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How to burn more calories after your workout!

  |  in Exercises, General, Motivational Tips, Sample WorkoutsNo Comments

We’ve always heard that the positive benefits of physical activity continue long after your workout session is over. More energy, less stress and those “feel good” endorphins are some of the immediate effects. But what about the mysterious “afterburn” that a lot of people talk about? Do you really continue burning more calories after the workout, or is it really just during the workout that matters? A new study finds that it’s possible to burn more calories throughout the day–in fact, up to 14 hours later. The study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, took 10 healthy males and examined their energy expenditure under two different sets of conditions. “During the first session, participants were mostly inactive, but they stood and stretched for two minutes every hour. They could also perform everyday tasks, such as washing their hands and brushing their teeth, as needed. During the second session, participants followed the same routine, but then cycled vigorously for 45 minutes.” Researchers found that participants burned 190 additional calories while at rest throughout the day after vigorous exercise (defined in the study as a 73% max heart rate), compared to when they did no activity. The increased calorie burn lasted for over 14 hours–and continued even into the first few hours of sleeping. This is the first study to use a metabolic chamber (a highly controlled environment) to estimate calorie burned after vigorous physical activity. The number of calories each person burns during–and after–a workout will vary. It depends on many factors: gender, age, genetics, type of workout, etc. But it’s something to keep in mind as you weigh the benefits of exercise, and whether or not the time and effort is worthwhile. I think exercise is a key component of any healthy lifestyle, regardless of how much exercise you can do or how intense it is. Previous studies have also shown that your body’s metabolism stays revved after a workout and that generally, the more intense the workout is, the greater the post-workout “afterburn” will be. This study just gives one more reason to get off of the couch and get moving–no matter how much or how little time you have!

Sparkpeople.com

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How to nicely say no to food!

  |  in General, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

During the holiday season, food temptations are everywhere. From stuffing and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving to eggnog and sugar cookies in December, the seasonal temptations are endless. It can be tough enough to navigate the turkey buffet without having your great aunt force an extra helping of potatoes on your plate or resisting Grandma Dolly’s pleas that you take a second piece of her famous apple pie.
 
Food pushers range from well-intentioned loved ones to total diet saboteurs. Regardless of their motivation, it’s important to stick to your guns. You can always be honest and say that you’re simply trying to eat healthier, but if that response gets ignored (or doesn’t come easily), the following retorts to their food-forcing ways will keep you in control of what goes on your plate and in your mouth!
 
Note: These tips work year-round at birthday parties, family get-togethers and Sunday brunches with friends alike!
 
The Push: “It’s my specialty, you have to try it!”

Your Response: “I will in a bit!”

Why It Works: Stalling is a great tactic with food pushers. Odds are the offender won’t follow you around making sure you actually try the dish. If they catch up with you by the end of the party to ask what you thought, tell them that it slipped your mind but you’ll be sure to try it next time.

 
The Push: “This [insert name of high-calorie dish] is my favorite. You’ll love it!”

Your Response: “I had some already—so delicious!”

Why It Works: A white lie in this situation isn’t going to hurt anybody. You’ll get out of eating food you don’t want or need, and the food pusher will have gotten a compliment on what probably is a delicious dish.

 
The Push: “It’s just once a year!”

Your Response: “But I’ll probably live to celebrate more holidays if I stick with my diet plan!”

Why It Works: People can sometimes see healthy eating as vain—a means to the end result of losing weight and looking better. It’s harder for a food pusher to argue with you if you bring attention to the fact that you eat right and exercise for better health and a longer life. Looking good just happens to be a side effect!

 
The Push: “Looks like someone is obsessed with dieting…”

Your Response: “I wouldn’t say obsessed, but I am conscious of what I eat.”

Why It Works: Words like “food snob” or “obsessed” are pretty harsh when they’re thrown around by food pushers. But don’t let passive-aggressive comments like this bring you down—or make you veer away from your good eating intentions. Acknowledging your willpower and healthy food choices might influence others to be more conscious of what they eat. Sometimes you just have to combat food pushers with a little straightforward kindness.

 
The Push: “If you don’t try my dish, I’m just going to have to force you to eat it!”

Your Response: “Sorry, but I don’t like (or can’t eat) [insert ingredient here].”

Why It Works: It’s hard to argue with someone’s personal food preferences. If someone doesn’t like an ingredient whether its sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or butter, odds are that he or she hasn’t liked it for a very long time. If you’d like to get creative with this one, go into detail about how you got sick on the ingredient as a kid or how your mom says you always threw it across the room as a baby. Who can argue with that?

 
The Push: “You need some meat on your bones.”

Your Response: “Trust me, I’m in no danger of wasting away!”

Why It Works: This food push is definitely on the passive-aggressive side. Using humor to fight back will defuse any tension while making it clear where you stand. 

 
The Push: “One bite isn’t going to kill you.”

Your Response: “I know, but once you pop you can’t stop! And I’m sure it’s so delicious I wouldn’t be able to stop!”

Why It Works: This is another situation where humor will serve to distract the food pusher from his or her mission. It’s a way to say “thanks, but no thanks” while making it clear that you’re not interested in overindulging.

 
The Push: “But it’s your favorite!”

Your Response: “I think I’ve overdosed on it; I just can’t eat it anymore!”

Why It Works: If you have a favorite holiday dish that everyone knows you love, it can be especially tough to escape this push. If a loved one made the dish specifically for you, the guilt can be enough to push you over the edge. But people understand that food preferences change, and most have been in that situation of enjoying a dish so much that they can’t touch it for awhile.

 
The Push: [Someone puts an extra helping on your plate without you asking.]

Your Response: Push it around with your fork like you did as a kid to make it look like you tried it.

Why It Works: While putting food on someone else’s plate can be viewed as passive-aggressive, it was probably done with love. (Let’s hope!) Making it look like you ate a bite or two can be an easy way out of the situation, but you can also just leave it alone and claim that you’ve already had your fill. (After all, you didn’t add that extra helping!)

 
The Push: “Have another drink!”

Your Response: “I have to drive.”

Why It Works: No one will argue with the fact that you want to drive home sober. If they do, you should have no qualms walking away from the conversation, period. If they offer a place for you to stay, you can always get out of the situation by blaming an early morning commitment or the fact that you need to get home to let the dog out. Kids will also get you out of everything.

 
The Push: “We have so many leftovers. Take some!”

Your Response: “That’s OK! Just think, you’ll have your meals for tomorrow taken care of.”

Why It Works: Not every party guest wants to deal with the hassle of taking food with them, and this makes it clear that you’d rather the food stay. If the host is insistent, you can feign worry that they’ll go bad in the car because you’re not going straight home, or it’ll go bad in your fridge because you’ve already been given so many leftovers at other parties recently. Or be polite and take them. You’ll have more control of your food intake away from the party anyway. So whether you don’t eat the leftovers at all or whether you split a piece of pie with your spouse, you’re in control in this situation.

 

These tactics can work wonders in social situations, but honesty is sometimes the best policy. A simple “No, thank you” is hard for a food pusher to beat, especially if it’s repeated emphatically. Remember, too, that it’s okay to have treats in moderation, so don’t deprive yourself of your favorite holiday foods. Just make sure that you’re the one in control of your splurges—not a friend, family member or co-worker who doesn’t know your fitness and health goals!

-sparkpeople.com

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5 Mind Games You Need to Stop Playing

  |  in Blog, General, Motivational Tips, UncategorizedNo Comments

Motivation is like cold hard cash: You can never have too much! And when you’re trying to lose weight (for the umpteenth time for many of us) you know that you need a wealth of motivational strategies you can count on. But, with so many motivational tips and tricks to sift through, why are we so often losing our motivation rather than reaping the rewards?
 
One reason is that some of the most popular motivation strategies people use are mind games—games that don’t really work for the long term. At first glance, they all seem helpful, but most are actually bound to fail. Instead of playing Russian roulette when you’re choosing a weight-loss strategy, read on to find out how you can beat the odds and pick a winner.
 
Mind Game #1:  Going for the Gold
You have your perfect weight and pants size in mind. With a big, bold goal to aspire to, you start biking to work, cooking lighter, packing your lunch, skipping that morning latte, and taking the stairs. Then, three busy, butt-busting weeks later…the scale hasn’t really budged and you’re trying on the same size in the dressing room. Deflated, you start snacking a bit here and slacking a bit there, and your dream of a whittled waistline slowly fades from view.

Motivation Makeover: Going for the gold is a great way to start your weight-loss plan; setting a long-term goal can help you to keep an eye on where you’re headed. But it’s also important to remember that your goal weight is far from the only benefit of incorporating healthy eating and exercise—and it could be a long ways off. Taking note of smaller, more subtle changes (more energy, better sleep, lower cholesterol, better mood, etc.) can help you stay motivated, even if the pounds aren’t coming off as quickly as you’d hoped. Setting some shorter-term goals (1 pound, 5 pounds)—especially ones that aren’t based on the scale (like getting to the gym 5 days a week) can also help you stay on track.

 
Mind Game #2:  Starting Out Super Strong
It’s Sunday evening and you realize that you spent the weekend indulging on brews, barbeques, and binges. A twinge of guilt has you psyched to start speeding down the road to wellness first thing Monday. So you restock your pantry with healthy eats, download a hardcore training app to your phone, and plan out the next month’s food and workouts. You figure that going full throttle is the way to reach your weight-loss goals as quickly as possible. And why not? You’re excited for it! But two weeks into your overhaul, your muscles are so sore you have trouble rolling out of bed, you’re sick of salads and you’re already thinking about throwing in the towel.

Motivation Makeover: Maintaining motivation is like running a marathon. Instead of starting at full speed and running out of steam, it is better to focus on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Set small, achievable goals so that you can build momentum and feel successful in the beginning, and pat yourself on the back when you conquer each one. No matter how long it takes to reach the finish line, you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.

 
Mind Game #3:  Taking the Road Less Traveled
There will always be a new diet or exercise program that promise fast progress and fantastic results. Reading about the latest food fad or watching a perky personal trainer push sweat-drenched clients through an infomercial workout can definitely spark your motivation. Who wouldn’t want to try an effective 4-minute workout or slim down fast with a celebrity-backed diet supplement? Deep down, we all know the truth: People are getting paid for those advertisements and whatever motivation you’ve mustered up during the commercial break will fade fast if you don’t get those “as seen on TV” results that were so motivating to you. Trying every new fad that comes on the market may leave you broke and brokenhearted.

Motivation Makeover: If you want a plan that works long term, stick with the tried and true. Keep your eating close to the earth with whole fruits, veggies, grains and lean meats. Get up and moving with whatever activity suits your style and schedule. Remind yourself that following through with real nutrition and fitness habits is a process: It takes the proper planning and commitment that can’t be found in a book, a box or a bottle.

 
Mind Game #4:  Flying Under the Radar
You’re already feeling self-conscious about losing weight, so you certainly don’t want your friends and family making more of a fuss. Besides, you’re confident that you can do this all on your own! So what if your plan to be stealth has you skipping out on lunch with friends and sneaking veggies to parties in your purse? Going it alone may seem like a good idea, but it is actually counterproductive. Soon enough, you’ll be feeling lonely and left out, and that’s no way to maintain success in the long run.

Motivation Makeover: Call in the recruits! Whether it’s a neighbor down the street, a fellow play group parent or a Facebook friend, get someone to join you on your weight-loss journey. Studies in behavior science show that changes that you make in the public eye have a much better chance of sticking in the real world. Plus, sharing your weight-loss goals with friends opens you up for great personal payouts like counsel, camaraderie, and accountability from the people who know you best. SparkPeople Community, anyone?

 
Mind Game #5:  Staring Down the Scale
There’s a scale in your bathroom and one next to your treadmill. You check in twice a day and diligently track your weight on a chart on the fridge. Still, even though you’re eating well and exercising, some days the numbers just don’t show it! Seeing real, objective results can be super motivating but being tethered to the scale often becomes a burden. Even though you know that body weight fluctuates throughout each day and hydration (or lack thereof) is usually responsible, unpredictable digits can be deceiving and downright disheartening. If you find yourself frowning at your feet during morning weigh-ins, then your scale is likely sapping your mojo.

Motivation Makeover: Stick that scale in the closet and find inspiration in other numbers (besides your weight). Track specific behaviors to gauge your progress; how many push-ups you can do in a minute, how many miles you walk or bike each week, how many flights of stairs you take each day at work. Keep tabs on a variety of positive results and you won’t be left wanting for fitness focus.

 
 
Making use of motivational mind games can really boost your fitness morale. But sometimes, techniques that seem perfectly logical can end up leading you astray. Mastering your own motivation doesn’t have to be a crap shoot. Bet on the time-tested strategies above to get your mind right and you’ll be sure to cash in on long-term wellness!

<!–

Article created on:  10/3/2011

–>– By Megan Coatley, Behavior Expert
Source: Spark People, www.sparkpeople.com

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Desktop Dining Guide

  |  in General, Healthy Recipes, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Your workplace may be a bacterial breeding ground—germier than a public restroom! Think about how long that cheese ball sat in the conference room, the number of hands that have reached into the candy jar in the lobby, and the last time you properly washed your coffee mug. YUCK! For the safety of you and your coworkers, adopt these desktop dining guidelines as company policy.

Watch the Clock
If you pack a lunch that includes perishable food items—meat and cheese sandwiches, leftovers, salads, or dairy foods—don’t let more than two hours pass from the time you make your lunch at home to the time you put it in the office refrigerator. The same rule applies if you go out for lunch and bring back fast food, carry out, or doggy bag.

Refrigerator Review
The average office refrigerator is cleaned out only once every six weeks, even though most perishable foods spoil within three to five days! The office refrigerator should be cleaned out weekly, but no one wants to take on the responsibility, right? The solution is to assign each person who uses the refrigerator to a specific week in which they are responsible for pitching and purging. Anything left at closing time Friday is pitched. Post the weekly delegations on the refrigerator door, and if it’s a disaster come Monday morning, everyone will be able to determine who’s to blame.

Kitchen Clean Up
Splattered and scattered for all to see—the spaghetti that exploded in the microwave, the chicken soup that boiled over on the stove, the cream-filled doughnut remains on the counter—kitchen messes like these all spell DANGER. Keep anti-bacterial wipes readily available so team members can wipe up their spills and mishaps as a first line of defense.

But why not wipe up spills with the community dishrag or sponge? These are filled with germs and bacteria, which only spread around when you wipe up a mess. To keep a sponge or dishrag safe, run it through the dishwasher daily, or dampen it with water and microwave it on high for three minutes before using.

Desktop Danger
At the very least, you can keep your own beloved cubicle clean. Your desktop, keyboard, and phone are ideal for bacteria and germ contamination—especially if you eat while using any of these devices. But don’t forget all the other people who touch your desk area or sneeze on your belongings.

The best way to control the spread of germs is to clean your cubicle once daily with an anti-bacterial spray or wipes. Coffee pots are generally safe due to the high temperature, but be careful with your personal coffee mug. Clean it daily with soap and water, but if you use dairy creamers, you should wash it even more often.

The Social Scene
Nearly three out of five Americans work in an office where weekly, food is left out to be shared with others. If the food is perishable, find out how long it has been out before you dig in. If the food has been out for more than two hours, pass on the goodies. If you can’t resist the departmental pitch-in buffet, make sure you get there early, while food is still hot. Once again, foods left out for more than two hours are perfect for bacteria to set up camp.

All Washed Up
Fewer than half of all Americans wash their hands before eating lunch. The rule is to always wash your hands before, during, and after food handling. If you have no time to wash with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer stored in your desk drawer. Mom was right to always say, “Wash your hands before eating.” Now go wash up!

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=531&page=3

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InCharge Fitness Winter Special!

  |  in Blog, General, Upcoming EventsNo Comments

It’s getting colder and it’s that time of year when most people think about joining a gym. InCharge Fitness Center is happy to announce that we are offering a winter special for both NEW Members and EXISTING members.  Sign up before the holiday and avoid putting on those extra holiday pounds.

InCharge Fitness Center has 24/7 access, variety of equipment, shower available, nutritional shakes, insurance reimbursements and much more!

New Member Special!
3 month membership
Key Card
Sports water bottle
Only $89 (includes tax)
Save over $20.00
Expires 12/31/2011

Existing Member Special!
3 month membership
Only $75 (plus tax)
Save $15.00
Expires 12/31/2011

We would love to have you join our gym!

Testimonial:
My favorite thing about InCharge Fitness is the atmosphere and the people. I’m so glad to have InCharge here, it has been such a life changing experience for me.”  – Emi. T.

 

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Exercising on a Budget.

  |  in Exercises, General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

What exercises can I do at home? My budget is really tight and I cannot afford to join a gym.

Here are some resistance training exercises that you can do using just your own body weight:

1. Pushups- standard, on knees, feet propped up on a chair, leaning on a wall, upper body propped up on a couch, etc. There are even more variations by changing body placement and hand-width.

2. Crunches- feet on floor, lets bent in air, legs straight in air, bicycle crunch, full sit-ups, oblique crunches, plank.

3. Lunges- walking lunges, stationary lunges, side lunges, reverse or front lunges.

4. Squats- feet together, feet shoulder-width, feet wide, back on wall (holding wall sit), holding extra weight (dumbbells, water jugs, etc), one-legged squats (advanced!)

5. Bridges- lie on your back, legs bent, feet on floor. Lift hips toward ceiling, squeezing glutes the whole time. Challenge yourself by keeping one leg up in the air.

6. Cardio- climbing your stairs, running/walking/jogging outside, hiking, jumping rope (or just jumping period), kickboxing routines, fitness videos, biking, etc.

As you can see, there are SO many options you can choose from, even with the smallest amount of resources. All of the exercise demos in the Fitness Resource Center are exercises you can do at home. Investing a little money in a good resistance band, Swiss ball, and/or pair of hand weights will allow you to do a wide variety of exercises from home.

 

sparkpeople.com

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5 Surprisingly High-Cal Halloween Treats

  |  in General, Healthy Recipes, Motivational Tips, Nutrition TipsNo Comments

Fall is as good a time of year as any to re-evaluate your weight-loss goals and plans. But before you know it, Halloween brings the focus to candy and treats that may be tempting you to fall off the health wagon. One indulgent day of Halloween treats won’t hurt most people’s progress, but considering that Halloween is just the beginning of a two-month season packed with party foods and desserts, try not to get carried away.
 
As you’re looking for ways to enjoy the season without losing sight of your health and fitness goals, pick the smartest treats, but say “Boo!” to the biggest calorie monsters.
 
Here are five Halloween treats that should scare you!
 
1. Fun-Size Candy Bars
At an average of about 100 calories a pop, these popular trick-or-treat goodies may seem innocent—but that’s only the case if you stop at one. It’s pretty easier to eat four or five mini-bars as you take your kids trick-or-treating, and if they’re eyeing you from the reception desk at your office—forget about it! You may be eating one or more every day for weeks leading up to Halloween.

The bars that really pack the most calories are those with peanut butter, coconut, chocolate, caramel, and nuts. Plus, once they’re out of the larger packages, their nutrition facts are nowhere to be found on those individual labels.

Trick: Start reading nutrition labels of fun-size treats before throwing out the package. Figure out the best choice for you and stick with that when you’re having a Halloween treat. Peppermint patties and Twizzlers have about half of the calories than the average candy bar, but that doesn’t mean they are calorie free. Popping in a piece of sugar-free gum can help curb some cravings if you’re feeling tempted after eating just one. Read more: 11 Halloween treats under 100 calories.

 
2. Pumpkin Breads and Muffins
Pumpkin puree delivers vitamin A and fiber along in a deliciously low-calorie package that just screams of fall. But pair it with sugar, cream cheese frosting, shortening and butter, and you have a high-cal treat dressed in a healthy-looking orange costume. Restaurants and bakeries are the biggest villains: Pumpkin scones, muffins, donuts and breads range from 300 to 530 calories per serving, but most portion sizes can be double or triple in size. For a single treat, that’s a lot of damage to your calorie budget.
 

Trick: Bake your pumpkin goods at home, where you can control your recipe and make healthy baking substitutions, like subbing applesauce in place of oil and fat, choosing whole wheat flour over white, and cutting down on the sugar in a recipe. Using a mini muffin tin will help with portions as you bake perfectly-portioned pumpkin goodies. Start with these healthy pumpkin recipes from SparkRecipes for ideas.

 
3. Pumpkin-Flavored Lattes
Many coffee joints will have a special feature on their menu for the harvest season: pumpkin-flavored coffees. A medium pumpkin spice latte with whole milk from Starbucks has 410 calories, and the calories in similar drinks from other chains like Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts are pretty similar. Think before you sip: Can you really budget 400+ calories into your day for a single drink?
 

Trick: Order the smallest size and lighten the load by requesting fat-free milk and holding the whipped topping. Plain hot chai tea with some added low-fat milk can also give you the warm fuzzy feeling of the season without all the added sweeteners of a pumpkin latte.
4. Candy Corn
Yes, these ever-so-traditional candies are quite small, but for candy corn lovers who wait all year for their favorite seasonal candy, they can be devastating to your healthy eating plan. The quintessential white, orange and yellow triangles have 140 calories for 22 pieces, which is a small handful at most. Have a few, and it’s no sweat, but sit near a candy jar full of candy corn, it can be hard to track just how much you’ve eaten since there is no built-in portion control.
 

Trick: Never eat candy corn from a large jar or straight from the bag. This can lead to mindless overeating and no real sense of calories or serving size. Pre-portion yourself a small serving and stick to it. Then put the bag away and walk away from the jar: out of sight, out of mind. Also try stretching out the sugar by combining a few pieces of candy corn with a trail mix of dried fruit and nuts for an added nutrition boost and more filling power.
5. Candy Apples
Don’t fool yourself: Just because there’s a piece of fruit underneath a thick layer of caramel, and possibly nuts, cookie chunks or even chocolate does NOT mean it’s good for you—or low in calories. If you cover a healthy fruit with sugar it becomes a much less healthful choice. A single apple might only contain around 80-100 calories of nutrition, but when it’s coated in caramel, it can more than triple in calories. Designer or “gourmet” candy apples covered in sprinkles, chocolate candies, nuts and chocolate are even worse.
 

Trick: Enjoy your apples by cutting them into wedges and dipping them into low-fat caramel dip, fat free vanilla yogurt or peanut butter.

 
 
The most important thing to remember during the Halloween season is to see these seasonal treats for what they really are: treats that should be eaten in moderation and in small amounts. Put your label reading skills to work and keep your goals in mind, and you’ll have no trouble avoiding Halloween treat temptation.

— By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian

 http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1679

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Banana Berry Wake-Up Shake

  |  in Blog, General, Healthy RecipesNo Comments

Shakes are a great way to increase fruit and milk intake. This creamy shake which, can be made the night before, is a great way to use up ripe bananas that have been frozen. When bananas start to get brown, pop them in the freezer and take out as needed.

Recipe:
1 banana
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (any combination)
1 cup milk or vanilla-flavored soy beverage
3/4 cup lower-fat vanilla yogurt (or other flavor that complements berries)

In a blender, liquefy fruit with a small amount of the milk. Add remaining milk and yogurt; blend until smooth. If shake is too thick, add extra milk or soy beverage to achieve desired consistency. Enjoy!

Per Serving:
Calories: 234
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 44 g
Protein: 9 g

To Happy, Healthy Living!

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Use Measurements besides the Scale

  |  in General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

Pretend for a minute that gravity doesn’t exist. Everything is weightless, including your aunt Sophie, yet it all manages to stay on the ground. You don’t know how much you weigh because scales have never been invented. How would you define your state of health? After all, you wouldn’t be able to say “I need to lose 10 pounds” or “I weigh 150 pounds, so I must be overweight.”

What would be your benchmark? You might still not like how you look. You might be tired of being tired all the time. You might need to trim down and take care of that blood pressure problem. You might want to avoid diabetes.

In a gravity-free world, those are all still good reasons to create healthy diet and fitness habits. Who knows, you might decide “Hey, I feel all right, I look all right, and I’m healthy. If I can just maintain the habits I have, I should be okay.”

The point is, you can decide for yourself what shape you’re in. You don’t need the scale to tell you. Unfortunately, many times we get down on ourselves simply because something as trivial as gravity tells us we’re out of shape. Some people feel and look fantastic in every respect, but if the number on the scale doesn’t match expectations, they’re miserable. This doesn’t make sense. Gravity should not be able to wield that kind of power.

In this gravity-rich reality we live in, we have a fascination with the scale. While it’s good for giving you a general idea of your health, this can be the most discouraging and frustrating part of a diet. Your weight can fluctuate all the time and reasons why are never completely known. Time of day, temperature, the day’s activities, water level – all can skew the numbers one way or the other. In reality, you could be getting discouraged over something that’s not really accurate.

To stay motivated, try finding other ways to measure your progress instead of stepping on the scale. Try some benchmarks that actually matter. Some may be tougher to measure than others, some are more subjective. But we think you’ll find that these measurements can still be a lot more meaningful and motivating.

Take some of these regular measurements to stay motivated, even if the scale isn’t moving:

Body Measures – dress size, waist, hips, neck, arms, fitting into favorite clothes
Performance – more endurance during exercise, doing them at a higher level, jumping higher, walking longer, running faster, playing a sport better
General Feeling – rate energy level, rate attitude and outlook, track how often you feel very sleepy during the day, rate your confidence level
Health blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level
Intangibles – how you look, compliments you receive, how others respond to you

 

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=104&page=2

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Straight-Armed Side Plank

  |  in Exercises, General, Sample WorkoutsNo Comments

Starting Position

Begin by sitting on your right hip with your legs stacked to your left, your right arm straight, and your right hand on a balance board, placed directly underneath your right shoulder (not pictured). With legs and feet stacked, slowly lift your right hip away from the floor, keeping the right arm straight and extending both legs to balance in a side plank position (pictured).

Action

Breathe steadily as you hold the side plank position for 15-30 seconds, keeping your abs engaged and the right side of your waist pulled away from the floor at all times. For added intensity, extend your left arm up toward the ceiling (pictured). Gradually work your way up to holding the plank for 1-3 minutes for an isometric core challenge. Repeat on opposite side.

Special Instructions

Hold your body as still as possible and try to keep the balance board steady, too. Remember to breathe. Try to square your chest and shoulders with the front of the room, keeping your body in one plane. To decrease intensity, place left hand on the hip instead of extending it (not pictured).

Make it easier: Instead of stacking your legs and feet, stagger one leg in front of the other.

Muscles Worked: Abs, Obliques

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercises.asp?exercise=343

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