Love Notes by Jari Love

8 Best Stretches for Lower Back Pain

by Jari Love

 Back pain is the worst. The. Worst. 

And if you haven’t had a bout of back pain yet, count yourself lucky… and prepare yourself to join the ranks. It’s estimated that 80 percent of the adult population will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

 I, myself, am no stranger to the pain. In fact, I’ve struggled with chronic low back pain for more than 10 years. I’ve tried everything: OTC medication, massage, chiropractic care, stretching, foam rolling and yoga, just to name a few. Most people do best with a regular pain management regimen that includes a variety of treatments, but I swear by the following yoga-inspired stretches to help keep my back limber and pain free. 

  1. Cat/Cow

 Start with a neutral spine while on your hands and knees. Take a slow breath in through your nose as you arch your lower back, stretching your pelvis and head toward the sky (Cow Pose). Breathe out slowly as you reverse the movement, tucking your pelvis under as you look toward your navel (Cat Pose). Each breath should last a count of three. Continue alternating between Cat and Cow for five full repetitions. 

  1. Child’s Pose

 Start with a neutral spine while on your hands and knees. Shift your hips back over your heels and stretch your arms forward as far as you comfortably can. Relax into this pose as much as you can, allowing your pelvis to feel weighted, sinking into your heels. Hold for 10 seconds, then shift forward onto your hands and knees (you can even shift into Cow Pose if you’d like — arching your back and tilting your pelvis up) before sinking back into Child’s Pose again. 

  1. Downward Dog

 Start with a neutral spine on your hands and knees. Then, begin by tilting your pelvis up toward the sky, and push through the balls of your feet as you lift your knees from the ground, pressing your hips up to the sky as you slowly straighten your arms and legs as much as you can. Allow your head to hang loose between your arms. If your hips, low back and hamstrings are tight, you may not be able to straighten your legs all the way. Do what you can and try “pedaling” your legs back and forth for a deeper stretch on each side by bending one knee, then the other, as you straighten the opposite leg as much as you can. While you do want to press your heels toward the ground, they do not have to touch down. 

  1. Plank

 A strong core can help prevent back pain — and the plank is one of the safest exercises to perform while experiencing back pain because it doesn’t require movement to be effective. Simply form a straight line from your head to your heels. You can start with your knees and forearms on the ground, holding for just 10 to 30 seconds at a time. As you get stronger, try the exercise with your legs extended or in a high plank position. Work your way up to holding each plank for a full 60 seconds. 

  1. Cobra

 Cobra helps strengthen the lower back while maintaining flexibility in the spine. Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched behind you. Place your palms on the ground, in line with your shoulders, but in front of your chest. Breathe in through your nose as you press lightly through your palms and tighten your back to lift your chest and shoulders from the ground. Hold for three seconds, then lower slowly as you breathe out. While your palms act as support, you should actively engage your back to lift your chest upward. Repeat the exercise five times. 

  1. Figure 4

 Figure 4 does wonders for stretching your hamstrings and hips, both of which can contribute to low back pain. Lie on your back, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your right foot from the floor and cross it over your left knee so your right hip rotates outward. Lift your left foot from the floor, bringing your left knee toward your torso. Reach your hands around your left thigh to help pull it toward you and deepen the stretch. If this feels comfortable, use your right elbow to press your right thigh away from your body, then begin to slowly extend your left knee, straightening your left leg as much as you can. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. 

  1. Happy Baby

 With a soft mat or thick towel beneath you, lie on your back, your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bend your knees in toward your chest, lifting your feet from the ground. Grasp around the outside of your feet with your hands, pulling your feet down toward your body (your knees should remain wide as you do so). Hold this position, stretching your low back and hips, then start rocking slowly from side-to-side to lightly massage the muscles surrounding your spine. Maintain the position for 30 to 60 seconds. 

  1. Easy spinal twist

 Maintaining the flexibility of your spine is incredibly important, even when you’re hurting, but if the idea of overzealous twisting makes you want to run for cover, I don’t blame you. The easy spinal twist is truly safe for everyone — just make sure you listen to your body and only twist as far as it will allow.

Lie on your back, your arms stretched out to the sides, your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor. Look over your left shoulder, then allow your knees to “fall” to the right as far as is comfortable (in a controlled fashion) while keeping your left shoulder anchored to the ground. You should feel a nice stretch through your left hip and low back. Hold for five seconds, then rotate back to center before repeating on the other side. Perform three to five sets. 

via sheknows.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

How to Tell When You’re Really Dehydrated

by Jari Love

Did you know that once you hit the point of being thirsty, you’re already dehydrated? Our bodies are between 50 and 75 percent water, so once you’re dehydrated, the amount of water in the body has already dropped below what’s needed for normal body function. Here are signs that it is time to drink up!


You Feel Tired
If you feel tired throughout your day, try filling up on water before reaching for a caffeinated beverage and see if that makes a difference. After a full night’s rest it’s common to be slightly dehydrated in the morning; so don’t forget to include drinking a glass of H2O in your morning routine to jump-start your metabolism and your brain!

A Little Moody
A recent study found that mild dehydration can affect your mood and interfere with your ability to concentrate. If you’re sitting at your desk and feeling a little low, sipping water could help you snap into focus.

You’re Having Trouble Going...
Water helps to keeps your digestive system moving and your intestines flexible to avoid chronic constipation. It only makes sense that you’d have difficulty with your bowel movements if you’re not staying hydrated. Keep things moving by drink plenty of fluids throughout your day.

You Have a Headache
Mild headaches are a classic sign of dehydration. Drinking eight ounces of water when you feel the pain coming on might just keep the headache at bay. So sip up before reaching for the aspirin.

You Have Bad Breath
Dry mouth leads to bad breath. You need salvia to fight stink-inducing bacteria, so drinking water regularly should keep your breath in check.

via popsugar.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Eat Real Food for Weight Loss

by Jari Love

Most people think that weight loss comes from giving up the foods that they enjoy and that staying skinny means never enjoying eating out again. While some dietary modifications are necessary for success, you hardly have to stop eating for pleasure. There are a few tips that will let you bend the rules a little more and still succeed, and we’d like to share them with you.

Meat Isn’t the Problem for Weight Loss

While more doctors are advising that you should eat less meat, only a few are saying don’t eat it all. Much of the issue with meat being linked to illness comes from pollution that animals absorb when they live in factory environments, not from the meat itself. Even the famous vegan doctor Michael Greger cited carcinogens from industrial environments, not the meat itself, as the cause of disease.

The solution to this issue is simply to eat more local meats and just moderate your portions. Meats do provide protein and iron in large amounts. Grass-fed beef is far richer in nutrients and is easier to digest.

Sweets Are Not the Problem for Weight Loss, Either

Natural sweeteners are an excellent replacement for processed sugars, just don’t heap them onto your food. Honey is an excellent sweetener that is also known to help loosen sinus congestion. So is maple syrup. Cookies can be made with raw cane sugar and can also be sweetened with natural molasses.

For Weight Loss Whole Grains Are the Best Choice for Breads and Cereals

Did you cringe when you were advised by a diet plan to eat a hamburger without the bun? Then forget you were ever told that. We already know that meat isn’t the problem, you just want to have a better burger.

So go ahead, grill that quarter pounder, and serve it on a good quality, wholegrain bun. Whole grains undergo less processing and retain more nutrients. Buns made from whole grains typically aren’t enriched with chemicals, but read the label to make sure.

Cereals made from whole grains are available in every grocery store. They are nothing new, and nowadays, they are so popular that you can easily find a cereal that is not only healthy but tasty. Wholegrain cereals that include natural berries, raisins and other sweet fruits are fine. The fruits add a bit of flavor and help you absorb the iron.

Whole Foods Make Your Body Work Better

Weight loss isn’t just about cutting calories and carbs. A lot of times, people are a bit overweight just because their bodies are slow to metabolize foods. Processed foods move more slowly through your system and waste byproducts back up. This slows you down and makes you feel lethargic.

Whole foods digest quicker and your body doesn’t have to do as much work to process them. As a result, you can lose weight just by eating better-quality foods and not having to count calories all the time. You do still need to moderate your portions, but the RDA labels on most foods will give you the information you need.

Look At the Food Labels and Plan Accordingly

If your recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates is 300 grams a day, just look at the labels of foods you are eating and see how many carbs you’re consuming. Check the labels for a few days, or maybe a week and take a few notes. Then make your daily plan according to the recommended daily allowance. All that’s left to do is just make sure you eat a fun-enough variety of foods so that you’re still enjoying life.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Are Egg Whites the Best Protein Choice?

by Jari Love

If you want to get healthy, then you will need to consume a high-protein, low carb diet. Many people associate protein with chicken or lean beef, and they forget that there is something that offers an even better source. Egg whites are the best source of protein and have been recognized for their quality nutrient value. Each egg white that you consumer has about 3.6 to 4 grams of protein in it. That should immediately tell you this is a good source of food for you, but that isn’t the only reason.

Egg whites contain numerous different nutrients that your body needs, including niacin, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, copper, folate, and riboflavin. So, when you eat an egg white, you are essentially taking a multivitamin, only one that is natural and better for you. In fact, egg whites offer the most complete source of protein that you can find. They have amino acids that will help you remain healthy too. These amino acids will ensure your body is able to use all of the protein in the egg white by supporting healthy tissues, building up your immune system, and helping your cells produce enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that your body needs for a healthy metabolism, and as you know, when your metabolism is higher, you will be able to lose weight more easily.

Additionally, when your cells are producing enzymes, then you will have healthier hemoglobin. That is a protein that is found in the blood and that works to transport oxygen to the rest of your body, including organs and tissues.

Egg whites offer all of this, and they only have about 17 calories. As you can see, they have a lot to offer, and, they can be used as a base for so many other foods and recipes that you will easily be able to work them into your healthy diet.

When you start working on your health and weight, you have to consider ensuring you are getting enough protein. There are different protein options, but none of them can quite compare to egg whites. These whites are healthy for you, chock full of nutrients, low in calories, and full of the proteins that your body needs. They are a complete source, which is different from other proteins that you could choose, making them the very best option available for your healthy diet.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Benefits of Foam Rolling

by Jari Love

Foam rolling is like flossing: Even though you know you should do it regularly, you may only actually do it when you notice an issue (in the case of your workout, that’d be when you’re sore). But before you beat yourself up, know that while you may not be reaping all the benefits of rolling that you could, just reserving it for after a tough workout or for when your muscles are aching isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Lauren Roxburgh, a trainer and structural integrative specialist.

That’s because whenever you use recovery tools like the foam roller (even if it’s just every now and then), you’re cleaning out some of the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during exercise. Compare the action to putting air in your tires—you’re fluffing the muscle up so it’s not as tight and dense, Roxburgh explains. But you’re also rolling out connective tissue, or fascia. Fascia wraps around your entire body like a wetsuit, from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet. In healthy form, it should be stretchy and flexible like Saran wrap, explains Roxburgh. But knots, tension, and toxins can lodge in the fascia, making it hard, thick, and dense, like an ACE bandage. If you had surgery, a doctor would notice the difference.

Foam rolling regularly can improve your hamstring flexibility and balance, decrease exercise fatigue, and reduce your likelihood of being sore in the first place, according to research.

So while reaching for the roller at all is great, making it a habit is better. In her forthcoming book, Taller, Slimmer, Younger, Roxburgh says that a regular rolling practice can help you lengthen muscles by turning off overworked muscles and helping you tune into stabilizing muscles like your core, inner thighs, triceps, and obliques. You may even feel a little taller, as rolling can decompress the spine and other joints, improving your posture.

Roxburgh recommends foam rolling before your workout for five to 10 minutes. By hydrating the tissue before you exercise, it will be more supple, giving you greater range of motion during your workout. Even on rest days, foam rolling will release tight muscles from sitting at a desk all day. And the best part is, you don’t need fancy recovery tools to reap the benefits: a simple foam roller and a tennis ball are Roxburgh’s go-to tools.

via shape.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Calories Burned Doing Burpees

by Jari Love

We all need to indulge a little and satisfy our cravings, but sometimes when you try to eat a tiny square of dark chocolate, you end up inhaling the entire bar! Now imagine if instead of calorie counts on labels, packages or menus listed the number of burpees it took to work off a serving. Yikes! Out of extreme curiosity, I did the legwork and figured it out for you. Don’t hate me. As downright depressing as it is to see the amounts, it might make you think twice before grabbing another slice of pizza.

 Let’s say that for one minute of basic burpees done correctly (most people do between 10 and 20), it burns an average of 10 calories. Check out the stats below. They’re not meant to make you cringe but are just good to keep in the back of your mind if you’re trying to lose weight.

 – Slice of pepperoni pizza (298 calories): 30 minutes of burpees

– Cheeseburger (423 calories): 42 minutes and 20 seconds of burpees

– Medium-sized McDonald’s french fries (380 calories): 38 minutes of burpees

– Grilled cheese (580 calories): 58 minutes of burpees

– Homemade chocolate chip cookie (89 calories): 9 minutes of burpees

– Red velvet cupcake (496 calories): 50 minutes of burpees

– Half a cup of vanilla ice cream (230 calories): 23 minutes of burpees

– Half a bar of dark chocolate (300 calories): 30 minutes of burpees

– 5-ounce glass of red wine (115 calories): 11 minutes and 30 seconds of burpees

– 12-ounce bottle of beer (150 calories): 15 minutes of burpees

– 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola (143 calories): 14 minutes and 20 seconds of burpees

 via popsugar.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

5 Plateau-Busting Plyometrics Exercises to Swap for Cardio

by Jari Love

If you’ve been hitting the gym double-time and still aren’t seeing results, you could be hitting a workout plateau. It’s everyones worse nightmare when it comes to weight loss. That scale just isn’t budging. There are ways you can break the plateau, plyometrics on the Get RIPPED workouts. Instead of spending more time sweating, shorten your routine by using plyometric movements that combine cardio and strength to give you a well-rounded workout in less time.

“Practicing plyometrics regularly will increase your speed and power, plus get you shredded,” says Grace Menendez, a trainer at Crunch gyms in NYC. The goal is to exert maximum force in short intervals of time, she adds. In other words, adding these few movements below can totally replace your regular cardio routine.

 Kettlebell Swings

A Stand with feet hip-width apart and place a 12kg kettlebell (for newbies) or 16kg kettlebell (for advanced users) on the floor about 18-inches in front of you. Push hips back and bend knees enough to place hands on the bell handle.

B Tilt the bell back towards you as you hike it through legs, hinging at hips as you inhale.

C Stand-up completely straight as you exhale, squeezing glutes and straightening knees at the top of the swing. Continue the swings for 10 minutes. At the top of each minute, swing the bell 10 times, then rest.

 Plyo Pushups

A Start in a pushup position, fingers spread wide to create a firm foundation, belly-button drawn in towards spine.

B Inhale and lower chest towards the ground like in a standard push-up. As you exhale, push forcefully off the ground as hands lift off. As you land, be sure to land with elbows bent to protect joints. Make it easier by placing knees on the ground, or harder by adding a clap in between push-ups. Work up to 3 sets of 10 reps.

 Box Jumps

A Stand in front of a surface around knee-height. Use a bench, plyo box, or even stairs to practice this move. Start with feet about as wide if in a squat.

B Bend knees, and bring hands behind you at your sides. Jump onto the box, making sure to stand up all the way by straightening knees at the top and extending hips fully.

C Jump or step back to start. Set a timer for 5 sets of 30 seconds with a 30 seconds rest and jump as many times as possible.

 V-Ups

A Start lying on back, palms facing down, arms at sides.

B Sit-up as you bend at the waist, keeping legs straight and reaching hands to toes. Set a timer and go for 5 rounds of 30 seconds with a 30 second rest in between each set.

 Body Saws

A Start in a plank position, forearms on the ground. Place a towel under toes.

B Press firmly into the ground with arms and pike hips up using lower abs as you slide back and forth on the towel. Do 3-5 rounds for 30 seconds.

Via shape.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Plants That Fight Disease

by Jari Love

It all started one day when Elizabeth Millard was feeling tired and worn out from working the farm she cofounded near Minneapolis, MN. She grabbed a couple of leaves of holy basil off a nearby plant and popped them into her mouth. Moments later, she says, she felt surprisingly energized. “That’s when I really started to recognize the potency and medicinal potential of herbs and other plants,” says Millard, who went on to write the book Backyard Pharmacy. “We can grow our own medicine.”

 Brian Hetrich sees firsthand the healing power of plants. His job is to grow many of the fruits and vegetables served at the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, FL, which emphasizes food as medicine. “Nature has provided some very powerful tools for boosting your body’s immune system, which is ultimately what keeps you strong and healthy,” says Hetrich, who was trained as a naturopathic doctor. “There’s no better way to harness the healing potential of food than by growing it yourself in your own garden.”

 Fortunately, you don’t need a green thumb to turn seeds or small plants into robust herbs and vegetables. (And worst case, there’s always the farmers’ market!) Here, Hetrich and Millard list their top picks for easy-to-grow plants with documented healing abilities. For best results, eat your produce whole, fresh, ripe, and raw.

Garlic

 Superpowers: It’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal, and it reduces inflammation. Studies show garlic can lower the risk of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and osteoarthritis and can destroy certain cancer cells. Preliminary findings suggest that it may also lower high cholesterol and blood pressure in people with hypertension.

 Everyday perk: Eating garlic regularly could help you avoid the common cold, according to a study in the journal American Family Physician. Millard likes to mince fresh garlic, let it sit 15 minutes for the active ingredients to “develop,” and then swallow it like a pill if she feels like she’s getting sick. “It’s not great for personal relationships, but it’s incredibly effective,” she says. “I haven’t had a cold in 10 years.”

 Growing guide: In spring or fall, buy “seed garlic” online or from a local farmer or gardening supply store. (Don’t bother trying to plant bulbs from the supermarket, which have been sprayed so they won’t sprout.) Plant individual cloves, sharper side facing up, about 3 to 4 inches below the soil and about 18 inches apart. If you’re planting in the fall, cover the soil with some type of mulch (straw, hay, leaves, or grass clippings) to keep it warm in winter. When the ropey tendril that is the flowering stalk of the plant grows in spring, snip it off to keep the nutrients going down into the garlic instead of into flowers. Wait 2 weeks; then harvest the bulbs.

Broccoli Sprouts

 Superpowers: With concentrated stores of the compound sulforaphane, broccoli sprouts mobilize the body’s natural cancer-fighting resources, inhibiting tumor growth. Johns Hopkins University researchers call broccoli sprouts—which also deliver a full profile of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals—the single most powerful cancer-fighter around. The sprouts have also been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. (Learn how you can get your blood pressure under control sans pills with Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally.) They’re 10 to 30 times more potent than fully grown broccoli because they’re baby plants in their prime.

Everyday perk: Sulforaphane may reduce symptoms of asthma and other respiratory disorders, according to two separate peer-reviewed studies, because it tamps down oxidative stress and inflammation in the airways.

 Growing guide: At any time of year, place 1/2 cup of broccoli sprout seeds in a mason jar with a sprout lid (or cheese cloth secured with a rubber band). Add 2 cups of room-temperature water and soak for 8 hours. Drain. Rinse again and repeat the process twice a day for 3 days. Your sprouts are sweetest, most tender, and most nutritious when the tails, or the roots, are about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch long. Yields approximately 2 cups in just 72 hours! Sprouts can be dried and stored in the refrigerator in a covered container, where they will keep for up to 5 days.

Mint

Superpowers: Mint may beat back prostate and liver cancer using the compound peryllyl alcohol, along with carotenoids and retinoids, according to two 2012 studies. Another compound, rosmarinic acid, scavenges free radicals and lowers inflammation, reducing seasonal allergy symptoms significantly, according to other findings. Preliminary lab tests suggest that peppermint oil may also boost the effectiveness of medications used for yeast infections.

 Everyday perk: Mint can ease digestion. It works by relaxing the muscular lining of the digestive tract to quiet cramps and gas and reduce abdominal pain—even in people with irritable bowel syndrome, according to a 2010 study. “Mint is a good thing to have when you realize that you shouldn’t have eaten all that food on a stick at the state fair,” Millard says.

 Growing guide: In the spring, buy a starter plant and grow it in a pot (lest it take over the rest of your garden because it’s so invasive). Give it partial sun rather than full sun—plants are always growing and expending energy when exposed to sunlight, so taking it into the shade for some of the day gives it a break. Err on the side of dryness. Herbs hate soggy roots!

Asparagus

 Superpowers: This slender stalk has one of the all-time highest levels of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that removes poisons, including carcinogens and free radicals, from the body. It’s also anti-inflammatory, making it a top fighter of common chronic health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Asparagus is also rich in B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, zinc, manganese, selenium, and iron.

 Everyday perk: Asparagus could be your hangover helper. Korean researchers have found that its extracts boost levels of enzymes that are key to breaking down alcohol.

 Growing guide: Plant this perennial once and you’ll have stalks for 25 years. In early spring, buy 1-year-old Jersey Knight or Jersey Giant crowns and plant them in an area of your yard that is well drained and gets full sun. Plant asparagus crowns 6 inches down in rich or sandy soil. Place them in 4 rows, 12 inches apart. Cover them with 3 inches of soil. After 2 weeks, add more soil so it’s slightly mounded above ground level. Cover with plenty of mulch to keep out weeds, and water regularly (at least once every 3 days if it’s not raining). Hetrich suggests not harvesting any spears in the first 2 years so that all the plant’s energy can be used for establishing deep roots. When you do harvest it, use a sharp knife to cut the spears at ground level. Make the most of your bounty with these 8 delicious asparagus recipes.

Basil

 Superpowers: Antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, not to mention beta-carotene and magnesium, give basil a key role in protecting cells against a host of diseases, including heart disease, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Everyday perk: It may help soothe headaches. A component of basil called eugenol has been shown to work in the same way as over-the-counter remedies such as aspirin and ibuprofen to block the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). Millard recommends chewing on basil leaves to dull headache pain.

Growing guide: There are more than 60 varieties, but Millard prefers Sweet Italian, Luscious, Thai basil (which has a licorice taste), and purple basil (because it’s pretty). Buy a starter plant in the spring and transplant it outside immediately, using standard outdoor gardening soil—make sure it’s not too compacted. Water the soil instead of the leaves, because they can be susceptible to disease. Expect your basil to grow to about 5 inches tall, depending on the variety.

Red Cabbage Microgreens

Superpowers: USDA researchers in 2012 found that red cabbage microgreens—the super-baby version of red cabbage, less than 2 weeks old—have a sixfold higher vitamin C concentration and 69 times the vitamin K of the mature vegetable. Vitamin C is a superstar antioxidant, fighting inflammation and guarding against cell damage to help prevent chronic conditions, including heart disease. It’s also a key ingredient in collagen, strengthening muscles, skin, bones, and other connective tissues. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and bone building, keeping osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and cancer at bay, according to another 2012 study.

Everyday perk: Help prevent colds and flu. Vitamin C boosts the immune system by stimulating production of white blood cells—the body’s first line of defense against bacteria and infections.

Growing guide: Start with red cabbage seeds—or special microgreen seeds. Fill a seeding tray (or even a baking dish) with about 2 inches of organic potting soil or seed-starting medium. Sprinkle the seeds around and add a light layer of soil on top. Water thoroughly just this one time; then set the tray on a sunny windowsill and use a spray bottle to mist with water a few times a day. In a little over a week, you should have a lush mini field of microgreens. Harvest at the 10-day mark, when greens are about 2 inches high.

Chamomile

Superpowers: This antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial herb is one of the most well documented medicinal plants in the world, according to the National Institutes of Health. Preliminary findings suggest that it may deactivate cancer cells, but proven benefits include speeding wound healing (especially burns), preventing and treating colds, protecting against bacterial infections, calming muscle spasms (great for menstrual cramps), easing stomach upset, and promoting sleep.

Everyday perk: Chamomile tea is the ultimate chill-out tonic, soothing frayed nerves. German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may relieve anxiety and even reduce symptoms of mild depression, according to a 2012 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Growing guide: Buy a packet of seeds and plant them inside initially because the roots like to be warm. (Or invest in a germination heat mat, about $20 at gardening shops.) After 6 to 8 weeks, transplant chamomile to a sunny spot outside with good airflow. Water it about once a week, or when it looks dry. (Chamomile is happiest when somewhat neglected.) In a couple of months, harvest the little yellow-and-white daisylike flowers. Dry them on a screen or a rack. Crumble the flowers and place them directly in a tea ball. Add boiling water, steep, and enjoy!

h/t prevention.com

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | healthy lifestyle, Jari Love, live long, live strong | 0 comments | Read more

Stupid fitness questions you’re too afraid to ask

by Jari Love

We all have fitness questions, especially with all the information there is out there on the internet. But who do you ask? How do you know what is the right answer? You need to find a reliable source that will provide you the answers to the fitness questions you have, and stick with that trusted person. Let me be that trusted person, since I have over 20 years experience in the industry and have worked with scientists to find out the best ways to lose weight. So here you go…

 The Debrief: Real exercise advice. No BS!  Now on to stupid fitness questions… WHY ARE YOU NOT DOING THIS?

 As a female working in the magazine industry, I know this generally isn’t what people want to hear, let alone pay to hear. It’s a sign of the times that we want get rich quick, get famous without working hard, look-like-JLO-in-a-week type spiel. He’s always loved me for who I am and whilst he wants to share his knowledge for my well being, has never pressured me to look/feel a certain way as you’d maybe think, or have experienced super fit people do. 

But I realized that women need real advice, from someone who isn’t trying to sell them something. So, I asked him for genuine advice, because a lot of people (me included) just don’t know what to believe after reading countless diet stories in trashy magazines. 

I would love to say there’s going to be an easy revelation ladies… but I wouldn’t hold your breath. The truth? We ladies can handle the truth… or can’t we?

‘Help! I've never exercised 'seriously' before, where do I start?’

 The important thing to remember here is that you can only start from where you’re at! 

As a complete beginner the best thing to start with is the basics. For the average person with fairly typical fitness goals, more often than not the most effective routine is going to come down to a mixture of compound resistance exercises (squats, lunges, presses, rows etc) and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT, short). 

To get there it’s a case of building up your aerobic fitness (whether from jogging, cycling, CrossTraining etc, I’d be lying if I said it mattered which) and learning the compound movements (remember doing movement properly and safely comes first! If you can’t squat low and your lunges make you look like Bambi on ice then there’s no point adding weight yet!) 

To a point the details don’t matter, it’s much more important that you start with realistic expectations (if you’ve had 3 years of takeaways and beer then you’re not going to transform in a matter of weeks), consistency and dedication. If you can’t bring those things then you need to ask whether or not you genuinely want it. 

That magazine told me I could drop 5 pounds in 5 days, sorted, right?

Remember that ‘weight’ applies to everything, not just fat. You’re not going to lose 5lb of actual fat tissue in 5 days. What you will do by crash dieting for 5 days is lose a ton of water and deplete the glycogen from your body (carbohydrate which is mostly stored in your muscle cells). Being dehydrated and glycogen depleted is not the same as burning fat! I can tell you from first-hand experience after I ‘lost’ 12lbs of sweat and glycogen after doing a 24 hour boxing circuit for charity and then put it back on the next day after eating and drinking again.

 Once your body has depleted water and glycogen, you’ll find the ‘weight’ loss stops. There’s no magic workout, magic diet or quick fix… just patience, hard work and CONSISTENCY is key. 

How many times have you seen a ‘D-list Celeb’ on the front cover of a magazine telling you how she’s lost 2 stone in a month, only to see her in the same magazine a couple of months later and 3 stone heavier? 

I can't afford a gym membership, I can't get fit.

You already own the most effective piece of exercise equipment out there and that’s your own body! You can walk, run, jump, press, dip and pull. You need little more than a floor to get fit. Try a 3-4 Tabata Circuits (20 seconds of all-out effort, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds) of movements like squat jumps, thrusters, skipping or burpees every other day for a month and then try and tell me that you haven’t gotten fitter! 

If you’re against getting tied down to a gym membership then why not shell out as a one off on a few bits and pieces for the house? Some dumbbells and an aerobic bench won’t set you back much and jogging is free. More and more budget gyms are opening up everywhere for little more than a tenner a month and I’m sure if you really looked you’d be able to save £2.50 a week somehow. 

I want a butt like Kim Kardashian!

Go back in time and pick different parents. Or failing that get implants (as it is alleged she has.) 

I’m half-joking here, but you have to be realistic. Everybody can improve and build upon what they’ve got, but we’re all born with a particular body shape. I’m built more like a swimmer, I can get leaner, I can build my muscles to look a certain way, but no amount of training, food or *ahem* ‘supplements’ is going to make me the size of a World’s Strongest Man competitor, nor could I starve myself enough to get into a pair skinny jeans without ripping them when I sat down. There is no ‘right’ body type, everyone is valid. 

How do you feel about ‘cheat days’ is it the best way to stick to a diet, or do I have to always deprive myself of stuff?

If it works for you then it works for you! Some people can be strict 100% of the time, but anything too restrictive probably won’t work in the long run for most people. 

Just make sure that you don’t confuse cheating with binging. 

Ok, what's the secret?

There isn’t one. In an online and instant age were we’re used to effortlessly getting everything when and where we want it, is it any surprise that telling people they need to be patient, dedicated and hard working to get even close to what they want is a something that even Jordan ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Belfort couldn’t sell? 

The reality is that anybody promising you something easy or something quick is simply trying to flog you something. 

If I was to do one thing to get fitter, what would it be?

Something that you enjoy, I can program something scientifically to stimulate the adaptations your body needs to make to meet your goals, but if you hate it then you’re not going to do it consistently or for very long. 

Try stuff; cycle, swim, run, play tennis, dance, box… it doesn’t matter. Anything done with consistency and enthusiasm will serve you better in the long run than something you do infrequently and halfheartedly. 

I get bored in the gym and don’t like any sport, what can I do?

You’re either going to have to want the results badly enough that you can produce the discipline to overcome that or you’re going to have to try harder to find something that you like. Maybe you need to change your gym routine more often? Have you tried group fitness classes? Training with a friend can make things enjoyable and makes you feel accountable when you don’t show up. 

Sometimes you might just need to force yourself for a while, write a note and stick it in front of your bed ‘I will exercise 3-4 times a week for a month’, keep it up and eventually this forced routine will become just another habit. 

I don’t have time to train/go to the gym but want to get fit?

The best thing you can look to do is to boost your metabolism so that your body is burning more calories even at rest. It makes sense that although you can spend an hour or two in the gym, you’re always going to use more calories in the 23 hours that you have away from the gym, so use that time well! 

If you really don’t have 2 hours a week then start looking at ways you can keep active, clichés like taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to the shops etc, it all counts for something. 

I am naturally slim and happy with my weight, why should I exercise, I feel fine!

Exercise can have benefits other than weight and body composition control, everything from balancing your hormones, fighting stress and depression, lowering your risk of osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease (to list just a few illnesses) and there’s also a great social side to it. Above all exercise can just be an enjoyable and cathartic activity, challenging yourself to set and meet goals can be immensely fulfilling. 

But if your health and appearance aren’t something you care about and you simply don’t enjoy exercising then nobody is going to force you to! 

Do I need protein shakes? I’m confused? I don’t want to get big Madonna arms?

Whilst protein shakes definitely won’t give you ‘big Madonna arms’, they’re also not something that you need, per say. Protein supplements are there to supplement (the clue is in the name!) your diet, if you either don’t get enough of a nutrient or your body requires more of it due to being physically active etc then supplements have their uses but most, if not all, nutrition should come from food. 

It’s key to understand that protein doesn’t make you ‘big’, testosterone, a lot of calories and genetics will (and if you weren’t built like a female Olympic shotputter in school then it’s probably not going to suddenly happen now). The great thing about protein is that it isn’t very high in calories and also takes more calories to digest and metabolize than carbohydrates do. And unless you’re using testosterone and HGH like half of the woman over 40 in Hollywood do, you probably won’t get arms like Madonna anytime soon.

Via thedebrief.co.uk

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

The Fight for Food

by Jari Love

Toned, flat abs are what you desire but why hasn’t it appeared yet? Foods, eating habits and other issues can lead to your belly to be bloated and not achieving the results you deserve.

First things first, I am not critiquing you on having a health binge! But, that handful (or two…okay, three) of trail mix each day could be a real saboteur. Dried fruit is good, nuts are great, but combined into a tempting treat they pack serious calories. A single cup of typical "gorp" or trail mix can have 500 calories and more than 15 grams of fat. Granola bars, whole grain muffins, smoothies...these can all be part of your weight problems.

Surprise, surprise, you could also not be consuming enough carbohydrates. Glycogen and water are stored in the muscles of the body and when you allow it decrease, the body triggers a stronger sense of hunger in order to get you to restore it. Such as, not have enough carbs during the day and delaying the time you refuel yourself. This can easily allow you to gain weight.

Are you filling yourself up with a fibre frenzy? Trying to improve your diet by adding in all the extra fibre to shed the extra weight? You could be adding too much fibre too fat for your digestive track to catch up. Slowly take in more fibre, drink more water and get plenty of exercise. The waiting period will only take as little as two to three weeks before you can free up room for full fibre.

Forbidden foods for the body can also be the reason for the unexplained bloating. Your body may not be able to tolerate some of the foods consumed. An issue like celiac disease can cause irritation and an inability for the intestines to absorb nutrients, leading to bloating.

These are things that you might just not realize when you are wondering why you aren't getting the results you want. Don’t give up know that when you work hard and become more educated you’ll understand and know how to change that. Especially when it comes to the habits we can work on getting rid of.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

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