The Top 4 Fitness Apps

 

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Digital apps have not only created an environment where individuals can more effectively run their lives in multiple areas, such as health. The below are the top health apps that guide individuals to best address their health needs, dietary restrictions, and fitness goals.

MyFitnessPal
MyFitnessPal is an incredible tool to guide you through your day to day dietary needs. To keep a solid calorie count on a regular basis, you can use this app to scan barcodes and be cognizant of the calorie amount in each restaurant dish. The more you use this app, the more personalized each login becomes, with this tool picking up on the most commonly eaten foods in your diet.

You’ll get a breakdown of how much protein, carbs, and fat you’re eating. Be sure to link this app up to your activity tracker, and the app will suggest how many calories you can eat based on your weight goals which would be in sync with how many calories you’re burning with workouts.

Sworkit
Short for “simply work it,” this app is basically a tool where you can choose a workout based on time restraints and what activities you feel like participating in that time. Pick cardio, strength, yoga, or stretching workouts, and how much time you have. This app provides you with the perfect workout to fit any time restraints or physical needs at the time.

Sleepbot
Sleepbot analyzes sleep deficiency to figure out factors such as how long it takes for you to fall asleep, how many hours you have slept, and how many times you have had interruptions during the night. Basically, the main purpose of Sleepbot is to improve sleeping patterns as a means to get the best rest throughout the night. For individuals who suffer from constant insomnia or have recent issues falling to sleep, this app is geared towards improving sleeping patterns by thorough monitoring.

Calm
Meditation has quickly become a relaxing way to keep both your mind and body in check, while also allowing you to maintain a sense of self or tranquility throughout your day to day. In addition to this app offering consumers rain or gorgeous nature sounds to relax, this tool can also guide individuals through meditation practices to better connect with their breath.

Even if time is of the essence, if you can spare even a minute participating in a few breathing exercises or listening to nature sounds with closed eyes, this can increase productivity once you’re back at your desk.

4 Fitness Tips to Stay Healthy in the Summer

Although physical fitness does seem like it would be a daunting task to engage in on a regular basis, it is important to remember that there is a perfect routine for everyone that can meet their goals or needs. Finding a manageable, solid health routine to participate in on a day to day basis is an ideal way to improve your physical and mental states throughout this season.

Interval training
A huge concern for individuals who work out is the fear that the weight interval trainingthey have shed would eventually be gained at some point. To avoid gaining this weight back, it is absolutely essential to not only do cardio exercise for most of your workout, but also participate in some interval training for around fifteen to twenty minutes each day.

Interval training also allows you to burn as many calories as you would in the hour of traditional cardio workout or running. Not only does interval training not require any equipment, but it also allows you to get a lot of exercise in a short amount of time. In terms of health benefits, engaging in interval training also improves your cardiovascular health, while also regulating both your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Challenge yourself
Increasing your range of motion such as putting more weight while dead lifting or squatting deeper are great physical challenges to overcome to improve flexibility and healthy joints. Just like how important it is for you to warm up or learning how to maintain a steady breath during yoga, pushing yourself within reason during your workout is essential to increase muscle mass.

Another part of this process is to focus on your breath in order to be in tune with your body in a more relaxed light. The combination of these factors will guide you to also improve what is known as “range of motion.”

Stay hydrated
By far one of the most common tips given by health researchers and professionals, drinking water and staying hydrated helps to maximize physical performance. This is key, especially because water reduces stress during high-energy workouts and intensive exercises.

green teaGreen tea
Instead of taking supplements or daily vitamins, drinking all natural green tea boosts metabolism, has incredibly high doses of antioxidants, and helps people lose weight. One or two cups everyday has a long list of health benefits that will actually make you feel a lot better than taking supplements or vitamins.

Quick Tips for Staying Fit During the Holidays

The holiday season is supposed to be a time to celebrate and rejoice – spend quality time with your family, go to a handful of holiday parties, and feast on some delicious food. The problem is, how can you do all of this and still manage to eat healthy and stay on top of your exercise routine? Where there’s a will, there’s a way.. right?

Here are a few tips to help you find a balance between indulging without sacrificing your fitness gains during the holidays.

Plan ahead

Chances are that between decorating the house, shopping for gifts, and hosting guests, it will seem like you don’t have time to workout. But if you plan out your training a month in advance, nothing has to get in the way. Your workout plans will be locked into your calendar, and the holiday rush will take a step back in your priority list. If you know you will be travelling during the holidays, plan in advance as well. Ramp up your workout sessions previous to leaving town and use the time during your vacation as recovery days. Whatever you plan on doing, just take your time to exercise as a serious commitment you can’t afford to cancel or reschedule.

Be an early bird

Beat the temptation to skip on exercising by getting it done early in the morning. If you already exercise early in the day, this will be a breeze for you. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to workout later in the day or after work, move the routine to early in the AM, at least until the holidays are over. The change in schedule may be a drag at first, but trust me it will be worth it. You will avoid any last-minute changes to  plans from interfering with your workout, and in the long-run you will better about getting it done.

Find a training partner

Staying motivated is key during the holidays. A great way to do that is finding a training partner. Grab your kids, your spouse, or even a visiting family member and include them in your workout commitments. Turn your exercise into a challenge with your partner. For example, whoever skimps out or loses needs to double up on a routine the next day. This way you’ll not only turn exercising into something fun, but you will also be less likely to skip it.

Track your calorie intake

Just like you will track your activity level, you should also track your calorie intake, especially during the holidays. With all the parties, the cooking, the baking, and the drinking it’s easy to lose track of everything and then find yourself more than a few pounds heavier once the holidays are over. Keep a food diary or log and remain aware of the amount of calories you’re taking in and how you can play around with that calorie intake. For example, if you plan on feasting on some high-calorie options, plan on eating smaller portions or low-calorie foods later in the day.

Hydrate

Whatever you do, stay hydrated! It’s a known fact that your brain can confuse thirst for hunger. So make sure to drink eight glasses of water per day, and don’t forget to drink to one to two big glasses of water before a meal. If you’re the kind of person who forgets to drink water, especially when you’re running around during the holidays, set a timer on your phone to remind you to drink water. You can also pack a large water bottle early in the day, and carry it with you wherever you go.

Indulge for a single day, not a season

The most important thing during the holidays is that you remain happy. Remember, keeping up with an exercise and diet routine doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself from indulging in the holiday spirit. Have your cheat day and enjoy your favorite foods. Just make sure you indulge for one day, not from Thanksgiving all the way up to New Year’s Day.

With some planning, a little extra self-discipline as dessert plates flood every household, you’ll be able to both enjoy the holiday and stay on track for your 2016 fitness goals.

Holden Buckner is a Business Analyst in Austin, TX. You can learn more about his professional background on his main website.

What Does It Take to Get a Six-Pack?

After a hard-core ab workout, a lot people look in the mirror hoping to see an immediate difference. You’re core is feeling tight and exhausted from the workout, and people (naturally) assume that if it feels so much different, then it probably looks different too.. right? The problem is, it usually doesn’t (aside from some minor inflammation that subsides shortly after your workout is over.)

Here’s the deal: a six-pack takes time, and more importantly, it takes more than just crunching your core to exhaustion. All the soreness and swelling in the world isn’t going to give you the six-pack of your dreams. If you really want a six-pack, here’s what is actually takes.

1. Do more than just ab exercises.

Unfortunately, spot reduction is a myth. Tons of lunges aren’t going to give you a “thigh gap”, a million push ups aren’t to cure flabby triceps, and  endless crunches at the gym aren’t going to give you a cut stomach. All of these things will help to strengthen these muscle groups, but if you want to be able to see your results, the answer is simple: you need to reduce the amount of fat on top. And fat doesn’t come off in bits and pieces based on which groups of muscles you work the most. Fat reduces from all over; you can’t pick and choose where it comes from.

Make sure part of your workout for the week includes intense cardio. Your diet needs to be on point, and you need to keep it up week to week. Over time, your fat percentage will go down, and the definition in not just your abs, but your entire body, will start to show through.

2. Make sure you give your body time to recover.

A lot of people get over-ambitious when they first start working towards a six-pack, and they end up working their abs every single day. If you don’t give your muscles time to heal, you’re not giving your body the chance to build on all the work you’re putting in.

When you work out, you’re actually putting little micro-tears in your muscles. When you give your muscles a chance to rest, they begin to heal this tears which results in stronger, larger muscles. If they never rest, they never heal, and you’ll never see the fruits of all your labor.

3. Take care of your core even when you’re outside the gym.

It’s easy to think about our muscles and form when we’re in the gym. But when you’re not in the gym, you can’t revert to a couch potato. One of the most important things you can work on outside the weight room is your posture, both when you’re sitting at work and standing in the line at the super market. The better your posture gets, the more you’ll naturally start using your core for every day movement. This will help challenge your core throughout the day.

4. Quit doing the same workouts over and over.

Any exercise you perform repeatedly will result in a plateau. Your body gets more efficient as it practices a movement, so essentially it becomes less and less challenging every time you do it. What you want to do is challenge yourself as much as possible every time you hit the gym, so you get the most out of the time you put in.

Also, by limiting yourself to a few moves, you’re probably not working your entire core to begin with. There is no one exercise that will work every single muscle in your core to their fullest potential at once, so think about incorporating different moves each time that target different areas including your obliques, lower back, lower abs, and upper abs. Even better, mix them up by making some exercises a hold, some a twist, and some a plyometric movement.

5. Stop eating processed foods.

Most processed foods have way too much sodium and sugar and not enough real nutrients. When you cook food yourself, you get to see and control exactly how much sugar, sodium, and whatever else is going into your dish. It’s much easier to limit your intake, plus you’re getting way more nutrients from produce that is fresh vs pre-packaged. Fruits and vegetables begin to lose their nutrients the second you pick them, so the sooner they go from ground/tree/bush to table, instead of to a box or freezer, the better they are for your body.

6. Drink more water.

Drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day. Proper hydration is going to give you more energy, aid in your recovery, help your body process toxins, and it will help flush out sodium (which causes bloat.) Keep in mind that when you drink coffee or do a lot of cardio, the amount of water you need is going to increase.

7. Stop giving excuses.

People who can’t seem to figure out why they’re not getting a six-pack are also often the people who claim they don’t have enough time this week, they allow themselves to pick the unhealthy option on the menu because “it’s Friday,” and they always seem to have an excuse for why they aren’t giving their body what it needs every single day. People that have six-packs tend to not have excuses.

You have to make time for your workouts. You have to turn down dinner invitations when there are no healthy options. You have to say no to that extra drink at the end of the night because you know it’s one too many. You don’t need crazy good genetics or a magical exercise to get a six-pack; you need some old-fashioned self-discipline.

8. Mix up your cardio.

A lot of people’s first thought when they are told to do cardio is: I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time on the treadmill. But the fact is, steady distance running isn’t the most efficient way to lose fat or get a six-pack. Instead of spending an hour huffing and puffing at a mid-intensity pace on the treadmill, try a high-intensity cardio program. Next time you start your run, add in a minute long sprint for every 3 minutes your run at your usual pace. You’ll burn more fat and be able to wrap up your run a heck of a lot faster. If you like your long, focused runs, try switching out one day of running for a boxing sessions, so you get that high intensity training in too.

The bottom line is: if you want a six-pack, you need to have self-discipline. Your body needs to be consistently challenged physically as well as nourished and rested properly. If you do that, your body fat percentage will lower, and your beautiful six-pack can finally shine through.

For more about Holden Buckner, please visit his home website.

When was the last time you incorporated balance into your workout?

When learning about fitness, one of the fundamental facts to understand is that there are actually four types of exercise: strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. A well-rounded fitness routine includes all of these, but people seem to neglect one of these more than the others. You might have guessed it already: it’s balance.

Most people don’t realize how important balance is until there’s is either challenged or they begin to lose it as they age. The thing is, you’re using your balance all the time. When you’re walking you’re constantly changing surfaces between concrete, grass, rocks, etc and negotiating obstacles like curbs and stairs. Every time you reach for something on your tip toes or slightly out of reach, you’re using your balance. Each step and movement you make requires you entire body to coordinate to keep you upright and moving where you want to go, and it’s impressive how our bodies do it most of the time without us even having to think about it.

Because you probably don’t think about your balance that often, you also probably don’t think about the benefits you could see from improving yours. Enhancing balance improves posture, allows you to complete more advanced movements in your workout, and can prevent falls into old age. Good balance helps athletes respond quickly to unexpected movements, and spares them from a variety of sports injuries.

So what exactly is balance anyways?

Balance actually has three main components:

Vision – Ever tried to walk with your eyes closed? It’s pretty hard, right? Your eyes are constantly communicating to your brain about our environment and correcting your positioning. On easy terrain, this can be pretty unconscious, but as you’ve probably experienced climbing rocks at the beach, it can get tricky even with your eyes open.

Muscles and Joints – Your musculoskeletal system is constantly making small corrections in your feet, ankles, and hips to keep you steady. When you watch a child learning to walk for the first time, you probably notice how wobbly they are. By now you’ve gotten pretty good at standing, but try shifting your leg to one leg, barefoot, and see how much your ankles, feet, and probably whole body starts moving back and forth, left and right, to keep you centered.

Vestibular System – This is the system found in the inner ear that transmits information about body position and movement back to the brain. Remember when you were a kid and you’d spin in circles as long as you could and then try to walk in a straight line? The thing throwing you off your balance was the fluid imbalance in your inner ear system.

Your brain combines the information provided by these three components to keep you balanced. When one of these systems is challenged or damaged, the body has to learn to rely more heavily on the other two, a situation most will find pretty difficult if they are faced with it unexpectedly.

Starting to think about adding more balance work into your workout? Good! The more difficult the balancing exercise, the great range of motion,  muscle strength, and visual acuteness you’ll require.

If you’re not sure where to start, tai chi, yoga and pilates classes are a great way to get some professional guidance. If group classes aren’t your thing, start simple (think standing on one foot, doing a headstand) and work your way up (like working towards dancers pose and handstands during a short yoga flow.)

If you work on your balance now, not only will you be able to take your workout to the next level today, but you’ll be much better off in the future should health issues or simply the affects of aging start to effect one or more aspects of your balance.

For more about Holden Buckner, you can visit his main website.

Planet Fitness to Lead the Health Movement Financially

According to a recent article from Marketwatch.com, the gym industry is eyeing continued growth especially the large firm, Planet Fitness. Analysts have stated that the cardio drive, supportive atmosphere has positioned itself to open more locations and increase their market share. What makes them so attractive is their low-cost positioning, high number of franchises and consistent revenue retentions.planet fitness gym

Optimistically, Credit Suisse analysts have pegged Planet Fitness as a bull to watch with a target price of $19. This comes from its current 7.1 million active members it has on file, a number that shows intentions of growing. Others are projecting a $22 target with a 20% annual growth rate.

With a culture of health and fitness growing around the country, the value proposition towards customers plays directly to new and seasoned gym goers. By having a “lunk alarm” in their gym, a siren that goes off if someone slams weights or draws attention to themselves, they have created an atmosphere of non intimidations. They refer to it as, “No Gymtimidation”. For the new gym members who may not be confident about their body image, this is a perfect safe area for them. When you couple that with the low cost, month to month rate ($20), Planet Fitness is one of the most valuable offers on the market.

Current gym count has around 1,000 stores on file, with commitments from franchisees to open another 1,000 and projections to reach the 4,000 mark in the future. Analyst say their growth comes from a deep routed franchise structure which attracts motivated franchisees. The breakeven timeline for a franchisee is about 4 years after opening, or less. The steady revenue numbers come from the combination of dues, annual fees, vendor commissions and royalties.

All indications are pointing towards stock performance well through 2017. Solid historic data supports this projection from the fact that Planet Fitness has not closed a franchise due to underperformance financially or loan default. Look for fitness to continue to gain steam in our culture of health and in the market by way of Planet Fitness.

To learn about Holden Buckner, please visit his professional website.

Kyle Railton Tough Workout

Time is a finite resource that demands planning. For fitness and health enthusiasts it can be difficult to find the time or place to conduct a proper workout, but d2c6de4baee271027da389215fa6e51enever fear Holden Buckner has found three total body workouts that can be completed right at home. In the first of a three part series, Holden brings you a bodyweight workout from Kyle Railton, a Tough Mudder trainer.

This workout uses less than a half an hour per day and is great to do with a friend. Challenging aspects are outweighed by an overall achievable complete workout. Workouts will include a mix of running, push ups and pull ups to start.

Day 1- Run 400 meters, perform 20 push ups then rest for 5 minutes. Complete this circuit until a total of 30 minutes has been reached.

Day 2- Bear crawl (on all fours) for 100 yards then turn around and sprint back to your start line. Rest for one minute then continue until 30 minutes have been completed.

Day 3- Find a pull up bar and do 10 pullups, then immediately perform 15 air squats, then 20 sit ups. Complete this circuit 5 times total.

Day 4- Run a mile at your fastest pace, record the time for future comparison.

Day 5- Run 400 meters, perform 20 push ups, then 50 mountain climbers (on all fours, drive one knee to your chest alternating, in a pushup position). Rest for five minutes then repeat until 30 minutes have been completed.

Day 6- Sprint 100 years, lunge back to start, bear crawl 100 yards, jog back to start as a recovery then repeat the circuit until you have reached 30 minutes.

Day 7- Rest Day. Rest is important for every muscle and your state of mind to recover.

Find the full program here.

For more info on Holden Buckner, please visit his main website.

Camaraderie in Fitness

Luke Milton is a 10 year veteran of of the professional rugby community in Sydney and through his decade of team play, he learned the best motivation comes from those around you. Many trends are swirling around the fitness community as being healthy has become a top priority for many across the globe. Sometimes, the best way to stay fit and healthy is to use good old-fashioned camaraderie in the place of apps or scare tactics by personal trainers. That is what Milton, a 33 year old australian told Fox News.Luke Milton

After retiring from the pros, Milton started a gym environment called Training Mate, in West Hollywood, CA along with a number of ex-pro athletes from Australia. Having such a staff helped Milton bring an atmosphere of fun, supportive team building type of gym.

Classes are structured into 45 minute lengths and is split into 4 stations for a rotating high intensity interval training experience. The constant change of pace is designed to get the blood moving and the heart rate up. This allows for muscles to be pushed harder and can lead to accelerated fat burning.

Milton’s coaching style is similar to his leadership style he illustrated as a pro-athlete, he encourages laughter with bad jokes and keeps the mood light in the room.

Bringing an Aussie flare to the room, he incorporates exercises such as the kangaroo jump, and the koala walk. For those looking to try these at home, the kangaroo jump is where you perform a “burpee” or squat down, kick your legs back and lower chest to the ground before completing a push up and jumping back into a squat. He then takes it one step further and moves his trainees into a split lung for both legs.

The koala walk is where you squat with one hand on the ground and then walk your hands out in front of you until you find yourself in a plank, or push up position. Then, do a pushup as you bring your left knee to your left elbow, returning to a plank when you reach the top. Then alternate sides, and start all over!

Read the original article about Milton here.

Please visit  Holden Buckner’s main website for more info about his life and experience.

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