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8 core strength training principles for beginners

8 core strength training principles for beginners

It’s unrealistic to believe that you’ll be fluent in a new language after one week of studying. By the same token, why beat yourself up over not being able to strength train at the gym with people who have been training for longer than you? Strength training takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. To prepare yourself properly, here are eight essential principles to remember when strength training:

1. Start small

Adding a new habit to your life is difficult and can take time away from other things in your life. Get into the habit of strength training by starting with a few reps for just a short period of time. As it become easier, you can increase the number of repetitions.

2. Be patient

You can’t master strength training in a day, a week, or even a month. Remember you won’t see results or master the moves instantaneously.

3. Begin with bodyweight movements

Success with strength training requires building a foundation, which begins with bodyweight movements. This means doing the same moves you would with weights, without the weights at first. As you build strength, you can gradually add more weight.

4. Think compound movements

If you’re crunched for time like many of us are, think about using compound exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups. Some of these exercises include squats, dead lifts, chin ups, and hip thrusts.

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Some women may not lose weight with strength training

Some women may not lose weight with strength training

If you’ve tried resistance training at the gym and haven’t seen results, a new study may show why. New research indicates that some women do not lose weight with resistance training. The study suggests that genetic variations protect women’s bodies from fat loss and prime their bodies for weight maintenance.

Study participants included 148 women between 35 and 60. Those who carried few of the 21 genetic risk variants for obesity largely responded to a weekly regimen of resistance exercise. These women lost weight and trimmed fat -- especially abdominal fat -- and their body composition became leaner.

Read more about the study on The Seattle Times website.

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Burn more calories with these 15 low-impact exercises

Burn more calories with these 15 low-impact exercises

Beginning an exercise routine is tough. Not only are you trying to change your lifestyle, but you have to find the right workout for you. If you are new to exercise or are overweight, your doctor may recommend that you start a low-impact workout program, which can be gentle on your joints, help you lose weight, and allow you to burn more calories.

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6 habits practiced by most fit and healthy people

6 habits practiced by most fit and healthy people

If you’re an individual who struggles with weight and weight-loss problems, you may think that the secrets to becoming slim are exercising regularly and going on a diet. However, fit and healthy people often don’t view exercise and good nutrition as something they have to do to lose weight; instead, these healthy habits are already considered a normal way of life for these individuals.

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4 reasons to exercise outdoors if you want to lose weight

4 reasons to exercise outdoors if you want to lose weight

Spending time outdoors can provide you with fresh air, help clear your head, and expose you to the sun’s rays, spurring your body’s production of vitamin D. If you normally do your exercise routine indoors, you may benefit more from taking your workouts outside, especially if your goal is to lose excess weight. Scientific evidence even shows that overweight individuals are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, so if you’re working on slimming down, exercising outdoors could benefit you in multiple ways.

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Pros and cons to body contouring after bariatric surgery

Pros and cons to body contouring after bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is considered one of the most ideal ways to lose weight when good nutrition and exercise fail to work. Patients who undergo bariatric surgery are required to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly following surgery to help accelerate the weight-loss process, and to get into the habit of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In some cases, bariatric patients can end up losing hundreds of pounds within a short period of time, which can result in areas of loose, excess skin.

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3 hormones that could interfere with weight loss

3 hormones that could interfere with weight loss

The human body naturally produces a number of different hormones that support healthy overall bodily function. Hormones play vital roles in your body’s cellular metabolism, reproduction and sexual development, heart rate, digestion, and more. When you’re in good health and your body functions optimally, your hormone levels can maintain a healthy balance. However, some unhealthy lifestyle habits could result in hormonal imbalance and increase the risk for diseases such as obesity and cancer. Contributing factors may include poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and lack of sleep.

If you’ve been experiencing difficulty losing weight through diet and exercise alone, it’s possible you’re not making progress due to hormonal imbalance. Here are three hormones that can affect your weight-loss progress, as well as tips on how you can balance these hormones in a healthy manner.

1. Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone that rises and fluctuates when you experience any type of stress, whether it’s from coping with unruly family members or putting in too many hours at work. Cortisol can cause your body to store more fat, especially in your abdominal region, and makes your other hormones go into overdrive to counteract the rising cortisol levels. Hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin can rise when cortisol rises, and lead to overeating and cravings for junk food. Most individuals under stress tend to sleep less and make poor nutrition choices.

The most ideal way to balance your body’s cortisol levels is to find new ways to manage stress, or work on eliminating stressors from your life. Start exercising regularly, find new enjoyable hobbies, or if possible, remove yourself from situations that cause undue stress.

2. Estrogen

Estrogen is more commonly associated with females, but men also produce estrogen in smaller amounts. Estrogen imbalance, which is also sometimes be referred to as estrogen dominance, can lead to weight gain and increase your risk for other health problems, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and breast cancer. Estrogen imbalance can be caused by excess exposure to free radicals and toxins, poor nutrition, smoking, stress, and alcohol abuse. To balance your body’s estrogen levels, start exercising regularly and consume a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, protein, and healthy fats. Eating fresh, whole foods can help your body flush out excess estrogen.

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3 exercise moves that eliminate loose armpit skin

3 exercise moves that eliminate loose armpit skin

If you’re starting to slim down, you may notice that certain parts of your body respond better to nutrition and exercise than others. For example, your waist and midsection may slim down significantly, but your buttocks and thighs remain heavy. Or, perhaps you’ve managed to slim down everywhere except for your upper arms, which you’re still hiding behind long sleeves. If you consider the skin around your armpits a problem area, you may feel self-conscious about showing too much skin unless you’re able to tighten and tone this area.

Now that spring is officially here and summer is just around the corner, it’s the ideal time for you to tighten and tone the excess skin around your armpits so you can feel more confident in tank tops, swimsuits, and sleeveless tops. Check out the following three exercise movies that can help you eliminate loose armpit skin just in time for summer.

Lying chest fly

  1. Lie down on your back, and place your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Press your lower back into the ground using your lower abs.
  3. Raise your arms toward the ceiling with your palms facing one another, and keep your elbow slightly bent. For more of a challenge, use small hand weights.
  4. Keep your torso stable, and open your arms out to each side until your elbows are roughly two inches from the floor.
  5. Raise your arms back toward the ceiling, and bring the weights together over your chest.
  6. Do three sets of five reps to start, then increase reps per set as needed.

Push-up rotation

  1. Put your body in the plank position, with your shoulders directly over your wrists, and your body in one straight line, feet hip-width apart. Keep your back straight, and pull in your navel.
  2. Bend your elbows out to the sides as you lower and exhale to do a push-up.
  3. Hold for one breath, then rise back up to the original plank position, while also releasing your left arm and raising it to the ceiling.
  4. Hold for one breath, then return to the original plank position.
  5. Repeat the push-up, then raise your right arm to the ceiling before returning to the plank position.
  6. Do two sets of five for each side to start, then progress as needed.

Lateral plank walk

  1. Put your body in the plank position, with your shoulders directly over your wrists, and your body in one straight line, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Move your left hand toward the right hand, while stepping your right foot out to the right at the same time.
  3. Move your right hand and left foot to the right and return to the plank position.
  4. Take two additional steps in this direction, then reverse directions and take three steps to the left.
  5. Repeat this movement as many times as needed.

Over time, you’ll notice that these exercises will help tone and tighten any excess skin around and under your arms. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to show off your armpits in public without feeling self-conscious about having excess armpit skin.

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How to maintain your energy levels all day long

How to maintain your energy levels all day long

Have you ever skipped the gym or your workout session due to being tired and lacking energy? Many individuals say that the reason they don’t exercise regularly is that they lack the energy needed to get in an effective workout. While many people chalk up lack of energy to either not getting enough sleep or working too hard, the truth is that many individuals lack energy as a result of practicing one or more unhealthy lifestyle habits that zap their energy.

Unfortunately, if you lack the energy to exercise, you may also lack the energy to maintain a healthy diet, drink enough water, and practice the healthy habits needed to help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

Are you trying to lose weight, but have difficulty mustering up energy on a daily basis? Check out the following ways to maintain your energy levels all day long, from the time you wake up, to the time you hit the hay.

Morning habits

  • Avoid hitting the snooze button. While you may be tempted to hit the snooze button, make a habit of getting up as soon as the alarm goes off. Otherwise, you’ll have a more difficult time waking up, and you’ll expend extra energy doing so.
  • Drink water as soon as you wake up. Water will jump-start your digestive system and help stimulate a bowel movement, while also providing your body with an immediate burst of energy. Keep water on your nightstand to sip upon waking up.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Consume a healthy mixture of healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs to help balance your blood sugar first thing in the morning. Avoid eating sugary donuts, muffins, and pastries, which could cause you to crash early on in the day.
  • Do a morning workout. Exercise actually provides you with lasting energy, which is why it’s ideal to exercise first thing in the morning. Studies even show that morning exercisers tend to burn fat and calories more efficiently.

Afternoon habits

  • Go outside for fresh air. Fresh air can provide you with renewed energy and a fresh perspective on the tasks you’re trying to accomplish. Even if you’re stuck at work, take a break to step outside for 15 minutes for a walk or lunch break.
  • Swap out coffee for tea. If you’re used to slurping on coffee throughout the morning and afternoon, switch to drinking green tea. Tea won’t be as intense on your body, and is less likely to interfere with your nighttime sleep habits than coffee.
  • Eat healthy snacks. Instead of turning to fast food or vending machine foods for convenience, stick to snacking on nuts, vegetables, and fruits, which will naturally provide your body with a burst of healthy energy. Salty and sugary foods can actually drain your energy levels.

Evening habits

  • Lower your alcohol intake. Many individuals say alcohol helps them fall asleep after a hard day’s work. But in actuality, alcohol can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and either cause you to wake up later in the night, or leave you feeling even more exhausted come morning. Try to omit or limit your alcohol intake at nighttime.
  • Stop using electronics. The light emitted by mobile phones, tablets, computers, and television can interfere with your sleep patterns, and sometimes make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Stop using all electronics at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Make sleep a priority. A good night’s sleep will help you feel energized the following day. Make sleep a priority in your life, and stop staying up late to watch movies, play video games, and read books. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night for lasting energy levels.
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How yoga helped one man lose weight

How yoga helped one man lose weight

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to remember to diet and remain physically active. For Richard Wildman, this wasn’t an easy task to accomplish. He had tried going to the gym on his own, but could never stay committed to a routine or diet. Richard’s weight peaked at 669 pounds, but he has seen a decline since he started a new physical activity a couple of months ago: yoga. Since Richard began practicing yoga, his life has changed for the better.

Yoga has benefited Richard both physically and mentally. His yoga practice is gentle, but still has physical demands that help him burn some weight. Mentally, he feels more inspired to be active, and makes better eating choices because he wants to lose weight to get better at yoga. Since he started doing yoga, Richard has lost more than 50 pounds.

Having a dedicated instructor has also helped Richard improve his health. His yoga instructor, Heather Dombrovskiy, motivates Richard by joking that she’ll come to his house if he tries to skip a day. Richard hopes that in the future he can become an instructor like Heather, and work with people who have weight problems and might be too scared to start yoga classes like he was at first.

Read more about Richard’s inspiring story from People.

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