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Six Diet And Fitness Apps To Use

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

Looking to kick your health and fitness into high gear? The app store is where you want to be. We’ve sorted through the thousands of calorie trackers and step loggers to bring you the best of the best.

For calorie control: Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal (free-$10)
MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter and so much more. The database has over four million foods (and growing) _ you can look up your eats by scanning the barcode or use the recipe calculator for your own creations. It will also track your activity. Want to know how many calories you burned cleaning the kitchen? It’ll tell you. It also helps you set up a custom plan based on your goals.

For runners and cyclers: Strava Running and Cycling (free-$6)
Whether you use it for running or cycling, Strava allows you to track your time, distance, speed and cadence while also recording elevation changes. And there’s a competitive aspect to it, too. You can try to outdo your best record and the records of the app’s other users. The large active user base means there’s always plenty of competition on the leaderboard.

For the fitness fanatic: FitStar Personal Trainer (free-$5)
From full gym routines to quick at-home ab workouts, FitStar Personal Trainer has whatever you want. Like with actual personal training, you start with a fitness test to begin at a level that’s right for you, and after each workout, the app asks you questions to help tailor the next workout to better suit your needs. Complete with instructional videos and audio tracks, it really is a personal trainer in your pocket.

For weight loss: Lose It! (free-40/year)
With an extensive database of grocery items, recipes and restaurant meals, Lose It! is still one of the top apps for weight loss. Not only does it track your food (calories and nutritional value), activity and set up custom plans for you, but it’s also a community. You can share recipes, exercise routines and motivation with your friends. It gives you all the information you need in easy-to-read graphs and easy-to-follow instructions. Plus, it reminds you when you forget to log your food, which never hurts.

For smarter shopping: Fooducate (free-$2)
Navigate the grocery store aisles with ease. Simply scan a food’s barcode to receive the nutritional information and the fine print you would otherwise miss (e.g., additives, preservatives). Scan something that’s not such a good choice, and Fooducate will provide some healthier alternatives. And for produce and other non-barcoded items, just type them in and the app will deliver all the pros and cons, plus a quick reference letter grade from A to D-. It’ll also look out for and alert you to allergens, if you so need.

For better takeout: HealthyOut (free)
This app makes it easy to eat out without undoing your diet. Find local restaurants in your area (you can filter by cuisine and type of dish), enter your dietary preference and restrictions (e.g., low fat, low calorie, gluten free, heart healthy, Atkins, Paleo, etc.), and this will do the rest. It’ll note the healthiest choices on the menu, break down all of the nutritional information and suggest modifications to make your order even better.

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.
(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo via Flickr

What To Do When Your Fitness Effort Plateaus

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

When your regular sweat sessions stop showing you the progress you’re used to, it can become difficult to get yourself to the gym for those 6 a.m. spin classes. On the flip side, when you throw in the towel and stop making it to the gym at all, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see your fitness plateau become less of a plateau and more of a regression.

The way you handle a fitness plateau makes all the difference. We asked Astrid Swan, a professional trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, to lay it out for us.

More is not the answer

Your first instinct may be to do more. But longer workouts are not the answer. If you start to see your progress coming to a halt, you have to ramp up efforts in an entirely different way.

“When you stop seeing results from your current workout plan, I always recommend my clients look at what they have been doing and make small adjustments to get back on track,” Swan said. “The body and the mind need to be consistently challenged to grow and succeed.”

What that means is it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re a cardio queen who’s used to logging long runs on the treadmill, do more strength-training workouts. If you do a lot of strength work, incorporate HIIT into your routine. If your body is used to spinning, you’ve got to find a different way to push yourself.

“Mixing it up is key,” Swan said.

That doesn’t mean you have to ditch your favorite workout for good, but you do have to make some changes to see results.

How to mix things up

The best way to “find a way to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” according to Swan, is to follow someone else’s lead, meaning take a class.

“Try taking new classes — take advantage of the variety of fitness in your city,” she said.

Whether that means exploring a class you’ve never considered at your gym or signing up for ClassPass ($99 per month), the app that allows you to studio-hop, newness can be challenging and inspiring. Then again, if you’ve hit the point where you don’t want to go to any class, we recommend picking up some gear. New athletic wear can be surprisingly motivating.

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Rennet Stowe via Flickr

Stretches To Help Alleviate Pain From Sitting

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

If you sit all day, you may not even realize it, but your body starts to feel it. That’s because your body gets used to its sit-in-one-spot state and then hurts when you make it work how it’s supposed to. But you can fix that. Even if you can’t make it to yoga every night, you can relieve tension, ease stress and decompress _ all with a quick stretch.

Relieve tight back and shoulders
Stretch No. 1 chest opener
If you spend a good portion of your day hunched over a keyboard, you need to add a chest-opening stretch to your daily routine. It relieves pain in your shoulder blades and tightness in your back and counteracts that bad forward-leaning posture.
1. Kneel on the ground, sitting up tall, your bum resting on your heels. For a deeper stretch down the front of your body, rise up to your knees.
2. Interlace your fingers behind your back, palms facing your body.
3. Keeping your shoulders pressed down, lift your arms up until you feel a stretch.
4. Lean your upper body back to deepen the stretch.
5. Keeping your head in line with your spine to avoid putting pressure on your neck, hold this stretch for up to 20 seconds (breathing deeply throughout).
Note: You can easily do this one at your desk throughout the day. Just sit with your feet flat on the floor, interlock your fingers behind you, and lean back until you feel a stretch.

___

Stretch hip flexors, quadriceps and your lower back
Stretch No. 2 his release
Tight hip flexors are probably the most common issue for people who sit all day. This move stretches out stiff hip flexors and hip joints while lengthening the sides of your body. It also eases the pressure that can build up to cause lower-back pain.
1. Kneel on the floor and step one leg out in front of you, placing it flat on the ground, ankle directly under your knee. Aim to get your back leg as close to straight as possible.
2. Keep your hips square as you gently press your hips forward to feel a stretch. You can place your hands on your thigh or your hips. Or, for a deeper stretch along the side of your body, raise the opposite arm up above your head and lean over to the side of your front leg.
3. Breathe into the stretch for up to 15 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Note: If you want more resistance with any of these stretches, incorporate a rope, rubber band, or strap into the move.

___

Target glutes, hamstrings
Stretch No. 3 figure four
The figure four isn’t just for runners. Sitting for long periods of time generates tightness, even soreness, in your butt. This stretch is a great hip opener that also targets your glutes and hamstrings. It’s a must for anyone suffering from sciatica.
1. Lie flat on your back, shoulders relaxed, both legs extended up in the air.
2. Cross one leg in front of the other, placing your ankle in front of your knee.
3. Bend the extended leg into a 90-degree angle.
4. Clasp your hands behind your back leg that’s bent at 90 degrees, threading one arm through the opening between your legs.
5. Flex your feet and gently press your knee away from your body. You can use your elbow to push it even further.
6. Hold this stretch for up to 20 seconds (breathing deeply throughout). Repeat on the other side.
Note: If this is too intense for you, you can lower your leg to the ground and leave your arms flat on the floor.

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Nicholas Tonelli

8 Exercises You Can Do While Watching Netflix

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

In a perfect world, you’d like to make it to the gym, but sometimes after a long day of work, lacing up your sneakers and hitting the treadmill could not sound more unappealing. Curling up with Netflix usually wins out over a good ab-tightening, glute-toning workout. But who said the two had to be mutually exclusive?

Pillow crunches
Stack two pillows at the foot of bed. Lie flat on your back with your feet resting on the pillows and arms crossed over your chest. Inhale to pull your core in, and then exhale as you lift your upper body towards your feet. Slowly lower your body down and repeat ten times to strengthen your entire core.

Roundhouse kicks
Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended. Lift your right leg an inch or two off the bed and rotate it out in a wide circle, keeping your leg straight. Once your leg is level with your hip, bring it up to the center of your body and lower it back down to the starting position. Repeat your circle in a slow and controlled motion five times. Then reverse the direction. Once you’ve completed ten glute- and ab-toning roundhouse kicks on the right leg, switch to the left leg.

Leg circles
Lie on your back with your legs extended out in front of you. Squeeze your legs together and lift them up about three inches off of the bed. Draw a basketball in the air with your toes. Do this 20 times, and then switch directions. For more of a challenge for your lower abdominals, swap the basketballs for figure-eights.

Sit and twist
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat. Place your hands behind your head, elbows bent. Exhale as you sit up. Once you reach sitting position, twist your right elbow towards your left knee. Come back to center and lower down. Do 20 sit-ups, alternating the side you twist to each time. You’ll be working your entire core and your hamstrings.

Seated floor taps
Sit on the edge of the couch or bed, legs slightly wider than wide-distance. Extend your arms straight overhead. Keep your shoulders down and stomach pulled in as you lower your body. When your hands reach the floor, raise back up to the upright position. Repeat this slow and controlled movement 15 times to strengthen your back muscles and your core.

Oblique twists
Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and your abs engaged. Hold your arms at a 90-degree angle, elbows in line with your shoulders. Keeping your head stationary, start twisting side to side. Do this for 60 seconds to tone your obliques. To increase the calorie burn, pick up the pace and add a punch each time you twist.

Knees to chest
Sitting on the edge of the bed or couch, bring your knees up into your chest, legs squeezing together, core engaged. Lean back as you extend your legs out straight to a 45-degree angle. Your body should be in the shape of a V. Hold that position for a few seconds then return to starting position. Do this 15 times to tone your inner thighs and lower abdominals.

Hip rotations
Lie face down on the bed with your legs extended behind you and your arms folded under your head. Bend your right leg and place your foot on the back of your knee. Keeping both hips flat against the bed, contract your right glute and lift your right knee a few inches off of the floor. Hold that position for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat ten times on the right side before switching to the left. The movement is small, but don’t be fooled — you’ll feel the burn in your glutes and hips.

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Photo: Nathalie Babineau-Griffiths via Flickr

Which Is Healthier? A Nutritionist Weighs In On Certain Foods

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

Olive oil or coconut oil? Tofu or tempeh? Ever wondered which of your health food decisions are actually healthiest? With all of the choices (and conflicting information) out there, it can be confusing. So we called in Elissa Goodman, a certified holistic nutritionist, and asked her to make the final call on a variety of health food match-ups.

Almond milk vs. soy milk
Winner: Almond milk
For this match-up, Goodman said it depends what you’re looking for. “In comparison to soy, almond milk provides fewer calories and unlike soy, almond milk does not contain saturated fat,” Goodman said. “Within an 8-ounce glass, almond milk provides more calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.” However, Goodman notes that soy milk contains more protein, and almond milk often contains carrageenan, which has been linked to increased inflammation.

“It’s worth mentioning that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. have been genetically modified,” Goodman said. “Considering GMOs have been linked to numerous health risks, almond milk is your best bet.”

Kale vs. Spinach
Winner: Kale has a slight edge
“This is a tricky one, only because both leafy greens are great choices,” Goodman said. “Although kale may have a slight upper edge, don’t let that deter you from consuming spinach as well. Kale does in fact provide more vitamin K (a whopping 680 percent per cup), vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber, but it also contains high concentration of two extremely beneficial antioxidants: flavonoids and carotenoids.” Another reason Goodman gives this one to kale? It targets oxidative stress in your body, thanks to its 45 flavonoids, lutein and beta-carotene.

But Goodman assures us spinach has its benefits too. “Since spinach provides your body with more iron and magnesium, why not add both to your salad or smoothie?” And great news for vegetarians and vegans: Goodman said 180 grams of spinach provides your body with more iron than a 6-ounce beef patty.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil
Winner: This is a tie
“Both of these oils are beneficial, so for me this is a tie,” Goodman said. “There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding coconut oil and its high saturated fat content, however not all saturated fats are equal. Many vegetable and seed oils have been artificially manipulated into saturated fats. This is the key, as coconut oil is a naturally occurring source.”

In terms of calories, Goodman said they’re about the same. She also notes that neither contain cholesterol or trans fat. “Since majority of individuals use oils to cook with, it’s crucial that you understand heat-induced damage and oxidation. This is directly linked to increased levels of free radicals, which directly damage your cells.” So if you’re cooking with oil, choose coconut oil — it’s less susceptible to heat damage.

“There is no doubt that olive oil is healthy, it’s just not the healthiest option when heated,” Goodman said. “When used in a non-heated form, such as homemade salad dressings, olive oil is a great choice.” She also added that it’s important to look for certified organic coconut oil because many commercial coconut oils have been refined and in the process have added chemicals.

Stevia vs. Truvia
Winner: Stevia
“Stevia is the obvious choice for me within this round,” Goodman said. “Stevia is a natural sweetener and traditional herb, which has been used for many years throughout South and Central America. As long as you choose a 100 percent pure option, you will not be consuming any fillers. Some of my favorites are Omica ($19), Sweet Leaf ($15) and Body Ecology ($17).”

Many people think Truvia is the same things as Stevia, but Goodman said Truvia contains a variety of fillers. “Unlike Stevia, Truvia is made with erythritol; a sugar alcohol that’s derived from genetically modified corn,” she said.

Eggs White vs. Whole Egg
Winner: Whole egg
“A whole egg trumps egg whites, specifically when the yolk is runny (overcooking an egg decreases its nutritional benefits),” Goodman said. “Sure, the white does not contain as many calories, cholesterol, or fat, but it’s also void of all the vitamins and minerals in which make eggs so healthy. When you opt for egg whites only, you’re missing out on multiple B-vitamins, vitamin D and iron.”

For most people, cholesterol is the concern around egg yolks, but Goodman said it’s actually nothing to worry about. “Our bodies naturally make cholesterol. Each and every day, you produce much more cholesterol than you’d find in a large egg. When you consume more cholesterol within your diet, your body compensates by making less.”

“Although the whole egg is the clear winner, it’s important to note that not all eggs are equal,” Goodman said. “Free-range organic eggs are superior in terms of their nutritional content. Conventionally raised hens are fed genetically modified corn feed, which accumulates pesticides. There’s also three times more vitamin E, seven times more beta carotene, and two times more omega-3 fatty acids in free-range eggs.”

Canned Tuna vs. Canned Salmon vs. Canned Sardines
Winner: Salmon
“Fish are a lean source of protein, which provide you with essential omega-3 fatty acids,” Goodman said. “Although all three are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, tuna tends to contain the highest concentration of mercury. Both sardines and salmon are so good for you, but of these two options, salmon provides more B-vitamins, vitamin D and choline.” There’s just caveat: Goodman said you need to make sure you’re purchasing WILD salmon. Since salmon farming can expose the fish to large amounts of antibiotics, wild salmon end up being the healthier option. “In comparison to wild caught, farmed salmon has less protein, less flavor, more fat and an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio that’s less desirable,” Goodman added.

Tofu vs. Tempeh
Winner: Tempeh
“Although tofu and tempeh are both derived from soybean plants, I award tempeh the gold medal in this round,” Goodman said. “The production of tempeh is fairly simple, while providing the benefits of fermentation.” Fermented foods improve digestive health and so much more. “In comparison to tofu, tempeh offers the whole soybean, increasing your intake of protein (which is about double that of tofu), fiber and vitamins. This is all due to the fermentation process, in which preserves the whole bean.” Her final note? “Once again, choose organic in order to avoid genetically modified soy.”

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency., Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr

The Picky Eater’s Guide To Healthy Eating

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

Not everyone can eat grilled salmon on a bed a quinoa with a side of bok choi every day. For those who prefer to stay away from oily fish and cruciferous vegetables, the healthy options can feel a bit limited. But after spending several years in the picky eater camp, we’ve found a number of ways you can trick yourself into eating better.

Upgrade your cereal
There are plenty of healthy cereals that don’t taste like rabbit food (and admittedly, plenty that do). We like Grape-Nuts Cereal ($4), Barbara’s Puffins Original or Cinnamon ($7) and Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal ($7). Just choose one with more than five grams of fiber, less than 10 grams of sugar and fat, and less than 200 calories per cup. Swapping your regular milk for almond or cashew milk will also bump up the sweetness, making your healthy cereal that much closer to the sugary sweet bowl of Lucky Charms you crave. But don’t stop there _ topping your breakfast with sliced almonds and a bit a fruit (berries and bananas are always safe bets) is another way to up the nutritional value.

Blend your veggies
How you do get your green vegetable count up while masking the taste of green veggies? One word: smoothies. Hit the farmer’s market and whip up a smoothie with real fruits and vegetables _ fresh organic produce tends to be not only more nutritious, but also more flavorful. You’ll get plenty of vitamins, minerals and all the nutritional benefits of raw vegetables without having to devour a big plate of spinach. Add a scoop of protein powder, like Now Foods’ Whey Protein Isolate Pure ($23), and you’ve got a nutritionally complete meal.

Make a better pasta
First and foremost, switch your white pasta for something whole grain. If your reasoning for choosing white over whole grain is taste-based, you just haven’t found the right pasta yet. There are tons of different varieties on the market now, so just keep testing. Tossing in vegetables and lean proteins like tofu and chicken into pasta is an easy way to make them more delicious. As far as sauce goes, just stay away from anything creamy. Making pesto? Try blending other green veggies like broccoli into the sauce. Your standard red sauces are usually worthy picks too. (If you’re buying from the store, just be sure to check the sugar content as some can be overloaded with sweet stuff.) You can even make classic spaghetti and meatballs more nutritionally sound by mixing diced peppers and zucchini into the turkey meatball mix.

Turn taco night into taco salad night
Tacos may get a bad rap for being a popular fast food, but a few simple tweaks can turn them into a healthy food that picky eaters can definitely enjoy. First, ditch the taco part. Soft tortillas and hard shells only add empty calories. If you still need the crunch, grab a small portion of whole grain tortilla chips, crunch them up, and sprinkle them on top of your taco salad. Next, trade beef for something leaner like chicken or turkey, and half the recommended amount of taco seasoning (we swear you won’t notice the difference). Adding black or red beans will also increase the protein of your dish. Finally, serve up as many veggie options as you please. Aim to get all the colors of the rainbow in your salad and try to add one veggie you wouldn’t normally eat (chances are you won’t even notice it). And because texture is usually a big hang-up for picky eaters, trick yourself by chopping up your toppings nice and small. Also, skip the cheese and sour cream. If you’ve got a good mix of tasty, fresh produce, you won’t need those superfluous add-ons.

Choose soups
Soups are surprisingly filling, generally low in calories, and a great way to sneak protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients into your diet. Since the big chunks of vegetables are usually a deterrent for the picky set, try making blended soups. Broccoli soup, butternut squash soup, tomato soup: As long as you avoid cream-based recipes, the healthy options are endless. If you don’t mind chunkier soups, start with a home-style classic you love and add in one or two healthy ingredients you wouldn’t eat on their own — tofu in your chicken noodle? Sounds weird, but it works.

Upgrade your potatoes
Every picky eater loves their potatoes. The issue is the good old Idaho potato doesn’t bring much to the nutritional table. But you can still eat your mashed goodness if you add a little something extra in the form of cauliflower. Start with three-quarters potatoes and one-quarter cauliflower and, as time as goes on, begin increasing the ratio of cauliflower to potato. You may never get your recipe to 100 percent mashed cauliflower, but every little bit counts.
Sweet potatoes are another option, and often an even more flavorful one. You can buy them pre-wrapped in plastic, pop them in the microwave for three minutes, and you’ve got a baked sweet potato. Or if you’re more of a French fries addict, make sweet potato oven fries. All you have to do is slice up the potato, spread them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle on olive oil and salt, and bake. They’ll get just as crispy as the deep-fried version.

Make vegetables more delicious
We get it. Steamed veggies can be a little blah. Instead of steaming, roast your broccoli and cauliflower. Roasting crystallizes the sugar to bring out the sweet flavors. You can even mix in some bacon or sprinkle your side dish with a bit of Parmesan to make it more enjoyable. Sure, noshing on raw broccoli was be the ideal option, but a picky eater’s gotta do, what a picky eater’s gotta do. If you’d rather sit down with a big bowl of potato chips than a big bowl kale, meet halfway and opt for kale chips. They’re super easy to make (not unlike sweet potato oven fries), quite tasty, and far more nutritious than your typical go-to snack.

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Photo: Steven DePolo via Flickr

So You Want To Start Running? Five Pro Tips To Get You Started

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

Runners always seem like they’re on top of the world — powering through the streets with strength, agility and grace. It’s incredibly intimidating for those of us who’ve spent more time sitting on the pavement than pounding it. But spring has sprung, your New Year’s resolutions have probably fizzled (guilty) and swimsuit season is only a few short months away — basically it’s the perfect time to tap into your inner track star.

To help you get started, we talked to celebrity trainer Patrick Murphy — who’s worked with celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Olivia Wilde. Murphy said that not only is running a “super-mood booster,” but it’s also one of the most efficient calorie-burners you can find.

“The downside? If you aren’t properly prepared with the correct mechanics and gear, running can be quite unforgiving on the body,” Murphy said. To make sure you start off on the right foot, Murphy shared his five most important tips for novice runners. “Some might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many beginners overlook these simple steps,” he said.

Purchase the proper shoes

This probably comes as no surprise, but the gym shoes you’ve had since college aren’t going to cut it.

“Do you have neutral feet? Do your feet pronate? If you have no idea, you could have a serious problem after only a few miles,” Murphy said. Before you embark on your first run, visit a legitimate running shoe store to get fitted with the proper shoes for your feet. (You don’t even need to buy from the store — as long as you figure out what you need, you can probably find a deal online.) “Running is a repetitive activity, so if you don’t have support in all of the right places with every foot strike, you could end up in pain or with an injury like plantar fasciitis (aka jogger’s heel).”

Find running partners

“Befriending like-minded individuals will keep you motivated and consistent, and willing to go the extra mile,” Murphy said. “Finding a partner with a little more experience would elevate your game sooner, but a partner at your same level can also be beneficial with motivation and consistency.”

If your friend group is coming up dry, check the class schedule at your gym. A lot of gyms offer treadmill classes now — which means you’ll get accountability and expert guidance.

Start resistance training

Murphy recommends adding a resistance-training program that involves balance, endurance and strength. Whatever you choose to do, skip the seated machines at the gym and preform your exercises in a standing position instead.

“Injury prevention is key as you embark on a consistent running program. One of the best exercises, especially for runners is the 100-ups — it really works, I’ve used this technique myself,” Murphy said.

You may know 100-ups as “high knees.” It’s just as straightforward as it sounds. Do 100 high knees, alternating legs the entire time. The first 50 are slow, and then you do the last 50 double-time. Just make sure your heels never hit the ground. The 100-ups is essentially an exaggerated running form that builds strength and endurance in your hip flexors and quads.

Be patient

Be patient with your running progression.

“I have newbie runners perform jog/walk intervals for three miles until we eventually eliminate the walk,” Murphy said. “Trying to accomplish too much (going too fast or for too many miles) straight out of the gate can result in an injury setback.”

Fuel up first

Don’t try to run on empty stomach.

“I suggest eating a whole fruit before a run, like an orange or an apple. They’re only about 60 calories, easy to digest, and will give you a nice boost to your performance,” Murphy said.

Lean proteins, good carbohydrates and anything low in fat will also do the trick.

“Avoid high fat foods right before a run, since fats take longest to digest.” The same is true for after a run. “Listen to your body and learn what foods and beverages work best for you,” said Murphy. Finding the right pre- and post-run meals could be the difference between a good run and a bad one.

(c)2015 Fitbie.com

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Photo: Alain Limoges via Flickr

Eight Terrible Eating Habits You Need To Quit Now

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

Over time, food has become less about fueling your body and more about convenience. Blame technology (our ancestors certainly didn’t catch up with Twitter during dinner) or the snack food companies (for manufacturing such deliciously addictive treats), or whatever else you think of, but the truth remains the same: Many of us take an unhealthy approach to mealtime. And the worst part is you might not even be aware of the bad eating habits.

Eating “diet” foods
We’re all guilty of choosing our meals based on convenience, but any food that announces its low-calorie, low-fat, low-whatever-ness in the title should be avoided. Why? For one, they’re usually just not satisfying. Think about it: When was the last time you felt truly satiated after eating a pre-packaged frozen dinner? You probably end up reaching for a snack shortly after. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, our bodies burn about 50 percent more calories metabolizing whole foods than they do processed foods.

Not listening to your stomach
If you, like many American children, grew up being constantly reminded of the “clean plate club,” then you’re likely familiar with this bad habit. Just because food is in front of you, doesn’t mean you have to finish every last bite. Unfortunately lots of us tend to listen to external cues (“Is my plate clean?”) versus internal ones (“Am I still hungry?”) when eating, even when the food isn’t that good. Instead, check in with yourself throughout your meals to rate your hunger level. Stop yourself when you’re full, not because your food is gone.

Making meat the star
While there’s nothing wrong with meat, making it the focus of your meals isn’t exactly a virtuous practice either. Meat is packed with plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, but it’s also higher in total calories and fat than other nutrient-rich foods like vegetables. Try thinking of meat as a side dish instead _ at any given meal, eat twice as much produce as you do meat.

Eating directly out of the box
Paying attention to portion size is one of the most important healthy-eating habits. If you’re snacking right out of the package, you’re bound to eat more than one serving. When you portion out your food before you start eating, you’re much more aware of what you consume. Look at the serving size of packaged foods and eat all of your snacks and meals off of real dishware (and preferably at the kitchen table).

Not setting your silverware down between bites
Chowing down too fast is a surefire way to pack on the pounds. You have to give your brain and your stomach time to catch up to your mouth. And your brain doesn’t start to recognize the signal that you’re full until about 20 minutes in to your meal, so you can see how wolfing down your meal in less than 15 minutes can lead to over-eating. Instead, practice mindful eating. Set your fork down after each bite and take a sip of water before you pick it up again. Or try counting your chews _ 15 to 20 for each bite will slow you down plenty.

Being fat-phobic
If you’re still living in fear of fats, it’s time to change that. Healthy fats (like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and nuts) are an important part of any diet. Not only do they enhance the flavor of dishes, but they delay stomach emptying, keeping you full longer. Plant-based fats also up appetite-suppressing hormones and have been shown to boost metabolism. Don’t be afraid to drizzle olive oil on your salad or snack on a serving of walnuts.

Eating at your desk
This probably comes as no surprise, but distracted eating leads to over-eating. People who multitask during mealtime underestimate how much they eat by 30 to 50 percent _ they also rate their level of fullness as less than those who focus solely on their food while dining. And (no surprise here) the multitasking eaters end up consuming more calories later on in the day.

Keeping junk food in sight
Let’s face it: We, as humans, are weak _ especially in the face high-sugar, high-fat foods, which have proven addictive qualities, not unlike cocaine and heroin. As such, one of the worst eating habits you can engage in is testing your ability to resist temptation. In one study, office-workers with candy in clear dishes on their desks ate a whopping 71 percent more of the sweet stuff compared to the group that had candy in opaque dishes. That’s not say you need to purge your life of anything sweet, but do remember “out of sight, out of mind.” Keep healthy foods front and center in your fridge and stash the cookies in the back of your pantry _ bonus points if you store them in a non-descript canister.

Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.

(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Photo: Kane via Flickr

Seven Ways To Burn More Calories Without Adding Time To Your Workout

By Deven Hopp, Byrdie (TNS)

No one (who we personally know of, and who’s never been on the Jersey Shore) has ever wished they could spend more time in the gym. But wishing that you could cut down on your workout time and burn just as many — if not more — calories? That’s a wish we know all too well. And we’ve figured out how to make it come true. With a few tweaks and simple tricks, you can burn more calories while exercising less.

Use all four limbs
Most cardio machines (like the stationary bike or treadmill) target your lower body, but if you incorporate your upper body too, you’ll burn more calories. The easiest way to include your upper body is to let go of the handles and pump your arms. By moving both your arms and legs together, you’ll raise your heart rate even more without adding time to your workout.

Work out next to the fastest runner
Group exercise is known to increase people’s motivation (and torch more calories), but even if you’re not a group fitness class kind of person, you can still reap the benefits. Pick a treadmill next to the fastest runner in the gym, and your calorie expenditure could almost double, according to a study from Michigan State University, which found having any kind of partner made women to work out twice as hard

Use resistance
Aerobic exercise and strength training are both key parts of the fitness equation, so why not combine them? Adding weight builds your muscle mass, and since muscle tissue burns more calories than body fat, it’s a win-win. Try wearing light ankle weights during your next cardio session. Your largest muscles are in your legs, so by adding weight there, you’ll reach the highest calorie burn. Or just increasing the incline on your treadmill counts as calorie-burning resistance.

Add intervals
Alternating periods of high-intensity and low-intensity activity is a surefire way to increase your calorie burn. Adding short bursts of all-out effort allows you to burn the same number of calories in about the half the time of exercising at a steady pace. An Australian study found that women who alternated eight seconds of high-intensity exercise with 12 seconds of low-intensity activity for 20 minutes burned more fat (and slimmed down faster) than those who exercised at one pace for twice as long.

Jump
Already interval training like a pro? Take it a step further with plyometrics. Work a few explosive, high-impact moves (like jumping and hopping) into your cardio routine and watch your heart rate rise. Bumping up the intensity with total-body moves (think burpees) challenges your muscles and increases your overall calorie burn.

Take it outside
It may not be an option for you year-round, but when you can, taking your workouts outdoors gives your calorie expenditure a boost. Varied terrain and that little bit of wind resistance help you burn more calories without adding any time to your workout.

Confuse your muscles
This worst thing you can do for your calorie expenditure is let your cardio routine venture into a rut. It only takes a few weeks for a fit body to adapt to an exercise and become more efficient. And the more efficient your body is, the fewer calories it burns. Instead, aim to create muscle confusion. Change up your incline, your intensity, your resistance — anything that will keep your muscles guessing so they’ll have to work harder.
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Get the latest celebrity beauty news, runway trends, health and fitness tips, as well as product suggestions from the experts at Byrdie.com.
(c)2015, Clique Media Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

Photo: Trcanje Rs via Flickr