Saturday, 30 July 2016

5 Reasons Why Tracking Your Calories Didn’t Work

Understand Why Food Logging Didn’t Work For You

Have you tried to count calories but didn’t lose any weight? If weight loss really is just about calories, why didn’t it work? Here are five reasons why you may be counting your calories and still not seeing results.

1. Unintentionally Leaving Calories Out

How are you logging your food? What are you using to measure your food? What is “1 cup”? Is that cup packed down or not? Your food log needs to be specific or you run the risk of unintentionally under-reporting your calorie intake. EVERYONE has under-reported their calorie intake at one point in time. Depending on the food, there can be a big difference between a packed cup and an unpacked cup. You may be consuming extra calories without realizing it because of this discrepancy. The most accurate way to measure your food is by using a food scale and calculating the grams and ounces of each food item that you eat.

2. Intentionally Leaving Calories Out

It was just one, right? Wrong. If you aren’t being honest on your food log, you are sabotaging your own progress. Your food log needs to be completed every single day because every calorie counts. It may feel like this one potato chip or one strawberry won’t make a difference, but it adds up. An extra 100 calories per day adds up to ten pounds of weight gained every year. It’s not worth it. If you are leaving any calories out of your log, you are only lying to yourself. This includes “cheat” days. If you are eating more calories than you should be for your goal, you are only cheating yourself and you deserve better than that.

3. Overestimating the Number of Calories You Burn

How many calories did you burn in that workout? Are you sure? People commonly overestimate the number of calories that they burn during a workout. Part of this is due to individual perceived rate of exertion. “30 minutes of strenuous activity” means something different for two different people. It is impossible to gauge how many calories you are burning on your own.

4. Adding Extra Calories For Exercise

It is too easy to fall into the “I worked out today so I deserve this cookie” trap. You are not a dog and you do not need to reward yourself with food. Even with an activity tracker, your calorie intake needs to remain a constant number. Activity trackers are not 100% accurate in calculating how many calories you’ve burned. If you add in extra calories because your activity tracker or food log says that you burned extra calories, you are putting yourself in jeopardy of eating too many calories and gaining weight.

5. Focusing Too Much on What You’re Eating and not How Much You’re Eating

We’ve all been guilty of the “it’s healthy so I can eat more of it” mindset. 3000 calories in kale is still 3000 calories. If you are focusing all of your attention on eating “healthy” and aren’t putting calories first, you may be overlooking the most important factor of weight loss. Remember, get your calories in line first, THEN focus on balancing your macronutrients.

That’s Why

Now you know, tracking your calories through a food log is an effective and efficient way to achieve your goal as long as you are being accurate. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Eliminate under-reporting of calories consumed and overestimating of calorie burned, as well as stick to your plan every day. If you work on perfecting your accuracy one step at a time, it will turn into a game of “how can I eat what I want while staying in my goal”. There’s always a way to make it fun!


Related Links

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Original Article: from Access Change

Why Should I Do Cardio?

All About Cardio

We have heard of the many benefits of exercise but what benefits will we receive when doing cardiovascular exercise? Cardiovascular exercise is exercise that involves your circulatory system and increases your heart rate to pump blood throughout the body. Aerobic exercise, or Cardio, is a popular form of exercise amongst many people.

How much Cardio you should do

It ranges anywhere between low to high intensity. Intensity for each person is measured by determining the MHR (Maximal Heart Rate). MHR = 220 – Your Age. Low to Moderate Intensity is 50 – 70 % and High Intensity is 70 – 85%. Max intensity should be 85% of your MHR. Aerobic exercise includes running, biking, dancing, tennis, and even some form of resistance training, such as in a circuit.

Weight Loss

Aerobic exercise helps a person lose weight! It helps a person lose weight by burning off calories from the movements from doing the exercises. Typically the more muscles used during aerobic exercise the more calories that a person will burn. Simple as that! It has been thought that low to moderate intensity training is the way to go to burn more fat at a higher percentage. However as far as total calories higher intensity is the way to go as long as there is oxygen and doesn’t become too anaerobic (using no oxygen).

Heart Health

Most believe that Aerobic exercise is good for weight loss, which it is, but it provides more benefit than losing weight. Aerobic exercise also works out your heart! Your heart is a muscle and if you make it pump blood due to exercise it will get stronger. Working out your heart is important as a healthy heart will go a long way in reducing future cardiovascular issues.

Makes you feel good!

Aerobic exercise leads to the release of hormones especially endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormones that many hear about. Another hormone that increases after aerobic exercise is Growth Hormone, which regulates body composition, muscle/bone growth, and sugar/fat metabolism. Growth Hormone decreases in the body as you age.

Faster Recovery

Soreness after you are done with a workout is always the one thing that most people dread. Soreness is no fun but fear not my friends! While getting rid of soreness completely is not physiologically possible aerobic exercise makes recovery after a workout easier. Aerobic exercise after a workout decreases the time of lactic acid build up post workout from 2~ hours to roughly half that time. Aerobic exercise also allows the body to pump more nutrients to the muscle. This in turn allows a decrease in DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) that occurs due to muscle damage from exercising.

Yes to Cardio!

Aerobic exercise should be an important part of any workout routine. It has many benefits and has many different forms. Having a variety of different cardio workouts is beneficial in your quest to achieve your health goals. Choosing which ones work for you also make Cardio training more fun and interesting!




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The post Why Should I Do Cardio? appeared first on Access Change.

Original Article: from Access Change

This Challenging Plank Variation Works Your Abs And Back At The Same Time

kieferpix / Getty Images, Design by Jocelyn Runice

Basic planks are incredibly effective on their own, but different variations can give you the opportunity to engage your abs even more (and invite some other muscles to the party, too). If you’re ready to up the ante, try renegade rows—they work your shoulders and back in addition to your core, making them an amazing compound move for your upper body. 

This exercise combines a plank and a row to create one challenging move. “The row will work your back and turn the plank into an anti-rotational exercise,” says Cori Lefkowith, Orange County-based personal trainer and founder of Redefining Strength. Anti-rotational moves make your abs work extra hard to stay stable, so you don’t rotate. “Moves like this really work those obliques as well,” she adds.

Convinced yet? Grab a set of 10- to 15-pound dumbbells and get ready to work.

Renegade Row


Whitney Thielman

  • Start in a high-plank position, holding a set of 10- to 15-pound weights in your hands. Your hips should be lifted and your body in one straight line. “I often suggest placing your hands a bit closer together [than a regular plank],” says Lefkowith. “This helps keep you stable.”
  • Row your right arm up, keeping it close to your body. Your elbow should go past your back as you row towards your chest.
  • Bring your right arm back to the starting position and repeat with your left arm.
  • A few form notes: Make sure you don’t rotate your body or shrug your shoulders as you row, and do your best to keep your hips stable. Also, make sure you’re using your back to power the movement and not just your arm, says Lefokowith.
  • Do six to eight reps per side.

Feeling like a renegade from your regular plank yet?

You may also like: 12 Ultra-Effective Arm Workout Moves You Can Do At Home


The post This Challenging Plank Variation Works Your Abs And Back At The Same Time appeared first on SELF.

Friday, 29 July 2016

The 8-Minute Workout That Will Leave You Completely Exhausted

John Fedele / Getty

When you’re pushing your muscles to their limit, eight minutes is PLENTY of time to log a quality training session. So if you’re short on time and need a quick routine, try this workout from Jill Penfold, certified personal trainer and creator of the LA Bride Body program. It’s designed to be a time-efficient routine that burns mega calories and builds strength. And since you’re going to be feeling like a sweaty superhero, you’ll also release any built-up stress. Just remember you’ll need to log longer workouts later in the week, it’s all about creating a balanced workout program.

The Workout:

Equipment needed: A set of medium-weight dumbbells

How to do it: Perform each exercise for the prescribed amount of reps. Do the circuit as many times as you can in eight minutes. Keep track of your score each session and try to do more the next time! Finish with a light cool-down and take breaks as needed!

Fast Feet — 50 reps

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Come on to the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent. Pick up your right foot and quickly put it back down and repeat on the opposite leg.

Reverse Lunge With Twist — 40 reps (20 on each side)

  • Start standing with feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a big step back with left foot and bend knees to lower into lunge while twisting torso over right (front) leg.
  • Return to standing, then repeat with the opposite leg.
  • While this GIF shows the exercise using a dumbbell, you can ditch the weight, too!

Plank Jack — 30 reps

  • Start in high plank. 
  • Keeping your core engaged, jump your feet out and in (like jumping jacks).
  • If your wrists bother you, try this move on your forearms, like this

Dumbbell Thruster — 20 reps

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Have your palms facing in and elbows bent so hands are at your shoulders.
  • Hinge your hips back and lower into a squat. Go as low as you can.
  • Then push up to stand and press dumbbells overhead (as shown) in one movement.
  • Return to squat and repeat.

Burpee With Push-Up — 10 reps

  • Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Then bring your palms to the floor.
  • Jump your feet back so that you are in high plank, keeping your core tight and your hips lifted.
  • Bend your elbows and do a push-up, returning to high plank. (Some variations of the burpee skip this step or do it slightly differently. Do what works best for you!)
  • Now jump your feet to the outsides of your hands and explode up. Reach your arms overhead as you jump as high as you can.

Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

You may also like: Try This 10-Minute Plyometric Workout You Can Do At Home


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The 10-Minute Cardio Blast Morning Workout

Guido Mieth / Getty Images

Carpe morning! Getting up and sweaty is the best way to start your day, explains Jill Penfold, certified personal trainer and creator of the LA Bride Body program. That’s why she created this fast workout that will have you feeling fitter and fresher. Well, post-shower at least. The workout below is completely equipment-free so you can do it in your living room, backyard, or hotel room. And there’s an option for every fitness level. Let’s get to it!

First, pick the intensity level that feels appropriate for how you’re feeling today.

  • Beginner: 30:30. This means you’ll do 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest for each of the moves.
  • Intermediate: 40:20. This means you’ll do 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest for each of the moves.
  • Advanced: 50:10. This means you’ll do 50 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for each of the moves.

Now on to the workout details.

How to do it: Once you have completed one round of each of the five exercises. Start over and complete the circuit one more time for a 10-minute routine. Finish with a light cool-down and then you’re ready to conquer your day. Hydrate and take extra breaks as needed!

1.Mock Jumping Rope

  • Jump rope without the actual rope by jumping up and down landing on the balls of your feet and rotating your wrists as if you’re turning a rope. Since you don’t have to worry about timing, the goal here is to do as many mini jumps as possible in the allotted time.

2. Burpee With Push-Up

  • Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Then bring your palms to the floor.
  • Jump your feet back so that you are in high plank, keeping your core tight and your hips lifted.
  • Bend your elbows and do a push-up, returning to high plank. (Some variations of the burpee skip this step or do it slightly differently. Do what works best for you!)
  • Now jump your feet to the outsides of your hands and explode up. Reach your arms overhead as you jump as high as you can.

3. Squat Jump

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hinge hips back and lower into a squat.
  • Push through heels to stand and explode off the ground.
  • Land and immediately begin next rep.

4. Plank With Shoulder Tap

  • Start in high plank with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Then tap each hand to the opposite shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep the hips as still as possible.

5. Jumping Lunge

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees then jump up into the air bringing your right leg forward, and left leg goes back so that you land in a lunge position.
  • As soon as you land with soft knees, jump back up into the air and switch legs mid air to land with the opposite leg forward.
  • Be sure to keep your chest up and core tight.

Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

You may also like: Try This 10-Minute Plyometric Workout You Can Do At Home


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5 Energizing Stretches That Will Wake You Up And Improve Flexibility

Mapodile / Getty Images

After spending the night lying down and logging your beauty rest, there’s no better way to wake your body up than that biiiiig stretch while you’re lying in bed. You don’t have to stop there, though—taking a few minutes to move through some other strategic poses in the morning can give you a boost of energy first thing (without the mid-morning coffee crash). 

“Stretching creates mobility in the joints and causes the muscles to expand and contract more than they’re used to, which forces more blood to flow through the body,” says Patrick Mason, a yoga instructor at TruFusion. “More movement happening in the body relates to more liveliness in the mind!” 

Try five of his favorite stretches for getting energized—do them in a sequence, or just pick the one that feels best for you when you’re short on time.

1. Cat/Cowstretches-wake-up_cat-cow

Photos courtesy of TruFusion, design by Jocelyn Runice

  • Begin on your hands and knees and bring yourself to table pose, with your hips directly over your knees and your shoulders, elbows, and wrists stacked.
  • As you exhale, gently move into cat pose by rounding your spine towards the ceiling, tucking your chin toward your chest, and engaging your abs. 
  • On an inhale, arch your back, let your belly release and lift your head and tailbone towards the sky. 
  • Continue this flow, moving with your breath. Repeat eight to 10 times.

2. Standing Backbend


Photo courtesy of TruFusion, design by Jocelyn Runice

  • Stand with feet hip width apart and place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointed down like you’re reaching into your back pockets. Pull your shoulders down and back behind you.
  • Lift your chin and chest, and start to look directly overhead and then behind. Try to look further and further behind you as you exhale.
  • Spend at least five breaths here, then inhale to come out.

3. Downward Facing Dog


Photo courtesy of TruFusion, design by Jocelyn Runice

  • Come to all fours, on your hands and knees. Lift your hips and straighten your legs, keeping your hands and the balls of your feet on the ground.
  • Try to push your heels toward the ground. If they touch the ground easily, move your feet back a few more inches away from your hands.
  • Keep your palms flat and elbows locked (if you tend to hyperextend, then keep a small bend in the elbow).
  • Keep trying to get your hips higher and your heels lower, and feel the back body open up.
  • Hold anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, and repeat two to three times. (Mason suggests going into child’s pose for a few breaths in between.)

4. Crescent Lunge


Photo courtesy of TruFusion, design by Jocelyn Runice

  • Stand with feet together, hands at the sides of the hips.
  • Leaning slightly forward, step your right foot back three to four feet and land on the ball of your right foot, bending your left knee at a 90-degree angle. (Make sure your left knee doesn’t go beyond your left ankle.) Lift both hands straight up overhead.
  • To increase the challenge, make the distance between your feet longer or throw in a slight backbend.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Step back to the starting position and repeat on the left side. Stretch each side twice.

5. Wide-Leg Forward Fold


Photo courtesy of TruFusion, design by Jocelyn Runice

  • Stand with feet parallel, about four feet apart. Interlock all ten fingers behind your back and try to lock your elbows.
  • As you exhale, hinge at the hips to bring your forehead towards the ground. Release your hands and place them by your feet, letting your shoulders and chest begin to open.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, two times. Take a break if you get lightheaded.

You may also like: 9 Easy Stretches For Tight Hips


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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Protein 101 – How Much Protein Should I Eat?

Every Body Is Different

What amount is good for me, you ask? Well Protein is great for you and helps your body repair and build tissues and structures throughout your body. We definitely do not always get the daily requirement that is needed. It is super necessary that we do get the right amount of Protein for our body type. But how much protein do we truly need for our body types? It’s tiring not knowing what the proper amount is specifically beneficial for you.

Why Do I Need Protein?

Well, we definitely need protein to help take care of those tissues and structures throughout our body. Without protein, those tissues and structures would not be able to function properly. And no one wants their body to not function properly, right? Proteins are made up of different kinds of amino acids. Those amino acids are broken down and used for adding to tissue when needed for an energy source or used to replace and repair damaged tissue.

The Right Amount For Me

There are different factors that relate to how much protein someone should intake daily. Protein is actually more necessary to obtain as you age. It is recommended that protein should range from 10 to 35% of total caloric intake. This range still allows for different goals to be achieved. So whether your goal is to take in the normal daily amount of protein necessary to aid in satiety (the feeling of fullness) or your goal is to utilize protein percentages for performance.

Recommended Protein Intakes
Activity Level –  Grams of Protein per kg Body Weight per Day

Sedentary (Adult) —  0.8 (0.4 g/lb)
Strength Athletes  —  1.2 – 1.7 (0.5 – 0.8 g/lb)
Endurance Athletes  —  1.2 – 1.4 (0.5 – 0.6 g/lb)

Factors Affecting Protein Requirements 

The amount of exercise, body-composition or sports-performance goals, and the amount of calories consumed all have an affect on how much money protein should be obtained. Exercise contributes to the amount of protein that we need because it increases the oxidation of amino acids and also the turnover rate of protein in lean body mass during recovery. So this just means that our body is in need of protein because it helps repair the damaged tissues and structures used during increased activity. Goals have an affect on the amount of protein consumed because it changes the percentages that is paired with Caloric Intake. While consuming a smaller amount of calories throughout the day, protein will automatically provide the missing energy that is normally satisfied by carbohydrate and fats.

So…not only is protein super beneficial for your body, but it helps you feel full throughout the day. And no one wants to feel hungry, right? Regardless if you are super active or like to go on an occasional hike, protein should play an important role in your diet.


Clark, M. (2012). Nutrition. In S. Luccett. & B. Sutton (Eds.) NASM Academy of Sports Medicine Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (pp. 438-446). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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The post Protein 101 – How Much Protein Should I Eat? appeared first on Access Change.

Original Article: from Access Change

8 Things To Do Before And After A Workout To Get Better Results

DaniloAndjus / Getty Images

When it comes to your fitness routine, the time you spend sweating it out in the gym tends to get all the credit—but it shouldn’t.

“The workout is actually the easiest part of a fitness routine,” says Jay Cardiello, celebrity trainer and Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute member. “Whether you walk, jog, lift weights, or do CrossFit, an hour is only four percent of your day, and you can’t [make that more important than] the 23 other hours.”

Things like good nutrition and quality sleep matter too, and smart pre- and post-workout rituals can ensure you’re recovering properly, fueling your efforts, and crushing it in every single workout. Here are the eight things that should definitely be a part of your fitness routine if you want to maximize your results. 

Before your workout:


Sam Edwards / Getty Images

1. Get enough zzz’s.

“The most imperative thing in any fitness program starts the minute you go to sleep—that’s where all the magic happens,” says Cardiello. Being well-rested not only energizes you through every burpee or sprint, but it also keeps your hunger hormones in check, so you’re not undoing your efforts in the gym by overeating the rest of the day. 

“Whoever I work out with, they don’t show up to the gym unless they’re getting seven hours of sleep,” says Cardiello. “I tell them to go home.” (Whoa.) If you can’t do seven, at least try for six and a half hours, he says—he recommends his clients set boundaries with their electronics before bed so the light doesn’t keep them awake. A good sleep is also super important after a workout, too—that’s when muscles really get to recover.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

You already know that drinking your H20 is crucial to overall health, but it plays an especially important role in a fitness routine—when you’re sweating it out, you need to make sure your body is properly hydrated since you’re losing water. Plus, being hydrated will make sure your energy levels are where they need to be, says Cardiello.

“Just look at the parallels between oil in a car and water in a body—a car can’t run without car, a body can’t run without water,” says Cardiello. You should be sipping it before, during, and after a workout.

Although exact water needs vary from person to person, he recommends aiming for half of your bodyweight in ounces per day (so, if you weight 150 pounds, try to get in 75 ounces). If your urine is dark, it probably means you’re not hydrated enough. Here are 12 easy ways to drink more of it.

3. Grab a small snack.

If you’re really not feeling a pre-workout snack, there’s no need to force food down ahead of time, but don’t ignore your body if you feel like you need some fuel. “If there’s no food in, there’s no energy out,” says Cardiello. He suggests a piece of Ezekiel toast with a bit of almond butter to get you going (here are five other great pre-workout snacks that are all around 150 calories). The sweet spot? “I don’t want you to be starving, but I don’t want you to be feeling full either.”

4. Consider wearing red for an extra boost of ~power~.

Strange, but true. “Red is a very empowering color—it increases prowess, confidence, and has been shown to increase performance a bit,” says Cardiello. “If you’re ever tired or just want to dominate the gym, red is the best choice. Blue and green are more calming, so it depends on what your workout.” Orange and yellow are also heightening colors, he says.

5. Work in a dynamic warm-up.

Skipping your warm-up is a definite no-no—even if your workout is only 10 minutes long. “[The warm-up] is meant to give your body the opportunity to raise your body temperature, increase range of motion, and prepare yourself for what you’re about to do,” says Cardiello. It also helps decrease your chance of injury when you ease into your workout, rather than jumping straight from a resting state to the hard work. 

Increasing your range of motion can help you make the most of your workout, because you’ll be able to recruit more muscles during an exercise (for example, getting deeper into a spot means putting more muscles to work). This is done through a dynamic warm-up, which essentially means moving through stretches that aren’t held in place. (Here’s a five-minute dynamic warm-up to try). 

The post 8 Things To Do Before And After A Workout To Get Better Results appeared first on SELF.

How Exercise Helped One Woman Break Free From Depression (And Go From A Size 18 To A Size 6, Too)

Courtesy of Dawn Estelle Archer; Graphic by Dana Davenport

There are a ton of reasons to work out that have nothing to do with weight loss, and Dawn Estelle Archer, a fitness instructor in Richmond, Virginia, definitely knows this to be true. By focusing her efforts on living a happy, healthy life (instead of pounds or inches), she completely transformed her mental health—and lost weight in the process, too.

Archer, now 30, had been overweight for most of her life. She’d tried to lose weight in the past without much success, and when she hit 220 pounds, she’d resigned herself to the fact that she just couldn’t do it. She was also dealing with a deep depression that she didn’t know how to turn around. But on New Year’s Eve in 2012, she decided to ditch her scale for good and just focus on making choices that would help her feel better mentally and emotionally.

She started moving more and getting outside to improve her mental health, and her new active routine started her on a journey that changed her entire outlook on life. By changing her habits with the simple priority of feeling good again, she also went from a size 18 to a size 6 in one year. Here, she shares her journey with SELF.

Archer knew that she needed to lose weight after a prediabetes diagnosis, but she felt discouraged when the quick fixes she tried didn’t bring results.

Archer admits she wasn’t particularly physically healthy growing up, but at 23 years old, her mental health also took a turn. After breaking her ankle badly in 2009, she spent six months in a wheelchair and three months on crutches, and watched the weight creep up—as well as a deep depression. Two years later, after continuing down a path of inactivity and unhealthy eating, she was diagnosed with prediabetes.

“I had gone to the doctor, and it was the first time I’d ever had anyone call me obese,” says Archer, who was a size 18 at the time. “She gave me pamphlets and information on how to take care of my prediabetes, but I still didn’t use that as a wake-up call.”

Archer resorted to trying a lot of quick-fix options for a while, rather than focus on making incremental, healthy changes. “I would do things for a week or two, and then I wouldn’t see any results so I would stop.”

During her attempt to get a handle on her prediabetes, she moved from Richmond, Virginia, to Atlanta, Georgia to be with her boyfriend, and her depression became all-consuming. “I got out of a seven-year relationship, I was cheated on, I was homesick, and I was trying to pay back student loans. It all just snowballed.” These stressors made her feel like her life was spinning out of control—so her depression did, too.

She started getting active as a way to feel better mentally and emotionally—and finally found herself losing the weight she once thought she couldn’t.


Courtesy of Dawn Estelle Archer

“I heard this sermon on New Year’s Eve of 2012, and the preacher said, ‘when you wake up tomorrow, you can have a period of mourning [for the past], but get going, just move, just start.’ I thought, wow, that’s right, I have complete control over what I do for myself, and I’m worrying about things I have no control over. So the next day I got up, and I was like OK, instead of sleeping all day, I’m going to get up and I’m going to move.” Archer, then 26, committed to a New Year’s resolution—one that would change her entire life for more than just a year.

“I would leave my cell phone at home, along with all of these things that would distract me, and I would just go. I started walking to the store instead of driving to the store. Eventually, I was like wow, this is cool, I feel so much better just getting outside and getting fresh air.” She also fell in love with Zumba’s dance cardio workouts. “I wasn’t getting on the scale because I didn’t think I could lose the weight. I thought, my family’s like this, this is just my body type, it’s how I’m going to be.”

Her new activities inspired her to give her diet a makeover too, so she could feel fueled and strong during her workouts. As her lifestyle became healthier, her mental health improved, which kept her motivated to keep up her new habits. She no longer wanted to sleep all day and found herself feeling stronger, physically and emotionally, than ever before.

She also felt encouraged when she realized her shape was changing, too. After a couple months of exercising, she tried on a pair of shorts that she never felt comfortable in before, and was surprised by her transformation. She sent a photo to her sister, who couldn’t even believe it was her. “That was the moment where I started to realize that I was actually losing weight.”

Throughout the process, she also started to discover her self-worth. “Becoming more active allowed me to think clearly and understand that if I could lose weight, I could do anything I put my mind to. It made me feel powerful, and I had control over my body, my emotions, and my future.”

Now, exercise and healthy eating are just a part of her lifestyle—and she’s sharing her journey with others. 


Courtesy of Dawn Estelle Archer

Archer also moved back to Virginia and began organizing group workouts in a parking lot. In July 2013, Archer got her Zumba certification and continued to teach her informal parking lot sessions. “When I first started teaching in the parking lot the feedback was shocking,” she says. “People began to tell their friends and family and it grew faster than I could imagine. I think that people connected with me because I was in their shoes. I talk, cry, and laugh with them.”

In January 2014, she decided to go even bigger—she sold her car, packed up her things in a storage unit, and toured the whole country sharing what she’d learned, with the goal of helping just one person in every state.

“I was teaching classes and taking people to the grocery store to show them how to shop affordably and healthy. I also helped people on a one-on-one basis with self-esteem issues.” When she returned she decided to open up her own studio, theSWEATbox, where she continues to transform other lives by sharing her story.

Her philosophy is simple: move more, eat clean, and be consistent.


Courtesy of Dawn Estelle Archer

Throughout her journey, Archer recognized a few critical keys to her success. “Not weighing myself was a huge factor for me,” she says. “I wasn’t looking for weight-loss results. I think that when people stress about it, it can consume them, and when they don’t see those results they stop doing what they’re doing.”

“There’s no secret to weight loss—there’s no diet pill or special thing you can do to make you lose weight overnight. But if you’re consistently working towards your goals, then you’re going to see results,” she adds. 

She tells her clients now to keep it simple: Stay active, eat nutritious foods, and be consistent with your efforts. Take away the stress and the overthinking, she suggests, and focus on your bigger picture of health.

“This journey has made me realize how important it is to move every day. I realized that the more I exercise, the better my mental health is,” she shares. For Archer, finding her “why” led her to the weight-loss success she never thought she could have–along with a whole new outlook on life.

You may also like: 9 Easy Stretches For Tight Hips


The post How Exercise Helped One Woman Break Free From Depression (And Go From A Size 18 To A Size 6, Too) appeared first on SELF.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Calories First!

The Only Solution

Calories are the most important factor in weight management. Period. The ONLY way that you can lose weight is by eating less calories than you are burning. They are the energy that fuels your body. When that energy is out of balance, a change in weight will occur.

The Only Secret to Weight Loss is Calories in vs. Calories Out

Everywhere you look, there are articles about “the secret to weight loss” or “how to lose weight without counting calories”. These are all bogus. The only secret to weight loss is that you absolutely have to eat less calories than you are burning. Calories are first, above all else. When it comes to general weight loss, it doesn’t matter how many carbohydrates you eat, what time you eat, or if it’s organic. Macronutrients are important but, if you focus on that instead of calories, it will be harder to get to your goal.  It really is just a numbers game and comes down to calories in and calories out.

Calories in Your Body are Like Money in Your Bank Account

If you spend more money than you make, you will be in a financial deficit and will have to find other resources to pull money from. If you make more money than you spend, you will be in a surplus and the extra money gets stored in your account for later. Calories act in the same exact way. When you eat less calories than you burn, you are in a deficit and will lose weight because your body has to pull from stored energy in body fat and muscle. When you eat more calories than you burn, you are in a surplus and the extra calories get stored for later.

You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet

Exercise can’t undo poor nutrition. You can exercise all you want but, if you are eating back the calories you burned, you WILL NOT lose weight. While exercise will help increase your calorie burn, it will not make up for poor nutrition.

Now you know, it all comes down to calories in and calories out. If you only have time and energy to do one thing, it needs to be monitoring your calorie intake. Calories don’t have to be something to stress over. By learning these basics and applying this knowledge, you can take control over your calories, your weight, and your life.




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Original Article: from Access Change

5 Moves That’ll Set Those Lower Abs On Fire


lower-abs_pinMilan2099 / Jonathan Knowles / Getty Images; Graphic by Valerie Fischel

For as many ways as there are to work your abdominal muscles, the lower abs are notoriously difficult to target. The upper abs and obliques get all the love from many popular exercises, but there are ways to share the burn—and you should.

“The core is sort of your power center for your body, and if you ignore a portion of it, something’s going to become overactive,” says Jason Loebig, Nike Elevated trainer and ambassador for HI-VIBE, a Chicago-based superfood juicery. Since the core plays such an important role in stabilizing your body, you want to make sure you’re training the whole thing, rather than letting other parts of your core take on the bulk of the work. Long hours spent at a desk don’t help either–according to Loebig, this tightens up the our hip flexors and lower back, which can cause them to be overactive (and further take away from the work your lower abs should be doing). 

Focusing on engaging the core can help counteract these imbalances—one way to do this is simple diaphragmatic breathing, says Loebig. “Start laying down on your back and take some deep breaths through the belly. If you put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your belly, your left hand should be rising and falling. Each time you exhale, you want to engage your abs like you’re going to take a punch to the gut.”

This starts to warm up your core, so you can bring on the real work, no matter what type of abs exercises you’re doing. If you’re looking to target your lower abs, work these five exercises into your routine for a serious challenge.

1. Scissor Switch


Whitney Thielman

  • Start on your back with your legs straight and arms reaching over head.
  • Extend the right leg as you curl up off the shoulder blades and reach for the calf or thigh. Staying in a curled position, switch legs. 

2. Plank Hops


Whitney Thielman

  • Begin in high plank with the feet together.
  • Tighten abs, and jump your feet to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow.
  • Jump your feet back to plank and repeat on the opposite side.

3. Mountain Climbers


Whitney Thielman

  • Start in high plank and draw your right knee under your torso, keeping the toes off the ground.
  • Return your right foot to starting position.
  • Switch legs and bring your left knee under your chest. Keep switching legs as if you’re running in place.

The post 5 Moves That’ll Set Those Lower Abs On Fire appeared first on SELF.

The Most Important Type of Training

[This post contains video, click to play]


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The post The Most Important Type of Training appeared first on Access Change.

Original Article: from Access Change

Here’s Exactly How To Set A Fitness Goal That You Can Actually Achieve

Geber86 / Getty Images

Having a solid fitness goal is an amazing way to power you towards success, but not all #goals are created equal. While it’s great to have an end-game in mind, there are some best practices when it comes to goal setting. Whether you want to lose weight, improve your fitness level, or train for an event, putting the SMART method into action can help you achieve what you set out to do.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—all of which are important in reaching a fitness objective. SMART goals can help keep you on track and remind you of your priorities, so you’re able to follow through with every workout or healthy meal you have planned. “Being accountable to what you set is the only way to maintain real long-term consistency,” says Jason Loebig, Nike Elevated trainer and ambassador for HI-VIBE, a Chicago-based superfood juicery.

Get SMART and put these five elements into action when you’re setting your fitness goal.

1. Specific

“You need something that’s not too arbitrary,” says Loebig. “A bad goal would be, say, ‘get healthy’. A specific goal would be to lose weight.” You’ll narrow down that goal even further by using the rest of the method, but whether you want to get stronger, faster, or smaller, having a baseline points you in the right direction. 

2. Measurable

Here’s where you determine exactly how you’ll measure your goal. “If you’re going to follow the bad goal, it would be get really healthy,” says Loebig. “That’s not quantifiable. A measurable goal would be, say, ‘lose 10 pounds’. You can quantify your progress, and you can sort of back into a time frame once you have that.” Your goal may be to master a pull-up, run five miles, or go to the gym four days a week—whatever it is, you should have a definite way of knowing when you’ve reached your goal.

3. Attainable

While it can be helpful to set big-picture goals in the long-term, says Loebig, you need a more achievable goal on the horizon to keep you on track. “You want to start small and see early wins, which encourages long-term consistency,” he says. “If you set something too lofty right off the bat, it might be discouraging to not make progress as fast as you would like.” You should also consider the size of your goal—for example, a goal of losing 30 pounds in one month just isn’t going to happen, so you’re better off setting smaller goals that are in closer reach.

4. Relevant

This is where things get a little tricky, says Loebig–finding your “why” is easier said than done. “[Ask yourself], ‘is this goal worthwhile, and am I motivated to do it?’ Creating a goal with some type of motivation attached to it, like I want to lose 10 pounds in two months to be ready for my wedding, can give a bit of relevancy to your goal.” Whether you want to feel confident at a big event or perform better during everyday activities, pinpoint why a goal is important to you.

5. Timely 

“You want to be strict about a deadline—doing so creates urgency,” says Loebig. It’s also important not to set your sights too far out. “If you give yourself four months to lose 10 pounds, that might be too long because you aren’t incentivized to start working at it immediately.” Instead, consider setting smaller goals along the way, like “I want to lose three pounds in two weeks.” Maybe running a marathon is your long-term goal, but if you’ve never been a runner, signing up for one that’s a month away isn’t realistic—instead, set smaller mileage goals for shorter time periods and work your way up.

You should also be honest with yourself about what you’re able to accomplish in a given time frame. “If losing 10 pounds is at the top of your list and you’re willing to make sacrifices in your social life and at work, we can attain that more quickly,” says Loebig. And if not? That’s completely fine, too he says—you just need to adjust your expectations so they’re in line with your schedule and commitments.

Once you have your goal in place, it’s all about the follow-through. Whether you want to lose one pound a week, be able to do five full push-ups in two weeks, or run a 5K in under 30 minutes in four weeks, you can come up with a plan to help get your where you want to go—but it all starts with deciding what you want. Be accountable to yourself, stay consistent, and the results will follow. 

You may also like: Natalie Coughlin Shows Us Her Routine


The post Here’s Exactly How To Set A Fitness Goal That You Can Actually Achieve appeared first on SELF.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Why Should I Exercise?

Exercise is beneficial!

Should I exercise/train is a question everyone has asked themselves at least once in their lifetime. Most people know that exercise is good for them but they might not know the full reasons why. There is lots of misinformation out there and some are led to believe that training is not needed and all you need is to do is take a pill. That is not the way to go! Nutrition and training is the key! Training in tandem with good nutrition is the way to reach your health goals whether it is lose weight or to improve health. Not only does exercise help your health, it is also fun!

ANYONE Can Train

Anyone can benefit from exercise, including seniors and those with disabilities. In my experience I have not run into any person that was not able to train due to their disability or injuries. As long as a person has a good trainer or guidance then they have no reason to not train. If you have the mindset to change then positive results will follow!

Losing Weight

Regular training with proper nutrition can lead to weight loss. As explained in our previous articles about calories we have seen that the proper amount of calories in and calories out is the formula for weight loss. However we need to use calories in order to lose weight. That is where exercise comes in! We need exercise to burn any excess calories not used for normal body functions so that they are not turned into fat. When you exercise you also damage your muscle tissue, which requires calories to rebuild itself. Slight muscle gains are created once the tissue is rebuilt but calories are still needed in order to maintain the increased muscle mass. More muscle mass = more calorie usage! This does not mean you will become a bodybuilder when you exercise/weight train but modest gains can be beneficial for losing weight.

Becoming Stronger & Moving Better

On top of losing weight training regularly will lead to better strength gains and movement. Proper movements will lead to lesser chance of encountering a bodily injury. Overall improving movement and gaining strength will also lessen the chance of minor muscular injuries such as shoulder pain, back pain, knee pain, etc. Exercise also leads to better strength in bones on top of strengthening muscles. Stronger bones will lead to less of a chance of developing bone disorders in a person’s older years.

Should I exercise? Yes you should!

“The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy.” – Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper

As you can see there are many benefits to exercising like losing weight and moving better. Countless more benefits are seen when a person exercises regularly. On top of losing weight and gaining strength regular exercise can also lead to another condition called having fun! For many of my trainees having a fun workout is rewarding and they feel it has helped them in their pursuit of their goals. Therefore if you have health goals that you want to achieve or want to begin pursuing setting up a nutrition plan and exercising regularly is a great place to start.


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The post Why Should I Exercise? appeared first on Access Change.

Original Article: from Access Change

12 Exercises That’ll Tone Your Back And Shoulders


Charlie Nucci / Fuse / Getty Images; Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

Sculpting your back and shoulders can make you feel seriously strong, in the gym and out—whether you’re lifting moving boxes, stuffing a carry-on into the overhead bin, or just working on mastering a pull-up, toning these muscles gives you a leg up on any heavy-lifting activity life throws at you. And, hey, if your goal is to feel proud showing off your fitness efforts in a backless tank? That’s cool, too. 

Here are 12 exercises that’ll put your back and shoulders to work. Plus, many will engage other muscles as well, like your arms and abs. (Oh, and for moves that include dumbbells, here’s how to choose the right weights for strength training—it’s totally individual.) Mix these moves into your usual gym routine, or try a few at home. 

1. Bent-Over Row


Whitney Thielman

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells at sides.
  • Bend knees slightly and tilt forward at hips, back flat, arms straight, hands under shoulders.
  • Bend elbows and lift weights toward chest, keeping your arms close to your body.
  • Extend arms back out and repeat.

2. Forearm Plank


Valerie Fischel

  • Start with your forearms and knees on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Elbows should be stacked underneath the shoulders, your forearms straight in front of you on the ground.
  • Lift your knees off the ground and push your feet back to bring your body to full extension, so your body creates one long line.
  • Keep your core tight and your hips lifted, and keep your neck in line with your spine.
  • Hold this position for 30 to 45 seconds. Keep breathing!

3. Overhead Tricep Extension


Whitney Thielman

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold the middle of a dumbbell in both hands behind your neck, elbows bent and pointing towards the sky, upper arms by your ears.
  • Without moving your upper arms, extend your forearms above your head. Keep your shoulders down and core tight.
  • Lower your forearms to the starting position.

The post 12 Exercises That’ll Tone Your Back And Shoulders appeared first on SELF.

Feel The Burn With This Pilates Abs Exercise

Jacob Ammentorp Lund / Getty Images

Pilates isn’t always thought of as the most muscle-shaking, ab-quaking workout ever, but there are some moves that seriously challenge this notion. If you haven’t already, meet the Pilates 100, one of the method’s classic core exercises. And there’s a reason it’s been a mainstay for so long: This abs move seriously puts your muscles to the test. 

“The Pilates 100 helps to strengthen and sculpt the abs because it helps engage the transverse abdominals, which basically means the deepest set of muscles you have in your lower belly,” says Kit Rich, an L.A.-based trainer, Pilates instructor, and Lucy Activewear pro. Plus, it definitely brings the Pilates ~vibe~ to whatever workout you’re doing. “This one move encompasses all Pilates principles: concentration, centering, control, breathing, precision, and flow,” adds Rich.

To make the most of this move, do it before your other core-focused exercises (just like you would in a Pilates class), says Rich. “It’s a warm up for the abs and a great connection for mind and body,” says Rich. Plus, “the pumping of the arms helps get the blood moving in the body.” Ready to kick off your abs workout with this simple but challenging move? Here’s how to do it. 

The post Feel The Burn With This Pilates Abs Exercise appeared first on SELF.

This ‘Queer Gym’ Is Giving LGBTQ Members A Safer Place To Sweat


When Xavier Morales was transitioning from female to male in 2013, he found a vital source of support in an unlikely place: the gym.   

The 36-year-old data evaluation analyst, who came out as transgender in early 2013 and embarked on his transition later that year, began working out at The Perfect Sidekick in Oakland, California, in preparation for top surgery, or chest masculinization. The Perfect Sidekick (hereafter referred to as TPS) is open to everyone, but caters specifically to the LGBTQ community, placing an emphasis on addressing the unique challenges members of the community face. Morales says TPS was a nexus of encouragement and comfort on many levels during a time that was tough both physically as well as emotionally for him. He also believes such support in a time of change is key for members of the LGBTQ community, and particularly for trans people.

Because as much as the transgender conversation may be more in the open now, the passage of laws like North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act prove that resistance persists in some quarters. The law obliges trans people in schools and government buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with their “biological sex,” defined as the one “stated on a person’s birth certificate,” and therefore not the one that transgender people like Morales identify with. “I have always thought that everyone should be individually responsible to open their minds and do what they need to do, but now, with all that’s going on, TPS has shown me that it’s important for small businesses like gyms to do their part, to be responsible and open-minded and to create safe spaces for transgender people,” Morales tells SELF.

Fostering an atmosphere that makes her clients feel totally comfortable was always TPS founder Nathalie Huerta’s intention.

As she moved from “more feminine” to the self-described “butch lesbian” that she now proudly is, Huerta herself found it very hard to fit in at the gym. She’d always been athletic and she thrived in a gym, but the constant scrutiny—sometimes expressed as outright hostility—she met both while working out and in the women’s locker room made her “begin to think about things I had never thought about before, and that discomfort created a set of dynamics that I now had to factor into my gym time,” she tells SELF.

Based on the number of requests she received when she advertised herself as a lesbian personal trainer, she realized it was time to act. “I thought to myself that if the experience of going to a gym was already so bad for someone like myself, who was always comfortable with working out, how bad could it be for someone who’s not been to a gym and wants to get in shape, but on top of everything else, needs to worry about their sexuality, how they express themselves, and the general culture around those mind games,” she says.


She founded TPS in 2010 with the intention of creating a safe, strong community that was welcoming to and cognizant of the needs of LGBTQ clients.

The fully-equipped gym currently has 150 members and Huerta intends on capping membership at 175, because anything more than that would dilute the gym’s mission of building relationships and fostering a tight-knit community of members and trainers. The gym offers all the facilities you’d expect from a gym—equipment, training, and classes—but adds details you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. At the outset of every single class, attendees introduce themselves by name and inform others of the pronoun by which they wish to be referred. This is extremely important, says Morales, in making gym members feel comfortable, understood, and accepted.

“It’s great to be in a place where there’s so much sensitivity and awareness,” he says.

Every six months, Huerta organizes a “Queer 101” workshop, which is mandatory for all her trainers but is also open to the broader community so they may come in and learn more about the gay and lesbian world. “Many people are still so unsure when it comes to gay and lesbians, and often they don’t get into relationships because they’re afraid of being culturally insensitive,” she says. “The whole point of Queer 101 is to create a space where anyone can ask any question they have, bring up issues they’re curious about or that they think are not appropriate. The meeting is a safe place to ask those questions and the more questions people ask, the more the conversation gets going and the community becomes visible.” The workshop fits in nicely with the motto emblazoned over the door to TPS (aka The Queer Gym): “You know you’re curious.”


TPS founder Nathalie Huerta

Huerta is hoping to organize a “Trans 101” workshop by the end of the year.

Currently, 15 percent of the gym’s client base is transgender. Huerta is still learning about the community herself, and educating her trainers to properly serve the trans community means working closely with medical professionals—including endocrinologists and surgeons—to learn about the effects of hormone therapy and pre- and post-surgery requirements on the body, in order to be able to craft individualized training programs.

Knowing that TPS trainers receive such in-depth education is a great source of comfort for Morales. “When I first started taking testosterone, I was feeling incredibly empowered and energetic, but the trainers were very careful to not let me do more than they thought I could handle, so I wouldn’t risk getting injured,” he says. “When my surgeon told me I should be working on my core and lower body, Nathalie suggested I do yoga, and it’s great that TPS offers such a variety of different kinds of classes.”

More important than the classes and the training, though, Morales is happy with the continued support of the broader gym community. “In the weeks leading up to my top surgery, the trainers announced it in the gym and one of the members offered to coordinate my post-op care,” he says. “I was off work for two or three weeks after the procedure and thanks to her coordination, I had people come from TPS to keep me company and bring me food. That level of support is very important.”

Morales views transition as a lifelong process, but today, he says, “I feel like I’ve accomplished my physical goals for transitioning: I can pass as a cis-gendered man—albeit a very short man—in public and am able to access male-only spaces with relative ease and comfort.”

His newfound confidence has much to do with TPS. The gym “has offered me something that no other mainstream gym has been able to: a safe place to lay down the stepping stones towards the body and life I’ve always wanted while being surrounded by the warmth of the LGBT community,” Morales says. “TPS got me feeling good about my body before my top surgery and for a trans person to say they feel good about their body before having any surgeries is a pretty phenomenal thing.”

The post This ‘Queer Gym’ Is Giving LGBTQ Members A Safer Place To Sweat appeared first on SELF.

6 Different At-Home Workouts To Tone Your Arms

Ace_Jones / Getty Images

Your arms are ridiculously fabulous. What’s up biceps? Whether you’re looking to strengthen your arms, train for an obstacle course race, or are just looking for something to do other than another push-up, give these speedy sculpting routines below a try. Ready, set, flex!

1. Your triceps will be shaking in all of the right places with this four-minute routine.


Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

Four minutes, one move, all of the triceps-quivering goodness. Get the full workout details here.

2. Work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and core with this excellent (but tough!) workout.


Graphic by Jocelyn Runice

This routine features lab-tested (and approved) exercises to guarantee that upper-body burn. Get the full workout details, including images of each move, here.

The post 6 Different At-Home Workouts To Tone Your Arms appeared first on SELF.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Life is Fitness

Thinking Outside the Box

I want to “jog” your memories a bit to a time where you felt like you were most fit. For some of us, it’s today. For others further back. And for more than a few of us, much further back. This isn’t an opportunity for us to feel bad or good about ourselves, it’s merely the beginning of an observation.

Fitness is Feeling

First of all, fitness is feeling. Think back to yourself at your fittest. How did you feel? Pretty good I bet. Like you could just about conquer anything. More importantly, I bet you felt capable. You had more energy… Energy you could choose to spend loving your family, spending time with them. That’s the important stuff right there.

Fitness isn’t about looking good… Though that tends to be a benefit. It’s not about being good necessarily… But that, too, is also a benefit. It’s really about being able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them without fear. It’s about feeling more than capable enough to make the decisions that are important to you.

Fitness is Fun

Let’s face it, no one likes to workout. Not in the moment at least. Working out is uncomfortable. You get icky and sweaty. It’s just not that fun of an experience, especially at first. People learn to love it because of how they feel after it. Also, how they feel when they string a bunch of great workout days together (say 365? okay, call me crazy).

Here’s the thing: not every workout has to be this miserable sweat fest. You don’t have to do cardio machines that bore you to death or exercises you hate… You can actually find ways to have fun while exercising (yes, even strength training). The truth is that even if you can’t find some form of exercise you enjoy (P.S. You’re being really stubborn and closed minded), you will enjoy how you feel as a result of it. You can’t argue with the positive feelings that fitness is proven to create. Everybody could benefit from them. Those who take the opportunity for fitness everyday already do.

Fitness is Life

How much easier would life be if we felt like we could handle it? What if we, wait for it, actually could handle it? Wouldn’t that be even better? Furthermore, what if there was something more to fitness, that translated into more than just our physicality. What if it affects our mentality? Maybe it changes our thinking? Helps us grow?

Is there an option for ALL OF THE ABOVE? Because, if so, that would be the correct choice. Do not forget, fitness isn’t something you do for an hour three times a week… Fitness is all day everyday. Fitness is life. And when you live fitness, it gives back generously.

So get out there and take your fitness by the horns. Find fitness in the mind, the body, and the soul. Live each day for the opportunity to learn, change, and grow. Take action and opportunity as they arrive. Say yes to fitness. Say yes to new life.


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The post Life is Fitness appeared first on Access Change.

Original Article: from Access Change

Sunday, 24 July 2016

25 Ways To Get Fit If You Don’t Have A Gym Membership

Fizkes / Getty Images

While there are a lot of reasons to belong to a gym (like classes and equipment options), a membership definitely isn’t essential to getting fit. No matter what your fitness goals are, there are lots of ways to shape up without stepping foot in a weight room or studio.

Whether you want to save time, cash, or you’re just not a gym person, these 25 workouts allow you to sweat it out your way on your own time. Four minutes or 30, indoor or outdoor, arms or butt, cardio or strength…the options are endless, and these workout ideas have you covered.

1. Do this strength-and-cardio circuit before breakfast to start your day off on the right foot.


Cultura RM Exclusive/Hugh Whitaker / Getty Images

This short circuit has you do one minute of push-ups, a one-minute plank hold, then one minute of squats, repeated three times. Or, sub in your favorite exercises instead—the choices are endless. Get the full workout details here.

2. Or, start your morning with this 10-minute abs series for a core-centric workout.


Emely / Getty Images

If you want to give your abs a challenge first thing in the morning, try this core-focused workout—you’ll do five exercises for 30 seconds each, then repeat that circuit four times for a 10-minute routine. Get the full workout details here.

3. And take a few minutes to perfect your form on these five basic exercises—they’re important ones.


kjohansen / Getty Images

Take some time to really master the high plank, the bodyweight squat, the push-up, the reverse lunge, and the burpee—knowing these five moves will make a world of difference in future workouts. Get all of the details here.

4. Head outside to try this seven-minute cardio jump rope routine.


Guido Mieth / Getty Images

Throw it back to your recess days with this seven-minute workout. You’ll need a jump rope obviously, then get the full details here.

5. Try an app workout, like Serena Williams’ routine from Nike+ Training Club.

Graphic by Dana Davenport; Nike Training Club App

Apps can pretty much turn your phone into a virtual personal trainer, and there are so many free routines you can download. I tried Serena Williams’ and Kevin Hart’s Nike+ Training Club workout, and in just 15 minutes, I got seriously sweaty. Read more about the workout here.

The post 25 Ways To Get Fit If You Don’t Have A Gym Membership appeared first on SELF.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Calories Matter

Calories, calories, Kilocalories!

Weight management can seem like a complicated process whether you are trying to lose body fat, gain muscle, or find a nice balance between the two. It doesn’t have to be difficult though. While there isn’t a magic solution, I can give you the next best thing. The secret to weight management is… calories!

Why do calories matter?

Weight management is controlled by two factors: how many calories you consume and how many calories you burn. When the body consumes the same amount of calories as you burn every day, you are in a state of energy balance. This isn’t typically the case though. People commonly consume more calories than they burn, which puts them into a calorie surplus. When you are in a calorie surplus, the body stores those calories for energy later in the form of either body fat or muscle.

The math of it… 3,500 calories = 1 pound

3,500 calories are equal to one pound. This can be one pound of body fat or one pound of muscle. Your body takes in calories through food and drinks that you consume then burns those calories through exercise and daily living. Yes, that’s right. You burn calories for just existing as a human being!

Since 3,500 calories are equal to one pound, an extra 3,500 calories over your burn per week, or 500 calories over your burn per day, will result in one pound of weight gained per week.  Most people don’t gain weight this quickly though, so let’s break it down further. Following this method, if you were to consume just an extra 100 calories over your calorie burn per day, a simple fun size candy bar, you would gain 10 pounds a year. Sound familiar? It doesn’t take much. A small calorie surplus every day, over the course of time, will result in weight gain.

The good news is that you can manipulate these factors. By knowing that 3,500 calories are equal to one pound, you also know that you can consume 3,500 calories less than you burn every week to lose one pound per week. This is only a deficit of 500 calories per day! For example, let’s say you burn 2000 calories every day and want to lose one pound a week. It’s just simple subtraction. 2000 – 500 = 1500. You would need to consume 1500 calories per day to lose one pound per week.

Exercise increases calorie burn and helps you lose body fat.

To achieve weight loss, you will need to be in an overall calorie deficit. This is done by consuming less calories and burning more calories. By increasing your daily calorie burn, you will immediately increase your calorie deficit and weight loss over time. This increased calorie burn can come from a combination of moving more throughout the day and targeted exercise programs.

Exercise, particularly strength training, also helps you lose body fat instead of muscle. When you are consuming a calorie deficit, the body has to draw upon stored energy for fuel. This can come from one of two places: body fat or muscle. If your body doesn’t see your muscle as necessary, it will break it down and use it as energy. This is where exercise comes into play. If you are working out and giving your body a reason to keep the muscle, it will break down the body fat and use that for energy instead.

Does is matter where the calories come from?

For general weight loss? No. A calorie is a calorie and your body cannot tell the difference if the calorie comes from broccoli or Oreo Cookies. As long as you are eating less calories than you burn, you will lose weight. Mark Haub, a nutrition professor at Kansas State University, set out to prove that, for general weight loss, it didn’t matter where the calories were coming from as long as you were on a calorie deficit. He ate 1,800 calories a day for 10 weeks, with a diet consisting of Twinkies, Doritos, and sugary cereals. After the 10 weeks were up, he lost a total of 27 pounds, proving that the body doesn’t differentiate between calorie sources. That being said, living off of Twinkies alone isn’t going to provide the nutrients that your body needs to function. If your body isn’t taking in enough protein, an overwhelming portion of the weight that is lost will be from muscle and not body fat.

Monitoring your calories is an essential component of success in any fitness goal. It takes the guessing out of weight loss and gives you the tools to take control of your health. Knowing your calorie intake and your calorie expenditure is the closest thing to a magic solution.




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Friday, 22 July 2016

Macronutrients 101 – So What?

Macros Matter

If you have read other nutrition sites then you have probably heard Macros on top of hearing about Calories. However why should we care about Macronutrients anyway? Why not just focus on only calories in and calories out? I’ll explain why and after reading this article you will think why didn’t I know this from the beginning?! As stated in Macronutrients 101, Macros are more than just types of food that provide calories. They have other uses and benefits to your body that would help in your pursuit of your health/nutrition goals.


The three Macros present in all of our foods are Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats. As we have spoken of before Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, Protein contains 4 calories per gram, and Fats contain 9 calories per gram.

Keep your eye on Carbs!

You will be able to find Carbs in items such as pasta, rice, and bread. Carbs should be present in every meal but they need to be in the appropriate quantity. One thing to know about Carbs are that they are divided into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple Carbs such as sugar are easily digestible, however complex Carbs such as vegetables and whole grains are more useful for weight loss due to the slow rate of digestion. Simple Carbs must be eaten reasonably as abuse with these can lead to significant increases in calories. A typical average proportion of Carbs in your diet should amount to 40 – 65% of your diet. Depending on your goals you should vary it anywhere within the spectrum.

Protein! Protein! Protein!

Protein is another Macronutrient you should have a good amount in your diet. Protein can come from either animals or plants. Protein is made of amino acids which each has a distinct function within the body. Another important aspect about Protein is that it provides a feeling of fullness, or satiety, that can be useful for controlling appetite and losing weight. A good average proportion of Protein in the diet is 25 – 35%.

Fats are not the bad guys!

Finally there are Fats, which are the one Macronutrient with an unfortunate name. However Fats are still an important part of your diet! Eating Fats does not cause someone to gain weight, it is the fact that Fats are more calorie dense and are abused in a typical diet. Fats are important to bodily functions such as transporting nutrients throughout the body, serving as the component for hormones like testosterone and progesterone, and providing essential fatty acids (EFA). A good average proportion of Fats in the diet is 20 – 30%.

Macronutrient Balance = Health Goal Success

There are a few aspects of each Macronutrient that are important not only for weight loss but normal bodily functions. Learning how to balance Macronutrients leads to success towards one’s goals. Counting calories will allow a person to lose weight, however long-term weight loss and health is dependent on balancing your calories while also keeping in mind your proportion of Macros. Also one last thing to always remember….. Happy Eating!




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{Snack} Strawberry Kabobs

strawberry kabobs


These little kabobs pack a lot of punch for just 103 calories!

These mini-bites can be thrown together in a snap with whatever you have on hand when you need a quick snack. It can easily be substituted with your favorites to make it your own. Use more fruit, less brownie, different fruit you like better, angel food or pound cake cubes…the options are endless. When company’s coming and you want to serve something sweet that won’t derail your lifestyle efforts, this could just be the perfect mini dish to serve.

Recipe (serves 4)

  • 4 wooden skewers
  • 8 whole washed strawberries
  • 8 brownie bites, 1” cubes
  • 4 large marshmallows

Assemble & Enjoy!

Calories: 103 calories each

Macronutrients: 2P/20C/2F

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Original Article: from Access Change