The Non-Runner's Guide To Running: 5 Tips For Getting Started

Congratulations on your decision to become a runner! There is no cheaper, no purer, and no more accessible form of exercise than this. Plus, it’s free. So let’s get you started.

Despite seeming very simple, running can incorporate an amazing amount of variables – shoe firmness; heel strike patterns; stride length, cadence and speed; proper posture and biomechanics; different running surfaces; etc. As a new runner, you don’t have to worry about all that (yet). The 3 main variables you will want to play around with are going to be: 1) Time, 2) Distance, and 3) Intensity.

TIME: This will be the easiest way to measure your progress. It’s simple: the longer you are able to run, the better your endurance. Before you rush out the door targeting a 30-minute run, you must first build a foundation. Our bodies are amazing at adjusting to the pressures we put on them, but in order to elicit the physiological responses we want and need, we must stress our system carefully and slowly. When we run, the heart beats faster to supply our active muscles with more blood, our lungs work harder to take in oxygen, and our bones take on more force with every step. In order to tolerate the increased physiological demands resulting from exercise, we must be patient with our body. Prepare it as best you can by starting with short runs and gradually increasing the duration. Little by little, you will learn to play with your times – whether it’s your split time (how long it takes you to run 1 mile), your total workout time, or how long you can run before you feel like you need to stop. But when you’re starting out, accept the shorter workouts and know you can build up from there.

DISTANCE: We’ve all heard some running distances thrown out there: 1 mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon… To start, focus more on time than distance. As you progress, running a certain distance can help motivate and inspire longer duration runs. Eventually, you will probably have a target distance. Perhaps you want to run a 5k? As you build that foundation of endurance, you can start to look at how far you are traveling over a certain amount of time. Having a target distance during a run could help you learn how to pace yourself and give you a chance to monitor your intensity – a slightly harder to measure variable.

INTENSITY: What is intensity? In physics, intensity equals power divided by area, with power being rate of work and area being an imagined surface that is perpendicular to the direction of energy propagation. (Did I lose you yet?) In simple terms, intensity is how much effort you are putting into the work you’re doing. You can run 10 minutes or 1 mile and it will feel completely different based on how intensely you are working. The easiest way to adjust intensity is to increase/decrease the rate of work – or, put simply, run faster or slower. There is a learning curve to adjusting intensity, but you will feel the difference between a higher and a lower intensity workout. Use time and distance to help understand your intensity.

Now, five tips:

1. Start low and slow.
By low, I mean don’t try and run three miles the first time you get out there. By slow, this is different for every person, but you want to be able to still have a conversation while you run. If you can’t, you’re probably running too fast.

2. Find a running buddy.
Not only can you test out that conversation factor mentioned above, but it will also make you accountable. Running can be a very private experience, or it can be a fun social activity. See what works best for you. If you prefer to run with a group, there are plenty of beginner runner groups in NYC. Why not get fit, and make some friends along the way?

3. Strengthen before you run, stretch after you run.
Two words: damage control. While there is currently some controversy surrounding the benefits of stretching, there is really no argument against strengthening before you begin running. Running will increase the demands you usually put on your musculoskeletal system. The best way to prevent injuries is to strengthen the muscles you’re going to be using most. These muscles are responsible for keeping your bones in optimal alignment to protect your joints. Focus on exercises that strengthen the hips, core, and legs — and if you begin to feel tightness, add some gentle stretching into your pre-post workouts.

4. Use an app.
There are many (free) apps out there. Ask your runner friends which ones they use, and give one a try. An app will help you get some baseline numbers for time, pace (splits), and distance. It will save your workouts so you can keep track of your progress.

5. Be patient.
It’s ok if running doesn’t feel blissful right away – you’ll get there. The first few runs might feel uncomfortable, exhausting, and even awkward. Hang in there. One day, you’ll be running and you’ll have that feeling every runner gets at some point when you are approaching the end of your target run time/distance and you think Hey, I feel pretty good…I could keep going! When you get there – and you will – I think it’s safe to say you’re officially a runner. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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3 Ways To Shape Up (For People Who Don't Have Time To Exercise)

Lack of time is a common reason for not exercising. But logging too many hours at the office or having too many balls in the air doesn’t excuse you from taking care of yourself. (Though I guess juggling could count as exercise, right?)

If you’re starved for time try these simple tips to help shape-up:

1. Eat better

Contrary to popular opinion, about 80 percent of being in shape is about what you put in your body. Not about how you move your body. So if fitness isn’t your thing, focus on food instead. You’ll get more bang for your buck anyhow, plus eating is something you have to do no matter how busy you are.

Start by making small upgrades. There’s no need to totally overhaul your eating lifestyle or suddenly swear off anything that can’t be hunted or gathered. When you prepare your meals or eat out, focus on adding more whole foods into your diet, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Be mindful of your portions, too. You don’t need to bust out a scale and start weighing your food like Jenny Craig installed a spy-cam in your kitchen. Just consume reasonable quantities and give your body ample time to recognize it’s full before going back for seconds. Or if it works better for you, eat several smaller meals throughout the day. And whatever you do, resist the urge to skip meals because you don’t have time. That won’t help you shape up at all.

2. Change your mindset

A lot of people associate fitness with a sweaty run or grunt-filled weight-lifting session. But anything that gets your heart rate going counts as exercise.

Stop thinking of it as exercise. Instead, think of it as movement and do some sort of physical activity every day. If the thought of the StairMaster or Elliptical Trainer makes you get all pukey, try something different. Better yet, aerobic activity can include things you are already planning on doing, such as mowing the lawn, getting walked by the dog, wrestling your kids or cleaning the house. The ultimate key to staying fit and healthy is to find movement that you enjoy, and then do it consistently.
Be sure to bring the fun, too! Incorporate movement that’s more recreational and makes you forget you’re working out–like dancing, geocaching with the kids, or playing a game of flag football. Other fun ideas that will make you forget you’re trying to be fit include biking, belly dancing, boxing, roller skating, ice skating, golfing, paddle boarding, rock climbing, snowboarding, surfing, swimming and beating the pants off of your partner in a Wii sports game.

3. Make time work for you

There’s a common misconception that you need to sweat buckets for at least 30 consecutive minutes to get any health benefit. But the truth is, as long as it adds up to half an hour or more of moderate activity a day, that’s what counts.

Chunk your time. If you don’t have a solid block of 30 minutes, try breaking your activity up into 10-minute chunks at different times during the day, such as morning, afternoon and evening.

Kill two birds. The next time you have a meeting, instead of heading to your favorite coffeeshop again, hit the local walking trail or go on a hike for a change of pace. Or try combining exercise with a sedentary activity so you can be more efficient. Hop on the treadmill while catching up on your favorite sitcom or while chatting up your old college bestie.

Keep it convenient. Going to the gym is great for some people. But unless you happen to have a gym at your office, getting there and back eats up precious time that could be used for other activities, and this often becomes an excuse not to exercise at all. Try using “at home” workout equipment like stairs, stationary equipment, a jump rope or a fitness video.

Work out in quick bursts. Interval training allows you to burn more calories in less time and improve your aerobic capacity. Just a couple of 30-minute sessions per week can supercharge your endurance and fitness. Or try a Tabata workout–each one is only 4 minutes, but it’s liable to feel a lot longer!

See, there’s really no excuse. If you know how to use your time wisely you can shape-up no matter how busy you are. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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Your First 50-Mile Ultramarathon: Race Day Tips

Anxious and Nervous

You have trained for your first 50-mile ultramarathon. You have been visualizing your run. But you might be a bit anxious and nervous. Doubt is creeping into your psyche. You even had a nightmare that you missed the start of the race. This is perfectly natural. To ease your anxieties, calm your nerves, diminish any doubt, and get you pumped, consider the following tips and what to expect. They are based on my eleven years of ultrarunning and finishing 13 ultras, including seven 50-mile ultras.

What to Pack

The night before you travel to the race site, make a list of everything you need to bring. Pin together what you will wear on race day. Pack two or three pairs of running shoes and at least four pairs of socks in case the race becomes wet and muddy. Pack a rain jacket, especially if the forecast calls for rain. Pack a hydration bottle/belt/backpack, and a cap to protect you from the rain and the sun. I pack a second set of clothes. I like to change my sweaty running clothes after the first 25 miles.

Pack a small transparent storage container to help you and your crew easily locate the following essentials: petroleum jelly, body glide, zinc oxide, toenail clippers, tweezers, scissors, ibuprofen, Neosporin, Tiger Balm, bandages, athletic tape, athletic bandages, wipes, tissues, sunscreen, headlamp, flashlight, sunglasses, bug spray, lip balm, Benadryl, vitamins, and duct tape.

©Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

I also tuck in my running waist pack scripture passages, runner’s prayers, including the Ultrarunner’s Prayer, inspirational quotes from ultrarunners, and a copy of the course and aid stations. Don’t forget your smartphone. Use your smartphone to capture nature’s beauty during your 50-mile journey. Although the aid stations are stocked, pack a big cooler with water, sport drinks, soft drinks, fruit, and food that you want your crew to feed you through out the 12 – 13 hour race day.

What to Expect The Night Before The Race

1. What to Eat – Some races offer a pasta dinner the night before for a fee. I usually have sausage pizza, a salad, and ice cream at a local restaurant. I also bring homemade food to heat in the hotel’s microwave. Eat what you are accustomed to eating and what works for you.

2. Lay Out Your Running Clothes – Shorts, running tights, skort, top/tank, sport bra, underwear, socks, running shoes, jacket, rain gear, etc.

3. Set Your Alarm – Everyone staying with you should set his/her cellphone alarm. Sometimes this might not always work. The morning before one ultra, my husband, teenage children, and I overslept even after we all heard the alarms go off. We sped to the start in our mini-van and got pulled over by a cop. We made it 15 minutes before the start.

4. You Might Not Sleep – I can never sleep the night before an ultra. I toss and turn. I worry the alarm won’t go off and that I will oversleep.

5. Listen to Music – The night before my first ultra, I couldn’t sleep. I listened to music on my iPod and sang along aloud. My husband and teenage children patiently suffered and got no sleep either. Singing didn’t help me sleep but it helped to calm my nerves and to visualize my race.

What to Expect The Morning of The Race

1. Prepare Your Body – Clip your toenails. Smear generous amounts of petroleum jelly, body glide, and zinc oxide around your toes, feet, nipples (guys), below your sport bra (gals), and through out parts of your body that will chafe. Rub Tiger Balm on your hips, knees, and across the soles of your feet. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

2. Dress – Strap on your running watch or other gadget. Dress appropriately for race day weather. If you’re running on a cold day, dress in layers.

3. Consume Calories – Eat a bagel, banana, or what you normally consume before your training runs.

4. Butterflies and Diarrhea – It’s an exciting day and you’re a tad nervous. Experiencing butterflies and diarrhea is not uncommon at the start of any race. Make use of the porta potty at the race site.

5. Pack Your Car – Don’t forget your bib number, timing chip, extra running gear, cooler, and the container with the essentials.

During The Run

1. Start Slow – An ultra is an endurance run, not a sprint! Slow and steady finishes the race.

2. Bask in Nature’s Beauty – Enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, and the bright rainbow that adorns the sky after a rainfall.

3. Hydrate – Always have a full bottle and replenish calories at the aid stations.

4. Eat and Run – Take small bites and keep moving your feet.

5. Take Care of Blisters – Have your crew drain them. Use a toenail clipper to pop and drain blisters. Apply Neosporin to the area and bandage with duct tape.

6. You Might Take a Tumble – If you trip over a tree root, a rock, or slip on a switchback or in a creek, dust yourself off and carry on! Scissors, gauze pads, athletic tape, and athletic bandages will come in handy if you take a tumble, twist your ankle, and scrape and bruise your knees, elbows, hands, and head.

7. Carry Wipes and Tissues – Depending on the course, there will be moments when the woods are your only porta potty. Be neat. Be mindful of poison ivy.

8. Thank The Aid Station Volunteers, Race Directors, Crew and Pacers – “Thank you for all you do!”

9. Give Thanks for Each Mile Conquered – “Thank you God! Only 49 more to go!”

You Are A Rare Breed

Earth is home to over 7 billion people. According to the Ultra Marathon Statistics website, a little over 716, 000 of them are ultrarunners representing 170 nations. On the day you run your first 50-mile ultra, you will join this rare breed. May you run many more!

“Run with endurance….” – Hebrews 12:1 — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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The Hardest Muscles To Build And How To See Results

The hardest muscles to isolate and build mass.

Everyone has that specific set of muscles that infuriates them. That one spot where no matter how hard you train — no matter how hard you push yourself, you just don’t see the results you want.

But if you ask around the gym you’d probably find that there are some muscles most people agree to have a problem with. Those universal complaints that most bodybuilders have even after years of hitting the gym.

As always, we are happy to help by breaking down these tricky muscles and hopefully providing you with a better way to deal with them — leading you on a more pleasant path towards maximizing your over all muscle gain.

First thing’s first though, there is something to be said about genetics. As in, some people just have a harder time with certain muscles because of the DNA coursing through their body. It can’t be helped and sometimes that just means you have to work harder than the person next to you.

Also, proper form is key for all of these muscle groups. It’s key for any workout really – but part of what makes these specific ones so hard is because most people do not use correct form. So keep that in mind as you move forward with isolating these muscles. Whatever you are doing, you always want your spine to be properly aligned and make sure that you perform the full range of motion for the muscles you are working out.

CALVES

These are big ones. Calves are often either the most complained about muscle to build mass or the most overlooked. Either way they often pose more of a problem compared to other muscle sets. And there’s an actually a reason behind why they are so challenging. The anatomical configuration of the calf muscles resists the act of hypertrophy. Aka — by nature they literally resist muscle synthesis.

What is often the problem is that most people treat calves as an extra at the end of a workout – but because the calves are so much harder to develop they actually need to be focused on intensely. They key is to not make your calves an afterthought.

Here’s a breakdown on the three major muscles that make up the calves:

1. The gastrocnemius muscle (this is what gives the calf its curved shape).
2. The soleus (the long flat muscle underneath).
3. The Tibialis Anterior (this is the large frontal muscle).

That third one, the Tibialis Anterior might have surprised you. That’s because it is often overlooked when it comes to building those calves – which in turn makes the calves such a challenge for most people.

You must create a well structured workout routine that focuses on all three of these muscles in order to actually see growth. If you can focus on those then you will start to see some changes coming your way.

Here are a few examples of exercises you can do to pinpoint those calf muscles.

1. Barbell Seated Calf Raises
2. Reverse Calf Raises (These will hit those oft overlooked Tibialis Anteriors!)
3. Standing Barbell Calf Raises

LATS

The Latissimus Dorsi is another muscle that can be a real stinger in your workout routine if you don’t know the best ways to isolate and use correct technique. The main problem is that it is almost impossible to truly isolate the lats. What’s most important is to cut back on the amount of weight in order to perform the reps at a full range of motion (remember?). This will build the foundation for your lats leading to building actual mass in that area.

Surprisingly chin ups and pull ups are very effective in building your lats. Often experienced bodybuilders will be able to perform these with such ease that they use a dip belt with extra weight to push themselves even further. Elbow position is one of the most important aspects behind this. If your elbows are out wide you’ll trigger your upper lats. If your elbows are in tight you’ll be hitting up those lower muscles. Keep this in mind when performing your workout routine.

Also make sure to keep your hands facing away or down in order to maximize the amount of lat involvement.

Here are a few other suggestions to help build those back muscles.

1. Straight-Arm Pulldown
2. Close-grip front lat pull downs
3. Kneeling high pully rows
4. One-arm standing cable rows

There you have it. Everyone may be different — but hopefully you now have a better understanding on how to handle two of the more challenging muscles over all. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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10 Beliefs That Keep You Stuck When You Want To Eat Healthier

Maybe you’ll say these are excuses.

I prefer to call them beliefs. Because excuses can easily become more ingrained beliefs, and a belief can keep you stuck forever.

1. I don’t have time to eat healthy.

Even when you make the decision that eating healthy is your priority, you probably still have a job, kids, household work, social life, and 8 hours of sleep to squeeze into a 24-hour day.

However, the belief itself is what keeps you stuck, not the lack of time. When you switch your belief to “I can perfectly make at least a few hours time to shop for food and prep meals every week”, things can start changing for the better.

2. Nutrition is too complicated.

Lots of people make nutrition a lot more complicated than it really is. While I personally do need a degree and high-level nutrition knowledge to be able to serve my clients and help them solve their health and weight loss puzzle, you don’t.

Trust your common sense: it’s probably telling you to reduce sugar and coffee, drink more water, and eat more fresh produce. Here’s where to start: make your next drink or your next meal a healthier one.

3. Cooking is a chore.

Sure, if you believe that cooking is a chore, it can be hard to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle. Maybe we could turn this belief on its head and think differently.

Cooking healthy meals is an act of care and love; love of yourself and of the people you cook for. It’s a wonderful gift to you and your family. And when you decide that self-care and love are strong values in your life, you’ll start to enjoy cooking and you’ll probably also find more time for it (see #1).

4. I am addicted to sugar.

This belief can keep you stuck forever in unhealthy eating patterns. Many people who eat lots of foods high in sugar believe they are addicted to sugar and they can’t do anything about it. While sugar addiction has been shown by studies to be a reality, it has also been shown that we can train our brain to prefer healthy food.

Start to envision that this sugar addiction can be reversed, and start to add to your diet a fair amount of the vegetables you like, every single day. You will probably gradually become “addicted” to these servings of vegetables, and you’ll have a much easier time getting off sugary foods and drinks.

5. Eating healthy is too expensive.

This is an inherently subjective topic depending on revenue, country, city, and more. Now, if this is one of your beliefs, let’s consider this research from Harvard School of Public Health, which found “the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets” (that’s $45 a month for one person).

If your own diet is not the least healthy at all and your aim is not to have the healthiest diet, either, that could mean a difference of much less than that. Maybe eating healthy is not that much more expensive for you, after all.

6. Eating healthy is too hard.

Once you’ve got the habit of eating healthy, it’s easy. What can be hard is to catch the habit, especially when you’ve been eating processed foods for a long time, or you’re used to hitting the drive-through after a long day of work.

To make eating healthy a habit, you need to get started, and to do so, you may need to first eliminate other beliefs that get in your way (#1 above for example).

7. No one supports me.

People around you may love their fast food meals or fizzy drinks, they may have no interest whatsoever in improving their health or their weight, and they may even sabotage you just because you’re triggering their own stuff. But all this is about them, not about you.

You can’t wait for others to be supportive and drive the change that you want to see in yourself. If you’d love some support, try to find a group, a friend, or someone who’s done it already. But don’t let this belief that no one supports you prevent you from eating healthier.

8. I can’t be consistent with a healthy diet.

You may have this belief if you think you won’t have the willpower to stick to a healthy eating plan and you also want to be perfect and eat healthy 100% of the time.

Here’s the truth: even with the strongest willpower in the world, you won’t eat healthy every single time, simply because life happens. But you can perfectly be consistent with a healthy eating plan once you give up the idea of being perfect.

9. I love my high-calorie comfort foods too much.

You may experience this as true; and that’s ok. You can perfectly like comfort foods. This doesn’t have to prevent you from getting started to eat healthier meals. Your attachment to these foods is often synonymous with a need for comfort in your life.

While you keep some of these foods on the menu and start eating healthier at the same time, ask yourself how you could get more of these feelings of comfort in your life. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that you don’t love those foods that much after all.

10. I don’t like to exercise.

Many people don’t eat a healthy diet just because they think this won’t help them if they don’t also go to the gym at the same time. And the fact they don’t like to exercise stops them in their tracks.

I’m here to tell you: even if you don’t like or you don’t have time to exercise, you can perfectly start adopting a healthier diet today.

Anne Ricci is dedicated to helping women eat more real food and solve their health and weight loss puzzle. You can join her tribe and get personalized tips at AnnesHealthyKitchen’s Community. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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The Only Arm Workout You Need This Summer

By Jordan Shakeshaft for Life by Daily Burn

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

We all have that friend. The one with the Michelle Obama arms that photograph well from every angle. And if you’ve ever met NYC-based trainer Dara Theodore, she is that friend. Lucky for us, the Daily Burn 365 trainer and walking gun show (lovingly referred to as “Armageddon”) is spilling a few of her best-kept strength secrets. Scroll down to also snag the 15-minute arm workout she swears by — no equipment necessary.

Daily Burn: THIS Is How to Do the Perfect Push-Up

The Better Way to Work Your Arms

If your upper body routine currently consists of curls on curls on curls, Theodore suggests rethinking your plan. “Bicep curls are fine as a single-joint exercise, but let’s face it — we’re all busy. I like to spend my time doing multi-joint, compound exercises so I get more accomplished in less time.” That’s why Theodore opts for full-body workouts whenever she can. “When performing push-ups or renegade rows properly, your whole body should be working from arms down to legs. Yes, the focus is on upper body. But if you properly engage your legs, glutes and core, they will get a workout as well!”

And the results speak for themselves: More definition, greater strength and, if you keep at it, a higher percentage of lean muscle mass (hello, increased calorie burn!). “Maintaining a strong upper body not only makes the necessary activities easier, but it also ensures we are doing them properly (i.e. using the right muscles) so we don’t injure ourselves,” Theodore says. And let’s not forget: “At any age, we need strong muscles to support our bones,” she adds. “Its never too early to start strength training.”

Daily Burn: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body)

Yet, the 44-year-old mom wasn’t always flaunting her killer arms. “As a younger woman, I had a hard time embracing my muscular physique. In my 20s, the waif-like look was in style, and I have to admit I was a bit insecure and didn’t consider my look ‘feminine’ enough,” Theodore recalls. “Thank goodness I got older and grew up a little, and got over that nonsense! Today, I’m really proud of my muscles and work hard to make sure they work really well,” she says. “I have so much admiration for strong women, women who can lift heavy weights and support the weight of their own bodies — both are equally strong in my opinion!” Amen.

Dara’s 15-Minute Arm Workout

Don’t be fooled — this bodyweight workout packs a serious punch, especially since the exercises are performed as a circuit, with little to no rest between moves. To make sure your form is on point, Theodore recommends taking a video of yourself doing the move. “It’s a great opportunity for self-critique and progress.”

Ready? We thought so. Complete moves 1 through 5 (pictured below) in quick succession. Rest 60 seconds at the end of the circuit and repeat for three rounds.

Daily Burn: 5 Crazy-Effective Crunch Variations

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

1. Narrow Grip Push-Up (10 reps)
Also known as the tricep push-up (see complete push-up tutorial here), this move targets the triceps, shoulders, chest and core. Not bad for one badass bodyweight move! “Think of the body as a moving plank with the glutes, quads and core super engaged,” Theodore says. Also be sure to draw the shoulder blades down the back and keep elbows close to body. Need to modify? Add some incline, placing the hands on a box or bench.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

2. Renegade Row (10 reps)
Channel your inner GI Joe or Jane for this complex movement. Holding a high plank, keep the shoulders in line with one another and allow elbow to graze the rib cage as it moves toward the ceiling. Pro tip: “Try to keep hips from rocking by separating the feet and keeping glutes and quads engaged,” Theodore advises. Once you’ve got that down, you can add dumbbells for extra resistance.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

3. Prone Y and T (10 reps)
If you have a tendency to neglect your backside, this move has you covered. The secret: “Keep glutes engaged and hip bones and feet on the ground,” Theodore says. “Think of lifting from the arms more than from the chest but do engage the upper back, and keep a nice long neutral neck.” Though you can progress to very light weights, don’t be surprised if you’re feeling this move using bodyweight-only after just a few reps.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

4. Side Lying Tricep Press (10 reps)
We give you permission to skip the scary dip machine. This side-lying push-up will tone the triceps, biceps and obliques in just one equipment-free move. Be sure to press firmly into the floor, firing the triceps and core on your way up. Timing your breathing with help, too. Exhale as you press your body off the floor, and inhale as you return to the start position.

Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

5. Half Get-Up (10 reps)
If this move doesn’t make you feel strong, we don’t know what will. Holding a book, a dumbbell or nothing at all (recommended for beginners), the half Turkish get-up works everything from your shoulders, arms, hips, back and core. To get the most out of the move, “Make sure to drive through the heel of the bent leg as opposed to coming to toes, and keep an eye on the extended hand or weight to maintain proper shoulder position,” Theodore says.

Want a new, no-equipment workout every day? Head to DailyBurn.com/365 to join — free for 30 days.

More from Life by Daily Burn:

5 Standing Desk Stretches to Relieve Stress Now

15 Tricks to Actually Stick to Your Workout

5 Signs It’s Time to Take a Rest Day — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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In a Rut? How to Make Running Fun Again

Tina ran a marathon in 2014. It took all of her free time and every ounce of energy to accomplish that goal. She woke up early to log miles before sending the children off to school and going to work each day. She followed her training plan with a level of discipline that would bring a tear to the eye of even the most formidable drill sergeant. Her passion knew no bounds, and her motivation to complete the marathon turned her running into something more meaningful than mere exercise or sport. The marathon became her Everest. It was a chance to prove that new frontiers can be conquered after forty.

Now, two years later, she’s still running. But, it’s not so easy. These days it takes a lot more convincing to get out the door. Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. Epic race events, injuries, seasonal changes, new friendships, and new jobs can all have an adverse effect on our running. It’s during these transition points that many runners leave the sport altogether.

The first sign is the rut. A time when running feels more like work than play, and you start to wonder if you need it anymore. After all, if it’s not fun, there are plenty of other things to do instead. Fun is the key to running longevity. Here are five ways to rekindle your running passion and find love on the run.

Make it Social

Running alone makes the miles seem longer. Find a friend, a family member, or a pet to keep you company. Running can spark surprisingly candid conversations between friends and give husbands and wives a chance to reconnect. If you don’t have family and friends nearby, check out your local running scene for clubs and group runs. At the very least, consider engaging on Twitter or Facebook with other runners. The camaraderie and encouragement you get from the running community can be a powerful incentive to keep going.

Plan a Race Calendar

Some runners are motivated by competition. If your race calendar is empty, consider adding some races. Adding a 5K or half marathon to your race calendar is a great way to find purpose in your weekly runs. Races not only rejuvenate the running spirit, they also provide a great venue to interact with other runners and be part of the local running scene.

Get Creative

If you’re like most runners, you probably have a GPS watch strapped to your wrist. Try spicing things up with a little GPS running art. See how creative you can be and share your original works of art for others to appreciate. The fun of creating a new design will make the miles fly by.

Explore New Places

Runners are creatures of habit. We usually end up running a handful of local routes hundreds of times each year. To inject and little excitement into your runs try exploring new places. take your run to the trails or the parks. Visit the local track. Or, just drive someplace new for a change of scenery.

Mix it Up

You may be a half marathon specialist. Or, maybe you like to rock the 5K. To spark a little interest and keep things fresh, consider mixing up your race distance. Try shifting to a faster gear for shorter races or building up your endurance to tackle a longer race. The change in training will not only make you a stronger runner, but it will help you rekindle your passion for running. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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The Most Common Excuses People Use to Avoid Getting Fit

When I was obese I had every excuse in the book why I couldn’t lose weight. I had bad genetics, I had some underlying medical condition or hormonal imbalance, and I had back problems that all prevented me from losing weight. As a former chronic excuse-maker, I am here to call bull.

Once I had a huge wakeup call with myself, I realized that my excuses were just that: bull. They were limitations I was putting on myself to justify my obesity. They were the reason I gave myself to not even try to seriously lose the weight. Once I got rid of the excuses, guess what? I got rid of the extra weight, too. Now that I am on the other side, it gets extremely frustrating hearing all of the excuses people give when it comes to getting fit. There are so many different excuses, and everyone is different, but there are a few predominant lines that I get told when people tell me they have a hard time losing weight.

Genetics

This is a line I gave all of the time. Keep in mind, I don’t have bad genetics at all. I just assumed that since I have been slightly overweight since first grade, it must be in my genes and I must be doomed. The truth is, the only thing that was holding me back was that I wasn’t like most kids. I couldn’t eat mac n’ cheese and fruit loops without gaining a pound. Sometimes our “bad genetics” just means we have to work a little harder than others, and we have to be very conscious of what we eat. There is nothing wrong with that. There are, of course, certain medical conditions or genetic reasons why you may have a hard time losing weight. Until you talk to a doctor, however, don’t try and use that as an excuse.

Time

The most common reason why people give that they can’t lose weight is because they don’t have the time. Although that may seem true to them, it’s bull. Have you heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen?” Damn right you have. Do you know why they say that? It’s because it is completely true. What you eat has the most impact on your health. The best part? You don’t need to have endless amounts of time in order to eat right. Set aside a little time every weekend to prep some healthy food for the week and you are good to go. What you prioritize, you will make time for. It’s time to make your health a priority.

Age

I have had many people approach me after I lost over 100 lbs and ask for advice. A handful of these people shared with me that their concern was their age. They thought that since they were a little older, that they couldn’t do it. It is true that the older you get, the harder it gets to lose weight, but there are plenty of ways that you can get fit no matter how old you are. The important thing is that you listen to your body, and make sure you don’t push yourself too hard. Eating right and light to moderate exercise can go a long way. Don’t let the number of years you have been on this earth hold you back from anything.

Lack of Motivation

I commend those who use this excuse, because at least they’re being honest. In fact, this is probably the number one reason why most people are obese. Finding (and keeping) motivation is the hardest part of losing weight and keeping fit. Hell, there are many, many days that I even struggle to find motivation. We are all human, and none of us are perfect. Motivation is something you need to work on every single day in order to stay persistent. Staying in the right mindset is sure to help you find success in your fitness journey.

No matter what your excuse is, I hope you can find the strength to call bull and get to work. Being healthy will make you feel amazing both inside and out, and you can’t deny that it will improve your quality of life. The only thing standing in your way is yourself and your excuses, so don’t fall victim to your own thoughts. Motivation is best when you nurture it every day, and down the road it will come much easier to you. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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7 Reasons to Never Miss a Friday Workout

By Samantha Lefave for Life by Daily Burn

Photo: Pond5

TGIF, time to take a rest day, right? Except, well, that’d be a mistake. Rounding out your week with a hefty dose of sweat can provide a boatload of health benefits.

We know what you’re thinking — you’ve already shown up to do a Monday workout. But here are six reasons you shouldn’t dismiss that Friday sweat sesh. Trust us, you’ll want to load up on those cardio-induced endorphins before the weekend.

7 Reasons to Feel Good About a Friday Workout

1. You’ll have more room to play.
You’re not the only one who thought about skipping the gym — and a lot of people actually followed through with it. That works in your favor, because now you have VIP access to equipment and floor space that’s usually swarmed. Or, get on your group fitness game. The smaller the class, the more room to do those yoga poses and get one-on-one instruction from trainers.

Daily Burn: 7 Reasons to Never Miss a Monday Workout

2. You’ll smile a whole lot more.
It’s easy to sleep in, yes, but getting jacked up on exercise-high endorphins will help put a smile on that face. Even better, researchers found that smiling could be as stimulating for your brain as receiving up to 16,000 British pounds (that’s about $23,000 to us American folk).

3. You’ll be super productive at work.
Having a cup of joe in the morning may give you the boost you need to get your day started, but it’s nothing like what a workout high can offer. A study shows that high-impact exercise, like running, improves learning and performance on memory tests. Who knew that a little sweat and a few smiles was all you needed to nail that work presentation (and maybe score a raise)?

4. Your confidence will skyrocket.
If you work out before your happy hour, you’ll be way more likely to get someone’s number (if you want it, that is). Research shows that people have improved self-esteem after exercising, meaning you might not be as nervous about approaching a total stranger. Want to up your game even more? Take your workout outdoors. One study found that even a five-minute walk outdoors could help improve your mood, so you can strut your stuff feeling all sorts of sociable.

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5. You’ll sleep better.
Let’s be honest: Weekends are for catching up on sleep. And getting in a Friday workout will make your Saturday morning zzz’s that much better. Studies show that those who get in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week report a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality, plus they feel less sleepy throughout the day. What’s better: You can plan your Friday sweat sesh around the weight room, because researchers found that resistance exercise can help reboot your circadian rhythm, a major player in your sleep cycle. And if chronic sleep problems are an issue, another study found that four months of consistent exercise helped insomniacs net 45 minutes of extra sleep per night. So you’ll be winning all around, really.

6. You’ll keep those weekend cravings in check.
You know that moment when you’ve been eating on point all week, but you find yourself caving to craving after craving? A Friday workout can help keep those rumblings in check. Researchers discovered that high-intensity exercise (like Tabata intervals) could help curb food cravings and help you make better choices throughout the weekend.

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7. You can relax.
At the end of the day, fitting in your sweat sessions during the work week gives you the option to take rest days on the weekend. Experts say it’s important to allow those exercise-induced micro-tears in your muscles to heal — so you can come back stronger than ever. Plus, not resting increases your risk of injury. Fit in that final routine on Friday, and if you want to just Netflix and chill all weekend, well, you totally can.

More from Life by Daily Burn:

Are You Planking All Wrong?

Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells: Which Should I Choose?

15 Get-Out-of-Bed Tricks from Fitness Pros — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Source: health-fitness

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How To Properly Educate Your Kids At Home

If you found out that homeschooling was your best option, would you start? If this is the choice you would make, you’re definitely not alone. Many other parents feel this way about the educational choices for their children. Homeschooling might be the solution. Keep reading for helpful tips!

Think about what room in your house is best to use as your classroom. It should be roomy and comfortable, but not in a distracting area. It should provide room for art, exercise, dance and creating, but also be suitable for writing, reading and taking exams. This area should also be one that isn’t hard to get to, so that you can watch the kids easily at all times.

Do you understand the costs associated with homeschooling? For instance, it will require one parent to be at home and not working. Time is a huge factor in homeschooling, as you will have to devote a lot towards teaching.

Get help around the house if you feel that you have too much responsibility. You will find it difficult putting everything on your shoulders. You will be extremely fatigued if you attempt to keep up with all household duties in addition to your homeschooling work. Accept any help you can get when it is offered.

Many children learn through experiencing things for themselves. Speak in Spanish regularly if you’re teaching Spanish, or feed your kids Italian food when learning Italian history. Immerse them in the culture. For instance, your children may cook perogies and cabbage rolls to go along with a lesson about Stalin. You could also adapt the recipes to the era you are studying through history lessons or the countries you are talking about during geography classes. Learning with the full complement of senses helps information stick.

If you are thinking about homeschooling your child, make sure you understand the concept completely. Check out some of the resources on the web, as this can be very beneficial in the long run. While the idea of homeschooling may be very appealing, without sufficient financial resources, energy, or time, it can turn into a nightmare.

Try to work learning into your family vacation plans. Coordinate your family vacations to correspond to what you are teaching your child in school. Take a day or two of each trip for learning. Your whole family will enjoy the time spent together while discovering something new.

Try not to become a recluse. Find local parents who are in the same situation you are and network with them. Local homeschooling support groups are a great way to socialize while also getting tips and advice. If you have a good list of people to go to you will get the most out of it.

To ensure that your child learns a lot of information, use a unit study method. This method involves learning just a single topic alone. This gives you the chance to dig deep into the topic. As an example, you might spend several weeks devoted to classical music. Once you have studied music in the class, schedule a fired trip to a musical performance to experience the joys of music. This will really help to cement what they have learned into their memory bank.

Now that you know a little more about homeschooling, it’s time to get started. Homeschooling can provide your children with a complete education. These tips should help you become a good educator but do not get started with homeschooling if you are not ready. It’s your job to use this advice effectively.

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