The impending autumn means one thing and one thing only for many people – the kickoff of football season. Millions will sit on bleachers and couches to watch the football players play their sport, cheering on their athleticism and strength.
But what about the dedicated athletes on the sidelines? Few people recognize it, and it’s been a point of contention for years, but the cheerleaders supporting the team are working just as hard as the players on the field.
“Football has historically been viewed as a very ‘manly sport,'” remarked our guest editor Dempsey Marks, a fitness expert and yoga trainer who founded DepmseyFit.com, about what separates football and cheerleading in people’s minds. “The sport itself is associated with toughness, pain, and even violence. And primarily football is played by men. [The sport] glorifies aggressive behavior, which society associates with men and masculinity.”
“Cheerleading has evolved from simple movements and cheers to a highly athletic undertaking, which requires strength, coordination, agility, and skill,” she added. (more…)
So you’ve been exercising for years and still aren’t losing as much weight as you’d expect? Get this: Science is now telling you to have more fun and to see better results. A new French and American research study is now suggesting people may lose more weight during physical activity that feels more like playtime than a torture session at the gym. This study suggests that your attitude toward physical activity influence what you eat after a workout and ultimately whether or not you drop pounds.
Many people who start exercising do not lose as much weight as expected. In fact, some people actually gain weight after starting a workout routine despite the extra calories burned at the gym. Here’s why: A lot of people who push their physical limits eat whatever they’d like after an intense gym visit. Previous studies have explained this phenomenon as an increase of appetite hormones post sweat session—that people really were ravenous after working hard. While this may explain the physiological part of it, this new study is hoping to prove that psychology can explain the rest. (Try these 7 ways to keep your appetite in check.)
Scientists recruited 56 overweight women and tasked them to complete the same one-mile outdoor course, with lunch to follow. Half of the women were told that this course will be rigorous exercise and to monitor their exertion levels. The rest were told that this is meant to be a walk for pleasure where they can listen to music and enjoy themselves. Upon completion of the course, the women were asked to estimate her mileage, calorie expenditure, and mood. Women in the first group reported feeling much grumpier and more fatigued even though the two groups estimates of mileage and calories burned were almost identical. (more…)
By now I think we all know we’re supposed to exercise, and quite a few of us have figured what exercise works best for us. However, that doesn’t mean that we all love it.
Starting, and sticking to, an exercise plan can be more difficult than expected. This is especially true if you dread your workout before you’ve even started.
There may be a good reason you aren’t enjoying your workout, and a simple fix to make exercise enjoyable. If you find yourself groaning every time you lace up your shoes or strap on your bike helmet, it may be time to take a look at why you don’t like to exercise and do something about it.
It’s hard to get started
For some, just getting a new exercise program started is the biggest hurdle. Not knowing what to do and making the transition from sedentary to more active can be a daunting task. If you find yourself in this situation, call on a friend to be your workout buddy. Getting started will be a lot easier when you don’t feel like you’re on your own.
I bet if you pick up your phone or grab your computer right now, you can’t spend five minutes on the Internet without running into a beauty or fitness trend that ask women to alter the shapes of their bodies in ridiculous (and sometimes dangerous) ways.
Our friends at Shape Magazine have spoken with experts about these beauty trends and what trying to achieve them will cost you. We’ve got our own take on the beauty and fitness buzzwords that seem to be sweeping social media.
Body image is a tricky subject. It’s something we deal with every day, whether we realize it or not. “Do I look ok in these pants?” “Wow, she’s gotten thin.” “He has great muscles, why don’t mine look like that?”
We have thoughts like these so many times per day, we barely even notice any more. Even those who normally have great body image can catch themselves having negative thoughts about their bodies, or someone else’s.
Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to remind us that you can be happy and healthy without being supermodel thin or bodybuilder built. Here are five films that we think are worth your time to watch.
Though this documentary isn’t out yet, we were inspired by Taryn Brumfitt’s story and her now infamous non-traditional “before and after” photo. In it, the before image is Taryn during a fitness competition, the very picture of a “perfect body,” but unhappy with how she looked. The after photo is her today, less “fit” but much happier.
“The day I learned to unconditionally love my body was the day I became unstoppable.” <– CLICK TO TWEET THIS QUOTE
After making that realization, she decided to create a positive body image movement and share it through, among other channels, a documentary she’s crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Embrace.
Achieving 6-pack abs is pretty much the holy grail of physical fitness and strength, even though much of your abdominal appearance is decided by genetics, not effort. But whether you have 7% body fat or a layer of “insulation” over your abdominal muscles it’s extremely important to keep those muscles strong. Working the muscles that make up your core strong (the abdominals, obliques, and mid- to lower-back) will make your entire body feel stronger, give you better posture, and improve your balance. However, the question remains—what’s the best technique to building and managing core strength?
We’ve been presented with so many different options for strengthening the abdominal muscles that it’s hard to know what works best. Should we be lying on our backs, balancing on our hands and toes, standing up, squatting, or using a contraption like the ab flyer or ab rocket?
Luckily, a group of fitness experts commissioned by the American Council on Exercise recently conducted the research to answer that very question. ACE reached out to experts at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse to conduct research determining the effectiveness of the most popular equipment and exercises compared to the traditional crunch. The team incorporated several different varieties of popular equipment including the Ab Circle Pro, Ab Roller, and others, as well as exercises including yoga’s boat pose, the stability ball crunch, decline bench curl-ups, the captain’s chair crunch, the bicycle crunch, the side plank, and a standard plank. (more…)
More and more, when I talk to people about the one food they could never give up the answer is cheese. I don’t know if this is generation, geographical, or what, but the hard-to-break habit keeps coming up in conversation. People like their cheese, and I’m no different. I like a gooey triple cream brie on apple slices, a chunk of cheddar on crackers, and a thick dusting of parmesan on most pasta dishes. But mostly I like cheese with wine.
In the past I tabulated a Work it Off: Wine edition. Since we know exactly what it takes to burn off a couple of glasses (and 250 calories) I’m going to turn my attention to cheese. The cheese plate, to be exact, such as the two I helped take down this past week while sipping wine in the sun with various groups of friends. (This isn’t typical for me: The weather turned warm right as my birthday week hit, which led to a little extra indulgence!)
The cheese on a typical cheese plate adds up to around 481 calories, which no doubt explains why it tastes so good and goes down so easily.
How, exactly, could I have burned off these 481 extra calories? (more…)
We all know that working with a personal trainer can provide so many benefits. If you’re just starting out, a personal trainer is a great resource to learn how to exercise properly and regular appointments make you a lot more likely to show up at the gym. Of course, trainers often charge between $40 and $80 per session, or more. Luckily, there’s a great way to get the benefits of having a personal trainer for only a fraction of the cost: Online training. We sat down with Paige, an ACE certified personal trainer with years of experience training clients both in-person and online to find out a bit more about online personal training works.
1. What exactly is online training? How does it work?
Online training is a lot like in-person training, but all training is done virtually. After an initial assessment and consultation, I design a customized workout program for that client. However, instead of being there in-person for their “sessions” they refer to my online exercise video library, pictures, demonstrations, and detailed descriptions for the exercises. Depending on the tier of training they choose, my involvement can be a coaching them and providing feedback 3 to 5 times a week or as little as once a week.
2. What types of people (typically) sign up for online training?
The same as those who come to me in the gym—those who want to better their lives in some way through fitness. The only differences would be that often, those who come to me for online training have crazy hard-to-plan-around schedules. Also, online training is much more affordable than paying $70 an hour for in-the-gym training. Some of my online clients came to me looking for a more affordable way to have a personal trainer. (more…)
Walking is one of the easiest options for shedding pounds, and it can improve your health in a number of other ways, too: Taking a stroll boosts your spirits, adds additional exercise to your life, and apparently, it can spark your creative side.
Multiple studies have proven that exercise helps memory and decisiveness, but the New York Times recently reported on a study from Stanford University that took things a step further: The researchers found that stepping away from your desk, even to walk around the office, can do wonders for your the creativity portion of your mind. (more…)
May is here and Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. You know what that means: Guacamole season—which in my mind lasts from around May through September—is upon us!
It may be obvious, but Guacamole is probably my favorite food, one of the three things I would want with me on a desert island. A few years ago I even had a “guac off” for my birthday party, asking guests to bring different versions of the classic green condiment/first-course which we of course then taste-tested and voted on. Versions included one with cranberries, one with chipotle chilis, and one with bacon. All were delicious, no surprise.
The good new is, guacamole is made of all sorts of good for you stuff: the avocados are full of heart healthy omega 3s and the onions, cilantro, jalepeno, and so forth provide a ton of nutrients. But moderation is not something I have an easy time practicing with guacamole, and I know I’m not alone: nutrition sites suggest a serving size of 1 oz., or about 2 Tablespoons. But as anyone who’s ever planted themselves next to the guac bowl at a party, it’s hard to stop there. I’ve easily eaten 2/3 of a cup on my own, which contains more like 244 calories. (Let’s not even get into the calories from the chips, which shoot this number way way up!)
Some of us know all to well that as we age, there are dramatic changes to our skin, and not usually for the better. Crow’s feet, laugh lines, sagging skin, the works. But now, science is proving that moderate cardio exercise can reverse these natural processes at any age.
The New York Times recently reported on a study from McMaster University in Ontario, one of the big names in exercise physiology research. Essentially, scientists found the above to be true: that exercise can slow or even reverse the signs of aging skin. How? Well, they’re not quite sure how it works—one theory is that an increase in a certain muscle protein called myokines helps halt and reverse the process. Regardless of the actual process, researchers say they have clear proof that it does work—and that younger looking skin could be just a few workouts away. (more…)