Just like we do at the start of every new season, we’ve got some new workout tracks for you. And, usually we pick the most high-energy songs we can. You know, to get pumped up and get moving. But right now … with all the things going on … well, we wanted to also share some new tracks that are a little more calming and healing — along with a few playlists that will help energize you daily to do the work that is so desperately needed to change our world. (Not sure where to start? Read this post for…

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A lot of people are having a hard time staying motivated to work out while fitness centers and studios are closed. Perhaps you enjoy the social aspect of workout classes or you have a standing appointment to meet your lifting buddy at the gym. Maybe you lost access to your favorite activities as a result of temporary Crossfit box or pool closures. Or, you finally found a coach or trainer you connect with, and regulations mean sessions are on hold.

It’s understandable. Many people recognize that intrinsic motivation (self-motivation) to exercise isn’t going to cut it, so they’ve set up their fitness life around extrinsic motivational (motivation from outside sources) factors – friends, friendly competition, stellar coaching, whatever have you.

That doesn’t have to mean losing all of your progress and starting completely over when your normal routine resumes. Until we’re on the other side of the pandemic, we need to find ways to motivate ourselves to keep up our fitness at home. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

4 Ways to Stay Motivated While Working Out at Home

  1. Set Up an Accountability Group. There’s a fair chance that your former workout tribe is in the same boat as you are, and would love to check in with some familiar faces. Or, your friends and family are craving some social interaction, even if it has to be on-screen. With social media as woven into our lives as it is, it is easier than ever to reach out to your network and your and gym buddies to share successes and encouragement. Set a time, even if it’s only once or twice a week, to discuss what you’ve been doing and champion each others’ efforts.
  2. Use Apps to Compete With Others. There have to be hundreds of apps that facilitate competitions between friends and strangers alike. You can organize or participate in virtual endurance races using the Strava app. My Fitness Pal allows you to add friends and engage in friendly diet and fitness competitions. Peloton equipment and integrated apps offer challenges, achievement badges and new “quests” (based on Instagram clues) that are surprisingly motivating, especially when you can peek in on friends you follow to see what’s going on on their profiles. Primal Kitchen® is giving away a Peloton plus $200 in product! Head over to this page – entry only takes a minute
  3. Opt for Shorter Workouts and Microworkouts. Your workout doesn’t have to be a full hour of heart-pumping, sweaty hyperactivity. In fact, that can be counterproductive to your goals. Instead, try different formats to get the maximum benefit out of minimum effort. You can do an incredibly effective sprint workout in 10-15 minutes, start to finish. If microworkouts have piqued your interest, keep a resistance band or a few weights on the floor in front of your desk, and rep out a few sets of your favorite resistance moves in between emails throughout the day. You’d be surprised at how the effects of unobtrusive two-minute workouts will add up.
  4. Play More. Every state has some form of regulation, but going outside is fair game. So, get outside. Find an open space to play Ultimate frisbee with your family. Take a bike ride with your kids since they’re home from school. Find a trail that’s open to the public and and hike out to a lake to skip rocks. Movement doesn’t have to follow prescriptive exercise formats, and the more fun you have, the more likely you’ll be to go back for more.

This setback is temporary, and we’ll undoubtedly get back to our preferred flavor of fitness. Sooner? Later? I’m not entirely sure. Until then, being flexible and getting creative will help you optimize your health. 

Enjoy the rest of your week, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the Peloton Bike and Primal Kitchen haul. It’s an incredible prize package!

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The post Staying Motivated While Working Out At Home (Plus a PELOTON Giveaway) appeared first on Mark’s Daily Apple.

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why eating less doesn't always work

Off the bat, I should say that I’m actually a fan of eating less. I’m on record as saying that my goal is to figure out how few calories I can eat and still thrive. Still, eating less isn’t always the magic bullet people will hope it will be. There are many ways that eating less can go wrong.

For weight loss, the advice to “eat less, exercise more” often doesn’t work like it “should” on paper. The weight-loss diet industry thrives on repeat customers who struggle to lose weight and keep it off. Dutifully following this strategy has led many people down the road to frustration and dejection, as they blame themselves for their failure to successfully lose weight. This is despite their best efforts to eat less.

From a health perspective, eating less is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, caloric restriction may promote longevity. It certainly does in many animal models. Human evidence is still mixed, but I’m betting that the same is true for us.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21677272/‘>2 It tries to tightly ration body fat in case you’re facing a prolonged food shortage.

Let’s back up. The “energy out” side of the energy balance equation comprises several factors:

  • Basal metabolic rate – the energy your body expends in the everyday functions of being alive (breathing, circulation, generating new cells, etc.)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S155041311830130X‘>4 It’s not so great when it comes to weight loss.

    Moreover, the body responds to caloric restriction by dialing back activity. “Non-exercise activity thermogenesis,” or NEAT, is the term for the energy you expend through spontaneous movements like tapping your feet or nodding your head along to music. NEAT can vary up to 2000 calories per day between individuals.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17197279/’>6 and when they are dieticians.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21178922/‘>8 Another small study showed that individuals who were struggling to lose weight underreported their caloric intake by 47 percent and overestimated energy expended by 51 percent, on average.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491979/‘>10)

    Even if you’re diligently weighing and tracking your food, you’ll probably be off through no fault of your own. The FDA allows a margin of error of up to 20 percent for calories reported on food labels.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20102837/‘>12 https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/82/11/3647/2865985‘>14 In fact, it drops more than would be predicted by body composition alone.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296868/‘>16 loss of libido, and infertility.https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/91/8/3232/2656790‘>18 That said, you can definitely have too much of a good thing. You don’t want to restrict calories to the point where you start experiencing symptoms of hypothyroid such as feeling cold all the time, unexplained weight gain, or fatigue.

    When It’s Stressful

    I’ve said it a million times: stress is the enemy of health and weight loss. As with so many things in life, calorie restriction can be an adaptive (hormetic) or maladaptive stressor. It all depends on how it’s applied and how your body reacts.

    Restricting calories increases cortisol, aka “the stress hormone.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813183/‘>20—and who subsequently struggle to eat enough. If they aren’t mindful, they can easily under-eat to the point they are getting enough nutrients.

    If you suspect you might be under-eating, use an app like Cronometer to track your food for a few days. Make sure you are checking the nutritional boxes you need to stay healthy.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18589032/‘>22 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23446962/‘>24 Your calorie deficit should come from reducing fat and/or carbs, depending on your current diet.

    What about Metabolic Damage?

    Dieting forums are filled with dire warnings against dieting so long or so hard that you go into “starvation mode” and create permanent “metabolic damage.”

    You might be familiar with the highly publicized Biggest Loser study, which followed contestants from the televised weight loss competition.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6694559/‘>26 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22535969/‘>28

    Whether this constitutes permanent metabolic damage is a hotly debated topic. A recent paper called the notion into question. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15466943/
    ‘>30. It helps keep your metabolic rate up by protecting energy-guzzling muscles and organs. Protein also has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs, further contributing to metabolic rate.

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