The 4 Best Moves for Stronger Abs

4-Best-Moves-for-Stronger-Abs

Most people miss the mark when it comes to training their abdominals. They either do countless sit-ups and crunches, putting their lower backs at risk of injury, or they ignore core training altogether because they think compound exercises like squats and deadlifts will get the job done.

Both camps need to reconsider their approach and directly target the abs with the right mix of exercises. A stronger set of abs will enhance your appearance and strength, which makes everyone happy.

To optimize your ab workouts, make sure to hit your midsection with exercises that target each of the four functions of the core:

1. Flexion: bending the spine toward the feet
2. Anti-Extension: preventing the spine from arching
3. Anti-Lateral Flexion: preventing the spine from bending to the side
4. Anti-Rotation: preventing the spine from rotating side to side

Why no rotation? Aren’t some of the best ab exercises rotational in nature? Sure, exercises like Russian twists can create a good “burn” in your abs, but the lumbar spine (lower back) isn’t mean to rotate very much, and frequent rotation from the lower back may lead to pain or injury. Instead, focus on ab exercises that resist movement to get strong and stay pain-free.

With four movement categories, we’ve hand-picked our favorite exercise from each one. We’re confident almost anyone can do these, but just in case, we’ve included a regression of each exercise to make it a bit easier.

Flexion: Reverse Crunch

The two most common flexion-based ab exercises — sit-ups and crunches — are actually pretty lousy for training the abs. Sit-ups primarily target the hip flexors, while crunches are notorious for making slouched-shoulder posture worse.

Instead, try the reverse crunch, which puts the spine and pelvis in the perfect position to target your entire midsection.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 6–10 reps
Progression: Lower yourself down slower, and use a lighter counterweight
Regression: Core-Engaged Dead Bugs

If reverse crunches are too hard, even when holding on to an immovable object as your counterbalance, try core-engaged dead bugs. Do 3 sets of 5–8 reps per side, making sure to exhale fully.

Anti-Extension: Ab Wheel Rollouts

Perhaps the only late-night infomercial fitness product that actually works, the ab wheel challenges the core by forcing the abs to resist arching the lower back. Rollouts give you immediate feedback on proper technique because if you do it wrong, you’ll feel tension in your lower back right away.

Set and Reps: 3 sets of 6–10 reps
Progression: Exhale fully, and pause before pulling the wheel back, or do them standing
Regression: Stability Ball Rollouts

The ab wheel can be a bit too challenging for some people. Using a stability ball to do the same movement limits the range of motion for an easier variation.

Anti-Lateral Flexion: 1-Arm Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk

Instead of working your obliques with side bends, try training your entire core to do what it was designed to do: resist bending to the side. What’s the simplest way to do this? Pick up something heavy, and carry it.

One-arm dumbbell farmer’s walks test your strength and coordination by forcing your abs to stabilize your spine as you walk. Just grab a dumbbell in one hand, brace your abs and go for a stroll.

Sets and Reps: 3–4 sets of 20–40 yards per side
Progression: Heavier weight and/or longer distance
Regression: Dumbbell Suitcase Holds

Farmer’s walks are about as simple as they get, but if it’s too tough to balance and walk at the same time, try the dumbbell suitcase hold. Simply pick up a dumbbell in one hand, brace your abs and hold for 10–30 seconds per side.

Anti-Rotation: Pallof Press

Named after the world-renowned physical therapist John Pallof, the Pallof press works wonders for posture and core strength by challenging the spine to resist rotation. The variations are endless, and all you need is a band or cable machine.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8–12 reps per side
Progression: Heavier weight/more band tension, exhale fully at extension
Regression: Hold the band at arm’s length for 5–10 seconds, and work on increasing that time

Don’t Ignore the Core

Hitting the midsection from all angles based on the four main functions of the core is the best way to get stronger abs. Try these four exercises or their regressions in your next workout and kiss the endless sit-ups goodbye for good.

The post The 4 Best Moves for Stronger Abs appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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4 Ways to Burn More Calories on Your Walk

marathon athletes legs running on city road

If you’re looking to discover a fountain of youth, it may be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Recent research published in the Journal of Epidemiology showed that taking a 30-minute walk five days a week can help you live longer. The benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise have long been hailed and include everything from lowering your risk of common illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes to improving bone health and overall physical function. Of course, the potential to lose weight and keep it off is also a big motivator when it comes to walking.

If those last two top your list of motivations to get out and pound the pavement, why not make a couple of small tweaks to your routine to boost the calorie-burning potential of your walks? While you don’t need to employ these strategies every day of the week, if you pick 2–3 days to change things up, you may find you’ve torched hundreds of extra calories by the time you reach the weekend. Start out by trying one of these tweaks to mix up your approach in the coming weeks and keep things interesting.

1. Vary your speed.

A 2015 study found that varying your speed while walking can significantly increase energy cost and thereby the number of calories you burn. To do this, pay attention to your speed while you walk. Start out at a slower pace and, as you get warmed up, pick it up to a more moderate effort. Then throw in some shorter segments of faster walking, maybe for a single block or from one light pole to another, before taking it back down to a more moderate pace. Think about maintaining good posture and using your arms as you increase your speed. In a 30-minute walk, aim for 3–5 of these brief bouts of faster walking.

2. Carry hand weights.

The American Council on Exercise estimates that carrying 1- to 3-pound hand weights can increase your heart rate by around 5–10 beats per minute, along with increasing oxygen consumption and caloric expenditure by 5–15%. A pair of inexpensive dumbbells will do the trick. Simply carry one in each hand as you walk, pumping your arms. The arm movement doesn’t need to be so exaggerated that you look like you just stepped out of a 1980s aerobics video, but rather it should involve a more natural approach. As your left knee drives forward with each step, so should your right arm. Similarly, as your right knee drives forward, engage your left arm.

3. Head for the hills.

It will come as no surprise that walking uphill takes more energy than walking on a flat surface or downhill. This doesn’t mean you should set a treadmill to an incline for your entire walk or head straight up a mountain path, however. With the same strategy in mind as varying your speed, throwing in some hills forces your body to adapt and shift from one effort level to another. Choosing a hilly route, whether it be on a road, trail or treadmill, will keep your body guessing as you navigate different gradients. This will lead to a greater number of calories burned than would be the case on a flatter route.

4. Use your arms.

A number of studies have proved the benefits of Nordic walking over conventional walking. In fact, research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found a 67% increase in energy expenditure when comparing Nordic walking to regular walking. Nordic walking doesn’t involve any special skills, just a pair of walking poles. By walking with poles, you better engage the upper body, turning an ordinary walk into a total-body workout. While you can get adjustable poles specifically designed for Nordic walking, you can also use an old pair of ski poles. To choose the correct length, check out Nordic Walking USA’s guidelines.

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7 Tips to Conquer a Weight-Loss Plateau with MyFitnessPal

7-Tips-to-Conquer-a-Weight-Loss-Plateau-with-MFP

Let’s get one thing straight about weight loss: It is not a destination but a journey. A lifelong journey. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s 100% true. It takes work every single day of your life, and by work, I mean making choices to continue on your journey. There’s one thing I can almost guarantee will happen on this journey: Your weight will plateau.

After working with hundreds of people on their journeys to a healthy weight, I can assure you that weight-loss plateaus are very, very normal. Weight loss is a dynamic process. Your body needs time to catch up with what’s going on and get used to the new body changes that weight loss creates. In essence it’s deciding whether it’s in survival mode or a healthy state. I think of a plateau as actually a good thing because it means your body is done changing and is now adapting.

When weight-loss warriors hit a plateau, one of these things usually happens:

  • They assume what they are doing isn’t working and therefore not worth it. Outcome: Throw in the towel.
  • They become obsessive over the details of their new diet and weight-loss plan. Outcome: Neglect other important areas of life.
  • They think something is wrong with them and they are the only ones on the planet with this issue. Outcome: Self-loathing.

None of these outcomes is very positive. I think these feelings are among the reasons why “dieting” is so despised. No one likes feeling this way about himself or herself. Instead of going down one of the negative paths listed above, think of plateau-busting as troubleshooting. It’s time to go through your lifestyle changes one by one and determine what is still working and what needs a tweak. Many people believe that what worked for them once will always work again, but that’s just not the case.

MyFitnessPal is the perfect tool to help you troubleshoot because it makes tracking your food and exercise so easy. Many times we think we are doing something positive (e.g., eating more vegetables, eating less sugar, drinking fewer high-calorie beverages), but when we track, the truth comes out. Oftentimes there are several lifestyle areas that need to be re-evaluated and simply tweaked to get you back on track and losing weight.

From my experience, people are hesitant to track because they are embarrassed about what they might learn. These feelings come from a dieting mentality that says we should be A+ eaters and never struggle. However, I see tracking as simply data on our bodies. It is not supposed to be used for grading how good of a person you are but rather give you a state of the union on your lifestyle to help you identify necessary changes. Here are ways you can use this helpful tool to break through a plateau and make tracking your food and fitness easy:

1. Choose a realistic calorie goal.
This might be the No. 1 mistake I see my clients make that contributes to plateauing. When setting up their profile they choose the option to lose two pounds a week, the most MFP will allow. For some people, this rate of weight loss may set a calorie level lower than they’d realistically be happy eating for a long period of time. Even worse, when you are not fueling your body with enough energy, it’s not comfortable burning fat stores and thus prevents weight loss. I recommend starting with half to one pound per week when setting up your profile. Slow weight loss, while not as exciting, is usually more sustainable weight loss.

2. Calculate the Nutrition Facts for your favorite recipes.
Do you regularly cook a handful of recipes from your favorite websites? If you said yes, then it would be helpful to have more accurate nutrition info for those foods. Just because a recipe is deemed “healthy” does not mean it’s the right calorie level for you. Analyzing your most-used recipes will help you know exactly how many calories the recipe contains and whether it fits into your weight-loss eating plan. While this sounds very complicated, MFP makes it incredibly easy. All you do is paste the URL from your favorite recipe into the Recipe Importer, do a little tweaking and — voilà! — MFP gives you all the Nutrition Facts.

3. Do track your water.
I used to think that drinking water was too simple of a behavior to notice. But, after my own experience tracking water intake I’ve learned that being properly hydrated is crucial for feeling good and ensuring your body works at tip-top condition. It also helps ensure that your hunger is true hunger and not just thirst! (See my post Benefits of Drinking Water: Better Mood for more info.) It’s always a good idea to do a water checkup to make sure you are drinking enough and setting yourself up for weight-loss success. You can easily track your water intake in your MFP Food Diary by clicking the water glass at the bottom.

4. Focus on fiber.
Increasing your fiber intake is a simple and effective strategy to improve your diet, and it could promote weight loss. Fiber provides a fullness factor to your food, helping you eat less and manage your appetite, as well as improve your health by preventing many diseases. The daily fiber goal is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. Start tracking your food, and see where you stand. Then, begin choosing foods that are higher in fiber, like whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and beans, to see whether you can meet your daily goal.

HI-TECH TIP: To view your fiber intake, click on Reports, then choose fiber from the drop-down menu.

5. Write in the Notes section.
The Notes sections in MFP allows you to reflect on your food and fitness each day and identify changes you can make to get over your weight-loss plateau. I encourage my clients to take notes on meals, foods and workouts that produce positive or negative feelings or experiences. Did a particular breakfast energize you all morning? Make note of it. Did you feel sluggish one afternoon after a lunch out? Write that in. Did you enjoy a new workout or fitness plan? Type it in so you don’t forget about it. Your Notes help you evaluate how your overall food choices are helping you achieve your goals. This is a crucial step that many people overlook, and it could be key to breaking through your plateau.

6. Track your weight weekly. Weighing yourself regularly can be a controversial recommendation, so I must emphasize that this is not for everyone. Keep in mind people who track their weight tend to have a better connection with how their lifestyle choices are impacting their body. However, many people think they should track their weight daily, and they fret over every change that occurs. Taking a weekly weight is a more balanced and accurate reflection of change, as many factors impact daily weight fluctuations. Tracking your weight weekly in MFP is a great way to connect with when you are feeling discouraged at a plateau. It’s very helpful to go back and look at how much progress you have already made and celebrate it! Remember how I said at the beginning that this is a journey? This tool will help you remember that.

7. Track your fitness — cardiovascular and strength training.
When trying to lose weight, many people just increase their volume of exercise and don’t think as much about the type and quality. While simply burning a lot of calories can be a good thing for weight loss, improving your body composition (think: more lean muscle) through strength training is extremely important for long-term weight maintenance. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training twice a week, working 8-10 large muscle groups by doing 8-12 repetitions. (2) Track your workouts in MFP and see whether you are meeting this recommendation. If not, begin to make time for strength training. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Here is my favorite full-body no-equipment exercise you can do almost anywhere.

As you troubleshoot these different areas, remember these important concepts of weight loss: Be patient with yourself, and don’t give up. Don’t let that scale dictate your success. Remember how far you have already come and how good it feels to take care of yourself.

The post 7 Tips to Conquer a Weight-Loss Plateau with MyFitnessPal appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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6 Moves for a Stronger Upper Back

6-Moves-for-a-Stronger-Upper-Back

Gym-goers are notorious for only working the muscles they can see in the mirror. That’s a strength-training cardinal sin because you miss out on arguably the most important quadrant of the body for strength and size: the upper back.

Building a big back isn’t easy, but it also isn’t complicated. You only have to do a few things:

  • Pick up heavy things off the floor
  • Pull heavy things toward your body
  • Pull yourself up off the floor

With those three types of movements in mind, here are the six best exercises to build an upper back worth showing off:

1. Deadlifts
No other exercise hits more muscle groups at once than the deadlift. The upper back plays a crucial role in stabilizing the weight during deadlifts, making them an essential choice if you want a big, strong upper back. Aim for 2–3 sets of 8–10 reps.

You can perform them with a barbell:

If you’re newer to the exercise, try them with a kettlebell and a sumo stance.

2. Barbell Bent-Over Rows
Using a barbell lets you add more weight, leading to greater strength and muscle gains. The bent-over row will also improve your deadlift strength because the mechanics of the two exercises are similar.

Here’s how to do a bent-over row with a barbell:

Perform 2–3 sets of 5–12 reps with moderate to heavy weight. Do these at the beginning of your workout because they challenge the entire body, and doing them in a fatigued state makes it difficult to keep good form.

3. Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
The dumbbell row is one of the most versatile back exercises because you can use any weight you want for low reps, high reps or anywhere in between. Plus, it’s plenty safe for your lower back because you can support yourself on a bench with your opposite hand and leg.

Two to three sets of 8–12 reps per arm work best, but you can do as many as 20 reps per side for a deep burn. Do these after your heavier back exercises such as bent-over rows and deadlifts.

4. Standing Single-Arm Cable Rows
Cable rows add a level of versatility to your upper back training because you can alter the angle of your elbow and wrist as you pull, letting you hit your back muscles from different angles. The standing position also enforces core stability, as you have to use your abs to resist rounding or arching your lower back.

Stick with higher reps and lighter weight for these, opting for 2–3 sets of 8–15 reps per arm. If you don’t have access to a cable machine, wrapping a resistance band around a stationary object works too.

5. Pull-Ups
Pull-ups are one of the best back exercises in existence, but until you have a certain level of strength and can do 10 or more bodyweight pull-ups, your back muscles won’t get much stimulation from the move. So, to reap the benefits, you need to practice your pull-ups and increase the number of reps you can do.

Stick with the previously mentioned exercises first, and practice them 2–3 times per week with multiple sets of low reps (3–5 reps per set) with band-assisted pull-ups to build your technique. Once you’re proficient with the exercise, pull-ups can then be a valuable upper back builder.

6. Inverted Rows
The next-best body-weight alternative to pull-ups is the inverted row, which lets you use the resistance of your own body to strengthen your upper back. Simply grab a barbell set up in a power rack at about hip-height, and you’re good to go.

The key to effective inverted rows is keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe. Make sure to squeeze your abs and glutes so your hips don’t sag toward the floor. Do 2–3 sets of 8–20 reps, and get a tight squeeze in your shoulder blades at the top of each rep.

Back to Basics
Building a strong upper back is entirely possible with a few basic exercises. Pick the deadlift and row variations that work best for you, and you’ll be on your way to a bigger, better upper body.

The post 6 Moves for a Stronger Upper Back appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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9 Signs of Progress That Aren’t a Number on the Scale

9SignsofProgressThatAren’taNumberontheScale

Think about what triggered your weight-loss journey. It could have been anything from being able to squeeze into an old dress again to appeasing your unrelenting doctor to staying around for your grandchildren. Whatever your original intention, once you start losing weight a new motivation takes over. Watching the scale go down as you shed the pounds becomes a tremendous source of motivation. But what happens when a weight-loss plateau threatens to kill that motivation?

The dreaded plateau is inevitable, and it happens to the best of us. What you need to understand is that it isn’t a sign of failure but of progress. Your weight is a one-dimensional interpretation of what it means to be healthy. Don’t just focus on the number on the scale. Focus on the signs that you’re healthier even when that number flatlines:

1. Your body composition may have changed.
If you exercise regularly to lose weight, especially if strength training is involved, you may see a stubborn scale as you lose some fat and gain some muscle. In this instance, it may be better for you to invest in a smart scale or set of body calipers. These tools can help you measure body-fat percentage and document improvements better than a scale can.

2. You are better, faster and stronger.
Obviously, this depends on where you started. For some it’s being able to walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing. For others it may mean running a mile without stopping. For me, it was being able to haul my groceries — a gallon of milk and all — inside at one go. Relish all the activities that you could not do before but you can do now.

3. Your doctor is happy about your labs.
Despite the weight-loss plateau, you’re at a lower weight now than when you started. Even modest amounts of weight loss (think: 5 to 10% off your original weight) can lead to big health benefits like lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. Better-looking labs translate to a lower risk for chronic illnesses like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

4. You get way more steps in your day.
The days of cheap plastic pedometers are over, but tracking steps is more popular than ever! Whether you invest in a sharp and shiny activity monitor or program your smartphone to count your footfalls, watch your steps data. After committing to your weight-loss journey, you likely ramped up your activity to see results. Perhaps you made trade-offs like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car farther away so you could walk in. Be proud of how many steps you’ve added into your day.

5. You like how your clothes fit.
Both how much weight you have on (think: number on the scale) and its location on your body (think: belly versus thigh) have an impact on your health. If weight loss halts, turn to important wellness indicators like how you fit into your clothes. Did you lose inches from your waist? After all, the most dangerous fat — visceral belly fat — is the easiest to lose when you exercise often.

6. You dread working out … a little less.
Whoever said, “showing up is half the battle” clearly understands my gym strategy. When I first made it a goal to hit the gym regularly, I strategized more around how to get into the gym versus what I’d do when I got there. For this I used some serious self-motivation strategies because I didn’t have an accountabilibuddy. This included spending hours crafting a wicked workout playlist and putting on workout clothes right after work. Over time, going to the gym became a habit, and it didn’t feel as hard anymore.

7. You’ve made exercise a part of your identity.
If, as a part of your weight-loss journey, you’ve hit on a fitness community you can call your own, congratulations! That fitness community could include yoga, CrossFit, barre, HIIT, etc. What matters is that you found an activity that you love doing, thereby making exercise a part of your identity. This is a boon to your health even when losing weight is no longer your top-notch priority.

8. You pass up your kryptonite food.
There’s no such thing as perfect eating. We all have our “kryptonite” food — be it donuts, muffins, potato chips or chocolate candy — to which we cannot say no. If you were able to practice restraint and reject the free break-room donuts, give yourself a pat on the back!

9. You feel like you have way more energy and stress out less.
A more positive outlook, better focus or enhanced energy levels aren’t easily quantifiable signs of health. Nonetheless, you may experience these benefits in spite of your weight-loss plateau. They deserve equal weight (pun intended!) when you tally your achievements.

The post 9 Signs of Progress That Aren’t a Number on the Scale appeared first on Hello Healthy.

Lose Weight: Easy Weight Loss & “Fat Loss”! Best Recipes And Tricks For: Paleo Diet, Low Carb, Low Carb Diet, & Fat Loss Diet (Low Carb Weight Loss, Paleo … Fat, Caveman Diet, Rapid Fat Loss Book 1)

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5 Ways to Fit More Steps into Your Day

5-Ways-to-Fit-More-Steps

Increasing your daily step count is an excellent fitness goal. It’s a great way to get you moving more often to spark up or resume an exercise habit. Even if you have been exercising routinely for years, it may not be enough to combat the ill effects of hours of sitting. That’s why adding more steps to your day is not only beneficial for your waistline but also for your overall health.

Walking may not be a huge calorie burner — the average person burns about 100 calories or so per mile — but adding more mileage to your day can make a big difference in weight control. According to Harvard Health Watch, one 2009 study found that the average person gains about 2.2 pounds a year during middle age. However, over 15 years of research, the study found that individuals who walked regularly gained significantly less weight than those who didn’t.

Not to mention: Walking offers plenty of health benefits, including lowering your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes; reducing your risk of developing dementia and cancer; and even helping to reduce fibromyalgia pain. Plus, walking may be even more beneficial for your body than running. Walkers have a much lower risk of exercise-related injuries than runners, whose legs absorb about 100 tons of impact force in just one mile!

By now, you’ve probably heard the general “take 10,000 steps a day” recommendation, and while it might be a good fitness goal, it may not be the best place for you to start. According to the UK’s National Health Service, the average British adult walks between 3,000–4,000 steps a day. Suddenly jumping from 3,000–4,000 steps to 10,000 could be overwhelming for both your body and schedule.

Try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. (Pun intended!) Aim to add about 500 steps a day, increasing each week to build in more activity and eventually work your way up to 10,000 (or more) daily steps, if that’s your goal.

Here are five easy ways to help you gradually increase your daily step count:

1. Set a reminder to walk.
There’s no need to try to squeeze in all of your steps in one shot. In fact, you may get more benefit if you spread them out throughout the day. If you often get stuck at your desk for hours on end during your workday, try setting a reminder for every hour, and spend 15 minutes walking. If you’re able to repeat this five times a day, you may reach your 10,000 step goal before you leave work!

2. Walk and talk.
Decide that every time you take a phone call, you’ll walk. Whether you are in your office or at home, pace around your location. Is the weather nice? Take your mobile phone with you for an energizing outdoor conference call. Turning every phone conversation into a walking one can increase your daily step count almost effortlessly.

3. Try an indoor walking DVD.
It’s not always easy to fit in extra steps, especially if the weather won’t cooperate or you only have free time very early or late in the day. The great news is there are plenty of indoor walking DVDs. Check out my “Walk On: 5 Fat Burning Miles” DVD, which features a customizable menu that allows you to mix and match your miles to create your own personal walking plan every day. This DVD also includes two bonus routines: the “Strong Feet and Ankles Workout” and the “Strong Knees and Hips Routine” to help you continue to walk strong and pain free for years to come.

4. Partner up.
Whether it’s a post-dinner stroll with your spouse and/or kids or a power walk with a friend in the morning, sharing your steps with someone else is a great way to stay accountable and stick to your daily goal of walking more. Plus, you get to spend quality time with those you love.

5. Make things less convenient.
We’ve all heard the advice to “park farther away from the entrance” and “take the stairs” a million times, but how often do we actually do it? Sure, it’s more convenient to use the closer parking spot and to take the elevator up two floors, but putting just a little more effort into your routine also brings up your daily step tally.

Tell me, how do you add more steps to your day? Share your best tips with us in the comments below!

The post 5 Ways to Fit More Steps into Your Day appeared first on Hello Healthy.

Paradigm Pure Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 1000mg, 120 Servings, 100% Organic Natural Coconut Oil, Lose Weight, Non-GMO & Gluten Free, Manufactured in the USA

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Nutrition 101: Protein [INFOGRAPHIC]

Monday-Nutrition10-Proteins

Whether you’re wanting to lose weight, gain muscle, recover from a tough workout, feel more satiated at mealtime or simply maintain good health, eating adequate amounts of healthy sources of protein is important.
MyFitnessPal-Nutrition-101-Protein-e1379399713160
A crucial component of every cell in the body, protein is used to build and repair tissues (like skeletal muscle, bone, hair, fingernails, cartilage, skin and blood) as well as make enzymes and hormones. Like carbohydrate and fat, protein also provides energy, but because it has so many other important functions and can’t be stored, the body relies heavily on carbohydrate and fat for energy. This leaves protein free to be used for maintaining healthy tissues, enzymes and hormones.

Shortly after a meal, proteins are digested into amino acids. These amino acids, or protein building blocks, are absorbed by the small intestine and then distributed to cells in the body. The cells take what they need and rearrange amino acids to make new proteins or repair older ones. Because the body doesn’t store protein, once our basic needs have been met, any excess is either used or stored as energy. Amino acids may be converted into glucose, and subsequently glycogen, if the body is short on carbohydrates. They may also be converted into fatty acids and stored as fat. It’s important to get enough protein throughout the day but it’s also important not to go overboard. Eating excess protein, just like carbs and fat, can lead to undesired weight gain if calories in exceed calories out.

Protein is found in a variety of foods: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy and even grains. From a dietary perspective, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and soybeans are complete proteins, that is they provide all of the amino acids required by our body. Other protein foods like legumes, some nuts and seeds, and grains, don’t provide adequate amounts of the essential amino acids by themselves but can when eaten in combination with other foods and as part of a balanced diet.

So how do we make healthier choices when it comes to protein?

  • Vegetarian or not, we can all benefit from eating more plant-based proteins. In addition to being great sources of protein, foods like beans, peas, quinoa and lentils, as well as low-fat dairy and eggs, are also rich in other nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  • Meat eaters, choose lean cuts like pork and beef tenderloin. A general rule of thumb when shopping: cuts that have round, chuck, or loin in the name are usually lean. Some cuts may take a bit longer to prepare (try marinating or braising) but if prepared right, they’re equally as delicious as some fattier cuts. Since ground meats are typically high in fat, look for the leaner options, like 90/10 ground beef, which contains 90% lean meat and only 10% fat. And if you’re a steak or burger-lover like I am, feel free to indulge every-so-often, but limit red meat to once or twice per week since it is high in saturated fat.
  • Skin aside, poultry is generally lean–but beware when buying ground chicken or turkey. Unless it says 100% ground turkey breast (or chicken breast) on the package, the meat has likely been ground up with the skin and fat, which means that turkey burger may not be any healthier than one made from ground beef.
  • If you enjoy fish, aim to eat 3-4 ounces of it twice per week. Frozen or fresh, fish can be a great source of protein. Some–like salmon–are even rich in Omega-3s, a healthy, unsaturated fat.

In addition to helping us feel satiated after a meal, dietary protein plays a critical role in every cell–building and maintaining healthy tissues and producing important enzymes and hormones that help regulate metabolism, growth and many other things. Getting enough protein is important so the body can perform all of these functions on a daily basis. But remember, just like carbs and fat, if consumed in excess, protein can just as easily be converted into and stored as fat.

Catching up on our Nutrition 101 series? Check out the two previous posts, Calories and Carbs, and be sure to come back Thursday to learn more about Fats!

Graphic by Kim Steinhilber

Want to share this infographic on your website? Simply copy and paste the code below into your site.

The post Nutrition 101: Protein [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Hello Healthy.

AGPtEK® Men Elastic Slimming body shaper Vest Shirt Lose Weight Underwears – M

Description:

With incredible men’s slimming shirt, it is a revolutionary slimming and lifting undergarment. And this corset is design for male to burning fat while doing exercises. And it is a belly body shaping garment can trim and tighten your bulging stomach. Help you to lose weight and keep fit and build confidence again.

Specification:
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2. Material: 80% Nylon+20% Polyester fiber
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L (chest size 121-140CM)
XL (chest size 141-160CM)
4. Gender: male
5. Waist length and seamless, round collar
6. Usage: for sliming, shape your upper body, particular for chest and belly. Help to burn fat while doing exercises

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How to Winterize Your Walk Program

How-to-Winterize-Your-Walk-Program

While dropping temperatures and falling snow force many well-intentioned exercisers inside during winter, a few adjustments to your walking routine can make it viable year-round. In fact, a recent study found that when it comes to keeping weight off, taking regular 30-minute brisk walks is better than going to the gym to do activities such as swimming, tennis or dance classes.

Surely you could do your walking inside on a track or treadmill, but there are plenty of reasons you may opt to get outside. There’s no denying that a little fresh air can do you good, especially when you’re stuck inside for most of the day. A recent study abstract showed that a walk in nature even has the potential to boost mood; other studies have emphasized the importance of getting out and about during daylight hours to boost serotonin levels. This is important because serotonin is a proven appetite suppressant that naturally helps to curb food cravings.

Moreover, exercising when the mercury drops may also have its benefits, as research has suggested that cooler temperatures can assist in weight loss because the body has to work a little harder — and thus burn more calories — to keep it at 98.6°F.

To winterize your walk program, follow these simple tips. You may even find that you come to enjoy your peaceful strolls out in the winter elements.

1. Layer strategically.

Choosing a proper ensemble can mean the difference between an enjoyable winter walk and a bone-chilling trek. Be sure to choose a moisture-wicking bottom layer to wear directly against your skin. This means avoiding cotton at all costs. Cotton will only retain sweat and leave you feeling chilled. If you’re in the market for long underwear, look for synthetic fabrics, merino wool or silk. On top of that, include a warmth layer. Many people prefer a fleece or down-insulated jacket. For your outer layer, get your hands on a shell that will block the wind. Cold, blustery winds will cut right through those warm layers if you don’t have a good shell to top it all off.

2. Get the right accessories.

Keeping your head, hands and feet warm is imperative when it comes to winter walking. For your head, choose a warm hat that comes down over your ears completely. In especially cold temperatures, a face mask or neck warmer will not only contribute to comfort, but they will also protect your skin from windburn. The same layering strategy you used for your core should be applied to your hands, so a pair of gloves or mittens that have an inner layer for warmth and an outer layer for wind protection are generally preferred. The best socks for the job will be made with a moisture-wicking material — many people prefer a merino wool — that are thick enough to keep your feet warm but not so bulky you can’t fit your feet into your shoes.

3. Plan footwear accordingly.

Not only should you consider warmth when choosing your winter-walking footwear, but you also need to keep traction in mind. If you have a light pair of winter boots that are easy to walk in, those will suffice. Hiking boots or shoes are also good options.

Additionally, a number of brands make winter walking and running shoes that use sturdier and more wind-resistant upper materials. If you’ll be out in the ice and snow, pay attention to the quality of the outsoles. Do they have deep rubber lugs that will keep you upright on sketchy winter terrain? If you’re worried about wipeouts, you can purchase traction devices that strap to your shoes and help dig into slippery ice and snow.

4. Be safe.

Winter means fewer hours of daylight, so if you’ll be out before sunrise or after sunset, it’s important to make yourself visible to oncoming traffic. Consider throwing on a reflective safety vest over your jacket or get reflective straps to put around your arms and ankles. A flashlight or headlamp can also come in handy to light the path in front of you.

5. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

If you plan on doing most of your walking in the daylight hours, don’t underestimate the power of the sun. While the UV levels may be lower than they are in the summer, the sun’s rays can reflect off the snow and give you a nasty sunburn. To avoid the burn (and silly-looking tan lines), apply sunscreen a few minutes before you head out the door. If you’re susceptible to dry skin in the winter, this can also help keep your face moisturized.

6. Phone a friend.

While you will generally warm up after just a few minutes of walking, getting out the door in the first place can feel like pulling teeth on a brisk day. When you have a walking buddy, you’ll be less likely to skip your walk. Find a neighbor or friend who likes to get out and about in colder temperatures, and set a couple of dates a week to help keep you committed through the winter months.

7. Know when to take it inside.

There are plenty of great reasons to continue walking outside year-round, but once in a while, it’s better to throw in the towel and hit up the treadmill instead. If windchills are in the dangerous category, making you susceptible to frostbite in a short amount of time, opt for an indoor walk. Or if conditions are excessively icy, you’ll be better off logging miles inside than risking a fall that would cut short your entire winter-walking regimen. Watch the weather and use common sense, and you’ll be able to enjoy a walk outside another day.

The post How to Winterize Your Walk Program appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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4 Moves for Stronger Triceps

marathon athletes legs running on city road

When it comes to strong arms, biceps get most of the attention. That’s a shame because the often-forgotten triceps make up about two-thirds of the real estate of your arms.

It’s only fitting that if you want arms that fill out your shirtsleeves (or at least don’t jiggle when you do the YMCA), you have to train your triceps.

The recipe for stronger triceps is simple and only requires four ingredients:

1. A pressing exercise with heavier weight and lower reps
2. A pressing exercise with lighter weight and higher reps
3. An extension exercise with the elbows tucked
4. An extension exercise with the elbows flared

If you include each of these movements in your workout routine on a regular basis, you’ll sculpt stronger arms than all the biceps-curl warriors who neglect their triceps.

Here are our favorite exercises for each of these four categories:

1. Dumbbell Floor Press

The dumbbell floor press gets the nod for our heavy pressing exercise because you can do it at virtually any gym and it’s easier to master than the barbell bench press. Plus, by lying on the floor, you shift the focus of the movement from your chest to your triceps.

Sets and Reps: 4–5 sets of 5–8 reps with a moderate-to-heavy weight

2. Close-Grip Push-Up

For our lighter pressing exercise, we chose the close-grip push-up because of its versatility and lack of equipment. Simply take the classic push-up, bring your hands in closer and — boom — you’ve got yourself a challenging triceps exercise.

Exercisers of any strength level can use this move. If you’re a beginner, elevate your hands on a bench or chair to make it easier. If you’re stronger than average and want a progression, try looping a band over your back or elevating your feet to increase the range of motion.

Sets and Reps: 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps with body weight

3. Band Push-Downs

The main function of the triceps is to extend the elbow, so multiple extension exercises are warranted to build stronger triceps. Heavy extensions can quickly cause achy elbows, however, so extensions are best done with lighter weights, higher reps and special attention to the squeeze at the end of each rep.

Band push-downs work nicely for the elbows-tucked extension movement because you can alter the resistance by moving your hands up or down the band. Loop the band around a chin-up bar or over a doorway, and you’re good to go.

Sets and Reps: 2–3 sets of 12–15 reps with a light resistance band

4. Dumbbell Tate Presses

Named after the legendary powerlifter and strength expert Dave Tate, the Tate press is our exercise of choice for an elbows-flared extension. Lifting weights with the elbows flared can be risky for your wrists, elbows and shoulders, but by using light dumbbells and a controlled motion, you can work your triceps plenty hard without beating yourself up.

If this exercise feels awkward, try doing it on an incline bench and pressing the dumbbells together as you lift up and down.

Sets and Reps: 2–3 sets of 12–15 reps with a light weight

The post 4 Moves for Stronger Triceps appeared first on Hello Healthy.

NatureWise Raspberry Ketones Plus+ Advanced Antioxidant Blend with Green Tea for Weight Loss, 120 count

Raspberry ketones are aromatic compounds of Rubus idaeus. NatureWise Raspberry Ketones Plus+ combines raspberry ketones with a proprietary blend of compounds and antioxidants, including resveratrol, African mango seed extract, green tea extract, cayenne, acai, and organic kelp.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

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  • Every capsule contains 400 mg of raspberry ketones, an aromatic compound found within red raspberry fruits (Rubus idaeus). NatureWise Raspberry Ketones Plus+ is doctor formulated with zero fillers or binders
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Cheesy Veggie Bake

Cheesy Broccoli-Zucchini Egg Bake

Increase any picky eater’s vegetable intake by hiding veggies in Food Fanatic’s cheesy broccoli-zucchini egg bake! Shave time by prepping veggies the night before. Don’t have a spiralizer? Just slice zucchini into thin matchsticks instead of spiralizing, and follow instructions as normal.

Cheesy Veggie Bake

Ingredients

  • 4 large zucchini squashes
  • Salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups kale, torn and lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 10-inch Cast Iron skillet with cooking spray. Set aside.

Using the 6mm blade on your spiralizer. Spiralize the zucchinis, so that they turn into long noodles.

Place the zucchini into a strainer set over a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for 20 minutes, stirring around every so often.

While the zucchini noodles sit, whisk together the eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Add in the Greek yogurt and a pinch of pepper and additional salt. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Once the zucchini has sat, squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Then, transfer the zucchini noodles onto a paper towel and dry off, again, as much as you can.

Stir the zucchini noodles, broccoli, kale and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese into the egg mixture and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake until the eggs feel set and begin to slightly pull away from the side of the skillet, about 40-45 minutes. Turn your oven to high broil and broil an additional 2-3 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 8 |  Serving Size: 1/8 of dish

Per serving: Calories: 164; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 121mg; Sodium: 301mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 16g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 678mg; Iron: 8%; Vitamin A: 48%; Vitamin C: 114%; Calcium: 40% 

square-logo-finalWe’re Food Fanatic – a gathering of the best food bloggers the internet has to offer in one tasty spot. If you love food? We’re your people. For more delicious recipes, connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Original recipe created by Taylor of Food Faith Fitness and published on Food Fanatic.

The post Cheesy Veggie Bake appeared first on Hello Healthy.

Fitness: Ultimate solution for your health and weight loss problem

Discover the best strategies that kept secret by health and fitness industry all this time. This is time to get stronger, and become healthier in easy steps. There is whole different level of fitness you can attain. Why settle for ordinary when you can be best. These books reveal same strategies and tips that pro athletes use to increase their performance and overall health for. Don’t just wish for better health and vitality it is time to put this book to work and find out what really works to live a healthy life.

Here what you will learn

  • Difference between exercise and physical activity.
  • How much exercise is enough
  • How to exercise safely
  • Measuring your personal fitness level.
  • 5 benefits of interval training
  • 7 ways to focus on getting fit
  • Fitness may lower death risk even without weight loss.
  • The secret to strong muscles.
  • Dance walk your way to fitness, baby
  • How Fit Are You? A Fitness Test for Adults
  • Get Fit Without Going to the Gym
  • The Key to Fast Belly-Fat Loss

Whether your fitness goals are to improve strength, run faster or lose weight, you need to pay attention to your diet. What you eat not only affects the numbers on the scale, but also how your body responds to your workout. it been never clear what one should if for for better fitness this book will tell you exactly what kind food your body needs. =

    • Carbs for Energy

    • Protein for Muscle Repair and Growth
    • Fat for Health and Energy
    • The Best Foods To Eat For Healthy Living
    • The Mediterranean Diet
    • Cardiovascular Exercises And Training Strategies
    • The Best All Natural Energy Boosting Supplements
    • Strength Training Along With Helpful Video Links
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    -Lowers LDL Cholesterol

    -Block Fat

    Colon Care


    The key to restoring maximal immune and digestive health is safe, effective, gentle and thorough colon care. These unhealthy toxins build up in our digestive systems over time, impairing our body’s ability to heal and protect itself and also preventing the absorption of many of the nutrients and antioxidants we need for weight loss, energy and immune health.

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    -Ginger and licorice root detoxify the liver and kidneys, fight free radicals and reduce inflammation.

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    How Far $10 Goes for Lunch

    We know you’re a savvy shopper and we fully support that! You don’t need to break the bank to eat healthy. Stretch your hard-earned money by making many quick meals at home instead of eating out. Don’t believe us? Check out how far $10 can go for lunch.

    HowFar10GoesLunch_V1.2

    Fitness Over 50 for Women: Fitness, Diet and Weight Loss Tips to Shedding Fat and Keeping it Off (Exercise and Weight Loss Plan)

    We live in a fitness-crazed culture, but is there something to all the hype? Yes, there is, and this is it for we of the older female set: Strong women live better. We live longer than our menfolk, and mostly have for centuries. So being strong and fit helps us take care of ourselves more independently. It helps us enjoy the people in our lives and the activities we can all do together – when we get and stay strong and fit.

    Inside You Will Learn:

    • Reasons to pay attention to your fitness that go beyond strength.

    • Benefits of exercising for fitness that go beyond results your body may show you.

    • How it can be fun and create social opportunities – while side-stepping the old No Pain

    No Gain mindset completely.

    To Avoid Weight Gain, the Little Things Really Do Matter

    walking the dog

    It’s amazing to me how easy it is to forget to move.

    This year was the first time in about 5 years that I found myself gaining weight. It wasn’t a lot, just 5 lbs over 6 months or so, but it was strange for me since I didn’t think I was doing anything different.

    I write and think about healthy living all the time, and I absolutely love the food I eat. I no longer crave sugar, and avoiding it isn’t hard. If anything I have eaten healthier than ever during this time, since I started working at home and control 100% of my meals. I’ve been eating the same or better quality food than I always have, and have even improved on my mindful eating techniques.

    So what gives?

    I didn’t think the problem was exercise, since I still go to the gym 4-6 days a week. My workouts have actually gotten better, and I’ve noticed welcome improvements in several aspects of my physique (thank you kettlebell!). I wasn’t upset about how I looked, I had just gotten slightly larger and didn’t know why.

    Then about six weeks ago I figured it out: I had stopped walking.

    When I was still in my PhD program I had a substantial walk to work, at least a mile each way if I took the campus shuttle, and about 2.5 miles each way if I walked the whole distance (I did this rarely, but tried to squeeze it in when I could). I also worked in the lab, running back and forth between rooms and up and down stairs to get equipment. Though I came home each evening and worked on Summer Tomato until the wee hours of the morning, I was not sedentary.

    Even during my brief stint in the corporate world after graduation I had a walking commute to work. But after I quit in January I just stayed at home writing. At first I had a standing desk/table I was using, but logistics and a problematic elbow forced me to move to the coffee shop across the street where most of my work gets done now. This sedentary shift correlates exactly with when I noticed my pants getting tighter.

    What’s crazy to me is that this amount of exercise seems so inconsequential it doesn’t even register in my brain until months after the change has occurred (did I mention I was still working out almost every day?). And it’s not like I never think about this stuff, I noticed when I first started walking that I effortlessly dropped weight. How could I forget that non-exercise activity (NEAT) is so important?

    It’s easy to forget, but this is good news. It means that it is not a chore to burn more calories—in fact, you will hardly notice. All you need to do is make an effort to be a little more active throughout the day, and work to build more activity into your daily routine.

    To solve my problem, I turned to my puppy Toaster. He needs to get out and walk a few times a day, so I thought why not improve both of our lives by making a daily pilgrimage to the bigger, better park that’s about a mile from the house instead of the smaller, dirtier park that is closer and more convenient? He gets more exercise and behaves better, I get my walk in, and we both have more fun. Win-win.

    I’m happy to report that my pants are fitting better again and I’m back down to my normal weight.

    If you don’t have a dog, there are plenty of other ways to move more. Avoid elevators and escalators, walk to lunch or between floors in your building, do chores more enthusiastically at home and park further away in the parking lot. Just standing up more can make a difference. These things add minuscule amounts of time to your tasks but add up significantly for your health.

    Unlike structured, high-intensity exercise, walking and other low-intensity movements don’t make you hungrier. There’s good evidence that increasing your daily activity can burn hundreds of extra calories each day and may be one of the most effective ways to impact your energy balance (i.e. burn more without eating more). This is not true of more formal exercise, which tends to make people hungrier. Importantly, non-exercise activity correlates with body weight in obese as well as normal weight individuals, so everyone can benefit from extra movement.

    Even if you already work out regularly you should still strive for additional daily activity. Amazingly, high-intensity exercise doesn’t lower your inclination toward NEAT, but raises it. In one study, scientists measured NEAT 3 days before and 3 days after overweight individuals performed either moderate or high-intensity exercise. There was no measurable change in NEAT until the third day after exercise, when it increased 17% after moderate activity and 25% after intense activity. That’s impressive.

    When you’re as busy as I am, it’s easy to make excuses about why extra effort is impossible. But adding a little extra movement to your normal, daily activities is far and away the easiest way to lose weight and improve your health, so why not?

    I’ve also found a substantial meditative value in incorporating more physical activity. Several of my most complex problems have been solved during my walks and I’ve been plowing through podcasts and audiobooks, which I swear makes me smarter (I’m currently loving The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore). Your brain truly appreciates a break from the screen.

    Ironically, it took noticing that I was “reading” less to make me examine what was different in my life—I realized I was listening to fewer audiobooks because I was walking less, and put 2 and 2 together. Problem solved.

    It’s easy to be lazy and just wait for the elevator with everyone else, even though you know the time it saves you is insignificant. But today I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s worth resisting that urge and making an effort to be more active. Try making it a game or competing with your friends by using pedometers and tracking your activity.

    Fastest Way to Lose Weight: How to lose weight in seven days, exercise and nutritional diet book

    At first glance, it can be easy to assume that someone has always had the same outward appearance and general

    Disposition that he or she has now. There’s no way to know someone’s story without befriending them, and until then, it’s

    easy to create visions in our mind of what that person’s life may be like. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to imagine the lives

    of perfect strangers (knowing that I’ll be 100% inaccurate in my predictions). You never know the personal battles people

    may be experiencing, the steps they took to end up where they are right now, or the behind-the-scenes info on their

    lives: in this book contains everything you need to know about how to lose weight..

    buy this book and you will know everything on how to lose weight….200 pages

    Slow-Cooker Lemon Greek Chicken

    Crockpot Lemon Chicken & Greek Salad

    Lemon and chicken marry with fragrant oregano in this recipe for slow-cooked chicken thighs. Lean chicken thighs are complemented by a refreshing Greek salad to make a delicious low-carb lunch. Make the chicken thighs and Greek salad ahead of time to pack for lunch or enjoy at any meal.

    Crock-Pot Lemon Chicken & Greek Salad

    Ingredients

    For the chicken

    • 4 bone-in (4 ounces or 115 grams each) chicken thighs, skin removed
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 2 lemons, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese, divided

    For the salad

    • 4 medium (120 grams each) tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 large (280 grams each) cucumbers, sliced
    • 1/2 medium (55 grams) onion
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup (40 grams) crumbled feta cheese, divided

    Directions

    Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. Place chicken thighs into a small Crock-Pot. Pour lemon juice over chicken thighs. Set the Crock-Pot on medium for 4 hours.

    While chicken thighs are cooking, prepare the Greek salad. Put tomatoes, cucumbers and onion into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar then pour this dressing onto the vegetable mixture. Toss to combine, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Portion each plate with 1 cup of Greek salad and 1 chicken thigh. Sprinkle each chicken thigh with 1/2 tablespoon feta, and sprinkle each salad with 1 tablespoon of feta.

    Nutrition Information

    Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh (90–100 grams each after cooking) + 1 cup Greek Salad

    Per serving: Calories: 270; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 121mg; Sodium: 389mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 26g

    Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 398mg; Iron: 18%; Vitamin A: 6%; Vitamin C: 27%; Calcium: 13%

    Energizing Tips (optional)

    • Serve with 1 whole-grain dinner roll for more calories and carbs. (Per serving: Calories: 370; Fat: 12g; Carbohydrate: 34g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 31g)
    • Serve with 1/4 cup cooked brown rice for more calories and carbs. (Per serving: Calories: 325; Fat: 12g; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 27g) 

    Photo Credit: Demi Tsasis

    Lose weight: How to lose weight the fun way by training like an athlete. (losing weight, weight loss, athletic training, fitness)

    Want to lose weight? Find out how to lose weight like an athlete and have fun!

    Being overweight or obese comes with a wide range of complications that those who have healthy weight don’t suffer from. For instance, when you are overweight, you have to come to terms with the fact that your body might not exactly look as sexy as you want to be so you are likely to have low self-esteem or even feel less confident. Besides, you risk suffering from a wide array of health complications including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and many others. Well, unfortunately, losing weight is not as easy as ABC for many people.

    That’s why we jump from one weight loss regime to the next hoping that the next will deliver what it promised because it clearly didn’t or simply because it was too restrictive. Well, you can forget about dieting and follow an athlete’s lifestyle, which entails eating just as you do, but doing fun exercises that even keep you motivated to continue. And in the end, you lose weight without even noticing it and keep it away. The good thing with exercising/training like an athlete is that you end up becoming fit, building muscles, and keeping various health complications away by simply exercising. So losing weight is just a bonus to long-term health!

    The main goal of this book is to educate you on how to lose weight using fun ways while training like an athlete.

    Here is a preview of what you will find in the book…

    • Getting started
    • Fun exercises to lose weight
    • Eat like an athlete
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    5 Steps to Cope When You Feel Overwhelmed

    overwhelmed

    When you look up the definition of overwhelm in the dictionary, you’ll find it’s not pretty. You get words like, submerge, massacre, engulf, bury and deluge. And let’s not forget clobber, devastate, and dumbfound.

    And that’s what the experience of overwhelm feels like–there is so much coming at you it’s hard to think straight. How can you get anything done when you’re in such a confuzzled state?

    But know this: You can’t always squash overwhelm. It’s a form resistance and resistance is pretty much inevitable. Rather, you need to recognize it for what it is, accept it and learn from it. Only then can you choose a different path with grace.

    Here are five secrets that will help you do just that:

    1. Change Your Choice: Feeling overwhelmed is a learned behavior. I learned it from a true master–my mom. God bless her, she has numerous positive qualities, but she is also really good at working herself into a tizzy. So if overwhelm is a learned behavior that has become a habit, it is also, at some subconscious level, a choice. And that means it is possible to choose something else.
    2. Get Curious: Overwhelm can sneak into a lot of different aspects of your life. Put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and get curious about the particular forms your overwhelm takes. What kinds of situations trigger it? What are the thoughts that accompany it? How does it feel in your body? How do the people you’re in relationship with react when you start feeling it? The more aware you are of your overwhelm habit, the easier it is to change.
    3. Track Your Time: Once you pinpoint where overwhelm shows up in your life, then do this: Track how you spend your time. You may think you can’t do one extra thing because you’re already working 60 hours a week—but are you really? Track time and you may be shocked to learn that you are only truly working for 38 hours a week. Remember, overwhelm works by confusing you. So let this exercise help you fact check your reality.
    4. Do Less: If you discover say, that you spend the majority of your Sundays doing laundry—as I did—consider sending your laundry out to the wash-n-fold—as I did and it’s amazing! Delegating effectively buys time back, time you can now spend hiking, working on your novel, teaching your kids how to cook, or whatever floats your boat. It also helps to minimize the time for overwhelming chores like tidying up the house. Can you just do one big clean-up before bed? Or ignore the mess sometimes and just get on with living your life?
    5. Aim for Consistency: Figure out your “feel good” baseline. You may need 2-3 hours a week of marketing to ensure your business is humming along. Or at least 10 minutes of meditation daily to feel calm. Whatever you absolutely need to manage overwhelm, make it a priority. Stick with it even when things are going all to hell and also when things are going great. This is about being compassionate with yourself. Because it doesn’t feel good to lose momentum. In fact, it feels horrible.

    With that, I’ll end with a quote from Swami Kripalu, a yoga master whose followers established the Kripalu retreat center in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts:

    “It is proper to welcome struggle. It’s arrival is always auspicious. It transforms an ordinary human into a spiritually-awake person.”

    Replace the word “struggle” with “overwhelm” and you start to see how powerful your decision to manage overwhelm can be!

    Still need some help getting centered? Let Shiva Rae help with this 10-minute mediation practice from AcaciaTV.

    How to Break Up with Drive-Thru Dining

    myfitnesspal break up with drive-thru dining

    Hi there. I know we’ve been only been friends for a little while, but that’s why I’ve brought us together for this chat. It’s high time we got honest and clear with each other. We need to talk about what you’re doing at night. On your way home. When you think no one else is looking. We need to talk about the Drive-Thru.

    There is hot debate over who invented the Drive-Thru (McDonald’s and In-’N-Out both lay claim to that dubious honor), but the impact of all those customers lined up for convenient bags of burgers, fries, and sodas is clear: 65% of McDonalds’ annual sales, $10.55 billion, go through car windows. And what people are buying is clear too: Convenience. According to QSR, an outlet that reports on fast-food industry drive-thru sales, it takes an average of 189 seconds for customers to get their food from the drive-thru window. That’s just over 3min from the speaker to a 1400-calorie meal in your hand—and you never even have to stand up. And before you pat yourself on the back for passing up the burgers for coffee, remember that a Starbucks’ grande Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino has as much sugar as 7 Kripsy Kreme donuts, and comes with a straw so you never even have to look down to eat it.

    As a coach, I’m not bothered by that burger or the 7 donuts, for that matter. The problem I have is the “189 seconds and it comes with a straw” part. Anything that convenient is likely to be abused, and if you want to break up with the Drive-Thru, we have to make the healthy alternative even more convenient.

    Josh Hillis, possibly the world’s best fitness coach for ladies looking to drop fat, says it’s all about planning ahead. “My leanest clients, including the fashion models, are great at food preparation,” he says. “Quite simply, the better you are at the habit of putting food in plastic containers, the leaner you get, and the easier it is to stay there,” says Hillis. So learn from the best and focus on getting better at the basics.

    Make dinner before you leave the house Dinner is not a surprise; it’s pretty much a nightly occurrence. So plan it out, chop it up, portion it out, and put it in the fridge before you’re anywhere near that fast-food window. Then you won’t spend your drive home worrying about prepping, cooking, and cleaning—you just have to tackle reheating. Pressed for time in the morning? Make dinner the night before, or pre-plate a few meals on Sunday.

    Have a snack in your car As I mentioned last week, we make the poorest food choices when we’re hungry. Always carry something with you—baby carrots and peanut butter, or trail mix, to tide you over until you can make it home for a full meal.

    Take the long way Sometimes the best way to get away from a bad relationship is to avoid the person. That strategy works for fast food, too. It’s a lot easier to take the back roads than to drive right past those golden arches. And let’s be honest: You’re not “just gonna get the salad,” are you?

    Invite someone over If you know you don’t have any food in the house, and fries sound so good you can almost taste them, go on a preemptive strike and invite a friend over for dinner. You can meet at the grocery store, order some healthier take-out, or combine what’s in your fridges for a creative leftovers dinner. Any menu the two of you create will be better than continuing the cycle of convenient, car-based calories.

    Reflect on how you got here When there’s a paper bag in your lap and the smell of KFC on your breath, it’s time to ask yourself a simple, nonjudgmental question: “How did I get here?” At some point in your day, your plan proved too hard, too complex, or too unreasonable. Reflect on what you can do to make your evening meal simpler and more convenient than those 189 fateful seconds to help you break free of the pattern the next time.

    There is nothing wrong with an occasional burger or blended coffee drink. The problem with drive-thru dining is how easily it can turn convenience into a mindless habit. Dump this loser and build a healthier, happier relationship with your food by planning ahead, instead. You deserve better than 3 minutes!

    Fess up! Do you have a bad drive-thru dining habit? What are you going to do to change it?

    Your Guide to Budget-Friendly Grocery Shopping (Infographic)

    Budget-Friendly-Food-Guide

    Contrary to popular belief, eating well doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of nutritious, budget-friendly foods in the supermarket, but with so many options and prices to compare, finding them can be a bit of a challenge.

    To help you navigate the grocery store while staying within your means, check out this budget-friendly grocery guide, with 45 of the most affordable and nutritious foods out there. We’ve included the average cost per serving, nutrition highlights and meal ideas for each food, plus tips for stretching your savings even further.

    We’ve also put together a handy, budget-friendly shopping list to take with you to the grocery store each week. Be sure to print a copy (or three), and share it with friends!

    print button_FINAL[1]

    Budget-Friendly Food Guide [FINAL][1]

    5 Trendy Beginner-Friendly Workouts to Try

    Group Of Women Exercising In Dance Studio

    Let’s be honest: Working out can be just plain boring. Not only can this affect exercise enjoyment, but it also influences motivation and commitment. Research has shown, however, that when you inject some variety into your workouts, interest in the task at hand improves, leading to increased motivation. Another study even demonstrated that spicing up your workout routine can help you stay more committed to it over the long haul.

    If you’re not sure where to start with your new exercise regimen, we’ve tracked down five trendy workouts that are fun, effective and beginner-friendly. These top fitness routines are the opposite of boring; they will keep you on your toes but are still approachable for newbies.

    1. Urban Rebounding

    It’s no wonder that trampoline classes are gaining in popularity—and Urban Rebounding is no exception. The best part of this workout is that it allows you to act like a kid again. Performed on mini trampolines, these classes will have you bouncing and balancing your way through a major calorie-burning workout. Trampolining hones strength, endurance and balance all at once. It’s also low impact, since the trampoline absorbs most of the shock as your body comes in contact with it.

    1. Pound

    Do you ever find yourself singing in the shower or playing a little air guitar when certain songs come on the radio? If so, Pound is for you. Developed by drummers looking for a new path to fitness, Pound workouts are full-body cardio jam sessions that involve lightly weighted drumsticks. Known as Ripstix, the drumsticks offer a bit of resistance training as you drum to the music. This means that you’re able to follow along with the workout simply by listening to the beat.

    1. bodyART

    A dynamic workout, bodyART focuses on everything from strength to endurance to flexibility and mobility. Inspired by positions commonly seen in yoga, dance, tai chi and even physiotherapy, this workout will appeal to those who are in search of a body-mind connection when it comes to getting in shape. Not only will it assist in boosting fitness, but it will also help reduce daily stress.

    1. Global Groove Fitness

    A true dance-fitness workout, Global Groove Fitness classes can replace traditional cardio. Even for those who aren’t normally rhythmically inclined, Groove pairs simple dance moves with a variety of music genres to appeal to every fitness enthusiast. Dance-style workouts include salsa, samba, pop, rock ’n’ roll and Bollywood, among others. Known for being accessible to people of every fitness level, Groove is a great place to start your new workout regimen.

    1. Amenzone Fitness

    Dubbed a “back to basics” workout, Amenzone can be tailored to your current fitness level. A strength-based routine, these workouts include a series of body-weight exercises, as well as those done with cleaned car tires. While lifting a big rubber tire over your head may sound intense, simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to Amenzone, making it an excellent option for newbies looking to gain strength

    How to Lose Weight In 10 Days BOX SET 3 IN 1: 30 Weight Loss Motivation Instruments + Simple Diet Plan & 8 Great Green Smoothies Ideas For Fasting!: (How … low fat recipes, low calorie recipes)

    How to Lose Weight In 10 Days BOX SET 3 IN 1: 30 Weight Loss Motivation Instruments + Simple Diet Plan & 8 Great Green Smoothies Ideas For Fasting!

    BOOK #1:How to Lose Weight In 10 Days. 30 Weight Loss Motivation Instruments

    This book offers you 30 weight-loss motivational hacks to help you to stick to a diet and fitness program in 7 days. When trying to keep yourself on target of reaching your goals in weight-loss and fitness can be very difficult to stay motivated. We all know that we have experienced this at one time or another in life.

    The suggestions and tips in this book offer you positive ways to help yourself to reach your personal goals in weight-loss and fitness. Having a game plan is an important part in being successful in reaching goals in anything whether it is in weight-loss, work or other aspects of your life. You need a game plan to help you keep focused on the goals that you want to reach.

    By using the motivational tools that are suggested in this book you can build a positive game plan that will surely make reaching your goals a very real possibility.

    BOOK #2:Leptin: Leptin Resistance Recipes For Weight Loss & Health

    In this e-book we will help you to understand exactly what vitamin K is. Go on to understand how it is further divided into vitamin K1, K2 and K3, and how each of these interact with your body. Learn what benefits each of them offer, and how you can increase your intake naturally.

    BOOK #3:Green Smoothie Recipes For Rapid Weight-Loss. Learn How To Lose Up to 7 Pounds in 7 Days

    We’re all familiar with the delicious tastes and pleasing texture of smoothies; however, have we considered them for a full-diet weight-loss option yet? As it turns out, green smoothies– or smoothies containing mostly blended leafy greens– are among the most filling, the most delicious, and the healthiest ways to lose weight known to medical and nutritional science today! Learn what the big companies don’t want you to know! Learn how easy it is to change. This is all just advice; you can do whatever the heck you want.

    Your weight-loss results may vary, but as long as you keep your food intake below what you’re breathing out, you’re going to lose weight. This is a great way to do that in the easiest possible way for anyone who is trying to lose weight. You can expect to lose 7 ‘real’ pounds in your first week if you stick with just these.

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    15 Ways You Might Be Stunting Your Weight Loss

    broken plate

    From food bloggers to television shows to Pinterest boards, there’s an overwhelming amount of nutrition information, everywhere you turn. How’s a normal person supposed to identify the difference between trendy diet news and legitimate science-based advice?

    I called on some of my fellow registered dietitians to help me set the record straight—because we’re the ones required to stay informed on current nutrition research and trends (or else we lose our credentials!). Below is a list of the most common diet mistakes committed by clients who are just hoping to be healthier. Are you guilty of any of these?

    You … Don’t Eat Enough Calories

    “I have many clients who try to continually eat less and less calories. They think, ‘If I lost weight eating 1,500 calories, then I will lose even more if I only eat 900.’ But it won’t work—because at some point the calorie intake for the day is too low. It’s different for each person, but typically the body then becomes more efficient at using the lower calories because your body is just trying to survive. This is the starvation mode.” —Jennifer Pullman, MA, RDN, LDN

    You … Starve, Then Binge

    “I see it all the time: people not eating enough in the first half of the day, then spending the second half of the day gorging themselves. Then they come to me and complain that they don’t know why they eat so much at night! The solution is to eat adequate, protein-rich meals and snacks—and to stop skipping breakfast.” —Abby Langer RD, Abby Langer Nutrition

    You … Assume All Smoothies Are Healthy

    “There is a health halo surrounding smoothies and juices. They are not all created equal and many do more harm than good. Some have impressive names or claims but can be loaded with sugar and calories. It’s important to read labels to be sure you’re not getting duped.” —Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    You … Don’t Eat Protein for Breakfast

    “Many of my clients come to see me for weight management. They often either skip breakfast or have a high-sugar granola or cereal bar. Unfortunately, they miss out on the satiating benefits of protein at breakfast and end up hungry, hitting the coffee shop or vending machine by 10 a.m. I encourage them to instead have a boiled egg, Greek yogurt or, if in a hurry, grab a handful of nuts with a piece of fruit.” —Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition

    You … Are Obsessed With Fad Diets

    “People tend to jump from one fad diet to another without understanding the pros and cons and whether it is a lifestyle that suits their needs. I wish people would stop worrying so much about what diet their neighbor is on and, instead, spend that time and energy getting to know their own body and how it reacts to certain foods and dietary patterns. The more nutrition science uncovers, the more we understand that we are all individuals with unique dietary needs.” —Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, nutritionist and natural chef

    You … OD on Low-Cal Snacks (Especially at Night) 

    “Many individuals trying to lose weight will stock their pantries and freezer with ‘skinny’ snacks, such as bags of 100 calorie popcorn and frozen dessert bars to snack on at night. Unfortunately, they spend a lot of money for these specialty foods and then often exceed the serving sizes. They think that these are ‘halo’ foods and are ‘calorie free,’ which they aren’t. They need to save their hard-earned money and get out of habit of snacking at night. This is the best strategy for getting the weight off and keeping it off.” —Joan Salge Blake, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, author of Nutrition & You

    You … Opt for Processed Diet Food

    “I wish people would stop relying on unhealthy ‘health foods.’ Fat and calories are not the enemy! There’s nothing better than seeing a client choose real peanut butter on real whole grain bread rather than fat-free peanut ‘spread’ full of chemicals on a low-carb wrap made with processed fiber. Eat real food!” —Alexis Joseph, MS, RD, LD, blogger at Hummusapien.com

    You … Cut Out Nutritious Carbs

    “I’m still seeing my clients go too low with eating the right kinds of carbohydrates—whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruits. They try to eliminate or significantly reduce these high fiber, nutrient-dense foods, but these are the foods that can help them with their goals!” —Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD, owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition, Inc.

    You … Only Eat Healthy When It’s Convenient

    “Many people only watch what they eat when they’re [on a diet]. Eating healthfully should be an everyday thing—not just when you’re trying to lose weight.” —Toby Amidor, RD, author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen

    You … Snack With False Confidence

    “Planned healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and Greek yogurt can be a good way to avoid hitting the vending machine, but we still need to be conscious of how many calories they have. Even ‘healthy’ snacks have calories that add to our total calorie intake.” —Leah McGrath , RDN, LDN, Corporate Dietitian Ingles Markets

    You … Rely on Supplements

    “A common mistake I see is clients relying solely on supplements rather than real foods, such as replacing your meals with weight-loss shakes.” —Angie Asche, MS, RD, LMNT, owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition, LLC

    You … Eat While Distracted

    “The one bad habit that I would like to see people break is to cut out multi-tasking while eating. Multi-tasking is a prized skill in today’s society—but when it comes to eating, our bodies haven’t caught on to this phenomenon. Our stomachs send us subtle cues to tell our brain to stop feeding it, but these can be easily missed if we’re distracted! When people turn off the TV, put down their devices, and focus on their food, they are better able to listen to their bodies’ needs. This helps them to enjoy their food more, and be much more satisfied with it, despite the fact that they will likely end up eating less overall.” – Jessica Penner, RD, Smart Nutrition

    You … Are Too Hard On Yourself

    “The habit I want people to break is going all or nothing. This attitude sets them up for failure when they inevitably have a bad day or give in to temptation. Instead of just starting again at the next meal, this attitude sets them up for longer stretches of unhealthy thinking and eating.” —Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD, Southern Fried Nutrition Services

    You … Are a Diehard Member of the Clean Plate Club

    “I wish my clients would stop feeling like they have to eat food that is on their plate to keep it from going to ‘waste.’ They should realize it’ll go to waste either way; it’ll just do damage to your body first.” —Sherryl Hanna, M.Ed, RD, LD, Consultant Dietitian

    You … Assume Gluten-Free Means Healthy

    “A mistake I see many people making is eating only specialty gluten-free products because they think gluten will make them fat. Often times, these specialty products are loaded with more preservatives, additives, sugar, salt, fat or calories than their regular gluten-filled counterparts and are therefore not necessarily the best choices for weight management. Aim for more whole grains that are high in fiber and protein and worry less about whether they contain gluten.” —Abbey Sharp, RD, owner of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.

    Photo courtesy of SELF.

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    What Does Heart Rate Training “Feel” Like?

    Runner on mountain forest trail checking looking at sportwatch smart watch, cross country runner checking performance, GPS position or heart rate pulse. Sport smartwatch and fitness equipment in use outdoors in nature on summer trail

    Did you just hear your couch tell you to get up and get going? It’s been a trusty and comforting friend, but you realize it’s right and it’s time. So off you go looking for your running shoes, ready to head out the door to begin getting in shape.

    Then it hits you. You’re not sure how far and how fast you need to go. Should you go a block or a mile? Should you walk, jog or run?

    Relax! We have the answers for you, which are based on your current level of fitness and general ability to move your bones without risking life and limb.

    Now, you’re probably thinking, “How are you going to coach me without me being there with you?” We’ll rely on exercise science and research that has been done on volunteers, who, like you, started exercise programs at any level of fitness.

    You can take those lessons learned, strap on the heart rate monitor you were smart enough to buy and then let your body be your coach. Your heart rate will tell you if you are moving those bones the right way. We’ll just need to help you find your own personal target heart rate (THR) zones.

    Forget about being too slow or going too fast. We don’t use pace in the form of minutes per mile, because that complicates workouts by requiring you to cover measured distances in a certain amount of time. Fast or slow is not the measure you need, because we believe that effort is the answer. Just think in terms of easy effort, moderate effort and hard effort.

    Feeling the Effort

    Using effort-based training offers an important opportunity: Use common sense to judge if the workout feels right. There will be a strong correlation between how you feel at various efforts within your THR zones. Read on to see how these controls match up.

    Our system is based on a simple 1–5 scale of ranking easy to hard effort. The 1–5 scale is matched with easy-to-understand verbal cues of how you will feel (your perceived effort) at the different levels of work.

    Effort Zone 1: Slowly Slogging (60% of maximum heart rate [MHR])

    You should perceive this effort as barely harder than walking while window-shopping. This effort is so easy that you will worry if it will ever get you in shape. You might not work up much, if any, of a sweat. Fit runners usually complain that a pace this slow and an effort this easy is uncomfortable on their legs.

    Effort Zone 2: Just Jogging (75% of MHR)

    You will feel that this effort is worth doing, and it will help you break a sweat. However, you will be able to carry on a full conversation, and you will not feel tired unless you went for many miles or a long time. Compared to Effort Zone 1, it is comfortable for your legs.

    Effort Zone 3: Striding Steadily (85% of MHR)

    This effort requires a much faster pace and some serious huffing and puffing. You will not want to waste your breath talking. You have broken into a real run that will soon feel uncomfortable. But if your life depended on it, you could sustain the pace for a mile or two. You have shifted gears and have gone from jogging in first gear to running in third gear.

    Effort Zone 4: Rapidly Running (95% of MHR)

    This effort is seriously hard. The pace is very fast, but it is not all out. You have to consciously push yourself to work this hard and run this fast. But you are still not straining or busting a gut. You will limit this effort to just a few minutes to avoid slipping into the pain, torture and agony of the dreaded Effort Zone 5.

    Effort Zone 5: Seriously Sprinting (nearly 100% MHR)

    At this level, you are straining to go all out, as fast and far as you can. Your legs are turning to lead, and you are huffing and puffing hard enough to have smoke coming out of your ears. At this finish line, you might collapse from exhaustion if it weren’t so embarrassing.

    Do not go here! This effort is for experienced athletes training for peak performances that require mental toughening.

    Let us help you get in shape to be healthy first. Later on, you can use our training programs to take you to higher levels of fitness for reaching more advanced goals.

    Choosing the Effort

    As you saw in the above descriptions of perceived effort, each category included percentages of your maximum heart rate. Those zones have been calculated so we can separate workouts into the appropriate levels of effort to develop the matching levels of fitness. Isn’t this the reason why you jumped off that couch, all inspired to get in shape, in the first place?

    More specifically, why did you jump off the couch? Are you interested in just changing your lifestyle to the “wellthy” level by playing around in THR zones 1 and 2? Is improving your heart health the idea, so you can lower your risk of cardiac disease? If so, the low-intensity efforts over a period of months and years can help control your weight as well. Hey, staying young and good-looking is not such a bad reason to get in shape.

    Or are you interested in participating in recreational sports like road running? Is improving your cardio/respiratory fitness in THR zones 2, 3 and 4 the idea, so you can finish a 5K smiling? And just think how much easier it will be to get up the stairs from now on.

    Finally, one more goal might involve scratching the surface to see if there is an athlete hiding under your skin. If so, you can become a peak performer by mixing THR Zone 5 with the above mentioned zones into a full package of athletic efforts that might even qualify you for the PTA (pain, torture and agony) Society.

    Measuring the Effort

    But first, we need to be sure of one thing: You need to know your very personal maximum heart rate. Many training programs recommend you find your MHR by taking 220 and subtracting your age. However, there is a wide variation of maximum heart rates within the population of any given age. Thanks to Mother Nature’s distribution along the standard bell-shaped curve, cardiac capacities can range from way below average to average to way above average—just like height and IQ scores. Lots of differences!

    Therefore, we must recognize the inability of the standard, age-adjusted formula to identify any outliers. These are folks whose MHR’s can be as much as 30 beats per minute above or below what is predicted by the 220-beats-per-minute-minus-age formula. That could mean that what is predicted to be Zone 2 could be Zone 3 or even Zone 4 for some people, or vice versa.

    Ultimately, your workouts should be your own, and they need to be highly personalized around your givens: your current shape, inherited genes and wise choice of goals.

    Many happy heartbeats.

    —By Coach Roy Benson for Wahoo Fitness

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    6 Moves that Strengthen from Head to Toe

    Woman doing lunges in a gym, crop

    There’s no doubt that total-body high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help you get the most out of your workouts. Research has actually shown that just six 15-minute sessions of high-intensity exercise over a 2-week period can have a positive impact on both strength and endurance.

    However, this does not mean you need to go to the gym and hop on a machine or head to your local track to run sprints. To be sure, exercises like running and swimming aren’t for everyone, and neither is spending hours pumping iron. There are plenty of total-body workouts that can be done outside, in a park or in your backyard, with little to no equipment.

    L.A.-based personal trainer and fitness expert Christine Lusita puts it simply: “The advice I always give is to be honest with yourself and choose workouts that feel good and right to you. There are no right or wrong workouts, it’s just what works for you!”

    To help you inject a bit of variety into your workouts, we consulted 3 top trainers about their favorite dynamic moves that can be done just about anywhere and anytime. We recommend choosing 46 of these exercises and repeating them 2–3 times each session. Overall, this workout should take you 20–30 minutes total.

    Single-Leg Reach-Down

    How to do it: Stand on your right leg, bend at the waist and reach down to the floor with your left hand as if you were going to pick something up off the ground. Stand back up and repeat 5–10 times without touching your left foot to the floor. Then switch sides. Watch a video demo.

    What it works: “This works your hamstrings—the stabilizing muscles around your ankles—activates your core and improves balance,” says Lusita. “I love this one key move, because it works a lot of the small muscle groups we don’t often pay attention to and should. They are vital to our daily function.”

    Goblet Squat

    How to do it: Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and put your weight in your heels. Hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell, or even simply a (full) water bottle, at chest height in front of your body with your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower your body down into a squat position, keeping your chest up and pushing your hips back and knees out. Stand back up and repeat 10–15 times. Watch a video demo.

    What it works: “This is hands down the best way to teach someone how to squat properly,” says Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, cofounder of Cressy Sports Performance in Hudson, Mass. “The load in the front forces one to engage her core to a higher degree, which helps stabilize the body better.”

    Goblet Reverse Lunge

    How to do it: Start in the same beginning position as the squat, with your weight or a water bottle at chest height, you’ll do a reverse lunge instead of a squat. Slowly step your right leg back, place your foot on the ground behind you and lower your body until the right knee almost reaches the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. Complete 10 on each side. Watch a video demo.

    What it works: “I like reverse lunges, as I feel they’re a more knee-friendly lunge variation for most people,” says Gentilcore. “Reverse lunging is awesome because it targets the hamstrings and glutes.”

    Mountain Climbers

    How to do it: Start in a push-up position. Bend your right knee, bring it up toward your chest, then bring it back to the original position. Do the same move with your left leg. As you get into a rhythm, quickly alternate sides to increase the intensity. Start with 20–30 total steps. Watch a video demo.

    What it works: “This move focuses on your abs, back and shoulders, and is a great way to combine cardio and strength training,” explains Lusita.

    Burpees

    How to do it: Squat down, and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Kick both feet back until you’re in a plank position. Do a push-up, then jump your feet back up to your hands. Stand, jump up and repeat 10–15 times. Watch a video demo.

    What it works: “In one movement, this works every part of the body that my clients say they would like to improve—thighs, buttocks, core, back, chest, shoulders and arms—while skyrocketing the heart rate to condition the cardiovascular system and ultimately burning more body fat,” says Austin-based personal trainer David King.

    Yoga Push-Up Complex

    How to do it: Get in a push-up position, and do a regular push-up. Immediately after, get into downward-dog position by pushing your backside up into the air and back, while keeping your hands firmly planted and your arms straight in front of your body. Go back to a push-up position, bring your right foot to your right hand, then your right arm straight up into the air. Return your right hand to the floor and your foot back behind your body. Repeat on the other side. Start with 10 on each side. Watch a video demo.

    What it works: “This is a drill that hits many movements at once,” says Gentilcore. “The push-up component will help strengthen the upper body, but more importantly, it will also strengthen the core.”

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    4-Week Walking Plan for Beginners

    4-Week-Walking-Plan_Header (1)

    Welcome everybody! You have just made a smart, healthy choice for yourself by beginning this program. By following this plan, you will lose weight, get fit and feel your very best. There is nothing better than committing to your health. I know you can do it!

    In one short month, you will be a better version of yourself. Keep in mind: Do not let one day make you feel like you can’t continue. If you have a slip-up, always remember that tomorrow is another day and don’t let that day go by. One off-day will not ruin your success. With that said, this is the plan for you! Get ready to walk taller, smile brighter and feel fantastic!

    print_button_walkingplan (1)

    4 Week 1

    4 Week 2

    4 Week 3

    4 Week 4

    4 Week 5

    4 Week 6

    Get Leslie’s DVDs and Playlists:

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    How to Set Exercise Goals You’ll Actually Achieve

    exercise goals

    Sometimes even the most active and healthy people can occasionally have slip ups or struggle through periods where they lose sight of their exercise motivation. Whether it’s due to an injury, life becomes too busy, or a variety of other reasons, losing your drive can be extremely frustrating.

    To get back on track you should start working towards creating achievable goals until you rebuild your confidence and reverse your recent exercise shortcomings—right, I know what you’re thinking, “If it were that easy I’d be doing it already.”

    Often times, when others try to offer their motivational support, it can be interpreted as an easy solution—but how could they understand your particular struggle? Do they think this is easy for you?

    Well by now, you’re likely to have grown to understand that setting healthy goals and actually achieving them can be one of the most challenging tasks that you do.

    To get over the hump and start setting new exercise goals, consider the following tips to help you refocus your mind and begin moving closer to your lifelong dedication to health and fitness. Remember, these are only suggestions. What works best for you will ultimately vary. As with many things in life, these tips won’t work at all unless you put the work in yourself.

    Set Goals That You Can Achieve Consistently

    When you’re interested in tangibly accomplishing your exercise goals, you should consider altering your mindset to accept a marathon mentality. Marathoners don’t start running 26.2 grueling miles out of thin air, they conquer many smaller goals before scaling to this milestone. Success is rarely something that can be obtained overnight, it’s the result of hard working individuals that maintain a consistent effort in the long run.

    No matter how long you’ve fallen off the wagon, you can start setting attainable goals each day to help you get back on track. The idea is to create a challenge for yourself and build upon those challenges consistently—day after day, week after week, year after year and so forth.

    This consistency doesn’t necessarily equate to a hard workout every single day—it means that you have consciously accepted that each day is going to present new challenges to overcome, it means that you are actively focused on tackling speed bumps to become a stronger person tomorrow, it means that you aren’t going to let any setback permanently change your path.

    Know When to Scale Your Efforts Either Forward or Backward

    Understanding whether you are trying to do too much or you’re not focusing enough of your energy towards exercising can be a problem that many athletes and fitness enthusiasts face when achieving their goals. Exercising too much can lead to over stressing your body and a complete burnout, whereas feeling like you aren’t working hard enough can take a serious toll on your mentality and overall attitude towards fitness.

    Ideally, we’d like to sit right in the middle of these two extremes, but this is not generally an easy place to find. To build a stronger understanding of where you currently stand, you should learn to listen to your body. Once again, this can feel like a pretty vague answer, but when you think about it deeper, there are few people qualified enough to accurately tell you exactly what your body is going through—it’s up to you to decide.

    What you can do, is look for signs that indicate whether you should amp up your exercises or scale back your efforts.

    If you’ve lost sleep from evening workouts, you feel sluggish, or your resting heart rate has climbed these can be warning signs that you’re doing too much and headed for a breakdown or an unwanted exercise hiatus.

    In contrast, if you aren’t experiencing any physical changes, you don’t feel sore, you have a stagnant or repetitive fitness routine, or you always exercise at the same low intensity, it may be time to try new workouts and increase your output.

    When setting exercise goals that you’ll actually achieve, look to find the edge of your comfort zone, but be careful not to overstep your bounds or be too easy on yourself. Finding a happy medium is key to helping maintain a consistent effort moving forward.

    Track All of Your Progress

    Another problem for many healthy individuals is finding the best exercise formula to reach their long term commitments. Since some goals can only be reached in the distant months or even years ahead, not knowing if you’re on the right track can be frustrating and may cause you to doubt how effective your hard earned workouts have been.

    To have a better idea of how well you are moving towards your goals, start documenting and tracking your results. In the past, this was a tedious process that needed to be done by manually by counting calories, measuring your waistline, and even jotting down your weekly body weight; however, with recent advances in mobile technology, you can have access to all of your fitness and nutrition data with just a few taps on your smartphone.

    Additionally, experimenting with a wearable device or incorporating health and fitness apps into your exercise routine, can help you collect more data about your workouts and better determine if you are on the right track. While these devices can be a good option, they still have their limitations. Again, if you don’t put the work in, neither can they.

    Keep in mind that setting goals is meant to be a positive experience to help you throughout your lifelong health journey. Goals that are too difficult can be overwhelming and lead to disappointment, but goals that are too easy don’t always yield the rewards that your are working towards. Finding a healthy balance that works best for you is the key to creating exercise goals that you’ll actually achieve and feel accomplished when you reach them.

    How do you develop exercise goals that you’ll actually achieve? What are some of your biggest setbacks when work towards your goals? Have you ever fallen victim to exercising too much? Answer in the comments section below and as always, your feedback and criticism is warmly welcomed.

    This article originally appeared on underarmour.com.

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    Baked Mozzarella Bites

    Baked Mozzarella Bites

    Serve this quick after-school snack, courtesy of Cooking Light, to your kids as an alternative to traditional fried cheese sticks. Each serving of 3 mozzarella bites packs 7 grams of protein and is less than 100 calories.

    This recipe is part of our 30 Healthy Log It Now Recipes e-cookbook!
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    Baked Mozzarella Bites

    Ingredients

    • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • 3 (1-ounce) sticks part-skim mozzarella string cheese
    • 3 tablespoons egg substitute
    • Cooking spray
    • 1/4 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon’s)

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 425°F.

    Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup panko to pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and place the panko in a shallow dish.

    Cut mozzarella sticks into 1-inch pieces. Working with one piece at a time, dip cheese in egg substitute; dredge in panko. Place cheese on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 3 minutes or until the cheese is softened and thoroughly heated.

    Pour the marinara sauce into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring after 30 seconds. Serve with mozzarella pieces.

    Nutrition Information

    Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 3 mozzarella bites + 1 tablespoon of sauce

    Per serving: Calories: 100; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 14mg; Sodium: 210mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 7g

    Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 57mg; Iron: 3%; Vitamin A: 3%; Vitamin C: 1%; Calcium: 17% 

    Cooking Light Diet

    Find more low-calorie dinner meals like this from the new Cooking Light Diet, where you can lose weight without giving up the foods you love. Learn more at CookingLightDiet.com. Follow Cooking Light on Facebook for more daily recipe inspiration.

    Follow Cooking Light on Facebook for daily recipe inspiration.

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    8 Hip Stretches Your Body Really Needs

    8 Hip Stretches Your Body Really Needs

    We’ve all had those intense lower body workouts that leave you beyond sore, when just the thought of moving hurts. Rest easy though—these stretches will open up your hips, groin, and legs, making your tomorrow a little bit easier. Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing like the day-after sore that follows a killer day in the gym.

    Tight muscles aside, great hip mobility is beneficial when it comes to allowing your body to have the full range of motion it should. “If our hips aren’t able to flex and move in the way our bodies intend them to, they don’t become as useful as they should be, which means a lot of the load will fall onto your lower back,” says Heidi Jones, Head Coach at Brick New York. “This creates problems over time.” And your hips are 100 percent designed to generate a ton of power. So go ahead, get your stretch on!

    1. Deep Squat Stand

    hip-stretches-deep-squat-stand-580x383Get into a deep squat with chest and eyes up and forward. Keep your core contracted and upright. Hold onto the front of each shoe. Then as you stand and extend hips back, continue holding onto the front of each shoe to full extension. Repeat 9 more times.

    This stretch improves hip and leg mobility while stretching your hip and hamstrings.

     

    2. Samson Stretch

    hip-stretches-samson-stretch-580x383Interlace your thumbs and raise your arms overhead. Engage your shoulders and shrug them up towards your ears. Step forward into a lunge with the knee of the rear leg touching the floor. Stretch your hands up towards the ceiling as you sink into the lunge and push your hips forward as your arms reach back behind you. Stand up out of the lunge and repeat on the other side.

    This move stretches and lengthens the arms, shoulders, and back while stretching the hip flexors as well.

    3. Couch Stretch

    hip-stretches-couch-stretchFind a wall and get down on all fours and move your bent knee back into the wall with your shin and the top of your foot touching the wall. Then bring the forward leg into a 90-degree angle with the knee directly over the ankle. Then stand tall with your torso and your chest and eyes up looking forward to the opposite side of the room. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to prevent hyperextending your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds and switch to the other side.

    You will feel an intense stretch on the right front side of your hip.

     

    4. Toy Soldier

    hip-stretches-toy-soldier-580x383Stand upright with feet under the hips. Core engaged and gaze forward. Raise your right arm toward the ceiling. Then swing your left leg up towards the ceiling as your right hand lowers to tap your left foot. Return to standing position and repeat on the opposite side. Do 10 toy soldiers to each side.

    This dynamic stretch will take your hip flexors through a forward range of motion.

    5. Figure 4 Hip Stretch

    hip-stretches-figure-fourThis stretch will externally rotate your hip. You can do this stretch on a box or a table. You’ll need a box or table that you can bend one leg and lay the front of the leg or the shin on the box. Keep your torso erect and your core engaged. Keep mild pressure on the leg to try and keep the leg as flat on the table or box as you can. Hold for a 5-count and repeat on the other leg.

    This stretch targets the hip muscles and the hip joint.

     

     

    6. Goblet Squat

    hip-stretches-goblet-squat-580x383The goblet squat hold is literally holding a kettle bell in the bottom of a squat. This is an isometric hold which is super effective at improving hip flexibility. You want to use a moderately heavy weight. Flip the kettle bell upside down and hold it by the belly of the bell, or the part that would resemble a goblet. Lower into the bottom of the squat with the elbows just inside the knees. Use your elbows to drive your knees outward increasing the stretch on the adductors. Hold this stretch for 10 deep inhales and exhales.

    This is a great stretch for the hips, hamstrings, and glutes, while also strengthening them as well. It also targets the hip flexors and stretches the groin.

    7. Spiderman Stretch

    hip-stretches-spiderman-stretch-580x383Start in the pushup position. Step forward with the left leg outside of the left hand. Drive the hips forward and hold for 5 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat on the right leg. Alternate for 5 reps on each side.

    This stretch targets the hip flexors.

     

     

    8. Banded Child Stretch

    hip-stretches-banded-childPut a medium resistance band around your hips and your glutes and sit your glutes as close to a wall as you can. Loop each side of the band around each knee. Place your feet against the wall with your back flat on the ground. Rest your hands on you knees. Contract your legs in towards each other for 2 seconds and then let them relax out to the side. Do this 10 times.

    This stretches the inner thighs or the adductors.

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    Bad Knees? Try This 10-Minute Low-Impact Workout

    bad knees

    A while back, I suffered from a knee injury that kept me from doing a lot of my usual jumping and running, but I didn’t stop working out while I was recovering. Instead, I switched from high-impact exercises that tended to aggravate my knees to low-impact moves—these still gave me a great workout but were more forgiving on my joints.

    Here is my favorite low-impact circuit. To get a great 10-minute workout, perform each of these 5 exercises for 30 seconds for a total of 4 sets (or do as many as you can with good form).

    Front Kick with Backward Lunge

    • Start with your right knee in front of you at hip level.
    • Kick straight out in front of you.
    • As you bring your leg back, go straight into a reverse lunge. Perform for 30 seconds—15 seconds on each leg.
    • Try to do as many reps as you can.

    Curtsy Lunge with Sidekick

    • Take your right leg and bring it behind your left leg, then squat into a curtsy lunge.
    • As you come out of the curtsy, perform a sidekick by extending your leg straight out to your side.
    • Do as many reps as you can in 15 seconds, then switch to the other side and repeat.

    Plank Up-Downs

    • Start on your elbows in a plank position. Your body should make a straight line from head to toe.
    • Keeping your abs tight and trying not to sway your hips too much, go up on one arm at a time into a full plank (no bend in your elbows).
    • Then, one arm at a time, go back down onto your elbows. Perform this for as many reps as you can in 30 seconds.

    Triceps Dip with Leg Extension

    • Sit on a mat with your feet out in front of you and shoulder-width apart, knees bent, hands behind you with fingers facing toward your back and elbows slightly bent.
    • Pick your hips up off the ground so you’re in a tabletop position.
    • While your left leg stays on the ground with the knee bent, extend your right leg out in front of you. This is where you start the exercise.
    • With your abs engaged, go down into a triceps dip while keeping your leg extended.
    • Perform as many dips as you can in 15 seconds, then switch your legs and perform for 15 more seconds.

    YTW’s

    • Start by lying on your stomach with your legs and arms extended on the ground.
    • Using your arms, you will make the letters Y, T and W. Here’s how:
      • With your hands in the “thumbs up” position, slightly raise and squeeze your arms and legs off the ground while making the letter “Y” above your head. Bring your arms and legs back down.
      • Next, as you squeeze and raise your arms and legs, lift your arms out to the side at 90 degrees, making the letter “T.” Return to the start.
      • Finally, raise your arms and legs again while squeezing your shoulders and glutes. Make an upside-down “W,” with your arms raised in line with your hips.
      • Perform all 3 of these letters in a fluid motion for 30 seconds each.

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    A Beginner’s Guide to Joint Health

    Beginners-Guide-to-Join-Pain

    We know that we have joints, and we know that they help us move, but many of us don’t pay as much attention to them as we should. A recent survey found that nearly seven in 10 Americans over age 34 experience occasional joint stiffness, and 62% of Gen Xers—now in their late 30s and 40s—are concerned about their joints. So what can be done to build better joint health?

    Section-Header-What-Joints-Do

    Let’s start with the basics. A joint is where two or more bones are conjoined together, most commonly with cartilage. And it’s this healthy cartilage that helps us move; it allows bones to glide over one another and prevents bones from rubbing against each other.

    Strong, flexible joints are essential for almost every daily activity. Whether you’re tossing a baseball, lifting a glass of water, nodding your head, standing from a chair or playing with your children, you depend on your joints. Simply put, joints are the gateway to leading healthy, active lifestyles. This is why it’s imperative we pay attention to joints and take care of them, starting early in life.

    While there are certain joints we’re more commonly aware of, such as the knees, and those found in the back, hands and neck. There are actually 147 joints in the human body—and all of them need attention.

    Section-Header-Why-Joint-Health-

    All too often, many of us take our joints for granted and don’t pay attention to them until it’s too late. Joints have a direct effect on our daily movements and activities, so it’s important that we give them the proper attention and care they deserve.

    I often draw the comparison to patients that, just as we promote healthy teeth and head off decay by brushing and flossing regularly, we can get ahead of joint health by properly nourishing, moving and stretching them regularly. Overall, joints are just as important as our heart and lungs—they help us function daily and keep us active as we age.

    Not paying attention to our joints means gambling with our health and quality of life as we age. Joint health is that important.

    We continuously put stress on our joints every day by carrying extra body weight, slugging around heavy backpacks, practicing poor posture and sitting improperly. One effective means for supporting joint health is to lower overall body weight, especially for those who are overweight or obese. Losing excess weight can ease the strain the additional body mass puts on your joints. In addition, many who maintain active lifestyles and fitness routines can pay more attention to the results of their workouts than they do to the way exercise (particularly high-impact and repetitive movements) impacts their joints.

    By taking action throughout our lives—starting as early as our 30s—we can help nourish and strengthen our joints to support them as we age.

    Section-Header-Joint-Nutrition

    When it comes to joint health, it’s never too early to be proactive. Most of us have the mentality that we can wait until later in life to take action. Not true. As we practice proper fitness techniques and nourish our bodies with healthy foods, it’s also important to incorporate supplements into our diets to meet the needs of our joints.

    Eating healthy foods is beneficial to our bodies; however, it’s difficult to get the most important joint-health ingredients, like glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen, into our everyday diets. Joint-health supplements, such as those offered by Osteo Bi-Flex*, help provide proper nourishment to support joint function, strength and mobility.

    Make your joint health a priority. Nourish your body properly, and you’ll feel the results for years to come.

    Section-Header-Joints-Thrive

    Good joint health is dependent upon regular physical activity. Stay active. Warm up properly before exercise, and cool down and stretch after exercise.

    Many patients with joint concerns tend to rest in search of recovery. Movement is a much better—and proven—path. Patients should work low-impact exercises, such as yoga and water aerobics, into their routines. Remember: some exercise is better than none. The more you move, the more your body will reward you.

    Stiffness is common, especially in the morning. To combat the occasional joint stiffness, try a “hot-and-cold” regimen. You can establish this routine by taking a long, warm shower or bath when you wake up and then integrating other hot remedies into your day, such as sitting with an electric blanket over your legs or lying on a heating pad at night. The warmth of these techniques helps your joints stay loose and flexible.

    On the flip side, cold treatments are also effective, as discomfort can often result from a burning sensation in an inflamed joint. Inflammation can often occur after high-impact activities like running, and after activities like gardening and yoga, which require constant bending. A cold treatment is best applied when joints are “hot.” I often recommend patients use a gel pack or a frozen bag of vegetables, which can shift shape and bend around common joint areas, such as your knees, elbows and hands. Standard ice packs are only able to sit on one area of the joint.

    Keep in mind that a hot-and-cold regimen that heat helps muscles relax, while cold minimizes inflammation and discomfort. So use heat for joints that feel stiff and cold for a joint that is already hot or irritated.

    Regular massages—full body or even pedicure/manicure massages—can ease joint and muscle tightness. Whether you’re getting a full-body or a pedicure massage, you’re putting your joints through a full range of motion to decrease stiffness. During a full-body massage, warm oils and lotions can relieve stress on joints. The same goes for a manicure or pedicure treatment—soaking your feet and hands in warm water can relieve joint stress and soothe the body.

    Section-Header-Joint-Discomfort

    Joints age naturally; however, there are key preventive steps we can take to keep joints mobile, nourished and supported.

    First: Pay attention to your joint health earlier in life, before it demands your attention. Second: Attend to injuries properly. Many patients take minor injuries for granted and don’t properly attend to them, resulting in long-term issues. One of the most common causes of joint concerns in men results directly from improperly treated or untreated athletic injuries. Whether you twist an ankle running, hyperextend an arm lifting a suitcase or jam your fingers playing softball, make sure you listen to what your body is telling you and take proper actions to address any level of injury.

    Consult your doctor, ask questions and take the necessary steps to address and support your joints. Taking care of our joints ensures we can live the lives we desire, even in advanced years.

    *The supplement recommendation comes from the author and isn’t meant to be viewed as an endorsement from MyFitnessPal. Readers should consult with their doctor for individual recommendations.

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    6 Healthier Breakfast Treats

    pancake donut

    Next to dessert, breakfast is my favorite meal (yes, I may have just called dessert a meal). It’s a time when I can sit quietly for 15 minutes, read the news, and relax while I eat something delicious. Unfortunately, a lot those delicious things aren’t compatible with weight loss and healthy living. And we all know a good breakfast is important: It jump starts your metabolism, and mentally sets the tone for how you will likely eat the rest of the day. So my compromise? Healthier versions of my more decadent favorites.

    Chia Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies: Are you one of those people who skip breakfast? While I’m pretty envious of the fact that you don’t wake up ravenous like I do, cutting calories in the morning will actually hurt your ability to lose weight. These breakfast cookies are the perfect treat—even if you need to eat them on the go. Bonus: Chia is packed with fiber and will keep you feeling fuller, longer.

    Nutrition per serving (1 cookie): Calories: 79; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 7mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 2g

    Buttermilk Pancake Donuts: I have a love/ hate relationship with pancakes. I love eating them, but I haven’t gotten around to buying a griddle so that I can make more than one at time. Here’s the solution: buttermilk pancake donuts. I can make a dozen of these donuts in 30 minutes, but only need to be in front of the stove for 12 minutes. Plus, they are donuts and pancakes! Everything mixes up in 10 minutes. To get the classic donut shape, you need is a donut pan, but this also means that you bake—not fry—the donuts.

    Nutrition per serving (1 donut): Calories: 153; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 545mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 16g; Protein: 3g

    Chocolate Breakfast Quinoa with Cherries & Pistachios: Need something filling that’s a nutritional powerhouse? Want dessert? Then this is the recipe for you. Warm and filling, the quinoa, fruit and nuts pack plenty of protein and fiber, and the cocoa powder makes it feel like you’re cheating on your diet (but you aren’t).

    Nutrition per serving (1 cup): Calories: 425; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 135mg; Carbohydrate: 70g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 23g; Protein: 13g

    Tip: Want to save 60 calories per serving (and reduce the sugar)? Skip the agave.

    Banana Buckwheat Pancakes: Pancakes tie with waffles for the perfect Sunday breakfast, and the best thing about this recipe (besides being healthy and delicious) is that it substitutes syrup for a delicious fruit compote, which is sweet, sophisticated and better for you. Plus: This recipe is gluten free and Paleo.

    Nutrition per serving (2 pancakes): Calories: 220; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 85mg; Sodium: 297mg; Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 11g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 9g

    Cinnamon French Toast Breakfast Wraps: Just roll and go! The cinnamon french toast wrap by Healthy Hungry Girl transforms thin, whole-wheat tortillas with traditional French-toast-style prep. This convenient, high-fiber breakfast is perfect with a drizzle of nut butter, bananas and your favorite berries.

    Nutrition per serving (1 wrap): Calories: 413; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 159mg; Sodium: 434mg; Total Carbohydrate: 49g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugars: 8g; Protein: 15g

    Microwave Berry Breakfast Crumble: Looking for a dessert-like breakfast that’s ready in 6 minutes flat? Ya, we thought so. This Microwave Breakfast Berry Crumble from 24 Carrot Life has enough healthy fiber to keep you full until lunch, while satisfying your morning sweet tooth.

    Nutrition per serving (1 bowl): Calories: 332; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 153mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 12g; Sugar: 25g; Protein: 7g

    Do you like to treat yourself at breakfast? Do you use substitutions to make your favorite recipes healthier?

     

    Photo by Jennifer Pantin

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    Cardio Core Workout: 3 Beginner-Friendly Belly Dance Moves

    cardio core dance workout

    Did you know that belly dance tones and slims your core muscles—including the abs, hips and lower back—recharges energy, builds confidence, and calms the mind? It is believed to have originated thousands of years ago as a childbirth ritual. The figure 8s, circles, undulations and twists are an amazing way to connect to your inner sensuality while also getting a powerful workout. Try these three popular moves from the new “Element: Belly Dance” DVD anywhere, anytime for a fun and fast cardio core workout.

    Move #1: Torso Circles

    Torso Circles increase range of motion in the ribcage, which is often very stiff. This move also enhances healthy posture.

    How to: Gently slide your ribcage to the right without moving your hips. Now contract to the back, slide to the left and arch to the front as you push your chest forward. Try circling your torso eight times to the right and eight times to the left, each time smoothing out any rough spots.

    Move #2: Figure 8s

    Figure 8s are a quintessential belly dance move that opens up the hips, and tones the waist and belly.

    How to: Twist your right hip to the front. Draw a circle to the outside with this same hip until it’s facing back diagonally. Your weight should still be on your right foot. Now shift your weight to your left foot and twist your left hip back. Merge the sides together so you are drawing an infinity loop with your hips, taking time to twist the hip front and push it all the way back until the other side is ready to go.

    Move #3: Hip Twists

    Hip Twists are one of the best moves for the waist. They can help you get that hourglass shape. It’s important to remember to breathe during this move or you may get a cramp.

    How to: Standing tall, bring your right foot out in front of you and lift onto the ball of the right foot. Keeping the knees from splaying out, twist your right hip all the way forward and then all the way back. Your belly should be strong and your twists should be powerful but relaxed at the same time. Repeat these twists slowly at first then try speeding them up to music. Switch sides.

    You’ll be surprised how much the heart can get pumping from just a few moves. A good dancer can make these movements look easy, but they actually require a lot of strength and precision. The most most important thing is to have fun with it. The time will fly so quickly you will forget you’re even exercising.

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    A Beginner’s Guide to Protein

    A Beginner’s Guide to Protein MyFitnessPal

    Protein powder and bars are trendy supplements for bodybuilders to bulk up. But, is it really necessary for us regular folks to consume these products in order to lose weight and build muscle?

    Before supplementing your diet with protein, determine if you are already getting enough from the foods you eat.

    How to determine protein needs

    Our body changes every day as cells grow, divide and die—these processes depend on protein to supply vital building blocks to our cells. Because of this, you need to eat enough protein to maintain lean muscle mass and support other important body functions, which you can read more about in Nutrition 101: Protein.

    The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) predicts how much protein you should eat daily to guard against lean muscle loss. The RDA for protein is 0.8 gram/kilogram of body weight, but this is a minimum for the average sedentary adult, a.k.a. “weekend warrior.” MyFitnessPal calculates protein intake to be 20% of your daily calories, which is likely more than enough to maintain muscle mass. If you want to check, here’s how to calculate the minimum amount of protein you should be eating:

    Step 1: Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms.
    Step 2: Multiply your weight in kilograms X 0.8 to get the amount (in grams) of protein you should be eating to maintain muscle mass.

    Does this match your protein goal in the app?

    hi-tech tip

    If you exercise regularly—particularly if you log 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous exercise several days per week—the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends more protein. Their recommendation for an active person is to eat 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight on the days that you exercise. You can use the same steps above to calculate the amount of protein (in grams) you’d need on the days when you exercise.

    For endurance activities (think swimming, biking, running), stick to 1.2 to 1.4 gram/kilogram.
    For strength activities (think weight lifting), go with 1.4 to 2 grams/kilogram.

    GETTING PROTEIN FROM WHOLE FOODS

    If you’d rather reach for real food to meet your protein needs, we’re right there with you! Getting all your protein from food is super realistic. A sedentary woman weighing 127 pounds only needs a daily dose of about 46 grams of protein, which she can meet by eating 3 ounces of chicken breast, one large egg, a handful of almonds and a stick of string cheese.

    You’re probably saying, “I can eat that!” For most people, this amount of food daily is no biggie. Your own needs might be different, of course, but to help you plan your protein, here’s a quick list of protein-rich foods you can reach for:

    ANIMAL SOURCES PLANT SOURCES
    Food (serving) Cal Pro (g) Food (serving) Cal Pro (g)
    Skinless chicken (3 ounces) 141 28 Pinto beans (½ cup) 197 11
    Steak (3 oz) 158 26 Lentils (½ cup) 101 9
    Roasted turkey (3 oz) 135 25 Black beans (½ cup) 114 8
    Lamb (3 oz) 172 23 Chickpeas (½ cup) 134 7
    Pork (3 oz) 122 22 Black eyed peas (½ cup) 100 7
    Salmon (3 oz) 155 22 Quinoa (½ cup) 111 4
    Tuna (3 oz) 99 22 Green peas (½ cup) 59 4
    Shrimp (3 oz) 101 20
    Lobster (3 oz) 76 16
    Scallops (3 oz) 75 14

     

    EGG & DAIRY NUTS & SEEDS
    Food (serving) Cal Pro (g) Food (serving) Cal Pro (g)
    Greek yogurt (6 oz) 100 18 Peanuts (1 oz) 166 7
    Cottage cheese, 1% fat (4 oz) 81 14 Peanut butter (1 oz) 188 7
    Regular yogurt, nonfat (1 cup) 100 11 Almonds (1 oz) 163 6
    Skim milk (1 cup) 86 8 Flax seeds (1 oz) 140 6
    Mozzarella (1 oz) 72 7 Chia seeds (1 oz) 138 5
    String cheese, non-fat (1 piece) 50 6 Walnuts (1 oz) 185 4
    Large egg (1) 71 6

    Protein charts courtesy of Today’s Dietitian

    header3v2

    When it comes to protein, most of us don’t need supplemental help and can easily meet our needs from a well-balanced diet, but if you have above-average protein needs and have a hard time getting enough from your diet, supplementation may be appropriate. You can sneak in additional protein with whole foods but, from a lifestyle perspective, there are a few reasons why protein supplements, in bar or powder form, may make sense:

    1. CONVENIENCE: Protein powder and bars can provide a high-quality snack with approximately 20-30 grams of protein for refueling after a tough workout, or eating on the go.

    2. COST: Depending on the protein supplement you buy, it may actually be more cost effective to use a supplement than purchase more pricey foods like meat and fish. Whey protein powder is about $10-15/pound but also has a longer shelf life than fresh, protein-rich foods.

    3. FEASIBILITY: Vegan diets rely on plant sources to supply protein and require eating a variety of foods since plant sources rarely contain all of the essential amino acids. For vegans who exercise intensely or strength train, protein supplements may be a useful.

    PROTEIN POWDER BASICS

    When it comes to protein, quality matters. This is why scientists came up with the “protein digestibility corrected amino acid score” (PDCAAS)–yes, it’s a mouthful! This score tells you protein quality as measured by: 1) how “complete” the protein is and, 2) how easily digestible it is.

    The PDCAAS scores protein sources from 0-1 with 1 being the highest. A score of 1 is assigned to egg white, which contains all 9 essential amino acids and is easily digested and absorbed. Ideally, your protein powder supplement should score as close to 1 as possible, but this depends on the source of protein it’s made from. Here are the 3 most common sources of protein that powers your powder:

    1. Whey and casein (PDCAAS=1) are proteins extracted from milk that are “complete” proteins, easily absorbed by the body and relatively inexpensive. Plus, these milk proteins contain branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) to encourage muscle building during strength training. The downside is that this protein source is unsuitable for vegans and people with lactose intolerance or milk protein allergies.

    2. Soy protein (PDCAAS= 1) is plant-based, contains all 9 essential amino acids and is inexpensive. Soy protein powder is a great alternative for vegans who can’t take whey or casein, but wouldn’t be ideal for those with soy allergies.

    3. Other plant-based proteins: Pea (PDCAAS=0.69), rice (PDCAAS=0.47) and hemp (PDCAAS= 0.46) proteins score low on the PDCAAS because they don’t provide all 9 essential amino acids when taken as a stand-alone source, and the rice and hemp proteins are not readily digestible. For this reason, they are usually found together in a plant-based protein powder supplement mix. While these mixes can be hypoallergenic, we’d still suggest whey, casein and soy if you can stomach them.

    3 Tips for Fueling with Protein Powder

    1. Choose whey when possible. If you’re considering a protein supplement to increase muscle size and strength, whey is the way to go–as long as you don’t have milk intolerance. It’s an inexpensive, high-quality protein that is quickly usable by your muscles.

    2. Log your protein supplements. Don’t forget that supplements (and the milk you mix it with) have calories, too, and can contribute to excess weight gain if you aren’t mindful.

    3. Supplement with exercise in mind. Consuming protein powder alone won’t get you a lean, mean physique–you’ll still need to shape up with some push-up, squatting, and burpie fun.

    tip2

    PROTEIN BAR BASICS

    Like protein powder, bar supplements use the same sources listed above to add protein into a portable snack. Unlike powder, bars generally contain more calories, carbs, fat, and sodium for any given amount of protein. However, this is because you’re expected to mix powder supplements with milk to add in more of the other macros.! Bars provide a quick,mindless, no-mix way of getting post-workout nutrition. This table will help you visualize the basic nutritional differences (but really read the label):

    Cal Pro(g) Carb(g) Sugar(g) Fat(g)
    Bars 200-300 15-30 15-40 5-20 5-10
    Powder* 80-200 15-30 <10 1-5 <5

    *Before mixing with milk.

    3 Tips for Fueling with Protein Bars

    1. Read the ingredients. This is usually not a pretty place, but if you’re going to eat it, then read it. Protein bars can hide processed fibers, sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners. Make sure you’re okay with these before biting.

    2. Log your bar supplements. Some bars are meant to replace a whole meal, and they have the calories to do it. Logging bars helps you stay the course for your calorie goals.

    3. Supplement with exercise in mind. Bars vary widely in the amount of carbs they contain. Choose higher-carb bars (20+ grams per serving) when you engaged in vigorous aerobic activities (running, swimming, biking), and lower-carb bars (<20 grams per serving) for non-aerobic activities.

    header4

    No matter what source you choose to meet your protein goals, remember these 3 tips to help you get the most out of protein:

    1. Spread protein out over all your meals. Protein-rich foods don’t come cheap, but you can maximize your body’s ability to digest, absorb and use protein by distributing it evenly throughout your meals and snacks. Just take the total grams of protein you need daily and divide it into the total number of meals and snacks you eat daily.

    2. Eat protein immediately after a bout of exercise. Having a high-protein snack soon after exercise (ideally before the 1-hour mark) is best because this is when muscles are sensitive to nutrients that it can use to repair and grow.

    3. Pair protein with carbs. This is especially important when you’re refueling after aerobic exercise (like running) since protein is needed for muscle repair and carbs are needed to restock your muscles’ energy stores. Remember, the macros like to work together.

    Do you power with protein? If so, share some tips below.

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    What’s for dinner? Is it healthy? Is it easy? If you ask these questions, EatingWell is for you. The magazine “Where Good Taste Meets Good Health,” EatingWell delivers the information and inspiration its 350,000 paid subscribers need to make healthy eating a way of life with great, easy recipes (most take 45 minutes or less), the latest nutrition science, gorgeous photos and crisp, evocative prose.

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    Healthy Eating: Summer Healthy Eating Guide and 60+ Recipes Inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine to Calm the Mind and Achieve Optimal Health

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    Did you know that your body sensitively reacts to external changes and send you signals from time to time? For example, in summer the season full of energy, some people frequently have breakouts, while others easily become moody or agitated.

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    Healthy Eating: Spring Healthy Eating Guide and 60+ Recipes Inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine to Detoxify the Body and Achieve Optimal Health

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    Get this healthy eating guide for just $0.99 today. Regularly priced at $4.99.

    Did you know that your body sensitively reacts to external changes and send you signals from time to time? For example, in spring the blossoming season, some people easily develop hay fever, while others may have dry, rough, and itchy skin.

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    As an example, in spring the windy season, you could consume more moisturizing foods such as whole grains, pears, lotus seeds, and white fungus to hydrate the body and skin from the inside. It is good to have brown rice, honey, red dates, needle mushrooms, and carrots, if you have a sensitive body that can easily have allergies. These are just a few examples from this book to show you the powerful healing benefits in foods for spring.

    By the end of the book, you will have a complete understanding of how to eat healthy in spring.

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    • How spring the three-month period can be divided into six shorter periods of time (each period describing a subtle change in atmospheric characteristics and animal behaviors) and how ancient Chinese used this type of categorization to plan for what to eat to promote health
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    6 Healthier Comfort-Food Replacements to Warm You Up This Winter

    Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts

    We all love comfort food, especially for its warming effect on the body in the winter chill. That said, a diet of mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes, fried chicken and dinner rolls won’t do anything for our waistlines.

    To find some skinnier alternatives to those less-than-healthy comfort staples, we asked Barbara Linhardt, MS, RD, founder of Five Senses Nutrition, to give the menu a quick makeover. Here are her suggests for warming winter foods. Enjoy!

    ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
    While you’re body is seeking out an extra starch or carb serving to keep you warm, drop some roasted brussels sprouts on your plate instead — which are a great source of fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and vitamins (notably C and K). “You can also get some healthy mono-unsaturated fat from a drizzle of canola oil,” says Linhardt. “I use canola oil when roasting and baking, because it holds up better under high heat.” And since half your dinner plate should ideally be vegetable-based, this dish will help.

    Linhardt’s recipe: “Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil over halved brussels sprouts, then sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper before roasting at 400 degrees (Farenheit) until they start to brown and crisp up. You can even top with a little balsamic vinegar to add some bite.”

    MASHED CAULIFLOWER
    This can replace your traditional mashed potato side during the cold-weather months.
    “The pureed or mashed cauliflower even has the same color as well as texture as good mashed potatoes,” says Linhardt. That and superfood benefits, too. Cauliflower is also a great source of fiber, vitamins like C, K and folate as well as antioxidants. And perhaps the biggest bonus? One cup of mashed potatoes can top 200 calories, and a cup of mashed cauliflower should only contain about half that.

    Linhardt’s recipe: “Steam the cauliflower until tender and then puree until smooth in a blender with olive oil, milk, and a touch of butter. With a little salt and pepper (and wasabi if you like things spicy), mashed cauliflower can fool even the most ardent potato lover.”

    LENTIL SOUP
    Creamy soups like clam chowder can be loaded with saturated fat, which shouldn’t exactly comprise a staple in your smart-eats winter regimen. Sup lentil soup as a better alternative: “To put it simply, you can prepare your favorite veggie soup and just add in lentils,” says Linhardt. “Not only is lentil soup the ultimate comfort food but it is filled to the brim with vitamins and minerals, protein, and fiber.” Linhardt suggests dried lentils, which are cheap and cook up much faster than most beans, so you can prepare lentil soup faster than other bean soups. Plus, if you make the soup at home, you’re cutting out a lot of the sodium content.

    Linhardt’s recipe: “I typically sauté carrots, onions, and celery in olive oil with some red pepper flakes and spices like thyme or rosemary. Feel free to get adventurous with vegetables, like adding leeks, bell peppers, or favorite greens like kale. Then I top the sautéed veggie mix with water and bay leaves before adding the lentils. Bring to a boil and let it cook until lentils are soft and soup has thickened.”

    SPAGHETTI SQUASH AND SAUCE
    We all love pasta. It’s what Carb Heaven tastes like for the savory-loving folks. By subbing squash for your noodle, you’re looking at 30 calories per cup compared to a whopping 220 calories per cup for the real deal. “Marinara sauce still provides a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant linked with decreased risk of prostate cancer,” says Linhardt, saying that when you must opt for regular spaghetti, still be smart. “When you feel like having real pasta, go for it, just try to choose whole wheat pasta, and make sure vegetables are the main player in the pasta mix, while pasta is just the side.”

    Linhardt’s recipe: “Halve the spaghetti squash, drizzle with canola oil, and bake flesh side down at 450 degrees until tender. When cooled, scrap out the strands of squash and mix with cooked marinara sauce and veggies. I tend to sauté up whatever veggies are around — sometimes it’s broccoli, sometimes it’s frozen spinach. Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese, and add a lean-protein source like ground turkey or shrimp to the mix, as well.”

    SAUTÉED COLLARD GREENS
    Instead of making fatty traditional southern-style collard greens with ham and bacon, choose a skinnier option to rock your dinner plate this winter. Collard greens are rich in almost every vitamin and mineral you can think of, says Linhardt. “They’re a great source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium and folate. Although calcium found in vegetable sources is less well absorbed than dairy calcium due to phytates, collards are still one of the richest sources of calcium for lactose-intolerant or vegan individuals.”

    Linhardt’s recipe: “I love to roll up the collard green leaf, and then cut thin slices horizontally to make ribbons. Then I sauté garlic, red peppers, and onions in a pan of olive oil, and add my collard greens. Once they are starting to turn green, I add in a little low-sodium veggie stock and a tiny smidge of butter. Finally, I let the collard greens cook slowly until they’re more tender and less bitter.

    HOT COCOA
    Surprise, surprise: you can slurp up this (smart) indulgence to get your sweet fix, in place of carb-loaded, refined-sugar staples like pecan pie, chocolate cakes, or sugar cookies. “The flavonoids found in cocoa have been linked to cardiovascular health, as well as obesity and cancer prevention,” says Linhardt. “Oh, and it’s delicious.”

    Linhardt’s recipe: “Mix unsweetened cocoa powder with low-fat milk or non-dairy milk, and then warm over low heat. I typically add in a tiny bit of pure vanilla extract and a dash of sugar at a time, taste-testing along the way, until it is just slightly sweetened.”

    Here are some more healthy comfort food recipes to try:

    Chickpea Cauliflower Rice Bowl
    Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
    Tex-Mex Baked Spaghetti Squash
    Maple Glazed Brussels Spouts with Ham & Corn
    Lentil Sweet Potato Spinach Stew

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    5 Simple Moves to Eliminate Low Back Pain for Good

    woodpecker

    Chronic low back pain, which affects millions of Americans each year, is often caused by a sedentary lifestyle and/or heavy use, which might sound a little like you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. But you’re not! There are many treatment options available to low back pain sufferers, ranging from medications to surgery. But one of the most sustainable and effective solutions for eliminating chronic low back pain is the (totally free!) regular practice of back-strengthening exercises.

    There are several simple moves that (when practiced often) can reduce and eliminate low back pain by helping prevent weakness from inactivity and improving the body’s ability to tolerate activity as you get older.

    The most important muscle groups to target include the back extensors and deep core stabilizers, abdominals, and glutes. It’s also important to keep the upper leg muscles strong and flexible in order to avoid strain on the supporting structures of the back. Movements that target these muscles should focus both on stabilization through the core and building endurance. Here, we outline five of the best moves you can do to keep your back healthy now and down the road.

    5 Strength Exercises to Beat Back Pain

    You can do these moves virtually anywhere to strengthen your back and core and support your lower back. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing functional training like these exercises two to three times per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session.

    Try moving through the routine below, repeating each exercise 2 to 4 times. To be sure you reap all the back-boosting benefits, pay close attention to your form during every movement.

    1. Decompression Breathing
    decompression breathingA little extra O2 can do a body good—especially when you’re lengthening the body at the same time! Use this move to teach yourself how to breathe deeply and keep your spine long and strong at all times.

    Stand with your toes touching and your heels slightly apart. Shift weight into your heels, unlock your knees, and gently pull your heels toward each other. Stand tall, reach your arms overhead, and press your fingertips together. With your inhale, lift the ribcage away from the hips. On the exhale, tighten the core to support the “lengthened” spine. Repeat this breathing process until you feel tall and supported.

    2. Founder to Forward Fold
    founder to forward foldSticking out your booty might feel embarrassing, but this move is called a founder because it’s setting you up for success in building integrated back and core strength. If a full founder puts too much tension on your lower back, try doing a modified founder with your hands back behind you (pictured below). If you’ve got tight hamstrings, use a prop (such as a chair) to help bring the ground just a wee bit closer to you. Remember—the goal is to reinforce good movement patterns. Use props or modify the full move if it helps you keep a neutral and stable spine.

    Modified Founder
    modified founderFrom the modified founder position, inhale and reach your arms out in front of your heart, keeping your hips back and pressing your fingertips together, with the pinkies pressing in the hardest. Slowly lift the arms all the way up, and keep the core pulled in to maintain a neutral spine. Hold 15 to 20 seconds.

    Forward Fold
    forward foldFrom full founder, float the hands down to the ground as you drive your hips back. Unlock your knees and keep the weight in your heels. When your hands are down to the ground (or on a prop, for people with tight hamstrings) pull your hips back, up, and away, reaching your hands as far forward as possible to counterbalance. Hold 20 to 30 seconds.

    To stand up, keep your weight in your heels, slide your hands up your shins, and bring your spine into neutral. Sweep the arms back into Modified Founder position. Press the heels into the ground and bring your hips forward to stand up.

    3. Adductor-Assisted Back Extension
    back extensionThis well-known exercise isolates some of the deeper muscles of the lower back. Add in a little extra support from your inner thighs and some increased activation of the hamstrings, and you’ve got a recipe for building back muscles strong like a superhero’s.

    Start on the ground, lying on your stomach. Flex your feet and zip your legs together, keeping just a slight bend at the knees. Press your hips and knees into the ground and lift your elbows up until the hands “float” above the ground. Pull your shoulders down towards your butt while lifting your chest off the ground. Keep your neck long and hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.

    4. Eight-Point Plank
    8-point plankA plank with your elbows and knees on the ground sounds like it should be easy, but this one sure isn’t. Get ready to focus a bit more on your abs to create some serious support for your spine.

    Lie on your stomach with your feet flexed, knees touching, and elbows a few inches in front of your shoulders. Pull your shoulders away from your ears, and gently squeeze the knees and elbows toward the centerline of body. Press knees, toes, and elbows into the mat as you lift your hips up to the height of the shoulders. Tighten your core and maintain a long, neutral spine. Pull the elbows and knees toward each other (as though you’re trying to bring the top and bottom of your mat together), and hold the plank for 20 to 30 seconds. If you begin to tremble, you’re doing this right.

    5. Woodpecker
    woodpeckerNamed after the feisty little bird that tips forward when it hunts for food, this move will strengthen both your butt muscles and your back.

    From a lunge position, press through your front heel and stand tall. Lift the back heel up off the ground and reach the arms out in front of your heart. Drive your butt as far back as you can, without moving your knee, until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Your arms will naturally reach further forward to counterbalance. Tighten your core, taking care to maintain a neutral spine, and slowly reach the arms overhead. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

    Modified Woodpecker
    modified woodpeckerIf a full woodpecker is too tough, try keeping your arms back behind you in a modified version while you build up the strength to perform the full version.

    The Takeaway

    Research shows that frequently bracing the core and strengthening your back muscles can be effective in promoting long-term relief from chronic low back pain. Meanwhile, sedentary behavior has been shown to be a health risk in and of itself itself—so next time you catch yourself sitting for a long period of time, stand up and do some Decompression Breathing, a Founder, or any of the exercises outlined above. You’ll give your body a break from sitting, and you’ll be working the muscles that support your spine. With a practice and minimal time commitment, a strong and supple back can be yours for the long haul!

     

    Beth Alexander is a California-based personal trainer with a passion for teaching proper posture and movement patterns. Certified through both the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council On Exercise, her specialty is integrated movement—teaching people to use muscles to work together for healthy functional movements. To learn more about Beth, visit her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

    All referenced postures were created by Dr. Eric Goodman, creator of Foundation Training, a series of bodyweight exercises designed to strengthens the posterior chain of muscles. Foundation Training includes several simple moves that (when practiced often) can reduce and eliminate low back pain by helping prevent weakness and inactivity and improving the body’s ability to tolerate activity over time. For more information about Foundation Training, visit the website.

    Images courtesy of Greatist. 

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    Simple Tips to Build Self-Confidence

    Simple Tips to Build Self-Confidence

    Have you ever had an experience where you were excited about a new relationship, a new opportunity, or learning something new, and all of a sudden your feeling of excitement turned into a feeling of fear? We all have.

    In my work with clients and teaching on the subjects of mindfulness and behavior change at Stanford University, I have found there are typically four hindrances to confidence. Do any of these sound familiar?

    1. Excessive expectations I am just learning to run and I sign up for a marathon that is only two months away.

    2. Harsh self-judgment “I am such a loser, why couldn’t I figure that out?”

    3. Pre-occupation with fear Fear of things turning out badly, rejection, making a mistake, etc.

    4. Lack of experience If we have little experience with something, we can’t expect to feel confident about it. Have you heard that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill? It’s true. Research shows that there is a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement.

    The solution to increasing confidence is learning how to work with our negative thoughts and fears. In the field of neuroscience, we are finding that many of our thoughts are neural habit patterns that can be changed. In other words, confidence can be learned, behaviors can be changed, and we can practice confident behaviors and attitudes.

    There are two main things that contribute to self-confidence.

    1. Self-efficacy When we see ourselves and others similar to ourselves mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those areas. (Ex: “Wow, Samantha was able to commit and achieve her goal of weight loss, she just kept at it. She and I are pretty similar and if she can do it, I can do it.”)

    2. Self-esteem This refers to our feeling that we can cope with what is happening in our lives and deserve to be happy. It is a sense that we are competent and if we put our minds towards something we can accomplish it.

    CONFIDENCE PRACTICE

    Confidence techniques can be used at will, are easy to learn, and learned confidence becomes authentic!

    Close your eyes and allow yourself to start breathing, in and out through your belly. Allow your mind and body to become more peaceful and calm. Now imagine a real situation that you want to avoid or are having fear around. What story are you believing about yourself or this situation? Now imagine how you’d look and feel if you were able to pull out confidence at will. You are powerful, relaxed, in touch with what you most want. How might you handle yourself in the situation?

    Let yourself be led by confidence. In bringing awareness to our thoughts and not being derailed by them, we can see our negative thoughts and fears for what they are,: NOT TRUE. Being mindful of our thoughts and making friends with our feelings allows us to choose more empowering thoughts and this is the key to confidence.

    1. Identify what thoughts or beliefs are getting in the way of your feeling confident. (Ex: I am not good enough or I can’t succeed in …”)

    2. Develop more empowering and positive statements, such as “I am good enough or I know if I put my mind to something, with practice and perseverance, I can be successful.”

    3. Practice being confident while doing something new and know mastery doesn’t happen overnight.

    4. Evaluate what is working and what is not. Then continue to do what is working.

    When you believe in your abilities and practice new skills, you can manifest success!

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    Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?

    What's the best Carb, Fat and Protein Breakdown for Weight Loss? MyFitnessPal

    Between all of the different diet trends and conflicting research findings out there, it seems we’re more confused than ever about what and how much to eat, particularly when it comes to protein, carbohydrates and fat. While there’s no one combination that will make the pounds magically melt off you can optimize your diet for weight loss by adjusting the composition of your calories.

    Carbs, Protein or Fat: What makes the most sense to adjust?

    When it comes to choosing what to eat more of and what to cut back on for weight loss, consider first what you want to achieve. The goal of losing weight is to reduce fat stores while preserving, or even adding, lean tissue—what we refer to as muscle.

    Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for our muscles during exercise and are the only source of energy for our brain and red blood cells. Fat is equally important, playing major roles in everything from brain function to cell structure, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it may not hurt to trade some carbohydrates and/or fat calories for a boost in protein. Calorie for calorie, protein has the most metabolic benefits for weight loss: it increases satiety, stimulates energy expenditure and preserves muscle, which unfortunately is used for energy along with fat during weight loss.

    What to Adjust and By How Much?

    For most, it is perfectly safe to adjust carbohydrate, protein and fat consumption to optimize the diet for weight loss. You may find it beneficial to trade a percentage of your calories from carbohydrates or even fat, for protein calories.

    As a jumping off point, let’s review the current recommendations for carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as MyFitnessPal’s default goals for these nutrients:

    Current Recommendations
    The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating within the following ranges:

    • Carbohydrates: 45-65% of calories
    • Fat: 20-35% of calories
    • Protein: 10-35% of calories

    Also worth mentioning here is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for carbohydrates, which is 130 grams per day. This number is based upon the amount of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) required to fuel an adult’s brain, red blood cells and central nervous system. This is important because if we do not get enough carbohydrates from our diet, the body will break down protein (which it can turn into glucose) to maintain blood sugar levels and fuel the brain and red blood cells.

    MyFitnessPal’s Current Default Goals
    MyFitnessPal’s current default goals distribute calories as follows: 50% from carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% from fat.

    To help you visualize some modest modifications, here’s a table summarizing a couple of options for safely cutting back on calories from carbohydrates and fat while increasing protein intake to optimize the diet for weight loss:

     

    Recommended Ranges
    (Percent of Calories)
    Lower Carb
    Higher Protein
    (Percent of Calories)
    Lower Carb & Fat
    Higher Protein
    (Percent of Calories)
    Carbohydrates 45-65% 45% 45%
    Protein 10-35% 25% 30%
    Fat 20-35% 30% 25%

    For those primarily interested in cutting calories from carbohydrates, a 1,200-calorie diet with 45% of calories from carbohydrates would provide 135 grams of carbohydrates, thus meeting the RDA of 130 grams. Go below that and it becomes incredibly difficult to hit your daily fiber goal (which also helps with satiety) and you may feel more sluggish during workouts. Hypothetically speaking, a 1,300-calorie diet with as few as 40% calories from carbohydrates (below the recommended minimum) would still meet the RDA for carbohydrates.

    If you’re currently using MyFitnessPal’s default goals and want to trade some carb calories for protein, the 45:25 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio may be a good place to start.

    Remember, Quality Counts Too

    While there’s no one magic ratio for everyone, you may find that making some modest adjustments to macronutrient intake can help your long-term weight loss efforts. Feel free to experiment but remember: The quality of the protein, fat and carbs you eat are just as important as the quantity. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you adjust your macros:

    1. Complex carbohydrates like fruit and whole grains contain fiber. This has a beneficial impact both on satiety and blood sugar, so load up on those first. This Nutrition 101: Carbohydrates post offers some healthy carb options.

    2. Lean protein offers muscle-sparing benefits with very few calories from fat. Check out this great Nutrition 101: Protein post for some great plant-based protein sources as well as some lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish to stock up on.

    3. Fats have many benefits ranging from satiety to brain health–especially those rich in omega-3s. Skim over our Nutrition 101: Fats post if you’re looking for some heart-healthy options.

    Note: Modest changes in macronutrient intake can be beneficial for weight loss; however, these tweaks may not appropriate for everyone, particularly those with diabetes, kidney disease or other diseases affected by diet composition. As always, it’s best to check with a dietitian or doctor before making these changes, particularly if you have medical concerns.

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    4 Ways to Stay Consistent With Your Workouts

    4 Ways to Stay Consistent With Your Workouts

    Have you just gotten back onto the workout wagon after some time off? Are you hoping that this time is the time that you actually stick with it? For many of us, keeping consistent with our workouts is the biggest challenge—and it often prevents us from seeing success. You can have the best workout program in the world, but if you don’t actually do it, it’s clear you won’t get results.

    Try any of these four techniques and watch your gym attendance go up.

    1. Give Yourself a Daily Challenge. When you’re getting ready to work out, what are you thinking about? Are you just trying to get through your routine? Instead of focusing on when you’ll be done, set a goal for yourself.

    Daily goals or challenges are one of the best ways to keep consistent, because you’ve just given your workout a real purpose. If all you’re working toward is that long-term goal you have in mind, you know that one single workout isn’t going to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. But if you have a goal to reach during that exact session, that workout takes on more importance. Miss the workout and you’ve missed the goal.

    These goals or challenges should be relatively easy to obtain with some effort. One additional push-up, 10 seconds off your one-mile time, or an extra set of lunges are difficult but achievable goals.

    2. Sign Up for an Event. You might also want to consider signing up for an event. This is great because now you have a firm deadline in place. That event is going to happen—like it or not—at its scheduled time. There’s no way you can just push it back at your leisure. Having something to train for like this may just give you the incentive you need to keep pushing onward. Try a 5K run or a mini triathlon if there’s one happening in your area.

    3. Track Those Sessions. Sometimes the best way to stick with the program is to start tracking your workout sessions. Many people fall off the bandwagon simply because they don’t feel like they’re making any progress. When you track your sessions, you will see very clearly that you are. Try an app like MapMyFitness to easily create a training log, and look back over the weeks that have passed to see how far you’ve come. It will give you an instant motivation boost to know that the work you’re putting in is paying off.

    4. Refresh Your Playlist. Finally, try refreshing your playlist. There’s nothing like a brand new song to get you pumped up to work out. Try and find a new song each week to workout to, you might just find you’re looking forward to going to the gym ore.

    Keep these quick tips in mind and next time you feel like you’re about to fall off the workout bandwagon, you’ll know precisely what to do.

    And be sure to connect MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness (download it on iOS or Android) so can you can easily track your calorie burn and see how many calories you’ve earned!

    Apple Pie Donuts | Recipe

    Celebrate apple-picking season with this healthy spin on the iconic apple cider donut. Each donut is drizzled with brown sugar glaze and at only 142 calories per donut, they’ve got all the taste of fall without the calories, saturated fat or the gluten.

    The post Apple Pie Donuts | Recipe appeared first on Under Armour.

    The Red Detox Diet: The Nutritional Detox Diet Guide

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    What Healthy 200-Calorie Snacks Look Like

    Healthy snacks can be a great tool for keeping you on track throughout the day. They power you through that mid-morning (or afternoon) slump so you don’t end up starving and overeating at your next meal, and they give you energy to stay focused while you’re at work or on the go.

    The trick to creating a great snack is in the power balance, combining produce and protein to ensure you stay satisfied until your next meal. The fiber in the produce provides a few hours of staying power, and the protein sends a message to your brain that you’re full and satisfied. Adding a little healthy fat doesn’t hurt either.  

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    Aiming for a 200-calorie snack is easy when you take nutrient density into account. For example, an apple with a handful of almonds will be more satisfying in the long run than a bag of chips.

    It might sound like a lot of variables to juggle when you’re reaching for a quick-and-easy bite, but creating healthy produce-and-protein combos is easier than you think. Here are six snack ideas that will keep you energized at just 200 calories:


    READ MORE > WHAT A DELICIOUS & FILLING 400-CALORIE DINNER LOOKS LIKE


    Tell us your favorite healthy snack combos in the comments below!

    The post What Healthy 200-Calorie Snacks Look Like appeared first on Under Armour.

    Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition and Fitness (Applications of Motivational Interviewing)

    Making and maintaining lasting changes in nutrition and fitness is not easy for anyone. Yet the communication style of a health professional can make a huge difference. This book presents the proven counseling approach known as motivational interviewing (MI) and shows exactly how to use it in day-to-day interactions with clients. MI offers simple yet powerful tools for helping clients work through ambivalence, break free of diets and quick-fix solutions, and overcome barriers to change. Extensive sample dialogues illustrate specific ways to enhance conversations about meal planning and preparation, exercise, body image, disordered eating, and more. Reproducible forms and handouts can be downloaded and printed in a convenient 8 1/2″ x 11″ size. Instructors requesting a desk copy from Guilford will be emailed a link to supplemental PowerPoint slides and exam questions.

    This book is in the Applications of Motivational Interviewing series, edited by Stephen Rollnick, William R. Miller, and Theresa B. Moyers.

    This Southern Mom Went from Couch to Motorcycle in Eight Months

    At 9:30 p.m. on January 11, 2017, Michelle “Chelle” Honeycutt sat in front of the TV, snacking on what she remembers as “a bag of something.” At 43 years old, 5-foot-5 1/2 and 263 pounds, she’d accepted being heavy the rest of her life.

    “I thought I’d be one of those fluffy grandmas who always had something cooked for the kids and future grandkids when they stopped by to visit,” she says. “I knew I wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t content, but I wasn’t looking to do anything to change it … until his little butt came through that door.”

    That little butt belonged to Dusty Jo, the second of Chelle’s three adult sons. That evening, he’d gone to the new gym near their Linden, North Carolina, home and came home with a mission.

    “He said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to go. It’s clean, the people are friendly and there’s so much equipment,’” Chelle remembers. “I wasn’t the least bit interested, but he’s like me: If he’s passionate about something, he won’t just feed you a line and let it go.”

    By 10:30 p.m., Chelle was a new gym member.

    “Something clicked,” she says. “I thought ‘I can improve my life. I can be better.’”


    Every dreamer deserves support. Discover inspiring tips, tools and stories of dreamers like you to help kick-start your own dream pursuit.


    That night, Chelle walked her first mile on a treadmill. She went back the next day, and again the day after that. “For the first 10 days, I didn’t miss a day,” she says. “It wasn’t walking real fast, but it was walking. All I would do is cardio; I didn’t touch the weight machines.”

    It took her two and half months to try her first ab class at the gym. “When you’re overweight, you feel like you’re on the sidelines,” she says. “You feel inferior, uncomfortable and scared to get involved.”

    Fitness wasn’t the only change Chelle made, however. Two days into her new gym membership, she found MyFitnessPal. “The MFP app helped me accomplish my goals because it gives me the ability to log all of my food and exercise,” she says. “It tracks my calories and nutrition levels so I can keep it all in check.”

    Her first goal was to reach 199 pounds, or as the MFP Forum calls it, “Onederland.”

    “Onederland is great to reach when you haven’t seen it in forever,” says Chelle. “I accomplished that back in May [2017]. I never imagined I’d weigh less than 200 in my life, but not only did I do it, I did it in just over four months.”

    A stay-at-home mom since 1997, Chelle wasn’t always overweight, but gained pregnancy pounds with each of her 10-pound babies that didn’t come off. Now that her sons are grown, she’s traded TV time for strength training.

    “I’m constantly focused on my health now,” she says. “I push between 100 and 130 ounces of water a day and hit the gym 3–4 times a week for an average of two hours a day.”

    Chelle finds the community just as important as the carbs and calories. “I have my gym family and my MFP family,” she says. “Women I’ve never met inspire me, and I’m doing the same for them. Their comments push me.”

    Chelle recently reached another big goal of reaching 160 pounds — 100 pounds lighter than when she started. Though her old clothes are gone — she kept one pair of size 24 shorts as a reminder — she says her body’s only one part of the change.

    “My attitude is different. My activities are, too. But my heart is still the same,” she says. “I like the new me. I was always the obese mom. I’m not going back.”

    And now, she’s moving ahead in style. Before got active, Chelle never considered taking a ride on her husband’s motorcycle. “Two hundred and sixty pounds on the back of a Harley? No ma’am,” Chelle says. “Now? Let’s go.”

    It’s that confidence that keeps Chelle successful in the gym and out. “I’ll still have my occasional Reese’s Cup. I’m sorry, there’s nothing like peanut butter and chocolate,” she says. “As long as it fits in my calories, it’s a go. If not, it can wait another day.”

    And Chelle finds each day on this side of her weight loss more vibrant than before. “I say it all the time and it’s true: Before, I was existing,” she says. “Now I feel like I’m living.”

    Written by Danny Bonvissuto, a lover of words, writing for a living, independent bookstores, chips, salsa and queso, sunshine, jeans, tank tops and running — but only if ’80s rock is involved. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Food Network Magazine, HGTV, WebMD and Plate magazine.

    The post This Southern Mom Went from Couch to Motorcycle in Eight Months appeared first on Under Armour.


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