Tag: Self-discipline

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.