PMS: How to avoid shark week

If you’re a female, then you know you’ve been there. Life’s going great, you’re feeling awesome. Then Aunt Flow comes for a visit. If you’re anything like me, your mood changes and the cramps begin immediately. While I usually just muster through them, most people around me feel the effects. I turn into a shark,…

PMS: How to avoid shark week was originally published on Self Evolve

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If you’re a female, then you know you’ve been there. Life’s going great, you’re feeling awesome. Then Aunt Flow comes for a visit. If you’re anything like me, your mood changes and the cramps begin immediately. While I usually just muster through them, most people around me feel the effects. I turn into a shark, sometimes snapping at those I love the most. After the week of hell is over, I usually feel bad and have a lot of grovelling to do. In order to avoid all of this, I found a PMS survival kit that has helped save my social life.

My PMS Kits

Made for women by women, these kits come customized to your needs. Every woman is different. I know for me, I crave sweets and chocolate during my period. I also get killer cramps that could leave me curled up in a ball for hours if I let them overtake me. All the products are organic and natural, which is helpful especially since most female hygiene products have bleach and fragrances which can be harmful and irritating to the uterus. There’s more than just products in the kits though.

What you get

Beauty products, essential oils, heating pads, chocolates, candy, tea, and of course the necessary tampons, pads or diva cup. You may also get some extra stuff you wouldn’t expect from a PMS kit. All in all, very handy stuff to make the week go by smoother.

How do you get through shark week?

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PMS: How to avoid shark week was originally published on Self Evolve

Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them

Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest,…

Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

Back in the classic era of bodybuilding, before steroids were a thing, the “squats and milk” routine was the number one method for getting ectomorphs jacked. What most people forget though is the third piece to this routine: pullovers. Squats for testosterone boost and whole-body muscle growth, and pullovers for the wide and thick barrel-chest, and great back development. Bodybuilding greats swore that the dumbbell pullover played a huge role in their upper body development.

Arnold believed this exercise was responsible for expanding his rib cage. Though nobody knows for sure whether this is true, one thing is for certain: it’s an excellent exercise for the upper chest. For those of you out there wondering why you’d even want a thick upper chest, read on.

Benefits of a thick upper chest

pulloversNowadays, there’s too much focus on the flat bench press, which overdevelops the mid and lower pecs. As a result, you could end up looking like you have ‘man boobs’, even if you don’t. And for guys who have man boobs, this exercise can make them look worse by making them stick out more. A nice, thick upper-chest can really give your chest that stone-slab-like appearance. Also, if you have man boobs, a thick upper chest can help improve your appearance. The trouble is that isolating those upper chest fibers is no easy feat. Most people think the incline bench press is the only solution. However, the trouble with incline presses is the greater the incline, the more stress is placed on the anterior deltoid muscles of the shoulders.

Why pullovers?

To really grow a muscle to its maximum potential, you have to attack it from multiple different angles. Your chest muscles control the movement of your upper arm at the shoulder joint. Any movement where your upper arm is moving in toward the front of the body, will involve the pecs. Most people make the mistake that the only way to work the chest is to push something away from you or in a bear-hugging motion. This type of movement is called ‘horizontal adduction’ of the upper arms. But this is only one type of movement, which will limit your gains if you don’t change it up.

Dumbbell pullovers involve using upper arm extension. By doing this exercise, you work the upper chest from a whole different plane than if you were to do the incline dumbbell press. You stimulate different muscle fibers in a new way, leading to awesome gains.

How do you do pullovers?

Be sure to start out with a light weight and gradually increase over time. Lie on a bench with your head hanging over the end. Grasp the dumbbell from the side or from behind. Position the dumbbell over your chest with elbows slightly bent. Slowly lower the dumbbell over and beyond your head until your upper arms are in-line with your torso. Breathe in deeply while doing this. Slowly pull the dumbbell up and over the chest, back to the starting position. Breathe out while doing this. Repeat.

Do you incorporate pullovers in your chest routine?

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Dumbbell Pullovers and why you should do them was originally published on Self Evolve

Pros and cons of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting to lose weight I first heard of intermittent fasting just over a year ago when one of my new running friends was talking about her new diet. She could only eat certain foods and during certain times of the day. She had already lost a few pounds, so of course I was all…

Pros and cons of intermittent fasting was originally published on Self Evolve

Intermittent fasting to lose weight

I first heard of intermittent fasting just over a year ago when one of my new running friends was talking about her new diet. She could only eat certain foods and during certain times of the day. She had already lost a few pounds, so of course I was all ears ready to soak in this new knowledge. Upon further research, I learned that there are multiple types of this diet pattern.

16/8 Protocol

This is where you fast for 16 hours then eat within a specific 8 hour window. For example, noon to 8pm essentially skipping breakfast. Some people cut it down to 6 or 4 hours of fasting. This usually leads to skipping breakfast or dinner.

24 hour Protocol

This is where you skip two meals. For example, you eat your regular meals one day including dinner at 8pm but then you don’t eat again until 8pm the next day. If you can only do 18, 20, or 22 hours that’s ok too! Adjust to different time frames and see how your body responds. You can do this either once a week or twice a week as an example.

But why fast?

While it may seem straight-forward: eating less meals a day means you’re eating less calories overall, this isn’t the only reason fasting helps you lose weight. The timing of your meals will change the way your body operates.

When you eat a meal, your body spends a few hours processing that food, burning what it can from what you just consumed.  Because it has all of this readily-available, easy to burn energy, your body will choose to use that as energy rather than the fat you have stored.  This is especially true if you just consumed carbohydrates/sugar, as your body prefers to burn sugar as energy before any other source.

During the “fasted state” your body doesn’t have a recently consumed meal to use as energy, so it is more likely to pull from the fat stored in your body as it’s the only energy source readily available.

Burning fat = win.

Intermittent fasting can help teach your body to use the food it consumes more efficiently, and your body can learn to burn fat as fuel when you deprive it of new calories to constantly pull from. It also can make your stomach feel smaller

Have you tried intermittent fasting?

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Pros and cons of intermittent fasting was originally published on Self Evolve

Love languages and what they mean

What’s your love language? I know this isn’t necessarily fitness related, but some may argue that love and relationships affect your health. And if you’re currently in a relationship of any kind and not actually moving forward, it’s time to jump ship. See what I did there? Anyways, today I’m going to dive into the…

Love languages and what they mean was originally published on Self Evolve

What’s your love language?

I know this isn’t necessarily fitness related, but some may argue that love and relationships affect your health. And if you’re currently in a relationship of any kind and not actually moving forward, it’s time to jump ship. See what I did there? Anyways, today I’m going to dive into the 5 common love languages and what each one means.

Quality Time

This is actually my primary love language. I absolutely adore spending one on one time with the person I love. Putting the phone away and just talking and listening. Going on adventures, trying new things together. Or cuddling in silence. Or falling asleep together while watching TV. I’ve said too much.. but even working out and sweating together counts as quality time in my book.

Acts of Service

Believe it or not, I also enjoy a guy willing to help me out. Of course, I am very independent. But once in awhile I need a guy to help me with a project in my condo or for work. I adore a guy willing to help me as much as I help him.

Physical Touch

This is a close second for me. I love holding hands with the right guy. Or having his arm around me. I also greatly enjoy giving and receiving massages. But no tickles!

Words of Affirmation

I think when I was younger, I craved compliments. As I’ve matured, my confidence has increased and my self-love has grown. I still appreciate a nice compliment, but it depends on what’s being said and the delivery. I dislike guys who wait till the last minute to compliment me after spending an entire evening with me. Or the guys who will only text their thoughts rather than say them out loud in public.

Receiving gifts

To be honest, I don’t really enjoy gifts all that often. Once in awhile, sure. But this would likely be the last love language for me. But I do know the thought behind the gift is what matters. I like to give gifts and put thought into them for others so can definitely see this as a good way to express one’s love.

How many love languages do you have?

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Smiling can impact your running

Training your facial muscles can affect your results Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge…

Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

Training your facial muscles can affect your results

Last year, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in just two hours and 25 seconds in Monza, Italy, as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project. His time, although not record-eligible, is the fastest marathon time ever recorded, and the effort required to clock it was undoubtedly grueling. Yet Kipchoge never let it show on his face. In fact, it appeared as if he was actually grinning at times. He later told reporters that he was smiling in order to relax and work through the pain. While it may seem silly, science backs up the fact that smiling does have an effect on our performance.

Smile to run further

Studies have shown that when we enrich our workout with a smile, we feel that the effort we put out is far less than the effort we exert when we frown while exercising. But no research had seriously looked into the effects of manipulating our facial expressions by smiling or frowning on our running economy until now. Researchers at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and Swansea University in Wales asked a group of 24 runners to wear a breathing mask to measure oxygen consumption and then complete four six-minute running blocks on a treadmill while smiling and while frowning. The study found that runners who smiled used less oxygen, ran more economically, and had a lowered perceived rate of exertion than those who frowned and those in the control group.

“They were 2.8 percent more economical when smiling than when frowning,” says Noel Brick, Ph. D., lecturer in sport and exercise physiology at the University of Ulster and coauthor of the study. The reason has to do with facial feedback. This little trick becomes especially useful for runners who need to conserve energy over the course of a long-distance run. When talking marathon distance, you can easily shave 5 minutes off your finish time just by smiling. And that smile doesn’t even have to be genuine. Fake it till you make it!

Throw your brain an endorphins party

A smile instantly boosts positivity, relaxes the body, and in turn, makes you more self-aware. When it comes to running, mentality and self-awareness will take you a long way – literally. In the end, mustering up a smile even when you don’t feel like it is just a matter of training, like any other habit. Besides, there’s not much to lose by giving grinning a shot. If nothing else, at least you’ll end up with better race photos.

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Smiling can impact your running was originally published on Self Evolve

How to hone your hydration

Now that it’s getting hotter.. As a runner, it’s easy to think just drink more water to stay hydrated when it gets hot outside. But, it’s a little more complicated than just drinking more water. Even pro runners who have a team of experts dialing in their every need struggle with hydration. You have to…

How to hone your hydration was originally published on Self Evolve

Now that it’s getting hotter..

As a runner, it’s easy to think just drink more water to stay hydrated when it gets hot outside. But, it’s a little more complicated than just drinking more water. Even pro runners who have a team of experts dialing in their every need struggle with hydration. You have to factor in heat, humidity, acclimation, altitude, intensity level, and how much you drank before you ran, in addition to your individual sweat rate. Everyone’s needs are different.

Hydration status

Sweat reduces your blood volume, which means your heart is working harder. Becoming dehydrated by 2 to 3 percent will slow you down, and anything over 4 percent could land you in a medical tent. The easiest way to determine whether you’re dehydrated is with a pee test,. Pale yellow is where you want to be. This test should be done before you run. But if you’re training for a half marathon or longer, an additional step is required. You should calculate your sweat rate by doing the following: weigh yourself before and after an easy hour-long run in which you don’t drink any fluids. Every pound you lose is equivalent to 16 ounces of liquid you need to replace. So if you lose two pounds during an hour-long run, drink 32 to 48 ounces of liquids in the two to four hours after to replenish. 

Don’t rely on thirst

Thirst isn’t a good indication of your fluid loss because as soon as you drink, nerve endings in your tongue and throat send sensory signals to your brain to reduce your thirst before your body has absorbed enough water. It’s best to plan your hydration ahead of time.

  • Running up to 60 minutes: drink water. Aim to drink 3 to 6 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Running 60 to 90 minutes in hot and humid conditions: drink water and electrolytes. It’s recommended to start with 750 mg of sodium per one liter (32 ounces). 
  • Running 90 to 120+ minutes: drink water, electrolytes and eat carbs. For workouts up to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) it’s recommended to take up to 60 grams of carbs per hour. For long runs over 2.5 hours, up it to 90 grams of carbs.

Keep in mind electrolytes become even more important for performance in three to four hours of continuous exercise. Also, pay attention to the heat and humidity index as that will affect your hydration levels as well.

 

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How to hone your hydration was originally published on Self Evolve

Fat and why you need it

Fat-free does not equal healthy So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your…

Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve

Fat-free does not equal healthy

So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your daily diet. I’m not saying to go for the high-fat ice cream and yogurt, but next time you’re in the store keep these simple facts in mind.

Good versus bad

When it comes to fat, we want to focus on eating the right types. Unsaturated fats are necessary to live: both poly and monounsaturated fats. Both of these can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. What are some good sources of unsaturated fats?

  • Fish (salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • olive, canola and peanut oils

Fats to cut back on

Saturated and trans fatty acids should be used sparingly. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Artificial trans fats should be avoided at all costs, but saturated and natural trans fatty acids should be 7% or less of your diet. Examples include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry skin
  • High-fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Cookies
  • Baked goods
  • Crackers
  • Icing
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Some margarine’s

I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold myself back when it comes to cookies. And I eat eggs like they’re going out of style. But I do try to eat most of the other things on this list in moderation. And I try to avoid the cookie aisle as often as possible.

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Fat and why you need it was originally published on Self Evolve