Whatever reason one has for working out, we all want our time spent exercising to be worth it. Whether or not you feel your workout is actually working is different for everyone because it depends on your goal. Please remember that any movement you are doing is beneficial for your overall health, but you do get out of it what you put in.
The harder you work the more benefits you will see. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend more time in the gym or exercise for hours every day to get the best workout. However, it does mean you can make some simple changes to ensure your time exercising is more efficient and more effective.
If you feel like you aren’t getting the results you want, or aren’t sure how you can put more effort in, here are some tips to make the most out of your workouts.
Strength Training – If you haven’t already, add some strength training to your routine. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn, even when you aren’t working out. If weight loss is one of your goals, this can be really helpful. Also, keeping your muscles strong will help prevent injuries and aches and pains. A common complaint is knee pain which can be caused by weak quadriceps (the muscle along the front of the leg) or weak hip muscles. (Read my post about exercising with knee pain for more information.)
If you are just starting out with strength training, use a weight that is heavy enough to feel like you want to stop at the twelfth repetition. If the last two or three reps of your set are really challenging you have selected the right weight. If they aren’t, bump up the weight.
To ensure your strength training is even more effective, give your muscles a day to recover after strength training. For example, if you lifted weights with your biceps on Monday, don’t again on Tuesday. Give them a rest until at least Wednesday.
Mix It Up – Are you doing the same workout every time you hit the gym? Are you reading or texting while coasting along on the elliptical? Not every exercise session has to be all out, but make sure you are challenging your body and pushing yourself. Over time our bodies adapt to the same moves with the same intensity and you will stop seeing results. Changing it up can be simply altering the number of repetitions you do, or it can be trying an entire new way to exercise like a class you have never done before. LivRite offers a variety of fun classes so you can easily try many different fun ways to workout.
Try HIIT – HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training, is a proven way to burn more calories in a shorter workout and even up to 24 hours after your workout ends. Tabata intervals are especially efficient. This interval method alternates twenty seconds of work with ten seconds of rest for eight rounds (a total of four minutes). You do have to go all out in those twenty of seconds of work in order to get the most bang for your buck with a Tabata interval. A Tabata could be cardio moves (like jumping jacks or sprints) or strength moves (like squats or push ups) or a combination of both cardio and strength. Since HIIT is intense, it should only be done two or three times a week on non-consecutive days. It can easily be alternated with other workouts throughout your week.
Intervals of any kind can help increase the intensity of your workout. For example, if you regularly walk on the treadmill, try adding in a minute or two at a higher speed or at a higher incline. Alternate between the more intense and your regular pace.
Listen To Music – Music improves physical performance. One study stated “…music has been shown to enhance affect, reduce ratings of perceived exertion, improve energy efficiency and lead to increased work output.” One of the authors of that particular study, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, says one can think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.” My unofficial study of myself has shown that I run faster when I’m listening to upbeat music. Though I love to run and listen to a podcast, I have noticed my times are slower than if I am listening to music. The positive effects of music can also be seen in classes such as Zumba or Hip Hop Aerobics. Dancing can be so fun, you don’t notice how hard your body is working.
Work with a Personal Trainer- There are many reasons to meet with a trainer and many ways they can help make your workout more efficient and effective. One is that they will make sure you are doing each exercise correctly which will ensure you are getting everything out of it that you can. Also, a trainer will create a plan specific for you based on your goals. When reaching a plateau a trainer’s changing plan keep you progressing. Another reason to work with a personal trainer, they can push you harder than you would if you were working out on your own.
Your actual time spent exercising is important. But how you spend your time between each workout can make or break your goals.
Get Some Sleep – If you have ever exercised with little to no sleep you already know this, that working out on no sleep leads to poorer athletic performance. A study also found that being sleep-deprived leads to the mind to tell you that you can’t go on when the body would otherwise be physically capable of continuing. The study found that without adequate sleep muscles grow tired even before their glycogen (energy stored in the muscles) stores had run out.
A good night’s sleep is essential for optimal performance. Not to mention that sleep is when your body repairs its’ self from your workout and any other physical stress from the day. Your next workout will suffer without that recovery time.
The National Sleep Foundation states that 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep each night is scientifically proven to be best for most adults. Get to bed earlier if you need more sleep. I know this is easier said than done, but sleep is really that important to make the effort! Start by heading to bed 10 minutes earlier and slowly add a few minutes to that and train your body to get to sleep at an earlier time each night. Turn off your phone and tv at least an hour before bed and cut back on your caffeine intake.
Stay Hydrated – Every cell in your body needs water to function properly. Some common symptoms of dehydration are low energy, headache and dry mouth. Even being mildly dehydrated can negatively affect your energy for your workout. Your heart has to work harder to pump your blood if you have less fluid in your body. Also you are more likely to overheat when you are dehydrated.
Severe dehydration is less common, but possible. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and can lead to heat stroke, kidney failure and seizures if not treated properly.
Bottom line, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated so you need to drink some water. Regular water is usually sufficient for most of us. If you are exercising for more than 90 minutes or it is extremely hot and humid, you may need an electrolyte replacement along with your water.
Remember to drink water before and after exercising and carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
Fuel Your Body Well – You can’t out exercise a bad diet. What you eat and drink will affect your energy during your workout and will help your recovery after. It is best to eat a small meal or snack one to three hours prior to exercising. If you don’t eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise. If you eat too much you may experience stomach upset. This may take some experimentation to determine what works best for you. A large meal should be no more than three hours prior to your workout. After your workout a meal or snack should include a good carbohydrate (skip anything with white flour or processed carbs) to replenish muscle fuel stores, protein to promote muscle repair and fluids to rehydrate. For example, plain Greek yogurt with fruit and water would be a great post workout snack.
What you are eating and drinking also will contribute to weight loss. If you consume more calories than you burn in a day, you will not lose weight. It is important to know how many calories you are consuming (and making sure you are getting all the nutrients you need) and approximately how many calories you are burning each day if you would like to lose weight. Most people underestimate how much they are taking in and overestimate how much they are burning. Tracking your intake with an app like My Fitness Pal for a few days can be eye opening and helpful if you aren’t sure the amount of calories you are eating and drinking each day.
Bottom line, any exercise you will do on a consistent basis is the best exercise for you. Even if you don’t feel like you need to improve your workout’s effectiveness, or don’t have a specific goal in mind, see if one or more of these tips could help keep you disciplined with your workout routine and maybe you might see a change you didn’t expect!
We individually and as a country have great challenges. The Prophet Zechariah explained great mountains in front of us would become plain.
Zechariah 4:6 “Then he [a]said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. 7 ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” NASB
The how to make the mountain plain was to shout Grace, grace to the stone, Jesus Christ.
In Biblical times the cornerstone was used as the foundation. The cornerstone was first. When the challenge’s come and they have and will. We need to shout Grace, Grace to the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. He is faithful to finish what He started, and we must remember that Yes, He was and is first.
In the event, that your family or business was not built on the Cornerstone, be encouraged that you can begin again. Ask Him to be the cornerstone the foundation of your life, family, or business.
Lord I shout Grace, Grace to the church, communities, and our country, in these trying times. It will not be our power or mite that solves any problem but Your spirit. I thank you that you are in control of all things and you are working to make these mountains plain with Love, Truth and Humility.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” NIV
Grace, Grace to you.
5 fast facts about the spinach
- March 26th is National Spinach Day!I
- In the 1930’s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.
- Spinach is a native plant of ancient Persia (modern day Iran).
- China is the world's largest producer of spinach, with about 85% of global production.
- The creamy dish, Spinach Florentine, was named byCatherine De Medici, wife of France’sKing Henry II, who introduced the dish and called it Florentine in honor of her native country, Italy.
Why are spinach leaves never alone?
Because they come in bunches :)
- Spinach , raw or cooked ,provides over 100% of the body's daily need for Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and relieving symptoms of hemophilia.
- Spinach is an excellent source of folate, which helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. Folate also is needed for DNA production and cell division as well as preventing megaloblastic anemia.
- Spinach is an excellent source of iron, though it is not as readily available as animal sources of iron. For better absorption, pair with a Vitamin C-containing citrus fruit .
Kid Friendly Family Recipe: Creamy Parmesan Spinach Squares
- 20 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place chopped spinach in a colander. Squeeze out as much excess water in spinach as possible. Whisk together eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Add flour and baking powder to egg mixture. Stir to combine. Mix in cheeses and spinach. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading evenly.Bake for 35 minutes, or until firm and edges are golden brown. Let cool 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Looking for more great recipes? Give this awesome sweet potato chicken chili recipe a try.
Topics: Healthy Recipes
Running your first 5k, whether it is your first race ever or your first race in a long time, is a great goal. Races can be such a fun experience with other like-minded individuals there along with you and spectators cheering you on. The energy of a race is very inspiring and fun. Plus, many 5ks are raising funds for important causes.
A 5k is usually the first type of race for most since there are many 5k runs and walks available to choose from and it is one of the shortest you can do at 3.1 miles. It is short compared to a half marathon or full marathon, but it is not easy without training. It is important to prepare well for the race to help prevent injuries, make the experience more enjoyable and to get you to the finish.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for your first 5k.
Get good running shoes
The best part about running is that it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or memberships, you just need a pair of shoes and to start running. However, using just any old pair of shoes isn’t the best idea. Today’s running shoes are scientifically created to support your specific biomechanics to protect your body from the incessant pounding of running. A running store will have trained associates who can watch your gait, as well as the way your foot hits the ground, and then be able to suggest the best shoe for your foot and body. A good rule of thumb is to replace your shoes after 300-400 miles. The midsole materials can break down without other signs of wear on the exterior of the shoe, so don’t just go by how they look.
Follow a training plan
There are many training plans online and apps that will help find the right plan for you. My favorite app is Couch to 5k that will break down your running plan for the nine weeks prior to the race. It will tell you which days to run during the week and will break down each run into times to run and walk. When just starting out, you will alternate between running and walking. At first your time walking will be more than running. For example, walk for 4 minutes then run for 1 minute and repeat. Gradually you will increase your run time and reduce your walk time. It is best to make this transition slowly and a good plan should help with that. The plan will also list days to cross train or rest. Having the app right on your phone makes it easy to keep track of your training, but of course you can also find a similar training plan online and print it out if you prefer paper tracking.
Don't Run every day
The schedule should always include at least one rest day each week. Recovery time is important for anyone exercising regularly to allow your body to heal and take a break. Your rest day can be a day off completely from exercise or it can be more of an active rest where you do something like a restorative gentle yoga class or a light walk. Sleep is an important part of recovery as well. Make an effort to get 6-8 hours of sleep each night to support your training as well as your overall health.
Running outside should be part of your training. There are races throughout the year but most occur in the spring. This means many people are training for their 5k during the beginning of the year for that spring race. This time of year here in the Midwest we have some bitterly cold days and snowy days that may cause you to run to (and on) the treadmill. The treadmill can be used for part of your training, however, make a point to run outside for at least some of your runs. Don’t get me wrong, the treadmill isn’t the enemy, there are many benefits to running or walking on the treadmill. But running outside is where your race will be so you should be prepared for that terrain and the conditions you will experience outdoors. Also, running outside is a little more difficult than the treadmill since the treadmill does some of the work for you by feeding the belt to you. Running outside requires more muscle activation because your feet have to grab the ground to propel you and you may be running in different patterns, for example when moving side to side to pass people or hopping over curbs. If you are running on the treadmill, research suggests that setting the machine to a 1 percent grade more accurately simulates outdoor running at certain speeds.
Cross training is important to support the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints that you use during your run and will help to prevent injuries. I would encourage a total body strength training routine for anyone, but it is an especially important part of a runner’s workout routine. For runners, at a minimum lower body moves with either weights and/or your body weight and core work should be part of your resistance training. When you run, your hamstrings bear most of the brunt of your stride and can tighten, which can lead your quadriceps to weaken. Your back may feel stressed if you don’t have a strong core. Yoga can also be beneficial for runners since it will lengthen your muscles and strengthen your core, among other benefits. Other cross training ideas such as cycling, swimming or stairclimbing will also help strengthen the muscles that don’t get as strong when you run. Cross training doesn’t just help to prevent injury, it will also make you a better runner and may even make running feel easier. You can find great group exercise classes at LivRite perfect for cross training or a personal trainer can also help you with a strength training routine to support your race goals.
Be Sure to warm up
Warm up prior to your run (or any workout). This is another important step that helps to ward off injuries. Brisk walking or dynamic stretching will increase your blood flow and help to loosen your muscles and joints. Save any static stretching (holding a stretch) until after your run.
And Cool Down
Cool down and stretch after every run. Stretching helps ease your tired muscles and prevents them from getting too tight. Excessive muscle tightness could possibly lead to pain, decreased range of motion or injury. When you stretch, do so gradually and hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Do not bounce and never force the stretch past the point of comfort.
Have fun and make a goal
Running is a great way to stay fit. It can also be a great way to meet friends or to have time by yourself and a way to relieve stress. Having a goal of finishing a 5k will help push you through the days when running feels very hard and appreciating the days when it seems easier. By training smart, sticking with your training and completing your goal, you will know you can achieve anything you set out to do.
“Running isn’t about winning or losing, it’s neither about glory or achievement, it’s all about not quitting.”
Mark Twain once quipped that he spent a large sum of money to trace his family tree and then spent twice as much trying to keep his ancestry secret!
Can anyone relate to Mr. Twain? Would you like to keep some if not all your ancestry a secret? Well, good luck with that!
I thought I would just come out swinging this month by suggesting that if any of your parents or siblings get on your nerves, it may be because you see some of yourself in them. Just keeping it real.
When I get aggravated with them, I wonder how often I act the same way. If I recognize a similar behavior or attitude in me, I freak out a little. Why? Because if your spouse starts a sentence with “you are just like your…(fill in the relative), it is usually negative. By the way, it is never, I mean ever, a safe discussion.
Guys, if you want a very lively and animated conversation with your sweetheart and find the couch comfortable, the next time she does or says something you find irritating which also makes you think of her mother, tell her!
Obviously, we are like our family in many ways. For most of us, we have spent more time with family than anyone else. Over many years, a part of them has been poured into us. Our relatives are a gigantic mirror for us but I only want to reflect the good character qualities. That is a tricky proposition given that we are all deeply flawed and when we are with family, we get AND GIVE it all, both good and bad. No one has had more influence into our lives than family.
And here is a sobering thought: you are the average sum of the company you keep. The real question is: do you lower or raise the average in your family?
I love my father. He is now in his 80’s and when I consider the entirety of my dad and his life, in some ways I hope I am like him and in other ways I hope I am not. The same can be said of my mom, siblings and just about every close relationship. My guess is you feel the same way.
It softens my heart when I hear children say that they want to grow up to be like their dad, or mom or that they want to marry mommy or daddy. For most of us, at one time in our lives mom and dad were our heroes. To become a good man, husband and father, if all I had to do was trust my dad completely in all areas of life and then just model him in everything I do, life would be much simpler. If parents were always perfect role models, families would be so much stronger. Yet, this is impossible as we are all deeply flawed.
God knows our hearts. He knows the heart of every member of your family. He knows who has been hurtful and who has been hurt. He knows how our family has passed on both helpful and harmful heritage. He knows which families build you up and which tear you down.
The Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Because He knows us so well, God provides a perfect model, built on His love and grace toward us. Though it is true that I do not want to be exactly like my parents, I do, however, want to be exactly like my Heavenly Father. He is a good Father. When we accept His Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become sons and daughters of God.
Then something amazing happens: “And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts prompting us to call out “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)
The Spirit of Jesus in us! Changing our hearts to begin to see God as our Heavenly Father. He is the One Who gently and lovingly transforms us into His image so that we reflect His character. This happens supernaturally as we spend time with Him, in His Word and prayer. Talking to Him and listening. He enjoys time with us. He is never too busy. He is always available and He cares about everything in our lives.
All we need to do is trust Him.
Tell Him about the pain family has caused or the pain you have caused in your family. Then allow Him to be the Father He desires to be to you. Spend time with Him. If you do, I promise you, you will raise the average, relatively speaking.