High Energy Workouts for a Head Start on Swimsuit Season

High Energy Workouts for a Head Start on Swimsuit Season

Getting Fit for Swimsuit Season 

For a solid high-energy workout, you’ve got to put in the work! Even if you’re not keeping up with the class or if you’re running a slow mile compared to someone else, putting in the best that you can do means you’re getting an amazing workout. 

Your body is always competing with its own personal best. If you are challenging yourself in a way you haven’t been challenged before, then you’re doing things right! This can mean that you’re doing one more pushup when you thought you were ready to quit or running your mile a couple seconds faster than you did the last time. Strive to outdo yourself in bits and pieces and you’re bound to get more out of your workout! 

That being said, we know it’s easier to give that little bit extra when you have a game plan. Here are some options to help keep you moving until the last second of your workout! 

Circuit Training

Circuit Training tasks your body to perform a series of exercises back to back before a brief period of rest. This workout model is intense, not only because it works multiple muscle groups over the course of the workout, but because it requires you to keeping moving all the way through. If you’re really feeling ambitious you can even throw in some cardio before you start your circuit. 

A sample workout could look like this: Complete 8 to 15 reps performing the Leg Press, then the Chest Fly, then the Glute Kickback, and end with Bicep Curls. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times. 

View this circuit, and additional samples of this training model, here. 

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises can be upper body or lower body focused. It’s all about building up your movement from slow and controlled to explosive and powerful. Plyometrics are great for generating speed, but to accomplish this, your body will need to expend a lot of energy to move the way you’re asking it to 

Lower-Body PlyometricsThese are exercises like box jumps, jump squats, and switch jumps. The sudden explosion of energy required to jump is what makes these exercises plyometric movements. You can even add a medicine ball to increase the intensity. Click to view some medicine ball plyometrics. 

Upper-Body Plyometrics – These focus less on jumping and more on generating power from your upper body. An example of this would be a clap push-up or a medicine ball wall throw and catch. You can view these and more upper body plyometric workouts here. 

Drop Sets

A drop set is several repetitions of the same exercise that you perform until failure. You are essentially pushing a single muscle group as far as it can go. To help pull you through this kind of workout, drop sets are designed to allow you to drop the intensity of your movement with each set. For example, once you’ve done as many as you can do at a certain level of resistance, you allow yourself to continue by decreasing the resistance and performing another set.  

The best way to perform these is on machines because you can more easily manipulate how much weight you’re carrying, and you’ll have a safe way to release the weight when your muscles finish their last possible rep.  

View some sample drop set workouts here. 

For more articles like this one, and to keep up to date on our fitness, nutrition, and wellness articles, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, today! 

How Laughter Improves Your Health

How Laughter Improves Your Health

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” is widely known, but how did it come about? What are the reasons behind its presumed healing properties? Apparently, there’s some science behind this old saying. Laughter really does have the ability to boost your wellness! Not only can it improve your mood, it can also encourage blood flow, heighten your immunity, increase your intellectual performance, and set you up for a better night’s rest.1 

Tomorrow is National “Let’s Laugh” Day. Make some time to go down to a comedy club or to watch your favorite comedy at home. As you’ll soon learn, a little joy can go a long way! 

Blood Flow Benefits

Laughter can actually impact your physiology. To examine this, the University of Maryland Medical Center invited volunteers to watch funny and disturbing movies. While watching the movie that produced mental stress, the group developed a reduction of blood flow from the narrowing of their blood vessels. The opposite reaction was observed when they watched a movie that made them laugh. Their blood vessels dilated which increased blood flow. 

The endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels that is expanding or constricting, plays an important role in cardiovascular health. It’s plausible that laughter can help keep it healthy which, in turn, can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.2 

Immunity 

Stress is known to lower your body’s ability to protect itself. Positive, stressreducing thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses.3 In addition to that, a study on laughter therapy found that laughing increases the number and activity level of natural killer cells that attack viral infected cells and even certain kinds of tumor and cancer cells.4 This means that laughter can naturally beef up your body’s defense mechanisms. Those are some powerful benefits!  

Intellectual Performance

Have you ever sat down to an exam, a difficult assignment, or a meeting, and felt too anxious to really give it your best? Laughter can help you improve your intellectual performance because it helps relieve your anxiety! In an experiment that tested this concept, participants who were exposed to funny cartoons before a mathematics exam performed better than participants who did not have this exposure.5 When anxiety cannot impair your thinking, it is easier to perform intellectual tasks. 

Better Sleep

Because laughter stimulates blood circulation and helps your muscles relax, physical symptoms of stress are allowed to dissipate.3 Reducing your stress levels can help your body reach the state of relaxation it needs in order to fall asleep and to sleep more restfully. A key finding among studies that examined laughter therapy and its effects on depression and sleep was that once a week was insufficient. Laughter therapy provided more than twice a week was shown to improve both depression and quality of sleep in participants.6 

It seems the old saying has some merit! Even if some of its effects are minor or gradual, there’s no doubt the body can benefit from a good laugh. Read up on more interesting health topics and stay in-the-know by subscribing to our monthly newsletter! 

Nutritious Green Foods You Didn’t Know About

Nutritious Green Foods You Didn’t Know About

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Today we’re all about those healthy greens! We’ve got some interesting fruits and veggies to share, and they’re not your everyday choices. We’re pretty sure you’ll come across at least one you either haven’t heard of or haven’t considered putting on your plate! 

Good nutrition is all about variety, so pick out one of these fresh choices and see what delicious creation you can devise.

Nutritious Green Veggies

Purslane

Purslane is technically an edible succulent. Its leaves are tender yet crisp and even the stem is edible. In many parts of the world, purslane is considered a weed and is plucked and discarded. Throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, however, it is widely consumed.1 Whether you regard it as a delicious veggie or a weed for the discard pile is up to your taste preferences.  

Purslane’s flavor is lemony and, when fresh, its texture holds up well to acidic salad dressings. Not only does it taste good, it’s highly nutritious. According to recent research, purslane contains significant levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (5 times more than spinach!) and more Vitamin A than any other leafy green vegetable! 

Enjoy purslane in a fresh salad, in your sandwich, or even in soups and stews. 

Turnip Greens

Turnips are a root vegetable and they’re commonly enjoyed fresh, cooked, or pickled. The star of the show today, however, is the green top! Turnip greens can be consumed as a cruciferous vegetable.  

Like other bitter greens, these will have to be boiled down to be palatable.2 The extra effort is worth it because the turnip top is even more nutritious than the root. According to Healthline, the greens contain significant amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Provitamin A (a substance that gets turned into Vitamin A), and Folate (which aids in the production of red blood cells). 

Try turnip greens sautéed or in a soup! 

Beet Greens

As with turnips, the beet root is the more commonly consumed part of this plant, but you don’t want to miss out on all the nutrients in the leafy green tops! Just one cup of these cooked greens offers 220% of the daily value of Vitamin A, 37% of the daily value of Potassium, and 17% of the daily value of fiber!3 

Unlike turnip greens, these are sweeter and have a similar flavor profile to spinach once they’ve been cooked. Raw, they’ll hold a slight but tolerable bitterness. Try them sautéed, in a salad, or in soup! 

Dandelion Greens

You may recognize these as difficult to eradicate weeds, but did you know the leafy parts, the roots, and even the flowers are edible?4 Assuming they haven’t been treated with chemicals or herbicides, dandelion greens can be a healthy addition to your plate!  

Per serving, they contain over 500% of your daily value of Vitamin K as well as high levels of Vitamins A and C.5 There’s even some research to support their ability to support healthy digestion and treat constipation.4  

Flavor-wise, these are slightly bitter. They can be best compared to the earthy flavors of endives and are often sautéed or braised to help cut the bitterness. 

Kohlrabi

Finally steering away from bitter greens, we’d like to introduce you to Kohlrabi. This is a small vegetable that has been a staple of German cuisine for centuries. It can be eaten raw or cooked and its flavor is similar to that of a broccoli stem.6  

Like many other cruciferous veggies, this little bulb is a good source of fiber. It’s also rich in antioxidants, iron, and potassium!6 

Use the root in the same way you might use carrots or broccoli, and the leaves in the same way you might use kale or spinach.

Nutritious Green Fruits

Cherimoya

Despite its scaly appearance, this fruit is soft to the touch. Get past its artichoke-style exterior and you’ll find pockets of sweet and creamy fruit within! Because of its sweetness, cherimoya also goes by the colloquial name, “custard apple.” Be careful to avoid eating the skin and the seeds (they’re usually large and easy to see and remove). Both contain small amounts of toxins that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities 

Interesting benefits of this fruit include mood and immunity boosting properties. Vitamin B6 is important to the creation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and this fruit happens to have a generous amount of this essential vitamin!7 In terms of immune health, cherimoya’s high Vitamin C content can help bolster your body’s natural defenses. 

Chayote Squash

This fruit masquerades as a vegetable and is often used as one! Its mild, somewhat sweet, flavor makes it the star of many Mexican, Indian, and Latin American dishes.8 

In addition to a number of good vitamins and minerals, chayote squash has some possible medicinal qualities. While more research is needed to come to any definitive conclusions, there are records of chayote squash tea being used to lower blood pressure and to treat bloating.8 

Kiwano

This melon goes by many names and, while it isn’t green on the outside, it’s lime green inside earns it a spot on our list. You may have heard it going by the name “horned melon” or “African cucumber.”  

This fruit is great for keeping hydrated. Its water content is a whopping 88% and it also contains carbs and electrolytes that can help keep you fueled and hydrated after a hard workout.9 When it’s ripe, this melon tastes a bit like cucumber with a slight hint of banana. The easiest way to eat it is simply to cut it in half and spoon out the pulp. 

Do you have a favorite healthy recipe that highlights one of these fruits or veggies? Share your idea with us in the comments below! To stay in-the-know on trending health and nutrition topics, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the Living Healthy Blog! 

From Craving Chocolate to Paving New Roads

From Craving Chocolate to Paving New Roads

“Back then, what I thought was healthy for me, wasn’t. I wanted to be healthier for my children and set a good example.

Waleska M.

Waleska is a mom with 2 part-time jobs who decided it was time to change the direction her weight was headed. In our interview with her, she shares how, even when surrounded by unhealthy food choices, she was able to decide on a lifestyle change and stick to it until she lost over 60 pounds! If you’re worried that you can’t make time for your health goals or that your environment hosts too many temptations to set you up for success, you need to read Waleska’s story! 

From Craving Chocolate to Paving New Roads 

My fitness journey started about 5 years ago,” explains Waleska. I was very overweight, and I realized I had to make a change when I gained 20 pounds in a single month. At the time, I worked for a chocolate company. I ate many chocolate chip cookies, drank hot chocolate, ate ice cream, and just overate when I was bored; but the chocolate boutique was the culprit. 

Back then, what I thought was healthy for me, wasn’t. I wanted to be healthier for my children and set a good example. 

Early Mornings at the Gym 

Once she realized her health was on the line and decided to be healthier for her kids, she started to plan around her existing schedule. My fitness routine starts in the morning right after my kids leave for school [and] I try to get it done before I start work. 

I first start off with a 5-10 min warm up on the treadmill or elliptical. I like to mix it up to avoid boredom, so I tend to alternate between lifting and calisthenics. I like to do overhead presses with squats, bicep curls, deadlifts, and chest flies. If I can’t make it to the gym, I try to do a 30minute workout video from YouTube like “Strong by Zumba. 

The important trend to notice here is in Waleska’s commitment to consistency. If she can fit gym time into her schedule, she’s got a backup plan and she sticks to it! 

 The Goal to Inspire 

Oftentimes we worry that we’ll have a hard time adjusting or adhering to whatever health goal we’re trying to accomplish. However, Waleska’s experience is a great example of how a healthy lifestyle is possible when you focus on what you love about it.

I enjoy working out and I’ve lost more than 60 pounds with physical activity and by watching what I eat,” she explains. I enjoy working with others, so I am currently studying to become a personal trainer to help others with their journey.  

In the end, the most important thing is that you “never give up” and that you “keep going, she exclaims. We all have the power within us to succeed in what we want to do! 

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post! 

For grammatical correctness, length, and clarity, minor edits – none of which alter the original or intended meaning – have been made to the quotes provided. 


Recommended Reading

10 Everyday Items That are Covered in Germs

10 Everyday Items That are Covered in Germs

Good health starts with good hygiene practices. Many of these everyday items are not our first thought when we think of germs, but if you know it’s there, you can do more to protect yourself from illnesscausing pathogens. Promote healthy living by keeping your immune system strong with nutritious food and regular exercise, and by washing your hands often (especially after touching or using any of these germy everyday items). 

Cash

Cash is notoriously germy and can carry potential pathogens like E. Coli, Staph bacteria, and salmonella.1 While you won’t get sick just from touching it, you can get sick if you eat or if you touch your nose or mouth before washing your hands.

Cellphone

Be truthful with yourself for just a minute. Has your phone accompanied you to the bathroom even once? Even if it hasn’t, research has found that phones carry tons of bacteria, including the kind that cause strep throat, the flu, and yeast infections.2 It’s a good idea to sanitize your phone regularly! You can use an alcohol-based wipe or a cotton ball with a light coating of rubbing alcohol.

Your Purse, Backpack, or Wallet

These items go everywhere with you. Your purse or backpack will often go to the bathroom with you, get set on the floor, and carry germy items like your phone and cash. Your wallet is no exception, especially if you carry it in your pocket where the warmth and humidity created by your body provides the right environment for bacterial growth.

Pin Pads

Every time you purchase something and use a pin pad or other electronic check-out device, you are touching something that hundreds of others have touched too. They aren’t sanitized between each guest, so we’re not surprised at the research that states there are as many bacteria on pin pads as there are on toilet seats!3

Remote Control

When you get home and just want to wind down with some of your favorite shows, you may want to consider what’s living on your remote control. When was the last time you wiped it down? If you’ve ever munched on snacks while watching T.V., you may have grabbed the remote to turn down the volume or changed the channel when your hands weren’t exactly clean. We all know what loves to live on sticky, oily, foodcovered surfaces.

The Gasoline Pump

The gas pump is packed with germs, probably because they’re never or rarely cleaned! A study by the University of Arizona found astoundingly high numbers of microbes on gas pump handles. 71% of the inspected handles had microbes associated with illness and disease.4

Refrigerator and Microwave Doors

For the same reason you want to clean other surfaces that come into contact with food, you’ll want to clean your refrigerator and microwave doors. Not only are they commonly touched, but you may be touching them when you’re in the middle of food prep. Washing your hands before you eat is a good way to keep bacteria that was on your hands from entering your body. Follow the same principle for the surfaces you touch just before you eat.

Air Dryers

Air dryers in public restrooms circulate the bacteria in the air and deposit it on your freshly washed hands. According to Healthline, the bacteria doesn’t come from within the air dryer itself. The movement of air essentially collects the freefloating bacteria5 (which is already going to be more plentiful in a public space). Your best bet is to dry with paper towels. Fortunately, more and more tree-free products are hitting the market, so you don’t have to feel too guilty.

Toothbrush Holders

Because it’s so close to the toilet, your toothbrush holder can be teaming with bacteria. One flush can unleash fecescontaining aerosols6 from the toilet and release them into the bathroom where they can land on anything. Considering it holds a brush that goes in your mouth, try sanitizing it by popping it in the dishwasher (if it’s dishwasher safe) or washing it with hot soapy water. 

For more articles like this one, and to keep up to date on our fitness, nutrition, and wellness articles, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, today! 

SUBSCRIBE TO

LIVING HEALTHY

Be the first to know about exclusive

content, deals and promotions

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest