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To bulk up, hit the weights and the road, endurance exercise boosts your anabolic response to resistance training. Healthy, untrained men wh...

RUN FOR MUSCLE RUN FOR MUSCLE


To bulk up, hit the weights and the road, endurance exercise boosts your anabolic response to resistance training. Healthy, untrained men who cycled before lifting saw their type-I and II muscle fibres grow by 28 percent. Those who did weights alone experienced virtually no change.


FOR BETTER ABS, WALK THIS WAY


If you brace – or “hollow” – your abs while you walk, you can protect your back. Men who did this in a study were able to contract key abdominal muscles 69 percent more than when they took a regular stroll. Hollowing activates the deep core muscles that support your spine.


Try it: Pull your belly button in, and walk.


MULTIVITS FOR MULTITASKS


If you’re after a mental edge, whether in the boardroom or during a pub quiz, Northumbria University in the UK found that a simple multivitamin, taken regularly, is enough to reduce mental fatigue while boosting cognition. Add one to your morning routine and watch your brain gains multiply.


CARB LOAD TO GO FASTER


Here’s how you can justify your extra-large sandwich: A study conducted by UK scientists found that men who hit the good stuff before a 30K treadmill time trial were 10 percent faster than those who stuck to carb-light fare. However, if you’re looking to cut fat rather than seconds, consider abstaining. You’ll run slower but burn off far more from your waistline.


BE KIND, UNWIND


According to research in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, those who perform more acts of kindness throughout the day are less emotionally affected by work stress. “Our findings suggest that if we do small things for others, we won’t feel as unwell on stressful days,” says Yale University psychologist Emily Ansell. Looks like the next round of teh and kopi is yours.


SPOT THE DIFFERENCE


Smashing through fatigue is great, but ignoring damaged muscles can leave your training regime in

pieces. If your movement is restricted or you notice signs of swelling, call it a day to prevent an ache from turning into an injury.


TAKE YOUR COFFEE STRONG


A pre-workout espresso will help you grind out more reps. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a painprocessing chemical, says the University of Illinois in the US. Not hot on coffee? Pop a caffeine pill 20 minutes before you train.

1. SOLUBLE FIBER REDUCES APPETITE When you eat foods that lack fiber your blood sugar can spike quickly then it crashes leading to hunger an...

HOW TO SOULBLE FIBER HELPS YOU LOSE BELLY FAT HOW TO SOULBLE FIBER HELPS YOU LOSE BELLY FAT


1. SOLUBLE FIBER REDUCES APPETITE


When you eat foods that lack fiber your blood sugar can spike quickly then it crashes leading to hunger and overeating. If this happens repeatedly, you will gain belly fat.


Soluble fiber can help you lose belly fat due to its ability to act as a natural appetite suppressant.


It does this in two ways. One, by emptying your stomach at a slower rate compared to other foods hence you don’t feel hungry so often.


Soluble fiber also swells when it gets to your stomach after absorbing water. This makes you stay full for longer.


Oatmeal is a good example of a food that is rich in soluble fiber you can have every morning.


2. SOLUBLE FIBER REDUCES CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD LIPIDS (FATS)


Soluble fiber reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your bloodstream.


Research shows that soluble fiber aids in reducing your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, “the bad” cholesterol which accompanies belly fat more often than not.


Foods rich in soluble fibers include kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.  Cinnamon (a spice not food) is also an excellent addition to your diet.


According to this study, cinnamon doesn’t add calories and helps burn fat. In fact, taking as little as ¼ to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon daily can lower your blood sugar levels.


Moreover, it lowers cholesterol by 10 to 25%. So be sure to add cinnamon to smoothies, teas, and main meals.


3. SOLUBLE FIBER LIMITS THE AMOUNT OF FAT YOUR CELLS ABSORB


Soluble fiber is also known as the viscous fiber. This is because it absorbs water to form a thick gelatinous substance.


This thick mass limits the absorption of dietary fat into your cells. It works by binding on to the fats and carrying them through the digestive tract. As a result, fats pass through your stool instead of entering the bloodstream.


Additionally, fiber binds on bile acids produced in the liver to help digest fats, which prevents them from being absorbed into your system.


In short, eating bananas, apples, pears, and beans will reduce the amount of dietary fat absorbed into your body. As a result, you will lose belly fat faster.


4. SOLUBLE FIBER HELPS THE BODY METABOLIZE SUGAR


Since your body cannot break down fiber into nutrients like glucose, it uses it to get rid of excess blood sugar.


Moreover, fiber slows down the rate of absorption of sugar into your body. When your blood sugar levels are low, it is easier to lose belly fat.


5. SOLUBLE FIBER BOOSTS LEVELS OF SATIETY HORMONE


Recent studies show that regulating satiety hormones can aid fat loss.


Leptin is produced by fat cells and has been labeled a “satiety hormone”. It signals your brain that you are full and you don’t need to eat anymore.


When your body has high levels of leptin, your brain assumes that you are full.


Well, you can increase leptin levels without overeating by eating foods rich in soluble fibers such as beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables.


6. SOLUBLE FIBER HELPS REDUCE YOUR TOTAL DAILY CALORIC INTAKE


You and I know that high caloric intake is the main reason people gain belly fat.


Therefore, you need to reduce your total daily caloric intake to lose belly fat. Eating foods rich in soluble fiber can help cut your caloric intake by half since these foods are very filling and low in calories.


For example, eating a fruit before meals can make you feel fuller and as result, eat fewer calories in the main meals.


You may also want to drink soups before meals. Some healthy soups include pure vegetable soup, chicken soup with vegetables, and chunky vegetable soup among others.


7. SOLUBLE FIBER ENHANCES FAT BURNING IN CELLS


The more fat is broken down, the less fat there is to form the belly fat. Well, most vegetables rich in soluble fiber also produce acetate. Acetate is an acid that turns on the fat-burning activity in your cells.


Clearly, eating soluble fiber will keep your body in fat-burning mode all day.


8. SOLUBLE FIBER FIGHTS INFLAMMATION


Inflammation occurs when your body responds to unwanted substances in your body.


Things like excess fat cells that accumulate in your belly area. Your body’s ability to suppress inflammation can lead to a flatter belly.


By consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like sea vegetables (seaweeds), your body will able to fight inflammation.


Research shows that increasing the intake of omega 3 fatty acids is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation.


Other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include olive oil, tomatoes, almonds, walnuts, fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines.


9. SOLUBLE FIBER REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF INSULIN RELEASED INTO YOUR BODY


Research suggests that high fiber intake reduces insulin resistance, which means your body doesn’t have to produce excess insulin to balance your blood sugar.


Your body tends to store glucose as fat when there is too much insulin in your body. Even worse, too much insulin blocks the use of stored fat as energy.


I may also note that soluble fiber reduces the absorption of carbs, which in turn reduces blood glucose and insulin levels in your body.


10. SOLUBLE FIBER HELPS DIGEST FOODS EFFICIENTLY


Soluble fiber such as beta-glucan and glucomannan mixes with water to form a viscous gel-like substance that slows down how fast the stomach releases digested food into the gut.


This soluble fiber-effect allows food to be digested more efficiently. When food is digested efficiently, you get all the essential nutrients that balance hormones and enhance fat loss.


Every weight loss expert agrees that soluble fiber is essential for belly fat loss. However, it is not a magic bullet. You still need to make other changes in your diet to get a flat belly.


This program will show you simple changes you can make in your diet to lose belly fat fast. Frankly, if you follow exactly what the VFX BODY program teaches, you can’t fail to lose belly fat.

Since humasn first existed, physical strength has been crucial in our survival. However with the constant change in society and evolution of...

BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING & DEVELPMENT  BENEFITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING  & DEVELPMENT


Since humasn first existed, physical strength has been crucial in our survival. However with the constant change in society and evolution of humanity, physical strength has become less of a focal point to the moderm-day lifestyle that typically involves a sedentary way of living. Strength used to be the factor that determined if a person  could hunt for food, build shelter and stay alive. Put simply a person had to be physically strong in order to stay alive.


Thankfully modern life is far easier to survive than what our ancestor had to deal with, but there can be no dooubt that there is room for improvement when it comes to our health and ensuring that physical exercise becomes a way of everyday life. Strenght training is an excellent way to achieve this using the basis of progressive overload.


WHAT IS PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD?


There is a tale from the 6th century that helps illustrate the concept of progressive overload. It involves a wrestler called Milo. One day a calf was born near his home and he hoisted it onto his shoulders. He did this every day, so as the calf grew in size, so did Milo's strength and abitlity to withstand the amount of wewight on his shoulders. In the end, he wasn't lifting a calf onto his shoulders, but a fully grown bull!


Progressive overload is a method of strength training that advocates for the gradual increase of the stress placed upon the musculoskeletal and nervous system. It is the single most important component of anyone's training programme.


WHERE TO START WITH STRENGTH TRAINING


For years resistance training has been categorised in isolation by looing at the area they target: 'biceps', 'triceps','shoulders', and so on. However pioneering work from  Professor Yuri Verkhoshansky and Dr michael Yessis accelerated the use of strength and conditioning both for athletes and the day-to-day individual seeking a better performance.


FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT PATTERNS


To optimise human movement and behaviour, we simply nee to be able to perform basic patterns efficiently well. These have been categorised and defined as fundamental to everyday life.


In the gym we may know them as a deadlift or a squat, but in everyday life they transfer to picking something up off the floor or squatting down to pick up our children.


Incorporating strength training into your life brings so many benefits, some of which we examine below:


1. IT AFFECTS LIBIDO AND HORMONES


To date, there is nothing from natural sources that will have a greater effect on testosterones in males as lifting weights. The body sends a rapid signal to the brain that initiates the release of hormones. This then releases testosterone. As for women, resistance training is key in balancing progesterone to oestrogen hormones.


2. SHARPENS YOUR MIND


Adding resistance training to your lifestyle will accelerate your brain response, giving better memory recall, increasing the ability to learn and finally bring a cleaner picture to your life.


Another considerable benefit that you will gain from strength training is proprioception (perception or awareness of the position  and movement of the body). With strenght training being so versatile in routine, order and selection, you can adapt the exercise you use to continuously challenge the body and brain with the law progressive overload.


3. BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM & FAT LOSS


Strength training plays an integral part when it comes to burning body fat and also increasing muscle size strength. Your metabolism gets a healthy boost from strength training because of the cellular response the body receives. If you are increasing your activity level, you will be improving the rate at which your metabolism burns calories throughout the day as a resul of the increaed muscle percentage it produces.


Resitance-based training should feature in every individual's weekly training regime with a mixture of compound strength exercise. Mix the focus on lower body and upper strengthening in order to get a fully comprehensive programme.


4. IMPROVES IMMUNITY


Staying healthy plays an integral role in fighting off illness and disease. When our bodies are healthy our muscles are more sensitive to insulin and utilising the foods we eat. If we are fuelling the body with wholefood  choices as opposed to processed options, it increases our changes of avoiding illnesses. Alongside this, when our bodies are healthier and stronger, it means that we are more equipped against long-term wear and tear such as osteoporosis, which refers to the deteriration of bones.


5. SELF ACHIEVEMENT


There is no better feeling than the sense of achievement after a training session. Completing something uncomfortable or getting up early for your training improves a capacity for physical and mental boundaries. Our honest work and commitment in the gym can transfer into everyday life. Anything in life worth working for often requires consistency in order to see the results. The same goes for physical fitness. It is the consistency of adhering to a training programme or principle that sets our foundation for long-term progress.


6. ENHANCES THE SKELETAL SYSTEM AND IMPROVES MOBILITY


Strength training can improve the structure of bones by increasing protein molecules that in turn strengthen the outer surface of bones. Exercise movement patterns that require the body to be put under lenghtened tension have been prove to increase the body's range of movement. That being said, the old system of static stretching prior the exercise in a method that is no longer suitable to optimise efficient lifting and should be considered as a form of recovery exercise.


7. IMPROVES YOUR MOOD


Undertaking resistance training has been shown to have a postive impact on people's physical and mental wellbeing. When we exercise it stimulates the production of endorphins (chemicals in the brain). The release of these chemicals stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, which are transmitters that benefit our mental and physical wellbeing. Taking regular exercise also can help with balancing the stress hormone known as adrenaline. This hormone plays a cruial role in controlling the body's fight or flight response.

Yep, it’s that time of year, when the invites start flowing and we get ready to toast the end of another12 months. But with temptations ever...

STAY ON TRACK THIS PARTY SEASON!  STAY ON TRACK THIS PARTY SEASON!


Yep, it’s that time of year, when the invites start flowing and we get ready to toast the end of another12 months. But with temptations everywhere, you can feel overwhelmed if you’re trying to stay healthy.

 

Work Christmas parties, reunions, family gatherings and end-of-year celebrations are all back on the agenda – such joyful occasions, and they’re often coupled with fabulous food and more alcohol than usual. But what if I told you that you can avoid unnecessary blowouts with just a few easy hacks? Here, it is revealed how to stay on track throughout party season...


BE SELECTIVE


Invites are flying hard and fast, but don’t get caught in the whirlwind and accept every end-of-year party invite that comes along. There’s nothing like a boring party to have you reaching for more fatty finger foods and calorie-laden drinks. Only RSVP to events that are important or that you are likely to enjoy, and let the others go. This goes for when you’re at an event, too – if you’re getting pressured by friends, family or work colleagues to “have another drink” or “have just one more mince tart”, just say thanks, but no thanks!


PLAN, PLAN, PLAN


Plan when you’re going to exercise. Plan your meals. Plan your snacks. Identify your red-flag situations and develop a plan of action. Decide what you’re going to eat as early as possible so that you aren’t put on the spot and fall back on a less healthy option. Make smart calorie swaps on that vegie bake you’ve been asked to bring and avoid hidden temptations by tracking your intake. For sit-down functions with several courses, have a look at the menu before you arrive, if possible, or at least before you sit down. Remember, you don’t have to eat absolutely everything on your plate. Have enough to taste the dish, but be aware during this time of the year that there is often more food coming.


SMASH YOUR WORKOUT IN THE MORNING


Get your workout done as soon as you] get up. That way, you can get it over and done with, and focus on other fun things you might have planned. It may be one of the most hectic periods of the year, but whatever you do, don’t let exercise fall by the wayside. Schedule a training session on the morning of the function and don’t skip exercise the next day, even if it’s just a walk or a quick toning session.


Over the holiday period when your calorie intake increases, you will really notice how exercise can help keep your weight under control. So devise some “going-out game plans” and stick to them, and you never know – in a few weeks you could leave party land in even better shape than you entered it.


PLAN FOR HEALTHY FESTIVE MEALS


There’s no need to go nuts with your meals over this period. It’s not called the silly season for nothing – but it doesn’t have to be. Think about using some super-healthy recipes to share with friends and family instead. Fill your plate once and listen to your body. Once you’re full, you’re full. You don’t need to sneak in those “special” foods – in reality, most of those foods are available all year round. Fight the FOMO!


HAVE FUN


Christmas is a day, NOT a week, so don’t undo all your hard work. Eat mindfully and stay as active as possible. You can still have loads of fun while sticking to your positive food and exercise choices, and you’ll feel so much better for these decisions. A healthy attitude is key.


The bottom line is, there’s no reason for you to avoid the party season and go into hibernation. It’s a wonderful time to be social and to connect with friends and loved ones. With forward planning and a clear strategy before you attend the festivities, you will get through all celebrations feeling your absolute best.


Too tired? No time? Just CBA? There are times when the hardest exercise is just lifting your glutes off the sofa. That's why we've c...

HOW TO FIND FRESH FITNESS MOTIVATION FOR THE MOST COMMON COP-OUTS HOW TO FIND FRESH FITNESS MOTIVATION FOR THE MOST COMMON COP-OUTS


Too tired? No time? Just CBA? There are times when the hardest exercise is just lifting your glutes off the sofa. That's why we've constructed fail-safe contingency plans for six of the most common cop-outs. Here endeth the excuses...


1. You’re Bored of Your Training Plan


Training plans may not be as exciting as flitting between the latest trending fitness classes. But they still have their place. If you have a bona fide training plan – not just a bunch of exercises you do out of habit – you’re probably working towards a goal, whether that’s adding muscle, losing fat, or improving on your 10k time. Mix things up too much and you violate two important principles of effective exercising; specificity (to improve your 10k, you should, erm, run) and progressive overload (forcing your body to adapt by applying a greater stimulus than it’s used to).


The trick is to tweak your training plan just enough. “Each week, you should be making small increases – lifting slightly heavier, adding a few more reps, running a little faster,” says Jonathan Dick, an Equinox Tier X fitness coach. “After four to eight weeks, make changes to your plan, so you move towards more advanced versions of your favourite exercises. This way, you can make consistent progress,” he explains. Consistency might not fire you up – but progress certainly will.


The quick fix


◆ Make your plan progressive, rather than doing the same squats and biceps sesh every time.

◆ Tweak that plan every four to eight weeks, changing the movements to ensure they remain challenging.

◆ Track your progress via consistent workouts.


2. You Had a Terrible Night’s Sleep 


Noted sports scientist William Shakespeare defined sleep as “sore labour’s bath”. He was right. It’s when your body repairs damage caused by the previous day’s activities. “If you didn’t get adequate sleep, you’re already starting a little bit in the hole,” says physiologist Jim Pate. In a study published in The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, cyclists tasked with riding while sleep deprived had less energy and aerobic power, plus they exhausted more quickly.


Still, onwards and upwards: training is the best way to give your tired brain a lift. One study by researchers at the University of Georgia found exhausted volunteers who took part in moderate-effort exercise experienced a 65 per cent decline in fatigue; separate research from the same uni revealed that a 10-minute stair climb can boost alertness more effectively than 50mg of caffeine. Pate advises avoiding anything too intense and building your sessions around mobility, stability and fun stuff, such as skill development. Bear in (addled) mind, though, that your coordination will be impaired – this is not the time for complicated gymnastics. Practising pull-ups? Perfect. No kipping...


The quick fix


◆ Understand that you’re going to find things harder. Prioritise form over weight or speed.

◆ Replace high-skill movements with simpler versions focused on stability.

◆ Don’t be a hero.


3. You’re Still Sore From Your Last Workout


Perhaps you’re new to fitness or you haven’t trained for a while. Or maybe you overdid what you usually do or tried something new. No one’s judging.


“You should be satisfied that you’ve achieved significant enough overload,” says Pate. The inflammatory response to the tiny tears you’ve caused in your muscles is what drives your body to adapt, so it doesn’t get overloaded next time. “Soreness is a good sign,” confirms Pate. So you’ve earned a couch day? Not quite.


“You need to rest, but you don’t want to be static,” says Pate. “You’re trying to encourage your muscles to work better for you, so you need to maintain them.” In other words, rest is relative. While the thought of it might make you wince, a slightly softened effort will keep your body ticking over and allow it to let go of that soreness. Hop on a treadmill or rower if you have access to them, or take to the streets in your runners, and warm up with five to 10 minutes of cardio at 50 to 60 per cent of your maximum intensity, with a few bursts of higher-level stuff.


Once your muscles are more pliable, dynamically stretch and mobilise (think: lunge rotations), paying extra attention to tight, sore areas. If it’s only one area of the body screaming at you, train the other areas as normal. Cool down with static stretches, holding for at least 30 seconds. See you tomorrow, bright and early.


The quick fix


◆ Warm up sore muscles with five to 10 minutes of moderate cardio, followed by mobility work.

◆ If only certain parts of your body ache, train the rest as normal. If it all hurts, try a light bodyweight circuit.

◆ Remember that soreness isn’t a bad sign.


4. You Just Really, Really Don't Want To


It happens to the best of us: occasionally, your motivation will fail you. But if you feel that your drive is constantly stalling, take a moment to reflect on the underlying causes. "It's often the result of trying to force an end game that goes against your true aspirationo," says Tom Foxley, a CrossFit coach. "Maybe you've never really wanted to get to where you say you want to, or perhaps your desires have changed." In other words , if you genuinelly want to reach a goal, you should feel pulled towards it, rather than always having to push your way there.


If you're certain about what you want to achieve, then think about how that will feel, "Emotional drivers are much more compelling than logical ones," explains Foxley. "Image how stoked you'll be when you achive that bodyd-weight snatch, or cross the finish line of a triathlon." Desired outcomes are the fire that forges the iron of self=control, so bring distant consequences closer in your mind. Or you could cut yourself a deal. "If the full session is an hour long, tell yourself you'll do, say, the first two sets," says Foxley. The chances are that, once you've completed them, you'll be inclined to do more. Either way, you're taking the weight of expectation off your shoulders.


"Frequently, you don't want to work out because you feel the pressure to have a great session," says Foxley. But athletic success isn't built solely on great sessions. Its foundation is unwavering commitment, whatever you motivation level. In a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, subject visited the gym twice as often when they scheduled their sessions ahead of time, compared with when they were given 'inspirational' reading material/ "Turning up and doing 20 percent is better than doing nothing at all," says Foxley. So pull on your kit and get going. Trust us you'll never be disappointed that you did.


The quick fix


◆ To borrow a top phrase, just do it


5. You’ve Only Got 15 Minutes Anyway


Pah! You can get a whole lot done in that time – work your entire body, raise your heart rate, build muscle, burn fat – and, crucially, do so with minimal equipment. Weighted HIIT, such as this kettlebell workout from Sylvester Savyell, another Tier X coach, provides more bang for your buck than standard cardio. “You’ll continue to burn more kilojoules as your muscles recover,” he says. Spend five precious minutes warming up, then perform as many rounds as possible.


AMRAP (15 mins)


◆ Kettlebell goblet squat

15 REPS

Holding akettlebell to your chest with your feet shoulderwidth apart, squat down, chest up, knees wide (imagine sitting back in a chair). Then drive back up, squeezing your glutes.

◆ Pull-over with static hip thrust

15 REPS

Set up in a double-leg glute bridge, with the kettlebell on the floor behind your head so you can reach it. Pull it over until it’s above your chest, then lower. Don’t let your bridge collapse.

◆ Burpee into overhead press

10 REPS

Goblet squat down and place your knuckles on the (ideally, padded) floor. Shoot your feet out and back, then in again. As you stand, lift the kettlebell and press it overhead. That’s one rep.

◆ Kettlebell lunge with chop

10 REPS EACH SIDE

Hold the kettlebell at one shoulder, fingers interlaced. Lunge with the opposite leg and simultaneously chop the bell across your body (keep a firm grip on it). Reverse.

◆ Side plank with press

10 REPS EACH SIDE

Lie on your side, propped on your elbow, with your feet stacked and top arm (holding the kettlebell) straight above your head. Contract your core to lift your hips so your body is straight, then lower.


6. You Can’t Find Your Bloody Headphones


Whether your partner has nabbed them for their own outdoor run or aggy neighbours mean you can’t blast your home workout playlist without them, use the quiet time as a chance to tune into what you’re doing. “Choose exercises that challenge your coordination,” says Ian Robertson, a personal training manager. “You’ll be far more engaged.” Granted, music is a proven performance enhancer, but aimlessly trawling Spotify is not, and all those seconds spent waiting for the bass drop before you start your next set will add up.


In a study published in Computers In Human Behavior, treadmill runners who looked at their phones during training spent 10 of the 20 minutes they worked out at low intensity and only seven at high. Those who left their handsets in their lockers only phoned it in for three minutes, and dialled up their speed for 13 minutes. Besides, you don’t need your trusty playlist to get amped. “Rhythmic breathing can actually help you push an extra rep and very often you lose this benefit when you don’t hear it,” says Robertson. w


The quick fix


◆ Practise more complex, show-off moves while you can focus on what you’re doing.

◆ Listen to your breathing during your workout, rather than today’s mix.

◆ Once you break the exerciseearbud association, missing ones won’t be an issue.

You don't need to walk for miles or spend hours at the gym to get a good workout. It can be as easy as making a few changes in your dail...

FIND TIME TO GET FIT  FIND TIME TO GET FIT


You don't need to walk for miles or spend hours at the gym to get a good workout. It can be as easy as making a few changes in your daily lifestyle, or it may involve starting a more organised fitness program. It's up you. The key is to find an exercise program that suits your goals, interests, and fitness level, and your weight loss efforts will begin to pay off. Put exercise at the top of your "for me"  list. The result will be a healthier, happier, and sharper you. Check out these exercise options and choose the one that works best for you.


WORK IT IN


Increasing your daily activity through little lifestyle changes can be a powerful and effective way to get fit. Burning just 100 extra calories per day, the equivalent of taking a few extra steps each day, adds up to 10 pounds of weight loss in one year. The key is to try to do something every day. Use these eight simple techniques to introduce extra calorie-burning opportunities into your day:


1. Park farther away and walk.

2. Return shopping carts to their proper places.

3. Avoid elevators and take the stairs.

4. Take a walking break instead of a coffe break.

5. Get up from your chair frequently to move around.

6. Listen to upbeat music while you clean your house, and you'll move faster.

7. Pace while you talk on the phone.

8. Walk around the office as you brainstorm you next project.


Get fit


The hardest part of exercise is getting started. Begin by thinking about the principles of FITT: Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type.


Frequency: How often you exercise significantly affects your fitness, health, and weight loss. Low-intensity exercise performed most days of the week leads to improved health and moderate weight loss. More intense exercise performed three to five times per week results in more significant weight loss.


Intensity: How hard you work out also determines your fitness level and affects the amount of weight you lose. To determine your intensity level, use any of these methods:


Talk test: Push your exercise har enough that you're slightly winted but can still talk easily.


Scale of 1 to 10: Assign numbers to your intensity level. Give a 1 to an activity you could sustain for hours; a 10 would apply to an exercise that results in major suffering. Most workouts should fall between 5 and 8.


Heart rate: Weight loss occurs when your exercise intensity fallls between moderate (55 per cent of your maximum heart rate [220 minus your age]) and high (85 per cent of your maximum heart rate).  Measure your heart rate by feeling your pulse in your neck (below your ear) or on the thumb side of your wrist. Count the beats for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6. This determines your heart rate in beats per minute.


Time: To improve cardiovascular fitness and to achieve moderate weight loss, you need to perform at least 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic (non-stop) exercise into a sinble session. If you don't need to fit the whole day's exercise into a single session. If you don't exercise regularly, a few 10-minute bursts of exercise spread throughout your day will effectively improve your health and fitness. Three 10-minute workouts - climbing the stairs at work or walking around the mall - add up to a daily workout. However, if you set more ambitious fitness goals, you need to get in longer workouts. Rather than squeeze several mini-workouts into your day, you need to devote a longer block of time to exercise.


Type: Choose an exercise based on what you want to gain from your efforts. For example, if you seek to improve your heart health, try low-intensity walking. If wieght loss is your goal, select an exercise that uses your large muscle groups, such as walking, jogging, swimming, or bike riding. Choose exercise equipment based on your personal preferences. The equipment you select will not affect the calories your burn as much as the time and intensity you devote to your workout.


Walk it off


Walking is one of the easiest and most effective methods to lose weight and maintain health. A pair of walking shoes is all you need. If you feel you're not in good enough shape to walk, try this simple routine: Check your watch. Walk away from your home for 10 minutes, turn around, and head back. You will have walked 20 minutes without much planning or effort and will have burned about 80 calories. Walking 15-20 minutes per day, for a total of 5-10 miles a week, burn 400-800 calories per week.


To walk properly, maintain a full stride and swing your arms. Also wear comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water. Or strive to take 10,000 steps per day. To get a realistic idea of how many steps you take each day, use a pedometer to count them for you. Simple clip the pedometer to yuor hip each morning, set it to zero, and start your day. Use the pedometer for at least one week to get a true picture of your daily activity. If you average fewer than 10,000 steps per day, step it up a bit.


Work out at home


Exercising in the privacy of your home is convenient and inexpensive, though it requires more self-discipline and structure than going to a gym. The key is having a variety of options you can fall bakc on. Keep a few workout videos and a set of dumbbells in your basement. A treadmill can provide  a good option during inclement weather or odd hours.


For a useful home gym, you need to plan a bit. For a little amount, you can create an effective workout pan that will tone your entire body. Here a re a few recommendation for inexpensive equipment that is easy to use and store.


Stability ball: A stability ball provides options for toning, strenghtening, and stretching. The ball is typically used for abdominal exercises such as crunches; it can also be used as a bench in strength exercises. Most stability balls come in two sizes - 55 and 65 centimeters. When sitting on the ball, your thighs should be parallel to the floor. In general, adults 5 feet 5 inches tall or less should use the smaller size, while those taller than 5 feet 6 inches should use the larger size.


Free weights: A set of dumbbells, in weights from 5 to 20-plus pounds, offers light muscle toning to intermediate strength training. Less expensive than machines, they provide flexibility and variety.


Resistance bands: Resistance bands or tubes provide another option for strength training. They're easy to store, come in a varitey of sizes and resistance levels, and can be used in numerous ways.


Step bench: A sten bench - a 6- or 8-inch-high platform - can be used for both cardiovascular workouts and strength training.


Videos: Exercise videos also offer variety. Use ones that focus on two or three different types of exercise.


Join the gym


You might find a class setting to be more motivating and challenging than working out alone. Group fitness classes offered through a recreation centre add varitey your routine, allow you to-discover new exercise options, and provide and instructor who will oversee your techniques. Good instructors have plenty of energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the activities they are teaching. For those new to group fitness, I suggests the following:


1. Check out a fitness centre's class schedule and ask friends and fitness managers for recomendations.

2. Look-for instructors who are cerified in group fitness.

3. Find a class that will push you a little but won't push you over the edge. If the class works at a high intensity or if the movements are too difficult, your risk of injury increases and the experience won't be much fun.

4. Join a class that is convenient and works with your schedule.

5. Get to the first class early and introduce yourself to the instructor so he or she can offer individual help, if needed.


Take it to the next level


Once you establish a fitness routine and follow it for a few months, you may find it becomes, well, too routine. Keep exercise from becoming boring by finding another activity you like and train for it. You don't need to run a marathon, but 5-kilometer races, walks, bike rides, and golf tournaments take place year-round. If you take tennis lessons, sign up on singles ladder with your local tennis association. If you enjoy soccer or softball, ask if your employer, church, or community center sponsors a team. Martial arts, such as tae knon do, are fitness-friendly and offer competitive options.


Reach your goal


Wheather you add small amounts of activity into your day or begin a formal exercise routine, your body will beome stronger and leaner. Deciding when, where, and how to exercise comes down to your preferences. Wheater you whish to slim down, tone up, control blood sugar, or boost your health, exercise is right when it works for you.

Used in isolation, scales won’t tell you much about your fitness at all. If you understand that there are five quantifiable elements that re...

HOW CAN I TRACK MY FITNESS PROGRESS WITHOUT USING SCALES? HOW CAN I TRACK MY FITNESS PROGRESS WITHOUT USING SCALES?


Used in isolation, scales won’t tell you much about your fitness at all. If you understand that there are five quantifiable elements that reflect how fit you are – strength, aerobic capacity, mobility, emotional wellbeing and body composition – scales refer solely to the latter. Standard scales measure your weight, while full-body smart scanners read the amount of muscle, fat, bone and water you carry, but none of these metrics are much use without addressing the other four pillars.


It’s better to view your fitness holistically. Sure, you can prioritise one or two elements while dialling others down for a period of time to achieve a goal, but you shouldn’t ignore them. To that end, don’t disregard scales, but use them in tandem with other measurements. Say you want to build strength. A one-rep max test (see below) will give you an idea of your ability, and scales show how much muscle you’re building. Likewise, if you want to lose weight but focus only on the scales, you’re shooting yourself in the foot – monitoring your aerobic capacity means you’ll be able to work out for longer and achieve your goal sooner. Trying to keep each factor of fitness in mind, here are the best ways to track them...


TRACK IT FOR:


STRENGTH


Use a simple one-rep max test in which you assess the heaviest weight you can lift without falling out of form. The more you can carry, the stronger you are.


AEROBIC CAPACITY


The time it takes you to run or cycle a distance is an indicator of aerobic fitness – the quicker the speed, the fitter you are. VO2 max testing is more precise: it shows how much oxygen you take in. Wearables take an estimate, but timed cardio is the DIY version.


MOBILITY


A physiotherapist analysing joint angles is the best way to track mobility, but anything as simple as being able to tie your shoes without feeling as uncomfortable as you used to means mobility gains.


BODY COMPOSITION


Complex tools such as hydrostatic weighing (an analysis of body composition while submerged underwater) give you exact numbers. A tape measure and scales give you an estimate of fat loss.


EMOTIONAL WELLBEING


Keep a note of sleep quality, mood and energy levels, identifying common denominators. Are you feeling low due to PMS? Is your wellbeing better on workout days? Seek help if you feel low most of the time.

Have you heard the expression mind over muscle, the first definition of Mental Fitness was built through an analogy of physical fitness wher...

MENTAL HEALTH VS MENTAL FITNESS: HOW TO GET MENTALLY FIT MENTAL HEALTH VS MENTAL FITNESS: HOW TO GET MENTALLY FIT


Have you heard the expression mind over muscle, the first definition of Mental Fitness was built through an analogy of physical fitness where it is something you build through training, and is seen as “your ability to cope with and meet the psychological demands of life, without undue fatigue or damage to your mind or body.” If mental health is your “state” of wellbeing, then mental fitness is the environment and the set of behaviors within which you cultivate it. Just like training for physical gains can help prevent the body from being injured, getting those brain gains in can help prevent emotional damage — both to you and to the people around you.


THE BENEFITS


When you are mentally fit, you feel fully functional and confident of your ability to affect your own emotional state. It isn’t that you feel happy all the time or that you never have a bad day. It just means that when you do have a setback, you are able to recognise that it’s only temporary and you don’t panic. You’ll be better able to retain information, manage distractions, listen effectively and build more meaningful personal connections. You’ll be more likely to respond not react. You’ll have improved cognitive function and communication, increased optimism and confidence, improved sleep and an enhanced ability to develop positive habits in all areas of life. That’s a pretty handy skill set to have if you ask me.


THE FOUR PILLARS


Just as there are four different components to physical fitness — cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition — there are four components to mental fitness.


- EMOTIONAL: Self-acceptance, self-esteem, resilience and the ability to manage strong emotions.

- SOCIAL: Connection, communication and belonging.

- FINANCIAL: Feeling in control of your finances and able to handle monetary setbacks.

- PHYSICAL: Strong Body, Strong Mind and vice versa.


MENTAL FITNESS TESTS


MENTAL FITNESS TEST #1: JUST BREATHE!


Activating your parasympathetic nervous system by breathing through your nose can help you regain a sense of calm. Since your lungs fully expand when you breathe through your nose, you are also able to extract more oxygen from the air. Try inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds.


MENTAL FITNESS TEST #2: MINDFUL MOVEMENT


Try to complete your next training session in silence. No music. No podcasts. No distractions. All you’ll have to listen to is your body and any stories that you start telling yourself when shit gets hard. Reframe any negative thoughts that arise – you’re not struggling, you’re being challenged. 


MENTAL FITNESS TEST #3: BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE


Aside from the many physiological benefits, exposure to cold has been shown to increase the blood level and brain release of norepinephrine — an adrenal hormone that can help people feel more ‘up’ naturally. If you don’t have any previous experience, start slow. When you’re done with your normal shower, finish with ten seconds of cold. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your chest to the ice-cold, aim the shower head only at your feet. When you get used to the feeling, make it thirty seconds and go for your chest. Once you are more comfortable, embrace it with your full body and aim to stay under the water for two minutes. Try it first thing in the morning and you’ll have already overcome a challenging task before your day has even started, which will help set you up for success.


THE MENTAL FITNESS ROUTINE: BRAINS OVER BRAWN


Usually in this column, I’m talking you through training variables; exercise selection, reps, sets, load and rest. But even though we’re not lifting weights, it doesn’t mean we can’t use the same parameters to make shit simple. We’re just going to flip the switch from Beast Mode to Least Mode


EXERCISE 1: Chill Time

FREQUENCY: Daily

SETS/REPS: 10-60 mins

TECHNIQUE: Find a space free from distractions, get comfortable and just be ok with being alone. You could listen to a simple guided 5-10 minute meditation (I have both the Headspace and Calm apps on my phone), do some gentle stretching/ yoga, listen to a podcast, write down some thoughts in a journal or just think of 3-5 things that you’re grateful for. This time is yours so do whatever it is that relaxes you and brings you back to the present.


EXERCISE 2: Time With Friends And Family

FREQUENCY: Weekly or fortnightly

REPS/SETS: Anywhere from an hour to a couple of days

TECHNIQUE: Make a list of the people that you genuinely like hanging out with, and who make you feel good. List them in order of importance — the better you feel afterwards, the higher on the list they should be and the more time you should spend with them. Try and set regular plans with your Top 3 so you have something to look forward to.


EXERCISE 3: Hobbies

FREQUENCY: Daily if possible, weekly at minimum

REPS/SETS: 30 mins minimum

TECHNIQUE: Self Care at it’s simplest is finding the things you love to do and doing them as often as possible. Whether it’s “gym-ing”, golfing, driving, music or reading – find the space and time to indulge yourself. It’s the little things in life that can often bring the most satisfaction.


EXERCISE 4: Task-Based Mindfulness

FREQUENCY: A couple of times per week is ideal

REPS/SETS: Five minutes minimum

TECHNIQUE: Simply focus ALL your attention on a menial task that you’re doing. It could be anything — washing the dishes, mowing the lawns or exercising. For example, if you’re washing the dishes you could focus on the temperature of the water, the smell of the detergent, the action of washing. It’s just about learning to pay attention to all of your senses in that moment. The beauty of this is that you can do it anytime and anywhere – there’s no set venue or time or equipment.


EXERCISE 5: The Great Outdoors

FREQUENCY: Once a week to once a month, whenever you get the chance

REPS/SETS: 15-30 Minutes Minimum

TECHNIQUE: Walk the dog, go bike riding, hiking, organise a picnic, book a camping trip or just get outside and walk barefoot in the sand or grass. The key is to get out of your home or office. Try and tune in and focus on your surroundings and take some big deep breaths in the fresh air.

  †SPEED †STRENGTH †ENDURANCE †POWER †AGILITY These are the 5 pillars of fitness on which every athlete's accomplishments sit. Whether y...

ARE YOU FIT FOR SPORT?  ARE YOU FIT FOR SPORT?

 

†SPEED †STRENGTH †ENDURANCE †POWER †AGILITY


These are the 5 pillars of fitness on which every athlete's accomplishments sit. Whether you're a recreational player or an aspiring sports person, here's how to push your boundaries and raise the level of your game.


STRENGTH


Pure strength is an asset on the soccer (or hockey) field only if it allows you to activate the muscle you have. Learn to tap the full capacity of your muscles and you'll become a dominant force in any sport.


THE SQUAT is ranked the single most important exercise for sports and the best predictor of total-body strength. Try this the one-repetitionmaximum squat test. Set the safety bars on your squat rack and grab a couple of spotters. Then load the barbell with the heaviest weight you can squat at least six times, but no more than eight. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Gradually decrease number of reps and increase weight. Your goal is to boost your one-rep max to more than 100 pounds. Can't do it? Here's how to push your limits.


PREP YOUR MUSCLES. If you're new to weight training, you'll need to strengthen your connective tissue and improve your muscular endurance before you take on the heavy weights  both to prevent injury and to improve performance.


For example do 5 pushups, 5 crunches, then 5 split jumps (from a lunge position, jump straight up, switch legs in midair, and land back in a lunge). Rest for 30 seconds to a minute, then raise that number to 6. Repeat, steadily increasing the number of reps to 7, 8, 9, etc.


REST YOUR MUSCLES. To grow stronger, you have to train more muscles fibers to fire. Yes, that means heavier weights, but it also means giving your muscles longer breaks to recover fully between sets to perform at their max. Try the 5x5 method. For any exercise, use the heaviest weight that allows you to do five sets of five repetitions. Rest for a full 2 to 2½ minutes between sets.


BENCH THEM. In sports, your leg muscles have to support your body weight in a variety of positions, whether you're lunging to your left or planting on your right. Use the single-leg squat to develop sports-specific lower-body strength. Stand on a bench with your left foot planted firmly and your right foot hanging off, your toes pointing up. Hold your arms straight in front of you and bend your left knee, keeping your torso as upright as possible. Lower your body until your right heel almost touches the floor. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat as many times as you can. Do four or five sets with each leg, resting 3 minutes after each.


SPEED


Sports speed isn't just about maximum velocity. It's also about how fast you can accelerate and decelerate  that is, go from standing still to your top speed, and vice versa  think soccer forward. And because every tenth of a second matters, even small improvements can make a major impact on your performance.


THE 50-METRE DASH is one of the best measurements of speed and acceleration. Get hold of partner and a stopwatch. Mark off 50 metres on a track or grass field. Get into a comfortable stance  a four-point sprinter's stance is typical  and instruct your timer to start the clock as soon as you move. The clock stops when any part of your chest crosses the finish line.


Your goal is to do the 50-metre dash in under 6 seconds. Can't do it? Here's how to push your limits.


GET A RUNNING START. Mark a starting line and a finish line 25 metres apart. Begin running about 25 metres behind the starting line and progressively build up speed so you're at top speed as you pass it. Maintain that intensity until you cross the finish line. Rest for 3 minutes, then repeat for a total of two to four sets. This drill reinforces the running mechanics and acceleration you need to switch gears and pick up speed when you're already in motion. Do this workout twice a week, resting at least a day after each session.


SPEED UP. To develop fast starts, try this ball-drop drill. Have a workout partner stand on a hard surface, holding a tennis ball at eye level. Stand about 5 metres away in a three-point stance. When he drops the ball, sprint and catch it before it bounces a second time. Have him move back a metre or two and repeat the drill until you can't get to the ball in time.


WORK YOUR CORE. Abs are critical to speed. Strengthen yours with this situp routine: Lie on your back and rest your heels on a wall so that your legs are straight and at a 45-degree angle to the floor; extend your arms straight above your head. Lift your torso and touch your toes, then rotate to the right and touch both hands to the floor. Now rotate to the left and touch the floor on that side. That's one repetition. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds, rest 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat. Stop when you can't match the reps of your previous set. Perform this workout two or three times a week.


ENDURANCE


The better your physical condition, the bigger your edge in every sport. The ability to resist fatigue and outlast your rivals ensures you'll outperform them when you need to put in that little extra effort.


THE 300-METRE SHUTTLE RUN is a great measured of sports endurance. Compared with traditional tests of stamina  a 3-K run, for example  it better gauges the type of endurance that's required for most sports.


Set up two cones 25 metres apart. Sprint from one to the other, then back again. That's one repetition. Do six continuous repetitions, for a total of 300 metres, as fast as you can. Then rest for 1 minute and repeat. Your goal is to do the routine in under 90 seconds. Can't to it? Here's how to push your limits.


BUILD ENDURANCE FOR COMPETITION. Run 10 plays of random length for 2 minutes, a 10-metre run to the right, hustle back for a 10-second rest, then a 30-metre zig-zag, and so on. Integrate this drill into your workout once or twice a week, and work up to three 2-minute sets of 20 to 30 plays, resting for 30 seconds after each set.


GO THE DISTANCE. Set a goal  3K in 12 minutes, for example, which is doing 1 K in 4 minutes. Then find the longest distance over which you can maintain that pace it could be 1½K in 6 minutes or 800 metres in 3 minutes. Run the appropriate distance, and then rest for 1½ times the amount of time you spent running. Repeat the process until you can no longer maintain the target pace. After each set, reduce your rest periods by 15 seconds.


BUILD ENDURANCE AT HOME. Strapped for time? Try this bodyweight exercise. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your arms hanging in front of you. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, squat quickly until your fingers touch the floor, then push yourself up to the starting position. Perform as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Aim for four sets in 2 minutes, and work your way up to eight sets. 


POWER


Build explosive strength and power by training your muscles to activate faster.


THE STANDING LONG JUMP is one of the best measures of total-body power, because it requires dozens of muscles to fire at the same time.


Stand with your toes on a line and your feet shoulder-width apart. Dip your knees, swing your arms forward, and jump as far as you can. Your goal is to land more 5 feet from starting line. Can't do it? Here's how to push your limits.


BOX IT. Boost your leaping ability with box jumps. Place a sturdy, kneehigh box 6 to 12 inches in front of you. Set your feet shoulderwidth apart and jump onto the box. Step back down to the starting position, and repeat for a total of six repetitions. Rest for 3 minutes, then do another set. Perform two or three sets every 4 days.


DO THE DRILL. To improve total-body power, try the reverse scoop toss. Stand holding a medicine ball with your arms, hanging straight in front of you. (Use a ball that's roughly 10 percent of your body weight, or substitute a piece of firewood.) Squat, and then quickly explode up with your legs, swinging your arms up as you heave the ball over your head as far as you can behind you. Do three reps, 2 days a week.


SPRINT SHORT HILLS. Contrary to popular belief, hill sprints don't just improve leg strength. They're a great way to build explosiveness, because you have to drive upward with your whole body. Your sprints should last no more than 10 seconds  it's difficult for your muscles to maintain their maximum power output any longer than that  on hills inclined no more than 10 degrees. (Steep hills slow step time, decreasing power production.) Build up to 10 sprints, resting 20 seconds after each, three times a week.


AGILITY


Agility allows you to change direction at any moment, to stay on your feet when you should have fallen. It requires balance, quick reactions, and body control  all skills that can be systematically improved.


THE T DRILL measures your ability to change direction while you're moving at your top speed: Set up cones or towels in the form of a T: 10 metres for the stem and 5 metres out to each side. Start at the base of the T. Sprint to the top, side-shuffle 5 metres to the left, side-shuffle 10 metres to the right, side-shuffle 5 metres back to the middle, and then backpedal down the stem.


Your goal is to do the whole routine in less than 12 seconds. Can't do it? Here's how push your limits.


PLAY MIRROR, MIRROR. Find a partner and stand facing each other, 15 feet apart. Ask him to run forward, backward, and side-to-side randomly for 15 seconds. Your task: Copy his actions.


Do six sets, resting for 45 seconds after each, every other day. After 2 weeks, add two sets.


DO THE 45°. Go to a badminton court and stand at one end of the service line. With knees bent at 45 degrees, shuffle to other end, touch the corner, and return. Go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat. You're training to absorb force when you decelerate and stop, and to generate force when you reaccelerate.


IMPROVE YOUR FOOTWORK. Mark off 10 consecutive 2-foot squares with tape. Now, hop as fast as you can through the squares for 10 seconds. Mix it up  one- and two-legged hops, forward, backward, and sideways  each time through. Do 10 sets, resting for 45 seconds after each, several times a week.