Thursday, August 29, 2013
Before you touch that 4th cup of coffee to your lips you should know
that people under 55 who drink four or more cups of coffee a day are more likely to die early than others.
So the big question is: Is coffee good for you, and if it is, how much is too much? If you tend to down a lot of joe small amounts of coffee, up to 28 cups a week, seem to be safe.
No matter how often you fill your mug, coffee drinking -- even heavier consumption -- actually reduces the risk of cancer, heart failure and other conditions
Posted by Jessica at Thursday, August 29, 2013
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The answer to feeling amazing everyday is simple: Get enough sleep. Getting less than 6 hours of good sleep a night is not so great. You increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and viral infections, but snoozing 6½ to 7½ hours can drop the odds.
I don't know about you but I need a routine to get ready for my night slumber. Every night a few hours before bedtime, I curl up with one of the following sleepy-time snacks:
Almonds: These puppies are one of my favs. They are so healthy and help you sleep better. Just a handful is all you need. They contain muscle-relaxing magnesium and sleep-inducing tryptophan, which increases the brain's level of feel-good serotonin.
Bananas: Beneath the peel is a trifecta of soothers: serotonin, magnesium, and melatonin, your body's natural sleep regulator. Be sure not to have these every night because they can cause constipation.
Skim milk: Turns out my Nana was right -- a warm glassful will help you sleep better. The milk's tryptophan has a sedating effect. Plus, the calcium helps your brain use that tryptophan.
Oatmeal: It’s not just for Breakfast! Make sure you aren’t using the instant stuff. Oats are rich in sleep-regulating melatonin. If you drizzle just a little honey on top, it tells your brain to turn off orexin, a neuropeptide linked to alertness.
Whole-wheat bread: A slice of toast dotted with banana slices releases insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain. Make sure the bread you use doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. A lot of the loaves you can buy at the grocery store have that ingredient. Just read the label.
Posted by Jessica at Sunday, August 25, 2013
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
One of my favorite ways to stay in shape and keep my relationships fresh is to workout with my partner. Do this workout with your partner and you will both start to notice impressive improvements in your balance.
The balance workout itself includes three exercises and for each exercise you should do as many reps as you can within 5 minutes. After completing each exercise, you should have a 1 minute rest and then move onto the next exercise.
Activity #1: Back To Back Partner Stand Ups
This one is a fun balance exercise as well as a great leg workout. I did this one with a man who was 65 lbs heavier than I and it did not work as well.The only way we could get up is when he stood up first and I was on his back like a Baby Bjorn. Granted it was extremely funny but not such a great exercise. When I did this one with a friend who weighs roughly the same as I, we both had a much better workout.
1. Sit on the floor back to back with your partner, making sure that your knees are bent as far as possible and your feet are planted firmly on the floor.
2. Hook your arms together and then slowly stand up by straightening your legs and pushing against each other’s backs.
3. Once you’ve managed to stand up, slowly lower yourselves back down to the starting position.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for as many repetitions as you can manage within 5 minutes.
Activity #2 – Single Leg Partner Balance Contest
The single leg partner balance contest is an enjoyable exercise which allows you to compete with your partner to see who has the best single leg balance. Warning: this exercise may make your partner (who thinks he or she is a saint) a little pissed. Be ready!
1. Stand face to face with your partner about an arm’s width apart.
2. Bring your right foot off the ground, balance on your left leg and get your partner to do the same.
3. Bend your right knee and your hips slightly and get your partner to do the same.
4. When you are both balanced and ready, take turns at pushing each other off balance.
5. Once one partner has successful pushed the other partner off balance (by making them put their right foot on the ground), repeat steps 1 to 4 but balance on your right legs instead of your left legs.
6. Continue playing single leg partner balance contest until your 5 minutes are up.
Activity #3 – Single Leg Partner Jump Shadow
The single leg partner jump shadow is an excellent balance exercise which involves mimicking your partner’s movements.
1. Stand face to face with your partner about two feet apart.
2. Bring your right foot off the ground and balance on your left leg.
3. Get your partner to bring their left foot off the ground and balance on their right leg.
4. Pick one partner to be the offensive person and the other partner to be the defensive person.
5. The offensive person is responsible for initiating movements and can hop to the left, right, forwards or backwards. The defensive person has to mimic the offensive person’s movements as quickly as possible.
6. Start hopping and continue until one partner loses their balance, then repeat steps 2 to 5 but switch the legs you are balancing on.
7. Continue playing single leg partner jump shadow until your 5 minutes are up.
Posted by Jessica at Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
I did something yesterday that I thought was positive. I took my BFF to my favorite spin studio. I LOVE spinning classes I thought she would too! After all we both enjoy the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black. Why wouldn't she like this too? Turns out having a fav TV show in common does not mean we both would enjoy the same workout. Let me tell you why she only lasted 15 minutes. First, she hated the music. That should have been my first clue. I know her. Why didn’t I think of this? Second, there was a weird creepy dude sitting next to me that kept touching his balls. Why was he doing this? Was the seat jamming his ass so hard his penis was inverting? Why? I have no idea. Since I’m not a guy I can not relate so I will just refer to him forever as the creepy spin guy. So, after about 15 minutes of torture she announced that she would be ditching class and meet me in the lobby. She then left. I of course did not and had find motivation within myself. That got me to thinking about what kind of workout is right for each person. Here are few questions to think about: Want to start exercising but hate the gym? Short on time or motivation? Or maybe you're feeling so out of shape that you don't know where to start? All you have to do is focus on exercising in a way that suits your personality, lifestyle, and fitness level.
I HATE the Gym
Take a walk, ride a bike, or go for a hike. Try workouts that use your body weight. Do squats, push ups and planks.
Also consider outdoor group classes. They're taking place at parks all over the country, even during winter, and many invite children and babies to join in. If classes aren't your style, look into an adult recreational league. They're in every city and cover sports from soccer to ultimate Frisbee
It’s no joke. I’m Seriously Out of Shape
Take it slow and look for activities that will give you a more active lifestyle. Exergames like Wii Fit are a good way to take someone who's a couch potato and give them a little exercise. A sneaky way to add fun and exercise into your life is playing a game.
Group activities or classes may be your best way to get in shape. Groups allow social butterflies to be around lots of people and enjoy camaraderie while also getting fit.
Consider Spin, Barre, or a fun class at your gym. Anything that will get you moving and burning calories. If you have two left feet -- and no intention of reforming -- consider a running, walking, cycling, or hiking club. You'll share a common theme for your exercise, and you'll also enjoy the social networking that takes place outside the workouts.
Time Is Of The Essence
If getting to the gym seems impossible, just do your workouts at work.
Do dips on your chair. Drop down and do some push ups off the edge of your desk. Get some resistance bands and do bicep curls and triceps extensions.
If you can get to the gym, do a circuit training routine by moving from machine to machine without rest. The key is to keep moving and keep your heart rate as high as possible. If you prefer free weights, just double up on your moves, adding short bursts of cardio -- like jumping on and off a weight bench -- in between each.
Of course if you need a little guidance consider hiring a trainer.
Most personal trainers are highly educated and experienced and have nationally recognized degrees and certifications.
Posted by Jessica at Monday, August 19, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Awesome news! It only takes 90 minutes a week to maintain cardiovascular health. Doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Every year we run the risk of developing heart disease. So each year when you are blowing out your birthday candles you can rest assured you are preventing disease by exercise.
Here are the best workouts for your heart:
Get in the Aerobic zone:
For 20 min 3x a week do any vigorous aerobic activity that gets your heart pumping and makes you breathe harder -- jogging, bike riding, playing tennis. You will not only exercise your heart and lungs but lower your blood pressure and cholesterol too! More is even better.
It’s ok if you haven't exercised in awhile, or have bad knees, try low-impact workouts, such as swimming or using an elliptical trainer or stationary bike at a slower pace for the same amount of time. To build endurance, add short bursts of intensity to your activity. Remember you always need to warm up for a few minutes, go all out and work at your max for one minute, then slow down to recover for two minutes. Repeat. Brisk walking (not strolling) that gets your heart rate up by 10 beats per minute is another option.
Do some “heavy” lifting
Work your body with some kind of resistance e.g., resistance bands, a weight machine, dumbbells, your own body weight. All you need is 10 minutes 3 x’s a week. No, you don’t have to lift 100 pounds or lift your car. Just use the heaviest weight you can hoist while maintaining perfect form. This tiny amount of strength training builds muscle and stokes your calorie-burning furnace because muscle burns more calories than fat. This kind of work is good for your ticker too!
Posted by Jessica at Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Feeling like a zombie the morning after a sleepless night is pretty common. Is this you? When you finally drop off, the alarm buzzes a microsecond later. Then, you can't get up. And then, it gets worse: When you finally drag yourself out of bed, you look like a zombie!
You may ask yourself: "Why? Why God why is this happening to me? Doesn't anyone realize I lead a busy life and I need my shut eye."
The problem may be what you ate the evening before. Here are some common sleep stealers:
• Spicy foods: Garlic, chilies, cayenne, and other intense spices are yummy going down, but they can keep you up with heartburn or indigestion. Avoid MSG, too, as it can trigger dreams that are a bit too vivid. Oh Man! Garlic? I love the stuff but if I'm not supposed to eat it before bed I'll try not to. I rather get my Zzzz's.
• A big dinner: Eating light at night is a lovely gift for your digestive system. A big dinner can take hours to digest. When sleep's critical, make lunch your largest meal, and enjoy a light 500-calorie dinner early in the evening. Think salad.
• Nightcaps: It's a total myth that a drink before bed will help you sleep. Yes Alcohol may make you drowsy at first, but later on it disturbs sleep patterns and leads to awakenings and restlessness. ONE 4-ounce glass of wine with dinner won't hurt, as long as it's not within 2 hours of bedtime.
• Coffee after breakfast: Don't do this one if you really need your sleep. Caffeine can linger in your body for as long as 12 hours! So if you're often wide-eyed at bedtime, make sure you're caffeine-clean for at least 12 hours. (Skip tea, chocolate, cola, or other caffeine culprits, too.)
Aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Your bright eyes, happy skin, and sharp mind will thank you!
Posted by Jessica at Sunday, August 11, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
AAAA!!! The pain. You are sleeping peacefully when you wake up with a “Charley Horse” in your leg. Almost everyone experiences a cramp at some time in their life. The truth is cramps are common in adults and become increasingly frequent with age. Why does this happen? Leg cramps may happen for several reasons: lack of fluids, injury, muscle strain, or staying in the same position for a long period of time. Other common causes include:
- Decreased potassium level
- Neuromuscular disorders, ex: Parkinson’s disease
- Certain medications
- Alcohol and excess caffeine use
Intense exercise can make muscle cramping occur. There are ways to prevent this from happening. One way is to perform the activity at a lower intensity and for a shorter duration. Also stretching the muscle groups that are prone to cramping.
Help! I got a cramp during my aerobics class tonight. How do I make it go away?
- Walking on it
- Massaging it
- Straightening your leg and flexing your foot toward your knee until you feel the calf muscles stretch
- Applying a cold pack
- Taking a hot bath
- Drink water. You need to be properly hydrated.
So this doesn’t happen again make sure you are doing the following:
- Get enough Potassium: Many produce items like fruits and vegetables are loaded with potassium. Many blood pressure meds waste potassium and can contribute to muscle cramps. Check with your doc or pharmacist to see if you need to take a potassium supplement.
- Get enough Magnesium: Make sure to get your muscle-relaxing foods like oatmeal, almonds, halibut, bran muffins, pumpkin seeds, barley, buckwheat flour, low-fat vanilla yogurt, trail mix, garbanzo beans, lima beans, soybeans, and spinach!
Do you have any tips that you’ve found that help keep muscle cramps at bay? If so, I want to hear about them. Tweet me @sassygirlfit or my facebook page Sassy Girl Fitness on.fb.me/1ch9fEy
Posted by Jessica at Thursday, August 08, 2013
Monday, August 5, 2013
One afternoon last week I was using the subway system and I was standing on the train, traveling to my next personal training client. As I stood reading, a young woman started touching my abdomen. This person is a stranger to me. She leaned in close and started brushing my stomach. I was shocked and didn’t do anything. I was so taken off guard at this weird behavior. I then asked her “Do I have a bug on me?” to that she replied “NO." I brushed it off and continued reading my book. As I walked off the train and climbed the stairs to exit the station I began to get angry and walking a little more aggressively than was necessary. I tripped on the final step. Why do strange people think they’re allowed to touch me? I wondered to myself.
Yes, I’m in the fitness business and that means I sometimes have to wear my fitness attire in public. I try not to for this very reason. I also don’t wear my leggings without covering my bum because I don’t want to hear random thoughts from people. Why do strange people think I care about their opinion of my appearance? Do they think I’ll be flattered if they approach me out of the blue and offer their unsolicited opinion as I stand on the train, reading my book and minding my own business? Most of all, why, why, do strange people think they’re allowed to touch me?
I actually felt pretty sassy that day. I had just had a great workout, slept well the night before and I had on a fun fitness outfit. Nothing skin tight, but flattering. I felt good. I felt beautiful, actually. Being touched by a stranger didn’t make me feel more beautiful; it made me feel unimportant. This woman wanted to touch me, so I was going to be touched, by a stranger, whether I wanted it or not. Did she consider that her gesture, perhaps intended to compliment, might mean something totally different to me? If she did, that didn’t stop her. Perhaps this behavior is because we live in a immediate gratification world where whatever you want is there for the taking. Maybe that is why strange people think they’re allowed to touch me – and any other person they feel like touching.What do you think? What are your feelings on the topic? I want to hear from you!
Posted by Jessica at Monday, August 05, 2013