A summer vacation doesn’t have to bring your race training or weight loss plan to a screeching halt. Pick a spot with breathtaking views and schedule plenty of activity, like hiking, cycling, or even tackling a daunting fitness feat. Need some ideas? Try these nine domestic destinations.
1. Hike the Cascades Mount Rainier National Park, WA
This high-mountain playground has a trail to match every hiker’s ability. If you’re up for an easy walk along lakes and through wildflower-filled meadows, check out the 3.8-mile Lodge and Beaver Lake Trail, a 3 out of 10 in terms of difficulty. Seasoned ground stompers will enjoy the more challenging Naches Peak Loop. It’s 4.1 miles long, a 5 out of 10 in terms of difficulty, and offers stellar views of Mount Rainier. Visit nps.gov/mora for more info.
2. Do Yoga at Wanderlust Bondville, VT, June 21 to 24, 2012; Copper, CO, July 5 to 8; North Lake Tahoe, CA, July 26 to 29
If long lines, park rangers, and kitschy souvenirs aren’t your cup of tea, check out Wanderlust, a four-day festival full of yoga workouts and live music. Spend your days participating in a lineup of classes taught by top instructors, then rock out to performers like Ziggy Marley and Ani Difranco each night. Day passes start at $99, while 4-day all-access tickets are $475.
3. Take a Running Tour Multiple cities in the US
Sightseeing on foot? Boring. Pick up the pace by signing up for a City Running Tours group run in one of 10 US cities, from Austin to New York to Seattle. Hit up the National Mall in DC, explore Grant Park in Chicago, climb the art museum stairs that Rocky made famous in Philadelphia, and more. Group runs range from $25 to $40.
4.Bike Through Wine Country Northern California
It must be fate: The region that produces some of the best wine grapes is also one of the world’s premier cycling destinations. Trek Travel’s California Wine Country Tour is an obvious choice for cycling enthusiasts, but amateurs with a taste for adventure (and full-bodied pinot) won’t be left in the dust. Each day’s itinerary boasts turn-by-turn directions for short, basic, and long rides that lead guests through the twisting trails of wine country.
5.Pump Iron at Muscle Beach Venice, CA
If you dream of getting ripped alongside bodybuilding legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the closest you may get is Muscle Beach. This iconic open-air weight pen is packed with a mix of free weight and plate-loaded machines offering lifters a chance to work on their tans while building their biceps. Even if you’re a little less than jacked, the muscle mecca is a popular spot for average-Joe tourists who want to bench-press a piece of history. Cost is $10 per day.
6.Train for a Triathlon Scottsdale, AZ
The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa offers a triple-threat of a vacation for triathletes looking to beef up their swimming, running, and cycling skills. During this three-day fitness adventure, aspiring athletes train with Sanctuary’s team of experts—including Olympic gold-medal swimmer Misty Hyman—and focus on a different aspect of triathlon each day. Mornings begin with a power breakfast, and days end with a spa treatment.
7.Rock Climb and Raft Jackson Hole, WY
For the aspiring thrill-seeker—or thrill-seeking family—who wants a taste of mountain adventure, Jackson Hole offers opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and rock climbing all within steps of each other. Jackson Hole Resort Lodging is a great place to start planning your Grand Teton National Park getaway. Three-day packages start at $209 per person based on two adults and two children 12 or under.
8.Tackle the Toughest Race of Your Life Leadville, CO
If you have zero desire to relax on vacation, sign up for any part of the Leadville Race Series. Colorado's Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race is known the world over thanks to Lance Armstrong who crossed the line first in 2009. But that event is child's play compared to its fleet-footed cousin, the Leadville Trail 100 Run, a 100-mile race at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet.
9.Run the Maui Marathon Maui, HI; September 16, 2012
Can’t find the motivation to train for your next marathon? Sign up for a run through paradise. With more than 17 of its 26.2 miles skirting the Pacific Ocean, the point-to-point Maui Marathon course takes runners past ocean views, towering cliffs, extinct volcano crater rims, and roadside hula dancers. 26.2 not for you? Run the half-marathon or 5-K instead.
Creating Time to Workout
By: Sondra Lieder, CSCS, CPT
You just put in a long work day, shuffled the kids to soccer and
dance, put dinner together, helped with the homework and still haven’t checked email… and your personal trainer expects you to fit in a workout? It’s no wonder people find it difficult to make time to exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults participate in at least
150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week and two days of muscle-strengthening activity. That is equivalent to approximately 20 minutes per day. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that less than two-thirds of adults in the United States get the recommended minimum amount of exercise. If you find yourself bailing on exercise, try some of these tips to incorporate fitness into your daily routine.
1. Sign off of Facebook and shut the computer off!
2.Pick out your workout clothes the day before
and have your gym bag and lunch ready to go for the morning.
3. Include your friends, family and coworkers in your goals. Having a supportive and encouraging support system makes skipping workouts less tempting.
4. Find a personal trainer in Austin so you can get an individualized fitness plan to save time. This decreases the risk of getting injured and makes the most of the time that you’ve set aside. There’s no point in going to crossfit with 20 other people and working out until you hurt yourself. You’ll end up in pain and put yourself out of commission for potentially weeks at a time.
5. Make Exercise Time Flexible. Split up your workout time to better fit your schedule. Instead of doing your 30 minute walk all after work when you’re exhausted try 15 min in the morning and 15 min in the evening. You will still get the same health benefits as one longer session.
6. Add Workouts To Your Calendar. You should plan your workout for the day just like you map out your work day with
business or family events. This allows you to prepare mentally and physically to start and complete the workout of your choice.
7. Have a Backup Plan.Prepare for unexpected circumstances by having exercise alternatives available just in case you can’t make your fitness class, the weather forces you to stay home, the gym closes or any other excuse. A personal trainer can create a customized home workout that doesn’t require equipment.
8. Change Your Way of Thinking. Exercise isn’t an optional activity. With obesity rates continuously rising and chronic diseases at an all-time high, exercise is an investment likened to a retirement account. It increases the quality your life now and in the future. Just like you must eat, sleep, and breathe… you must exercise.
9. Do What You Enjoy. Running and spin classes aren’t for everyone…and that’s perfectly ok! Don’t force yourself to do workouts that you hate. This almost guarantees that you won’t stick with the program. Instead, pick an activity that you like or can tolerate and find ways to make it physically challenging. In addition to your personal training sessions you can walk, use the elliptical or bike, play a group sport, swim, or even chase kids around (they don’t have to be yours! Kidding.)
It is so easy to go an entire day without giving much attention to exercise. With these small adjustments on how you view exercise, staying active isn’t as overwhelming. You’ll be able to stay consistent, see results, and be motivated to continue. Live a longer, healthier life and enjoy the benefits of all of your hard work.
Don’t let watery eyes and a runny nose keep you from a spring workout. Avoid the pitfalls of allergy season with these expert tips.
1.)Reschedule Your Workout. Exercising in the AM makes you more likely to stick with your workout routine, according to various studies. But the prime time for fitness is also the worst time for your outdoor allergies. Generally, pollen counts peak in the morning between 6 AM and 10 AM, says Frederick M. Schaffer, MD, chief medical officer of United Allergy Services. Unless you can get yourself in the habit of rising with the sun, consider moving your run to lunchtime or immediately after work. “Trees don’t like to pollinate when it’s very warm out,” says Paul Ehrlich, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “During the day pollen is less of a problem—but in the mornings and evenings when it’s cool and there’s a breeze, the pollen just goes crazy.”In addition to avoiding peak times, regularly check your local weather forecast for days when the pollen count will be particularly high—and have a backup plan ready. Consider heading to the gym or hitting the pool when the pollen count reaches more than 900 grains per cubic meter (high)—and definitely stick with indoor workouts when the count hits 1,500 grains per cubic meter (very high).
2.)Stay Indoors When You Need to De-Stress. As if you need one more thing to worry about—your immune system may react more severely to allergens when you’re feeling frazzled, according to researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center. After skin prick tests, study subjects with a history of seasonal allergies developed raised, itchy patches on their skin that were more red and twice as big when they were stressed compared to when they were feeling calmer.
3.)Avoid Allergy-Aggravating Foods Eating fruits and veggies is never a bad idea, but during allergy season, it’s important to pick the right ones. Many seasonal allergy sufferers are also affected by oral allergy syndrome, a reaction that occurs when pollen crosses paths with proteins from certain fruits and vegetables in the body, causing your lips to tingle and swell and your mouth to itch. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, those allergic to birch or alder trees may also react to celery, carrots, parsley, fennel, coriander, cherries, peaches, pears, kiwi, plums, and apples (cooked or canned varieties may produce less of a reaction). Grass allergy sufferers should steer clear of tomatoes, celery, peaches, melons, and oranges. Those with reactions to ragweed should pass on bananas, cucumbers, melon, and zucchini.
4.)Stock Up On Superfoods. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals helps keep your body in peak condition, but several small studies suggest that adding certain food compounds or supplements may give you an allergy-busting boost. Probiotic yogurt may prevent your body from overreacting to outdoor allergens, according to a study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy. Allergy sufferers who consumed a daily dose of yogurt containing the good bacteria Lactobacillus casei had lower levels of an antibody that triggers the release of histamine, the key player in runny noses, watery eyes, and nonstop sneezing.
A spirulina supplement, which is rich in plant-based protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, may un-stuff your nose while enhancing your exercise performance. Allergy sufferers who took 2,000 mg of the blue-green algae daily experienced improvements in nasal allergy symptoms, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. What’s more, men who took spirulina supplements for four weeks tired less rapidly during two-hour treadmill runs, compared to men who took a placebo, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. The men who took spirulina also burned 11% more fat than those who took a placebo.
5.)Strip Down Before You Step Inside. You’d take off muddy shoes and clothes before heading inside your house, and you need to treat pollen the same way. “What’s the first thing you do after you get home? Flop down on your couch or your bed,” says Ehrlich. “We track pollen into our homes and spread it out everywhere.” Before you leave for a workout, place a clean set of clothing in your entryway or garage so you can change as soon as you’re back. It’s also helpful to have a plastic bag handy so you can contain your affected clothing until laundry day. And remember to hit the showers before bedtime. If the pollen that’s settled in your hair gets on your pillowcase, you’ll breathe it in all night.
6.)Ditch Glasses for Dailies. Even after shedding your workout clothes and hitting the shower, your eyes are still red, itchy, and watery. What gives? If you’ve been wearing the same contact lenses for weeks, they could be the culprit.
But don’t dig out your spectacles just yet. Contact lenses create a helpful barrier between the eyes and airborne allergens, suggests a report published in Contact Lens & Anterior Eye. Thing is, your eyes pollen filters need to be changed often. In other words, pick lenses that you can toss in the trash each day. When British researchers exposed grass allergy suffers to bursts of pollen, they experienced fewer overall allergy symptoms when wearing daily disposable contact lenses than when they ditched their contacts altogether.
By: Hollis Templeton and Alyssa Wells
Personal Trainer’s Reasons for Weight-Loss
By: Sondra Lieder, CSCS, CPT
You’ve followed your personal trainer’s instruction. You've put in the hard work and the weight has melted off. You've cleaned up your diet and put in countless hours at the gym and on the trail. And then it happens: you hit a weight-loss plateau. Hitting a plateau is frustrating and discouraging. Fear not--this eventually happens to nearly everybody who has tried to lose weight, and it's perfectly normal for your weight loss to gradually slow down or stall. Don't let this cruel trick mess with your mind and throw a loop through your efforts. Work with your personal trainer to adjust your home workout schedule
because with the proper personal training plan, you can continue to shed pounds and tone up.
Any personal trainer in Austin will agree that the more weight you lose the fewer calories are needed to maintain the lighter
weight. When you initially reduce your caloric intake through a
reduced-calorie diet, exercise or both, you drop weight quickly.
Another reason for plateaus is muscle loss. This is especially
true if you lose a lot of weight in short amount of time. Muscle needs more calories than fat for maintenance and activitiy. The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolism slows down. This translates to fewer calories burned performing the same activities you had at a heavier weight. This is why it’s especially important to incorporate a strength component to your personal
With continued weight loss, you need to exercise more or consume less in order to continue to create a calorie deficit that will lead to further weight loss.
Consulting a local personal training expert will guide you in the
proper home training program that will help you achieve all your health and fitness goals.
Personal Trainer’s Program for Overcoming Weight-Loss Roadblocks
•Step up the frequency and/or intensity of exercise. Even adding an extra 15 minutes to your personal training regimen can produce huge results. Consider adding an extra mile to your walk/jog or extending your warm-up and cool down routine.
•Cut calories with small changes to your diet. Cutting just
150-200 calories per day, the typical amount in a snack, can result in a couple pounds lost per month.
•KEEP A FOOD LOG! Track your food intake and
exercise. Make sure you're not increasing portions or slacking off on your workouts.
•Talk to your trainter to switch up your personal training routine. As you become fitter the body becomes more efficient at performing the same activities. Take up a completely new type of exercise to keep challenging your muscles. Add another
strength or personal training session to your workout. Weight-lifting adds calorie burning muscle which helps you burn more calories all day long, even while your body is at rest.
Remember to try not to lose sight of what is most important--your health. The majority of my personal training clients whose motivating factor is improved health instead of a certain body size or weight have had the most success with losing and maintaining that weight loss over a long period of time.
Despite what nearly every diet plan in the late '90s led you to believe, carbs are not your enemy. Yes, if you overeat them, you'll gain—just as with any other food. But when it comes to weight loss, your total calorie balance is what matters. If you eat more than you burn, the unused calories turn into fat that gets stored in your belly (and elsewhere), regardless of what particular foods those calories come from. Make sure most of your carbs are the complex kind found in whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables. Because these tend to fill you with fiber, it's easier to eat them in controlled portions than it is with highly processed refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and rice.
Start to get into a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands. Place your forearms on a bench instead of on the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Brace your core by contracting your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds--repeat 2-3x.
Happy New Year! Here is even more motivation to start or continue a resistance training program in 2012:
Lose Your Fear of Weight Lifting
By Adam Campbell (via Women's Health)
Just because you're not vying for 20-inch biceps or thunderously strong thighs like the muscle heads in the gym doesn't mean you should shun the weight room. Lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease, and
cancer. Yet somehow women are still hesitant: Only about a fifth of females strength train two or more times a week. Here are 12 reasons you shouldn't live another day without hitting the weights.
1.) You'll Lose 40 Percent More Fat
If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn't pump iron. Why? The
lifters' loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.
Other research on dieters who don't lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn't improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you'll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.
2.)Your Clothes Will Fit Better
Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you'll likely lose 10 percent of your body's total muscle. Worse yet, it's likely to be replaced by fat over time, says a study. And that increases your waist size, because one pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space than one pound of muscle.
3.)You'll Burn More Calories
Lifting increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch. That's because after each strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers. In fact, researchers found that when people did a total-body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn't lift. Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories. That's about what you'd burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.
4.)Your Diet Will Improve
Exercise helps your brain stick to a diet plan. University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults and found that those who didn't follow a three-hours-a-week training regimen ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true—sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. The study authors say both diet and exercise likely remind you to stay on track, aiding your weight-loss goals.
5.)You'll Handle Stress Better
Break a sweat in the weight room and you'll stay cool under pressure. Scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. Another study found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.
6.)You'll Be Happier
Yoga isn't the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on
measures of anger and overall mood.
7.)You'll Build Stronger Bones
As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin—a marker of bone growth—by 19 percent.
8.)You'll Get into Shape Faster
The term cardio shouldn't describe only aerobic exercise: A study found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise—so you save time without sacrificing results.
9.) Your Heart Will Be Healthier
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That's enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 percent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 percent.
10.) You'll Be More Productive
Lifting could result in a raise (or at least a pat on the back from your boss). Researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn't. So on days you work out, you can (theoretically)
finish in eight hours what would normally take nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you'd still work for nine hours but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job—another perk reported on days workers exercised.
11.) You'll Live Longer
University of South Carolina researchers determined that total-body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Similarly, other scientists found that being strong during middle age is associated with
"exceptional survival," defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease.
12.) You'll Be Even Smarter
Muscles strengthen your body and mind: Brazilian researchers found that six months of resistance training enhanced lifters' cognitive function. In fact, the sweat sessions resulted in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span.
Happy holidays! Wherever you come from or wherever you're going home to this season, here's how to serve up fare that is both festive and light. Here are some time-honored dishes you love that can be made with less fat and fewer calories -- without sacrificing taste.
Traditional treat: What's a holiday office cocktail party
without savory finger foods, creamy dips, and fried canapés?
Leaner eat: Bypass the chips and other fried pound-packers and choose a small handful of nuts, reduced-fat cheese and fresh fruit, or chilled shrimp. Bring a hummus dip with a holiday-themed veggie platter: red or green pepper, zucchini, and jicama strips.
Traditional treat: Dark turkey meat covered in gravy
Leaner eat: Choose lower-fat white meat without the skin and enjoy it with just a drizzle of gravy made with defatted pan juices, dry white wine, and low-sodium chicken broth.
Traditional treat: A "must" at most Americans' holiday table is a big mound of mashed potatoes drowning in butter and salt.
Leaner eat: Enjoy vitamin-rich mashed sweet potatoes or baked sweet potato rounds or fries. Spritz the strips with cooking spray, add a dash of cinnamon, and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Traditional treat: Corn bread stuffing cooked inside a turkey
is a mainstay of the meal for many and usually loaded with a variety of meats, nuts, and veggies, with plenty of butter, of course.
Leaner eat: Try wild rice as stuffing instead, and bake it separately in a covered casserole. Cooked inside the turkey, the stuffing absorbs too much fat from the meat.
Traditional treat: Sweet, rich, and fattening pecan pie is a
holiday highlight. While the antioxidant-packed nuts are good for you, in moderation, the corn syrup, butter, and sugar can pad your hips with up to 800 calories per slice.
Leaner eat: Opt for a small slice of pie minus the crust, and make it pumpkin, which is lower in fat and calories and also provides a good dose of beta-carotene. Or try a couple of strawberries dipped in chocolate.
Traditional treat: Potatoes, onions, eggs, and matzo flour are formed into a batter and fried in oil to produce these crispy latkes, or potato pancakes.
Leaner eat: Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of higher-fat kinds such as corn oil, and toss out the egg yolks. When cooking with olive oil, you can't take the temperature past 350 degrees, so add a bit of canola oil because it can handle the heat. The bonus: The pancakes are even crispier. Yolks make dough tender, whereas the egg whites create a crispy, crunchy
Traditional treat: Typically eaten on Christmas Eve or
Christmas Day, pork roast is a moderate-fat meat. But goose, another Christmas Day treat, stuffed with apples and dried fruit, tends to be high in both fat and cholesterol.
Leaner eat: Enjoy your roast, but limit your portion of meat to 6 ounces or less, with a few small spoonfuls of the flavorful stuffing -- and you'll save fat, calories, and cholesterol.
Remember to keep your perspective!
Even if you slip up once or twice, it's not the end-of-the-world, or the end of your ability to make wise eating choices again. Balance low- and higher-calorie foods, set your own traditions with healthier recipes, take short walking breaks for yourself, and you'll have fun this season.
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