Love Notes by Jari Love

Posts in the womens fitness category

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.

Secret Ingredients Every Vegan Should Have

by Jari Love

When you first start cooking vegan food, you know that beans, veggies, fruits and grains are your best friends.

 But what about those secret ingredients that make everything taste just a little bit better? These are my favorite flavor-packed, workhorse, vegan pantry items that I turn to again and again in my quest to make the best cruelty-free, vegan food possible. 

  1. Dried mushrooms

When you’re craving that umami flavor you used to associate with meat, dried mushrooms are your best friend. You can steep them in hot water and use the liquid as the base of soup broths, add it to pan sauces or use it as the liquid when making couscous or risotto. The rehydrated mushrooms can be chopped and added to any dish in which mushrooms are called for or can be subbed in to take the place of beef in many recipes. Shiitake mushrooms are especially flavorful. 

  1. Ground flaxseed

Baking without eggs can be tricky at first, but ground flaxseed is all you need to make the magical “flax egg.” Add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed to 3 tablespoons of water. Stir, and let sit for 5 minutes or until gelled. This “flax egg” works in any recipe calling for eggs as a binder, like pancakes and cookies. 

  1. Miso

Some people complain that vegan food is bland, but it doesn’t have to be. The trick is to replace the savory flavors that come from meat with something equally flavorful. Miso, a salty, sweet and slightly funky fermented soy paste, is just the ingredient. You can add a tablespoon to soups just before serving to add a new layer of depth (and give a healthy dose of probiotics to your meal). It makes salad dressings sing, marinades more merry and a glaze that will make mild tofu or eggplant star entrées. There are different types of miso; try white or yellow for a milder flavor or red if you’re feeling bold. 

  1. Cashews

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, vegan culinary superstar and cookbook author, has one rule all vegans should always follow: ABS, as in “always be soaking” cashews. Cashews soaked in water overnight can be blended in minutes into a luscious cream. Use it as the base for vegan jalapeño poppers, sour cream, ice cream — basically anything that calls for a rich and creamy base. 

  1. Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a great ingredient, and not just for flavor alone. It contains vitamin B12, which vegans usually have to take in supplement form. Luckily nutritional yeast is a vegan source of this important nutrient. Better yet, it has a cheesy flavor that can accent a wide array of dishes. Use it to make vegan mac and cheese, sprinkle it over pasta, add it to casseroles — the options are endless. 

  1. Chickpea flour

You can use tofu to make a breakfast scramble, but what if you’re craving a classic omelet? For that, you can turn to chickpea flour, also known as besan. You create a sort of pancake out of the chickpea flour that is a super-close approximation of a folded omelet. Stuff it with your favorite veggies or vegan cheese, and get ready to break that fast. 

  1. Aquafaba (chickpea brine)

Aquafaba, the water that’s in a can of beans, is all the rage in vegan baking. Strain the beans, then beat the liquid until it forms stiff peaks. You can use the fluffy mixture in any recipe that calls for meringue. 

  1. Vital wheat gluten

Veggies are great, but sometimes you just want something more substantial. Vital wheat gluten is the key. You can use it to make seitan, which you can then marinate and use in everything from vegan French dip sandwiches, vegan “beef” and broccoli and more. You can also use it to make vegan “chicken.” It’s the perfect cruelty-free and cholesterol-free way to sate your cravings for the foods you grew up with. 

  1. Canned, full-fat coconut milk

Coconut milk is a real lifesaver. Not only can it be used for classic vegan Indian and Thai curries, but it’s great for baking too. Use it to make the frosting for your favorite cake, or refrigerate it overnight, skim off the solid cream, and beat it until it can be used as a whipped cream. You can also use canned coconut as a base for vegan ice cream, or add some to make your next smoothie taste more like a shake. 

  1. Nut butter

Nut butter is so versatile. You can schmear some onto apple wedges or celery sticks for a quick snack, spread it over hearty toast and drizzle with agave and sea salt for breakfast, or you can use it as the base for more complex things like almond satay sauce, creamy cashew butter sauce or peanut salad dressing. 

 

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.

Habits to Keep You Fit Forever

by Jari Love

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy. It’s not something you figure out once and forget about it. It requires an immense amount of discipline, adaptability, and patience, spread over years and years of everyday life.

 As you get older, maintaining your level of health and fitness gets trickier. There are injuries — or simple wear and tear — to take into account. As your body chemistry changes, you’ll need to adapt your diet to get the vital vitamins and minerals you need. You’ll even need to adjust your schedule to get enough sleep, which becomes hard if kids are in the picture.

 Simply put, maintaining a level of fitness, over the course of a lifetime, is a monumental task. But you can tackle it — with a set of established habits and routines, as well as resolute willpower. 

To help get you there, we’ve compiled a list of six things you can do today to help you get fit, stay fit, and take your fitness seriously. Things will change with time, so be ready to adapt. But these habits will give you a baseline, and hopefully keep you fit forever. 

  1. A solid sleeping schedule 

It’s really hard to understate the importance of sleep. Sleep is when our body recovers — whether it is from exercise, stress, or something else entirely. Getting a solid amount of sleep every night has been linked to higher productivity, increased ability in the gym, and higher levels of mental activity. In short, sleep is important. 

Do your best to establish a solid sleep schedule. You’ll ideally need between six and eight hours per night, which can be more difficult as family obligations mount, or if you’re spending more time at work or school. But get in the habit of making sleep a priority. Your body will thank you. 

  1. An easy morning routine 

The morning — or whenever you wake up — may be the most important part of your day. That’s why you need to develop a routine, keep it, and use it as a springboard to set you off for another round of victories. 

A morning routine can be simple — shave, shower, eat a healthy breakfast, make your bed, and you’re off. Maybe mix in some meditation. The point is, develop a healthy routine that works for you, and stick to it. It may be the only constant in your life during stressful times, so let it be a comfortable, therapeutic process. 

  1. Drop the sugar 

Sugar is linked to all kinds of negative outcomes. So, your best bet is to kick your sugar habit now, and never look back. Start drinking your coffee black, your tea without any sweetener, and opt for a piece of fruit instead of having a bowl of ice cream or reaching for a Snickers. 

Sugar is addictive; but if you can crush the habit in your early years, you won’t even crave it after a while. And if you can save yourself years of sugar intake by kicking sugar now, you’ll live a longer, healthier life. 

  1. Concentrate your diet 

Many of us struggle to control our diet, but one easy way to do so is to concentrate the things we eat. That is, centralize your diet around a select group of foods, and only occasionally stray from your plan. By all counts, you’ll want to construct a diet that is vegetable-based — not necessarily vegetarian or vegan, but heavy on the greens — and not so dependent on meats, breads, and fats. 

Pick some foods, such as eggs, fish, and vegetables, and build a diet around them. These will be your dietary staples, although you can obviously add some variety to the mix, and adapt as time goes on. By concentrating your diet, you’ll be healthier and more knowledgeable about the caloric and nutritional content you’re consuming. 

  1. Stress relief 

You’re going to need to find a way to decompress, or blow off some steam. Some guys like to go to the shooting range or play pickup basketball or soccer. A great habit to get into is weight lifting or running to relieve stress. Other fantastic, stress-relieving habit to pick up are meditation and yoga. 

Whatever gives you peace of mind for a brief amount of time, you’ll want to adopt it as a ritual. Everyone needs some solace from time to time, so find a way to let your daily frustrations go. Again, this is something that changes with time, so don’t be afraid to strike out of your comfort zone. 

  1. Learn to love exercise 

Finally, you’ll need to exercise. And learn to love it. You may be a runner, lifter, swimmer, or hiker. Regardless, it’s important to develop a love for physical activity, and to make it a mainstay in your life in some form or another. 

Some people make gym trips a centerpiece of their day — no matter what, they make sure they get their workouts in. For some people, it’s a daily run, a weekend hike, or a camping trip. No matter what it is, you’ll want to get “addicted” to some kind of physical activity. 

In the long-run, you’ll set yourself up for success. Just teach yourself to view exercise and the rest of these habits as simple parts of your day; something you enjoy rather than a chore to be completed. 

via cheatsheet.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.

Workout Excuses You Cannot Use Anymore

by Jari Love

Being in shape and looking great makes our lives as women so much easier and more enjoyable. Working with many moms, young women, and even high school girls, I hear the same excuses over and over about why they can’t work out. 

Guess what? I’m about to blow away five of the biggest excuses we hear. No more excuses! You can do this — immediately. 

  1. I’m too out of shape to go to the gym 

With Clickbank, YouTube, the Internet, DVDs and outdoor yoga, you do not have to go to the gym to get in shape. In fact, you can get into good shape at home! Then, if you so choose, you can join a gym when you feel more comfortable. 

If you’re like me, you’ll work out at home forever — and love it! I exercise at home everyday with a kettle bell, medicine ball and dumbbells. Granted, I have some background knowledge, but with technology, you can follow along with online programs in the comfort of your own home every day. 

I blow everyone away with this fact from my physical therapy days: My oldest patient was 108. She did awesome booty squeezes and leg kicks, and excelled at riding the stationary bike. As we age, our bones become more brittle, and one way we can prevent fracture is exercise. Get started now. Within a few days, you’ll see a difference — you will! 

  1. I don’t have anyone to exercise with me 

When I hear this excuse, I know you’re grasping at straws. Someone in your circle of friends feels just like you do. The difference between your friend and you is that they are afraid to ask around… but I know you are motivated, strong-willed and ready to get healthy. Ask around and see who’d like to join you on your morning walk. You’ll be surprised at how many women will take you up on it! The bonding and exercise together will make your soul so much happier. 

  1. I don’t look good in workout clothes (or I don’t have anything to wear)!

There are so many cute exercise clothes out there, but seriously? Your fashion statement should not be a reason to stay out of shape. All those new yoga pants are adorable and comfortable, and I’m guilty of wearing them every time I get a chance. You do not have to look like a celebrity to start getting in shape. Throw on some old pants, a cozy top and tennis shoes, Google “yoga for beginners” and get moving. You’re exercising in your cozy clothes in your cozy home. Boom. 

  1. I don’t have time 

I hear this one more than all the others, but no one is ever “too busy” for 10 minutes of exercise. It’s not a lack of time, but a lack of planning and prioritizing. Ouch. Yes, that may have stung a little, but I was guilty of that excuse once, also. It doesn’t fly when you realize taking away 10 minutes of your morning show, 10 minutes of your evening show or 10 minutes of gossiping with a neighbor could be spent exercising.

The common myth is you must exercise 60 solid minutes every day or it doesn’t count. That’s simply not true. Any physical activity is better than zero, and popping in 10 minutes here and there throughout the day really adds up. Truly look at your schedule, and see where you can carve out time. Jog while the kiddos practice ball, get up 10 minutes earlier, do lunchtime yoga or go bike riding on the weekends. Finding time is possible with creativity, planning and dedication.

Regardless of your reasons to avoid exercise, there is a way to squeeze in time for yourself. You need exercise, you deserve exercise and you will love yourself once you get into a routine. Try some little changes for at least a month, and before you know it, they will become habit. Love your body, and your body will love you back!

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.

When Heavy Weight Lifting Pays Off

by Jari Love

Weight lifting isn’t just for body builders. Everyone can benefit from adding resistance weight training to their exercise regime. 

Here’s why: 

#1: Stronger Bones

No I don’t mean your muscles! While of course your muscles will get stronger by lifting weights, your bones will get stronger too. Since weight-bearing exercise stimulates bone formation, bones, like muscles become stronger and denser when demands are placed on it. This is great news since it means that weight lifting reduces the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. 

#2: Improved Balance

Strength training strengthens and tones your muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. Increased strength and tone aids in better body mechanics resulting in better posture, balance and coordination. Improved balance can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent, which is a crucial benefit especially as you age since elderly people who lose their balance can often wind up with life-altering broken bones. Lifting weights can help you stay mobile and strong throughout your life. 

#3: Improved Brain Function

Strength training helps us grow more muscle and bone cells and helps make the ones we have more powerful and effective. However, it is not just our body cells which receive these benefits. The same signals which increase muscle and bone cells also encourage growth, power and efficiency in our blood vessels and brain cells. Stronger blood vessels coupled with a stronger heart can also improve blood flow to the brain and has the potential to improve memory, slow the onset of dementia and boost overall cognitive performance. 

#4: Prevent Disease

Strength training not only improves the look of your body, but can also help you stay healthier. Studies have shown an overall improvement in your body’s ability to fight inflammation, including inflammation associated with colds and flu, as well as the body’s increased capacity for glucose control good news for those at risk for diabetes. Increased heart strength reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers blood pressure, while strength training has also been found to ease the pain of osteoarthritis and reduce depression.

 #5. Improved Mood

Lifting weights elevates the number of endorphins (your brain’s natural mood boosters) which makes you feel great, not to mention the self-esteem boost you receive when you look and feel strong.

 #6: Burns More Calories:

Lifting weights does so much for your physique. Strength training is crucial to weight control because increased muscle mass corresponds to an increased metabolic rate. Muscle burns calories even while at rest while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.

 #7: You Eat and Sleep Better

Regular weight-lifting can make you more aware of what you put in your body. Better self-awareness makes it easier to say “no” to temptations, while people who lift weights regularly fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. Improved overall sleep quality is also key to maintaining weight loss.

 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.

Top Tips for Firming Up a Saggy Butt

by Jari Love

If you ask people to identify the least favorite part of their body you will find that many get upset about a saggy bum or bottom. Although the lower body contains the largest muscle groups, we often have trouble keeping these muscles in top condition – and this is the primary cause to a saggy butt.

How do you get these muscles back in shape? You use “targeted” workouts and you partner them with fat burning exercises that help to define all of that gorgeous muscle you are working so hard to build. Keep in mind that you will not see changes overnight. It is going to take the average person from four to six weeks before they see and feel the major muscle groups begin to take shape. However, within eight to ten weeks most people have the “lifted” and rounded bottom they covet.

The Way to the Best Backside

What sort of exercises are needed? If you visualize the muscles of the buttocks, you already know that the “gluteus maximus” are the defining muscles in this area. That tells you that anything you can do to challenge and strengthen them is going to make a big difference. Additionally, you can always boost the effectiveness of any exercise by adding some hand weights when possible – such as five pound dumbbells, etc.

The exercises to use at least three times per week  to firm up a saggy butt are:

  • Squat - This is “the” exercise for lifting the butt. It is done by standing with the feet at shoulder width apart. Toes are pointing forward. Put your hands in “prayer position” in front of you or hold the arms straight out at shoulder height. Bend the knees and begin to squat until the thighs are parallel with the ground. Remember to squat downward – not forward. Pause for one breath when your thighs and shins are at a 90-degree angle and then lift to original position. Do three to five sets of eight to twelve squats.
  • Deadlifts - This benefits you by demanding that your butt muscles do most of the lifting of a heavy barbell from the floor. The most effective is the “straight-leg deadlift” done with a rack. The barbell is roughly three inches above the knee and this is a safer approach to the lift. You begin at the center of the bar with right palm facing towards you and left palm facing away and thighs touching the barbell you stand straight and use the legs to lift the barbell from the support pegs. Take two steps back, and tuck the navel towards the spine to ensure proper back position (flat back). Let your buttocks begin to project behind you as you lower the bar to the ankles (keeping knees slightly bent). Lift your head and look at the wall in front of you. Contract your butt muscles as you raise the bar and return to your initial position. The barbell is close to, but not touching the body. Do three to five lifts in sets of eight to twelve.
  • Lunges - When perfected, the lung is highly effective at butt lifting. The best version is the walking lunge and it is done by standing with the feet together (hold weights at the top of the shoulders for even greater results). Take a large step forward with the right foot, bend the knees and lower the body into the lunge. Check your form to be sure that the thigh is parallel with the floor and the knee is above or slightly behind the toe. Lift with the bent leg (standing up out of the lunge), and then step forward on the left foot. Repeat fifteen times on each leg.

Perform these sets at least three times per week, and do at least 30 minutes of daily fat burning, cardio work and you could see your new and shapely butt in the next four weeks.

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.

4 Natural Ways To Soothe An Angry Gut

by Jari Love

It’s pretty much impossible to dodge the occasional upset stomach, diarrhea, or constipation. Tummy trouble is just a part of life. Fortunately, a cranky belly tends to feel better quickly if you keep hydrated and stick to easy-to-digest foods.

But for people with “functional bowel disorders”—doctor-speak for conditions that cause chronic stomach pain and other digestive problems—a stomachache isn’t just an every-now-and-then thing; it’s a debilitating ailment. The most common bowel disorder is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects roughly one in 10 Americans, according to H. Christian Weber, MD, a gastroenterologist at Boston Medical Center. For the millions of people with IBS, letting stomach pain run its course isn’t an option.

Fortunately, there are several drug-free methods proven to calm an angry gut.

1. Ditch these foods.
Whole wheat, honey, beans, and even garlic can cause trouble—or not. The tricky thing about bowel disorders is that everyone’s gut is different, so what irritates one person’s gastrointestinal tract may be harmless for someone else’s. That said, something called “the low FODMAP diet” should work for just about anyone, Weber says. FODMAP is short for “fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols” (say that three times fast), and it targets natural sugars that pull water into the intestines and make digestion difficult.

There’s a long list of foods forbidden for people on a low FODMAP diet, including watermelon, lentils, and chickpeas. But passing on hummus is a no-brainer compared to suffering through chronic stomachaches or diarrhea. Also, you may only have to give up your favorites for a few weeks, says Stephanie Moleski, MD, a gastroenterologist at Thomas Jefferson University. After a 2- to 6-week “elimination phase,” during which you ditch every FODMAP food possible, you can reintroduce items one at a time until you’ve identified your triggers.

2. Get off the couch.
Exercise is a potent remedy for everything from depression to Alzheimer’s disease. A workout can also quell the discomfort associated with digestive disorders, research suggests. “Endorphins are painkillers,” Weber says. And exercising releases them while upping the amount of oxygen circulating in your body, which makes you feel better—albeit temporarily. Weber says exercise doesn’t really address the underlying causes of your angry gut. Still, if you’re looking for natural relief, a little sweat is a great way to sidestep ibuprofen. Research isn’t clear about whether aerobic exercise is better than strength training, so Weber suggests you try both and stick with whatever type makes you feel best.

3. Assess your stress.
A big interview, public speaking, or other stressful activities can launch stomach cramps, feelings of nausea, and gas. Some experts attribute this to something called the brain-gut axis. Basically, your brain and your gut talk to each other. When one’s upset, the other may feel junky, too. (Some research suggests those with bowel disorders like IBS also tend to feel depressed or anxious.)

As a result of this brain-gut connection, stress can be a big trigger for people with chronic stomach problems, Moleski explains. “When you’re having a lot of stress, it’s going to wreak havoc in the intestines,” she says.

There are several quick ways to slash stress. Finding a method that works for you may make your gut happier in the long run. In one study, people with bowel disorders spent 15 to 20 minutes a day fighting stress with yoga, meditation, or prayer. After 9 weeks, they reported less pain, lower anxiety, and better quality of life.

4. Grab some peppermint.
Although he doesn’t usually recommend supplements, Weber says anyone looking for a natural way to ease stomach pain could try peppermint oil, which studies show can calm symptoms of IBS. But Weber cautions against picking up peppermint supplements at your nearest health store. They’re only lightly regulated by the FDA, and are often loaded with unnecessary additives that could do more harm than good. He advises talking with your doctor before trying a supplement.

via 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.

Quick Tabata Workout

by Jari Love

Tabata workouts are short and intense bursts of exercise that are designed to burn maximum fat and calories. The idea behind Tabata is that you work as hard as you possibly can for 20 seconds, then take 10 seconds to rest, and then repeat that for a total of 8 times. This is the first HIIT workout ever created, by a guy in Japan.

You can use any exercise in a tabata workout, but the main thing is to chose an exercise that will work all your muscle groups and elevate your heart rate.

Start any workout with a little warm-up to get your blood flowing before doing any intense exercise. Then set a timer, either on your watch or phone and get to work. It is a total of 4 minutes, so there’s no room for excuses in not getting a workout done on this busy Monday.

Here’s your workout! Let me know how it goes. I have instructions below on how to do a burpee.

Browse Tabata Workouts

To do a burpee, start standing straight up with your core engaged like you’re being punched in the stomach. Then bend your knees and reach your hands down to the floor. Hop your feet back, keeping your core strong, not letting your back sag, into a plank. Do a pushup (if you can). Finally hop the feet back to your hands and stand up. If you’re advanced, you can add a tuck jump when you stand up.

Burpees work your quads, glutes, core, shoulders, and chest. Best workout ever!

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.

Sitting all Day? Try These Stretches

by Jari Love

When you sit, your body slumps, your metabolism slows, and you…spread. At least, that’s what all the experts say. But if you’re in a job where you must sit—or you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a standing desk—you’ll be happy to learn that there are ways to undo the damage—plus boost your calorie burn.

 First, chairs and couches lead to trouble for the simple reason that they support your body weight. With a chair holding you up, your ankles, knees, and hips stiffen, your muscles weaken, your shoulders round forward, and your back hunches. Even worse, your circulation slows, which depresses your metabolism.

 Yikes. Okay, now for some good news: In a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers tracked nearly 13,000 women for 12 years to find out how much health damage sitting could do over the long term. Yes, years spent on the couch or hunched over a desk was linked to a greater risk of weight gain, heart disease, and an earlier demise—but only for women who sat still. When the researchers separated the women into three groups—low fidgeting, moderate fidgeting, and high fidgeting, they discovered that the most active sitters completely dodged any increased health risks. These women sat as much as 7 hours a day, but by continually tapping their fingers, bouncing their legs, and, the researchers suspect, hopping up frequently, they were able to avoid the health impacts of lounging.

 So if you’re trapped in a chair, be sure to add some fidgeting and get up to wander around every 20 minutes or so. And try out the 6 stretches below. They’re designed to counter the muscle-weakening, joint-stiffening, and shoulder-hunching effects of spending too much time on your keister.

 What to do: Hold each of these static stretches for 30-seconds, and try to do the series in this order, twice a day. 

  1. Supported Backbend

 Why: Bending backward helps improve posture, and supports the muscles that stabilize your spine. 

How: Stand facing away from a wall, your heels about one foot away from the baseboard. With your arms over your head, elbows bent backward so that your palms are facing the wall, slowly lean back and catch your body weight with your hands. Walk your hands down the wall until you begin to feel a stretch. (You may also need to step further away from the wall as your back bends. 

Be sure to start slowly; as your back gets stronger you’ll be able to go deeper into the backbend. Place the tip of your tongue in the roof of your mouth, drop your jaw, and breathe in and out through your nostrils as you hold the backbend. 

  1. Lunge With Rotation 

Why: Build strength in your legs and shoulders while stretching your hips. The twists will also help maintain healthy spinal movement (healthy discs). 

How: From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right foot into a lunge, taking care that your right knee does not extend past your toes. Place your hands on either side of your right foot. Now lift your right arm toward the ceiling and turn your gaze upward at the same time. As you exhale, try to rotate a little deeper into the rotation. Switch sides and repeat. 

The lunge is not as deep as a “runners lunge,” and the bottom hand touches the knee, not all the way to the floor. 

  1. Shoulder Opener 

Why: Sitting tends to pull our shoulders inward and collapse our chest. This opens the shoulders and chest.

How: Stand up straight and tall, holding a towel or belt in each hand behind your back. Raise your arms behind you as high as you can without feeling discomfort. Pull your shoulders back and together as you lift the towel.

  1. Low Cobra With Feet Elevated 

Why: Stretching through hip flexors (they get really tight from being bent in a seated position for too long); strength for the glutes; openness in the chest and shoulders; strengthening for the lower back.

How: Lie face down with your ankles resting on a foam roller or set of yoga blocks. Press your forearms into the floor and pull your shoulders back as you raise your head up and back. 

  1. Star Reach 

Why: This move lengthens the body by stretching the shoulders, chest, mid-back, hips, and ankles, and it’s the perfect antidote for chair-tightened joints and muscles. 

How: Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip-width. Reach your arms high in the sky with palms facing forward. Spread your fingers. Rise high on your tippy toes. You’ll experience an exhilarating stretch from the extension of the ankles, knees, hips, chest, and shoulders. 

  1. Number 4-Sit 

Why: This little muscle in your rear end atrophies and tightens with prolonged sitting. With a simple stretch you can keep your piriformis active and flexible. 

How: While seated, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Use your right hand to apply a tiny bit of pressure to the inside of your right knee, and then slightly lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your right piriformis (on the side of your glute). Hold the stretch there as you inhale. When you exhale, attempt to apply a tad more pressure and lean a half an inch further forward into the stretch. Continue with each breath. Switch sides and repeat. 

via 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.

Cardio Moves That Aren’t Running

by Jari Love

The cardio workout anti-runners will love.

We don’t all need to slap a 13.1 sticker on the back of our cars to feel good about a tough workout. In fact, contrary to what many runners would have you believe, running isn’t a requirement for staying healthy. 

While running has many benefits, if you’re just looking to keep your heart healthy while attaining a toned physique, any exercise (or series of exercises) will do. All that’s necessary is sustaining said exercises for a prolonged period of time. 

How long, you ask? 

That depends. Most “cardio workouts” typically last 30 to 60 minutes, but if you ramp up the intensity — à la high-intensity interval training or Tabata workouts — you can get a killer workout in as little as 20 minutes or less. 

To give it a try, choose any four of the 16 following exercises. Perform each exercise as a Tabata: putting in all-out effort for 20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds rest, for eight sets. Each Tabata lasts four minutes. Rest one minute between Tabatas. 

After this 20-minute workout, check back in. I guarantee you’ll be sweaty, tired and out of breath. The perfect cardio solution — no running required. 

  1. Inchworms

From a standing position, roll your torso forward and reach your hands to the ground. Walk your hands out in front of you until your body forms a plank, then reverse the movement and return to standing. 

Bonus: Add a push-up at the bottom. 

  1. Mountain climbers

Start in a plank position, then bend one knee, drawing it to your chest and planting the ball of the same foot in a forward position. In one movement, hop both feet into the air, supporting your weight on your palms and switching the position of your legs. Extend the bent knee and bend the extended knee. Continue hopping your feet back and forth as fast as you can. 

  1. Burpees

Stand tall, feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent. Bend forward, plant your palms on the ground just in front of your feet and hop your feet backward in a single movement to a plank position. Immediately hop your feet forward again and return to standing. 

Bonus: Add a push-up when you’re in the plank position and add a jump as you return to standing. 

  1. Broad jumps

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent, your weight in your heels. Squat down, pressing your hips back as you swing your arms behind you. Then in a powerful movement, press from your heels through the balls of your feet as you swing your arms forward and jump as far forward as you possibly can, landing softly on your heels with your knees bent. Turn around and immediately do another broad jump back to start. 

  1. Squat jumps

The squat jump is just like the broad jump, but instead of jumping as far as you can, you’re jumping as high as you can. Make sure you’re using proper jumping form and landing with “soft” knees — slightly bent to absorb the impact. 

  1. Grapevine

Takin’ you back to your elementary school dance curriculum. Simply step out laterally with your right foot, cross your left foot in front, step out again with your right foot and cross your left foot behind. Immediately reverse the movement, leading with your left foot. Continue “grapevining” back and forth. 

  1. Side shuffles

Like the grapevine, you’re moving laterally to the left and right, but this time you’re not crossing your legs as you move back and forth. Step to the right with your right foot and bring your left foot to meet it, then step to the right again. Shuffle a few steps to the right, then reverse and shuffle back to the left. 

  1. Washing machine hops

Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent. Bend your elbows and clench your fists, holding them in front of your body. Hop into the air and twist your legs and hips to the right while keeping your torso facing forward, landing with your feet together and knees bent. Immediately jump into the air and twist your legs and hips all the way to the left. Continue twisting your lower body from left to right repeatedly. 

  1. Skaters

Stand with knees bent in an athletic position, your arms in front of your body. Step to the right with your right foot and cross your left foot back and behind the right foot as you swing your left arm down to the ground to touch your right foot. Immediately reverse the movement, hopping to the left and leading with your left foot. But, this time cross your right foot behind your left, reaching across and down with your right hand to touch your left foot. Continue this “speed skating” motion from left to right. Remember to keep your core tight and torso straight to protect your low back. 

  1. Jumping jacks

You know how to do these! Hop both legs outward from your midline while swinging your arms out and over your head, then hop your feet back to center as you swing your arms back down to your sides. Continue jumping as fast as you can. 

  1. Frog push-up to low squat

This one’s a toughie! Get down on your hands and knees, planting the balls of your feet on the ground. Press through your feet and palms, lifting your knees from the ground. Bend your elbows into a mini push-up as you simultaneously rotate your hips outward from midline, almost like a frog, pointing your knees out to the sides. 

Press yourself back up, then hop your feet forward — outside your palms — picking your hands up off the ground to enter into a low squat position. Hold for a second, then return to start. 

  1. Bear crawl

This one starts just like the frog push-up. Balance on the balls of your feet and your palms, your knees just off the ground. Maintaining this position, step forward with one hand, then one foot, then your other hand and other foot, crawling forward with your knees off the ground while your back remains low and flat (Don’t let your butt point up to the sky!). Take several steps forward, then several steps backward and continue. 

  1. Crab walk

Flip that bear crawl over for the crab walk. Balance on your palms and feet, your butt off the ground and take several steps forward, then several steps back.

  1. March and twist

Stand tall and march in place — high knees, please! — while simultaneously twisting your torso. Aim to touch your opposite elbow to the knee you’re lifting. 

  1. Hacky sacks

Remember hacky sacks? Pretend you’re playing a game without the ball itself. As you lift one leg, rotate your knee outward so the inside of your foot crosses in front of the standing leg. Reach down to tap the inside of your lifted foot with the opposite hand. Lower your foot to the ground and repeat on the opposite side. Try to pick up your pace and hop from side to side as you perform the exercise. 

  1. Cross jacks

Very similar to traditional jumping jacks, cross jacks are exactly what they sound like: jumping jacks with a cross-body component. Start with your arms and legs spread wide like a star fish, then hop your feet toward your midline, crossing your left foot in front of your right as you simultaneously cross your left arm in front of your right. Reverse the movement: Hop back to start, then hop inward again. This time crossing your right leg in front of your left and your right arm over your left.

 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.

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