Now Playing Tracks

Jillian Michaels: The great 1-month slim-down

Not everyone loves Jillian's style like I do, but this is an 8 minute workout video that shows great moves to strengthen the body while incorporating a little cardio to get the heart-rate elevated = EXTRA CALORIE BURN!!

How dehydrated are you?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 15:  A case of bottl...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Water is essential for fueling the body. I do not get as much water as I am supposed to throughout the day… Water is boring and tasteless and if you filter tap water it can be feel like a tedious task to get your drink.

Drinks to avoid when dehydrated:

  • Caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, cola) - Increase urine output and dehydrate you faster
  • Alcohol

    A photo of a cup of coffee.
    Image via Wikipedia

To calculate how much water do you need? Take your body weight (lbs), half it, and that is the number of ounces you are supposed to drink.

Equation: (body weight, lbs)/2 = ounces you should be drinking per day

Why drinking water is essential for staying fit:

  • Becoming dehydrated slows the metabolism
  • Dehydration reduces blood volume causing less oxygen to get to the muscles (probably why you can do 17% more reps when you are hydrated)
  • Reduces extra calorie intake from other types of drinks

Read more on the benefits of staying hydrated in this article from prevention magazine.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Plastics and BPA

This topic was pretty highly discussed a couple years ago when information first started surfacing about the possible negative effects of Bisphenol A (BPA).

BPA is used in many products including:

  • Canned foods
  • Water bottles
  • Baby bottles
  • Plastic containers labeled a 3 or 7 (I will explain this further down the post)

Due to questions in the 2008 about the effects of BPA on lab mice. This CNN video is from 2009 when the issue first became a more serious concern:

Since 2009 the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Food and Drug Administration have released more safety information on BPA. Both sites see a higher reason for alarm in fetuses and children exposed to higher levels of BPA.

Avoiding BPA products:

  • Use *glass containers* when possible
  • Look for the number 2 on plastic containers (considered the safest, reusable plastic)
  • Throw out plastics containing BPA with scratches
  • Avoid plastic numbers 3 & 7 or non-numbered plastics

This CNN video from 2011 explains the risks seen in high exposure to the fetus and children:

As the above video pointed out, within the recycling symbol on the bottom of plastic containers there is a number. This number explains which type of plastic is being used to create the container.

What the recycling number means:


Image via

If this picture is too difficult to see or you want more information on the subject, EcoVillageGreen, does a good job of explaining the number system and what to avoid.

Bethenny Frankel’s Quick, Healthy and Easy Snack Ideas

Bethenny Frankel has been making a big name for herself with her “Skinnygirl" brand. Selling everything from pre-made cocktails to a detox/cleanse. She has several recipes up on youtube for a healthy, on-the-go lifestyle.

Avoiding processed foods

I guess I should start off by defining what processed foods are:

Processed foods are foods which have been altered from their natural state, usually by adding man-made ingredients to help them last longer. Basically anything with preservatives and any type of white grain.

Types of processed foods are:

  • White bread, rice, pasta (other foods made using white flour)
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Trans fats
  • Canned and packaged snacks high in salt and fat
  • Processed meats (hot dogs, sausage, ham, bologna, etc.)

Healthy alternatives include:

  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain foods (breads and pastas)
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • non-prepackaged lunch meats

    Image via Wikipedia

One thing that cannot be stressed enough is read the ingredient list before purchasing foods. Just because a product makes a health claim on the front of the package does not mean it is true.

Why avoid processed (white) flour?

  • Your body treats it like a sugar. The flour breaks down faster in your system causing a short period of energy and then a crash-like response.

One “fad” that I cannot understand is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are man-made, all chemical based sugars… Yet people have taken to them because they are a “zero-calorie” option. Mayo Clinic makes the case that artificial sweeteners are safe and do not cause any serious health risks as long as it’s consumption is in moderation (as with any sugar). WebMD has a similar article, but talks more in-depth about the history of artificial sugars and how it got such a bad name.

This WebMD article explains the benefits of eating whole foods, such as lower risk of certain diseases and avoiding additives.

While the Food and Drug Administration allows many foods and drugs to be consumed by the public, how good is it really? Don’t get me wrong it is definitely helping keep our foods and drugs in check however with all the rush to push things through, where are all of the long term side-effects?

Food and Drug Administration logo
Image via Wikipedia

Long term side-effects are unfortunately more of a release the product and wait-and-see process at this point.

In my opinion, it is always best to choose the whole food (even if the calorie count is a little higher) and try to go organic if possible (to avoid any pesticide use which can seep into the food)

A couple extra articles:


Targeting the back

Surface anatomy of the back
Image via Wikipedia

When exercising, I never think about working out the muscles in my back. The back is rarely seen as a “problem area” like the abdomen, arms, and legs are. Mainly because there is not a large accumulation of fat in the back.

However, back strength can improve so many things about ones health and exercise:

  • Good posture
  • Prevention of future back pain
  • Aids digestion (hunching can decrease circulation)

A good way to target lower back muscles (Interior abdominal obliques):

A great 40-minute exercise I found on Exercise-TV (on-demand), which really targeted my entire back was Chris Freytag's 10 Pound Xtreme Cardio Kickbox workout (see link for video). My back was sore for 3 days, probably because I never really target my back during exercise.

Articles with back strengthening exercises from Prevention:

  1. Ouch-Proof Your Back
  2. Build a Stronger Spine
  3. Back Workout Video with Chris Freytag

Enhanced by Zemanta

Understanding your six-pack

Every workout DVD I have done always has the same theme when doing any “core” work:

"Drive your bellybutton in toward your spine!"

There of course is good reason for this:

  • Transverse Abdominis Muscle - This is the “corset-like” muscle wraps around your pelvis, just below your rib cage.


Image via University of New Mexico

Anyone who has taken a Pilates class might also realize that this is the target muscle being utilized.

One of my favorite places to go for easy to read articles on health that also give you good, able to do at home suggestions is Prevention Magazine.

Here are a few links to some good articles on using transverse abdominis from Prevention Magazine:

  1. Target Your Deepest Ab Fat (includes link to instructional video to show the workouts)
  2. Ultimate Stomach Flattener (need a chair and medicine ball [or bag of flour, via there suggestion])
  3. 6 Moves to Shrink Your Belly (Pilates based)
  4. Sleek and Slender Abs (as pointed out in this article DO NOT ARCH YOUR BACK when doing ANY ab exercises; unless instructed to for some reason)

*If you have trouble keeping your back from arching while attempting floor ab exercises it it a sign that the lower ab muscles are too weak to preform the exercise correctly and it is advised to keep your legs at a more elevated angle and as the muscle becomes stronger start allowing your legs to lower closer to the ground while performing the exercise.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tackling stress

Image via Wikipedia

No matter what age you are there is probably quite a bit of stress in your life.

For me, stress came from the daily homework assignments from the mandatory eight class schedule in high school and now from test days and finals week in college.

Anybody else a STRESS EATER?

I am a HUGE stress eater. Thank gosh high school is over and I only have to deal with a select few days when I have a test, project, or paper due. Due to my lack of exercise and poor dieting growing up I have struggled with high cholesterol since I was a child. Luckily, in my case, it never got high enough to cause serious concern; however, at a recent doctor visit I learned that cholesterol should be below 200 and mine was hovering around 260. YIKES!

ARTICLE: The ten commandments of cholesterol control

How stress impacts our bodies physically:

  • Lowers immune system making us more vulnerable to illness
  • Causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, thought to increase belly fat
  • Heart attack/failure, arrhythmia
  • Muscle tension
  • Stomach issues
  • Skin irritations
  • Low fertility, erection problems, pregnancy problems
  • Blood clots
  • Hardening of the arteries

For more information on the items listed above take a look at this Stress Management article.

Here is a good video for stress reduction for men:


Adding exercise has greatly improved my well-being, even without drastically changing my diet. My blood pressure, heart-rate, and cholesterol (though still high) had all lowered when I had them taken at the doctors office this month.

To overcome emotional eating has a short video promoting Linda Spangle's book “Life is Hard, Food is Easy,” as well as tips on changing your eating habits through:

  • Setting up a healthy home environment
  • Finding your triggers for emotional eating
  • Finding alternatives
  • Celebrating success

The biggest problem holding me back before was my self-defeatist attitude. If I messed up my diet or didn’t exercise on a specific day then that was it, it was over, I had completely and utterly failed.

It’s important not to be so hard on yourself, if you mess up one day try to get back to it the next.

Enhanced by Zemanta

We make Tumblr themes