Whether you’re pumping iron in the gym or training for a triathlon, you know that there are no fitness gains without proper recovery. Your resting state is where your muscles make their repairs, and if you’re male, your quality of sleep will affect how much testosterone you generate in your body.
How much sleep do you need? It’s debatable whether a full eight hours are required. Arnold Schwarzenegger swears you only need six and that if you think you need more, then “sleep faster.”
Either way, with our job schedules and workouts, we have only so much time available for rest, so it’s essential that we make the most of our sleep time.
Here are some ways you can power-sleep your way into better muscle gains, higher performance, and greater health. Continue reading
Superfoods are foods that are particularly high in nutrients and phytochemicals, and help general health and well-being. Many superfoods have been shown to help with particular ailments, whereas others are beneficial of overall health. They are a great element to have in your diet. Here is a list of the 25 top superfoods that you can add to your diet.
1. Whole grains
Whole grains are basically grains that have not undergone the refining process. There are wholegrain varieties of most grains, including rice, barley, wheat and oats. The increased fiber in whole grains improves digestive function, decreasing the incidence of bowel cancer, and eating 3 portions a day reduces blood pressure and the chance of a stroke by 15-20%.
2. Oily fish
Salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines are oily fish and contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 helps brain development in babies and reduces heart disease.
3. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are packed with vitamins and are great at staving off colds and infections by boosting the immune system. Continue reading
Get off your mother’s couch!! Summer is almost here and if you are like the most of us we’d like to be able to hit the beach and show off our beach bods. If you are looking for ways to get the ball rolling here are 8 ways to get yourself motivated and in the healthy lifestyle zone.
1. Set Realistic Goals
Telling yourself you are going to be gracing the cover of that fitness mag in 6 weeks after not doing an iota of exercise for 5 years is just the beginning of the end. If you have been leading an unhealthy lifestyle for a long time, it is going to take a long time to see hard core results. Set weekly goals, reach them and you will stick with it until the end.
2. Water, Water, Water
Our bodies, organs and skin need are made up of a whopping 75% water. Even if you do not do any exercise, live in an igloo and haven’t sweated in 18 months, your body needs 2 liters of water to function at all. That is just 8 glasses of water a day. If you do any exercise or are outside in the sun, you will need to up that amount considerably. Water flushes out toxins, helps our digestive system work properly, keeps our skin looking gorgeous, and balances out our energy levels. Kick start your new lifestyle by keeping a bottle of water with you all day, in the car, in your bag, in the office. Even if you only get through one bottle to start with, it’s a good start.
3. Cut Back
Normally have two helpings of mashed potato? Make a new rule to have a small portion of everything – but one only and never go back for more. So you will be able to enjoy everything on the table, the mouth-watering gravy, buttered carrots and the delicious pudding, but in moderation. Continue reading
Body Weight exercises are some of the most powerful and rewarding fitness moves on the planet and the best part is they are completely free of charge as you don’t need any equipment; you can do it in the comfort of your very own home. Here are the top 8 body weight exercises you will need for a full body toning regime.
1. Push Ups
These are great and within a few weeks you will begin to see a difference even if you have previous injuries. Men and women can benefit from push ups and even if you choose the beginner’s move, you will be working your shoulders, abs, triceps, back and entire core. Body weight exercises are all about the correct form, so it is important to have the correct positioning. It’s more beneficial to do 4 reps rather than do 20 in the wrong form. Start on your knees and do at least 3 to start off with – incorporate 3 sets into your workout.
Lunges are the Holy Grail of body weight exercises, working just about every single muscle in your body. It will strengthen your core which supports your entire body, and strengthen your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Your quadriceps muscles on the top of your thigh are actually responsible for most of the support your body needs to stand upright. Again, this move is all about form; make sure when you come down into your lunge that your knee does not move over your foot and your upper body remains straight. Hold onto something if you are having balance issues at first and do at least 5 per side per set.
3. The Squat
There are very few people who do not covet that bikini perfect derriere, and this is where you are going to get it. Reps when doing squats are very effective, but holding the squat as long as you can, until it burns like fire, is where change is going to happen. Slide down against a wall, using the wall as support for your back and make sure that your knees do not tip forward and peek over the feet – that is how you are going to injure yourself. For advanced fitness fundis – progress to the jump squat, doing at least 15 per set, with a minimum of 3 sets. Continue reading
With summer just around the corner, now is the time to start sculpting those killer abs. Waiting until your pedicured feet have hit the sidewalk in sandals when the weather is nice is too late, those slick and sculptured abs take time to pop out from under a layer of winter sins, so you are going to need at least 6 weeks to kick start those washboard abs. Here are 6 moves you are going to need to do three times a week to get the results you need.
1. Toe Taps
This is one of those hardcore Pilates abs exercises that make you think you are doing nothing, but when you wake up 2 days later, you flirt slightly with the thought of calling somebody to help you get out of bed. Ab work outs are all about form and less about range (how far you can stretch or go), and much less about the reps.
You can do sit ups until you are blue in the face, but if you are not doing it properly, you might as well be on the couch with a Cosmo. Lie on your back with your knees up in a table top position (right angles) Make sure you pull your belly button in and connect your core, bringing your ribs down to meet your hips. Slowly extend one pointed toe out as far as you can go without popping out of your range, touch your toe to the floor and slowly return to table top position. Repeat with the other leg – this is one rep. You need to do between 5 and 25 reps in one workout. This works the lower glutes and obliques in a big way.
2. Reverse Crunches
This is an ideal move for women as this is the one move that concentrates on the lower abs – which any woman knows is where all our diet and lack of exercise sins reside – in the lower belly. Try and get your reps up to 25 per set. You may feel like you need the paramedics to get you off the mat after 5 at first, but hang in there, you will get the abs you want. Lie on your back, place your hands next to you on the floor and concentrate on moving your hips and not placing any strain on your neck. Ridiculous? Not so much; check out your neck after 3 reps and you might be surprised.
Raise your legs into the air and lift your butt up as far as you can off the floor using your hips, legs and abs. Try not to hit the floor with a slam but lower yourself gently. You can use your arms on the mat but you will need to at first, and get into a gentle rolling motion as you pike into the air. Continue reading
Toned, sculpted and muscular legs are every woman’s dream. Defined calves and the 6 pack abs are on millions of women’s birthday list all over the world, and what so many women don’t realise – it’s easier to get them that you think they are. If you are in the market for the sleekest, drop dead gorgeous legs on the planet, here are 7 moves that are guaranteed to help you shape the legs of your dreams.
1. Calf Raises
For this move, you can do it with or without weights, but if you are a beginner, you may want to start without and gradually work up to using them. Stand with your feet together and raise yourself up on to your tip toes – as high as you can go and come down slowly. This is one rep. Repeat in this position slowly 10 times and then as quickly as you can ten times. Then repeat the moves with your toes pointed inwards and another move with your heels touching and your toes pointed outwards. By the beginning of the 3rd position, its normal to feel like your calf muscles are on fire – keep going.
Lunges are the Holy Grail of sexy leg exercises. They work your hamstrings, quads and glutes; the perfect trio for perfect legs. Move one leg forward and your other leg back, and holding your abs tight and with your hands on your hips, lower yourself down to the floor bending both legs.
Your front knee should not be peering over your ankle and if you are sitting upright, your knee and your ankle should be completely in line. Dip lower into the move and stand up again. This is one move. Do 12-15 then swop sides. Later on, when you are a pro you can add ankle weights for that extra burn, but in the beginning you are going to feel the burn without them.
3. Ball Curls
Lie on your back on the floor with your feet perched on the side of a ball. Using your glutes and your abs and not your neck, lift yourself up into a bridge position, without letting the ball roll away from you, and without wobbling all over the place. This may seem like a tall order to start off with, but practice makes perfect. Now comes the hard part. Roll the ball out as far as you can, without dropping your pelvis, and roll it back again the same. This is one rep. 3 -5 is probably all you can manage at first but try and get it up to 15. Continue reading
If you learn a little bit about human biology and muscles, you will be better prepared to increase your muscle size and strength. Learn about the correct diet you should be following and how your muscles work, and you will find it easier to build your bicep and tricep muscles.
The bicep muscle (biceps brachii) is a two-headed muscle that sits on the upper arm in between your elbow and you shoulder. The heads of the muscle form one muscle in the middle, which allows the muscle to twist (supinate) and pull (flex). The triceps muscle (Triceps brachii) is a three-headed muscle on the back of the arms that allow us to extend and straighten our arm. Continue reading
The amount of fat that we carry around our middles has been slowly increasing over the years as national body shapes have changed from hourglass to apple-like. Belly fat is not exactly attractive so it’s not surprising that so many people are tempted to try weird and wonderful methods to try and lose it. Here are some genuine tips that will help you lose that muffin top and gain a slimmer silhouette.
1. Say no to sit-ups
Isn’t that what everyone wants to hear? The truth is that sit-ups alone only work a tiny proportion of the muscles in your abdomen, and although they will tone those muscles, they are unlikely to slim your waist and give you the toned look you crave. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can give up on exercising altogether. To really tone your stomach, you should try a work out that uses all of your core muscles. Exercises using a Swiss Ball are particularly good for that. But there is no point having great abs if no one can see them – you have to lose the fat that is covering them. A full body regime will burn body fat everywhere and will help reveal your killer abs. Continue reading