing yourself to others is a mind game that does you no good. But, there could be a physical reason why you’re not feeling motivated to workout – like the fact that you’re dehydrated.

Water plays a significant role in every single thing your body does. It affects your mental focus, energy levels, digestion, and how well you rest, too.

If the body can’t perform such functions like its supposed to, it’s definitely not going to feel up for the challenge of working out. When you drink a good amount of water throughout the day, though, you increase your chances of getting it done!

5. Focus on That “Pumped Up” Feeling

Speaking of getting it done, take a moment to think about how amazing you feel when you finish a workout. There’s nothing that can match that sense of accomplishment when you walk out of the gym super sweaty or with your muscles shaking a bit.

Not to mention, the build-up of your pump and reaching that sense of accomplishment is also pretty cool. There’s something special about walking into the gym with low energy and walking out feeling like you can take on anything – especially if you’re making progress in how heavy you’re lifting or how much endurance your body has as a whole.

6. Take Advantage of Your Rest Days

Here’s something else to consider: maybe your motivation to go to the gym hasn’t disappeared, maybe it has completely run out (for now).

That’s what happens when you overwork your body and push yourself too hard. There’s a big difference between being dedicated and showing up, and not knowing how to listen to what your body is telling you.

You need to have a rest day.

Even if it’s an active rest day, you have to be able to let your body relax. This is the precious time that your muscles need to rebuild themselves after working so hard in the gym. It’s also your chance to do something with your time other than working out that benefits you in a different way.

7. Reward Yourself with Cheat Meals

One of the best things about rest days is that this is usually when people have their cheat meals. Cheat meals help you curb cravings and stick to your long-term goals. They’re also a great reward to give yourself after crushing your workouts, and they serve as a nice boost of motivation as cheat day gets closer and closer.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between enjoying one well-deserved cheat meal and going completely off the rails, though. You risk guilting yourself and losing even more motivation to workout if you take cheat day too far. But, enjoying it mindfully offers many benefits.

8. Remember Why You Started

Another way to find the workout motivation you need is to take a look at the goals you’ve written down. Keep these at the front of your mind as you do every single rep, when you sit down to eat, and as you go about the rest of your day.

Whether you’re trying to grow 10 pounds of muscle or lose 20 pounds of fat, you have to remember why you started. This is the motivation you need when you’re thinking about skipping your last set or when you’re trying to cheat your reps. It’s what makes you show up at the gym in the first place and reminds you to work hard while you’re there.

9. Change Your Perspective

As smart as it is to remember why you started, you may discover there’s a deeper issue at play if you’re having to find workout motivation every single day. Working out really shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something that you genuinely want to do instead of a task that you feel obligated to complete.

If this isn’t the mindset you have right now, it’s time to change your perspective. Take a step back for a second and try to identify what it is about working out that you don’t like. Figure out the barriers you’ve created in your mind, then work past them.

Find ways to improve your relationship with working out. Do workouts that are more enjoyable to you or at least try not to be so hard on yourself.

10. Have Someone Hold You Accountable

The final way to boost your workout motivation is to have someone do it for you. Not to say that you should rely on them, but rather, commit to showing up for them as well as for yourself.

Get a gym partner to hold you accountable when you’re trying to skip out of a workout, or even better, hire a personal trainer! This is someone you can lean on when you’re really not feeling your workout for the day.

But, you’re still the one who has to put in the work.

That work does become a lot easier to do when you have someone making sure you show up and lifting you up throughout the workout. They’re there to offer you support, call you out when you’re cheating yourself, and remind you of the inner strength you have to keep going.

How to Get the Most of Your Workout Motivation

You can have all the workout motivation in the world and still struggle to get the results you’re looking for. That’s because you have to know how to train your body once you actually get into the gym.

This takes a little time to figure out. You have to be patient as you learn how to build a mind-muscle connection and create routines that best target each muscle group, not to mention understand which supplements to take and when.

Thankfully, you don’t have to take all of this alone! That’s what we’re here for.

Click here to discover everything our personal coaching services can do for you!

Walking for Weight Loss: How to Get Your Steps In and Shed Pounds

Walking for Weight Loss: How to Get Your Steps In and Shed Pounds

Those people who obsess about getting their steps in have a good reason. Here’s how walking for weight loss works and some tips to make it work for you.

When you want to lose weight, you’ve probably researching gym memberships and crash diets. But sometimes all it takes is a few steps. Literally!

If the thought of high-impact exercise is overwhelming, walking could be the solution. Walking for weight loss is effective and low-intensity. This could be the perfect exercise regimen if you’re starting your fitness journey.Â

A brisk walk can reduce stress, burn calories and build muscle-so why shouldn’t this be a part of your fitness plan?

Walking is a great form of physical activity that’s free and easily accessible for most people.

However, there are certain factors that can improve your results. How often you walk, at what speed and where you walk all play a factor.

This article explores how you can walk your way to fitness!

How Long to Walk Each Day for Weight Loss

So how often do you need to walk to lose weight? Less than you may think. A good goal is 30 minutes per day for weight loss.

At a brisk pace, the distance you could cover in 30 minutes cover should be 1.5 – 2 miles or 3,000 to 4,500 steps.

Some days are busier than others so feel free to walk more or less on some days. By the end of the week, you should have walked for at least 150 minutes.

How Fast Should I Walk for Weight Loss

The great thing about walking for weight loss is that you don’t have to overexert yourself. Walk at a moderately brisk pace. A great investment would be a heart rate monitor. There are plenty of smartwatches that have them built in.

While walking, your heart rate should be at 60 – 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You should be breathing heavily enough to make speaking difficult.

Keep in mind that the higher your heart rate, the more calories you burn. You’ll get more benefit by increasing the intensity for 10 minutes. But listen to your body. If you need a break, take one. Ignoring your body’s signs can cause injury later.

If you’re new to exercise, start with shorter periods and build up over time. You could also designate three days each week for your lower-intensity walks.

When it comes to health and fitness, consistency is key. Make it your goal to never go three days without taking your walk. If you find yourself unmotivated, this podcast might inspire you.

This will help improve your fitness level and your metabolism. Your body will begin to learn your new habits. Mental health is just as important as physical. If you find yourself worn out, take a day off.

How Can I Fit Walking in My Schedule?

We get it. Life is busy! Here are some tips to make walking fit in your schedule:

  • Break it up into walking two or three times a day for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Break it up into bigger chunks and take your walks twice or three times per week
  • Make it a family activity. Take a walk after dinner and use this time to bond with your family.
  • Start a fitness challenge at work to motivate co-workers. Walk as a group during lunch or other breaks. Accountability can help you reach your goals.
  • Park further at the grocery store! You’d be surprised how many steps you can get in large parking lots.
  • Skip the elevator. Stair climbing burns more calories than you may think.
  • Take a brisk walk on your lunch break or after dinner. This will help with that post-meal slump.
  • Make casual meetings walking meetings instead of meeting in a conference room. Having a change of scenery might even help with creative thinking.Â

Make a plan and write it down! If you fall off for a day or so, don’t stress out. You can always pick back up where you left off tomorrow!

How Walking Burns Calories

If you’re trying to lose weight, there’s a simple formula that you need to know. Weight Loss = Calories Burned > Calories Consumed. You need to burn more than you eat.

Walking is one of the activities you can do to increase the number of calories that you burn.

Think of calories as energy for your body. You need calories for daily activities like moving, breathing, and sleeping. However, some people eat more calories than their body needs.

People who are physically active will burn more calories and lose weight. But, everyone doesn’t have the time to lift weights at the gym or cross train. Simply finding a little time to walk each day can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Let’s break it down. Walking for 30 minutes equals 1.5- 2.0 miles. This will burn approximately 200 calories, depending on your sex and weight.

The more you weigh the more calories you will burn. Your body is exerting more energy to exercise so you will burn even more on a 30-minute walk. Another way you can increase the number of calories burned is by adding weights. You can also walk on hills or on an inclined treadmill.

A lot of beginners become discouraged when they aren’t able to run for long periods of time. Yes, running will burn more calories, but only about 23 more calories per mile.

Don’t worry about running quite yet, walking can burn a significant amount of calories.

If you choose to take longer walks, this can increase your calories burned as well. During the first 30 minutes of exercise, your body burns sugar for energy. After 30 minutes, your body starts using fat as fuel.

Make it a goal to take at least on extended walk per week. This will build your endurance and help you get rid of fat cells!

How Walking Builds Muscle

Most people are unaware of the benefits of building muscle. Building muscle doesn’t always mean you’re training for a bodybuilding competition. Building lean muscle can help you lose body fat.

Even though walking doesn’t involve barbells and weights, it still helps build muscle. It can also reduce age-related muscle loss. This helps you keep more of your physical strength and reduce age-related weight gain.

You may have noticed that walkers have strong and toned legs. Walking builds, shapes, and tones the legs and buttocks. If you’re consistent in your walking, you’ll notice stronger calves, quads, and hamstrings.

This isn’t the best way to “buff up” though. If you want to pack on some serious muscle, consider weight training.

How Walking Improves Mood

Been in a funk lately? Exercise may be the last thing on your mind, but it could actually help you feel better. Exercise can do wonders for your mood.

All kinds of physical activity can decrease feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. It makes your brain more sensitive to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.

These hormones relieve sad feelings while releasing endorphins, which make you feel happy!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you enjoy a physical activity, you’ll continue to do it.

This makes walking an excellent choice. It’s a moderate-intensity exercise that won’t be too physically demanding. Over time, you’ll look forward to your scheduled walk and feel great about doing it.

How Walking Keeps Weight Off

Let’s fast forward a bit. You’ve been walking for some time now and you’ve lost weight. You’re happy with your results and simply want to keep the weight off. Walking can play a major role in helping you maintain weight loss.

Remember, people who exercise frequently are usually better at maintaining their weight loss.

When you lose weight, your metabolic rate will drop. This means it will be harder to keep the pounds off. Walking can help prevent muscle loss and help you maintain your results over time. Lean muscle we mentioned earlier will also help you burn more calories, even at rest.

To maintain a stable weight, aim to walk at least 150 minutes per week. Increase this number if you’ve lost a considerable amount of weight. 200 minutes per week should be a good goal for you.

10,000 steps per day is a good goal for most people. Stay active by walking throughout your week so that your progress isn’t lost.

How to Start Walking For Weight Loss

So where do you start? Walking for weight loss can help you improve your muscle, reduce fat, increase mood and more.

The bottom line is that physical activity can help you live a healthier, longer life. 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking per week is ideal.

Walk for around 30 minutes at a time at a brisk pace. When this becomes easier for you, go the extra mile (pun intended). You can only reap more health and fitness benefits.

Remember, every little step helps, so start small and increase the amount you walk over time.

If you want to lose weight, you’ll get the best results by combining physical activity with a healthy diet. Check out these healthy eating tips.

Cardio For Weight Loss: 6 Crucial Facts To Keep In Mind

Cardio For Weight Loss: 6 Crucial Facts To Keep In Mind

If you’re just establishing your exercise routine, here are some crucial facts about cardio for weight loss. Keep them in mind when developing your routine.

If you immediately turned to cardio when you started trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. When it comes to weight loss, it seems like most people associate the treadmill or the track with their path to a smaller waistline.

Cardio is definitely an important part of any workout routine, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to use cardio for weight loss. You have to make sure that you plan your workouts effectively to get the maximum benefit.

When you’re developing your routine, keep these six crucial facts in mind. They’ll help you get the results you want!

1. You Can’t Just Do Cardio

This first fact might seem like a weird choice to start off with. After all, isn’t the whole post about using cardio for weight loss?

Here’s the thing, though — if you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you can’t have a workout routine that’s 100% cardio. You’re going to need to incorporate strength training into your schedule if you really want to see results.

Strength training helps to build muscle mass, which will help you out down the line by speeding up your metabolism and burning additional fat. Basically, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn on a regular basis.

Great, right?

If you’re only doing cardio, on the other hand, you won’t just be burning fat — you’ll be burning muscle, too. The last thing you want to do is to burn what will help you lose weight.

If you really want to go all in for both your strength training and your cardio, we recommend putting those workouts on separate days. (Think cardio on Monday, strength training on Tuesday.) If you really want to do both on the same day, though, do your strength training before your cardio. Strength training uses more energy, so you’ll need to be at 100% before you start.

2. You Don’t Have To Stay In The Fat-Burning Zone

We’ve all fallen victim to that pesky little display on the treadmill, or checked our Fitbits religiously to make sure that we’re in the golden “fat burn” zone. What does that even mean, anyway?

It’s easy to believe that you won’t burn any fat unless your heart rate is in that magic zone. That’s not completely true, though.

The name for the zone is a little misleading. It’s not that you’ll only burn fat in that zone, it’s that a larger percentage of the calories burned comes from fat. You’ll still be burning fat in the cardio or peak zones.

What’s most important isn’t the percentage of burned calories that come from fat. If you’re going to pay attention to one of the numbers lighting up your screen, it should be total calories burned. The number of calories you burn is way more important when it comes to the big picture.

And speaking of the number of calories you burn…

3. You Don’t Have To Burn 500 Calories

We can understand where this number came from. It’s a nice, round number, it sounds like a lot, and people feel accomplished when they can say that they burned 500 calories over the course of their workouts.

What’s problematic, though, is when people think that they have to burn 500 calories for their workouts to have any effect. Depending on the type of workout you’re doing, your cardio workouts can burn fewer than 500 calories and still be great for you.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, is a series of high-intensity workouts done in short bursts. You might not burn 500 calories during your thirty-minute workout, but you’ll keep burning calories at a higher rate for hours after you leave the gym.

4. Your Workouts Don’t Need To Be Long

When you think of cardio, do you think of long runs that take a ton of time out of your day? There’s a common misconception that your cardio has to be long, slow and steady to mean anything.

Even if you don’t have an hour to spare for your workout, go for a HIIT workout instead. The quick workout will still get your heart rate up, burn calories, and give you the cardio training that you need.

People who swear by the treadmill can still get the benefit of a shorter workout. Doing shorter sessions at a higher intensity will help you get more out of your workout in less time.

5. You Should Snack Before Your Workout

There are lots of runners who enjoy waking up early in the morning and going for a run first thing. That’s a great way to start your day…as long as you eat something before you head out the door.

When you’re in a calorie-burning mindset, it’s easy to think that to burn more calories, you shouldn’t eat before you workout. If you don’t eat ahead of time, your body has to burn off the fat that’s already on your body for energy, right?

Nope, not for cardio. Your body needs something to fuel it, and it will turn to the carbs and fat in your muscles, not the fat in your fat cells.

We’re not saying to eat a full meal and then go for a run — just eat a light snack to give your body something to work with.

6. You Still Have To Eat Right

Speaking of eating, you still have to have a proper diet if you’re planning on using cardio to lose weight. Just running an extra mile every time you opt for a cookie instead of a carrot stick won’t really help you out.

If your diet is still poor, doing lots of cardio will only do so much. Nourish your body with the right foods for the workouts you’re doing. For example, you incorporate a lot of strength training into your routine, make sure you eat enough protein.

Cardio combined with eating well can help you sculpt your body into the shape you want to see.

Use Cardio For Weight Loss Effectively

If you keep these crucial facts about cardio for weight loss in mind, you’ll be able to see better results. Make the most of your workouts and use your cardio effectively. Your body will thank you.

Need a little bit of an extra push? Register for our Body Transformation Challenge to take your body to the next level.

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