Top 3 Low Fat Snacks

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Reducing your weight does not only mean reducing the quantity of the food you eat. It’s about knowing what you eat. Eating low fat foods and snacks will help you in reducing your weight the right way. Here’s a top three list of highly recommended low fat snacks that you might want to check out.

YOGURT

Number one on the list is yogurt. Yogurt is a dairy product made through bacterial fermentation of milk. Aside from it being a low fat snack, it also prevents osteoporosis, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, and may help improve gastrointestinal conditions.  Healthy tips from experts say that eating yogurt everyday helps in improving your digestion and prevents cancer.

GRANOLA BARS

Next on the list are granola bars. As you can see, these granola bars are very popular among athletes and are highly recommended by personal trainer. It helps boost one’s energy so you can keep going throughout the day. Granola bars are usually consumed as a breakfast food since it is high in calories and easy to prepare. Due to its compact and lightweight nature, it is also the snack of choice of hikers, mountain climbers, travelers, and people who are on the go.

ALMONDS

The third choice would be almonds. Almonds are considered one of the most nutritious among nuts. It is low in saturated fat, and contains protective nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, which helps in strengthening the bones. It also contains Vitamin E and phytochemicals, which helps in preventing cardiovascular disease and even protects one’s body from cancer. Proven research shows that consuming an almond nut a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Add these three low fat snacks into your diet, plus a dose of exercise and good rest, and you’re good to go for a healthy life.

Creative Calorie Burning 101

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Burning your calories can be a very challenging task, especially if you think that you’re just doing it for the sake of just losing weight. One way of enjoying while you burn your calories is by being creative. Here are a couple of suggestions from a well-known body trainer.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
First on the list is to laugh. It’s not actually bad to laugh every now and then. According to an old saying, laughter is the best medicine. Well, it is. It relieves you from stress, and makes you feel better. It’s also free, and it burns calories. So laugh as often as you can, have fun, and lose weight.

FAMILY TIME IS CALORIE BURNING TIME
Another good way in getting all those calories off is by joining your kids in their physical sport activities. Play basketball or soccer with would be very fruitful and fun. Not only will it help you burn your calories, it will also give you quality time with your kids. Reward yourself with a happy and fun-filled weekend with your kids after a very busy week.

MORNING EXERCISE
If you are planning to train your body, it is also highly suggested to do the training in the morning. Proven studies show that individuals who does his or her routinely exercises in the morning tend to burn calories faster, because they are able to maintain an elevated state of metabolism.

DIRT OFF AND FAT OFF
If you have a lot of idle time and if you want to be productive enough, another suggestion would be to do your household chores, probably once a week. Clean your room, wash the dishes, sweep the floor. There are a lot of ways in doing these. It might be worth your time and your energy to do these calorie-burning activities once in a while.

Training When You’re A Pregnant Athlete

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Training When You’re A Pregnant Athlete

Athletes are a rare breed, because unlike the rest of the normal population, they have to go through rigid trainings and extreme physical routines. They also follow strict diets, and their day-to-day activities are well-organized. Men used to dominate sports, but times have changed and the number of women athletes has gone up. One thing that may hinder women athletes from focusing entirely on their chosen sport is pregnancy.

Pregnancy Does Not Have To Mean Confinement

Women athletes can definitely continue their sports training during their pregnancy with the help of a personal trainer. They only have to lower the intensity down a notch and regularly check their heart rate. It should be kept at a minimum of 140 BPM (beats per minute). Some pregnant athletes claim that they can reach to as high as 165-170 BPM. A mandated minimum BPM is important to ensure that the fetus inside the womb has a steady supply of oxygen.

Other equally important reminders for the pregnant athlete include drinking plenty of water before and after training sessions, and to check on the weekly body temperature. The blood sugar should also be monitored on a weekly basis to see to it that it is above 55-60 milligrams per decilitre.

Do’s And Don’ts If You Are a Pregnant Athlete

If you are a soon-to-be mommy athlete you can still participate on a majority of cardiovascular exercises to train your body such as running, swimming and hiking. However, do not forget to perform warm-up and cool down sessions. A major no-no would be any kind of contact sports such as boxing, wrestling and soccer as well as high-risk sports such as horse-back riding, skating and hang-gliding. Do seek advice from a medical professional at all times.

It is best to discontinue any kind of physical training if you experience any of the following symptoms: persistent bleeding during your second or third trimester, hypertension, and a problematic cervix. Be sensitive to your body and if you experience dizziness, contractions, shortness of breath and vaginal bleeding then training should be halted immediately and prompt medical attention  should be ensured.

Getting the Most from Your Cardio Workouts

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Cardiovascular exercise is considered as an integral part of any weight-loss program. Also referred to as aerobic exercise, it generally involves the major muscle groups specifically those in the leg area.  Aside from that, it also puts your lungs to good use and greatly improves your heart’s performance.

Many benefits can be derived from these workouts, because it allows you to lose calories and unwanted fat. It can also lower blood pressure and protect you from hypertension. No doubt any body trainer will agree that a great fitness plan should have cardio exercises thrown in the mix.

Challenge Is the Magic Word

Any fitness routine can become boring after a while, and cardio exercises are no exception. The answer? Challenge yourself to a series of variations. This will not only encourage you to overcome boredom, but it will make you appreciate a whole range of cardio routines. For instance, you could schedule one day for treadmill sessions and the next day on the stationary bike.

One great method that fitness coaches apply is interval training, which uses cardio routines in increasing workout intensity. One objective of this method is to apply variations in one’s pace and duration to test overall endurance. It is best to have a heart rate monitor handy to check on your heart rate.

Follow the Golden Rule

Protect yourself from harm and injury by following the golden rule of workouts, and that is to do standard warm-up and cool-down sessions. Any cardio routine is useless if you do not abide by this.

Lastly, you cannot entirely say that you got the most out of your cardio or any other workout if at the end of every session, you still have self-worth issues. Most people enjoy cardio, because it gives them an opportunity to physically run away from their demons. If you can relate, no amount of healthy tips can help you so make sure that you also dig deep and find out what is bothering you.

Will Exercise Boost Your Metabolism?

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For years, medical professionals and healthcare experts have carefully observed the effects of physical exertion on human metabolism. According to many a personal trainer, any type of exercise seems to increase the number of calories our body uses from day to day — but its other impacts remain unclear to laymen. Let’s take a closer look at how exercise positively affects your metabolism.

Clear, Boosting Effect
Whenever you exercise, your body requires extra energy. Several factors contribute to this, such as duration and intensity of exercise, plus the kind of exercise that’s being performed. Recent studies have now revealed that high-intensity exercise done in discrete intervals significantly assists in positively enhancing human metabolism.

Metabolic Function
When you exercise, there is a notable increase in the flow of blood throughout your body. This “pumped-up” blood carries much-needed nutrients like oxygen, vitamins, and minerals to your muscles, tendons, and joints, so that you can get through a workout session and recover from the exertions afterwards. Mitochondria, the sub-cellular structures responsible for organic energy, are what your body uses to produce energy during exercise.

Best Kind of Exercise
Strength training is evidently one of the best ways to raise your metabolic rate. When your muscles tighten and contract to lift heavy weights, heat is produced, thus increasing your metabolism. Also, weight-lifting augments your body’s lean muscle mass and causes you to burn more calories than usual, even when you’re already at rest. In general, the more muscle mass your body has, the more oxygen you’ll consume when exercising — and therefore, the more calories are burned.

Healthy Tips
When you’ve got a regular (preferably daily) workout routine, it’s important to consider what kinds of foods you’re eating. Eat small but frequent meals – every 3-4 hours when you’re awake – will definitely keep your metabolism at its optimal level. Foods rich in protein also exert a positive effect on your body’s metabolism, as well as fruits and vegetables. And don’t forget green tea — it’s been found to have antioxidants, which are proven to raise metabolism.

Three Simple Steps to Improve Your Balance

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Fitness professionals and expert body trainers recommend workouts that are multi-exercise in nature — those that combine aerobic/cardio to enhance endurance and cardiovascular health, weight-training to build and tone muscles, and stretching to improve flexibility and prevent injury. Interestingly, improving balance is not even mentioned — but good balance is also critical to your overall health.

So in this article, we give you three simple exercise tips that can help you to train your body to achieve better balance:

Balancing on one leg
Start by standing on one leg for about 30 seconds; prolong this stance over time as your sense of balance improves correspondingly. It’s best, though, if you have a chair or some other support beside you, just in case you totter and fall. When your confidence has increased, bend your leg slowly while you’re balancing, or gaze at a stationary object close by — this actually makes it easier to balance. After some time, your balance will be better, and you’ll be able to stand on just one leg. The ultimate challenge, then, will be to do this with your eyes closed!

Strengthening your abs
Both stomach crunches and sit-ups strengthen and tone your abs — this everyone knows. But what most people don’t know is that the stronger your abdominal muscles are, the better your sense of balance will be. Remember that your abs is at the CENTER of your body, and are thus critical to achieving good balance.

Walking for practice
Brisk walking or running at a comfortable pace strengthens the thigh muscles – which, together with your abs, are crucial to developing and maintaining good balance. Walking uphill is particularly effective in terms of thigh-muscle exercise. You can also try the “tandem walk” — that is, walking as if you’re on a tightrope (or on a fence’s narrow edge).

If you already have a daily workout routine, try incorporating these exercise pointers into your usual regimen – and you’ll be amazed at the results. In addition, you can try enrolling in a tai chi or yoga class — both disciplines are excellent at improving balance.

Three Habits of Fit People

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Are you struggling to shed off pounds and get into better shape? Just follow these top three healthy habits of fit people – and you’ll be on your way to a leaner body and a healthier lifestyle.

Habit #1: Move a Lot
This sounds fundamental, right? But our society is becoming more and more sedentary everyday — sluggish, desk-bound, inactive. To resist this trend, you have to make a determined effort to MOVE, not only at work but also at home.

Don’t try to avoid physical activity in your daily life. Run rather than walk, walk rather than drive, and climb the stairs instead of using the elevator. Park farther away from your destination, and hustle faster when going to a meeting (even if it’s only on the same building or floor). Go out of your way to find a chance to move — this allows you to constantly train your body.

Habit #2: Eat Properly
Fit people don’t go on a diet — they are ON a diet, every hour, every day. They understand the importance of proper eating, because they know that healthy food will fuel their fitness routines and support their overall physical fitness.

These paragons of health eat moderately small meals 6-8 times a day. And these meals are constantly comprised of lean protein and raw or cooked green veggies. They always have breakfast; they cook and pack their own lunches; and they snack on fruits, nuts, and other healthy fare. They refrain from fast food and sugary drinks, and therefore have stable blood levels in terms of sugar, sodium, cholesterol, triglycerides, and so on. Plus, they ALWAYS have lots of energy.

Habit #3: Monitor Progress
Healthy people generally monitor their progress by keeping track of their exercise routines — this enables them to tell if they’re advancing toward their goals or not. The dictum is: What you don’t know, you can’t improve. So learn to keep track of your diet and fitness regimen. By being observant and critical of your own achievements, you can spot your problem areas and stumbling-blocks, and work to eliminate them. Don’t worry if your achievements seem small at first; huge progress often starts out that way.

Take it from our in-house personal trainer – once you adapt these habits, you’ll experience a surge of motivation toward your fitness and exercise goals. It’ll be the start of a new, healthier, fitter you!

Why You Should Learn to Love Kettlebells

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When you don’t have a lot of time or don’t have your own body trainer, exercise with a kettlebell – it can give you a full-body workout in just half an hour. Yes, you read that right! This cast-iron cannonball-looking thingie with handles is all you need to become stronger, leaner, quicker, and more flexible.

But What Is It, Exactly?
Kettlebell training is a high-intensity exercise routine that originated in Russia more than a century ago. In fact, many Russian athletes and soldiers still employ it today. Stars like Jennifer Lopez, Ethan Hawke, Jessica Biel, and Jason Statham all claim that working out with kettlebells has helped them blast off fat and shape their physiques in record time. It’s really a three-in-one regimen – combining cardio, strength, and flexibility elements – and on average takes only about half an hour.

How Does It Work So Effectively?
A kettlebell exercises your whole body and tests your strength; it also gives you a comprehensive cardio workout. You’ll no longer be doing exercises with isolated body parts, or working out with machines — with kettlebells, you’ll be moving your body and using it as an integrated whole, a coordinated unit.

Combine It with a Healthy Diet
To maximize your kettlebell routine, you have to follow a diet specifically geared towards fat loss. Here are a few healthy tips to remember: Cut down your intake of sugar and processed foods, and get rid of the so-called “white” or refined carbs from your daily menu. Eat small meals, but frequently (like every 3-4 hours). Consume more fresh fruits and green vegetables, and learn to eat protein-rich lean meats. Also, avoid fat at all costs!

A Great Workout for Your Thighs and Glutes
Kettlebell exercises improve your cardiovascular endurance and flatten your abdominal muscles. But, more importantly, they target a problem area for most women: the thigh-and-butt area, which is so difficult to tone and shape. Fortunately, most kettlebell exercises make use of your hamstring muscles and glutes, so your thighs and rear end are worked out efficiently with each movement. A firm and shapely posterior is the fabulous result — and one that even hundreds of squats, knee bends, and lunges won’t be able to equal!

Self-Training vs. Personal Training — Which Is Better for You?

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One of the biggest and most difficult choices when it comes to fitness is deciding whether to self-train at home or get a personal trainer and join a gym. Each alternative has pros and cons. Let’s look at each one:

Get a Personal Fitness Trainer?
When you get a personal fitness trainer, you have to pay a fee for the privilege of having an exercise program developed according to your own unique needs and objectives. This is a great advantage. A personal fitness trainer can also guide you through all sorts of weight training and cardio workouts, as well answer all your fitness concerns. It you’re not entirely sure what to do, it’s worth it to go for this option.

Or Work Out at Home?
If you self-train at home, you won’t have to deal with fees, crowds, or commutes. But of course, there’s also no equipment at home unless you already own it. Essentially you’re starting from scratch. However, there are fitness experts who do house calls, and you can have them come in even just once and help you figure out what to buy for your home gym. Also, you can buy exercise DVDs for specific fitness programs that you want to pursue.

Self-Training Poses Bigger Challenges
These are possibly the biggest challenges when it comes to self-training: finding space for your equipment and avoiding distractions. Figuring out how to store your exercise equipment is a bit easier to solve; it might get a little cramped, but if you want to workout at home, you just have to find the space. But avoiding distractions is more difficult when you live with other people. It’s best if you sit down with them and agree to a number of ground rules about your workout time. They might even decide to workout with you — and your potential worst distraction can turn into your best ally.

The Bottom Line
There are differences in both costs and logistics between self-training at home and hiring a personal trainer. But the bigger question is: Which choice will get you a better workout? The truth is – you can train your body no matter where you work out. The important thing is to be consistent. Ensure that your workouts include weight training, flexibility work, and cardio conditioning. And challenge yourself, push yourself, don’t just coast along — ultimately it’s your ATTITUDE that will get results!

How to Stay in Tiptop Shape Even During the Holidays

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Hasn’t it so often happened that we work our butts off all year long to stay in shape — only to fall off the wagon during the holiday season? January almost always finds us heavier and lazier than we were before the vacation started. If you want to stop this self-defeating cycle, here are a few healthy tips to keep in mind:

Set Realistic Fitness Goals for the Holidays
Goal-setting shouldn’t be a once-a-year thing, but an ongoing process. Always have your objectives set down in black and white, and review your list often, updating and rewriting it when necessary. Set some big but achievable goals, and start working on them even during the holidays. For instance, focus on losing the 25 lbs. you’ve gained over the past months; or set a goal to gain 10 lbs. of firm, solid muscle beginning Thanksgiving weekend.

Exercise during the Holidays
Your busy holiday sched might make this difficult — but if you stay focused, you can work a passable fitness routine around all of the parties, office outings, and family visits. Never let time constraints keep you from staying fit! Just because you can’t dash to your gym or keep your weekly body trainer appointment, like you usually do, doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise at home!

Learn to Say No
Fine, you can have a cheat day, or even two — you can eat whatever you like on those days. But don’t exceed them! You’re offered greasy, calorie-laden treats almost daily during the holiday season. Turn them down every so often; it won’t kill you. Incorporate fruit and salads into your meals – healthy choices such as these will help fill you up and keep you from gorging.

Make Your Vacation an Active One
Choose to go hiking, camping, or skiing instead of just lounging around the house, munching on goodies all day, or shopping at the mall where there are a number of yummy temptations to distract you. There are a lot of great activities that can help you and your loved ones to bond, yet still keep you healthy.

In general, you just need to make healthy choices, especially in terms of food, and stay active all the time. And as long as you stay focused and firm on your goals, you don’t have to be scared of the holidays, and of tacking on extra pounds.