How to Stay Motivated to Exercise

Tuesday , 20, December 2016 Comments Off on How to Stay Motivated to Exercise

We all know that regular exercise is essential to better health.  Most of us also know how hard it can be to stay on track when it comes to exercising.  Our lives are busy, and it’s too easy to convince ourselves that we just don’t have enough time to get in a good workout.  Really, though, our lack of motivation is usually more of an issue than a real lack of time.  Below, we’ll talk about a few methods you can use to help keep yourself on track.

 

Get your friends involved

Having a support system of some type is always a good way to stay motivated.  Chances are good that you have a least a couple of friends in the same boat as you are.  Make a commitment to each other to workout regularly.  More often than not, making a commitment to others generates more willpower than if we only have to answer to ourselves.  It’s easy to convince ourselves that we have a legitimate excuse for not exercising, but not so easy to convince those who know us well.  You might even consider making a contest out of it.  You and your buddies could place a wager on who can lose the most weight (responsibly, of course).  Alternately, your wagers could be on any number of milestones, like who walks the most steps in a week.  Another option can be that you all agree to pay a “fine” for missing workouts.

 

Another way to get friendly support is to make friends with some of the people at your gym or in your favorite exercise class.  Connecting with people in this way gives you another reason to want to get to the gym or exercise studio.

 

Using social media to tell your friends and other contacts your plans to get healthier can help keep you motivated, too.  This is in part because you’ll likely feel more accountable when you know that others are aware of your plans and in part because you’ll likely be encouraged and congratulated by many of them.  You might even inspire them to do the same.

 

Keep your gear handy

Keep your workout bag or at-home equipment in sight.  Having your balance ball or mini trampoline handy while you’re watching TV can make it more convenient to get in a few minutes here and there, whereas putting everything away can too easily lead to an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of thing.

 

Buy more clothes

Workout clothes, that is.  Investing a few bucks (again, responsibly) in more workout clothes can actually help keep you motivated.  Buying clothes specifically for exercising can make you feel more like you “belong” in the workout world, which can make you more likely to spend more time in that world.  Having enough workout clothes to get through at least a week also makes you less likely to skip exercising because you haven’t got anything clean to wear.

 

Log your goals and progress

Write down your current stats (like weight and measurements) along with your short- and long-term goals.  You can also note things like how many sit-ups or push ups you can do, how many steps you average in a day, how many bicep curls you can do at a given weight, or any other measure of any exercises you want to do.  Having these numbers in black and white can make your goals seem more real.  Tracking your progress can help you see how much you’ve actually achieved and how much closer you are to your goals than when you started.  Setting very reasonable short-term goals that you can check off of your list is another way to keep yourself motivated.

 

In the end, you still need willpower, and you still have to answer to yourself above all other people, but employing one or more of these methods can make staying motivated and on track a little easier.

Vin’s Reviews of the Best Treadmills and Exercise Machines

Friday , 23, December 2016 Comments Off on Vin’s Reviews of the Best Treadmills and Exercise Machines

We all know that we should do all we can to be our healthiest.  Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly are key to not only looking our best, but to feeling our best and being as healthy as we can be.  Healthy bodies are better able to stave off illnesses and recover from injuries than less healthy bodies.  People who stay in better shape have more energy, sleep better, and have fewer aches and pains than those who keep putting off a healthier lifestyle.  If you’ve resolved to get yourself in better shape and are considering a treadmill or stationary bike for use at home, you might be wondering where to start.  There are so many different models available that choosing one that will work for you and keep you motivated may seem impossible.  Understanding what to look for in relation to your goals and current state of health is a good start.

Treadmills have been around for over a century and continue to evolve.  In a nutshell, a conveyor belt travels around a moving platform at a user-designated speed or, in the case of manual treadmills, at the speed of the user’s walking or running pace.  Though most treadmills are still built with only one belt, there are some newer (usually high-end) models with two separate belts.  One of the biggest advantages treadmills possess is the ability to allow the user to maintain his or her natural walking, jogging, or running stride and gait.

 

For the past several years, more treadmill have become equipped with the ability to offer users the added benefit of variable incline settings in addition to variable speed settings.  Working at different incline levels is a great way to target different muscle groups with different intensity levels.  Switching things up is also a good way to help you keep your mind engaged.  For help finding the best incline treadmill for you, this site reviews several models for walking and running, with pros and cons of each.  Treadmill design is fairly universal, but if you are very tall or plan to use your treadmill for running, make sure to look for a model with a long enough belt to let you use your normal stride.

 

Since treadmills do cause impact on the joints of the lower body, users with knee, hip, or back issues might prefer a recumbent bike, which still gives you an excellent workout, but in a low-impact manner that allows you to sit while exercising.  If you have lower back issues, be sure to look for one that offers a supportive seat.  Recumbent bikes allow you to sit in a reclining-type position while you pedal.  Most of today’s models allow you to choose from a number of different resistant levels to make your workout even more effective.  The recumbent position also makes these bicycles ideal for pedaling while you read a book or watch television.  If you’re interested in finding a great recumbent bicycle, go here for reviews, including pros and cons, of a few top contenders.  

It’s easy these days to find both treadmill and recumbent bicycle models that track heart rate, distance travelled, and calories burned.  When it comes to calorie calculations, keep in mind that no machine can give you an exact number since that number depends on several factors including, age, gender, weight, conditioning, and resting metabolism.  This doesn’t mean that you should completely discount the number you’re given, just know that it won’t ever be exact.

 

If your space is limited, finding room for a new exerciser can be tough.  Many treadmills are designed to be folded and put away when not in use.  If you look at such models, make sure you’re comfortable handling the weight of the machine.  Recumbent bikes can’t usually be stored readily, but some do have smaller footprints than others and may be light enough to slide into a corner if necessary.

 

Visit Home Fitness Intel for comparisons of some top-reviewed treadmills for walking and running.  These reviews even include some of the potential downsides (as reported by owners) to these models to help you feel more comfortable about making a decision.

Eat These Foods to Build Muscle

Thursday , 22, December 2016 Comments Off on Eat These Foods to Build Muscle

If you’ve dedicated yourself to getting healthier and building more muscle, you might be wondering if there are foods that you should include in your diet to help your cause.  There’s a ton of information “out there,” and sorting through it all can be frustrating and overwhelming.  Here, we’ll take a look at a few of the best foods that, when added to your workout regimen, can help you get the muscle mass and definition you’re seeking.

 

Water

Okay, so water isn’t a food, but it is absolutely essential to overall health and to muscle building.  Healthy muscles are roughly 80% water.  Not drinking enough water dehydrates the cells in your body, resulting in a number of different problems.  When it comes to your muscles, dehydration’s biggest effect is that protein synthesis (muscle recovery and building) is greatly slowed down.  Additionally, being dehydrated can you make tire more easily and result in more muscle cramping.  Sports drinks can help immediately pre- and post-workout, but staying well hydrated overall is your best bet.

 

Protein

It probably isn’t news that we need protein to build muscle.  Choosing multi-purpose proteins that also contain other nutrients essential to muscle development can help you reach your goals quicker.

    • Eggs are a near-perfect source of protein.  Since so much of the protein in eggs can be incorporated into the body’s own proteins, each gram of an egg’s proteins is a more powerful muscle-building tool than nearly any other gram of protein in the supermarket.  Be sure and include the yolks, too, since they contain vitamin B12, which is necessary for muscle contraction and for fat breakdown.  Eggs also contain vitamins B6, D, and E; iron; zinc; phosphorous; riboflavin; and folate.

 

  • Almonds are a great source of protein and also are one of the best sources of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E, which is the vitamin E form that your body absorbs the best.  Vitamin E can help minimize free-radical damage to muscles and also aid in muscle recovery.  A couple handfuls a day is a great way to help your muscles and your brain, since almonds have been shown to support brain health.
  • Salmon contains high-quality proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that can decrease the breakdown of muscle proteins, which aids in recovery.  Omega-3 fatty acids also offer added health benefits, including lower triglyceride levels and healthier joints, among others.
  • Yogurt is a great combination of carbs and protein that aids in muscle recovery and growth.  Stick with regular versions, as the sugar-free types tend to contain more artificial ingredients (such as sweeteners).  Our bodies often have a hard time processing the artificial stuff, which could mean we also get less of the good stuff.
  • Beef is definitely a great source of protein, but it also contains zinc, iron, and creatine, which are crucial for those trying to build muscle.  Just be sure to choose the leanest cuts you can, since too much fat from animal sources isn’t good for any of us.

 

 

Plant-based fats

Our bodies need some fat to do their jobs efficiently.  Plant-based fats, such as you get from olive oil, help our bodies process certain nutrients and support cell growth.  
Obviously, the best foods alone aren’t enough to keep you from having to pushing yourself during workouts, but supplementing your exercise efforts with the right diet can help you get to the payoff quicker than you thought possible.

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