We all want to get more done in less time, but could the answer to doing just that be ditching the multitasking altogether and putting our focus on just one thing at a time? Straight from the book Enjoy Time: Stop Rushing, Get More Done by Catherine Blyth, we have the deets on monotasking — and why you should seriously give it a go. (And if you love Catherine’s work as much as we do, be sure to read her other guest post on how to stop procrastinating and stay tuned to our podcast — she’ll be featured as a guest in the coming months!)…
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Hands up if you’re sticking to your new year’s resolutions and you’ve already lost 5 kilos and are well on your way to acing your first marathon.
The post 4 Things That’ll Hold You To Your Waning New Year’s Resolutions appeared first on Women’s Health.
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These fit females have transformed their lives and are now leading the way for others to do the same.
“It’s crazy to think I’ve been working in fitness for 20 years. Since then, I’ve helped hundreds of women sculpt their dream body and develop a positive mindset to love themselves. Many of my clients are super busy, but I show them that you can turn a crazy pace into a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable. My passion is helping women achieve their fitness goals! I was a fitness expert for Oxygen Australia for 10 years. The research side of fitness excites me because I have a Master of Business degree, majoring in market research. Before I had children, I worked as a marketing director for large organizations.
Now I’m a mom of two children, run my online coaching business, compete in bikini contests, and love my close friends and family. Fitness is something I see as part of my life forever, and I love meeting others and sharing my passion.”
“I’m a 42-year-old fitness enthusiast from Philadelphia with plenty of unseen battle wounds and scars from my fight with binge-eating disorder, which has been a part of my life since childhood. Though I had physically accomplished a number of activities throughout my life — including running two marathons, completing a Tough Mudder and a triathlon, and even stepping on the NPC bikini stage — I still had not conquered my innermost demons.
My goal was to recover from my disorderly eating habit once and for all! Once that was accomplished, my goal changed: to inspire and motivate others to realize that eating disorders can be put to rest and that a balanced life of fitness and well-being can be achieved.”
“As a professional in the wine and fitness industries, my mission is to help people live, celebrate and get fit! My personal experiences with weight loss, bodybuilding and teaching group fitness classes have taught me many of the healthy habits that are a must for living a fit lifestyle. After going from being an athlete in high school to gaining 35 pounds in college, I saw my health, confidence and energy levels decline. I knew I had to make a change.
Through educating myself on nutrition and exercise, I was able to lose the weight and gain my confidence back. It is my mission to share what I have learned so that others don’t have to spend the years it took me to get healthy, fit and confident!”
“I have been a 911 dispatcher for 19 years, and I fell into fitness as a way to escape the emotional pressures that my job entails. This led me to do a few competitions and become a fitness trainer, specifically for first responders. Over the past few years, I have noticed that the amount of suicides within the first-responder family has increased. We have a stigma within our walls that have been passed down from generations before us that we are weak if we ask for help, if we unload the emotional backpack that has weighed us down from years and years of hearing and seeing the worst that society can be. These stressors, along with the stress of 12-hour shifts ranging from all day to all night, take a physical and mental toll.
My mission and purpose are to help first responders improve their physical fitness not only for safety reasons but also to enjoy life after retirement. I also want to build their mental fitness. They will only be as strong as they allow their mind to be!”
Bobbi Parker Hall
“After getting in the best shape of my life at 56 years old, I began my mission to prevent older women from giving up on their bodies as they age. There is a fitness movement that is revolutionizing the way we see aging women, and many stereotypes are being demolished — women no longer have to associate being called “Grandma” with being out of shape and flabby. More and more, I see women who are fit, strong and healthy well into their 70s, and this really excites me!
I love being involved in a movement that changes perspectives like this. Becoming physically stronger helped me to be mentally and emotionally stronger. Feeling more connected to myself gave me the power to care again about my hopes and dreams. It empowered me to take more control of my life and to finally make a few hard decisions I had been putting off for years. Become the mother of your own reinvention!”
Nicole Matthews and Heather Vines-Bright “Imprint”
“We believe that a true transformation begins on the inside and reflects on the outside and that it is the journey of getting there that truly impacts you. We know what it feels like to be lost in our purpose and confused about who we are and what we stand for. We are humbled by our own transformations and inspired by the gift a fit and healthy lifestyle has given us. Our affinity for all things beauty, including makeup and fashion, has paved the way for our styling services.
We want to give back to other women and impress the importance of finding your “why” and acknowledging that burning desire to be something more, something that truly leaves a lasting IMPRINT. We are both motivated and committed to make a difference and share our love and wisdom with others through fitness, fashion and beauty.”
“I am a 47-year-old mom of three, and my love for fitness came as a very young girl. I remember watching bodybuilding shows on TV with my dad. I told him I would be up onstage one day. Long story short, I became a mom in high school — still graduated but put most of my goals and dreams aside to be in that role. Fast-forward 20-plus years, a huge loss in my life brought me to where I am today.
I started competing about eight or nine years ago. It was what I thought was going to be a “bucket list” thing, and then it became a great distraction and addiction all at the same time. Once I saw how my body could transform from one extreme to another, I wanted to keep going. I did my very first competition as a WBFF bikini model, got a few shows under my belt, and then tried a few more in the NPC federation. I continue to compete to this day!”
“I am a weight-loss and fat-loss success story and have been featured on the cover of Oxygen magazine and in FitnessRX for Women. Today, I am a working and traveling professional, bikini model and life coach, but in my early 30s, I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. Armed with the decision to change my health for the better, I lost 40 pounds and entered my first fitness competition. The empowering experience launched me into the health and fitness industry, and I have been lucky enough to gain the respect of countless fans and professionals!
My goal is to continue to empower women, spreading the message of loving your body no matter what. I think it’s important that we stop focusing on unimportant things like a number on the scale — that little number used to rule my world! We should be thinking about important things like our real worth and what we have accomplished. Your appearance is just one part of you, and it doesn’t determine who you are or what you are capable of.”
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Want a free copy of Women’s Health magazine? How about airtime and food vouchers? What if we told you all you had to do was take a couple of selfies…
The post This Is How You Can Use Your Selfies To Get Awesome Freebies appeared first on Women’s Health.
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It’s not every day that you get a call notifying you that you’ll be taking part in a trail run from Dubai to Oman. Reegan got this call, here’s her story…
The post “I Ran A 180km Trail Event Across A Desert — This Is What It Was Like” appeared first on Women’s Health.
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Activate your core and strengthen your back with this comprehensive guide of techniques to decrease pain and improve spinal health.
Eighty percent of Americans are estimated to experience at least one episode of back pain in their lives. And according to the American Chiropractic Association, the total cost of back pain treatment in the United States surpasses $100 billion annually.
My question: How can this be when most forms of low-back pain are typically treatable with conservative management and specific exercise? As a practicing physical therapist, I would say most, if not all, of my clients respond extremely well to exercise in order to reduce symptoms. Once they commit to exercise and understand the cause of the pain and how to manage their symptoms, it’s much easier to prevent recurrence.
While it’s fun to show off your rectus abdominis muscles (aka six-pack) at the beach, they do very little for the stabilization of the lower back. I’m here to highlight the transversus abdominis (TA) muscle, a deep, strap-like muscle located in the core — one of the only muscles that attaches to the lumbar spine. Therefore, it’s one of the main spinal stabilizers necessary to keep back pain at bay.
The exercises below focus on the TA muscle and support the reduction of low-back pain.
Transversus Abdominis Activation Exercises
The TA muscle wraps around the abdomen between the lower ribs and the pelvis and functions like a corset. The function of this muscle is to stabilize before movement of the arms and legs and is important in preventing deterioration of the lumbar spine and pelvis. You cannot strengthen a muscle that your brain is not accustomed to using. Therefore, training always comes before strengthening.
- Imagine a line that connects the inside of your two pelvic bones (front of hips). Think about connecting, or drawing, the muscle along this line as if closing two book covers.
- No movement of your hips, pelvis or spine should occur as you contract this muscle.
- Feel just inside the left and right hipbones and cough gently to feel this deep contraction.
- You should feel a light tension under your fingertips, not a contraction that pushes your fingers out.
- Hold the contraction for three to five seconds and then release. Breathe throughout this exercise. Repeat the contraction and hold for three sets of 10 repetitions three to four times per day for four weeks.
- Avoid posterior tilting of the pelvis, bulging of the abdomen, depression of the rib cage, holding your breath, and pressing out your fingertips with a strong muscular contraction (internal oblique holding).
- Goal: Do 10 sets of 10 holds.
Once you feel comfortable with engaging this muscle in this position, you can begin to progress this exercise in the following ways — in this order of difficulty. Achieve each goal set before moving on to the next exercise.
TA Exercise With Arms
Lift your arms off the mat for a three-second count, up and down to 90 degrees, holding this contraction. Gently release after each rep. Goal: Do two sets of 10 reps.
TA Exercise With Marching
Alternate lifting your legs off the mat or marching while keeping your pelvis stable and holding this contraction. Goal: Do two sets of 10 reps.
TA Exercise With Arms and Legs
Lift opposite arms and legs for a three-second count up and down, maintaining a braced core without pushing your back down into the mat. Goal: Do three sets of 10 reps.
Begin by supporting yourself with your arms underneath your shoulders, stacked above your wrists and hips at a 90-degree angle, with your weight evenly distributed. Unweight both legs and hold for three sets of 60-90 seconds.
Tabletop With Taps
Keep both legs unweighted while you gently tap each foot, maintaining a braced core. Goal: Do two sets of 10 reps.
Practice a cat-cow exercise to go between the end ranges of lumbar flexion and extension in order to find a neutral spine and activate your TA. Extend both arms and legs off the mat while you extend the arm and the leg of the same side. Take note if you are pressing your lower back into the mat and losing your core stabilization with this exercise. If you are, decrease your reps or scale down.
Begin with 10 reps total on each side and increase up to two sets of 10.
Get on all fours and perform the cat-cow exercise to feel the end ranges of lumbar flexion and extension in order to find a neutral spine (flat back) and activate your TA.
Begin with 10 reps total on each leg and increase up to two sets of 10.
Use isometrics to bring your new core activation skills off the mat and into more functional movement. Because most of us don’t exercise laying down, this progression is meant to be just that: a progression. These exercises are meant to assist in TA activation as you incorporate them into your regular exercise routine.
Begin with two sets of 10, ensuring that you do not sacrifice form.
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What do you get yourself for Valentine’s Day? When you’re single you can do whatever you want. My poison of choice? Sky diving…
The post “This Is What Jumping Out Of A Plane REALLY Feels Like” appeared first on Women’s Health.
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Are you in an unhealthy relationship with the number on your scale? Here’s how to cut the ties that bind.
Are you in a toxic relationship with your scale? Does the number reflecting your weight often determine your mood causing you to feel happy, sad, confident, frustrated or lost? Does this number tend to dictate your self-worth? Have you ever wondered why you value the opinion of this object? If you answered yes to any of these questions, now is the time to break up with your scale and find your true happiness.
Letting go may seem difficult, as if you’ll have to fly blind without a crutch. How else will you measure your success?
We’re Trained to Care About Our Weight
Society teaches us to value the number on this scale. Our medical system determines our body mass index (BMI) based on height and weight. This basic measure does not look at genetic structure, muscle or internal health but rather a number that has haunted many of us for years. The BMI is a reference range and does not depict who we are inside and out. It does not measure our worth or success. Plus, social media comparisons, transformations and weight-loss challenges can make it very hard to ignore what the scale says.
The scale measures overall weight, including bones, water, muscle and adipose tissue. This number varies from day to day based on sodium, water, hormones, exercise and even stress. Influxes are a normal occurrence in the human body. The success of a nutrition and fitness program cannot be solely based on a single variable that can change from hour to hour. Remember that changes in body composition do not always result in shifts on the scale. The changes you should focus on are measured in energy levels, inches lost, how your clothes are fitting and your overall feeling.
How to Break Up With Your Scale
So what’s the best way to break up with the scale? Simple answer: COLD TURKEY. Stop this unhealthy habit right away and start the healing process. There is no weaning off the scale because the desire and impulse will keep drawing you in. It’s time to get it out of sight and out of mind. The scale often becomes a pivotal part of your day. It may be the first thing you do in the morning or whenever you’re at the gym. Even if you don’t vocalize it, you most likely have an ideal number in mind — a value you would love to see. You may even think that once you hit that number, you will feel complete.
A magical number that provides all the answers to your happiness does not exist. A number on a scale is just a number — one that does nothing for you and can even leave you feeling empty once you achieve it. The scale will not bring lasting happiness if you are not truly happy with yourself first.
“Failed” attempts at physical success (a continuous loop of hope, short-term success, frustration, disappointment and ultimately quitting) often reflect an underlying issue that has not been fully addressed. It’s easy to fall into this vicious cycle, which only makes you more vulnerable to ever-enticing fad diets that promise to solve all your problems.
Healing the body and mind from within should be the first step and core component of any nutrition and fitness journey. Learning to lead a healthier lifestyle is the foundation for long-term success.
Beyond the scale, there are so many other ways to determine your health, fitness and nutrition successes that will allow you to maintain sustainable wellness.
Focus on these 10 measures:
- Measurements – Dropping inches is a great measure of fat loss.
- Clothing Size – Do your clothes fit better?
- Energy – Have you stopped crashing in the afternoon?
- Mood – Do you feel happier throughout the day?
- Digestion – Do you notice more regularity when you are active and eating healthy?
- Relationships – Do you find you have more meaningful connections?
- Sleep – Is your sleep more restful and uninterrupted?
- Hormones – Do you feel your hormones are more balanced with a healthy lifestyle?
- Hair/Skin/Nails – Have you noticed a new glow?
- Mirror – Do you look in the mirror and see positive changes?
On your health and fitness journey, external physique cannot be the only measure of success. We often forget to include our internal measures, day-to-day activities and relationships into the equation. Balance across the board is key.
When you eat healthy, exercise regularly and focus on a positive mindset, you will reap the rewards of increased health, vitality and well-being. These are gifts that the number on the scale can never give to you. Feeling good on the inside will inevitably lead to an improved outer appearance. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth it!
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We chatted to Ashleigh Meyers, the girl-boss behind the space about how she has created one of Cape Town’s most coveted co-working spaces…
The post Rooftop Office Yoga? — This #BossBabe Is Making It Happen appeared first on Women’s Health.
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Despite our inward focus and proclamations to put ourselves first, I’ve found there’s very little meat on the bones of that elusive self-love unicorn.
The post I Asked My Therapist What The Heck Self-Love Actually Means appeared first on Women’s Health.
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