Top fitness myths

Top fitness myths

Fitness isn’t just something we say to impress out friends, but fitness is something that everybody should do, because it will help you keep yourself in shape and stay healthy. But, because the fitness industry is so huge and so wildly commercial, many myths fitness myths have formed over the years that make those of us who are not fitness experts believe false information. It is time to bust the most popular fitness myths and set the record straight.

Crunches = flat stomach

Stomach is one of the most popular so called problem areas on a human body, because many want to get rid of the fat on their stomach and sport flat stomachs. And because of this there is a myth that doing crunches and only crunches will get you to flat stomach. But the truth is that only crunches won’t give you flat stomach or abs for that matter. Yes, a lot of crunches will strengthen your core muscles, but, since they don’t burn a lot of calories and they are in no way cardio exercises, they won’t help to get that flat tummy. For flat stomach to appear there needs to be fat loss and only then we can talk about abs. On top of that, since crunches only tone a small portion of abdominal muscles, actually exercises like planks and bridges will be better stomach toning workouts, and will get you to flat stomach if you combine them with cardio and a healthy diet.

Stretching = no muscle soreness or pain

Another myth that also is debunked is that stretching will make your body recover much quicker after a workout and if you stretch right after, then your muscles won’t be sore the next day. But a study done by University of Milan actually found that stretching doesn’t significantly change blood lactate levels, meaning that your muscles won’t become less some after a workout if you stretch. Some might argue that this statement is not true, because it feels good to stretch after a workout. And it probably feels so good, because, by stretching your muscles after a workout when they are warm, you increase their flexibility and therefore your range of motion and overall will feel better.

Sweating = working hard enough, burning a lot of calories

And then there is the myth of if you are sweating a lot and drenched after a workout, then you have worked out hard enough to burn a ton of calories. But the truth is that more sweating doesn’t equal more calories burned, since sweating has nothing to to with calorie burn. Sweating is the way your body regulates its temperature and therefore the way your body gets rid of heat. So you might sweat a ton if you are working out when it is hot outside and might not sweat only a little or not at all when you are doing a light weather in a cold room. So don’t count on sweating being a great indicator for calorie burn. The intensity of your workout is a much better sign of calorie burn.

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Drinking water and fitness – the truths!

Drinking water and fitness – the truths!

Water is a huge part of our lives and even a huge part of our bodies, because adult human bodies are about 60 percent water. Yes, you read right, 60 percent which means that water makes up more than half of our bodies. So it is no wonder that we have to drink water daily, to keep your bodies healthy and hydrated. But how much water do we actually need to consume when we are working out?

The truth about drinking water while exercising and in general is to drink when you are thirsty and when your body is asking for water. We as humans need water not only, because we are made partly from water, but also, because water increases our metabolism, therefore we burn more calories, it helps our organs and especially our hearts to work better, because if we are hydrated then our hearts doesn’t have to work as as hard to pump blood through out bodies, water also aids in digestion as well as helps to keep our skin clear and keeps the wrinkles and fine lines at bay. So if we drink the water when our bodies tell as to drink, it means that that is the time when we actually need the added hydration.

Of coarse there is a myth that if we drink water when we are thirsty then it is already too late and our bodies have started to break down some important nutrients, but it actually is not true. I am a true believer of listening to my body and it telling me what it needs, so if I feel thirsty, I drink water.

The second myth about water, that probably is the most common thing you hear when you are searching information about water consumption, is that you should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day. And let me tell you that it is bullshit. That 8 glass rule has no real scientific basis and the amount of water a person should be consuming daily actually depends on multiple factors such as the persons height, weight, activity level and so on. On top of that there is such a thing as drinking too much water, and that, too can cause pretty severe health problems to a person. So don’t just blindly follow the 8 glass or ounce rule of water consumption, better listen to what your body is saying you and drink as much water, as you feel like drinking.

And if we touched on water and fitness then we should also touch on sports drinks and how, if you aren’t an athlete and don’t work out several ours a day, you don’t need to drink Gatorade or any other sports drink after your workout, because your body won’t have lost as much sodium and salt for you to have to replenish them with the unhealthy sports drink. Gatorade, for example, had 200 calories in it and more than 50 grams of sugar, so if you do workouts that only last for 20, 30 or 40 minutes and that are low impact ones, you probably won’t burn enough calories as you consume from the sports drink and therefore will actually gain weight instead of lose it. So drink WATER, and do it when your body says you to do it. It is as simple as that.

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Tips for working out in summer heat

Tips for working out in summer heat

Summer is great time for many different outdoors activities, because the sun is shining, it is warm outside and you can stay outside without having to wear winter boots and jackets. However, when a heat wave hits, then the weather gets into the next extreme and again, because it is too hot to do anything, but especially to workout. But if you still want to or have to exercise during the summer heat, read these helpful tips that will make sure that you don’t overheat and that you actually can get in a decent workout.

Drink water and maintain electrolytes and salt levels

First and foremost, in order to lead successful workouts in summer heat, especially if the workouts are intense, you need to not only stay hydrated and also to keep up your electrolytes and salt water levels. Hydration in very hot weather is tricky, since when it is hot you sweat a lot and therefore lose not only water but also salt and electrolytes, so to stay in tip top shape when it is hot and you are exercising, which makes your body feel even hotter, you need to replenish not only your bodies water levels but salt and electrolyte levels, too. To do that not only drink a couple of glasses of water before the workout, but also bring a bottle of water to your workout and try to take a sip about every 15 to 20 minutes, because this will help your body not to get dehydrated. But to replenish the salt and electrolytes in your body, take something like sodium and electrolyte packets after the workout, so your body also don’t experience hyponatermia, which is over-hydration without having the electrolytes and salts your body need to keep functioning normally.

Don’t work out during mid-day if possible

The second advice any athlete or fitness expert will give you, when it comes to working out during a heat wave is to try not to do it between about 10 or 11 in the morning through 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Usually these are the times when the heat is the worse, so you can experience not only dehydration but also overheating. In the early mornings and in the evenings the temperatures usually a bit lower and therefore your body will feel much better in them.

Choose where you workouts

And lastly you also should choose where you do your workout, especially if it is in an extreme summer heat. Places like forest trails or pathways, parks with a lot of trees or places that get shade from buildings or other objects will be the best, because this will ensure that you aren’t getting extra heat from the sun and your workout will go easier. Also I would advise to do your workout in an area that is not close to a highway or that is not located in or close to city center, as usually it is hotter there, since the asphalt tends to heat up quickly making the temperatures above it seem even higher. And whenever you feel like you will faint or are getting sick during any workout, but especially if you are exercising when it is hot outside, take a break or just stop exercising, because your body is telling you that it cannot handle this kind of stress and you will only be doing damage to it if you keep on going ignoring the bad feelings.

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Fitness tips that you won’t regret reading

Fitness tips that you won’t regret reading

Fitness is something that everybody should do at least in some capacity, because exercising will keep you healthy and feeling good. However, if you are just starting out in the world of working out and getting in shape, the huge amount information that is available on the internet and in other information outlets can be very confusing. So to make sure that you don’t get lost in the wast amount of fitness knowledge, here are some of the most valuable fitness tips, that I wish I knew when I started getting into exercising, eating healthy and being fit.

You need carbs

There is this huge stigma around carbs that is hunting the fitness and nutrition world, because many people still think that the only way how to lose fat is to cut out all carbs. But the truth is that your body actually need carbs, because carbs is like fuel to our organisms. And especially is you are exercising regularly you need to consume carbs at at least before your workouts, for your body to be able to get through the sweat session and not crash. Of coarse that also doesn’t give you a free pass to stuff your face with pasta, white bread and other foods that are rich in carbs. But it does mean that you need some carbs, even if it is in a form of a couple of crackers, to fuel your next exercising session.

Train in intervals

It might seem like running, cycling or doing any other cardio workout slowly and for a long time might give you better results, bet the truth is that it is better to do cardio in intervals than to just jogging slowly for 40 minutes. So next time it is your cardio day instead of just running in one pace, add in a 20 to 60 second sprints every couple of minutes. Usually this is done by setting up intervals, for example that you sprint 20 seconds and then run at slower pace for 2 minutes to catch your breath. Andhe same techniques can also be applied to any other cardio workout, be it cycling, working out on the elliptical or any other cardio heavy workout. Intervals are great, because not only this type of workout will burn more calories, but also build muscle faster and you will be able to train your endurance, too, because you will really be pushing yourself during the sprints, especially on the second half of your training session.

Make it fun

And lastly probably the best advice I have for those who are just starting to work out is to make the work outs fun or do exercises that are fun to you. One of the main reasons why people stop exercising regularly or can’t force themselves to get moving because they hate or at least dislike the workouts they are doing. So to ensure, that you keep on with your exercises, you should do the fitness activities that you enjoy, be it yoga, dance class, cross fit, boxing or simple running in the fresh air. But what to do if you just can’t seem t find anything that gets you excited about working out? Then maybe you should go different route and instead of finding workouts that you like, search for people that you like working out with. This, too, can also push you to exercise, just because you will want to meet your workout buddies.

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Exercises that you should add to your fitness routine

Exercises that you should add to your fitness routine

Working out and exercising is one of the best things you can o for your body, because it keeps you not only fit physically, but also healthy, which is the most important thing. And weather you have your workout routine down or you are just starting to build one, you should include these exercises into fitness routine, because they are some of the most efficient exercises, that will help you acheave even better results.

Burpee

Many, who have been working out for a while or who like to base their fitness routines on workout videos will be familiar or at least heard of the burpee. Yes, it is probably one of the most hated exercises, however it also is one of the most efficient ones, too. It was invented by Royal H. Burpee in 1939 as a body weight movement to use to do different fitness tests. But now it has evolved into a extremely efficient movement, since it works virtually every muscle in your body and about 20 reps of burpees are equal to your doing 20 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups and 20 squats. Do about 3 sets of 10 burpees with rest period of 1 minute between them and you will have gotten in a very intense workout.

Squats

In order to work the most muscles in your legs without having to do a ton of different exercises, you should try doing squats. If you do decide to add squats to your fitness routine, though, you need to remember to keep your form while you are doing them, since it is key to the exercise actually being efficient and earning you the results you want. In addition you can also add weights to your squats, that will make the exercise even more challenging and more awarding, since your muscles will have to work harder and therefore you will build a bigger muscle mass.

Plank

And for core muscles, there isn’t really a better exercise than plank, because it involves holding your core for extended periods of time, that way building core strength as well as your endurance. Similarly to squats, form is probably the most important thing when you are doing a plank, since, if you hold the plank in the right position, it will actually work out your core. The benefits of plant include stronger abdominal, back and shoulder muscles, but, if you alternate between the regular plant and the side plank then additionally you will be ale to work also your arm muscles that way strengthening your whole upper body.

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Best summer workouts

Best summer workouts

When I think of summer I think not only of sunshine and warm weather, but also of all the summer activities that I can do because it is warm outside. And one of these activities is also working out outside, so let me list a few of my favorite workouts that are best suited for the summertime.

Running on the beach

One of the best workouts in summer is beach running, and there are a couple of reasons why I think so. Firstly beach is beautiful setting for running by itself, which is why I enjoy running on the beach so much. Many times I have trouble forcing myself to go for a run, but if there is the possibility that I can go for a beach run, then the unpleasantness of running falls away and I am left with excitement for building a stronger body. Speaking of strength, beach running also is more challenging than say running on a pavement or a trail, therefore it also is more beneficial as a workout. And thirdly beach running will be a challenge for you even if you are experienced runner and run several times week. Just make sure that before you run you gear up, meaning that you need to wear things like sunscreen and sunglasses so the sun isn’t shining in your face, running shoes so the stones on the beach don’t hurt your feet and appropriate running outfit for a beach, since often it is very windy on the beach.

Swimming

Swimming is the second best summer workout, because it lets you enjoy the water, especially if you are swimming in a lake or even in the sea or the ocean, while getting in an intense, full body workout. There is something about summer and large bodies of water, hence why so many people spend their summer vacations near water and why pool parties are a summer staple. On top of that water also is a great workout if you are recovering from an injury, because water doesn’t put that much strain on your joints and muscles as workouts on dry land do. In fact research even shows that it is better to swim if you are recovering from an injury, than it is to recover by doing nothing but resting, because this way your body will keep moving and keep its strength up so after the injury is healed you don’t have to start all over again with your fitness journey.

Hiking

And lastly something as seemingly not so intensive as hiking can be a perfect summer workout, too, especially for those hotter summer days. Hiking in itself is more intensive than simple walking, however, it is also no as high-impact as running, so it can be done even by those who suffer from bad knees. And it is great for hot summer days, because hiking trails usually are in the woods or in areas with larger tree coverage, therefore it will be shaded and not as hot as if you would be walking down a open road and the sun would be beating down on you. SO if you want to enjoy the warm summer days and the nature, hen hiking as one of your weekly workouts could be perfect for you.

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Best post workout foods

Best post workout foods

Many fitness experts say that diet is just as important if not more important if you want to lose weight or build muscle, since in workout world the saying “You are what you eat” is more than true. And although it is important to eat something about 60 to 30 minutes before your workout, to be able to exercise and to not get tired after just a few minutes, it is more important to make sure you eat the right foods after the workout, since the food you eat right after an exercising session will determine how fast your muscles and body will recover and how much of a body tone you will get from your workout.

After a workout, especially if it was one that was on the more intensive side, your body goes into recovery mode, trying to replenish all the nutrients it lost during your intense exercise session. So you need to make sure that you replenish some of those nutrients and give your body what it needs without overloading it with carbs and redoing all the progress you did during your workout.

The best foods to eat post workout are those that are high in protein, since protein will help your muscle recover quickly as well as will help with muscle growth. So things like eggs, grilled chicken or salmon with some vegetables or some sandwiches made from whole wheat bread will work great. Just make sure you don’t overload these foods with things like oil and different condiments like mayonnaise and such, since that will make the food less healthy and will add calories to your meal that you definitely don’t want.

Another thing that you should have in your post workout meal is carbohydrates, but not just any carbohydrates, but complex ones that break down slowly and will keep your strength up even after you have had intense workout of that carbs will also help your body build the muscle you worked out for.

For those who are on the go, an actual meal isn’t a must, since you can have a protein smoothie, too, and it will help you recover from your workout and go on with your day. Or just have a chocolate milk, since research shows that chocolate milk could be the ultimate post workout snack. That is because in chocolate milk there is everything your body needs at the post workout stage – protein, carbs as well as fluids, calcium, sodium and sugar that all needs to be replenished after you finish a workout session. So now you know what are your options for a post workout snack or meal, so the workout you had can actually benefits your over all fitness.

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Best fitness apps

Best fitness apps

As hard as it usually is to get yourself to exercise, the feeling after the workout is great because you feel like you are getting stronger and fitter. However, to actually find the motivation to work out, can be troubling, since an exercise session isn’t on most peoples minds in the mornings before work or school or in the evenings after a hard days work. So to keep you inspired to work out and to help you exercise in a way that is beneficial to your health, here are some of the best fitness apps, that will get you working out in no time.

Endomondo

If you want an app to be able to track all of your workouts from running to biking to even walking or Nordic walking, then you might want to try out Endomondo. It is a free app that is available not only for Android or IOS phones, but also for BlackBerry and Windows Phone smartphones, so no matter what type of device you have, you will be able to use Endomondo. In addition to tracking your fitness activity, which mind you it does pretty accurately even if your are working in a more remote area, it also offers coaching and training plans, if you wish to pay for the premium version of the app, and it might be worth it, because these features will make your workout tracking experience even better.

Spotify Running

If you are someone who likes to listen to music while running but are getting suck of making new and new playlists or ending up running in silence, because your playlist was too short? Well we have a solution for you in the form of Spotify Running. It is a free app which is part of the ever so popular Spotify network. How it works is it measures the pace you are running in and matches it to the songs that have the beats per minute that corresponds to your running pace. This way you can keep your pace up just by listening to music as well as discover new tracks that might become your new workout anthems.

Moves

Another activity tracking app is Moves, however this one is different, because you don’t have to remember to click start a the beginning of your workout in order for the app to track your movements. Moves can be downloaded for free and it actually is intended as a pedometer, because it counts the steps you take each day and the distance you have traveled each day. But it can be amazing tool also if you are traveling and you want to track where you have been or simply if you want to know how much activity you get each day.

LoseIt

And for those who want to count their calories and see how much they eat in a day, the LoseIt app will be perfect. LoseIt actually is a website that lets you track your nutrition online, but now in the app century it is a free app too that can be used on Android, iOS as well as Nook and Kindle devices. You can make your own weight loss plan on the app or set up the goal weight you want to have after a specific time period, and the app will show how much calories you should consume according to your weight, height, age and such. On top of that you can even log your workouts on this app, so all your weightloss information in one place.

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