Stan Lee lives on: The Real Superhero

The original superhero If you somehow haven’t heard, Stan Lee passed away this week. But while his human form may be gone, his legacy will live on forever. And if you somehow don’t know who he is, continue reading to find out why and how Stan Lee has touched so many lives. The very beginning…

Stan Lee lives on: The Real Superhero was originally published on Self Evolve

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The original superhero

If you somehow haven’t heard, Stan Lee passed away this week. But while his human form may be gone, his legacy will live on forever. And if you somehow don’t know who he is, continue reading to find out why and how Stan Lee has touched so many lives.

The very beginning

Way back in 1939, Stan Lieber became an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine. By 1960, Timely evolved into Marvel Comics. His duties were pretty mundane at first. He would make sure the inkwells were full, proofread, erase pencil marks, and fetch lunch for the artists. His comic-book debut was the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in 1941. He was so embarrassed that he used the pen name Stan Lee. He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, “‘Headline’ Hunter, Foreign Correspondent”, two issues later. 

Fast forward a few years in the late 1950s, and DC comics revived the superhero archetype and experienced significant success with Flash and the Justice League of America. Tasked with the request to create a superhero team and with nothing to lose, Lee created a team of superheroes with flaws. This was very different from the typical idealistically perfect people with no real, lasting problems that were in the comics meant for preteens. Lee introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, fits of melancholy, and vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or were even sometimes physically ill.

Marvel Comics

Lee started with the Fantastic Four and developed all the well-known superheroes of Marvel Universe. The popularity of the heroes wasn’t expected, and it took a snowball effect. Lee continued to write monthly comics up until 1972, then assumed the role of publisher. Over time, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. As you know, he would make appearances in all his films and would meet his fans at comic cons including the comic con he created.

While Stan Lee has physically departed, his writings and superheroes he created will live on. They will continue to show not only kids but also us adults that even superheroes have human problems.

How has Stan Lee and the Marvel Universe affected your life?

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Stan Lee lives on: The Real Superhero was originally published on Self Evolve

Working out while pregnant and shortened labor times

As a first time Mom.. Labor is scary to me. I know people who had labors lasting as long as 36 or over 40 hours. The idea of doing anything for two days straight sounds awful, especially when there’s a lot of pain and uncomfortable actions involved. So once I found out I was pregnant,…

Working out while pregnant and shortened labor times was originally published on Self Evolve

As a first time Mom..

Labor is scary to me. I know people who had labors lasting as long as 36 or over 40 hours. The idea of doing anything for two days straight sounds awful, especially when there’s a lot of pain and uncomfortable actions involved. So once I found out I was pregnant, I started researching what could I do to hopefully have a shortened labor time. And I was pleased with what I found. So happy that I just had to share with you all.

Exercise during pregnancy

For a long time, it was frowned upon for expectant mothers to do much more than lay around all day. Many women were told to just not workout once they were pregnant. This stemmed from the belief that exercise could somehow affect the fetus in a negative way. Doctors were concerned for early deliveries or perhaps fetus deformities from the increased activity. Thankfully, research actually shows quite the opposite. 

A study done in Spain found that women who exercise just three times per week during pregnancy have a shorter labor. The women who exercised had a total labor time that was an average of 57 minutes shorter than the women not led in exercise. Not just labor time affected, the women in the exercise group were also less likely to get an epidural. Another notable difference, the women who didn’t exercise reported higher weight gain during pregnancy. 

Shortened labor time

So how much exercise is enough? Pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity according to the CDC. In addition to the shortened labor benefit found in the study, exercising during pregnancy may also help decrease the risk of gestational diabetespreeclampsia and cesarean delivery, reduce back pain, strengthen heart and blood vessels, and give other benefits, notes the ACOG. With all these benefits, exercise should be a no-brainer, right?

It is important to note that before starting any exercise program you should talk to your doctor. With your doctor’s approval, the intensity of your workouts depends on your level of physical fitness before becoming pregnant. Women who are very active before pregnancy can maintain the same intensity of workouts with their healthcare professional’s approval. Women who are just getting started should ease into the exercises. I’m currently working on workout programs geared towards both beginners and more active expectant Mothers. Stay tuned to learn more about the safe way to a shortened labor time.

Working out while pregnant and shortened labor times was originally published on Self Evolve

5 surprising benefits of sex: beyond the bedroom

If you’re anything like me.. You love sex. You may even be a little addicted. For me, I didn’t discover my love for sex until I hit my 30’s. My ex-husband mistakenly took my increased libido as something else and left me hanging dry (literally). But since my divorce, I have been able to find…

5 surprising benefits of sex: beyond the bedroom was originally published on Self Evolve

If you’re anything like me..

You love sex. You may even be a little addicted. For me, I didn’t discover my love for sex until I hit my 30’s. My ex-husband mistakenly took my increased libido as something else and left me hanging dry (literally). But since my divorce, I have been able to find not just good sex, but amazing sex. I feel like a child who was locked in a closet for most of it’s life and just now being released into the world. Everything is new and awesome! But a few of my friends have been trying to tell me that I should be waiting for the next husband to saddle up in bed. So this prompted me to find good reasons to stop or continue having sex. All I could find were these benefits:

5 benefits of sex

  1. Helps keep your immune system humming. Sexually active people take fewer sick days. A study showed that people who have sex once or twice a week have higher levels of a certain antibody compared to those who had sex less often.
  2. Boosts your libido. I’ve noticed this in myself. I went 3 months this year without any sex (it is possible), but once I started again there was no going back. Having more sex helps it feel better and keeps you coming back for more.
  3. Improves bladder control. This applies to women. Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. When you have an orgasm, it causes contractions in those muscles which strengthens them.
  4. Lowers blood pressure. Unfortunately, masturbation doesn’t count. Sexual intercourse lowered systolic blood pressure in one of many studies.
  5. Counts as exercise. Sex uses about 5 calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV. It gives you a one-two punch: it bumps your heart rate and makes you use various muscles. So similar to going to the gym, be sure to clear your schedule to make time for it. Consistency helps maximize benefits.

These are just 5 of many benefits of sex.  And I know this isn’t a common topic, but wanted to shine light on it once more. And while many of us may think that our sex life will only worsen with age and longevity of our relationship, this is not necessarily true. A study done recently showed that even people who have been together for over 24 years still had a great sex life. It showed that having similar sexual desires/ personalities mattered when it came to sexual happiness.

What time of day is your favorite to have sex?

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Why and how to do a proper lunge

Do you lunge, tho? Most clients tell me they hate lunges, which is exactly why I make them do them. But the reason behind lunging can be misunderstood. Also, form is everything in order to avoid injury. Lunges are one of the hardest single-leg exercises out there but they are important for endurance athletes, from…

Why and how to do a proper lunge was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you lunge, tho?

Most clients tell me they hate lunges, which is exactly why I make them do them. But the reason behind lunging can be misunderstood. Also, form is everything in order to avoid injury. Lunges are one of the hardest single-leg exercises out there but they are important for endurance athletes, from runners and hikers to cyclists and climbers. Lunges improve unilateral leg strength which is critical for navigating trails, maximizing agility, and preventing muscular imbalances. Also, doing that lunge uses the body’s stabilizer muscles from the leg all the way up to the core.

Sore knees

A lot of athletes and people in general struggle with lunges due to sore knees. The traditional upright lunge is a quad-dominant exercise, meaning you’re putting more stress on the front of your thighs-knees included- than on anything else. But by taking a bigger step with each rep and allowing your torso to angle forward as much as 45 degrees, you can transfer some of the stress from your quads to your glutes, alleviating joint pressure. “Strength in the posterior chain, specifically the glutes, is important for pristine running mechanics and horsepower to make you faster for a race” according to Erica Suter, a Baltimore-based strength and conditioning coach.

Here are the five best lunge variations:

  1. Deficit Lunge: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart on a low box or step, holding a dumbbell in each hand down at your sides. From here, take an exaggerated step back with one foot and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot to the starting position.
  2. Lateral Lunge and Pulse: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell by both ends against your chest. Take an exaggerated step to the side with one leg, and allow your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips. Bend the knee of your stepped-out leg to lower your body until that thigh is parallel to the floor (or as deep as you comfortably can). Extend your arms straight out in front of you, then immediately return the weight to your chest. Push through the heel of your bent leg to raise back to start.
  3. Cursey Lunge: Best one yet! This lunge engages every glute muscle! Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand down at your sides. From here, take an exaggerated step back with one leg and cross it behind your opposite leg. Allowing your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot to start.
  4. Offset Reverse Lunge: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell in one hand down at your side. From here, take an exaggerated step back with the opposite foot and, allowing your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot to start.
  5. Reverse-Forward Lunge: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns with both hands against your chest. From here, take an exaggerated step back with one foot, and allowing your torso to hinge forward slightly at the hips, lower your body until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Then push through your front heel to raise your back foot, swinging it all the way through into an exaggerated step forward. Lower once more into a lunge, then push through both feet and straighten your back leg to return to start.

What’s your favorite lunge variation?

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Why and how to do a proper lunge was originally published on Self Evolve

What fuels Shalane Flanagan: eat to run fast

What fuels you to run fast? Everyday we are faced with the age-old question: what do you want to eat? Many couples and families alike struggle to find the answer to this question but most people tend to try to eat healthy. But what is healthy? Everyone is different, but today I’m going to focus…

What fuels Shalane Flanagan: eat to run fast was originally published on Self Evolve

What fuels you to run fast?

Everyday we are faced with the age-old question: what do you want to eat? Many couples and families alike struggle to find the answer to this question but most people tend to try to eat healthy. But what is healthy? Everyone is different, but today I’m going to focus on the super fast marathon runners and what they eat to fly. With the Chicago Marathon 2018 coming up, I feel it’s fitting to share a few recipes from a new cookbook coming out August 4th from NYC Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan. Read on in order to run fast.

Thai Quinoa Salad

This is a great healthy version of the beloved Thai salad. It’s hearty with quinoa, and you can add in fresh grilled steak. It had the complex carbohydrates needed to full you prior to race day. Full recipe can be found here.

Turkey Trot Meatballs

run fastEasy to make and packed full of protein, these turkey meatballs are the way to go. You can make a lot of them and have them around for awhile. You can dress them up or down. Add them to your salad or in rice bowls. Full recipe can be found here.

Red raspberry beet smoothie bowl

This is a great option for pre and post-run. Beets are good for your cardiovascular system since they lower blood pressure. Oats are a great option for easy-to-digest carbohydrates that provide energy for running. Full recipe can be found here.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s are delicious but unfortunately full of sugar and hydrogenated oils, which are really bad for you. These are just as rich but you can feel good about eating them. They use coconut oil, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and maple syrup for the main ingredients. All whole foods, good fats, and natural sweeteners. Store these in the freezer for a yummy cold treat. Full recipe can be found here.

Pre-order the cookbook today!

 

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Foods that disrupt sleep: how to get more rest

Many of my clients complain about a lack of sleep and come to me for answers. While everyone is different, I tend to pick apart their diet a little bit before anything else. And I’ve noticed a few trends with those who are insomniacs. These are the top foods that disrupt sleep, be sure to…

Foods that disrupt sleep: how to get more rest was originally published on Self Evolve

Many of my clients complain about a lack of sleep and come to me for answers. While everyone is different, I tend to pick apart their diet a little bit before anything else. And I’ve noticed a few trends with those who are insomniacs. These are the top foods that disrupt sleep, be sure to avoid them before your next workout or run.

Foods that disrupt sleep

  • Coconut oil: Hexadecanoic acid may interfere with your ability to clock a solid eight hours of sleep.
  • Tea: Green and black teas contain caffeine and theobromine, which can act like a diuretic and increase your heart rate. Stick to herbal and non-caffeinated tea.
  • Chocolate: Same ingredients as Green and black tea.
  • Alcohol: While it may seem like alcohol helps you feel drowsy, it actually makes it difficult to go into a deep sleep. Also, a hangover is definitely not a good way to start a run or workout.
  • Steak: Eating foods high in saturated fat like steak interferes with deep sleep. They also take longer to digest, which could lead to indigestion keeping you up at night.
  • Soda :Regularly consuming caffeine and sugar has been linked to short sleep duration.
  • Chips and Salsa: Heartburn and extra trips to the bathroom are side effects of spicy foods and extra sodium. Go for guac with a side of crudités instead.
  • Water: Don’t chug all your water before bed, instead spread it out throughout the day in order to avoid multiple bathroom breaks in the middle of the night.
  • Ice Cream: Foods high in saturated fat and sugar and low in fiber tend to result in less restorative sleep with more midnight waking. If the craving calls make “nice” cream by blending one frozen banana with 1/2 cup of fruit or a tablespoon of nut butter.
  • Tomato Sauce: The acidity of tomatoes can cause heartburn and tomato sauce also contains the amino acid tyramine. This triggers the brain to release norepinehrine, a stimulant that boosts brain activity and inhibits sleep.

Do you have trouble sleeping at night?

 

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Foods that disrupt sleep: how to get more rest was originally published on Self Evolve

Should you workout twice a day?

Do you workout twice a day? Normally, I don’t workout twice a day since I end up working out 5 to 7 times a week on average. But recently I got distracted and busy between work and birthday celebrations that I somehow skipped a few days at the gym (I mean workout wise not just…

Should you workout twice a day? was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you workout twice a day?

Normally, I don’t workout twice a day since I end up working out 5 to 7 times a week on average. But recently I got distracted and busy between work and birthday celebrations that I somehow skipped a few days at the gym (I mean workout wise not just working). In order to make up for lost time, I decided to workout twice a day for a few days. After noticing major gains and my pants feeling a lot looser, I decided to do some research on working out more than once a day. This is what I found.

Major gains ahead

Splitting your workout into two has major benefits as long as you’re doing it correctly. Ideally, you should workout once in the morning and then again in the afternoon/evening. Due to my crazy work hours, I end up working out at 7am and then again around 9pm. This allows my body to rest for just about 12 hours between workouts. But you have to be smart about your workouts as well. Splitting them up into two 30 minute sessions is ideal. For me, I am trying to achieve next-level superhero status so my workouts may look a little different than most.

As you’re raising your heart rate, boosting circulation and blood flow to the muscles, and getting a sweat on, your body undergoes stress and those muscles begin to get tired. But once you finish that first workout, getting a few hours of rest allows your body to recover and bring it back to homeostasis levels. In this time, you’re able to reboot for another workout, especially if you eat a post-workout meal.

Be smart about it

While working out twice a day is a great idea, it’s best to have a plan of action for both workouts. It might seem like a great idea to lift heavy twice a day, but this is not ideal for those looking to gain muscle or tone up. Instead, it’s best to focus one workout on strength and the other be more cardio based. Yes, you can definitely do two strength training workouts, but if you do make sure you’re focusing on different muscle groups. For me, I like to combine a body-weight TABATA workout with a solid strength-training workout. I find the cardio session helps round out my lifting session, so I end up lifting in the morning and burning calories at night.

If you’re new to working out and dive into two-a-days, that could be rough and lead to you feeling sluggish. I recommend talking to a personal trainer as they can help guide you towards the right workouts and exercises to do in order to avoid that sluggish feeling. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

How often do you workout? And are you seeing the results you want?

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