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For the Marinade:
Can you relate to this scenario? After putting it off for too long, you commit to get fit—only to find yourself injured the minute you start working out.
All of the sudden your fitness goals go back on the shelf and you are left to deal with the pain. Whether your injury occurs right off the bat or after years of regular workouts the result is always the same. It is discouraging, painful and downright depressing.
And since studies suggest that up to 38% of all exercisers suffer from an injury each year, it is a subject worth exploring.
Top 3 Workout Injuries
The following three ailments occur commonly among active people. Let’s explore the cause of each and then detail your very own injury prevention plan—because let’s face it, you simply don’t have time to spend nursing and injury (and losing all that progress you had made).
1. Strain / Pulled Muscle: occurs when a tendon (connects muscle to bone) or muscle is stretched or torn. If you suffer from a strain you will feel pain and swelling in the muscle belly, or loss of function if the strain occurred in a tendon. Many strains occur as the result of an improper warm-up and insufficient stretching.
2. Sprain: occurs when a ligament (connects bone to bone) is stretched or torn. While this can happen to any ligament in your body, the most common placements of sprains are in the ankle, wrist and knee. Often this injury will happen suddenly as the ligament is stretched beyond its normal limit, usually during a fall or other acute trauma.
3. Low Back Pain: it is said that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives—and the list of causes is as diverse as the sufferers themselves. Here are the main reasons for workout related back pain:
Injuries don’t have to slow you from meeting your fitness goals. The following 5 steps will dramatically reduce your chance of injury and if you do find yourself injured, but have been following these 5 steps, your recovery will be quick and efficient.
Step 1: Stretch
What is more boring than stretching? You want to exercise, not sit around touching your toes—right? Even though it isn’t exciting, stretching is the best way to increase muscle elasticity and durability. Tight muscles are big contributors to strains—remember? Take the time to stretch everyday before and after your workout to stave off injury.
Step 2: Warm Up
Preparing for your workout should not begin and end with putting on your gym clothes. Your muscles need to be coaxed into motion by way of a 10-15 minute warm up in order to prepare them for injury-free use. Cold muscles are less elastic and are therefore more prone to tears.
Step 3: Proper Gear
For most fitness enthusiasts proper gear has everything to do with their shoes. Don’t be fooled—not just any shoe will do. Find shoes that offer support and traction for your exercise of choice, and make sure that they aren’t too tight or too loose. If you are prone to ankle injuries then try a pair of high-tops for extra support.
Step 4: Lifestyle
Stop for a moment and think about your car—if you don’t maintain it with regular tune ups, oil changes and quality fuel then you can’t expect it to perform well on the road. The same applies to your body. Getting healthy amounts of sleep, eating well balanced meals and staying hydrated will all contribute to your performance during exercise. The healthier your lifestyle is the less likely you are to suffer an injury.
Step 5: Condition
This may seem like the most obvious step to injury prevention, but unfortunately it is the most overlooked. People who keep their bodies in top condition by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the least likely to injure themselves. When exercise programs are started and stopped sporadically your muscles are most likely to become injured.
Of course being conditioned also has another great benefit that everyone enjoys - you get to look and feel great! And who doesn’t what that, right?
1) Plank: When performed correctly, a simple plank is one of the most effective ways to tighten your entire core. Proper form is key. Keep your back flat and your belly button pulled in toward your spine.
Lie face down on mat resting on your forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
2) Mountain Climbers: This vigorous variation of a standard plank kicks the core tightening up a notch. Angling your knees toward the opposite shoulder is a wonderful way increase the intensity even more.
Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
3) Russian Twist: Nothing quite brings the burn like a properly done set of Russian Twists. By holding a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands, the exercise becomes even more effective.
Sit on the floor with knees bent like in a "sit-up" position. The feet should be kept together and slightly off the floor. Keep your torso straight and your back off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands. Next, the arms should be swung from one side to another in a twisting motion, with each swing to a side counting as one repetition. Move slowly for a more challenging workout.
4) Knee Tucks: All too often I see people neglect their lower abs in favor of quicker, easier exercises. The fact is that our lower abs typically need the most work, so give them the attention that they need with these Knee Tucks.
Start on your back, bend your knees with your feet on the floor and knees touching. Extend both arms overhead on either side of your ears, palms facing up. Exhale and bring your knees up towards your chest. Slowly lower your hips back down to start position.
5) Side Bridges: In yet another variation of the fantastic plank, Side Bridges are much more challenging that they appear at first glance. While the focus is mainly on your waist, due to the stabilizing nature of this exercise, you’re also working your entire core as a whole.
Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. Your left hand should be resting on your left hip. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold the position for a moment, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat.
Even the best exercise routine in the world is fruitless if you throw away your results with sloppy eating. Remember to keep your meals lean by avoiding processed carbs, packaged foods or fried items. Fill up on lean proteins and fresh vegetables and reward yourself with organic, seasonal fruit. That, my friend, is lean living!
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You’ve heard that managing your weight is all about the lifestyle, and not the quick fix, so today I’d like to give you 7 habits that fit people have. These following seven habits are held by successfully fit people…wonder if you could apply a few to your own life.
1. Approach Each Day with Perspective
Fail to meet your fitness goals today? Move on. Tomorrow is another day to make smarter decisions. When you wake up, rededicate yourself to your fitness goals without beating yourself about whatever mistakes you made in the past. After all, you can’t change what you did yesterday. All you can control is right now. So get to it!
2. Know Your Body
When you finish a workout, you should feel good. If you don’t, then something needs to change. Either your diet or routine is throwing you off. Fit people know how everything they do affects their body and they take steps to avoid those things that make them not feel and perform their best. Learn how your body responds and care for it accordingly.
3. Find Ways Around Excuses
If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t quite get fit, it may be your proclivity for caving to pressure. And that pressure may be self-induced. Fit people do not give into excuses for why they shouldn’t exercise. Quite the contrary. They are continually finding reasons why they should hit the gym and find pockets of time to do it—even if the trip to the gym is shorter than usual.
4. Eat and Sleep Well
Study after study has shown the benefit of eating whole, unprocessed foods. It provides energy and strength, helps you feel full throughout the day, and makes your time in the gym as fruitful as possible. Getting good sleep is equally as important, as it keeps all your bodily systems in rhythm. Put these two fit activities together and you’re well on your way to optimal fitness.
5. Track Your Progress
For some, keeping tabs on health progress is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Once you get into the routine, however, you will become a believer in the power of tracking your progress. Tracking serves to both reward and motivate you, as you see that the countless hours in the gym and smart food choices lead to a healthier weight and greater strength—a.k.a. better overall fitness and health.
6. Think While You Exercise
It can be easy to mindlessly run on a treadmill at the gym if you’re not careful. Just remember that fit people don’t do such a thing. They’re very intentional about everything they do at the gym. This means if you want to be fit, you should put some brainpower into what you include in your workout and how you perform each repetition. This allows you to get maximum benefit from your gym time and reduces the risk of injury.
7. Lean On Your Trainer
The final thing fit people do is rely on someone with lots of knowhow in the realm of fitness. This is why my clients have such a high success rate in achieving their goals – because I make sure that they stick with it! I have a sincere interest in your overall health and well-being and know how to help you reach the goals that can seem so far away when you’re trying to achieve it on your own.
Craving pizza? Here’s a quick pizza recipe that is sure to satisfy even the strongest of pizza cravings. But don’t worry, this pizza is low carb and guilt-free so you can work it into your weekly meal plan.
The simple technique used to reduce the carbs and the guilt of this pizza is to replace the traditional (flour-based) crust with a protein rich, egg-based crust. By cooking the egg crust in a skillet and then transferring it to the oven it’s possible to create a crust that results in strong-enough-to-hold slices that the whole family will love!
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You know how every pharmaceutical commercial ends with a laundry list of possible side effects? The ailments that we could possibly experience if we take it are silently weighed against the possible benefits of the drug. Well, turns out that exercise and good nutrition also come with a laundry list of side effects...
My hope is that by reading the 5 Side Effects of Fat Loss below, you’ll feel the driving motivation that you need to jump into fitness with both feet, and that you’ll find out just how amazing and capable you’ve been to achieve your goal all along.
Side Effect #1: Confidence
Confidence is one of the most important perks of dropping fat. When you have increased confidence, you change how you view yourself and go about your daily routine. The world is at your fingertips and you are able to take on whatever it throws your way.
Additionally, when your confidence increases after losing a few pounds, you’re poised to keep losing. So the confidence you gain gives you what you need to lose more weight and feel even more confident.
Side Effect #2: Money
It may be difficult to understand how losing weight saves you money, but it happens. How? Because one of the best ways to trim pounds is to cut down on the amount of calories you consume every day. When you start eating and drinking fewer calories, that means you don’t have to buy as much food or high-calorie drinks. Additionally, losing weight may make it possible to stop taking certain medications, which will help save you even more money.
On top of that, when you lose weight, you get a boost of confidence. (See previous point.) That boost of confidence will change how you handle yourself at work, helping you make the right impression on your boss, so you can get the promotion you need.
Side Effect #3: Better Health Now
Go to the doctor with some sort of health condition, and unless it’s the common cold or flu, losing a few pounds can almost always help you manage the condition better. From diabetes to heart disease to joint pain, trimming the fat from your body gives you a heads up right now. Cutting fat makes it easier to get around on your joints, reduces your blood pressure, and helps you sleep better.
As additional perks, less fat today means better sleep and better sex tonight. Since both of these improve your quality of life, taking the time necessary to shave off fat will give you the best life you could experience!
Side Effect #4: Better Health Later
Today isn’t the only time your health will improve when you lose some fat. Shed some pounds and you’ll reap the rewards for years down the road. Instead of having to manage a variety of health conditions, you will be able to keep those conditions at bay.
A few health issues you can cut your risk for by cutting fat are diabetes, heart disease, joint pain, a variety of cancers, high blood pressure, and dementia. In other words, get rid of the fat today and you can avoid all the health issues in the future that requires fat loss for maximum management.
Side Effect #5: Everything Tastes Better
As you settle into your new fat-burning lifestyle that includes eating healthily and working out regularly, you’ll notice something. Because you no longer overeat at the buffet or go for a second or third helping, you will begin enjoying every bite that you take. As the bite sits in your mouth, you won’t swallow it before tasting or chewing. You will take your time and really savor the flavor.
And when you do start chewing your food and enjoying the flavors, your brain will have time to register when you’re full and cut you off before you stuff yourself with more calories than you can burn. Do this regularly and you’ll lose even more fat!
I’ve dedicated my career to helping people, just like you, conquer their fear of exercise and clear up their confusion with healthy eating. I know that a healthy life is within your reach – I’ve seen hundreds of my clients before you do it, and I’ll see hundreds after you do it. Today it’s your turn.
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach