Good Ways to Track Progress in Fitness Level

One of the most important aspect of any fitness regimen or dieting plan is being able to determine the level of efficacy of your efforts. Many people believe that you need access to a high-tech fitness lab to effectively measure your results, but this simply is not true. There are a few simple things which you can track that will help you keep a tab on your success. Here are five fitness tests that will help you determent your general fitness level.

Cardiorespiratory Capacity or V02max

If you’ve seen the fitness TV spots featuring Olympic and Professional Athletes running on treadmills with masks on, the you have seen tests for V02max. Simply put, these tests are trying to determine how efficiently these athletes are utilizing oxygen while exerting energy. However, you do not need all of this fancy equipment in order to track this. Simply go to your local track, and be sure to bring your stopwatch. Run for twelve minutes and track your distance. Then use this online tool to help you figure out your personal V02Max.

One-Rep Max

Carl Koenemann Fitness 1Most people who log significant time in the weight-room have probably know of this test. This is because it was one the most effective manners with which to track improvements. However, experts warn against novices trying to lift their maximum weight in just one rep. They point to the Brzycki equation a a great alternative. This equation can take data from a multi-rep set, and quite accurately predict what your one-rep max would be.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance tracking includes both push and sit-up tests, as well as plank tests. You can compare your results to the general population by using an online tool provided by ExRx.

Regarding the pushup test, simply do as many repetitions of push ups as you can. Keep in mind that maintaining proper form is absolutely imperative in determining true improvement.

For the sit-up test, complete as many reps as you can in a minute time window. For best results, use a partner to hold own your feet.

Seven Easy Things to Boost your Health

Here’s a list of seven easy things you should incorporate into your life to help boost your health.

1. Meditate
Meditation has been proven to yield a variety of health benefits.

Meditation has been proven to yield a variety of health benefits.

Meditation has been around for centuries, but has only recently emerged in the last few decades as a popular practice in the western world. Meditating for 10-20 minutes every day to relax and search introspectively has been shown to alleviate stress, improve sleep quality, improve blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help with cardiovascular function.

2. Sleep

Many career-oriented people simply do not get enough sleep on a nightly basis.  No matter healthy you eat or how often you work out, proper amount and quality of sleep is a must for wholistically healthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation actually lessens the efficacy of exercise and diet. Experts recommend that you average around seven to eight hours a night, but it varies by person. Additionally, research has demonstrated that lack of sleep actually impairs brain function and makes it difficult to focus

3. Drink Tea

Tea boats an arsenal of benefits that helps boost both the health of one’s brain and body. Some research has proven that consistently consuming Green tea can improve memory and cognition. Also, tea speeds up your metabolism, lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity, and helps with bad breath. So when you’re thinking about grabbing another morning cup of coffee, opt for some tea instead.

4. Floss

Here’s something you probably didn’t think you would see on this list. Flossing is not only important to maintaining dental hygiene. If you don’t floss regularly and your gums become infected, that bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause internal inflammation.

5. Warm-up Before Workouts

Recent research has shown that stretching before exercise might actually do more harm than good. If you actually partake in a dynamic warm-up, including lunges and high-skips, will help mitigate the chance of injury and lead to a better workout

6. High Intensity Interval Training

British Researches have shown that training in a high-intensity interval training style can result with equal benefits you get with endurance training. The upside is that it takes a lot less time.

7. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses represent the only way to protect one’s eyes. You should throw on a pair of shades any time you think you’ll be exposed to the sun’s rays for a significant amount of time.

8. More Fiber

Fiber consumption is absolutely integral to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Fiber can help lead to a longer life by aiding weight loss, reducing inflammation and blood pressure, and lessen the risk of developing diabetes.

Fitness Tips – Getting Started

If you’re looking to get yourself in the gym, there are a lot of things that you should be aware of beforehand. While simply throughout some shoes on and running out the door is certainly healthier than sitting on the couch all day, there are some general guidelines to follow to make sure that you are replenishing your body and that you do not injure yourself. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling better.

First Things First: Nutrition

Read up on my nutrition section before grabbing your gym bag. Nutrition is what fuels you – if you do not have the proper foods in your diet, you’ll only be able to run so far before you fall over or catch a cramp. Proper nutrition is crucial to building muscle. Make sure your balanced diet consists of fruits, veggies, complex carbs, proteins and fats.

It’s also important to start eating more often. Instead of three large meals a day, break it down into five or six meals. This way you are continuing to stimulate your metabolism throughout the day. As your activity levels decrease throughout the day, eat less as the day goes on.

Control portions and eat with a purpose. Everything should offer some sort of nutritional value. For portions – it’s a good idea to make sure that meats are smaller than your palm and that pastas are not larger than your fist.

How to Build Muscle

A protein shake is a great way to repair your muscles after a workout.

A protein shake is a great way to repair your muscles after a workout.

When it comes to building muscle, there are some basics that you should be aware of. You need to increase your caloric and complete protein intake – that’s the basics in terms of nutrition. When in the gym, make sure you are focusing on form. Compound movements, weight training four times a week. You want as little movement as possible – only target specific muscle groups. And rest, rest, rest! Muscle tissue repairs when you’re outside of the gym.

Also, go for as much range of motion as possible. When it comes to how heavy the weights should be, have each exercise last 30 to 45 seconds; if it lasts longer or shorter than that, change the weight accordingly.

Finally, get the proper supplements. It’s hard to meet the requirements for protein intake – look into shakes for after your workouts.

Endurance

Hydration and proper nutrition are the basis for endurance. This type of training is very draining on your body – you’ll be burning calories like crazy, so you need to make sure you’ve increased your caloric intake. When it comes to endurance, you’re trying to exhaust your muscles. Work until you cannot push yourself any further.

Reduce the rest between sets and fight the fatigue that comes on during endurance training.

Find Your Motivation

When you’re stepping into the gym, make sure that you are motivated to perform each exercise to a certain level of success. If you’re lifting weights, count down your reps until you reach your goal. Also, ask yourself why you’re in the gym in the first place. To look good? To feel good? The more effort you put in during your time at the gym, the quicker you’ll reach those goals.

Change Things Up

Change your workout every couple of weeks to ensure that your body does not get used to the exercises you’re performing. It’s important to always keep the body guessing. Changing exercises, how heavy the weights are, the order that you perform exercises, your tempo and your rep/set count will all help keep you from plateauing. Even something as simple as the time of day you train can cause you to plateau.

 

Steps Towards Healthy Living

When people think about living healthy, two things come to mind: diet and exercise. But the reality of the situation is that this is far from enough to keep you healthy. First, this isn’t focusing on your mental health – a very important aspect of healthy living. Exercising and dieting in a certain way can keep you healthy and happy.

Drink water

You’ve heard it before, but it actually works. Drinking lots of water is the first step to being healthy. Sugary liquids have a huge impact on body weight. Drinking water ensures that you are getting all of the nutrients necessary to keep your body functioning properly while also helping you to lose weight.

First, water helps fill your stomach – preventing you from overeating. On top of that, water gives you more energy – allowing you to get up and exercise. Generally, you need anywhere between 8-10 cups of water on a given day. Keep a water bottle on you and fill it up whenever you see a water fountain.

Meditate and change your mentality

Meditation keeps your mind healthy and happy. Happiness impacts a bunch of aspects of your life besides just your mental health. For starters, it gives you more energy.

Meditating is an easy way to get your mind back into gear.

Meditating is an easy way to get your mind back into gear.

It is also important, however, to change your overall mentality when it comes to life. First off, love yourself. Next, push negative people out of your life – there’s no reason to be upset all the time. Finally, keep a journal. This allows you to put your thoughts on paper – getting them out of your head.

Exercise – the fun way

A lot of people say they don’t go to the gym because they “don’t enjoy going.” The solution is simple: find something you enjoy doing that also incorporates exercise. Surely you enjoy playing basketball, football, or soccer? If not, do you enjoy the outdoors? Consider going on a hike or walking through the park. Not only will these get you out of the house – they’ll also help you exercise different parts of your body.

Pick bright-colored foods and stick to brown carbs

Foods that are bright in color are usually high in antioxidants. These antioxidants remove radicals in our body that destroy our cells. Fruits and vegetables that are bright colored will help you feel better in the morning.

When it comes to carbs, stick to the brown carbs. White carbs are refined grains (such as white rice, pasta and white bread) that have nutrients removed in the production process. Brown carbs still have the nutrients and vitamins intact.

Cut out caffeine

Some people claim that they need caffeine for the energy – this is false. Caffeine is a short-term fix that will make you feel energized at the time but leaves your body exhausted in the long run. Instead, use the tips that I have included above. They will give you more energy than caffeine can provide.

Hang out with healthy people

If your best friends live healthy, it will help make healthy living a lifestyle instead of a chore. Your friends will push you to exercise, will take you out to healthy eating spots and keep you happy.

Increasing Your Metabolism… By Eating!

There are a bunch of ways to increase your metabolism. And a faster metabolism isn’t something to just brag about – it will trim your waistline and make you feel better each day. Most of the ways to increase your metabolism involve exercising… however, I’m going to give you some tips on how to increase your metabolism just by eating properly.

What is your metabolism?

It’s the process of breaking down fats, proteins and carbs to produce energy. Your metabolism depends on a variety of things – including (unfortunately for most) your genetic makeup. The number of calories you consume and the number of calories you burn while eating and exercising are a large portion of it.

Change in age = change in metabolism

As you age, your metabolism begins to slow down. Around age 25, your metabolism will begin to decline. Each decade, it will decrease by about 5 to 10 percent – meaning that by age 65, your metabolism could have slowed by 40 percent.

This is why it is important to start exercising now. Or, you could simple eat right!

Eating to burn your metabolism

Below I’ve included five ways that you can eat your way to a slimmer body. Start putting them to use today and see the payoff in the near future.

Eat more vitamins

Niacin is one vitamin that can really increase your energy production (that’s why it’s in a variety of energy drinks). Make sure that you are getting a lot of B vitamins throughout the day. These vitamins can be found in dairy products, whole grains, eggs and produce.

Some specifics to try: Quinoa is a rich grain. Eating just a little bit will get your metabolism going. Also, try making an omelet in the morning with a bunch of bell peppers and low-fat cheese.

Start drinking green tea

While it’s not good to get in the habit of relying on caffeine, green tea contains enough to jumpstart your metabolism without making you feel the jittery effects. Also, it contains the antioxidant EGCG, one that will increase the calories you burn throughout the day. If you really don’t want the caffeine, you can find decaf green tea that still contains EGCG – just know that it will not be as potent.

Drinking one cup of green tea can help you burn over 100 calories without doing anything else. What if you only drank green tea throughout the day? The results will skyrocket.

Get some protein in

Protein takes a lot of energy to digest. By eating protein, you are burning more than double the calories burned when eating carbohydrates or fat. Protein is also a key ingredient in building muscle – efficiency of calorie-burning in your body is increased by more muscle mass.

One thing you can try is peanut butter with celery stalks and skim milk. This will give you a jolt of protein will staying low in the carbs and fat department.

Relish in the spices

There have been numerous studies that have shown spicy foods increase your metabolism. For instance, Capsaicin (found in chili peppers) is shown to increase your metabolism by 5 percent. Also, spicy mustard has shown temporary bumps in metabolism activity.

Think of all the condiments that you put on sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. Instead of using ketchup or mayonnaise, exchange them for spicy mustard. Or, consider sprinkling chili powder into your spaghetti sauce.

Eat breakfast

Don’t send your body into starvation mode: eat breakfast to keep your body constantly supplied with the energy it needs. When you have an empty stomach, your cells begin to conserve energy. Eat within an hour of waking up to get your body started.