Plank challenge for 30 days

http://healthylifefocus.com/health/30-day-plank-challenge

 

Now that the plank has effectively supplanted the crunch as the go-to core-strengthener, exercisers have placed a premium on their ability to hold the toning move — the longer, the better. As one-minute planks gave way to three-minute planks, and three-minute planks evolved into ten-minute planks, marathon plank-holding has become a calling card of sorts. But, according to Equinox experts, in terms of your fitness progression, it’s an exercise in futility, as pointless as cranking out a crazy number of sit-ups.

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“Being able to hold a traditional plank for 10 minutes isn’t very functional for anything except just that,” says Tier 4 trainer Josh Stolz. “Even Stuart McGill (a top authority and researcher of low back pain and function) recommends holding a plank for 10 seconds, tops, followed by a brief, one- to two-seconds-long relaxation of the muscles. This can be repeated a certain number of times, but the point here is that standard planking for a long period of time is not functional because muscles and fascia need to turn on and turn off.”

To maximize the move’s payoff, you have to get things moving, says Stolz, who uses this four-move series with his clients. “The logic behind these planks is the multi-directional aspect. We move in three different planes of motion in everyday life. For example, when was the last time you got out of bed in a perfectly straight line? You probably rolled to the side, and pushed yourself up with an elbow. The body is designed to function synergistically to conserve energy and allow us freedom of movement.”

Instead of preparing you to compete in a plank-holding contest, Stolz’s series uses the move to strengthen you in a balanced way, making you fitter for movement not just through exercise, but through the various activities and efforts you make each day. “These planks combine mobility and stability, also known as ‘mostability,’ to better prepare us for function,” says Stolz.

And by incorporating other body parts, Stolz elevates the exercise from core-strengthener to total-body power-endurance move. “I consider these planks a full-body exercise, because I’m moving either my hips, arms or legs and trying to control or stabilize the rest of my body. Of course you feel them in the core, but I have clients who also report feeling it in the glutes, obliques, back and shoulders.”

Since each 3-part plank becomes progressively more difficult — you’ll advance from adding hip movement, to adding arm movement, to adding leg movement, then to adding both arm and leg movement — Stolz advises working them into your regular routine based on your fitness level. “The routine can vary greatly depending on the level of the member,” he says. “For many of my clients, I use the planks as either a warm-up or activation, or I throw it right into the workout as part of a circuit. These can be done every day, but it’s important to know where to start.”

Get enough sleep!

Sleep is a fundamental part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but how long a person should sleep mainly depends on the person. There are those who require the suggested “8 hours a day” while others can function perfectly fine with less sleep. Different types of sleep schedules pertain to different individuals. Who knew there was a correlation between sleep and weight loss?

The focus of changing your sleep schedule is to maximize the amount of dream sleep you get each night, which is the type of sleep that is important to restoring your body’s energy and keeping the brain sharp, also known as REM sleep. REM sleep is referenced as rapid eye movement sleep, where the brain functions in a state of almost being awake and is where dreams occur. REM sleep is the most critical part of sleep and is what helps you feel rested each night. By maximizing your REM sleep and minimizing the unnecessary amounts of sleep you will have more time each day while having enough energy to take care of business.

I have noticed that those more motivated and ambitious tend to require less sleep yet still have high bouts of energy throughout the day. Whether it is because goals are more important or that their minds get enough energy with less sleep is not the case but because more productive people require less sleep by nature. Those that are willing to accomplish more adjust their sleep schedules towards their own life, finding more efficient ways to get the most energy from sleep.

Do you think the amount of sleep you get is too much? Don’t feed into the “8 hours a day” rule of thumb, there are many ways to sleep more efficiently to save you time while also making you feel rested.

Exploring Your Sleep Schedule

Everyone tells you that 8 hours of sleep is the ideal amount to get each night but this only applies to the average person. You aren’t average though. On average a person should have 8 hours of rest every 24 hour period but largely the 8 hour a day rule is just a myth. There is no magic number to how much sleep you need, you’ll have to find out your sleep schedule for yourself. Younger people might need more time sleeping to restore their body’s energy but as you get older sleep patterns start to vary.

While most people sleep 8 hours to feel energized others might feel tired and groggy throughout the day from that amount. I am one of those people. If I get 8 hours of sleep a day I tend to feel sluggish and usually nap in the afternoon due to fatigue. I developed another sleep schedule over the years that was more relevant to my lifestyle. It gives me about three hours of extra time every day.

In my case I have experimented on how much sleep I need for quite a while. In my younger years 8 hours was ubiquitously followed but as I grew I started to realize it was influencing me in a negative way. An 8 hour sleep is a big chunk of your day, leaving you less time to stay awake. If you think 8 hours is the “healthiest option” it might just be more than you need. Basing my sleep schedule around 8 hours of sleep proved more tedious than it should have been so I experimented with different sleep cycles.

I discovered I needed less sleep than the average person when I had a zero period back in high school. Developing the routine of 6 hours sleep a night became mandatory in order to get to school on time but surprisingly I was able to keep awake most of the day. After high school I started trying different sleep cycles. I would experiment with X hours of base sleep and Y hours of napping time each day. Instead of an alarm to wake up to I would keep a timer on of how much sleep I was to get that day.

Through my own process I noticed that my body would respond to different amounts of sleep. 8 hours would be too much. 6-7 hours would still make me tired and I would fall asleep for another 2-4 hours after I woke. After much testing and analyzing I discovered that about 4-5 hours of base sleep and a maximum of thirty minutes of napping a day was my ideal sleep schedule. To describe the feeling it is like a caffeine rush for most of the day and even if I tried to go to sleep I wouldn’t be able to because I would feel wide awake. A 30 minute nap in the afternoon would make me feel wide awake again so the optimal amount of sleep for me is roughly about 4-5 hours a day.

This happens to be my model sleep schedule however and is probably different for you. My sleep schedule is a form of biphasic sleep where I sleep twice a day. There are other cycles that are far more efficient that I am looking to try in the near future, these are referred to as polyphasic sleep. You might need more or less sleep than me and you might need your sleep spread throughout the day but that’s okay. The best way to experiment with your sleep schedule is during a period where you aren’t stressed or have time to try out new cycles. There are numerous sleep schedules you can implement but to slowly ease into them you need to first find your optimal sleeping time and from there can start different sleep cycles.

Sleeping Tips

* Minimize the amount of caffeine you drink per day. It will disrupt your sleep schedule horribly.

* Avoid junk food, highly processed or foods high in fats and oils, and alcohol.

* Foods such as dairy, soy, whole grains, rice, seeds, nuts, beans, eggs, meats, cherries, and bananas can help regulate sleep schedules.

* Have fun and watch BGSU Hockey play!

* Eat a light snack a few hours before going to sleep.

* Avoid large meals before going to sleep.

* Exercise on a regular basis.

* Keep a consistent schedule so your internal clock will know when to sleep.

* Try not to nap for more than 30 minutes.

* Sleep on comfortable pillows and mattresses.

 

Partnerships in health and sports

It has been widely known for many years that there is a strong correlation between sport and health care. This is why many research facilities stress qualitative sport research, health and performance psychology, biomechanics and exercise physiology, but if you are solely an individual without access to all of those, what are you to do to increase your health care if you play in sports? One health sponsorship between health and sports is BGSU Hockey and Healthy Life Focus. Many sport enthusiasts as well as sport athletes rely on sport or athlete supplements in order to improve their particular sports performance. This type of action has led to some medications being banned, but this does not apply to just supplements, and there are athletes who take them just to remain healthy. Thus the question now is what is in common health supplements and how do they correlate to sport and health care?

  • Creatine. Your body already produces this via your pancreas, liver and kidneys. It is also found in fish and meats in general. Creatine is used to improve the body’s strength. Athletes who participate in power lifting or sprinting benefit the most from it.
  • Country mallow. This particular plant supplement is known under many names such as Bala, white Mallow, Silky White Mallow, Sida Cordifolia, Malva-Branca-Sedosa, Malva-Branca, Khareti, Indian Chikana, Heartleaf, and Bariar. Both of its seeds and roots are used as ingredients in supplements and it is used to improve energy.
  • Bitter orange. Its Latin name is Citrus aurantium and it is actually created from an orange’s dried fruit, peel, leaves and flowers. It is used to keep weight down or even for weight loss.
  • Epimedium leaf extract. This particular Chinese herb has been widely used in order to treat sexual dysfunction, nerve and arthritic pain, as well as to treat fatigue.

Healthy Shoping Healthy You

 

 

A person can only start eating healthy if they know how to properly shop for the right kind of foods. That’s why you need a healthy shopping list. What you put in your shopping cart is directly associated with what you put in your body. 

To help you out in your shopping endeavors, here is a simple list of guidelines to consider when pushing that buggy around the grocery store:

  • Never, ever shop on an empty stomach. Its Psychology 101! Shopping in a store surrounded by tempting foods and drinks on an empty stomach can only pose detrimental to your healthy shopping experience. Travel to the store either in the morning after breakfast or in the evening after you just ate dinner and your stomach is full.
  • Never purchase canned vegetables, fruits and even meats (tuna, salmon, and chicken) packaged in oil or syrup. Always look for products that are packaged in water. This will eliminate the excess calories and oil the food has absorbed after being packaged and processed in the can.
  • Never purchase products containing high fructose corn syrup. This is 100% pure sugar derived from corn and its what is loaded in soft drinks, juices, syrups and anything sweet. Its an inexpensive way to sweeten food and it is a contributing factor in weight gain, childhood obesity and diabetes. The best example of this corn syrup is in pancake syrup. If you look at the conventional syrups on the grocery shelves and read their labels, you’ll find that they do not have the slightest amount of maple syrup in them at all. Corn syrup with maple flavoring is used in order to keep costs down and keep the pancake lover consumer satisfied; but one needs to buy 100% real, authentic maple syrup. This product is been manufactured straight from the maple trees and there has been zero chemical altering to this product.
  • When buying beef, pork and poultry, try to buy organic. This product will contain no steroids, phosphates or growth hormones. Free range chickens are also healthier because they are able to roam a stress-free, cage-free life and the results are seen and tasted in their eggs.
  • When buying poultry (chicken and turkey), buy skinless and try to eat only white meat.
  • Always check for low sodium. In prepackaged foods (frozen dinners, box dinners and canned foods) high amounts of sodium are used in order to preserve the foods for longer periods of time. There are plenty of low-sodium options available so just scan the grocery shelves a little more. This will help prevent high blood pressure and increased levels of cholesterol.
  • If you are vegan or just choose not to consume many dairy products, you have to ensure you are getting the correct amount of calcium in your diet daily. Try to eat more broccoli and/or try calcium fortified orange juice.
  • Always purchase whole grain breads, cereals and other bakery goods. The more the merrier when it comes to whole grains.
  • Yogurt covered raisins and nuts are not going to provide the same nutrition that yogurt in the dairy case will provide. Most yogurt covered products in the dry goods section of the grocery store are nothing more than sugar and partially hydrogenated oils. Dairy yogurt or soy yogurt found in the dairy foods case is what you need to buy in order to reap the benefits of calcium and the live active cultures beneficial to your digestive system.
  • Watch buying low-fat foods or zero-fat foods. These products such as pretzels, cookies, cakes and other bakery goods are marketed as containing zero-fat but generally contain more sugar and thus more calories than other conventional products. If you think a fat free cake is too good to be true, it most likely is.

 

Stay away from these foods!

Each and every day, people who are trying to lose weight end up discovering that they are having a much harder time reaching their goals in this area than they ever imagined they would have, as they continue to see the same range of numbers every time they step on the scale, no matter how much they work out and push themselves in the gym; one thing most people in this position fail to realize, however, is that there is a whole lot more to shedding pounds and becoming more healthy than simply working out! On top of putting in your time exercising and getting yourself in shape, it will also be important that you understand the foods you should be eating, and that you understand the foods you should be avoiding; as such, here is a look at four of the most important foods to make sure you are avoiding if “losing weight” is the goal you are chasing!

Refined sugars: One of the main things you are going to want to realize, when attempting to get your weight under control, is that unnatural foods are going to have a hugely negative impact on your body, and one of the kings of these “unnatural foods” is refined sugar; while those processed sweets may taste good in the moment, the impact of eating them lasts far longer than you would like, and sets back your efforts to conquer your weight at last.

Processed grains: Processed grains are another one of the big culprits when it comes to weight gain, as the body turns these carbohydrates into glucose, and then mobilizes insulin to clear this glucose out of the bloodstream; this has a dual effect, with the first thing being that your body then stores this glucose as fat, and with the second thing being that your insulin is working to get glucose out of your bloodstream, instead of doing its other job: burning your stored fat for energy!

Certain fruits: While fruit is absolutely among the best foods you will be able to put into your body, it is important to realize that not all fruits are created equal; when you deal with fruits that are high in sugars (even though these are sugars that are occurring naturally, and are therefore not “bad” for your body), you will also put yourself in a position to deal with high amounts of weight gain.

“Empty” foods: And finally, it is going to be important that you begin to avoid those foods that simply fill you up, without providing you with any significant nutritional value; bread, of course, is one food that falls into this category, but other foods in this category include potatoes and peanuts (yes, peanuts are not a nut – they are a legume – and the health benefits from peanuts are not nearly as great as the health benefits of a slew of other, true nuts!).

 

How Do Diabetics Count Carbs

No…Not with their fingers.

The first thing that most people don’t realize is that diabetes is not a sickness, it’s a disease. So what’s the trick to keep this disease under control you ask? Carbohydrate counting. So how does a diabetic count carbs?

Carb counting can be done very easily by looking at the nutrition facts which is on the label of items you buy in the store. These products will have the serving size and carbohydrates count on every item you buy. But you must pay close attention to the serving size.

Remember to write down the carbs for each meal that you eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and yes those snacks also. Foods that you eat on a regular basis should be logged into a spreadsheet with the type of foods and the carbs. This will save you a lot of time when you are counting the same carbs of a certain food.

Try and keep your carbs in each meal the same day to day, and by doing so your blood sugars will not fluctuate as much. A good average to keep your carb count is between 45 and 60 for each meal. You may need more or less carbs at meal time, depending on how you manage your diabetes.

Once you know how many carbs to eat at a meal, choose your foods and the portion size to match for each food group.

Are You Monitoring Your Blood Sugar?

When should you be monitoring your blood sugar? The best time to monitor your sugars is about a half hour after you eat and fasting. A fasting blood sugar test should be checked when you first get up in the morning before you eat anything.

Now lets look at what foods a diabetic should pay close attention to when counting carbs.

Foods That Contain Higher Carbohydrates Are The Following:

  • starchy foods like cereal, rice, bread, and crackers
  • fruits and juices
  • milk and yogurt
  • dried beans like pinto beans and soy products like veggie burgers
  • starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn
  • snack foods, sweets, sodas, cake, candy, chips and cookies, candy, and chips

Protein And Fat

When you are counting carbs, don’t forget about the protein and fat in meals. You should always include a source of protein and fat in you meals.

Weight Loss

When trying to lose weight, look at the calories. When looking at foods it can be helpful to find those lower in calories per serving.

Rapid weightloss a myth?

If you have decided that you would like to lose some weight (regardless of whether your goals are to lose just a few pounds or to drop a whole lot more weight than that), you are certainly not alone, as this is an issue a great number of people face, and is something many people pursue every single day; at the same time, however, most people who attempt to lose weight end up being unsuccessful in their efforts! If you have discovered, at one point or another in your past, that this is the case for yourself, you may have ended up reaching a point where you simply feel like giving up on getting the healthy, shapely body you have long desired – but the good news is, there is no reason at all to give up on your efforts, as these three surprising things for rapid weight loss will help open your eyes to what you have perhaps been missing!

Walking really works: One of the best ways to get yourself to a point where you are shedding the pounds you want to shed is by simply making sure to keep your body constantly active – and of course, one of the best ways to do this is by simply taking the time to go for a walk each day; when trying to lose weight, some people tend to think of walking as something that is too easy, and that will not have the big, immediate impact they are hoping for, but once you get in the habit of walking daily, you will be surprised by just how much of a difference this starts to make!

Eat more often: Rather than attempting to limit the amount of food you are consuming, get into the habit of eating less at each meal, and eating more times throughout the day; when you eat five or six small meals each day (as opposed to two or three big meals each day), you will discover that you are not only enjoying more energy and a body that feels better, but that you are also seeing results each time you step on the scale, as your body will begin to use this food for immediate energy, rather than storing it for later.

Fat is better than bread: One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to attempting to get your weight under control is that you need to avoid fatty foods at all costs; while it is certainly not great for your body to eat foods that are high in saturated fat, however, this is not going to have nearly as big of an impact on your weight as (believe it or not) bread! The human body turns glucose into fat, and the first thing the human body does with carbohydrates (especially complex carbohydrates, in the form of processed grains) is turn them into glucose – which, of course, is then turned into fat; as such, avoiding breads and other complex carbs can make a big difference in the results you are seeing!

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