Should You Run Steps?

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Running up stairs is a pastime for many runners. However, is it a good idea? Or is there a reason why you shouldn’t run? To many, the answer is an obvious “yes.”

Why Steps Can Be a Good Workout

Running up stairs can burn calories with ease, and pump up your thigh muscles like none other. You feel the burn in a short amount of time, making a ten minute exercise seem like hours. You begin to sweat, and then learn how to take advantage of your movements. You think that there’s definitely a reason why you should keep running, but there are a few who disagree with that. Continue reading

6 Tricks To Take You From Fit To Fitter

Are you ready to move from fit to fitter? If you answered yes, then it is time start thinking smart!

If I told you that the secret to enhancing your fitness is to take things a little slower, would you believe me? It’s natural for us to think that pushing ourselves harder will help us see results faster but that not always the case. Exhausting yourself is never a good thing. The truth is: rather than taking giant steps it’s better to proceed with baby steps and get results that will last longer.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, a fitness expert, or just someone who works out when you feel the urge, if you take care of your body while taking things one step at a time, you will start seeing the results you want.

It not unusual for people to push themselves harder whenever they start working out for the first time. Firstly, endorphins which help the body to feel good are released during exercise. So you might find yourself enjoying your new lifestyle and wanting to work out more.

Secondly, once you start seeing good results you may become more eager to get to your goal, forcing you to push yourself harder. The problem is, if you work your body too much you will overexert yourself. The smartest thing to do is to moderately move outside your comfort zone and adjust to your new lifestyle.

Think about it this way: if you’re a car racer who suddenly gets a new car you will need to invest some amount of time to get used to the car first before going toe to toe with someone. Taking the car on a race on the first day can be dangerous and it reduces you chances of winning the race. The smart thing to do is to slowly take the car up through its gears; you need to pass through the lower gears before you can get to the top gear.

Once you’ve learnt to listen to your body, you will be able to enhance your performance and lead a healthy life.

I’ve met a lot of people who say they hate exercising and that is because they often push themselves to exhaustion during the first period. They don’t allow themselves to have fun so naturally they begin to hate it. Approaching a new workout regime slowly will give you the mental boost you need to stick to your fitness program longer.

In this post I want to help you learn how to take a positive approach to fitness. Here are six tricks to help you get from fit to fitter.

Don’t Ignore Your Body

It’s important that you listen to your body. It knows what’s best. Pain is a way for your body to tell you that you’re working too hard, so if you begin to feel soreness, it’s important that you slow down. If you injure one of your muscles, it will be much harder for you to workout, pushing you further away from your goal. Sure, it’s natural to feel a little discomfort when you start working out for the first time, but whenever the pain gets too excruciating, that’s a sign for you to slow down.

Establish Your Foundation

It’s important to create a foundation, when you decide to take on a new fitness plan, and build on it. Understand that in order to get to the top you will need to start building from the bottom. The more patient and focused you remain, the better your results will be. If you’re planning to enhance your flexibility, core muscles, balance and aerobic fitness you should avoid pushing yourself too much. Establishing a solid foundation will help you to transition smoothly into more intense workouts.

Know When It’s the Right Time To Progress

This may be common sense but in order to keep seeing results you will need to progress your workout. The main reason why people stop seeing results after working out for some time is because their bodies tend to adapt overtime. Once your body has adapted you will need to increase loads to continue seeing results. Some ways in which you can progress with your workout are to increase the duration, frequency or intensity of your workout. Ensure that you do not push yourself too hard to avoid injury (refer to tip 1 and 2).

Learn The Basics First

Similarly to how you had to learn how to count first before you could multiply, it’s important that you learn basic exercises before you start adding weights to your routine. Once you get good at it then that’s your cue to move on to the next step. How will you know when it’s time to progress? Your body will let you know, you just need to listen to it. As soon as an exercise starts feeling too easy it’s time to challenge yourself.

Be Accountable

Try starting a blog to keep track of your fitness regime and diet. If that’s too much, you can always keep a diary. Not only will it motivate you but it also helps you to keep track of your progress. Visiting online forums to share your progress with others is also a good idea. If you don’t spend much time on the internet and you’re not into keeping a diary you can always discuss your progress with your friends and family.

Know The Cycle

Fitness experts train in cycles to enhance their overall performance. This means that they start with a foundation and enhance their strength before moving to the power phase. Of course there should be enough time for resting and recovery. Each time you complete a cycle, you will see better results.

Follow the tricks above and you’ll be able to move from fit to fitter before you know it. Feel free to sound off in the comments below if you think I might have left something off.

What’s Keeping Me From My Dream Body? 8 Common Fitness Mistakes You Might Be Guilty Of

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We all want it- that flawless picturesque body you see on billboards. Yet no one wants to spend more time working out only to feel disappointed when you step on the scale – or even worse-you may end up spraining a muscle. Rather than overexerting yourself at the gym, try to find out what you’ve been doing wrong that might be keeping you from achieving that perfect body.

Below is a list of 8 common fitness mistakes that most of us are guilty of. I am here to teach you how to avoid them:

Skipping Meals Before Hitting the Gym

One of the biggest debates in the fitness world today is whether you should work out on an empty stomach or not. Here is expert advice to dispel all the myths you may have come across.

You have probably heard that working out on an empty stomach can help you to lose weight but this is not necessarily true. For example, when you skip breakfast to go jogging early in the morning, your insulin levels are at their lowest.exercise mistakes

Glucagon, the hormone responsible for breaking down glycogen into glucose will be at its peak and during this period, your body will use reserve fat to fuel energy.

Since fat metabolism is dependent on carbohydrate levels within the body, when there is a low supply of carbohydrates, fat metabolism is affected. When this occurs, your body will tire faster as exercising becomes more strenuous thus, it is likely that you will want to end your workout session earlier; this ultimately results in fewer burnt calories.

My verdict is that you always grab a healthy snack before working out!

Drinking The Wrong Beverage

We love energy drinks; it’s the perfect way to get a kick start on your way to the gym. However, quite often we neglect the most important beverage for weight loss while overindulging in others.

Drinking adequate water will not only help you to improve your health but it will also push you closer towards your weight loss goals. Water helps to increase your body’s metabolism and remove waste making it easier for you to burn fat.

Start drinking one ounce of water for every pound today; if you weigh 130 lbs you should be drinking 130 ounces of water on a daily basis.

Water is the best appetite suppressant and its available right from your kitchen tap – for those of us with filters. Drinking a glass of water before every meal will make you feel fuller and reduce your chances of eating too much.

If you hate the taste of water, you can always add a hint of lemon.

Not Counting Your Calories

The amount of calories you burn on a daily basis is dependent on your body’s metabolic rate, body weight and your activity level. The human body use calories to fuel energy in order to perform even the most mundane tasks, from texting to major biological functions.

We all have a specific amount of calories that we should consume daily to maintain a fixed body weight- the fewer you consume, the greater your chances of losing weight; this is referred to as a caloric deficit.

There is a popular rule-of-thumb, which states that a daily caloric deficit of 3,500 calories will help you to shed 1lb. This does not mean you should cut off all calories from your daily meals. Once you have determined how much calories your body requires in order to maintain your current weight you can start setting your own caloric objectives of losing weight and staying healthy.

You can use the BMI Calculator among others to determine your body’s caloric needs based on your sex, activity level, weight and height.

Neglecting Your Warm Up Sessions

Skipping your warm up sessions will only hurt you in the end. By warming up you are increasing your heart rate, range of motion and the neural drive of your muscles. This will increase your ability to lift weights and minimize inconsistencies in your workout sessions. Stretching will increase blood circulation throughout the body, reducing the possibility of muscle strain.

Therefore, you should always ensure that you warm-up for at least 10 minutes before you start lifting the ‘big weights.’

Overindulging After Working Out

Burning calories takes a lot of work and it’s essential that you replenish your glycogen levels after spending hours at the gym. However, given that your aim is to lose weight, you should avoid scoffing down a Snickers bar and gobbling down a gallon of Gatorade after a hard day’s work at the gym.

Sure, that sounds delicious and energizing but we’re all familiar with the saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. Research have shown that most people consume more calories after their gym sessions- and then head on home for seconds at the dinner table! Don’t let this be you.

Sit-Ups, Sit-Ups and More Sit-Ups!

If your trainer is the type that spends too much time focusing on core stability and pushing you to do too much sit-ups and crunches, it’s time for a change. Sure, this will help you to improve the superficial area of your body –‘the glorious six-pack’ – but what about the rest. In fact, sit-ups will not help you to achieve core stability you need to exercise efficiently.

You will have to work harder to strengthen and flatten your stomach by focusing on building the transverse abdominus. Pilates is the most common technique used to target the abdominal region; however, your trainer might suggest others.

Complacent With Your Workout Regime

This is one of the most common fitness mistakes. Yes, it’s easier to do two laps around the pool and lift a few 5kg weights but your body may be screaming for a change. The human body can easily adapt to physical stress. Therefore, if your get too complacent with your current workout regime and fail to increase the amount of laps you take around the pool and the amount of weights you lift, you will hit a plateau. In other words you will not see any improvements.

Ignoring Signs From Your Body

How is your back doing? ‘Well actually, it felt sore while lifting weights at the gym last night but I am going to head on in tonight to see how it goes…’  if this applies to you, it’s time to take a night off.

Exerting your body will not give you the results you are looking for, and furthermore muscle cramps are your body’s way of saying ‘you’ve been spending too much time at the gym’. Ignoring it will only cause more damage- they might become permanent! Instead, give your body the rest it needs to recharge for a better session at the gym.

It’s winter! One of the best things about this season is that it gives you enough time to prepare for an amazing summer; rocking stylish swimwear on the beach and showing off your new body.

Make note of all the things you’ve been doing wrong from the list above and start making the change today. Essentially your goal is to balance your workout routine with your daily habits to achieve a higher level of fitness.

Why Elliptical Machines Matter Today

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There’s an elliptical in almost every gym, and they’ve been in there for a good while. Despite this, they’re still new to the home exercise world, but they’re selling fast. Why is that? What’s so great about a low-resistance workout, anyway?

Elliptical machines give you the run without your feet and arms ever hitting the ground. Treadmills and pavement give you a high-impact workout, which can cause strain on your joints and even injury. Ellipticals, meanwhile, do not strain any part of your body, keeping every part strong. This means that you can work out in spite of age and injury, and it’s great for physical therapy.

Besides that, they have moveable poles where your arms can move around in an elliptical motion. So what does that do for you? Essentially, you can work your upper and lower body at the same time. The poles work well for upper body, and the pedals work for the lower body. This gives you a full workout with less hassle. Read this article from Elliptical Machine Advice before you rush out to buy an elliptical – they are not all created equal and they have a comprehensive guide to finding your ideal elliptical trainer.

Still not sold? We’ll give you seven good reasons why you should try out an elliptical machine.

They Give You an Excellent Cardio Workout

You can get just as good of a workout on an elliptical as you could with a treadmill or a bike ride. Unless you’re training for a race, the elliptical is the better alternative, pumping your heart rate just as good as the other options. Some ellipticals also have adjustable incline and resistance, so anyone of any fitness level can join along.

It Works For Any Fitness Level

As we just said, the adjustable settings make one machine fit any exercise need. Whether you’re a elliptical machines for exercisechiseled athlete or elderly, an elliptical will help you work out on your own terms. They’re also user friendly, unlike some machines where it’s complicated to do anything with it. Anyone can use it!

Great for Upper Body Workouts

The poles can give you an excellent upper body workout, which you can’t do when you run on a treadmill. Your entire body will be put to the test. There are also static handle bars, which can give you even more options. When you combine both workouts, you can burn even more calories and you’ll be spending less time trying to work out your entire body.

You Get a Better Workout Via Lower Perceived Exertion

When you work out on an elliptical, you have a lower perceived exertion. In English, this simply means that you don’t know how hard you’re really working out. This will increase your workout time much better than a run around the track. Studies can back this up as well, so don’t think that it’s just another fad that’s baseless.

Training at a Higher Tech

There are plenty of bells and whistles on ellipticals, depending on the date of your model. The newer ones have easy-to-use interfaces, ways to keep you entertained, and tools for fitness. Bluetooth options, heart rate checkers, and preset workouts are just a few of the features.

They’re Better for Your Body

As we said, ellipticals are low impact, meaning that they won’t cause any strain on your body. If you have back or joint pain, you can get a great workout without hurting. Plus, you can take the workout as low or as high as you can. Whether you’re young, old, fit, or unfit, you’ll find the perfect medium for your workout.

Ellipticals Are Versatile

They work out your whole body, meaning that ellipticals are by far the most versatile piece of equipment you can find. With its programming, range of motion, and features, it’s good for those who are looking for the all-in-one, the Swiss army knife of gym equipment.

Overall

If you’re still not sold, try it out yourself by going to your nearest fitness center. There’s a reason why treadmills aren’t doing as well, and it’s because of the versatile and low-impact power that an elliptical can give you.

Eating Before Exercising

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You need a certain calorie intake if you want to build lean muscle, and you need to have a good muscle workout regimen going on. While you do need lots of calories for your workouts and tissue repair, you need to eat a certain combination of calories so that you actually gain muscle.

Carbs

Carbohydrates, or carbs, are the energy source that you mainly use during your workouts. It stores as glycogen in your muscles, and is used when you need short bursts of power. The more you work out, the more glycogen you need. When you run out, you’ll feel sluggish and your muscle contractions will no longer be fueled. Athletes who do plenty of strength-training exercises need lots of carbs if they’re going to build muscles well.eating_exercise

The amount of carbs you need depends on how long and how intense your training sessions are. If you do a normal workout that’s under an hour, you’ll only need two grams per pound daily. If you train for over two hours, you may need three or four grams of carbs per pound. For the average male, you’ll need 400-600 grams per day, if you do strength-training workouts that are intense. Your carb requirements depend on the workout and your body size.

Protein

No matter how intense your workout, you’ll need some protein as soon as possible after you exercise. Protein builds and repairs your muscle tissue that hard exercise breaks down. It’s the basic building block of muscles, so you’ll want to have more protein if you want to see results during your strength training. Despite this, many athletes overestimate their actual needs.

The USDA says that the normal person needs 0.4 grams of protein per pound daily. For the athlete, you need 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound daily, and not exceed a pound. If you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll need 128-164. You can get this protein by eating plenty of lean meats such as fish and chicken, consuming dairy, and eating fruits, legumes, and nuts. Protein shakes and bars are also a convenient way to add more protein to your diet.

Fat

Just because you’re told to avoid it, doesn’t mean you don’t need any. Your intake of fat should consist of 30% of your calories, and it should come from healthier fat such as lean meats, fish, olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocados.

Water

You should always drink after exercise to replace the fluids that you may have lost. Drink about two cups two hours before you work out. Drink four to eight ounces during your workout for every 15 minutes. Consume 16 ounces after your workout. For a more accurate measure, drink 16 ounces per pound that you’ve lost during your workout.

Eating After Your Workout

Consuming protein and carbs after you exercise so that you restore your glycogen and help fuel your muscles. Combining four grams of carbs per one gram of protein is ideal. It allows you for more stored glycogen by doubling your insulin response. However, too much protein can do the opposite. If you need more help, talk to your nutritionist or doctor for more information. This article is not intended for professional medical advice.

Managing Your Diet and Training Regime For Runners

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If you’re a runner, you should know what and when you need to eat. However, your body has different plans. It may make you hungry when you don’t need to be, which should be during training, or it will not be hungry after training. Because of our lives your muscles, stomach and brain are usually all over the place. For instance, running early can cause fatigue later on when you’re working. But if you train midday you may feel too hungry to do so. Don’t get us started on doing it after work, which may cause you to eat dinner too close to bedtime.

In this article, we’ll explain how you can sync up that body of yours so you can get the balance you so deserve.

Running Early

There is debate as to if you should eat if you run during the morning. Let’s shut this debate down by saying that you do need to eat. Your body needs some energy to help you with the run, and your entire body needs those nutrients. This has been proven by studies. Eating before a run can give you more endurance. Your exercise will be less strenuous and flow better compared to those who eat beforehand.diet_hydrate_runner

There are some exceptions. If you eat too soon before the run, you may get nausea and cramps. Some people get up close to when they need to get to work. However, if you’re an early bird, you should have enough time to do everything before you leave.

If you do eat, munch on some high-carb foods that are low in fat and decent in protein. About 400-800 calories should give enough for your training. Make sure you drink enough water beforehand so that you don’t lose sweat.

These great meals can get you started:

Two pieces of toast with fruit
Cereal with low fat/fat free milk and a slice of fruit
A bagel with low-fat cream cheese

For Those Who Sleep Late

Most of you all will be like this, and won’t have enough time to eat before you leave. With that said, experiment a bit and see what you can digest before training. A few ideas are as follows.

Half a bagel
Half of a carbohydrate drink
One energy gel with some water

If these don’t help, eat a large dinner the night before so you can have some fuel beforehand. Unless you’re doing an extremely long run, you should have enough fuel to run in the morning.

Tips for Both Kinds of People

No matter when you wake up, you need calories from protein, carbs and nutrients once you finish with your run. A post-workout meal will give you energy for work, stopping fatigue in its tracks. For best results eat no later than an hour after you train, and include carbs and protein in your diet. A few ideas include a fruit smoothie with some protein powder added to it, eggs on whole-wheat toast and fruit juice or simply leftovers from last night!

For Those Who Love Lunch

If you run during the hours of lunch, you might succumb to hunger. If you eat breakfast at an early time, like six in the morning you haven’t eaten for about six hours. Your energy that breakfast provided is now history and your blood sugar will lower because of it. Don’t give yourself a bigger breakfast, because that may make you feel worse. Instead, make sure you have a small snack ready before you run.

Tips for the Runner:

Timing is everything. Eat one hour or up to four before you run. This gives you enough time for food to be converted into energy.

The quantity matters. Depending on your body size and what you eat during breakfast, you should have 100-400 calories.

Content is key. Grab low-fat foods that are high in carbs and nutrients. A few snack ideas include:

An energy bar or breakfast with fewer than five grams of fat.
A slice of whole-wheat toast with fruity spread.
Seventy-five grams of dried fruit with some vegetable juice.
Oatmeal that has been brewed with skim milk.

Lunch After Running

There’s a problem with exercising during the lunch hour, and that’s that you have little time to eat lunch. However, you still need fluids and foods to help your brain and body fuel and recover for the rest of the day. Packing a lunch of your own can help, unless you have a place at work where you can eat. Packing your lunch takes little time at all. For a few tips, read down:

Shop for convenient items that take little time to prepare and eat. These include raisins, nuts, cereal bars and yogurt.

Fruit is perfect. Throw in a few fruit pieces in your bag so that you can have nutritious carbs with ease.

Leftovers rock! Grab any food from last night and seal it in a container so you can reheat and eat

Exercising During the Evening

Running helps to eliminate stresses that work causes. But, there’s a problem in doing so. Sometimes you’re too hungry or tired to eat. If you do run without eating you’re going to eat everything you can before you can even make your dinner. Or you make dinner too late and go to bed full.balance_runner_food_22

What should you do to avoid this? Simply eat healthy all day so that you won’t have digestive problems that could interfere with your training. This way you’re always fueled and will never have to use “I’m hungry” as an excuse to not run.
In addition, you can eat light meals after your workout so you can recover. This will prevent digestive problems and help you sleep better.

Tips for Evening Runners

Never skip your breakfast. Consume 500 calories for breakfast. A fruit smoothie made from yogurt, juice, and fruit can help. Cereal with skimmed milk, fruit and nuts can help as well.

Lunch should be your big meal. Include quality proteins like lean beef, chicken, fish or tofu and add whole-grain breads and fruits.

Snacking during the mid-afternoon can help. About three hours before running, eat a piece of fruit or a protein bar, and drink some water to stay hydrated.

Speaking of water, drink more. Drink right after running. Drink as you fix your meal. This will restore the sweat you’ve lost, and will help you to stop eating everything you see.

Moderation is key during dinnertime. According to legend if you eat before bedtime the calories will turn into fat. That’s a lie. You’ll still use that energy as fuel for the next day. But if you eat too much, no matter what time your body will keep the energy as fat. Make healthy choices and keep running.