Shed Stomach Fat Fast: The Best Exercises To Help You Achieve Toned Abs

slimmer, fitter, strongerAs we slowly begin to crawl out of Winter many of you will be anticipating the summer. Nothing screams summer more than blissful long days spent at the beach under the warmth of the sun.

Whilst all of us will have lost our colour a little and perhaps gained some weight over the winter months nobody wants to take the plunge and expose all at the beach in this shape.

It’s time to change your attitude, get exercising and cut away the fat to reveal your toned exterior.

Here are some of the best exercises to help you achieve toned abs and get you the perfect beach body:

The Abdominal Hold

  1. Find yourself a sturdy and well-weighted chair and sit straight, perched towards the edge of the seat.
  2. Following this, take your hands either side of your legs and grip the edge of the seat with your fingers pointing in the direction of your knees.
  3. The next step is to raise your toes two to four inches off the floor tightening your abs in the process. Then, extending and straightening your arms, lift your bum off of the chair.
  4. Aim to hold this position for around 5 – 10 seconds before lowering yourself back onto your seat and repeating.
  5. Keep this up for a minute each time you perform the exercise and you’re sure to be well on your way to solid abs.

The Pelvic Tilt

Next is an exercise that works wonders on your lower abdominals.

  1. To perform the pelvic tilt you must start out lying on the floor. You may use an exercise mat to provide some extra cushioning on hard flooring.
  2. Next, raise your knees bringing your feet closer towards your bum, tightening your core muscles in the process.
  3. Keeping your feet flat on the ground raise your pelvis in the direction of the ceiling. Hold this for around five seconds before lowering yourself back to the ground again.
  4. Give yourself a short break before repeating the exercise a further 7-11 times (8-12 reps in total).

The Plank

Tone those absThe plank is perhaps one of the most well known abdominal exercises and is sure to bring you that toned core that you have always longed for.

  1. Firstly, lay down flat on the floor facing the ground. Then, much alike a press-up, raise yourself up straightening your arms. Now only your palms and toes should be touching the floor.
  2. Keeping your back straight, hold the position for as long as you possibly can.

The Vertical Leg Crunch

  1. Lying on your back extend your legs towards the ceiling (knees slightly bent). Keeping your legs in a fixed position, aim to lift your torso towards your knees making sure your shoulder blades leave the floor.
  2. You may place your hands behind your head for support and to help you keep your chin up. However, ensure you do not pull on your neck.
  3. Once you have completed the contraction lower your upper body back to the floor and respect another 11-15 times (12-16 rep in total).

Crunch those absIf you feel you may need a little help achieving that toned physique fit for the beach this Summer then don’t hesitate. Employ the help of a personal trainer as we emerge from the winter and make our way into spring 2014.

If you are looking for a personal trainer they don’t come much better or more qualified for the role than London’s Gerald Smith. With a degree in Exercise, Nutrition and Health and plenty of experience under his belt Gerald is sure to help you get in shape. Visit to see what he can do for you.


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Strength Training For Women

Strength training for womanIf you are tired of not reaping the rewards of your regular exercise routine, maybe it's time you considered doing strength training. What is strength resistance training? It is any type of exercise that contracts your muscles while building your strength, endurance and muscles. Don't be put off though, as contrary to popular belief strength resistance training does not make woman bulky. There are also many benefits, including an increased metabolic rate, postural support, bone density and overall flexibility.

Tips before you start Strength Training

Wait! Before you run off to grab 20 kg dumbbells, there are some basic principles that you should bear in mind if you are new to strength resistance training:

Learn the proper way of doing your chosen exercises. Exercises that are not done correctly may cause injury and make your routine ineffective.

Start off with 8 – 10 exercises that target the entire body at least three times per week in the first months.

Do the most important exercises first to reduce fatigue

Make sure you get at least a two-day break to recover before doing further training.

How to take Strength Resistance Training to the next level

After you've mastered the basics of resistance training you can take it up a notch by:

  • Doing exercises that challenge your entire body. Skipping, swimming and cycling are all exercises that challenge the entire body.
  • Incorporate weights into your chosen exercises
  • Increase the size of the weights as your muscles become stronger.
  • Increase reps

The best way to train for weight loss and toning

The best way to train for weight loss and tone up simultaneously is to do the correct strength training exercises and by eating properly. Doing dumbbell exercises, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, sit-ups and increasing the reps for these exercises will eventually build up your muscles.

Ensure that you eat a balance diet, which should include nutrients from the different food groups. Protein and carbohydrates are especially important. Protein is needed to repair and build muscles that have broken down during exercise, and carbohydrates provide the body with a source of fuel and energy required to carry out your exercise routine.

Types of exercises to include

There are many methods of strength training and it can be done with, or without the use of weights. Body weight exercises are a form of strength training without weights. These include squats, pull-ups, dips, the power clean and bench presses. Include all of these in your strength resistance training for maximum results.

Squats target most muscle groups in the body placing emphasis on the core and the large lower body muscles.

Pull-ups target every part of your back and are the most effective exercise for back development.

Dips target your triceps and I can vouch for this. If you are new to this you can start off doing bench dips. If you are experienced you can add weights to your dips by holding a dumbbell between your feet.

The power clean is similar to the deadlift and works the lower legs, quadriceps, gluteal and upper back.

Bench presses work the pectorals and can be done many ways to target areas of the chest.

Kettle Bells can be a great way to perform resistance training. Have a look at this link for a good introduction and sample workouts.

How many Reps to do

According to experts on Body, many factors will determine the amount of reps you should do. These include your level of experience, your age, your body type, your fitness level and your goals. The debate is on-going regarding the amount of reps to do, but it is generally recommended that you perform 6 -20 reps on each set.

How long to train for?

Aim to keep your work outs short. Anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes is fine. Studies have shown that your glycogen is depleted after an hour and there is a risk of overtraining. In other words, training for more than 60 minutes is like running on fumes and is a recipe for disaster.

Sample plan for strength resistance training at the Gym

The advantage of going to a gym is that it offers a variety of machines and different sizes of dumbbells, as well as trainers that can boost your strength resistance training.

Monday – 45 minutes cardio work out:( treadmill 20 minutes, skipping for 5 minutes, bicycling for 10 minutes and jogging on spot for 10 minutes).

Tuesday – 30 minutes of cardio workout- 10 minutes of squats, 10minutes of bench presses, 5 minutes of dead lifts and 5 minutes of stretch.

Wednesday – 45 minutes cardio work out

Thursday – 30 minutes of cardio workout – 10 minutes of pull-ups, 10 minutes of power clean and 5 minutes of stretching.

Friday – cardio work out

Saturday and Sunday – Rest

Sample-training plan for home

Performing your strength-training programme at home can be an inexpensive and convenient alternative to gym membership.

If you do not own dumbbells, you can improvise by filling two matching water bottles, or milk jugs with water or sand, or both.

Monday – 45 minutes cardio (20 minutes of stair climbing (2 at a time), 10 minutes of skipping and 15 minutes of on the spot jogging).

Tuesday – 30 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of squats and 10 minutes of dips (you can use a sturdy chair to do this), 5 minutes of dumbbell exercises, and 5 minutes of stretching.

Wednesday – 45 minutes cardio

Thursday – 30 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of sit-ups, 10 minutes of squats, 5 minutes of dumbbell exercises and 5 minutes of stretching.

Friday – Cardio work out

Saturday and Sunday – Rest

This is a great video to watch to get a sample of the exercises you could do at home. It mentions that you need dumbbells, but to start off with just use bottles filled with water or sand, or cans. Hope you enjoy it.


On a final note, if you want your strength training to be successful, changing your routine every four to six weeks, or whenever you feel you feel you are beginning to plateau is crucial. This helps your body to keep adapting. Now that you have all the information on strength training, what are you waiting for? Start doing those bench presses!

Strength Training – Related articles

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Personal Fitness Trainer – Do you need one?

Personal Fitness TrainerNowadays, there are numerous exercises or diets that we can do to become and stay fit and healthy. However, this vast choice makes it hard for non-professionals to choose the most efficient path to their goals. This is the reason why so many products have been made to teach you how to train on your own. But are these products better than the guidance of a personal fitness trainer? In this article, we will look at what a personal trainer is, and we will help you make the decision that is best for you.

What is a Personal Fitness Trainer?

Personal trainers, taking all that they do into account, are fitness professionals who will help you achieve your fitness and health goals. They have extensive knowledge of nutrition, of physical exercise and motivation. However, most notably, they construct personalised programs for their customers based on several assessments. As a result, they offer some of the most efficient training programs out there.

Advantages of having a Personal Fitness Trainer

The foremost advantage of having a personal trainer is the personalisation that they incorporate in their fitness plans. They achieve this by running numerous and different tests on your body. It is their duty to assess your current condition and synchronise the workout and diet plan accordingly. Personal trainers usually analyse your movements, nutrition and measure your body’s fat to muscle ratio. Based on the information they get, they construct fitness plans that target your weak spots and complement your strengths. Also, these assessments show if you have any irregularities such as movement dysfunctions.

The trainers will give you guidance on how to do the exercises in the plan safely and effectively. Even though you might think that some exercises are very simple, you will be surprised to know that many of them are easily done in the wrong way, in which they are not as beneficial to you as they could be. The trainers will watch for correct posture and movement, and they will make sure you do not endanger yourself with complex exercises. They will also help you in deciding the most beneficial amount of reps, sets and the overall tempo.

It is common knowledge that nutrition is just as important as proper exercises, whatever your fitness goals are. Therefore, it is very advantageous to have a professional who can give you nutritional advice on the correct food to eat before and after the workout. It is not your trainer’s goal to make you starve, but simply to point to the healthiest diet you could follow, which also matches your lifestyle. Creating a well balanced diet plan is essential in order to succeed as a fit and healthy person.

Hiring a personal trainer can be highly advantageous if you need some extra motivation. They will make sure that you keep your main objective in mind. To begin and continue fitness programme is not easy, the initial excitement usually wears off in a few weeks. It can be crucial to have a personal trainer to keep you motivated and also push you to achieve your fitness goals.

Disadvantages of having a Personal Fitness Trainer

fitness trainingWhile there are countless advantages of hiring a personal trainer, you must also consider some of the disadvantages. One of them is the generally high cost of employing one. Their cost can vary depending on your needs, on the trainer’s popularity, as well as on the location you choose for training. Having the sufficient equipment is also important, as the better equipment you can access, the better training your personal trainer will be able to provide. This can also be costly, of course. You could always become a gym member, or choose to buy the necessary items for your home. All of this depends on your preference and on how much you are willing to invest in your body. Nevertheless, personal trainers and the workout gear can both be quite expensive.

When hiring a personal trainer, always make sure that they are licensed professionals. As the job is increasingly popular and offers a good paycheck, more and more fitness enthusiasts declare themselves as professional fitness trainers without having the proper qualification. This, however, can cause you harm during the training process. An unqualified trainer might give you incorrect exercise or nutritional advice, which could hamper your progress or even cause you physical harm.

Can other training strategies offer the same quality of training?

Who hasn’t decided to start a new, healthy life and train on their own 4/5 times a week either at home, or in the gym? As most people have experienced, after the enthusiastic beginning, there is always something else to do rather than exercise, training is getting lower on your list of priorities, until you are back where you started. Nonetheless, some people possess an incredible amount of self-discipline, in which case working out at home will not be a problem and is certainly more cost effective than employing a personal trainer.

It is crucial to do exercises that are safe and effective, in order to achieve your goals. To fix this problem, workout DVDs of personal fitness trainers can be a cheap and fun solution. You will be able to choose from various workout routines and find the one that you find most beneficial. A well recommended one is this one – Personal Training With Jackie: 30 Day Fast Start.  It gets great reviews and a rating of 4.4 out of 5 from 90 reviewers (at the time of writing). However, through such virtual instructions you will not receive the personalised care a personal fitness trainer can offer. Neither will there be someone with you to push you forwards when you need motivation.

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to training. There is no one good choice; it all depends on your preferences. It is crucial that you consider all of them carefully and analyse your current situation in order to be able to choose the method that suits you best. 

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Heart Rate Monitor Watch Reviews

This is a comparison chart showing the best heart rate monitors.

Key to The Heart Rate Monitor Comparison Guide

Image – image of Product

Name Of Product – Clickable link for more pricing and reviews


$$$$$ – >$150

$$$$ – $125 – $150

$$$ – $75 – $125

$$ – $50 – $75

$ – <$50

Please note these prices change frequently based on availability, special promotion and more, but the price shown here is a good guide.

Average Review – What are people on rating the monitor at.

The rest of the table shows the most common features and if the heart rate monitor watch contains them.

​The table is sortable by clicking on the top of the column.

ImageLinkRatingPriceCalories BurnedFitness ZonesWaterproofActivity TimerChest StrapGPSBluetooth
HeartQ Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) & Sports WatchHeartQ Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) & Sports Watch5$$YYNYYNN
Scosche RHYTHM plus Heart Rate Monitor ArmbandScosche RHYTHM plus Heart Rate Monitor Armband4.6$$$YYNYNNY, Pairs with various Iphone & Android Apps
Polar FT40Polar FT40 Women's Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black)4.5$$$YYY up to 30mYYNN
Suunto QuestSUUNTO Quest Heart Rate Monitor Black4.5$$YYNYYNN
Polar FT4Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor4.4$$YYY up to 30mYYNN
Polar FT1Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor4.2$NNNYYNN
Polar RCX5Polar RCX5 Heart Rate Monitor4.2$$$$$YYY up to 30m (so ok for swimming)YYYN
Garmin Forerunner 610Garmin Forerunner 610 Touchscreen GPS Watch With Heart Rate Monitor4.1$$$$$$YYNYYYN
Polar FT7Polar FT7 Men's Heart Rate Monitor Watch4.1$$YYY up to 30mYYNN
MIO 53P5C2L3Mio 53P5C2L3 Alpha I Strapless Continuous Heart Rate Monitor4.1$$$$$NYNYNNY, Pairs with various Iphone Apps
Polar FT60Polar FT60 Men's Heart Rate Monitor Watch4.1$$$$YYY up to 30mYYNN
Jarv Run BT (Iphone)Jarv Run BT Premium Bluetooth 4.0 Smart heart rate monitor for IPhone 4S / IPhone 5 , 5C , 5S , New iPhone 6 and 6 Plus / IPad Mini, Ipad Mini 2 / new IPod touch and other Bluetooth devices (iOS only)4.1$YYNYYNY, Pairs with various Iphone Apps
Jarv Run BT (Android)Jarv Run BT Premium Bluetooth¨ 4.0 Smart Heart Rate Monitor for Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Note 3, Note 4 , Nexus 5 , Nexus 7, Moto X, Moto G, Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX and Other Android Devices Using OS 4.3 or Later4$YYNYYNY, Pairs with various Android Apps
Polar RS300xPolar RS300X Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black)3.9$$$YYNYYN, but can buy optional G1 GPS sensorN
Omron HR-100COmron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor3.9$NYY up to 30mYYNN
Garmin Forerunner 110Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS HRM3.9$$$$$YYY up to 1mYYYN
Garmin Forerunner 310xtGarmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Running GPS and Heart Rate Monitor3.9$$$$$$YYY up to 50m (so ok for swimming)YYYN
Timex Ironman WatchTimex Ironman Men's Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch3.9$$YYY up to 100mYYNN
Suunto AmbitSuunto Ambit Heart Rate Monitor: Black3.8$$$$YYY, up to 100mYYYN
Puma pu910541001PUMA Men's PU910541001 Pulse Black Heart Rate Monitor Watch3.6$$NNY up to 30mNYNN
60beat BLUE Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone 6, 6 plus 5, 5S, 5C & 4S and most newer Androids3.6$YYNYYNY, Pairs with various Iphone & Android Apps
Sportline Solo 925W Women's Heart Rate Monitor WatchSportline Solo 925W Women's Heart Rate Monitor Watch3.5$YYNYNNN
Omron HR-210Omron HR-210 Strap Free Heart Rate Monitor3.3$YYY, Water-Resistant, not to be used for swimmingNNNN
Pyle PHRM38PNPyle Sports PHRM38PN Heart Rate Monitor Watch3.1$YNY up to 10mYYNN
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Being Fit and Healthy News Round up – Monday 2nd June – Sunday 9th June

fit and healthy news

Exercise News Stories

1) A review of the best headphones to use while exercising  –

2) Yoga is better than exercise a study from the University of Illinois found –

3) Use your smart phone to keep track of your fitness. A study of some new apps that do just that –

Diet and Health News Stories

1) Study finds that Diet Soda is as bad for your teeth as Meth and Cocaine –

2) A new analysis of fossilized teeth finds that our ancestors diet changed 3.5 million years ago. Fascinating, read more here –


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Yoga – Relaxation and Toning – What more could you want?

Yoga PoseQuite a number of people believe that fulfilment and inner peace can only come from outside sources, but this is not entirely true. That empty feeling and deep longing can be fulfilled through the aid of workouts such as yoga. Thus, rather than looking for something that is beyond, it is sometimes more helpful to settle for that which is within in order to attain that heightened state of calmness.

This kind of calmness is essentially what helps rid the mind of disturbing thoughts, and subsequently enables an individual to focus their energy on more positive things. In practicing yoga, one is able to experience heightened joy, power and positivity.

Types of yoga

There are numerous types of yoga, but before you settle on any it’s best that you do some research so that you are able to determine which will work for you. Here are four popular types that you could consider:

1.    Hatha Yoga – This is a type of yoga that focuses more on meditation and breathing techniques and is quite a good for beginners.

2.    Vinyasa Yoga –  is also another type which is very much like Hatha, only that it entails learning how to synchronize movements and breathing, with a focus on 12 specific poses. Vinyasa is one type of yoga that is important in building lean muscle.

3.    Bikram Yoga – is a category of yoga that has to be practiced in a room with high temperatures, which may be anything between 95-100 degrees. Bikram incorporates 26 poses that facilitate sweating and muscle tightening. This option can work well for beginners as well as those who have been practicing yoga for a while.

4.    Iyengar Yoga – on the other hand involves all the eight elements connected to Ashtanga. It primarily focuses on getting the body aligned. It makes use of blankets, straps, and blocks all of which are intended to strengthen the body.

Yoga can be practised at home using books, DVD's and some equipment. Take a look here for pricing, reviews and products – Yoga Deals

Benefits of yoga

Practicing yoga comes with so many health benefits. The pose and breathing techniques involved in the workouts help improve the relaxation and the flexibility of the body. Here are some of the other advantages of yoga:

  • It helps reduce stress and also keeps the mind calm.
  • If you are experiencing back pain, yoga may just help relieve it
  • If you wish to give the whole body a workout, then yoga makes the perfect choice because the workout involves just about every joint and muscle.
  • It helps get the blood oxygenated thus making the body more energetic.
  • Unlike some sports and workout that can only be executed by persons with less body weight, yoga is a workout that can be performed by anyone.
  • You experience more joy, creativity, and optimism, and additionally connect with your purpose for life.
  • With regard to mental benefits, you will be able to manage stress better, have improved memory and also experience enhanced concentration levels.
  • Yoga involves a lot of stretching, thus as you do this, it keeps the spine, arms and legs in shape – it greatly enhances overall flexibility.

Yoga poses

The yoga poses are also known as the yoga asanas, and while some postures help in getting the body relaxed, others contribute to stress relief. There are many yoga poses and it is therefore up to an individual to figure out what is suitable for them. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Trikonasana: This is the triangle pose where you have to stand straight and keep your feet apart and then bend sideways, while resting your hand either on the floor or your ankle.
  • Konasana: Here you have to bend sideways with your palms together; you have to take deep breaths while you perform the move.
  • Badhakonasana: This pose is also referred to as the butterfly pose. The name is obtained from the look obtained by the posture. For this pose, one has to sit with both feet together and placed close to the groin. The soles have to touch and then you have to hold them in your hands for the posture to be attained.
  • Virabhadrasana: This posture is quite graceful and it makes one encounter more grace in practicing yoga. To achieve the pose, the legs have to be straight and wide apart and then the arms should be lifted sideways.

However, even in practicing yoga, it’s critical to do the exercises with care because making the wrong move may come with some unwanted consequences. For instance during pregnancy, if you aim to start out on the yoga work outs, it is important that you get in touch with your healthcare provider so you are sure to perform the exercises safely. While there are some poses that can be performed by pregnant women, there are also those, which should be avoided.

In addition, the practice should not be employed as a substitute for medical care. As much as it provides the body with some exceptional benefits, it cannot be used as a treatment for any illness. Thus, if you are taking any medication, you can only employ the workout as a means to keeping fit, and not to recovery.

Moreover, it is advisable that you do not stretch yourself too much-there are so many poses in yoga, and while some are easy to execute, others are quite demanding. Therefore, before carrying out the exercises it's best that you know your limit, so you work within them. This ensures that you adhere to overall safety during the exercise sessions.

Do not be too hard on yourself when attending yoga classes; it is good idea to keep in mind that the class is not a competition. Someone may be able to perform some demanding stretches, but just because you cannot do the same shouldn’t be cause for worry. If you are a beginner, you should focus on maintaining your balance before trying to do the excessive stretches.

When attending yoga classes, you should expect to also obtain instructions concerning proper breathing, chanting and meditation, all of which will be given by the class instructor. The amount involved will however be largely dependent on the specialization of the instructor with regard to the yoga style.

Yoga can be practised at home using books, DVD's and some equipment. Take a look here for pricing, reviews and products

To see Yoga for Weight Loss in action, have a look at this video

Yoga Related articles

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Cardio Workout Plan

cardio workout planHaving a Cardio Workout Plan is one of the best ways to burn fat. The aim of them is to encourage the body to release glucose and fat and turn these elements into energy. A cardio workout, also known as aerobic exercise, is generally low impact, high intensity. It is recommended that your heart rate be between 60% and 80% of maximum. This will give you the ultimate benefit and be optimal for burning off fat. You can monitor you heart rate using a specialised watch. Click here for a comparison guide.

Cardio Workouts at Home

You do not need a Gym to participate in a good workout plan. You can use things like skipping ropes, play a game of basketball, go for a run and go swimming. Many of the normal day-to-day activities you do at home such as gardening, raking leaves, painting and playing with kids or grandkids are all good examples. Click here to see how many calories are burned by common household chores.

Cardio Workouts at the Gym

If you want to take your exercise further then joining a gym is a good investment for your heart health. It will give you more variety in your training, especially if you work with a personal fitness trainer. Together you can design a good comprehensive workout plan that will allow you to meet your goals.

Machines like the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the static bike will all give you a very good cardio workout, especially if you use the incline routine. You can incorporate High Intensity Training too, to really take it to the next level. Click here to find out more about an HIIT workout.

Cycling Cardio Workout Plan

Cycling can be done at home or at the gym on a static bike. Here is a sample workout you can easily do. It has four stages, which depend on your fitness level and your aim is to progress through them, increasing the intensity as the weeks pass. The full workout will take around an hour. Always start with a warm-up session of at least five minutes. This can be walking, or a light jog just to get your muscles moving and it will help to avoid injury and strains.

Stage 1 – Easy and Comfortable

Start pedaling at a steady pace, so your heart rate is around 50% of maximum.

Stage 2 – Challenging, but still comfortable

Increase the pace to around 60-80 rpm and continue this for 6-8 minutes. Your heart rate will now be 65% – 75% of maximum.

Stage 3 – Challenging, starting to get breathless

Slow down to a steady pace for around 3 minutes, then pedal hard again to at least 80rpm for 6 – 8 minutes. Your heart rate should reach between 75% and 85% of maximum.

Stage 4 – Breathless and feeling winded

Slow down to a steady pace for 3 minutes then pedal hard to between 80-100 rpm for at least 8 minutes. Your heart rate should reach 85% – 95% of maximum.

When all stages are complete slow down and cycle steadily for 5 minutes to allow your muscles to cool down. When you finish stretch out your legs, arms and back.

When you start this can all be done on the flat and it may be that for the first few times you only reach stage 2 or 3. This is fine your body and heart need time to adjust to what you are trying to do. The more you do this, the fitter you will become. As your fitness level increases you can introduce hills into the mix to make sure your cardio workout is at optimum and you are still achieving the desired results. Above all any exercise plan you decide to follow should be enjoyable and fun. This keeps you motivated and helps you reach your desired goals.

Related Articles to Cardio Workout Plan

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Being Fit and Healthy News Round up – Monday 20th May – Sunday 26th May

fit and healthy news

Exercise News Stories

1) New study finds exercise a benefit for major depression  –

2) HIIT training produces a bigger payoff in less time – Check out the article published on this site about that exact thing –

3) Report published finds that playing video games help childrens health and fitness –

4) Exercise tips for seniors –

Diet and Health News Stories

1) An army wife stuns her husband on his return from Afghanistan with 96 pound weight loss – Read more here –

2) Trial begins for French Drug Maker of a weight loss pill suspected in causing hundreds of deaths –

3) Would you rather lose $1000 or gain 20 pounds? –

4) The dangers of new mums and their quest to get back their shape after giving birth –

5) Which diet came out on top?, as revealed by top nutrition experts – find out here –

6) Cancer and diet, Why is nutrition often overlooked –

7) McDonalds pairs up with pasta maker to develop a Mediterranean style menu –

8) Iodine deficinecy in children may lower their IQ –

9) Looking at bright computer screens in poor light may harm our health –

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Post Workout Recovery Plan

Post workout recoveryStrenuous exercise is one of the best methods to keep our bodies in top physical form. We increase our circulation and heart rate, our bodies rid themselves of toxins faster, our lung capacity dramatically rises and our muscles remain lithe and strong. While these are but a handful of undeniable benefits, many of us may forget to acknowledge that proper rest and recovery are both equally crucial in helping to increase our performance and prevent injury. We need a post workout recovery plan, so we can optimise the benefits from our exercise.

In effect, we can examine the term "recovery" in three distinct phases. The preliminary stage is that of a cool-down while still in the gym or immediately after strenuous exertion. The second stage revolves around proper post-workout nutrition, and the final phase is the amount of physical "down time" and rest we allow ourselves before the next session. So, let us examine each stage in a greater amount of detail.

Post Workout Recovery – Cooling Down

Have you ever noticed someone in the gym leave immediately after running five or ten miles on an inclined treadmill? Perhaps you may have witnessed a weightlifter finish a heavy chest workout and simply walk out into a chilly December night without having even caught his breath. This is actually quite counterproductive to the workout itself. Cooling down is an absolute necessity, and for a few good reasons.

First, you must remember that during any physical exertion, your heart rate may be as high as 180 beats a minute. Stopping this activity altogether will cause a massive dip in your nominal heart rate. This can lead to dizziness and even the occasional blackout. A proper cool-down can help moderate your breathing and heart rate.

Also, cooling down will help increase circulation throughout the body. This can deliver vital nutrients to any affected muscles while decreasing the amount of lactic acid build up. This will help muscles loosen up and can actually reduce the amount of soreness you will experience the following day. This is the reason why it is a good idea to perform stretching exercises or a light jog as opposed to simply leaving the gym straight away, particularly after a hard workout on a cold day.

Post-Workout Nutrition

One of the fallacies of working out is that the most important meal is taken before the exercise actually begins. While of course it is pivotal for your body to receive an adequate amount of energy to perform physical activity, proper nutrition after a workout is absolutely vital for muscle repair and recovery.

One of the most important nutrients to absorb after a workout is protein. Whey protein is easily digested into the body and contains all of the essential amino acids necessary to help the muscles recover properly. In particular, amino acids such as L-Glutamine are extremely necessary for proper muscle repair. These substances can be thought of as the "mortar" which helps give your muscles their strength. Without protein as a "building block", your body will benefit little from the exercise and you may actually be prone to injury in the next session.

While much stress has always been placed on protein shakes, it is important to realise that protein is difficult to break down in the digestive tract. The energy needed to metabolise protein needs to come from carbohydrates. Some easy-to-find sources of simple carbohydrates include whole grains, wheat bread and rice cakes. These will provide the energy needed to digest the protein. Click this link to discover more about good carbs vs bad carbs.

Finally, there are specific vitamins that should be increased during the post-workout phase. Substances that aid in cellular repair such as vitamins B, C and E are extremely important while minerals such as calcium and zinc are equally valued due to their tendency to increase the metabolic functions within your cells. Read more about the essential vitamins and minerals here.

The good news is that most of this nutrition can be found in the form of ready-to-drink shakes or protein powders. Some proprietary mixes will even contain the optimum amount of carbohydrates within, thus providing you with a quick and tasty form of nutrient-rich recovery. All of these nutrients should be taken within fifteen minutes to one hour after completing a workout and having properly cooled down. A good meal example is chicken pasta salad or a Green Thai Chicken stir-fry. Both of these will provide protein, vitamins and carbohydrates to help your body repair and be ready for your next workout.

Post Workout Recovery – Physical Rest

When I first began training nearly twenty years ago, I was under the distinct impression that professional athletes were superhuman. I believed that they needed no downtime and instead operated as efficient machines. The truth of the matter is, is that proper physical rest is all but essential in preventing illness and injury.

Never forget that the soreness we feel is actually a result of countless microscopic tears within our muscles. While many of us may feel like "sucking it up" and simply "soldiering on", we will actually do more harm than good. Our bodies need a great deal of time to recover in between sessions; the time directly correlating with the intensity of our training.

Sleep plays a crucial role in this process. The normal individual is said to need between five and seven hours of sleep a night. An athlete needs between six and eight hours of rest due to the fact that their bodies will need more time to repair. Although it is not a well-known fact, many of our natural repair mechanisms are only activated during sleep. Our digestive tracts more easily absorb nutrients while our brains release chemicals known as neurotransmitters that "instruct" our muscles, tendons and bones to begin the lengthy healing process. Without adequate sleep, our bodies will not receive the amount of repair that they need. Over time this can lead to prolonged soreness, decreased progress and in extreme cases, burnout or physical injury.

Hopefully it should now be clear that a post-workout recovery needs to be considered an integral part of anyone's training regimen. Here I have shown you some of the best ways to recover after exercise and given you enough information to allow you to design a post workout recovery plan for yourself. By allowing ourselves adequate time to cool down, by ingesting the proper nutrients and by receiving the appropriate amount of sleep, we can be assured that we will enjoy steady physical progress and all of the other numerous benefits that healthy exercise provides. 

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Photo Credit: S.L.Y via Compfight cc

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Being Fit and Healthy News Round up – Monday 13th May – Sunday 19th May

fit and healthy news

Exercise News Stories

1) The personal trainers problem with weight loss.  –

2) New Fitness apps, take a sneaky peak of what is coming up  – There is also a video of Apple talking about what the have planned – 


3) A new fitness class for muns and babies takes root in New Zealand, Chaeck it out here –

4) Apple are in on the act of Fitness apps, so up next is Google. Have a look here what they have coming up here –


6) Here are some cool tips on how to boost your fitness regimen –

​7) How execise affects you body and how to pick the right workout –


Diet and Health News Stories

1) A new smartphone app helps people lose weight by showing them pictures of what they have eaten. This apparently stops people snacking – Fact or fallacy – Read more here –

2) A new study on how fitness in middle age could reduce heart failure. Want to learn more then find out here –

3) Another study this time how keeping fit can help protect you from Cancer, even 20 years later –

4) Report on how having a good diet can help those with Caeliac Disease, read more here –

5) How Walnuts and Walnut oil can help benefit your health, beyond just lowering Cholesterol –

6) Angelina Jolie revealed this week that she had a double masectomy, learn why here –

7) New advance in human cloning, read more about it here –

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