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Physical Benefits
The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.
Other physical benefits of yoga include:
Increased flexibility
Increased muscle strength and tone
Improved respiration, energy and vitality
Maintaining a balanced metabolism
Weight reduction
Cardio and circulatory health
Improved athletic performance
Protection from injury
Mental Benefits
Aside from the physical benefits, one of the best benefits of yoga is how it helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, drug abuse, and an inability to concentrate.   Yoga can be very effective in developing coping skills and reaching a more positive outlook on life.
Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration. Body- and self-awareness are particularly beneficial, because they can help with early detection of physical problems and allow for early preventive action.

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16 Ways to Burn More Fat!

Posted on September 11, 2014 at 2:20 AM
16 Ways to Burn More Fat! 


#1 Don't Eat Less
Instead of eating less food, eat more nutrient-dense food, and eat less junk/sugar processed foods. Restricting food will murder your metabolism - making your body hold on to energy stores (body fat).
#2 Eat More Protein
If you are doing resistance training (which we all should be!), it's recommended that women get between 0.54 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (If you want to lose weight, use your goal body weight as your guide.) 
Add a serving, like 3 ounces of lean meat, 2 tablespoons of nuts, or 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt, to every meal and snack. Did you know? Research shows that protein boosts post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent!
#3 Sleep More
Aim for at least 8 hours of solid rest per night.
#4 Go Organic When You Can
Canadian researchers report that dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experience a greater-than-normal dip in metabolism as they lose weight, perhaps because the toxins interfere with the energy-burning process. In other words, pesticides make it harder to lose pounds.
Conventionally grown items that you peel—avocado, grapefruit, bananas—are fine. But choose organic when buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale and collard greens, cherries, sweet potatoes, and imported grapes; they tend to have the highest levels of pesticides.
#5 Get Up and Walk Around (Move More)
Missouri University researchers discovered that inactivity (4 hours or more) causes a near shut-down of an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism. To keep this enzyme active and increase your fat-burning, break up long periods of downtime by standing up—for example, while talking on the phone.
#6 Drink Cold Water
German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day (that's 48 ounces) can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily—enough to shed 5 pounds in a year, with essentially zero additional effort. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. 
#7 Eat Breakfast! 
Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism so it's no accident that those who skip this meal are 4.5 times as likely to be obese. The heartier your first meal is, the better. In one study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, volunteers who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over 4 years. While those who got zero to 11 percent gained nearly 3 pounds.
#8 Drink Coffee or Green Tea 
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java jolts can rev your metabolism by 5 to 8 percent—burning about 98 to 174 calories a day. A cup of brewed tea can raise your metabolism by 12 percent, according to one Japanese study. Researchers believe antioxidants called catechins in tea provide the boost. If you drink coffee, aim for black and avoid cream and sugar which just adds empty calories which will end up turning into fat.
#9 Burn Fat By Loading Up On Fiber
Research shows that fiber can fire up your fat burn by as much as 30 percent. Studies find that those who eat the most fiber gain the least weight over time. Aim for at least 25-30 grams a day—the amount in about three servings each of fruits and vegetables. Ground Flax Seeds, Hemp Seeds, and Chia Seeds are also great sources!
#10 Eat Iron Rich Foods
Iron is essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Unless you restock your stores, you run the risk of low energy and a sagging metabolism. Shellfish, lean meats, beans, fortified cereals, and spinach are excellent sources.
#11 Get More Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for preserving muscle tissue. Get 90 percent of your recommended daily intake (400 IU) in a 3.5-ounce serving of salmon. Other good sources: tuna, fortified non-dairy milk and cereal, and eggs.
#12 Eat Low-Fat Plain Yogurt (unsweetened)
There's some evidence that calcium deficiency, which is common in many women, may slow metabolism. Research shows that consuming calcium through dairy foods such as low-fat yogurt may also reduce fat absorption from other foods. 
#13 Eat Watermelon
The amino acid arginine, abundant in watermelon, might promote weight loss, according to the Journal of Nutrition. In a laboratory study, adding this amino acid to the diet of obese mice enhanced the oxidation of fat and glucose. Snack on watermelon and other arginine sources, such as seafood, nuts, and seeds, year-round.
#14 Hydrate!
All of your body's chemical reactions, including your metabolism, depend on water. If you are dehydrated, you may be burning up to 2 percent fewer calories, according to researchers at the University of Utah. Drink at least eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses a day.
#15 Eat Hot Stuff
Capsaicin, the compound that gives chile peppers their heat, can also fire up your metabolism. Eating about 1 tablespoon of chopped peppers (red or green) boosts your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for your fight-or-flight response), according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. Stock up on chile peppers to add to salsas, and keep a jar of red-pepper flakes on hand for topping stir-fries, eggs, veggies, quinoa, etc.

#16 Lift Weights

Lifting weights shapes, tones, and builds lean muscles. Lean muscles burn more fat at rest. Lifting weights will boost your metabolism, give your body more shape, and tighten up loose skin, helping reduce the appearance of cellulite!

Women's Health 

Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition Simplified

Posted on August 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition Simplified

Fine tune your meals to fuel up your workouts and get the most out of every training session.


Key Concepts


• Designing meals with protein first (necessary building blocks), followed by healthy fats and carbohydrates (for energy) is a prudent way to achieve your ideal body composition while considering the wide range in energy demands from person to person. 

• During exercise, the primary fuels used by your muscles are carbohydrate and fat. In general, your muscles tend to burn more fat and less glucose when doing mild exercise.

• The terms glucose and carbohydrates are used interchangeably to remind you that all carbohydrates eventually become a form of glucose. 

• When single glucose molecules are floating in your bloodstream we commonly call this blood sugar.

• When stored in muscle, several glucose molecules are strung together in branches we call glycogen. 

• As exercise becomes more intense, a higher percentage of the working muscles energy demands are supplied by glucose, until at the highest intensities almost only carbohydrates are used.


If you want to get the most out of your workouts, despite your chosen mode of exercise—whether it’s a grueling CrossFit workout, an intense spin class, or a brisk run in the mountains—you must take your pre-exercise and post-exercise nutrition seriously to provide the muscle with the raw materials it needs.


Since all intense forms of exercise use carbohydrates for energy, maintaining adequate carbohydrate stores in muscle makes good sense. Having 1-2 meals under your belt before training will give you more energy and a more effective workout. These meals should contain 30-45 grams of complex carbs for men and 20-30 grams for women. These carbs could consist of vegetables, sweet potatoes, beans, or whole grains, or dark berries.


Protein is vital to health, in particular, your intake around exercise. Taken before training, Whey protein has unique properties that make it the near perfect protein to aid an effective workout. If you don’t have a whey protein handy, a Quest Bar is a great way to get in the right combination of carbs and whey protein. Other strong protein choices are chicken, turkey, lean beef and eggs. Suggested range of protein is 25-45 grams for men and 15-25 grams for women.

After exercise your muscles are primed to re-fuel and rebuild making post-workout meal planning well worth the effort. Your post-workout meal is your first defense for maintaining and building lean muscle–the tissue that increases our metabolism and helps us burn more calories throughout the day.


Your post-workout meal should consist of protein, to rebuild and repair, and carbohydrate to replace energy stores. Suggested intake for protein is: 30-45 grams for men and 20-25 grams for women. For carbohydrates, consume both simple and complex; to minimize protein breakdown and re-fill carbohydrate stored in muscle. While your post-workout feeding should be rich in protein and carbohydrate, this meal should be fat-free.


The consumption of essential fats is one of the most overlooked areas of daily nutritional intake, but during the post-workout period, eating fat can actually decrease the effectiveness of your post-workout beverage. Since fat slows down transit through the stomach, eating fat during the post-workout period may slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.




• Pre-workout meal should be consumed 30 minutes to an hour beforehand

• Post-workout meal should be consumed immediately after exercise. The best pre-workout and post-workout nutrients are something I call my workout “sandwich.” I “sandwich” my workout with a complete carbohydrate and protein-rich shake or protein bar before and after training. Oftentimes, I will eat a Quest Bar for a pre-workout snack that gives just enough energy and stamina to have a killer workout, and follow it up with a protein shake complete with the proper nutrients. Try my smoothie recipe below.


Fuel-Up Workout Smoothie


• 1cup almond milk or water

• 3 ice cubes

• 1 scoop whey protein isolate powder (25 grams for women, 35 grams for men)

• ½-1 cup fruit (your choice – stick with dark berries for your pre-workout, any fruit


• 1 tsp glutamine powder for women, 2 tsp for men

• 1 tsp BCAA powder for women, 2 tsp for men

• Blend together in a blender, or shake ingredients in a shaker cup and eat the fruit on the side.

Pre-Workout Meal Ideas for Men 


  • Medium Banana + 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup Oatmeal + 1 scoop Whey Protein
  • 1 or 2 slices Whole Grain Bread + 1 whole egg and 3-4 egg whites, or a couple Turkey slices
  • Fruit Smoothie (recipe above)


Post-Workout Meal Ideas for Men


  • 35g Whey Protein Powder + 1 Banana or 1/2 cup Pineapple
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt + 1 cup Berries + 1 Cup Cereal
  • Turkey or Chicken Wrap or Sandwich + Soup


Pre-Workout Meal Ideas for Women


  • Quest Protein Bar
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal + 1/2 cup fruit + 1 tbsp all natural PB or Almond butter
  • 4oz chicken breast (or tofu/tempeh) + 1 cup broccoli + 1/4 cup brown rice or quinoa
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white + 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 scoop protein powder blended with handful of raspberries
  • 1 Handful Trail Mix + 1 small Apple


Post-Workout Meal Ideas for Women


  • 25g Whey Protein Powder + 1 Banana or 1/2 cup Raspberries
  • Turkey or Chicken Wrap or Sandwich + Soup
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Potato + 3oz Chicken or White Fish (or tofu/tempeh)


What you eat before (and if needed, during) your workout is crucial for fueling the workout itself and maximizing your performance throughout.

What you eat after your workout is crucial for optimizing the recovery process (which basically begins as soon as your workout ends) and ensuring that your body has all of the supplies it needs in order to recover, adapt and improve the way you want it to.

Credit / Source:

- Kristen Bell, Registered Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist




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