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

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

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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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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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

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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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