healthismyhappy

Take the first step towards a healthy, happy life!

5 Benefits of Interval Training

High-intensity interval training requires interspersing bursts of intense activity into your regular fitness program. It’s a form of fitness training that alternates high-intensity work efforts with low- to moderate-intensity ‘recovery’ efforts.

How Interval Training Helps

Adding interval training to your fitness program has both mental and physical benefits:

  • You lose weight faster. The more vigorous your exercise, the more calories you will burn, so even short bursts will help you lose weight.
  • It eliminates boredom. By varying the intensity of your exercises, it changes things up. Not only will your fitness program go by faster, but you won’t experience the drudgery that can come from doing the same routine every day.
  • No extras needed. You already have the equipment you need for your interval training because you’re already doing the basic workout. Interval training requires no special skills — the only thing needed is more effort on your part.
  • You increase your fitness levels. You will improve your ability to exercise and increase your stamina over time.
  • You reduce the time spent on exercise. You spend less time exercising, but you burn the same or more calories as with your normal routine.

Getting Started With Interval Training

Anyone can add interval training to a fitnessroutine. For beginners who walk outdoors for exercise, you’ll need to find objects at regularly spaced distances when walking or running, such as telephone poles, and use them to judge your intervals. You might start out brisk walking from one to pole to the next, then walking at an easier pace for three poles. As your fitness level increases, increase the speed of your walk or run for an additional pole or two.

Hills are another way to add interval training to your running or jogging workout. You exercise more intensely as you climb the hill and have a relatively easy effort as you come down. You may need to change your course to tackle more hills.

A more structured option is to go by the clock. Walk or run at an intense pace for one minute. Then walk or jog for one minute at a relaxed pace. If you’re really serious about it, use a timer and a heart-rate monitor to time and pace your intervals. You can take the same approach when you’re biking or swimming.

When interval training, it’s important to create an obvious distinction between your work efforts and your recovery efforts. Make sure you work in the “somewhat hard” to “hard” categories for the work and the “low” to “moderate” categories for the recovery. Plan your interval training for one to three times a week. You shouldn’t do it every day.

If you want to apply interval training to make your strength training workouts more intense, simply shorten the rest time in between sets. Not only will your workout time will be reduced, but you also will keep your heart rate up. A higher heart rate can help you burn more fat during your workout.

 

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The Best Workouts for Your Body Type

It’s basic Biology: you can’t change the basic body you’re born with. However, that’s no reason to despair! You can still take steps to make your body shape the best it can be — and it may boost your weight-loss efforts and overall body image. When women address their body-image issues as part of a weight-loss program, their efforts are more successful, researchers from the Technical University of Lisbon found. Get ready to meet your body type and learn to love it!

Apple Shapes: Tone Your Tummy

If you carry most of your excess weight around the waist and tend to have narrower hips and bigger breasts, you’re an apple.body image 2

What you can do: You can’t spot reduce to get rid of fat, but you can start a cardio routine to help burn fat all over, and tone your abdominal muscles to make them look more streamlined. Research has found jogging to be the single most effective exercise to tone your stomach, but be sure to add in ab-toning moves, such as planks and crunches.

Pear Shapes: Tighten Your Thighs

If you’re a pear, you carry fat around your hips, thighs, and buttocks and are more likely to have a small upper body  and a heavier lower body. If you want to shift the emphasis away from your hips, there are fitness improvements you can make for a better body image.body image 3

What you can do: Bicycling is an excellent aerobic exercise to help tone your lower body! Although you can’t spot reduce, you can tone your legs with squats, leg presses, leg curls, and calf raises.

Hourglass Shapes: Tone All Over

If you have an hourglass figure, you’re curvy, and your bust and hip measurements are just about the same while your waist is narrow. body image 4

What you can do: To enhance an hourglass body type, follow an exercise program that works both your upper and lower body. Your upper-body weight-training program to define muscles could include dips, lat pull-downs, tricep extensions, and bench presses. Good aerobic exercises for the upper body are swimming, rowing, and cross-country skiing. Tone your lower body with squats, leg presses, leg curls, and calf raises. Good aerobic exercises for the lower body are bicycling, walking, and running.

Flute Shapes: Chisel Your Waist

Flute shapes are thin and have little definition with bust, waist, and hip measurements that are very similar — hence the comparison to a streamlined flute.body image 5

What you can do: If you’re thin, your goal may be to chisel your waist to add some curves to your body. Look to tone your abs with sit-ups, side planks, squats, and vertical toe touches (lie flat on your back and raise your legs straight up in the air, then reach to touch your toes). If you have a rectangular flute shape but are on the heavy side, your goal is to lose weight all over by adopting a healthy eating plan along with regular exercise.

Athletic Shapes: Work Your Curves

You have broader shoulders and narrower hips — picture an inverted triangle. You may have more muscle than fat and be less curvy than the pear-shaped individuals.body image 6

What you can do: You might not need much upper-body toning, so instead, focus on lower-body exercises that target glutes and thighs to create a more balanced shape. Aerobic activity that targets the areas you want to develop will work. Work on building up your lower body with bicycling. Strength-training exercises that will add definition include squats, leg presses, leg curls, and calf raises.

 

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Boost Your Metabolism!

Boosting metabolism is the holy grail of weight watchers everywhere, but how fast your body burns calories depends on several things. Some people inherit a speedy metabolism. Men tend to burn more calories than women, even while resting. And for most people, metabolism slows steadily after age 40. Although you can’t control your age, gender, or genetics, there are other ways to improve your metabolism. Here are 6 ways:

1. Build Muscle: Your body constantly burns calories, even when you’re doing nothing. This resting metabolic rate is much higher in people with more muscle. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories daily. That small difference can add up over time. After a session of strength training, muscles are activated all over your body, raising your average daily metabolic rate.

 

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2. Snack Smart: Eating more often can help you lose weight. When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals. Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your metabolism cranking, so you burn more calories over the course of a day. Several studies have also shown that people who snack regularly eat less at mealtime.

 

3. Fuel Up With Water: Your body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. To stay hydrated, drink a glass of water or other unsweetened beverage before every meal and snack. Also, snack on fresh fruits and vegetables, which naturally contain water, rather than pretzels or chips.

 

4. Step Up Your Workout: Aerobic exercise may not build big muscles, but it can rev up your metabolism in the hours after a workout. The key is to push yourself. High-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer rise in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts. To get the benefits, try a more intense class at the gym or include short bursts of jogging during your regular walk.

 

boost metabolism5. Power Up With Protein: Your body burns many more calories digesting protein than it does eating fat or carbohydrates. As part of a balanced diet, replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods can boost metabolism at mealtime. Good sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.

 

 

6. Avoid Crash Diets: Crash diets — those involving eating fewer than 1,200 (if you’re a woman) or 1,800 (if you’re a man) calories a day — are bad for anyone hoping to quicken their metabolism. Although these diets may help you drop pounds, that comes at the expense of good nutrition. Plus, it backfires, since you can lose muscle, which in turn slows your metabolism. The final result is your body burns fewer calories and gains weight faster than before the diet.

 

 

 

 

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Spring

Spring is a great time to clean up your closets — and your diet. As the weather warms and heavy soups, stews, and casseroles lose their appeal, start taking advantage of seasonal spring food, especially the fruits and vegetables that are so tasty in the earlier part of the year. It’s easy to follow a healthy diet when you incorporate spring food.

 

Seasonal Food: What’s in for Spring

  • Apricots. Although many people enjoy dried apricots, they are also delicious served fresh, especially when chopped in a salad.
  • Asparagus. When visiting a grocery store in the spring, you’ll likely see displays of asparagus. For a delicious treat, fire up your grill: Spray asparagus spears with a little oil and sprinkle with salt, then grill them over a hot fire for about 5 minutes. Grilled asparagus should be brown in spots, but not charred.Revamp your diet
  • Broccoli. Broccoli is always a good choice because it’s loaded with antioxidants and is high in fiber. You can serve broccoli steamed or sautéed, or try it raw in salads or for a crunchy snack.
  • Greens. Spring greens include Swiss chard, mustard greens, and collard greens. Toss them in a salad for a wonderful springtime treat. Don’t hide their natural flavors under a heavy dressing. Instead, mix a splash of lemon juice with a high-quality olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
  • Oranges. Oranges are a winter fruit, but they carry over into spring.
  • Spinach. Try spinach in place of lettuce in sandwiches, on burgers or in salads, or sauté spinach to serve as a side dish or in pasta.
  • Strawberries. Strawberries are available through early summer, but may be sweetest in spring.

 

No matter what time of year, you can incorporate lots of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Nutritionists recommend at least five servings each day, and spring’s bounty makes reaching this goal a snap. Fruits and vegetables that are nutritious and available year-round include potatoes, carrots, celery, bananas, and peppers, but you may want to shift your focus to seasonal foods when possible for the freshest taste.

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8 Healthy Habits

Let the count down begin: 35 days until spring break. This means everyone is starting the latest crash diet in an effort to get the perfect “bikini bod.” If you are one of those people, let me tell you now to stop thinking about the newest fad diet, and starting thinking about creating a healthier lifestyle. If you have no idea where to begin, let me help you get started! Here are 8 tips aimed at helping you create a healthy lifestyle that will improve your chances for successful results.

1. Watch Your Portions. Food portion sizes today are far bigger than they were in the past, which means we’re taking in far more calories than we realize. Understanding healthy and correct portion sizes is critical to long-term weight management.

2. Eat Slowly. It takes a little while for your body to realize that you’ve eaten and to stop sending signals of hunger. If you slow down and savor your food, you probably will eat less before your body acknowledges that you’re full.

3. Eat Your Vegetables First. Vegetables contain plenty of fiber and bulk but few calories. By eating them first, you might eat less of any fatty or high-calorie items on your plate.

4. Don’t Skip Meals. Skipping meals sounds like a good idea, but you actually do more harm to your body. Your body thinks it is being starved and starts building body fat in an attempt to store energy away for later. On top of that, you’re likely to be even hungrier for your next meal and eat far more than you would have otherwise. The best course is to eat three small meals, with two or three small snacks in between.

5. Drink Plenty of Water. Water helps you feel full throughout your day and it also provides innumerable health benefits to your skin and your digestive and circulatory systems.

6. Switch to Healthy Snacks. Swap out the high-calorie or high-fat snacks in your diet for healthier alternatives. Fruits, low-fat string cheese, peanut butter, and whole-grain crackers are some good options. Create snacks that combine carbohydrates and proteins, like peanut butter on apple slices, as they will make you feel full longer.

7. Exercise. The key to getting fit is exercise! Start slowly and exercise for 30 minutes twice a week, then gradually add more workouts to week. Not only will your body look better, but it will feel great too!

8. Keep a Record. Keep track of what you’ve eaten and how many calories the food contained. You may be surprised at how much you consume each day or how many calories are in foods that appear “healthy.”

Weight loss does not occur overnight, despite the promises of fad diets. The key to results is to modify your lifestyle. I promise you once you go healthy, you wont go back!

 

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My First Post

Hey football fans!

This past weekend was a very exciting week for football. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots 26 to 16 and guaranteed themselves a spot in the Super Bowl on February 2. In addition, the San Francisco 49ers lost to the Seattle Seahawks; the final score was 23 to 17. Personally I am happy with both outcomes! The Patriots are in the Super Bowl practically every year, so I am glad to see Peyton Manning, who returned to the field this season after neck surgery, make it to the Super Bowl (sadly, this could possibly be his last one). I am not a 49ers or Seahawks fan, so this game was much less exciting for me. Actually, the most exciting part of the game was the Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman’s, “interesting” post-game interview with Erin Andrews.

So with the Super Bowl date rapidly approaching, a majority of Americans are planning to either host or attend a Super Bowl party. And what party doesn’t have tons of food? While most of the parties will provide foods like chicken wings, chips, and pizza, I encourage you all to stay away from it! A great thing to do while watching the game is to squeeze in little workouts at the commercials. You can easily burn off that slice of pizza by doing jumping jacks, burpees, or lunges while you wait for the game to return.

Hopefully some of you will take my advice and enjoy a fun game of football, while making good choices at the same time!

 

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