Category Archives: Fitness

3 Swolemate Valentine’s Day Ideas

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Love it or hate it, Valentines Day is upon us. And while most are running out to shop for chocolates and flowers for that special someone, some others might be more interested in an awesome gym sesh, a romantic dinner of zucchini pasta, and a special protein dessert.

Bottom line is some Valentines day date ideas are tired, overdone and about as boring as a cardio session on an elliptical. If you’re a fit couple looking for some fitness-related Valentines Day ideas, look no further.

  1. Take a hike somewhere with beautiful scenery. Check out your area and see if there are any unique hiking experiences locally. Some will even offer bungee jumping or some other type of activity to incorporate the element of surprise! Which may be a pro or con in your book. Regardless, hiking will probably leave you tired and hungry. Restaurants are going to be packed with crowds and you will most likely not be dressed for a fancy dinner anyway, so why not pack a romantic picnic with some wine to pause and take in nature’s beauty while appreciating the company of your boo?
  2. Road trip to a cool new city and check out the gym there! Some memberships, like LA Fitness will allow you to use your membership at any of their locations – even out of state. If you don’t have a membership like this, buying a day pass and lifting weights in a facility that is new to you can be a huge motivator. Bring a change of clothes because you will want to spend the rest of the day exploring the local attractions!
  3. Indoor rock climbing! Most areas have at least one place not too far away where you can do this, and most offer classes for beginners if you’re an indoor rock climbing virgin. Afterwards, grab a dinner to go, find a scenic location where you can watch the sun set. Eat, drink and cuddle your little hearts out.

If you do try any of these ideas, please share! Post a photo/video on Instagram, tag @healthy_fit_fab_guide and don’t forget your cheesy #swolemates hashtag.

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Two moves for total body strength

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1. Weighted Sumo Squats

To start, a squat is a basic lower-body exercise. Due to the activation of more than one joint and muscle, this exercise is classified as a compound exercise. When factored into a weight training program, squats give you fast gains in size and strength. When incorporating them into your training routine, there are a number of squat variations to consider based on your individualized goals—front and back squats, overhead squat, jump squat, single-leg squat, goblet squat and sumo squat (just to name a few). A sumo squat, also known as a plie squat is a variation on a standard squat and differs in two main ways—foot positioning and muscle emphasis.

The main difference between the two exercises is the placement of your feet. During a regular squat, the feet are placed hip-width apart, and the toes face forward or slightly out. When doing a sumo squat, the feet are in a wide stance with the toes turned out at an even greater angle.

Because of the foot positioning, the muscles emphasized in each of these variations differs, too. Both work the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves. However, the sumo squat places more emphasis on the inner thigh adductors, and glutes. Depending on your core strength, you may also find sumo squats an additional challenge to your balance, as you’re putting your body into a new alignment and need stability to keep from rocking forward or back on your heels.

To perform: Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, so your thighs are parallel with the floor. …
Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most from the exercise.

2. In & Out Dumbbell Bicep Curls

To develop an impressive set of biceps you need to target the muscles from every angle. That’s right, muscles. The biceps brachii (long and short heads), as well as the medial head and brachioradialis (forearm) must all receive some (tough and exhausting) love in order for you to achieve attention-grabbing guns. The perk of this one is that you will feel these in your entire arms, including your shoulders… not just you biceps. Hello tank top arms!

To perform: Weights by your side, lift and do a normal bicep curl and back down, then turn your hands facing out and do a bicep curl. That is one rep.

Check out the demo video here:

 

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

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Do you have a plan? How about a goal?

Having a goal is great, but having a goal and a plan to achieve it is even better.

I’m serious about helping you reach your goals! That’s why I’ve created an 8-week fitness program, which I’m excited to present to you now available for sale right here, along with Healthy Fit and Fab’s already massive library of articles focused on fitness training, yoga, meditation, supplementation recommendations, and healthy recipes that minimize harmful effects to our planet. I’m providing you with a workout plan—complete with daily access to total wellness information—to guide you toward success. This plan is sure to transform your body and your lifestyle.

Here’s a sample of what your 8 weeks will look like:

Calendar

You will need:

  • Access to a gym or fitness studio/club with the equipment listed in this fitness schedule.
  • Equipment including, but not limited to, dumbbells, stability ball, resistance band, bench and/or step.

Your fitness package includes:

  • 8 week fitness schedule.
  • FREE lifetime online support from your wellness coach.
  • FREE access to a library of fitness tips, videos and healthy recipes.

Your fitness package does not include:

  • Your personal gym membership.
  • Any fitness equipment needed for the exercise.

Purchase your transformation here:

 

8-Week Warrior Fitness Schedule

Plan will be sent to the email account linked to your PayPal.

$125.00

Still not sure?

Check out these amazing transformations!

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General Disclaimer:

You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. Do not start this fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise. Healthy Fit & Fab offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. Healthy Fit & Fab is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk. Developments in medical research may impact the health, fitness and nutritional advice that appears here. No assurance can be given that the advice contained in this site will always include the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular material. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release Healthy Fit & Fab from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Healthy Fit & Fab’s negligence. If you are in the United States and think you are having a medical or health emergency, call your health care professional, or 911, immediately.

The fat-burning heart-rate zone myth: How exercise & weight loss really work.

If you’re the kind of exerciser who constantly checks your heart rate to ensure you’re in the fat-burning zone, you should stop. You’ll probably never meet your weight-loss goals that way. That’s because there’s no special fat-burning zone that’s key to getting lean. Here’s what you need to know about the myth and about the true relationship between exercise and weight loss.

A burning question

Yes, we know. If you look at the wall charts or cardio equipment in a gym, or listen to many personal trainers, you’ll be indoctrinated about the “fat-burning zone.” The standard advice for getting in this zone is to workout at about 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. That level of exertion is relatively low intensity; most people can talk in complete sentences while exercising at it. Working in this zone, it’s said, will burn more fat and result in greater long-term weight loss, compared with doing the same exercise at higher intensities.

There’s substance to part of this claim. Your body primarily fuels itself by burning a mix of stored fat and carbohydrates. The less active you are at a given moment, the greater the percentage of that fuel mix comes from fat. As your intensity of activity increases, the percentage of carbohydrates in that fuel mix also increases. At rest, fat constitutes as much as 85 percent of calories burned. That figure shifts to about 70 percent at an easy walking pace. If you transition to a moderate-effort run, the mix becomes about 50 percent fat and 50 percent carbohydrates, and it moves increasingly toward carbohydrates the faster you go.

So, it’s true that at some workout intensities, you’re burning a higher percentage of fat than at other intensities. But that doesn’t mean this biological process is the key to losing weight from exercise. Experts explain that those who believe in a lard-melting zone simply aren’t seeing the forest — i.e., what it really takes to lose weight — for the fat-burning trees. They’re forgetting about calories.

Get out of the zone

First, although it might sound better for weight loss to burn a higher percentage of fat, the real-world effect of that intensity on your body composition is next to nil. “The idea that all of a sudden when you hit this zone the fat is just being sucked out of your system is simplistic,” says Christopher Breen, an exercise physiologist and online coach in Long Island. “That completely ignores that losing or maintaining weight is basically a matter of calories in versus calories out.”

If the key determinant of weight loss were the percentage of fat you’re burning, then your best bet would be to remain still, because that’s when you’re burning the highest percentage of fat relative to carbohydrates. But, as Breen says, total calories burned is what matters, and that fact leads to the second big problem with the fat-burning zone.

“If you’re exercising at this lower intensity, you’re burning fewer calories per minute,” says Christine Brooks, a University of Florida adjunct instructor and the coaching science coordinator for USA Track & Field. “The average person walking for an hour is going to burn only a couple hundred calories.” In that time, you could burn more than twice as many calories running, cycling or using an elliptical machine at a moderate intensity.

Let’s be real: When you schedule a workout, you probably think in terms of time, not number of calories burned. So, in the likely scenario that you have 30 or 45 minutes for exercise before or after work, you’re just not going to burn that many calories if you spend that time in the would-be fat-burning zone. “I’m all for people being more active, but most aren’t going to regularly put in the time at a lower intensity to create a calorie deficit,” Brooks says.

Also, if you want to get all geeky, the math argues against the fat-burning zone. Walk two miles in an hour, and you’ll burn about 200 calories, with roughly 140 of them fueled by fat. Cycle moderately for that time, and you’ll burn about 500 calories, with about 250 of them fueled by fat — so you’ll burn more calories and more fat. “When I worked with people in a gym, I would tell them, ‘Ultimately, it’s a matter of calories; the fat burn will take care of itself,’ ” Breen says.

Another chit for more vigorous workouts: You get an after-burn effect. “You maintain a higher metabolic rate after higher ­intensity exercise,” Brooks says. “The reason is that more damage is being done to various systems, so you have an increased heart rate while the body is making its necessary repairs.”

Get the balance right

“I have a real beef with the way this fat-burning idea is promoted,” Brooks says. “It’s a very strange way to talk about exercise.” She and Breen agree that the myth persists because it’s an easy concept to grasp. “It’s a way of making exercise machines more appealing — if I’m working at this speed, I’ll burn more fat than at another speed,” Breen says.

None of this is to suggest low-intensity exercise is a waste of time. Even the top athletes in the world regularly and purposefully work out at a light effort. A gentle jog or easy spin is a great way to clear your head, get reenergized, improve your health, spend time with friends and family, and, yes, burn some calories.

“Mix it up,” Breen says about structuring your workouts. “Have some harder, high-intensity days, followed by easier, low-intensity recovery days.” Also aim for different durations. When you have the time, do longer workouts at a comfortable level of effort. When you’re pressed for time, work a little harder. The table in our guide to heart-rate training will help you construct a well-rounded exercise program.

Variety in your workouts will keep you fresher physically and mentally than if you do the same thing day after day after day. That freshness will make it more likely that you exercise consistently. And that’s the zone that will result in long-term weight loss.

Scott Douglas is a contributing writer for Runner’s World and the author of several books, including “Running Is My Therapy .” Follow him on Twitter: @mescottdouglas .

How To Expand Your Consciousness Past Your Physical Experience

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Hey HFF viewers!! I know I haven’t posted in a while. Okay, a LONG while. About a year to be exact. I’ve been working on some really exciting things to share with you that are coming very soon! The thing I’m most excited about is that I have worked up 2- eight week fitness plans to share with ya’ll that will be available for purchase right here on healthyfitfabguide.com! Yayyy!

In the meantime, I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something that we haven’t talked about much, but that I believe has the utmost importance when it comes to our degree of wellness. Now, before we dig into this, I’m asking you to have an open mind. I know that for a lot of people, as soon as the word “meditation” comes up, your mind automatically goes to a place of weird, tree-hugger, spiritual guru nonsense… But listen, I’m telling you there is really something to this.

Over the last few years, I’ve really been digging deep into yoga and meditation and experimenting with various types and degrees of both. As you may know, the two often go hand-in-hand as I believe that yoga, especially “Yin” is really a stepping stone directly into a meditative state. Not only does Yoga help to stretch and strengthen your muscles and the deep connective tissues within the body, but it also helps slow your mind and align your entire being, mentally, spiritually and physically. It allows you to feel grounded, centered, secure, and connected with life and the creator of life… however you think/believe in that creator. This is not religion-specific. This is literally for everyone! The transformation that you can realize in yourself, even after a few weeks, is something truly worth trying to achieve. Less anxiety, better sleep, better relationships, less irritability, more control over your own experiences, and a deep feeling of love and connection… If that’s not something worth at least experimenting with, then you can stop reading now.

So, let’s start with meditation. What is meditation? How do you do it? Well the truth is that the answer is different for everyone. For some people, praying is meditation. Some people like to focus on a mantra, a desire, a good feeling, and empty the mind of everything else. Meditation is really just getting to know your inner self. (mind, body, spirit connection) The most important thing to realize is that meditation is a “practice”. This means that it is not something that comes easy at first, you must work at it. And the more you do, the more you realize that you’re getting better at it, and start noticing subtle changes in your life. You have to give up any thoughts of “Am I doing this right?” and just focus and be mindful of your own unique experience. The fact that there are tremendous benefits to strengthening this practice/skill/whatever you’d like to call it is impossible to ignore.  Research has shown that monks who meditate for thousands of hours alter the structure of their brains and significantly decrease emotionally reactive behavior. However, we in Western cultures are trained to think that we don’t have the time or patience for these types of practices. We don’t have much free time, and the time we have is far too precious to spend it sitting and doing nothing, right? WRONG!! The fact is, the less time and patience you think you have for it, the more you need it! Last year Harvard research found that even those who had never before meditated, saw benefits in five different regions of the brain from just 30 minutes of practice per day, over the course of eight weeks. There are different types of meditation, so it’s important to find the type that is right for you. I’ll go over some of them briefly.

  1. Mindfulness – Here, you train your mind by focusing on your breath, or on sensations in the body. The goal is to purposely pay close attention to your experience with acceptance, patience and compassion. By intentionally focusing into the moment, we train ourselves to live less on auto-pilot, be more present in our own lives, and more comfortable in our own bodies. This type of meditation helps you to increase focus and release stress. This is a meditation you can even do while doing other things like walking or commuting. Although it is best done sitting in a comfortable, quiet place where it is easier to focus.
  2. Loving Kindness – This one’s pretty simple. It’s all about surrounding yourself with love. Connecting to the infinite loving power, or God if you so choose, and sending good thoughts, care, kindness, and love out to the universe and others. You start by focusing your attention on your chest area or “heart chakra”. As you focus on your inhales and exhales, you can imagine this area expanding and sending out love. Mantras such as “I am loved”, ” I am happy”, “I am grateful”, “I am safe” or “I am surrounded by love every day” can help this process. This type of meditation can decrease self-criticism, release emotional tension and blocks, and reduce risks for tension-related health issues like migraines. Also, the more love and gratitude you send out into the universe, the more love and things to be grateful for come back to you like a boomerang. BOOM! Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
  3. Moving – If you really cannot fathom sitting still for 20-30 minutes, then there are also physical practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, which involve mindfulness, breath work, and movement. If you’re not sure where to start, you can sign up for a yoga or tai chi class. Or, if you’re still shy of doing these with other people present, just try searching YouTube for videos you can do at home. In any of these physical practices, you link breath to movement, which encourages a mind-body connection and focuses your attention on the present moment, which is the ultimate goal of all meditation.

I’ve found that a combination of Mindfulness, Loving Kindness and Yin Yoga works best for me, but it is different for everyone. Yin is a practice that encourages slowing down and introducing the kind of stillness that can lead to the expansion of consciousness. It’s a nice counter-balance to the intense physical practice I’m incorporating into my daily routine. When we do high-intensity workouts, we’re activating the sympathetic nervous system, which if not countered, can lead to anxiety, anger, aggression and competitiveness. Yin works to activate our parasympathetic nervous system which switches our body into a “rest and digest” mode, so that we don’t get stuck in that “go go go” mode which can be stressful and exhausting. Yin not only counter-balances the intense workouts we’re incorporating in our lives, but releases emotions and tensions that we are holding deep within our body and mind. It changes the patterns we’ve created in our body from feeling constricted, to feeling free. It releases our entire being in layers from physical muscles and organs, to emotional and spiritual blocks, allowing for an expanding of consciousness.

There is a direct connection between our physical, spiritual and emotional health. The amazing thing about these practices is that in practicing them, you are able to take the lessons you learn during your yoga/meditation and apply them more easily to your life. This allows you to slow down, be more aware and make better choices day-to-day. I will be getting more into this in future posts as I start posting yoga videos and sharing a few accounts, apps, etc. that have helped me in this journey, and will hopefully help you as well! But for now, I urge you to watch the short video below that I thought was a cool intro.

Video Here

We can’t talk about health, fitness and wellness and not dig into this critical factor. I’m really looking forward to sharing with you some of the amazing things in the works for Healthy Fit & Fab. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please click the “follow” button at the top of the right-hand banner here and do so. As always, feel free to comment, or contact me via the contact tab at the top of the site to let me know anything you are interested in discussing or may have questions about.

Til next time! 🙂

How To Survive the New Year Gym Resolutioners


Is there anything worse than being a die-hard gym “regular” showing up on a “regular” day for your “regular” workout only to realize the gym has been taken over by newbies, and there doesn’t seem to be one single machine available that you need? I know this can be frustrating, but try to remember these are people who are trying to make positive changes in their lives, and dealing with your obvious frustration isn’t making them feel any better about achieving their new fitness goals. Don’t you want to live in a world full of people who are healthier? For those of us who have been a gym rat for so long that we can’t even remember what it’s like to be one of those newbies starting out, trying to get on track with a healthier lifestyle… It is our job to be supportive and help motivate people to keep at it. But how do we keep up with our own goals when we only have one hour to work out and there aren’t any machines open!? I hear you. Here are three tips to help you survive the “resolutioners” until some of them drop out. 

1. Free Weights: The use of free-weights is a great way to still get your complete workout done, without waiting for a half-hour at a time for people to get off the machine you need. You can work every muscle group you need to, and all you need is a couple dumbbells and a corner of the room big enough for you to lunge out in either direction. Don’t believe me? I’ve been doing total body workouts with free weights for years, and the longer I’ve been doing it, the more new and innovative ways I am able to come up with to work different muscle groups. Flys, presses, curls, squats, lunges, deadlifts, and the list goes on! If you want to get your heart rate up even more, try incorporating compound movements into your exercises. If your weight is heavy enough, you are able to get the same (and sometimes better) results than with machines.

2. Camp Out: No, I don’t mean sit down on a bench and sulk or stare down the person who jumped on your machine until they make eye contact and you can give them the, “That’s right I’m waiting” look. No need to be rude. What I mean by camping out is this: There are several machines at the gym where you can get a total body workout by using it in different ways. If you are patient and wait for these to open up, you can camp out on them until you have completed your entire workout. But be warned, you may have to deal with the same, “That’s right I’m waiting” looks from others. Here are two of my favorite examples:

A. The Cable Cross Machine: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this machine. You can use the cables to do chest pressses, bicep curls, tricep presses, lateral shoulder raises, cable squats, assisted one-legged squats, butt kickbacks, lunge step-outs, cable ab crunches, etc. There are even ways to do the same muscle group in various ways on this machine. 


B. The Assisted Chin-Up Machine: Chin-ups in and of themselves work a variety of muscles. If you alternate your hand position, you are getting even more of a variety. On this machine, you can also do tricep dips, and work your legs and butt by doing push-downs. To work your abs, you can put the leg part down and turn around to do hanging crunches. Work all four of these into Supersets and you’ve got most of your workout done already. 


These are only a couple examples, but you are a pro gym-rat by now right? Just think creatively and you can figure out how to use the machines in different ways than what the sticker shows. 

3. Home Workouts: The last technique I will talk about when it comes to surviving the resolutioners appeals to some more than others. Home workouts are a fantastic way to fit an entire workout into a tight schedule without panicking because the gym is packed. If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have a lot of what you need already. A pair of dumbbells, a resistance band, maybe a stability ball… If you don’t, these things are not expensive and can be found at WalMart. Not difficult to obtain. You know what you need to work on. You can achieve most of what you need to do by using these three items. If you’re not sure how, Google is your best friend, and YouTube is a close second. If you want a more tailored workout and need it quickly, that’s what I’m here for. You can contact me and we will figure out what you need together. 

All things considered, the bottom line is that it’s already half-way through January and sadly, most of these people will drop off. Hang in there and you will have your gym back very soon. 

Leg Circuit

It’s #WorkoutWednesday! How about a simple leg circuit… because every day is leg day! Do 4-5 sets. You can do more than 10 reps for each move, and you can also add dumbbells to your step-ups if you wish. I guarantee you’ll feel it tomorrow!

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