Tag Archives: exercise

9 completely natural remedies for anxiety

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Have you ever felt like this? Anxiety is defined as intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. It can be characterized by symptoms such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, trouble sleeping and feeling tired.

Anxiety is at an all time high in our current society. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
  • Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.

The bottom line is with today’s fast-paced, demanding society, people are experiencing increased levels of anxiety from the time they are children throughout all stages of life. This is a huge issue for a lot of people!

As someone who has experienced general anxiety through a lot of life, I truly believe that exercise, yoga and meditation go to great lengths to combat anxiety and combination anxiety/depression disorders. However, there are additional herbal and completely natural remedies you can supplement with to help control the symptoms of anxiety.

Valerian Root

Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis, is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, which contains a substance known as valerenic acid. Valerenic acid affects gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which control fear or anxiety experienced when nerve cells are overexcited. This ancient remedy dates all the way back to the Greek and Roman Empires when it was used by Hippocrates to treat headaches, nervousness, trembling and heart palpitations. Modern day alternative practitioners believe that it can treat insomnia, anxiety, headaches, digestive problems, menopause symptoms, and post-exercise muscle pain and fatigue. Its natural affects are similar to those of Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam) which also act on GABA receptors, but Valerian has many fewer side effects than going the chemical route. The average person will notice the effects in about 30 minutes. It’s best to try this herb before bedtime as it has been known to cause drowsiness and it could put you right to sleep. Oh, you should probably also be aware that this does not smell pleasant. It has an odor similar to stinky feet. But, if you can get past it for 2 seconds and swallow the pill, you’ll be G2G.

Hops

When the flowering part of this plant is dried, it can be used as a supplement to treat anxiety, insomnia and other sleep disorders, restlessness, tension, excitability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nervousness, and irritability. Some research suggests that taking a combination of hops extract plus valerian extract at bedtime helps some people fall asleep faster. However, this will not take effect immediately. It appears to take 28 days of treatment to see these benefits taking hops alone. However, a combination of valerian extract and hops extract seems to improve sleep quality similarly to bromazepam (Lexotanil) when taken for only 14 days.

Passionflower

Native Americans have used passionflower for various ailments, BUT there are currently about 500 species of passionflower that we are aware of. Not all of them will help an anxious mind. If you go this route, aim for Passiflora incarnata, which is the only known strand that may treat anxiety and insomnia. P. incarnata may be listed in different ways, including purple passionflower and maypop. It appears to boost the level of GABA in your brain, similar to valerian. However, my experience with passionflower has been that it has minimal effect compared to valerian root. This could be because according to studies, participants didn’t notice improvements until they had been drinking a daily dose of purple passionflower tea for 7 days. Still, a more gentle option to try that can be utilized throughout the day as opposed to just bedtime.

Lavender

Lavender is an herb native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. When the flower spikes of certain lavender species are distilled, it creates an essential oil which can be used to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression and restlessness. Lavender oil has many beauty benefits to the skin and hair, but when used to treat anxiety, it is most commonly used as aromatherapy. The lavender scent can be used as an effective instant anxiety reducer whenever and wherever you need a little calm.

California Poppy

California poppy is a plant that is native to southwestern United States. While it is often confused with the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), Eschscholzia californica is related, but much more gentle. It can alleviate anxiety when used in combination with other herbs and the mineral magnesium. In addition to having a promising effect on anxiety, protopine and allocryptopine alkaloids were also found to block human serotonin and noradrenaline transporters and possess antidepressant-like effects.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is classified as an “adaptogen,” meaning that it can help your body manage stress. “Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength. Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it’s also known by several other names, including Indian ginseng and winter cherry. The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and North Africa. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions. For example, it can lower blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol, boost brain function and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression. Researchers reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the supplemental group reported a 69% average reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to 11% in the placebo group. In another six-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared to 50% of those who took a placebo.

St. John’s Wort

This is one of the most effective supplements to manage anxiety and even depression. However, there are a lot of warnings because it can interact with many medications, and make you more sensitive to UV rays. St. John’s wort is a flowering plant named because the bright yellow flowers were said to bloom for the first time around St. John the Baptist’s birthday. The word “wort” means “plant” in Old English. In a study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers looked at 29 previously published clinical trials (with a total of 5489 participants) that compared the effects of St. John’s wort to a placebo or standard antidepressant medication for a period of four to 12 weeks. They found that the effects were equal to that of standard antidepressants, but obviously had less side effects. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to conceive, or you are taking oral contraceptives or any other medication, it’s important to talk with your doctor before taking St. John’s Wort.

Skullcap

Skullcap (sometimes spelled scullcap) is the common name for Scutellaria, a genus of flowering plants in the mint family. The name is derived from the Latin word scutella, which means “little dish,” as the small flowers of these plants have a dish-like shape. Skullcap is not to be confused with death caps, which are a highly poisonous mushroom. The leaves of American skullcap have been used in traditional herbal medicine as a sedative and to treat conditions like anxiety and convulsions. The plant was frequently used by Native Americans for its powerful medicinal properties. It is sold in capsules, powders, and liquid extracts. Dried parts of the plant, such as its leaves, are likewise used to brew tea.

CBD Oil

CBD is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical found naturally in marijuana and hemp plants. Not to be confused with THC, which is the hallucinogen that causes a “high”, CBD oil is thought to work with a brain receptor called CB1. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond. Several studies suggest potential benefits of CBD for anxiety, although there is much more research to be conducted to understand exactly how this works. Studies have also shown some benefits for other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD may also help treat anxiety-induced insomnia. CBD oil isn’t my favorite natural remedy because I noticed more long-term anxiety from extended use. So, always be careful and take note of how you feel when trying any new supplement, especially one that has so much more research to be done. CBD is generally considered safe. However, some people who take CBD may experience side effects, including:

  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • sleeping difficulties
  • mood changes
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • fatigue

Conclusion

There are many natural ways, physical, mental and supplemental to chill out and start feeling better. As a disclaimer, this information should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical disorder and is for informational purposes only. But, if you’re experiencing heightened anxiety and don’t like the idea of introducing harsh unnatural chemicals to your body and brain, these are some good tried and tested options to consider. Take control of your anxiety instead of letting the anxiety take control of you.

 

 

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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.

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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The Ultimate Guide to Motivational Podcasts

Four years ago, I listened to my very first podcast episode.

At the time, I thought the format was a bit weird — it’s like radio but… I can listen to it whenever I want? Nonetheless, I quickly fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.

Over the past six or seven years, podcasting has exploded and become a household term. Whether it’s a podcast hosted by your favorite celebrity like Alec Baldwin or Anna Faris or a serial like the wildly popular Making a Murderer, there’s something for everyone.

But where I’ve found the most value in podcasts is as a vehicle for change. With everything else going on in my life I find it hard to manage fitting in time for both professional and self-improvement. However, podcasts allow me to do that in the most efficient way possible: while I’m on the move.

Whether I’m driving, traveling, cleaning, running, grocery shopping, or doing any other assortment of errands, I can listen to a podcast (often more than one episode), get a ton of value crammed into the in-between time where I otherwise wouldn’t be doing anything productive in particular, and motivated to do more in my own life.

There are a lot of amazing podcasts out there but iTunes and Spotify don’t exactly make it easy to find them. Also, there are a lot of different ways you might want to work on yourself depending on your goals.

With that in mind, we’ve crafted a list of the best motivational podcasts available in several categories including:

  • Health and fitness
  • Happiness and well-being
  • Performance, productivity & life hacks
  • Relationships
  • Entrepreneurship and leadership

So, whether you’re looking to work on a single category or find something to help you work on every area of your life, below you’ll find a podcast for everything.

Health & Fitness

Interested in refining your body and mind? Want to change your diet or get fit? Below are three outstanding podcasts that will help you do that.

Bulletproof Radio

Bulletproof Radio is one of the most unique podcasts on this list and one that doesn’t have much competition on iTunes.

The podcast could be organized into several categories on this list because, for host Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof brand, it’s all about gaining a complete understanding of how the mind and body work in tandem to maximize its capability.

Asprey talks about cutting-edge supplements, workout equipment and exercises, and interviews top experts in everything from biochemistry to medicine. If your goal is the master your health but with a specific mind towards performance, it’s one of the best and will really motivate you to get moving.

Check out Bulletproof Radio here

If you’re looking for a single podcast to subscribe to that covers the full range of possible health and fitness-related topics, this is the best there is. Dr. Hyman is smart and easy to understand and makes things relevant to everyday life.

Check out The Doctor’s Farmacy here

Nutrition Diva

Nutrition Diva is a podcast hosted by self-proclaimed “nutrition diva” herself Monica Reinagel that’s all about, well, nutrition and healthy eating as you might expect. If you’re looking for a strictly nutrition-based podcast, this is one of the best.

But what’s really great about this podcast is Reinagel’s short, bite-sized format. Each episode is just ten to fifteen minutes long and targets a specific nutrition topic such as whether the natural fructose in fruit is really bad for you like artificial sugar is and how much Omega-6 our bodies need.

If you’re a busy person and you’re looking for podcasts to improve your health and fitness, this can fit the diet/nutrition slot perfectly.

Check out Nutrition Diva here

Happiness & Well-Being

Looking to reduce stress and anxiety, navigate life’s challenges better, or bring a little more joy into your life? These are the podcasts to help you do that.

10% Happier with Dan Harris

10% Happier is, at its core, a meditation podcast. It’s leagues better than virtually any other podcast of its kind available for several reasons and can teach you a lot about how to become happier, whether you’ve tried meditation already or not.

The podcast is primarily an interview show through the lens of exploring the meditation practices of the various interviewees and, in some rare cases, their spiritual beliefs. The guest list includes everyone from meditation experts and spiritual teachers to T.V. execs, producers, actors and actresses, entrepreneurs, and everything in between.

However, what really makes this podcast special is the fact that it’s hosted by ABC Nightline news anchor Dan Harris, who was once a devout skeptic of meditation (and very much still is a skeptic in a general sense by nature), making it incredibly interesting and full of value.

Harris is inquisitive, curious, and critical while being fair and open-minded at the same time. It creates for a wonderfully valuable and entertaining format that will teach you more about what it takes to truly be happier than virtually any other show out today, audio or visual alike.

Check out 10% Happier here

Ram Dass Here and Now

For the past several decades, Ram Dass has been teaching in the states what he learned decades ago when he and many others traveled to India during the ’70s and since applied in his own life. This podcast is a collection of his recorded talks from various events over that time.

Part of what’s great about Ram Dass is that he doesn’t come off as some transcendental guru who you’re not sure you can trust. Instead, he’s a regular guy who talks in terms of daily life and its challenges and he’s a master at placing things in perspective and then offering simple, relevant wisdom.

If you’re looking for a podcast where you can delve deep into the mind and what happiness really is while miraculously staying grounded (often with a good bit of storytelling), Ram Dass’ Here and Now is what you need.

Check out Ram Dass Here and Now here

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Similar to 10% Happier but in an entirely different way, Happier with Gretchen Rubin is more discerning and experimental in nature, being almost scientific about happiness.

The podcast follows former New York City lawyer turned bestselling author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin and her sister, writer and producer Elizabeth Craft, as they break down topics such as mental reframing, habits, and general life wisdom in both a smart and entertaining way.

If you’re interested in learning how to navigate the challenges of daily life and become happier from a more scientific perspective, you’ll love this.

Check out Happier with Gretchen Rubin here

Performance, Productivity & Life Hacks

If the name of the game is honing your mind and maximizing your performance, below are the best podcasts for helping you do it.

The Tim Ferriss Show

If your goal is to master yourself — your process, your craft, your life — this is one of the best podcasts to help you do it.

The interviewees are high-profile and incredibly diverse, from actor and entertainer Jamie Foxx to meditation expert Tara Brach, director James Cameron, entrepreneur Richard Branson, and actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But what really makes this podcast special is Tim Ferriss himself who is incredibly passionate about helping others become world-class performers. Ferriss is both an exceptional interviewer and thoughtful about who he has on the show, what he discusses, and is very open to talking about his own life and process as it pertains to his performance.

Check out The Tim Ferriss Show here

The Tony Robbins Podcast

Like The Tim Ferriss Show, The Tony Robbins Podcast is an interview show. However, the format is much different and less welcoming.

That said, what it lacks is made up for in large part by the quality and diversity of guests and the fact that it gives you the opportunity to hear from renowned performance coach Tony Robbins without having to pay to attend one of his events, even if it’s just for a short time.

If your focus is improving your performance, this podcast is right behind the Tim Ferriss Show and a welcomed addition.

Check out The Tony Robbins Podcast here

Optimal Living Daily

Optimal Living Daily is the most unique of the podcasts in this section by far. The concept is ridiculously simple but you’ll quickly find the value you get from it to be on par with virtually any other podcast available in this category.

There are no live conversations, but rather, host Justin Malik reads the work of popular bloggers such as Ramit Sethi, Leo Babauta, and James Altucher on the topics of productivity, happiness, mindset, and finance among others.

It at first might sound like an odd format, however, if you’ve ever experienced the value of audiobooks, it offers much the same feel but in more bite-sized chunks and with varied topics.

If you’d prefer a more structured podcast with short, value-packed episodes (typically less than ten minutes long), you won’t regret giving Optimal Living Daily a listen.

Check out Optimal Living Daily here

Relationships

We’re social creatures, so the better you are at navigating your relationships, the better your life will be as a whole.

If you’re looking to motivate yourself to create change in your intimate relationship, better navigate family life, or get along better with colleagues in the workplace, there’s something here for you.

Rise Together Podcast

I love the Rise Together Podcast because it’s the perfect mix of relationship advice, motivation, and performance improvement.

The podcast follows hosts Rachel and Dave Hollis’ as they work together as a couple to become the best versions of themselves and talk about how you can do the same. Episodes include topics such as: Let’s Talk about Sex Baby, 5 Ways to Show Up For Your Partner (Rachel’s Perspective), and Why Hard Conversations Are Key To Building An Exceptional Relationship.

If you’re looking for a podcast that motivates you to improve your life with your partner, you won’t find a better fit than this.

Check out Rise Together Podcast here

Anna Faris is Unqualified

Comedian Anna Faris is the most unlikely of hosts in this relationship podcast. But she’s so awesome.

Anna Faris is Unqualified is unique among relationship podcasts because she, along with cohost Sim, interview celebrities about their own relationships: both the ups and the downs, including everyone from David Spade to Kelly Ripa, Topher Grace, and Kat Dennings.

Along the way, Faris offers her own brand of wisdom and makes you laugh through the entire ride. It’s less potent compared to a podcast like the Rise Together Podcast, however, it’s easier to get engrossed in episodes and you end up coming away with a really valuable and diverse collection of insights from all different people.

Check out Unqualified with Anna Faris here

Dr. Laura Call of the Day

Take a good scroll through iTunes and you’ll notice something after a while: intimate relationships aside, there aren’t many podcasts for navigating relationships in a general sense (and even then, it’s hard finding good podcasts on intimate relationships that aren’t just about sex). Dr. Laura fits that bill like a glove and then some.

Dr. Laura has one of the longest-running relationship-centric podcasts on iTunes (and her radio show has been running for more than thirty years) with several hundred episodes. The great part about the podcast is each episode is centered around a question, so you can peruse the list of episodes for questions relevant to things you’re interested in endlessly.

Check out Dr. Laura Call of the Day here

Entrepreneurship & Leadership

Whether you’re solopreneur, you have a team, or you’re simply in a leadership position and you’re navigating the challenges that come with those positions, the podcasts below are perfect for helping tease the best out from yourself.

Jocko Podcast

I’ve watched my fair share motivational videos, listened to podcasts, and watched speeches, but few even come close to the power of retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink.

Jocko has a way of immediately placing your life in perspective and wiping away all excuses in an instant. He takes no BS from himself and his perspective will very quickly rub off onto you as well.

Plus, Jocko and director Echo Charles tackle some really intense topics, the kind of things very few people are talking about, so it’s simultaneously enlightening and informative.

Check out Jocko Podcast here

The GaryVee Audio Experience

Similar to Jocko, Gary Vaynerchuk doesn’t take crap and will offer consistent wake-up calls. However, where Gary differs is in his talks being more entrepreneurial in nature and specific to business, so the two together actually offer a nice mix.

Gary V. is also a master at staying ahead of social media and general digital marketing trends, making him an ideal person to follow as a business owner or thought leader who needs to make sure they’re staying relevant in a rapidly changing world.

Check out The GaryVee Audio Experience here

The MFCEO Project

MFCEO stands for m*ther f*cking CEO and, if the name of the podcast is any indication, it’s intense.

Similar to the other podcasts in this section, host Andy Frisella, a successful entrepreneur in his own right, will motivate you to take action even when you’ve got nothing in the tank.

Frisella has regular guests hosts and discusses a whole range of topics such as mindset, communication skills, motivation, confidence, and productivity, making it a great all-in-one podcast if you’re looking for entrepreneurial, leadership, and self-improvement advice.

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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?

Tweet About Fitness

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:

 

Summer Special Bikini Bod Workout

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

$39.99

Still not sure?

Check out these amazing transformations!

Heather

Me

Make Your Heart Beat Cover

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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 .

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