This entry was posted in Fitness on March 02, 2016
Sore from an intense workout yesterday? Severe leg pain isn’t something you should try to power through. Give your body a rest day.
That being said, your rest day shouldn’t be spent glued to the couch. It’s helpful to do low-key versions of the exercises that made you sore. For example, if a five-mile run caused your soreness, go for a 30-minute power walk or slow jog to help ease the pain and enable your muscles to recover faster.
Another way to recover is stretching. Here are a few of the best stretches you can do to ease leg and foot pain – using only a towel and two chairs. Paired with moderate cardio (which can also help you recover after strength training sessions), you’ll be feeling better in no time.
Hamstring stretch. Lie flat on your back. Lift your left leg up with a bent knee. Support your knee with a towel, holding on to both sides with your hands. Slowly straighten your knee. Stop or slow down if you start feeling any pain. Continue stretching until the bottom of your foot is facing the ceiling. Hold for 10-15 seconds, and then switch to your right side.
Quad stretch. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend your left knee back until your foot is as close to your backside as it can go. Slowly bend it back forward and back to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times, and then switch to your right side.
Calf stretch. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Slowly raise your heels so you’re standing on your toes and hold for five seconds. Lower your heels down and repeat 10-15 times, gradually increasing the time you hold at the top.
Foot stretch. Sit down in a chair with a small hand towel placed on the floor in front of you. Pick up the towel by scrunching it between your toes – keep your heel planted firmly on the ground. Repeat 10-15 times. If this move is too easy, you can make it more challenging by placing a small weight on one side of the towel.
Knee stretch. Sit down in a chair with your left leg resting on another chair in front of it. Slowly raise your leg into the air and hold for 10 seconds. Focus on making this happen using only your leg muscles. Repeat 5-10 times, and then switch to your right leg.
Knowing how to recover is an essential part of working out safely and effectively. Make sure you’re eating healthy protein-packed meals, taking some time to rest, and engaging in mild cardio and stretching on your days off to prevent injury and keep yourself motivated.
This entry was posted in Fitness on February 25, 2016
A fitness routine is only as successful as what fuels it. Intense weight lifting and cardio sessions can’t help you reach your full fitness potential if you’re not treating your body with the healthy, protein-packed food that it needs to work hard.
While some claim they burn more fat exercising on an empty stomach, most people will reap greater benefits if they eat before and/or after a workout.
Pre-workout fuel can give you more energy and drive, making your workouts more effective, and post-workout protein can help your muscles recover and rebuild after intense sessions. Healthy and satisfying snacks are also great motivation to get moving on days when you’re not feeling up to it.
Here are six of our favorite ways to prepare for and recover from workouts with food. Above all else, it’s important to remember that food isn’t the enemy to achieving your wellness goals – if prepared thoughtfully, it can be your best friend!
Before Your Workout
1) Bananas. Bananas are loaded with digestible carbohydrates and potassium, which helps maintain muscle function.
2) Oatmeal. Packed with protein and fiber, oatmeal will keep you energized and full – without leaving you bloated – throughout your workout.
3) Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is filling, protein-packed, and easy to customize. Buy the plain kind in bulk and make it your own with honey and the fruits and nuts of your choice. Need something to eat on the go? Prep yogurt bark (frozen yogurt bars with cocoa nibs and raspberries) you can eat as you head out the door.
4) Coffee. Coffee doesn’t come to mind for most people when they think of pre-workout fuel. Although it isn’t packed with protein, its caffeine will wake you up, energize you, and often give you a better workout.
After Your Workout
1) Lean protein like chicken, eggs, quinoa, or salmon. Eating pure protein immediately after a workout can help you recover quicker and see results faster.
2) Protein-packed smoothie. Not only packed with protein to help your muscles rebuild, smoothies help you rehydrate. They’re also a lot more fun than your typical baked chicken or salmon post-workout meal.
We hope these six snacks give you a few ideas about how to prep for and recover from your workouts. Have fun, get creative, and stay fueled.
And don’t forget the most important item to consume when revving up for and/or recovering from a workout – water. Nearly half of Americans don't drink enough water already– and exercising means you need to be drinking even more than you already do.
This entry was posted in Fitness on February 22, 2016
Long live the protein-packed shake. Few snacks offer greater benefits when paired with an active lifestyle. Smoothies not only rehydrate you and help your muscles repair and rebuild with the addition of protein, but offer the flexibility to mix in an endless amount of your favorite nutritious ingredients, from spinach and kale, to cocoa nibs and Goji berries.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to drink protein shakes, along with recipes to get you inspired.
Experts say you should be consuming water and protein first thing in the morning for optimal health. Use one frozen banana and a cup of a milk of your choice (we recommend almond or soy) as your base. Mix in maqui berry powder for a nutritious punch of flavor, or add peanut or almond butter if you’re craving comfort. Dried and fresh fruit, flaxseed, and spinach make great additions.
Before a workout
Pre-workout protein smoothies can make you work faster, harder, and stronger at the gym. Plus, they’ll ward off any hunger that might hit you during your workout. Check out any of these 13 quick and easy protein shake recipes.
After a workout
This is the ideal time to consume a protein shake. In order for your muscles to repair and rebuild after intense workouts, your body needs a healthy, protein-packed snack within an hour after exercising. Because you won’t necessarily be moving around a lot after your post-workout smoothie, this one can be more indulgent. Mix a frozen banana and almond milk with a few tablespoons of natural peanut butter and oats. Add in vanilla or chocolate protein powder for a snack that’s great for you and tastes like dessert. Want to take it up a notch nutritionally? Add in cocoa nibs or flax seed.
In place of dessert
Reward yourself with icy goodness at the end of a long day. Our favorite recipe: Almond Date Breakfast Shake. Although categorized as a breakfast shake, this faux-indulgent smoothie can satisfy any dessert milkshake craving with its creamy texture and caramel flavor (all from medjool dates – truly nature’s candy!).
Protein shakes are a guilt-free way to enjoy different flavors and textures, while also doing something unquestionably good for your body. Paired with cardio activity and strength training sessions, smoothies can help you take your health, wellness (and foodie!) goals to a whole new level.
P.S. One of our favorite tips: a handful of spinach can be slipped into almost any smoothie undetected. Sometimes you’ve got to sneak in your greens!
This entry was posted in Fitness on February 19, 2016
In the beginning of the year, gyms often see as high as a 30 to 50 percent increase in visitors. New Year’s Resolutions to get stronger, fitter, and skinnier often prompts millions of Americans to adjust their eating habits and start moving more. Most sign up for gym memberships that they’ll likely stop using come February, only to start the cycle all over again come the next New Year.
Out of sight, out of mind. The best way to ensure you get and stay in shape this year is to make it as easy as possible. Having a well-rounded gym in your home is the ultimate way to meet your fitness goals.
There’s no excuse. An in home gym never closes. You can work out whenever you please – whether it’s 6 AM before work, 5:30 PM before dinner, or midnight when you’re done with your day. Plus, no commute time makes it easier to fit fitness into your schedule.
Maximum efficiency. You won’t have to suffer through unwanted small talk, change and shower in the locker room, or wait your turn for the best machines.
You’ll ooze confidence. A lot of people are intimated by going to the gym because they’re scared they’ll be ogled, or judged for being in poor shape. This often affects women the worst – 14% of women polled in a survey said they were intimated by men looking at them at the gym, and only 8% said they’d feel comfortable asking someone how much longer they were going to take with a machine. Intimidation and degradation have no place in your journey towards better health.
You can host fun workouts. They say it’s best to work out with a buddy who can keep you motivated and hold you accountable. Set up a laptop or TV and catch up on your favorite shows with no distractions. Gossip or chat about your days in privacy.
Ownership. Gym equipment can be unpredictable, inconsistent, and with hundreds of new people coming in and out of gyms during the months of January and February, often broken or damaged. It’s hard to get a hold of and stick with a new workout routine without getting distracted and discouraged during this rush time. Skip the crowds and take ownership of your workout. With outdoor runs and walks, affordable cardio equipment, weights, and workout videos, there’s no fitness path you can’t conquer with a home gym.
This entry was posted in Fitness on February 17, 2016
You take calls, send emails, consult your employees, sit in conference rooms for what seems like endless hours a day, and probably eat every meal at your desk. You’re working on a career you’re proud of, but your busy schedule makes it hard to fit exercise into your days.
We know it’s challenging to stay active when you’re juggling multiple priorities, but your busiest times are when it’s most importance to make an effort to move more.
Exercise not only improves your overall mental health and happiness, but functions as a great stress reliever. Anxious about a meeting tomorrow? An hour break on a cardio machine could be just what you need.
If you’re successful in business, but struggling with fitness, here are a few of our favorite and most efficient exercises you can do on the go.
1) Simple free weight exercises. Basic moves like the triceps extension and bicep curl are classics for a reason: they’re easy to do and highly effective, plus a set of free weights shouldn’t set you back financially.
2) Medicine ball routines. Medicine balls are small exercise balls (around 14 inches) that come in a variety of weights – you can choose the one most suitable for you based on your level of fitness. Medicine ball exercises work your whole body, especially your core.
3) Squats. Squats can be done anywhere, as long as you’re wearing flexible clothing you can move in. There are many different types of squats other than the classic variation that you can incorporate into your routine on the go and get a stellar workout with.
4) Pushups. When it comes to fitness, sometimes it’s best to go back to the basics. You can always make your pushup form better and pushups are one of the best ways to work your upper body with zero equipment – meaning you can do them anywhere.
5) Innovative floor ab work. Sure, situps are easy to do on the go, but they can get boring. Explore different ways to work your abs to exhaustion using only your body. No fancy gadgets or equipment needed!
6) Work out in your chair. It’s no secret that we love using exercise balls as chairs at work. Keep your muscles guessing and engaged all day long.
7) Midday walks or runs timed with your breaks. Working all day without taking breaks can affect your health and the quality of your work. Schedule breaks throughout the day that can also function as exercise. A couple of fifteen minute brisk strolls around the building can burn a surprising amount of calories and clear your head for important meetings.
A vibrant professional career can be rewarding, fun, and propel you forward in achieving happiness. But you can’t get there without simultaneously working on your health.
With many effective exercises involving zero equipment, there’s no excuse for letting your wellness slip your mind. Plan your workouts like they’re mandatory meetings – we know you’d never miss one of those!