Monday, February 23, 2009
Finding time for your fitness, health, and exercise program can be difficult even for the disciplined person, and if you are an intermediate or novice, it can be even more of a challenge. For those of you who are like many people juggling a part or full-time job, college classes, a spouse, kids, or more broadly the demands of life, getting to a gym regularly is not an option. You look in the mirror and wonder how someone like you is supposed to maintain a regular exercise program. The answer is by starting a home gym.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that it must be expensive. Well, it definitely can be expensive; however, it doesn’t have to be. There are several effective and low cost pieces of equipment you can get to help you get a great work out at home.
1) Hand weights, whether steel or neoprene weights (those with a synthetic rubber covering) can be purchased individually or in sets in various dimensions such as 2lbs, 5lbs, 10lbs, on up. They are available beginning around $10-$15.
2) A medicine ball – also called a weighted ball or fitness ball – strengthens your core muscles. These can cost between $10-$20.
3) Hand grips strengthen the muscles in the hand and may be purchased for as little as $5.
4) The Sparkpeople.com Starter Kit is an ideal purchase for your home gym. It includes a stability ball with pump, a resistance band, a pedometer, and a workout DVD, led by Sparkpeople.com’s Coach Nicole.
(Photo from Sparkpeople.com)
This kit is a great bargain. I bought each of the items separately before the kit was available and I paid nearly twice as much. This kit costs $24.95, and one of the neat features is that you can click a link to have it added to your Amazon.com wish list.
There are many other things you can add to your home gym, but these things I have suggested will give you a great bang for your buck without spending a ton of cash. You can get all of them for less than $100. I think that’s a great deal. So, renew your resolution to lose weight and get into shape and get yourself some things so you can workout at home. Believe me, it won’t take long before you will see results.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I know you usually see the phrase “Go Green” these days, but I thought I would talk about something different with Valentine’s Day approaching. People are focused on chocolate, which is fine in moderation. But if you are like most people, it’s not that easy eating rich, delicious chocolate in moderation.
So, I decided to talk about some delicious red foods you can incorporate into your diets, providing the health benefits of each. With a little imagination, you can really do a lot with them. But for now, this is just a primer on the benefits of some of my favorite red fruits and vegetables:
Strawberries – contain high levels vitamin C, are plentiful in antioxidants that help to fight various types of cancers, and small amounts of vitamin K, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and trace amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Beets – contain cancer prevention agents and are full of iron. In addition, beets are rich in sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and phosperous. Beets are also a great source of fiber and also contain vitamins A and C.
Watermelon – is full of beta carotene, which helps fight against heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions. Watermelon is particularly helpful in fighting breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and provides excellent protection against strokes as well as reduces the risk of developing kidney stones.
Red Swiss Chard – is a member of the beet family and provides many of the same benefits as eating beets. It is full of fiber, low in calories, and rich in calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.
Raspberries – like other red vegetables and fruits provide an excellent barrier to cancer causing agents. They are rich in vitamin C, iron, and potassium.
Red Carrots – are one of those things that most people don’t know about. Carrots actually come in six different colors (orange, red, black, purple, black, and white), though most of them are difficult to find. With a little effort, you should be able to find the red carrots in specialty markets or at a local farm. These carrots help to protect against cancers, have strong regenerative effects. If you'd like to see how these different colored carrots might look, look at this Web site: www.healthmad.com/Nutrition/S
Tomatoes – have compounds that help prevent cancer, cataracts, heart disease, and help fight cardio vascular disease. They also are rich in vitamins A and C as well as potassium.
Of course this is just a sampling. There are plenty of other wonderful red fruits and vegetables. Take some time and look around the produce section the next time you go shopping. You might be surprised at what you find.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
So, you’ve reached your desired weight. That’s awesome. Congratulations. It was tough, but you finally made it, and I know you are very proud of yourself. Now, your goal is to maintain where you are. Here are some simple steps to help guide you.
First, don’t make huge changes. Your body has become accustomed to your healthy lifestyle. Now that you have shed the extra pounds, don’t go back to your old bad habits. The strategies you have put into place these past weeks or months or years are strategies that you must continue.
Second, keep up with your exercise routine. The exercise will help keep your heart rate up, which in turn will keep the fire under your metabolism and help keep the fat off.
Third, be sure to weigh yourself regularly. The funny thing about weight is you can put on extra pounds without realizing it. Pay attention to your body and make adjustments as necessary if you see the number rise on the scale. It’s not as frustrating if you catch it in time.
Fourth and most importantly, figure out what works for you. Some people eat three square meals per day while others have 4 – 6 mini meals throughout the day. There is no magical technique that works for everybody. You do what is unique to you and your body.
Remember: the strategies you used to take off the weight are the same things you’ll need to do to keep it off. With a little commitment, dedication, and some sacrifice, you can maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life no what your age and regardless how long you may live.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Isn’t it interesting how we can get frustrated when we don’t see the results we want at the pace that we want to see them? We easily become discouraged. Even if we’re losing weight and making progress, watching the weight come off slowly can make us feel unmotivated.
We want it all fast and we want it all now. When we gain weight or if our health begins to deteriorate, it seems to happen rather quickly. The pounds rack up instantly. But going in the other direction as we try to get healthier, it takes a long time and we get discouraged if it happens too slowly for our taste. It’s important to remember it is alright if we reach our goals slowly. Like the old children’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” slow and steady is best. The hare ran his race quickly wearing himself out along the way. The tortoise kept his slow and steady pace beating the hare across the finish line. Are you the tortoise or the hare?
Our life and health are just like those two little creatures. Although it can be appealing to want to be sleek and svelte like the hare, it’s better for us in the long run to be more like that tortoise. Besides, losing weight quickly can cause serious health complications, including dehydration, gallstones, flabby skin, malnourishment, and loss of muscle tone. But moreover, most people who lose weight rapidly usually regain it – or a large part of it – within two years.
So, if you have been charting yourself, don’t worry about slow results. The average person should safely lose about 2-4 pounds per week. But you may go some weeks and not lose anything at all. No matter what, stick to your plan, pay attention to your body, and don’t focus too much on the number on your scale. As long as you have perseverance and you never give up, you’ll ultimately have the results that you can be proud of.
1 - Photo courtesy of www.istockphoto.com
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