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Exercise, in general, can have many emotional benefits, but running has the most powerful impact on your mental state. If you are a runner, you know the feeling – before your run you may have felt tired or stressed about certain life events, then after your run you feel fantastic!


Our minds are very powerful. Our minds control our thoughts and actions, which can often influence our physical health. Of course running is a great exercise for losing weight and building your cardiovascular health, but it also has benefits to the inner essence of our being. Here’s how:

Decreases Stress

Stress is a mental state of mind. No matter how you may hate to admit it or believe it, you do cause your own stress. When you allow the situations in life to affect you internally, you have given power to that particular situation by feeling stress. Running allows you to focus more on your breathing and the scenery around you. The deep breathing soothes the feelings of fear and/or anxiety that are associated with stress. Running is like a release button to the stress that accumulates in your body.

Increases Self-Esteem

When you are running on a regular basis, your self-esteem slowly starts to increase. You start to feel good about yourself, whether it is the weight loss, weight maintenance, or the health benefits that you receive. As you have the energy and endurance to run, it gives you a sense of needing to take care of your body, so you are less likely to eat foods that are not good for you, or partake in any unhealthy behavior. You see the benefits that running gives you, and you have a sense of pride and respect for your body.

Increases Feeling of Freedom

Running is a great way to feel free – free from all the challenges and obstacles that life sometimes delivers. When you are running, there is a sense of freedom. You can go where you want at the speed you want, and no one and no thoughts can hinder this freedom. You automatically feel a sense of release from the demanding boss, nagging children, or pushy creditors. Even if for only a moment, you are free and in your own place of silence and calmness that is soothing to both your body and mind. Sometimes it takes physical activity to really quiet our minds – something that is not easy to achieve in modern society.

Decreases Depression

When you are running, your brain automatically releases beta endorphins. Beta endorphins are neurotransmitters in the brain that are affected during depression. In depression, the neurotransmitters are not firing properly, and a feeling of overall wellness is decreased. This is the reason why many feel a “runners’ high” after a run. It is a complete feeling of peacefulness and happiness, as if all the problems of the day have actually disappeared.

A Guide To The Mental Benefits Of Running

Latest Update: Monday, August 26, 2019

fit and hard

The Female Guide To Getting Lean, Trim, And Hard

Fit is the new hot. Long gone are the days where skinny women are considered the best looking. Society has finally woken up to the fact that strong women are sexy. However, because of our chemical makeup, it can be hard for women to get a lean and trim body. If you are determined to whip your body into shape, all you need is to follow this guide and you’ll see success.

Start By Evaluating Your Lifestyle

The best way to start is by making small lifestyle changes that can make a BIG difference.
• Make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, especially after a good workout. Your muscles will need that time to repair.
• Manage your stress levels through a hobby, meditation, or yoga. As women, hormones make a big difference in our ability to burn fat. Stress is the evil enemy in this regard. Do whatever you can to diminish the sources of stress in your life.
• Look for ways to increase you activity level, especially if you have a desk job. Schedule fun outings with friends that include sports like beach volleyball or ultimate Frisbee. Take your family on a hike in the weekends. Use the stairs, walk during lunch, or google a desk office workout.

Nutrition for a Lean, Trim, Hard Body

fit and hardYou would think that the most important part of getting good muscle mass is your workout but without providing your body with the right fuel, you’d be wasting your time with even hour long workouts (You do not need hour long workouts to get fit, so don’t freak out!). So, how are your eating habits?
In order to shed fat and reveal muscle you need to have a calorie deficit. To do this you need to calculate your BMI and daily caloric need to achieve this weight in a steady and consistent manner.

To calculate your daily calorie needs go here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/calories-burned

The number you calculated is the amount of calories you need to maintain your current weight. You need to shave off around 500 calories to lose a pound per week. Add in the calories burned through your workout and you’ll see a healthy loss of about 2-3 lbs per week. If you eat right this weight loss will be pure fat.

Diet

• A healthy diet to create a lean body needs to have plenty of protein, about 80-90 grams of lean protein per day. Chicken breasts, fish, and vegetable proteins are good sources of lean protein.

• Next, you need to calculate your carbohydrates, which should be complex carbs at all times, no processed yucky stuff.

• The rest of your nutrition should come from fruits and vegetables with a few healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. Always hydrate your body with at least 64 oz. of water.

The Workout

Finally! It’s about time we get to your workout, right? The absolute best workouts for busy women to effectively sculpt a beautiful lean body would be quick, include cardio, and work every major muscle in the body.

I know what you are thinking, but this workout does exist!

It’s called High Intensity Interval Training. I’m sure you heard of it. It’s very popular and for good reason.

It can take as little as 20 minutes and will leave you feeling like you’ve wrestled a lion. This workout is a sample of what the perfect workout will look like. You can vary your workout constantly to include your favorite bodyweight moves and focus on any of your trouble zones.

Just follow this formula for circuits and timing and you can’t fail!

Circuit 1:

50 seconds burpees
10-second rest
50 seconds jump squats
10-second rest
Repeat 4 times

Circuit 2:

30 seconds push-ups
30 seconds butt kicks
30 seconds side plank pulses (left)
30 seconds high knees
30 seconds push-ups
30 seconds jumping jacks
30 seconds side plank pulses (right)
30 seconds butt kicks
Rest 1 minute
Repeat 2 times

Love to run? Try this interval workout after a quick warmup:

2 min 65% max speed running
30 sec 90% max speed
1 min of bodyweight exercise of choice
Repeat 6 times

Increase muscle mass by making it to the gym once or twice a week for heavy lifting. Don’t worry, this won’t make you bulky, but it will set fire to your metabolism and have the fat melting off your body like butter.

Getting Lean Trim And Hard

Latest Update: Monday, August 26, 2019

cardio training

cardio trainingBefore you start wasting hours upon hours on those boring treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines, let’s examine if low-moderate intensity, long duration cardio exercise is really doing your body any good, or if it is mostly a waste of time. I hope you will concede upon finishing this article that there is a better way to get in great shape, and it doesn’t have to involve endless hours on boring cardio machines.
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”. Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities.
Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).
Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way — Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.
For example, lets say you jog trying to maintain the same pace for a good 45-minute run. As long as you didn’t encounter any big hills along the way, you probably maintained approximately the same heart rate the entire time – let’s say it was 135 beats/minute. Now, let’s contrast that with a much more effective workout of doing 20 minutes of alternating all-out wind sprints with walking for a minute or two in between sprints to recover. With this more effective workout, you’re rapidly changing your heart rate up and down on a much larger scale, forcing it to grow stronger to be able to handle varied demands. Your heart rate would probably alternate from 110-115 during the recovery walks all the way up to 160 bpm or more during the sprints. This doesn’t mean that sprints are the only way to take advantage of this style of training. Any style of training that incorporates highly variable intensity will give you these improved results.
The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.
To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors. There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training.
In addition to the previously mentioned wind sprints, most competitive sports such as football, basketball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion. In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this:

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog;

Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Interval 3 – run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute;

Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes;

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

The take-away message from this article is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and a strong, lean body.
Latest Update: Monday, August 26, 2019