Life is Better with Company: why it is better to work out with a partner

 

 

PW-Valentines-Blog-2-2

Most gym goers fall into one of two categories: the ‘loner’ category, those who prefer to get in their daily sweat session solo; or the sociable gym rat who would would never get their burn on without a buddy.  Some may feel that there is no point in having a gym partner and may even think talking to others is a waste of time. The most legendary bodybuilder of all time – Arnold Schwarzenegger said that working out was mostly a solitary time for him, he took the time to focus on his goals and progress. On the other hand he often trained with a partner. He says it always challenged and stimulated him. A healthy amount of friendly rivalry was what motivated him to give a hundred percent. Before you dismiss the idea or imagine a gym session as an opportunity to catch up with your friends, have a look at what we think is great about working out with a partner.

1. Increased motivation and focus

In order for this to work you need to find a person as committed as you. If you both take your goals seriously you will motivate each other. If you feel like skipping a workout the thought of letting your partner down will keep you going, or your partner will convince you to get your butt in the studio.

2. Improved performance

Watching your friend do well during their workout will force you to keep up. You don’t want to look weaker, do you? A pinch of healthy competition will push both of you towards your goals.

3. Safety

If you want to go for a higher weight or just try to push yourself a little harder, but you are worried about not managing or hurting yourself – bingo! A training partner will spot and assist you at those times.

4. You will be their inspiration and motivation, and they yours

Whether you believe it or not, when you work hard at the gym you motivate those around you. You don’t need to be a pro coach or bodybuilder to inspire others. Showing up to your scheduled sessions will inspire your partner.

5. Variety

From time to time your partner will come up with a tip or idea you probably never tried. Use your differences to mix up and improve your workouts. Share your knowledge and experience.

6. Companionship

Looking forward to your training session is a big deal! Instead of dragging your feet to the gym you will look forward to seeing your partner and their progress. This doesn’t mean you should spend your workout sipping water and chatting, but even the great stars of fitness and bodybuilding enjoy a little bit of camaraderie in the gym now and then.

105728-Life-Is-Better-With-Friends

Sports Bra Technology: The Evolution of the SPORTS BRA

Nike_Sports_Bra

New gym goers should be divided into two groups: those who come prepared with every supplement, piece of clothing and other gimmicks available, and then those who think showing up is enough. So as a beginner should you invest in any professional clothing, equipment or other workout additions? Many accessories are cool but unnecessary, but what about a sports bra? Is it just a fashion gimmick or something worth investing in? Well let us tell you are thoughts on the age old SPORTS BRA!

Research

While wearing special fitness clothes or footwear may make you feel better and more confident, there is no reason why you can’t work out in a pair of joggers and an old tee. But for ladies, a good sports bra really is an essential when it comes to working out.

Believe it or not but breasts can move up and down as much as a few inches while you work out. Obviously the larger they are the more support you want to have. The skin on your chest and around the breasts is thin and gentle. The breasts have what’s called Coopers Ligaments – connective tissue responsible for keeping them in place – in other words keeping them as high as they can be and not sagging. The problem with Coopers Ligaments is that once stretched or broken down, they will sag and the damage is irreversible.

Support

Apart from preventing breast pain and injury a good sports bra will help take the weight off your back and prevent back pain. The straps are usually thicker and spread the weight of the breasts evenly. Sports bras, contrary to regular bras, are made from breathable fabric which will cool you down and make you feel comfortable.

According to Dr. Joanna Scurr, a biomechanist, a good sports bra can reduce the bounce factor by almost 60 per cent! Dr. LaJean Lawson, a top scientific researcher at Oregon State University explains that the research on sports bras started in the 70s and has evolved greatly ever since. State of art technology is used to monitor women’s movement and bounce rates. This allows for improvements in sports bra models, and ultimately female athlete performance

Comfort

Have you ever worked out in a regular bra? The lace itches, the straps dig into your shoulders or slide down and the under wiring….Ouch. Rather than focus on your workout you are busy pulling, fixing and adjusting.

Most women choose a smaller cup and larger band, when the opposite is correct. Of course you can use bra fitting services, including sports bras but here are a few tips:

1) For larger breasts choose bras with separate cups (encapsulation). Wide shoulder straps are preferable because they distribute the weight more evenly. If you choose a clasp regulated band rather than a pull-on, it will allow you to adjust the level of support even if the fabric stretches out a bit.

2) Smaller busted ladies will benefit from a pull-on, shelf style(compression) bra which will compress the volume or a racer back straps will provide good ventilation and sufficient support.

New Year, New You: 5 Healthy Habits you should adopt in 2016

Ok, so the bells stopped ringing and the fireworks are over, your New Year’s headache/hangover should just about be gone and you may be struggling to remember your resolutions for 2016. So here we are with some suggestions for you because it’s a new year and that means it’s time for a NEW YOU. Yes, we know, you are already amazing, but there is always room for improvement! It time to introduce some new habits into your lifestyle so let’s take a look at a few that may be simple but will definitely improve your health and wellbeing.

Take more interest in what you eat/drink
nutrition

We live in the era of processed foods. The all-present high fructose corn syrup is currently one of the biggest contributor to the development of cancers and cardiovascular diseases. There is not enough stressing how important it is to cook most of your meals at home and replace sugary drinks with water and herbal tea. This year, try to cook more foods from scratch and avoid store bought sauces and condiments. Try and see for yourself how much better you will feel!

Get off your computer/tablet/smartphone

Logout is the hardest button to click

Get involved in real life! Social media is so 2015! Meet people, experience everything in person. Feel, live and be like never before! Enjoy the great outdoors more! Wherever you live I’m sure there is a nice place nearby for a walk, a run or a Sunday afternoon picnic with your friends. Spend some time outside just breathing in the air –yoga, meditation – anything that allows you a moment to chill and relax will be soothing to your stressed body and mind.  Move more and get fitter!

Sleep more

5614ec10bc3544e16a2fd3d5038c191f

Sleep is not only pleasant but also really good for you!  Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Also, in recent studies lack of sleep has been linked to obesity! So go ahead and get those ZZZ’s in!

Drink more water

eagle-water-drink-more-water

Too obvious? Maybe. But I’m sure you’re still not hydrated enough. This is not a fad. Staying hydrated keeps your metabolism going, keeps your kidneys healthy and your skin glowing. Remember, if you are not a fan of plain water, try some fruit juice, herbal or green tea.

Follow your dreams!

Treat-others-like-youd-like-to-be-treated.-Follow-your-dreams-but-dont-wait-for-your-dreams-to-come-

Yes, this is quite a cliché but very real nonetheless! This year, do not procrastinate or make excuses. If there is anything you’ve always wanted – fitness related or otherwise – focus, work on it and follow through! Be inspired by others who already achieved what you dream of – they are just people – like you. If they can do it, why can’t you? You can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen: Why diet is so important to achieving a flat stomach

abs-are-made-in-the-kitchen-apron_design2

While 90s infomercials taught us that with a simple piece of equipment we could all get flat abs from the comfort of our bedroom, the fact of the matter is we all know that simply is not true (Sigh). We have all tried a hundred and one gimmicks like wraps, lipo machines, and special massages to get beautiful, flat abs and the results are all the same. Because the truth is, flat stomachs are made in the kitchen. Yes abdominal muscles are made through exercise but abs alone do not necessarily guarantee you a flat, fat free stomach. Diet is the only way to get rid of fat around the abdomen.

The Myths

Doing crunches and other abdominal exercises will do absolutely nothing for a leaner middle section! Yes, you heard it right. Reducing fat in certain spots is impossible, we lose fat equally everywhere. Of course we tend to accumulate more in different places but the consensus is – lose overall body fat and your belly will lose fat! When it comes to such extreme measures as lipo – the fat will come back if you eat junk! In this case, the conclusion is clear. There are two things that are really effective for losing fat – a clean diet and weight training. Weight training increases muscle mass and your metabolism. Cardio may help you speed up fat burning. But the real key is your diet!

yourstomach

Why it’s Important

We all have abs. The muscles are there and they work hard every day to stabilize our core, even while sitting or walking. Of course, it can’t hurt to strengthen them every now and then but the point is to figure out how to expose them. The key to this is dropping body fat. If you eat less more often – it helps to burn those calories as you go so your body won’t store the extra in the form of tummy flab. Avoiding sugar and processed foods will help you regulate blood sugar and facilitate fat burning.  In recent research is has been discovered that as people in the US work out more, they also become fatter. You may think that it’s crazy but how many times did you think you can have a treat since you had done so well at the gym? Exactly! Rather than using exercise as a tool to deepen your caloric deficit and lose more fat, most people treat is as a license to eat even more! Sorry, but the reality is – if you want to look fit and toned you will have to reduce these calories and make some dietary sacrifices. So instead of getting through a workout thinking about all the candy it ‘bought’ you, think how much fat you are going to burn and how much closer you are to seeing those sculpted abs you dream of!

The Myth Behind Lifting Weights: Why Strength Training Actually Makes You Leaner

lifting-weights-huge-300x300

Many women stay far away from weights and only focus on cardio. We call those ladies the Cardio Queens! They fear that if they lift weights or do strength training they will get too bulky, and instead spend all of their time doing cardio. Cardio is great to strengthen your cardiovascular system and burn extra calories, but when it comes to building a lean, toned physique one must turn to weight bearing exercises. So for all of you Cardio Queens out there, we are here to tell you that you do not need to fear the weights, and that the ideology that lifting weights will make women bulky is simply a myth. In fact, it is very difficult for females to build muscle mass. An average adult male produces around 10 times more testosterone than the average female. For this reason men can lift heavy weights and develop a large muscular physique. In fact ladies, weights can do wonders for us; they will help us stay in shape, increase strength and youthfulness. They will also sculpt our bodies to keep us looking fit even as we age!

I get it – you may still be apprehensive, after all you want to keep your feminine shape and petite frame. In reality though training at the gym is the only way to defy the laws of gravity to give you a firm butt and perky boobs. So forget about tucks and implants – hit the gym.

37532-ladies-lifting-wont-make-you-big-and-bulky

Myth #1 – getting bulky

As mentioned earlier it is neither easy nor natural for a woman to become huge and bulky. Please bear in mind that the massive female bodybuilders that you may be thinking of use drugs and vast amounts of supplements to achieve their look. Moderate or even intense weight training will give you a nice muscle tone and shape.

Myth #2 – getting bigger or slower

Weight training speeds up your metabolism and turns you into a fat burning machine in two ways. Firstly – as you increase your lean muscle mass, your body will burn more calories even when you rest (base metabolic rate)! Yes, you heard that right! Secondly, anaerobic exercise – bursts of high intensity activity such as sets of lifting heavier weights – burns fat many hours after you are done with your workout as opposed to regular cardiovascular exercise.

Myth #3 – looking or feeling manly

Nothing more wrong than assuming that lifting will turn you into Arnold or the Hulk! You want to look like a fitness model? Re-think your fitness routine- instead of hours upon hours on the treadmill, adhere to a reasonable weight training routine and enjoy a firm butt, lifted breasts and a toned tummy.

To conclude, forget about myths and stereotypes. Try and see for yourself that weights can tone, shape and empower you!

When the Sweet Tooth Kicks In: 5 Simple Healthy Recipes!

For most of us sticking to a healthy balanced diet consisting of meats, fish, healthy carbs and vegetables may not be half as challenging as kicking the sugar habit. Particularly, many people struggle to refrain from having desserts or sweet snacks. But does being fit and healthy mean never eating sweet treats and sacrificing dessert forever? I mean, who can actually do that!!? We’ve found, and even tried, a few recipes that will satisfy your sweet tooth and provide you with valuable nutrients without putting you into a sugar coma. In essence if you strive to make a healthy treat, avoid sugar and white flour and use whole organic ingredients such as brown flour or oats, quinoa, chia seeds and organic honey or other natural sweeteners.

1. Chocolate coconut milk ice cream

chocolate-coconut-ice-cream

This simple treat will provide an abundance of fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance and by vegans. Coconuts contain significant amounts of lauric acid converted in our bodies into disease fighting substances.

Ingredients:

1cup light coconut milk

Organic cocoa powder or chocolate flavor protein powder (to taste)

Sweetener (stevia or honey)

Dark chocolate chips

Mix or blend all the ingredients up and freeze for about 2 hours (stir from time to time)

2. Quinoa dessert

6a00d83451d48a69e200e552448b9c8834-800wi

This healthy quinoa pudding is yummy and provides multiple nutrients such as protein, calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also possesses good levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fibre.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

4 cups unsweetened coconut milk (for a lighter version choose a coconut drink made from milk and water – less fat)

1/3 cup maple syrup (to be super good try the sugar free version)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

Rinse quinoa thoroughly with cold water to remove any bitter tasting residue. In a pot mix quinoa, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and let it simmer under cover for around 20 minutes, stir every few minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until thickened. Pour into bowls and allow to cool before serving.

3. Frozen yogurt with fruit

frozen-yogurt

You can use and greek yoghurt and any kind of fruit mashed up or blended. You can mix in some honey or sweetener too. It really is yummy and refreshing and provides tons of protein, calcium and gut friendly bacteria.

4. Chia seed pudding

magic-chia-seeds5

Chia seeds contain more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries and more Omega-3 than Salmon. They are quite magical and make a nice pudding.

Ingredients:

2 cups coconut milk (homemade or natural)

½  cup Chia Seeds

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup (or less) maple syrup (or sub any sweetener)

Optional: ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Blend all the ingredients together for a smooth texture or add the seeds whole for a crunchier feel.

5. Simple oatmeal cookies

oatmealcookie3

Only three healthy ingredients full of vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats – so easy and so good!

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas

150g oats

2 handfuls of dried fruit or nuts

Mash the bananas and add oats (ground or whole) and fruit/nuts. Form cookies and bake for 15-20 min at 180 degrees.

The Power of Walking – Why We Should Walk More

Unknown

In recent years more and more studies are being conducted on the effects of sedentary lifestyle on our health. Unfortunately, evidence is mounting that sitting is slowly but surely killing us. Ultimately our bodies are built to move and be active. When we sit, especially for prolonged periods of time, we slouch putting strain on the back and spinal cord and preventing our chest from expanding fully. This means we get less oxygen, and combined with slower circulation due to lack of motion, this is harmful to our bodies and health.

Additionally, the risk of some cancers, heart disease and dementia are reduced by almost half in active people compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes significantly.

So what can you do if you have a sedentary job? Walking is the ideal exercise that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. It strengthens your heart and helps you stay lean and fit. It tones your legs and butt and lifts your mood (by means of endorphins). There is evidence that older people who walk more than 6 miles per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as years go by.  What’s even more astonishing is that walking doesn’t only prevent heart disease but it can actually cure or improve it. Research conducted on 8,946 patients showed that moderate exercise such as walking regularly produced a 26% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease and a 20% reduction in the overall death rate.

But you may be skeptical due to lack of time or bad weather. There are many smart ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine even if you do have a busy schedule.

  • Ditch the elevator in favor of stairs – in the office or on the way home to your apartment take the stairs. It may not seem like much but done daily it will provide some valuable extra exercise.
  • Hop off the bus a stop early or walk wherever you can. If you aren’t going far swap driving or public transport for walking. If it’s far, simply get off the bus early and walk the last part of the route.
  • Instead of watching tv – go for a walk in your spare time. Find a nice park or forest and enjoy the nature around you. It is guaranteed to relax you better than tv.

These are only some examples of how small changes may make a huge difference for your mind and body and improve your health.

5 Best Breakfasts to Kick Start Your Metabolism and Leave You Full Longer

Most doctors and fitness experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The old saying goes: ‘Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper’. As cliché as it may seem, it actually is correct. Due to the lack of time many people skip breakfast while others choose quick and convenient options such as sugar loaded cereals that spike your blood sugar and shortly after you experience a sugar crash and feel hungry and tired. But how can avoiding these mistakes really help you improve your health and wellbeing?

Think about it this way – as the name itself indicates, upon waking up you have been fasting for hours since  your ate dinner. Your body had the chance to dig into its reserves of nutrients and if you fasted for more than 12 hours, your body even had the chance to potentially dig into the fat stores and generate some extra HGH (human growth hormone) which is greatly beneficial to your body’s reparative processes. So now, it is time for a nutritious breakfast. You don’t want your body to start eating into muscle tissue or get to the point in the day when you are so hungry you reach for high sugar foods and caffeine loaded drinks. It is actually proven that people who tend to skip breakfast are more likely to overeat at lunch or dinner and they go for less healthy options that can provide instant energy (i.e.: sugary soda, energy drinks and sugary foods).

Instead of skipping breakfast, consider loading your body with nutrients with these 5 healthy options.

1.Wholegrain toast with organic peanut or almond butter

skin-care-articles-wheat-bread-peanut-butterImage-Credit-iStockThinkstock

If you can make your own peanut butter – great! If not, try to choose organic ones without additives such as sugar or salt. The wholegrain bread will provide you with fiber and slow releasing energy, and peanut butter is full of healthy fat and minerals as well as protein.

2. Oatmeal with fruit and nuts

Winter Fruit Oats close

Oatmeal is a super healthy option. It promotes colon health due to its high fiber content which also curbs hunger and cravings. It is high in carbs and protein. Add some fresh fruit for extra vitamins and flavor and opt for low fat milk or water.

3.Greek yoghurt with nuts and honey

greekyo

Greek yoghurt provides great protein including slow digesting casein which improves muscle recovery, as well as gut friendly bacteria. While nuts will boost your system with healthy fats.

4. Superfood smoothies

detoxjuice_superjuice_breed

Get that blender on since smoothies are all the rage right now, and rightly so. They provide a quick and yummy energy boost and the possibilities are endless! Try pineapple, orange juice and fresh parsley for a mineral-rich treat or raw cocoa with coconut milk, honey and chia seeds for a chocolaty flavor.

5. Poached egg on brown bagel

smoked_salmon_poached_egg_bagel

Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats and they taste great on wholegrain toasted bagel which will give you plenty of energy to start the day.

Meditation: Why taking time every day for your mental health is important.

Benefits-of-meditation-2

You may be a little bit skeptical when it comes to exercising your mind as much as you exercise your body, but don’t underestimate the power of meditation. Meditating is simply switching off your mind from everyday worries and shifting your focus to the here and now by paying attention to simple things such as your breathing. It lets you not only achieve a state of relaxation but it has potential to combat serious diseases – emotional, mental and even physical!

The saying ‘mind over matter’ has now been advocated by many doctors in scientists who claim that meditation can accelerate bone healing and improve the immune system. It has been discovered, thanks to modern imaging technology such as MRI, that meditation is not just sorcery, but can be used as legitimate medical aid. Many patients experienced their bones to heal twice as fast as without meditation! Scans show that meditating decreases brain activity such as worrying, lowers stress hormone levels and enables better focus. Without meditation the part of our brain that processes information relating to ourselves and our experiences is strongly connected to pain and fear centers, creating associations. When you experience a scary or upsetting sensation, it triggers a strong reaction in your brain, making you feel scared and stressed.

When we meditate, we weaken these associations. This means that we don’t react as strongly to sensations that might have once been associated with fear or pain. As we weaken this connection, we strengthen the connection between the part of our brains known for reasoning and our bodily sensation and fear centers. So when we experience scary or upsetting sensations, we can more easily look at them rationally. It is truly incredible how meditating can help you control your thoughts!

If you love fitness, you look after your diet and want to live a wholesome, healthy life then you have to take care of yourself with a holistic approach. Get into a habit of meditating and dedicate a few minutes every day to soothe and heal your body and mind. Don’t stress, you don’t have to do the full lotus right away but find a comfortable time and place. Even as you stand in the shower, close your eyes, focus on the sounds and sensation of water, control your breath. At first your mind may drift but be patient. Learning to control and feel your body will be a fantastic addition to your fitness regime and will make you a happier healthier person.

Best New Workout Wear Designers

Even though what you wear to work out may not be the most important thing… wait, who are we kidding, of course it’s important! Whether you’re a fashionista or just need a cool outfit to make you look good and feel super confident, these suggestions may just hit the spot. Here are some new hip sports brands for every style and budget.

1. Vimmia

0110_analog_1_large

Their motto, “Engage Your Life Force”, this brand offers amazingly funky, sexy and glamorous clothes with a sporty feel. Their Vimmia X fabric is more than just a cool fashion statement. The fitness benefits are endless: promotes better skin thermoregulation by keeping you cooler in warmer temperature and warmer in cooler temperatures while helping you maintain a constant core temperature, “Squeezing” blood vessels via compression fabrics causes those vessels to open forcefully, which allows more blood and oxygen into the compressed muscle and helps shunt waste, and the cosmetic benefits of reducing the appearance of cellulite.

2. Splits59

bottoms-jordan-blackgreywhite-sidecrop

This Los Angeles based activewear designer offers pieces inspired by the beauty of sport and the power of intelligent design.  Splits59 is the next step in the evolution of activewear for women. Their innovative garments meld the latest in technically advanced fabrics with sleek silhouettes and a directional attitude.

3. ULTRACOR

skuiq-2408164-citrine-2_1

ULTRACOR, a performance driven fashion line created from the finest technical fabrics, utilizing patented engineering to provide fit like never before.

4. Onzie

IMG_2970__24651.1434696685.1280.1280

Created by a 20 year Bikram Yogi, Onzie blends the best of traditional yoga wear with modern innovation and a touch of whimsy.  They provide active apparel that is functional, flexible and flattering. Their philosophy is “keep your practice challenging, and your wardrobe simple!”

4. H&M

hmprod

H&M offers fun, young and versatile fashion at very affordable prices. The sports collections for both men and women are fun and pieces come as cheap at $12.99 for a shirt. Unpretentious, simple and comfortable.

5. Teeki

deermedicine_charcoal_hp_sr

All of Teeki products are made from sustainable or recycled goods. They strive to keep plastic out of land fills. It takes over 400 years for plastic bottles to fully biodegrade, so by recycling bottles into clothes they are offsetting the need to produce new raw materials. Every pound of Teeki conserves an equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline!