8 exercise habits that are holding you back

There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may…

8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

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There’s nothing more satisfying than conquering a great workout. The feeling of pride after smashing a challenging new exercise or activity is pretty incomparable. In addition to the emotional benefits of working out, there are also a ton of physical benefits to fitness. Many people incorporate workouts into their daily routines, but what they may not know is how seemingly harmless habits can affect their health. These eight exercise habits could be doing more harm than good when hitting the gym.

Eight Exercise Habits

  1. Doing way too much cardio. While it may seem like the key exercise habitsto getting in shape and maintaining weight loss, cardio should be done in moderation in order to see overall changes.
  2. Watching the calorie counter. One of the most harmful things you can do is focus on burning tons of calories and not on developing your individual sense of physical health. Instead of watching numbers and playing the calorie guessing game, focus on doing activities that help you feel your best.
  3. Setting unrealistic goals. Ok, so you want to lose five pounds and/or attempt shredding your abs into that six-pack you’ve always wanted. That’s great. Do you want to do it in a week? Not so much. Instead of focusing on a big resolution, focus on small daily steps that help you get towards your overall goal.
  4. Hitting the gym every single day. There’s such a thing as too much working out. Rest and recovery days are just as important as those workout days. There are many bad side effects to training everyday, such as trouble sleeping, weight loss plateaus, and exhaustion.
  5. Skipping stretches. Stretching improves posture, increases flexibility, and even preps the body for later in life when the hips and legs tend to become a bit sorer. Stretching can help avoid cramps, muscle imbalances, and muscle spasms.
  6. Saying “no” to cooling down. The American Heart Association warns that cooling down is nearly almost as important as the workout itself. Incorporating a walk, stretch, and deep breathing into the end of a routine will allow the body to gradually decrease its heightened blood pressure, temperature and heart rate.
  7. Not drinking enough water. Water keeps your body moving and adequately fueled during workouts, so you need a ton of it to keep going, before, during, and after your workouts. It’s smart to bring your own reusable water bottle in order to fill up and keep moving.
  8. Sticking to the same routine. Once you find something you love, it’s easy to make it into a habit. But if you do the same thing day-in and day-out your body will hit a plateau. Switching up workouts every few weeks is ideal, it’s best to keep your body guessing.

Do you do any of these exercise habits?

Next time you’re in the gym, keep these in mind. At the end of the day, it’s all about you feeling your best. Keep it fun and don’t focus so much on the numbers.

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8 exercise habits that are holding you back was originally published on Self Evolve

Top 5 Benefits of Running plus tips for beginners!

Are you a runner? Running is one of those things where you either love it or hate it. Some people tolerate it just to get their cardio in, but for the most part I can split my friends and family up into one of two categories: runners vs. non-runners. I consider myself a runner (many…

Top 5 Benefits of Running plus tips for beginners! was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you a runner?

Running is one of those things where you either love it or hate it. Some people tolerate it just to get their cardio in, but for the most part I can split my friends and family up into one of two categories: runners vs. non-runners. I consider myself a runner (many people tell me I look like a runner too) so needless to say I tend to find myself hanging around more runners than non-runners. But I have nothing against non-runners, I used to be a non-runner myself and can completely understand. Today I’m going to go over the top 5 benefits of running and throw in some tips for beginner runners.

Top 5 benefits of running

  1. Improves cardiovascular health. There’s a reason we call it cardio. Not only are you improving your fitness, you’re also improving your heart, veins, arteries, and blood. As your cardio health improves, your overall health increases. Blood is the main life source that carries everything your organs need.
  2. Improves your mood. There is a thing such as a runner’s high, and it’s real. This runner’s high is thanks to the rush of feel-good hormones called endocannabinoids. No matter what mood you begin with, after running it’s hard to not feel better. This study showed that even walking for 30 minutes lifts the mood of patients suffering from major depressive disorder.
  3. Strengthens your core and joints. You don’t only use your legs when running, you also use your core. Thanks to this, your core will be strengthened by running. Additionally, many studies (1, 2) show that running improves your bone and joint health, especially in youth. 
  4. Burns calories. Cardio is a great way to burn calories and help aid in your weight loss goals. Whenever I feel extra-sluggish, I go for a quick 2 to 3 mile run to burn those extra holiday calories. It may be easier to just avoid the cookies, but I have terrible habits during the holiday season.
  5. Boosts energy. Whether you’re healthy or not, running can help anyone have more energy. Studies show that even if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, exercise can help improve energy levels.

For more benefits of running, check out this article here. While most of these benefits are true, I would recommend doing more than just running for leg workouts. Running is good for your legs, but it doesn’t work all your leg muscles. Strength training is a must for all runners.

Tips for beginners

  • Plan ahead: plan your runs strategically to avoid burnout.top 5 running benefits
  • Run with a group: running with friends keeps you accountable.
  • Get the right gear: running in the right shoes and using a good run tracker helps immensely.
  • Pick up the pace: start out slow but gradually pick up the pace utilizing different warm ups.
  • Cross train: don’t just run! Be sure to include strength training and other forms of cardio.
  • Rest up: be sure to not over-train! Rest and recovery are needed when working out regularly.
  • Fuel properly: eat healthy and smart. Runners need a health diet high in good protein, fat and fiber.

Why do you run? What are your top 5 benefits of running?

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Top 5 Benefits of Running plus tips for beginners! was originally published on Self Evolve

Curb your appetite: Homemade no bake protein balls

Hungry? Are you craving something sweet but also filling? Do you need an extra bite of something to perk up your energy? Well, look no further. I have found the answer to all of your problems! Continue reading to learn how to make delicious homemade no bake protein balls. Not only are they healthy, they…

Curb your appetite: Homemade no bake protein balls was originally published on Self Evolve

Hungry?

Are you craving something sweet but also filling? Do you need an extra bite of something to perk up your energy? Well, look no further. I have found the answer to all of your problems! Continue reading to learn how to make delicious homemade no bake protein balls. Not only are they healthy, they also taste really good!homemade no bake protein balls

Homemade no bake protein balls

To start, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole grain oats
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein (about 2 scoops)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup to make these vegan)
  • 2-4 tbsp of liquid (almond milk, milk, water etc…)
  1. Add oats, protein powder and cinnamon to a large bowl.
  2. Add in peanut butter and honey. Stir to combine.
  3. If you’d like to add in anything else, i.e. raisins or chocolate chips, you can add in about 1/3 cup.
  4. Slowly add in liquid 1 tbsp at a time and using your hands combine until it comes together in a sticky ball that holds together. If mixture is too dry, add in more liquid but not so much that it won’t hold shape.
  5. Roll into balls using hands.
  6. Place on a baking sheet or in a container to keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

These are great for on the go snacks or even a light breakfast. They pack a heavy punch: they’re high in protein and fiber, which will help you stay feeling full for longer. Whenever I find myself craving something sweet, I reach for a few of these. Also, you can add in anything you want which means there’s a lot of variety you could have with these. You can try different types of nut butters, or change up the honey versus maple syrup. Add in raisins, nuts, or different types of chocolate chips.

What’s your favorite go-to snack?

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Curb your appetite: Homemade no bake protein balls was originally published on Self Evolve

How to stay motivated during the Holiday season

December is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, you know the time you get to gather with your loved ones and eat a million Christmas cookies! Hold up, who said you have to eat all the cookies? For many, the holidays are a great excuse to eat more and workout less. Especially…

How to stay motivated during the Holiday season was originally published on Self Evolve

stay motivatedDecember is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, you know the time you get to gather with your loved ones and eat a million Christmas cookies! Hold up, who said you have to eat all the cookies? For many, the holidays are a great excuse to eat more and workout less. Especially as it gets cold outside, it’s harder to stay motivated through the holidays. Well, I’m here to give you some ideas on how you can stay motivated despite all the good eats around you.

Holiday stress

Holidays bring stress, which can be good or bad. Sometimes the holidays make us want to stuff our faces until we no longer feel the pain, or we are just so filled with joy that we keep eating. I’m here to tell you exercise can actually help combat holiday stress and is a healthier option over a pound of cheesecake.

Stay motivated

  • Get up and go early! Also, go early and go often. Sometimes it’s best to roll out of bed and go to the gym before your mind wakes up enough to realize what’s going on. Then, afterwards, you have the whole day to do whatever you want (or just go to work).
  • Workout with a buddy! Accountability is huge! Find someone who will hold you accountable and get your butt in the gym. If you need help finding someone, check out my article here.
  • Use what you have! Even if you can’t get to the gym, you can do body-weight exercises at home, or anywhere! They don’t require a lot of space and only take about 20 minutes or less.
  • Keep track of your progress! If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, weigh yourself every week or two to make sure you’re not veering off track. It’s also a good idea to track your other metrics every two weeks, i.e. body fat and measurements. This acts as a reminder when you’re knee-deep in that Turkey leg at the holidays and thinking about pumpkin pie.
  • Indulge and hold back. I’m not going to tell you to not indulge, but what I do recommend is limit your indulgences to one serving. Put the rest in a container in the fridge for later. This will make it easier to not go back for seconds.

How do you stay motivated through the holidays?

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How to stay motivated during the Holiday season was originally published on Self Evolve

How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends

Motivation is key Whether you’re just starting out your fitness journey or you’ve been at it for awhile, you will notice that motivation is needed to get your butt into gear. Ideally, you should find motivation and discipline within yourself. But sometimes, it’s good to have fitness friends to keep us accountable and active. How…

How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends was originally published on Self Evolve

Motivation is key

fitness friendsWhether you’re just starting out your fitness journey or you’ve been at it for awhile, you will notice that motivation is needed to get your butt into gear. Ideally, you should find motivation and discipline within yourself. But sometimes, it’s good to have fitness friends to keep us accountable and active.

How I met your mother (or father)

Many people reach out to me and ask how can I find friends and/or a significant other to workout with? Well, I’m here to tell you there are many ways for you to find fitness-minded people in and around your local area.

  • Join a local running group. Earlier this year, I joined a local running group that meets once a week for an easy 3 mile fun run. Through the group, I’ve easily made about 25 to 30 new friends who all enjoy running nearly as much as I do.
  • There’s an app for that. Workout Buddies is a great app to find nearby fitness friends looking for a lifting buddy. You never know, you might meet your swolemate through it.
  • Fitness meet-ups. If you haven’t been on MeetUp yet, it’s a great way to social network! Whether you’re looking for a new job, new friends, a date, or a fitness friend, MeetUp is the way to go.
  • Free fitness classes at your local gyms. Pay attention to the local nearby gyms and attend their free classes when they offer them. You never know who you’ll meet in the middle of that Zumba sweat sesh.
  • Talk to someone at the gym (but not in a creepy way). This one is tricky. It’s likely easier to just not try, but I have heard success stories from people just simply saying hi and how are you to people in the gym. You have to ease into it, and don’t force it if they aren’t into it. Also, don’t say hi to someone wearing headphones. That means they’re not there to socialize.
  • Ask a co-worker! Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find a fitness friend out of one of your co-workers. I actually got into running with an ex-coworker of mine. If I never asked her to run with me, I likely wouldn’t have started running when I did. And I likely wouldn’t have ran that Chicago Marathon this past year.

How do you find fitness friends? Do you have any other ideas?

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How to find your Swolemate: Fitness friends was originally published on Self Evolve

Spice up your life: allspice or no spice?

An alternative to cinnamon Cinnamon has many health benefits as we all know. But some people are allergic to cinnamon! If you’re one of those unfortunate people, don’t fear! Allspice is a great alternative with many health benefits as well. I’m here to tell you why you should spice up your life, especially during this…

Spice up your life: allspice or no spice? was originally published on Self Evolve

An alternative to cinnamon

Cinnamon has many health benefits as we all know. But some people are allergic to cinnamon! If you’re one of those unfortunate people, don’t fear! Allspice is a great alternative with many health benefits as well. I’m here to tell you why you should spice up your life, especially during this holiday season.

Allspice benefits

  1. Digestive Benefits. Allspice may benefit digestion. The eugenol components of allspice’s fruit not only provide an unusual aroma but can also ease digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Also, allspice may be gas-reducing. This spice acts as a relaxant to aid stomach cramps and conversely acts as a stimulant to aid digestion.
  2. Anti-Bacterial Benefits. Recent research studies have revealed that a kind of traditional preparation made from a mixture of allspice oil, garlic extraction, and oregano can combat against E.coli, Salmonella and L.monocytogenes infections.
  3. Good source of minerals. Minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium and magnesium are found in allspice. Iron is essential for red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Potassium helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is utilized in the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  4. Good source of vitamins. Vitamin A, B-6, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C are all found in allspice. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant.

Spice up your lifespice up your life

Some great ideas to add allspice to your diet include the following:

  • Adding the berries when making glühwein or chai tea.
  • Sprinkle a pinch on roasted vegetables.
  • Add to sweet dishes when you want a bit more spiciness (i.e. gingerbread, apple pie, or dark chocolate desserts).
  • It’s a great addition to stews, curries, and soups.
  • Jerk chicken recipe using ground allspice.

What are your favorite allspice recipes?

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Spice up your life: allspice or no spice? was originally published on Self Evolve

Importance of Electrolytes

Most people know that hydration is important, but many people are still dehydrated. Did you know that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? America, where water is not only free but also clean (other than Flint). How is it that with free, clean water people are still dehydrated? It takes more than just water to…

Importance of Electrolytes was originally published on Self Evolve