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Category Archives: Fitness

Turn Runing Into a Meditation Session

Most of us know that both meditation and running are activities that have powerful physical and psychological benefits, some of which the two have in common (reduced depression, reduced stress and improved blood pressure to name a few). But most people would never consider combining the two. In fact, I bet suggesting this would cause a fair percentage of people to look at you like you were crazy. Despite what these naysayers think, you’ll soon see that pairing running and meditation is as natural as Kobe beef.

First, a word of caution: you shouldn’t meditate while running anywhere where your personal safety is at risk. In general, you should only run and meditate on a safe, closed course like a track, trail or park. Meditating while jogging along a busy road or on city streets is not advised, both because it might be dangerous and because it’s really difficult to meditate effectively when you have to constantly pay close attention to the changing conditions around you.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are the basic steps for meditating effectively while you run:

# Start running

I know this seems obvious, but I think it’s important to note that you should start running before you start meditating. Why? Because the focus of this meditation is the muscles being worked (the legs). You can’t focus on muscles being worked when they’re at rest.

# Do a body scan

As soon as you start jogging, start doing a basic, head-to-toe body scan. This lets you get in tune with your body and eases you closer to the meditation mindset while helping you identify any physical tension so you can eliminate it. To do this, you focus your awareness on each region of your body, progressively scanning for any clenched muscles. When you identify tight muscles, try to relax them. When all the muscles in a region are relaxed, you move on to the next section start with your scalp and face, then focus on your neck and throat, arms and chest, midriff and diaphragm, pelvic region, and finally your legs. You don’t have to use these specific groupings- the important point is to move from your head down, hitting every part of your body.

# Listen to binaural beats music

Binaural beats music, for those who don’t know, is specially designed music that use a scientifically proven mental phenomena to change the operating frequency of the brain. Depending on the music, this effect can help you focus, sleep, work creatively, or meditate, to name a few applications. So, if you listen to binaural music designed for meditation, it will make it much easier for you to meditate.

So, get yourself a 15 min or less piece of binaural beats meditation music and listen to it first on your running playlist (look for something in the Alpha range). If you don’t ordinarily listen to music while you run you can skip this step, but it will definitely make it easier to meditate if you do.

Also, while I list this third, feel free to start this before you start running.

# Focus on your working muscles

As mentioned before, when you are meditating and running your focus should be on your legs. This is because it is much easier to focus on them than ignore them completely. Plus, it helps you keep track of your fatigue level and maintain good stride form. However, if this doesn’t work for you, I would suggest making the track in front of you or the music you are listening to your focus.

# Returning Attention

As you run along, your focus will occasionally shift to something else- a past conversation, a future project, a goal, someone walking by, and so on. This happens to everyone sometimes, no matter how good they are, and it’s nothing to worry about. The important thing to remember when you catch yourself doing this is to not punish yourself or get frustrated, just to gently bring your attention back to your meditation focus.

For me, meditating while jogging has been a revelation. It used to be that I dreaded jogging as an unwelcome, exhausting chore. I would groan inwardly and steel myself before each and every run. While I would feel a little better once I started running, I would have to fight boredom actively- I often changed my route to spice things up a bit. All of those problems have vanished now: I look forward to each and every run. Now, I often end each run more invigorated than I was before, and boredom has been replaced by a feeling of calm. I even run the same course each time, around a local soccer field, without ever getting bored.

It’s pretty simple when you break it down like this. In fact, it’s completely the same as running by itself, except you add a mental step (two, if you do the body scan at the beginning). I encourage everyone that runs to give this a try, especially if they don’t already practice meditation on a daily basis. It’s an easy way to incorporate meditation into your existing schedule without taking extra time out of it.

If you’ve tried running or meditation before without it sticking, give this a try- it might just be the thing that finally turns an “I wish I did it” into an “I’m glad I do it”.

Factor that Boosting Your Results In Fitness

So, you’ve learned how to get fit. You know that your diet accounts for 80% of your fitness success, and you know you should be eating quality proteins, carbs, and fats. You know your nutrition should be on point and you should rock out compound workouts at the gym. Yet, you’re fat. In your head and in your mind you’re a fitness expert by now, but you haven’t seen the results you want. And it could all possibly boil down to the fact that you just aren’t being consistent!

You could be doing the right thing, but if you’re only eating healthy 2 or 3 times a week and then the rest you cave to the pressure of eating pizza and candy the other 4 days, you’re not going to see results. If you know you should go to the gym, but you just got off work and you’re tired and you’re just going to skip today (which we all know can happen more like 4 times a week), you’re not going to see results. See, you could actually have the best workout plan ever and nothings wrong with it, it is flawless – but if you aren’t consistent in your plan, it will fail for you! The key to seeing the results you want is to be consistent in doing them. It’s funny how you see the same people in the gym all the time – the gym rats who are huge and you wonder why you can’t get like that. Well, why do you see them there everytime in the first place? Because they are consistent!

# So how do I get consistent?

Well, first things first. Stop making excuses. “But Connor, I’m not making excuses! I have 2 jobs and kids and I just have no time!” I’m sorry to say, but even though it’s a good one, it’s still an excuse. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and the way the way we spend it is up to us. Even if you can’t give up a job to free more time, you could purchase an at-home gym set and pull-up bars. Honestly, all you really need is your bodyweight to become completely fit. And when you get home from work, instead of relaxing for a couple hours, you can bust out a quick 45 minute workout. No one said it would be easy! Now thankfully, not all of us have such a demanding schedule – my point is to find a way to make it work. If it’s truly a priority to you, you will find a way.

Secondly, minimize distracting obstacles in your way. Every time you go to the gym, you have to pass your flat screen TV, your awesome gaming computer, and your fridge packed with deliciously unhealthy food. It’s painful to have to look at those things and say no! So fill your fridge with healthy food that you know will fill you with nutrients to make you strong and healthy, and cover your TV and computer or something – or if you’re really extreme put them away in storage! Don’t give yourself options to do your workout “later” and then coincidently end up with not enough time at the end of the day to even do your workout.

Thirdly, treat yourself to gifts for succeeding! Give yourself goals – If I am consistent with my diet for a month, then after a month I get to treat myself to a 50$ Lobster Dinner! Yummy! Or if you are consistent with your running daily for a month, reward yourself with new running shoes. Always give yourself a gift that aligns with your current goals.

Those are 3 ways to be more consistent in your workout goals. They say knowledge is power, but I slightly disagree. Knowledge put into action is power. Workout, be consistent, and see your results sky rocket in no time.

 

Know Basic Exercises for Women

Most people hate leg day. This is no more apparent than in those guys you see with the enormous upper body and legs like spindles. Obviously they think they are rocking their muscle tee, but truthfully they just look ridiculous. Therefore, regardless of who you are making sure you complete leg day is hugely important.

For many women, especially those new to working out the prospect of working out with a barbell is a scary prospect. Many women have the misconception that using weights will bulk them up. But the only way to get those great legs you’re dreaming about in time for that perfect Christmas party dress is to go hard on leg day.

That’s why I have picked four exercises that are going back to basics. Although there are so many workouts you can do, sticking to the original bodybuilding moves can be the best place to start.

These exercises most experienced workout gurus will be well aware of. But they are a great place to begin for the beginners! Plus, there is always room for variations to make workouts more advanced and interesting.

# Barbell Deadlift

Now for a ladies new to working out, seeing a huge guy in the gym hammering out deadlifts can be a little intimidating. Don’t be put off girls! You too can deadlift like a complete pro.

Like everything start by getting your basic technique up to a good level. Start with just the barbell, no weights and have a friend spot you.

Tip – remember to get a good grip, keep your chest up and back arched. Drive through your heels in order to pull the weight upwards. Try 3 sets of 12 reps.

# High Rep Squats

In honesty there is no better exercise for women who want great glutes than a good old fashioned squat!

Start off by getting a good squat technique without any weights. Once you are confident you have your technique down, you can add a barbell (without weight) carried across your shoulders.

It is great to start off with the assistance of a smith machine to help you with your balance and technique when incorporating weights into the mix. Over time you can add weight to the barbell as you progress and when you’re confident enough, move away from the smith machine altogether.

Try 3 sets of 15 reps for a great workout.

# Leg Press

Ladies, don’t be afraid of the leg press machine. This is great for everyone but also a great place to start for beginners. There are many variations you can try to change up your workout, make your workout harder or just prevent boredom.

Start off with a traditional leg press with low weights to encourage good technique. Build up your weight and variations as you advance

Start with 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

# Hamstring Curl

Hamstring curl is another great beginner exercise on leg day. With the assistance of a hamstring curl machine, it is an easy exercise to get right and get results.

Make sure your leg is fully stretched when performing this exercise for good technique and to get the best results. Remember to hold your contraction, take your time and don’t power through too quickly.

Try 3 sets of 15 reps.

So if you want to hit the upcoming party season with legs to kill for, you definately need to make sure you make leg day a priority. Remember, in the beginning you may be sore afterwards but this is normal.

Follow good workout practices to keep delayed onset muscular soreness (DOMS) at bay. Get enough protein and a good stretch post workout and treat yourself to a long hot bath to soothe those aching muscles on an evening. This will help you to get enough rest, which is crucial to aid recovery.

So try out these four basic leg workouts and let me know how you get on.

Home Workout You Can Do

push-upsLuckily for you, you already have the best weights you need to build muscle. Body weight! Exercises that require your body weight are a great way to get fit, with no money spent constantly on home gym equipment and barbells and the ever increasing amount of money you would have to spend on weight sets. Most all exercises you do with your body weight are also compound workouts, meaning they work out more than one muscle at a time. That means you could do fewer excercises with better results. Today I’m going to give you a full body routine that will tone your body like no other, and it’s only five quick exercises.

# Push-Ups

Push-ups are the all time best body weight exercise you can perform to build a multitude of muscles including your chest, biceps, triceps, back, and lats. Push-ups can also be altered to work different muscles, such as a close-grip push up, which works primarily triceps.

# Pull-Up

We’ve got our push motion, now let’s talk about the pull movement. You know the v-shape body you crave if you’re a male? Pull-ups will work your lats like crazy (along with a plethora of other muscles) giving you that awesome greek god like v-shape. Pull-ups are also great for women. Now I do have to mention, to do pull-ups at home your will have to get a pull-up bar that can just hang on your door. You can purchase them on amazon or walmart for only around 20$. Pull-ups work your lats, biceps, core, back, and obliques.

# Tricep Dips

A great way to grow your triceps at home is by using your body weight against a chair doing an exercise called tricep dips. Tricep dips work primarily your triceps but also your biceps slightly and will give you nice strong arms. All you need is a chair – or table – or maybe even bed frame! It can be done so many places around the house. Check out this quick video for an explanation!

# Squats and Lunges

Squats and Lunges will work your butt mostly, which is what a lot of girls strive after. Men too! If you want a well-rounded body you cannot leave out leg exercises like squats and lunges (seriously, please don’t skip it!). In this video you will be shown a workout routine that implements both squats and lunges to grow your legs and glutes a ton! The main muscles targeted in squats and lunges are quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Now go and work them out! Good luck!

# Sit-Ups

Sit-ups are the last workout on this list for a phenomenal body just using body weight exercises. Sit-ups are going to work your abdominals, giving you six back abs and that “V” down your stomach that is oh so awesome! Below is a video from a fitness expert Brandon Carter who is very intense but will get you awesome results by showing you multiple ab workouts you can do to get the best work out possible. These workouts will exercise your abdominals and your obliques.

And that is all you need to get a phenomenal body all from home! All you need is your body, determination, to be consistent in your workouts and a good diet and there is literally no way you won’t get fit and toned. You have the equipment you need, you have the knowledge you need, now all you need to do is go and do it, like Shie Lebeof says. But in all seriousness, you have the knowledge, the rest is just up to you. Good luck!

Knowing How Sleeping Can Give You a Better Body

With today’s general public being loaded with buzzing about, regularly our brains are busy to the point that it is difficult to get our head down around evening time. Many individuals think that its hard to float off between the splendid shine of a touch screen and the ping of tinder. Infact more individuals experience the ill effects of sleep deprivation than any time in recent memory. In any case, how does rest influence your physical make-up and does checking sheep and floating off give you a superior body?

# Why Sleep Is Important

The fact is, we sleep for a reason. Simply because there are a number of functions that happen specifically when we sleep. Mainly recovery of any kind. Think about it, when you get sick the best way to get better faster, is to get more sleep. That is because even though you power down, there are functions in your body working overdrive.

Think of it this way. If you imagine that all of your bodily functions, your organs and blood and so forth, are tiny little people doing jobs inside your body to make everything work. So, in the day when you are awake, it’s like those little people are working a 9-5 office job. They are working constantly at a steady pace, doing tasks like administration that keeps everything going.

But when you sleep, that’s when the night shift starts. These guys are like the people who dress the christmas windows in big department stores in one night. They work super hard at super speed to get everything done in the few short hours they have to get everything ready to start the next day. Our bodies work like this too.

Everyone assumes stuff like burning calories or building muscle only happens when your awake. But actually it is while you are asleep that your body works the hardest to give you everything you need to be ready for the next day. Even if you don’t realise it because it’s hidden behind a curtain of dreams!

This is why getting enough sleep is super important. Most people these days only tend to get around 5.5 hours of sleep a night. However, if you can average this out to just an extra 3 hours, you will be amazed at everything your body can accomplish in that time. Especially if you’re looking to lose more weight and gain more muscle.

# Sleep and Fat Loss

Everyone thinks that you are only busy burning calories when you are awake. I mean afterall, this is the time you are up and moving about right? So they think the longer they are awake, the more calories they burn.

But actually, metabolism is a funny thing. Like a lot of functions in the body it is affected by sleep deprivation. In fact, if you are getting less than 8 hours sleep on average a night, your body slows down your metabolic rate. It starts to burn calories slower. Why? Because it feels it needs to preserve energy for you to be awake longer.

Studies have shown that people who get those extra 3 hours sleep a day from the average 5.5 actually burned an extra 400 calories per day. That my friends, is almost 3000 extra calories burned weekly from what? Getting a better night’s rest!

# Build More Muscle With Sleep

Moreover, if your looking to get more gains, catching a few more Zs could be the way forward.

When you start weight training you are essentially tearing your muscles, you know because you’re getting ‘ripped’. What happens the is the proteins in your body repair those muscles making them bigger and stronger.

The problem is, this protein synthesis doesn’t happen unless your body is resting for a significant amount of time. For example when you’re sleeping. This means without rest, there is no recovery.

Therefore, if you go back into a workout without enough time to repair your muscle tissue you will actually overtrain your muscles. Plus, without enough sleep, your performance level is going to be down. You aren’t going to be able to give your workout the same level of commitment if you had gotten an extra 40 winks.

 This is why it is so important, especially for bodybuilding and people who are taking training seriously, to get at least 7-8 hours a night. Give your body a chance to properly recover from your workout and in turn get the best results possible. So take that as your official reason to get an early night!