Jumping rope is one of the best exercises for improving our cardiovascular health. The added benefit is that this piece of equipment is one of the cheapest pieces of fitness equipment that you can purchase.


Jumping Rope


The fitness rope is used in many sports as a conditioning exercise. After adding this exercise to your fitness routine, you will notice a change in your body after a few weeks. You will find that your reflexes have improved, your endurance has been greatly enhances, and your coordination is much better than it was before you included it as part of your normal routine.


Another really great thing about this exercise is that you can practically do it anywhere. Unlike a set of barbells, medicine balls, treadmills, and the like – the jump rope, aside from running shoes, is about the most portable piece of fitness equipment that you can carry. And you can use it just about anywhere. On a nice day, you can simply go outside or to the park and exercise outside. On rainy days, if your ceilings are high enough, you can use it indoors as well.


If you have never used this type of equipment as kid, it may take you a bit of time to become adjusted to it and to become coordinated enough to use it without tripping over yourself.


The jumping rope is also a virtual calorie burning machine. All of the major muscle groups of the body are put into motion; the upper torso including the arms, shoulders, and chest, and the lower part of the body such as the thighs and calves. And the intensity of the exercise can be increased by simply spinning the rope faster as you jump.


The only real negative impact about jumping rope is the strain that it can put on your ankles and feet, especially if you are heavy. You can mitigate this, to a certain extent, by jumping rope on padded floor surfaces that can absorb the shock of your body weight as you jump up and down.


Having the right shoes is important as well. You want to have shoes that support your arches and have sufficient absorption padding on the soles. If, however, the combination of the padded floor and good support shoes, still give foot discomfort, you should temporarily suspend jumping rope from your fitness routine until you can see a foot specialist to determine if you have a problem with your foot or legs.



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Source: http://news.joyamaze.com/jumping-rope-the-benefits/


How to Reduce Body Fat

Changing your body composition requires more than just hitting the gym. Your diet plays a big role, too.



Ask any sports nutritionist about reducing body fat, and they’ll confirm: burn more calories than you consume. One pound of body fat equates to 3,500 calories, so losing a pound per week is as simple as reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories a day. Put it this way: cut out a couple of sodas and a serving of chips, candy or cookies each day and you’ve lost that extra 500 empty calories clogging your daily menu—and possibly defeating your body composition goals.


The best time to modify your body composition is between seasons, so you don’t compromise energy levels with intense performance.


By taking a few simple steps, athletes can drop fat and maintain muscle. Here’s the skinny:

Eat multiples times throughout the day

Reason being, it keeps your metabolism moving. If you’re only eating every four or five hours, your metabolism slows down, not to mention you’ll likely overeat. Eating throughout the day fuels your workouts and boosts your metabolism.


Keep healthy snacks around

They can help you stay in check. Here are some 100-calorie (or less) options:

  • 10 baby carrots and 2 tbsp. of reduced-fat ranch dressing
  • 6 oz. nonfat fruit yogurt
  • 1 oz. bag of whole-grain pretzels
  • 3C of air-popped popcorn
  • 6 celery sticks and 1 tbsp. of peanut butter
  • 1 banana


Fill up on . . .

Fruits and vegetables. They keep you full without adding tons of empty calories. Eliminate processed and fried foods, and add lean protein and veggies like asparagus, broccoli and green beans, which are low-glycemic foods (meaning they release energy slowly, keeping you full longer).


Want more 411 on reducing body fat? Check out nutritionist Julie Burns’ eating plan that fills you up and leans you out.



Sources:  ISSN and stack.com


Weight Loss and Other Benefits of Staying Hydrated

When athletes set up a weight loss program, they typically take diet and exercise into consideration but neglect the important element of hydration. (See Elements of Proper Hydration.) Regardless of your personal goals, continually supplying your body with fluids is critical. Staying hydrated speeds results and turns you into a leaner and tougher athlete. Here’s why you should never overlook your hydration levels.



Increases Metabolic Rate

When you’re well hydrated, your metabolism runs at top speed[1], so you burn calories faster than normal. Even a slight degree of dehydration influences how fast you burn body fat throughout the day. Just be sure that what you choose to drink is low in calories and sugar. Good choices are water, herbal tea and green tea, consumed as often as possible.


Improves Energy Levels

If your endurance has declined or you feel yourself getting weak or dizzy, you’re probably dehydrated. When this happens, any form of exercise feels much more difficult. Staying hydrated enhances energy levels and keeps your blood pressure up, which helps your energy level stay constant. Those who suffer from low blood pressure often feel fatigued as a result.


Reduces Hunger

Next time you feel hungry, try this trick. Before you reach for a snack, drink a glass of water, wait ten minute and see if your hunger passes. Often, people eat something when they’re really thirsty, because they mistake thirst for hunger. Staying hydrated reduces hunger pangs, making it easier to either lose weight or maintain your current weight.


Enhances Exercise Performance

Getting enough water to muscle tissue reduces the chance of cramping and ensures your ability to generate force. If you’re suffering from dehydration, you won’t be able to lift as much weight as you normally would. Drinking water as you move through a strength workout is one of the best ways to perform your best [2].



[1] U. Keller, G. Szinnai, S. Bilz, K. Berneis, “Effects of changes in hydration on protein, glucose and lipid metabolism in man: impact on health.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 57 Suppl 2, no. S2, pp. S69-74, Dec. 2003.

[2] G. C. Gauchard, P. Gangloff, A. Vouriot, J.P. Mallie, P. P. Perrin, “Effects of exercise-induced fatigue without hydration on static postural control in adult human subjects,” International Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 112, no. 10, pp. 1191-1206, Jan. 2002.

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

It’s easy to stray from your health and fitness regimen during the holidays, when rich food is everywhere and you’re off your regular training schedule. Before you know it, it’s January, training for spring season has begun, and you’re out of shape.


Here are some tips and a workout to help you stay focused as the new year approaches.

  1. Drink more water. H2O helps you feel full during and after meals and keeps you hydrated, especially in the dry winter season. Try to drink a minimum of 8 glasses a day. Cut out all soda.
  2. Add more vegetables to your meals. Have a salad (without dressing) before you eat your main course, or make sure to add more vegetables to your meal. The fiber will keep you feeling full and you’ll be able to stay on track.
  3. Walk whenever you can. Walk to school or work or while running errands, instead of driving. After a big meal, take a walk.
  4. Eat in moderation. Have one small portion of dessert instead of three and add more protein to your meals instead of simple carbohydrates like sugar. This will help you feel full while you enjoy a treat.
  5. Don’t drop the workout. Find 30 minutes in your day to do this high-intensity interval training workout to increase your metabolic rate:



Repeat the following three exercises twice with no rest between:

  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 Butt Kicks
  • 20 High Knees



Perform the following exercises back to back without rest. Once you complete the circuit, take a 45-second rest and repeat it again two more times.

  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 10 Pop Squats
  • 10 Crossover Lunges
  • 10 Walking Lunges
  • 10 Tricep Dips


Once you have completed three circuits, do as many sets of five Burpees and 10 Mountain Climbers as you can (in a circuit) for two minutes. Push yourself as hard as you can. Write down the number of circuits you completed in two minutes so that next time you do the workout, you can compete against yourself to beat your total.

You can also do this workout with friends and compete against each other for fun.

Remember to stretch your muscles slowly after the workout, since you’ll most likely feel sore the next day.




Top 5 Nutrients to Fight Stubborn Belly Fat

Every year when swimsuit season approaches, millions of people scramble to lose their belly fat.




The midsection is one of the most challenging areas to lose weight in and one of the unhealthiest places to gain it. (See Why Crunches Alone Won’t Burn Belly Fat.)


Research over the past few years suggests that the belly fat surrounding the abdominal organs (visceral fat) is potentially the most harmful type of fat. It appears to decrease the sensitivity of insulin receptors on cells while increasing the likelihood of insulin resistance. Over time, this can lead to Type 2 diabetes.


Fat around the abdomen can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for fighting belly fat, but adding the following nutrients to your diet can help you tighten things up. (If you’re already at a healthy weight, adding them can give you more energy and help you feel better overall.)


You can get these nutrients from supplements, but your body will absorb them better from healthy foods. (See Are There Foods to Help You Lose Belly Fat?)


Vitamin C

People with high levels of vitamin C burn more fat during exercise than people with low levels, according to a study out of Arizona State University. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps with the formation of collagen (a protein that helps build muscle tissue), immune function, and proper metabolism of fat.



Found in yogurt, fermented vegetables, and
tea, these friendly bacteria
immunity. They also help the body digest fats and carbohydrates, as well as absorb and make
use of nutrients.

In addition, probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of ghrelin and leptin—the hunger and hunger-suppressing hormones, respectively—so you’re hungry only when your body needs nourishment.



This is the spicy compound that gives jalapenos their kick. It not only promotes saliva flow, it may also help boost your metabolism. (See also The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements.)

has been shown to cause thermogenesis (heat production) in the body, promoting fat loss. It may also reduce appetite and shift the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat.


Vitamin D

Sunlight is the natural source of this powerful fat-soluble vitamin, which is needed in appropriate amounts to maintain physical, mental, and emotional health.

Vitamin D may also help you lose fat by regulating blood sugar and decreasing the risk of developing insulin resistance—a condition where the body stores glucose in the blood as fat, rather using it to provide energy to cells.

Along with regulating your hunger hormones and boosting your mood, Vitamin D can help cut down on emotional eating. People tend to eat more when their mood is low. (Athletes: See Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet.)



The benefits of fiber go far beyond improving regularity. In addition to relieving constipation and reducing bloating, fiber may also be a powerful fat-buster. (But Can You Eat Too Much Fiber?)

When fiber is added to meals containing carbohydrates, it reduces the glycemic load on the body. It then slows the spike in blood sugar and insulin so it takes less time to break down carbohydrates into simple sugars. This keeps energy levels up and helps prevent overeating.

Remember, though—to lose fat, you can’t just take vitamins. You must practice a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, plenty of sleep, and a sensible eating plan.

Before you add these nutrients to your diet, check with your doctor.





5 Healthy Snacks That Will Fill You Up

If you’re working out hard, you a need healthy snack with some oomph to it. Here are some filling, protein-rich snacks that are packed with flavor (so you actually look forward to eating them).




1. Krave Gourmet Jerky

A good choice for meat lovers, these varieties of all-natural jerky are high in protein, low in sugar and sodium, and free from nitrates and artificial flavors. The texture is moist and satisfying.


2. Chicken Salad and Crackers

Something you would typically have as a meal can make a great snack—just eat a smaller amount. Mix a small portion of chicken salad with mayonnaise or guacamole and pair it with whole wheat crackers.


3. Hard-Boiled Eggs and Toast

This is a portable and satisfying snack for busy weekdays. Boil a half-dozen eggs on the weekend to have a high-protein snack ready during the week. Pair the eggs with slices of whole wheat toast or “smash” them to fill a wrap.


4. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Drain and rinse canned chickpeas and lay them on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Season with chili powder, garlic powder or cumin and roast at 400 F for 15-20 minutes. These are crunchy, spicy alternative to nuts.


5. Carrots and Dip

A good way to add an extra serving of vegetables to your day is to have them as a snack, paired with a delicious, satisfying dip. Try roasted red pepper hummus, queso fresco and chipotle laughing cow cheese wedges, or plain Greek yogurt.


Source: http://www.stackactive.com/2013/10/08/filling-healthy-snacks/


Top 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

July 31, 2013 | Marie Spano


Have you ever been frustrated by your weight? You cut your calories, log your food intake and diligently work out, sweating through spin classes and hammering it the weight room. But your fat isn’t budging, and the mirror doesn’t lie. Maybe it’s your thyroid or one of those obesity hormones? Nah. Chances are you can’t blame your hormones or even a sluggish metabolism (sorry).

The majority of people who are frustrated with their progress are making one or more of the following five nutrition mistakes.

1. You Take Cheat Days

If you are slashing calories and eating “clean” (healthy, less processed foods) five or six days per week, shouldn’t you be allowed one cheat day? No! Aside from the fact that I hate the term “cheat day” (because it implies an allowed eating binge after days of dietary deprivation), cheat days (and even cheat meals) can literally cheat you out of achieving results. While diligently watching your food and beverage intake and eating enough to fuel your body but also lose weight, a cheat day can tip you over your calorie budget for the week so your fat doesn’t budge one bit.

Here’s an example. I had a client years ago who ate about 1,500 calories every single day during the week, but he wasn’t losing weight. So I asked him to bring in his food log for the weekend. Beer, hot dogs, sausage, chips and more beer later. I calculated Saturday’s tally at over 4,500 calories. He really only needed about 1,800 calories daily to lose one to two pounds each week. That means his Saturday added up to an additional 385 calories per day for the week (and this doesn’t even include his diet disasters on Sundays).

If you want to eat something “off your diet,” go right ahead, but do so in a smart, portion-controlled manner instead of blowing it out. (Don’t cut calories or deprive yourself of everything you enjoy to avoid the need to blow it out!)

2. You Skip Breakfast

I’ve heard every reason in the book for why people skip breakfast. However, a wealth of research data supports breakfast and weight management. And it makes sense. If you feed your body first thing in the morning, you will have the energy you need to train hard; and the harder you train, the more calories you burn. Plus, you won’t search for snacks after dinner because you’re still hungry. Keep your stomach full and hunger pangs at bay by eating your morning meal.

3. You Don’t Feed Your Muscle

When you lose weight, you lose fat, muscle and a little bit of bone. So, your diet should be designed to maximize fat loss while minimizing muscle losses (a small amount of bone loss is normal with major weight loss).

As my colleague Sarah Snyder, MS, RD, CSSD, CSSD, USAW, says, “you have to feed the muscle to keep the muscle.” How do you feed it? With protein. Eat at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner (and post-workout) to maintain your muscle as you lose weight.

Ramping up your protein intake is especially important if you are cutting calories. The fewer calories you consume, the more protein to keep your muscle while losing fat. If you track your food intake, aim for at least 0.68 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. (Note: this is a minimum—you still need 30 grams of protein per meal.)

4. You Aren’t Eating Enough

You actually have to eat a decent amount of food at each meal so you can subsist on fewer calories per day without obsessively thinking about food. A 220-calorie frozen dinner won’t cut it, because it won’t keep you full for an extended period of time. Make sure you get at least a quarter of your total daily calories at each meal. And fill up on high volume foods like non-starchy vegetables.

5. You Are Compensating for Calories Burned

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this: “but I burn 800 calories on the elliptical machine every night.” No you don’t. Disregard the calorie reads on machines or what your spin coach or group exercise instructor tells you that you are burning during class. Most people burn significantly fewer calories than they think they burn. They overestimate their calorie burn and underestimate how much they eat. If you think you are burning 800 calories a class (if you are a 300-pound, muscle-packed linebacker working your tail off, you actually might be), you are more likely to allow yourself that extra treat at night or a few more calories every day.

So, the next time you start to question your metabolism, take a Dr. Phil (honest) look at everything you are doing, track your calories every single day and, if you still can’t lose weight, have a registered dietitian (RD or RDN) look over everything you are doing, and if need be, talk to your medical doctor.

Source: http://www.stack.com/2013/07/31/why-cant-i-lose-weight/