Healthy Diet Tips for Building Tighter Abs

Food plays a significant role in building muscles. Follow these diet tips for tighter abs, when you are working out for a strong and lean body. You need to burn body fat and perform exercises regularly, which are ab-specific. Consuming foods that are rich in nutrients helps in burning that extra fat and achieving a toned waistline. You might be exercising hard every day but wrong food choices will not lead to desired results. Your diet should not include foods loaded with fat, sugar, salt and unnecessary calories.

You can start your diet plan by noting down what you consume everyday for a week. This helps you understand what foods and drinks could hinder your fitness plan. You must consider whole foods rich in nutrients to include in your food menu. You must strictly avoid eating packaged foods. Your main focus should be on consuming healthy meals daily.

Drink Healthy Smoothies

You should drink smoothies prepared from fresh fruits, yogurt, whey protein, milk and other healthier items. You can use peanut butter or delicious berries to meet your cravings for sweet. You can consume these smoothies as substitutes for meals and also as healthy snacks. The thickness of these smoothies will help in keeping you satisfied for longer. Studies show that people who included multiple servings of yogurt in their everyday diet were found to lose more belly fat than others who did not. So make these delicious health drinks a part of your diet.

Healthy Diet Tips for Building Tighter Abs

Choose Your Drinks Carefully

When you are on a mission to build leaner body, drinking alcohol can jeopardize your plans. You do not feel full by consuming alcohol or eat less. Instead, alcohol makes you eat more and slows down the body’s fat burning process. Fat from whatever stuff you eat gets stored in your body and alcohol can even hinder with generation of hormones that stimulate fat burn and muscle build-up.

The best drink which is full of health benefits is plain water. Water keeps you satiated. You must drink at least eight glasses of water every day as it helps in getting rid of the waste products that are formed during protein processing or breaking down body fat. Water helps in supplying muscles with nutrients to keep your body’s metabolism going. The other healthy drinks to choose are green tea and low-fat milk.

These guidelines help in making better food choices.

  • Replace foods such as desserts, junk food and fatty food with healthier alternatives like fruits and low-fat yogurt.
  • Avoid skipping meals, as this will make you overeat later.
  • If three nutrient dense meals a day don’t seem to work for you in burning much fat, you should break down your meals into four or five smaller portions to boost your metabolism.
  • Cut down your alcohol intake. Drinking slows down the rate of metabolism, making it harder to burn body fat.

The best foods to eat include nuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables, eggs, whole-grains, olive oil, avocados, dairy products, lean protein, fish and fiber rich carbs.

Effective Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

When you get emotional, you tend to overeat. Here are ways to stop emotional eating. Every time you turn to food when the going gets tough, it becomes a habit. Food seems to provide ultimate comfort during stressful times. You start binging on your favorite food items, without any second thoughts. Before you realize it, you get addicted to emotional eating. This can create many problems for you, but you can deal with this issue even if it is a little harder. Follow these guidelines to fight your habit of emotional eating.

Identify factors that trigger emotional eating

Whenever you reach for a bar of chocolate or a bowl of ice-cream, ask yourself if you’re really hungry. Identify how you feel – sad, angry, hurt, stressed, angry, depressed or lonely. Contemplating on why you need to eat, what, when and how much you eat may help you establish the connection between food and your mood. If you have overweight kids, have a heart-to-heart talk with them to know about their personal lives. Find out about their friends and how they are doing at school. Understanding about their perspective about life and their attitude, helps you to guide them better. Once you know what triggers your kids’ to overeat or what they particularly choose to eat, you can help them make better food choices, by being emotionally connected with them.

Effective Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

Establish a healthy environment at home

Keep a tab on the food you purchase. You can’t gorge on junk food, when you don’t keep any at home. Opt for healthy natural, fresh foods such as veggies and fruits. Choose low-fat, low-calorie and unprocessed food items. Adults have the most impact on kids at home. You cannot expect your overweight kid to stop binging on junk food and snacks, when others in the house are eating. The best way to deal with this issue is to eat together. This helps in setting up a healthy environment at home. Before calling up for a pizza, shopping for groceries or going to a restaurant, pause and take a walk till your emotions are in control.

Find better alternatives

When you are aware of why you turn to food to feel better, you can think of other alternatives to cope with the difficult situations. When you don’t have control over certain circumstances in life, just let go instead of pondering over. Take a breather, head out for a walk and enjoy the natural beauty outside. Make punching bag your target, when you’re hurt by others. When you get bored, read something interesting on the internet or call up a friend. If you are depressed, try playing energetic games like basketball or football. Being physically active helps you in dealing with stress and making you feel better. Completely forgoing treats can cause you to overeat later. You can have your favorite snacks and desserts in small quantities occasionally. Always mind what and how much you are eating. Find some pleasurable activity, which is also healthy, such as brisk walking, dancing or hitting the gym when you get emotional.

Innovative Ways to Make Walking More Exciting

You need to employ innovative ways to make walking more exciting, if you find it monotonous. Walking is the simplest, yet an effective form of exercise. When you are thinking to start a regular physical activity, the best way to begin with, is walking. It is also the best start for those returning to their fitness regimen after a lengthy break. It might soon get boring, but you can make walking a fun activity, like any other activities. Here are some creative ideas in which you can add excitement to your every day fitness routine.

Get a walking mate

Having a friend as a walking companion is a great way to start your day. There’s always something interesting to talk, while you walk. You will not even notice how fast the time flew by and how far you’ve covered.

Get a pedometer

With a device like pedometer, you will know exactly how many steps you’ve walked. Walking one mile almost equals 2,000 steps. You can set goals to make it more interesting.

Get your pet

Taking your dog to walk is a good motivator for you, to get some workout daily. It is fun too. In case if you don’t want to get a dog, you can offer to take your friend’s or neighbor’s dog for a walk.

Listen to lectures

You can choose to listen to sermons of some great philosophers and leaders. The thought provoking lectures will certainly keep you hooked. You can otherwise pick a topic or subject of your interest to learn while you walk. You can improve your knowledge, as you get exercise.

Walking More Exciting

Explore new neighborhoods

A change of landscape can help make your walking more exciting. Drive around your neighborhood to find interesting lanes and routes, but be sure it is safe first. Discover new things on your way.

Go window shopping

Visit a shopping area and walk around to check out what’s on display. This is the most interesting way to get your walk. You can enter a mall and explore every section and floor before stepping out, to get the most of your walking.

Watch sunrise

Find out which area around you has stunningly spectacular sunrise. You would be so enthralled with its natural beauty that you wouldn’t want to miss it. Make it a goal to view the sunrise every day, by noting the time. This is the best time for meditation as well.

Contemplate

Before heading out for your walk; read some good news articles or watch news for few minutes. Think about the described situation or scenario and what could be done to make things better. This contemplation will keep you engaged and you might come up with great ideas that can prove to be helpful for others or your own self.

Take your family out

Walking can be so much fun, when you take your spouse and kids along. Play with your kids along the way, enjoy the scenic beauty and may be grab a dinner post walking, to make it romantic

The Effect of Exercise on Diabetes

The effect of exercise on diabetes is known to be positive according to many studies but care should be taken to do moderate exercises. Regular physical activity is associated with the improvement of overall health. You may not lower your sugar levels by just taking prescribed medicine and eating well, but a drop in blood sugar levels is evident with regular exercise. However, you must exercise with much caution and discuss with your physician about the workout routine to follow along with your diet. If you are a diabetic, you should know what are the risks and benefits associated with exercise. Here you will know the impact of exercises and their benefits to people with diabetes.

How workout helps diabetes

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it means that adequate amount of insulin is not produced or your body is unable to use the produced insulin. But, when you workout, your body starts responding to insulin. Generally, much insulin is not required for normal range maintenance of sugar levels. When you exercise, your body begins to transfer sugar from blood to where it’s actually required – the cells. Sugar control in blood does not end with the closing of your workout session. Your body gathers the health benefits even after several hours of your workout. Exercise may even help in reversing insulin resistance to people with type 2 diabetes over time. This happens because workout increases the responsiveness of cells to insulin.

Effect of Exercise on Diabetes

Measures to consider

If you have diabetes, you must first get your eye examination done and learn about the type of footwear to wear before beginning any exercise program. It is better to discuss with your doctor about any heart risks associated with vigorous workouts.

Types of exercises

Exercise helps in improving your sensitivity to insulin, along with lowering sugar levels. Strength training exercises which help in building muscles and cutting down fat are known to be helpful for diabetic people. Aerobic exercise is known to be specifically helpful for people suffering from type 1 diabetes. Its significant effects include increase in insulin sensitivity, reduction in blood pressure, decrease in body fat and maintenance of cholesterol levels.

Health benefits

There are many health benefits of regular physical activity. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing other complications later on, such as vision impairment, heart problems, and kidney and nerve damage. Workout helps in eliminating the risk of these problems. Benefits of regular workout include – sugar level control in blood, better blood circulation, decrease in bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase in good cholesterol (HDL), weight loss, reduction in blood pressure and stress, energy boost, stronger bones and muscles and healthier heart.

You must exercise for at least three days per week. For effective sugar control, it is recommended that you do moderate-intensity exercises for at least two and a half minutes in a week or vigorous aerobics for an hour and a half in a week. You can do resistance workout that targets your major muscles for three times per week. Make sure that you do not go without exercise for more than two successive days.

Effective Neck Strengthening Exercises

Neck strengthening exercises are necessary to build strong neck muscles and for improving flexibility. Every day activities add stress and strain your neck leading to stiffness and soreness. Exercising regularly helps you alleviate stiffness and strengthen the neck muscles. It is better to consult your physiotherapist and discuss about the exercises before beginning them to avoid any injuries while performing the exercises. You should do the exercises only if they do not trigger or aggravate the pain. Once you are ready and have decided to strengthen your neck with working out, there are many simple exercises that help you gain the desired outcome.

Chin Tucks

Chin Tucks

You can do this while standing or sitting while keeping your neck and back straight. Keep your shoulders slightly back. Tuck in your chin till you feel a pain-free pull. Your eyes and nose should be facing forward. Hold this position for about three seconds. Repeat for ten times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Stand or sit with your back in a straight position. Tuck in your chin slightly and keep your shoulders pulled back slightly. Bring together your shoulder blades slowly and squeeze them hard and as far as you can. Make sure it does not produce or increase pain. Hold the position for five seconds. You can do ten repetitions to have good results.

Neck Rotational Resistance

Neck Rotational Resistance

This exercise is considered safe and it acts on all the neck muscles simultaneously. Placing your hand on one side of head, try to rotate the head towards the shoulders on this side. Apply pressure with the hand on your head, as if to resist it. When your shoulder is aligned with the chin, hold for five seconds. Then return to the original position and repeat the same on the other side.

Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder Shrugs

This simple exercise can be performed either in standing or sitting position. Place your arms at your sides, straight with palms turned in. Move your shoulders up towards the ears and hold for three seconds. Get back to the beginning position by lowering and repeat.

Neck Lateral Resistance

Neck Lateral Resistance

This exercise helps in equal strengthening of the entire neck muscles, by targeting the side muscles in your neck. Start by lightly resting your head on your right hand. Press head into the hand gently and at the same time, resist by pressing with your hand. Try to touch your ear with the shoulder by pulling up. Hold for five seconds and repeat the same with the other side.

Upright Row

Upright Row

You need weights such as dumbbells, barbells or a cable machine to do upright rows. This exercise helps in strengthening and toning the neck, shoulder and your upper back muscles. To do this, you should stand straight holding a weight. Lift the weight in your front, up to the neck level. Hold for three seconds before lowering and repeat.

Reverse Fly

Reverse Fly

This exercise works your upper back. You need weights to do this exercise. Start with a sitting position on a stability ball and bend forward with your chest facing the ground. Keep your arms at your sides with palms in. Lift the weights on your sides, with arms parallel to the ground and squeeze the shoulder blades. Hold for three seconds and lower to starting position.

Important Steps to Straighten Your Spine

If you are suffering from backbone issues, you need to take steps to straighten your spine. When excessive strain is applied on your spine, due to strenuous activities, your vertebral column gets affected. It may develop a slight curve or a hunch over time. This could lead to painful problems, which can grow even worse. There are ways in which you could straighten your spine, by making some important lifestyle changes. Make the effort to correct your backbone, without any further delay. Here are some useful guidelines.

Exercises for improving posture

These exercises mainly target your back and belly muscles, so that these muscles help provide support for your spine.

Imagine you’re trying to squeeze a ball with your shoulder blades and press them together. This adds stretch on your shoulders’ front side, which will probably be tight due to bad posture.

Roll your shoulder forwards and upwards, then backwards and downwards. Repeat the same with the other shoulder. This helps your shoulders to settle back far, than they generally do.

The most basic and important activity of your daily life, is standing straight. You should remember this every time you stand or walk. You can set reminders on your phone or place notes around your office or house to maintain good posture.

By practicing yoga asanas regularly, you can improve your backbone. There are some specific poses that allow you to get rid of back pain naturally and for life.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose

Kneel down and stretch your hands up, with palms facing each other. Exhaling, move forward slowly. Bring your forehead and hands down to the ground and press your palms to the floor, keeping them straight. Hold for a while and return to the original position. You can repeat this six times.

The Cobra Pose

The Cobra Pose

Lie flat on your belly, keeping your arms beneath your shoulders. You should keep your fingers pointed forward. With elbows close by your side, try to squeeze the shoulder blades. At the same time, tighten your tummy muscles to steady your back. Now slowly raise your chest up, by keeping your neck straight. Take the support of your arms and the back muscles. Hold this pose for ten breaths and lower yourself slowly. Repeat for three times.

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

Stand with your feet slightly apart, making sure that your weight is distributed evenly between your heels. Lift your heels slightly, so that the feet appear cupped. Stretch your shoulder blades and try to bring them together. Release them slowly. Finally, lift your arms upwards and look forward.

Making adjustments in regular life

  • If you happen to carry a backpack or a rucksack or purse every day, choose the one that distributes weight evenly on your shoulders and back. A bag with wide padded straps can be positioned firmly on your shoulders.
  • Choosing the right pair of shoes is very important, as it affects your backbone. Regular use of flimsy slippers or high heels adds additional strain on the spine. Choose shoes with supportive soles and heels less than an inch.
  • When sitting at the desktop, you should keep your back straight, with feet touching the floor. You should keep your neck in neutral position.

These simple lifestyle changes help in reducing back pain and also in straightening your spine.

10 Mistakes You Make on the Treadmill

As a runner, it is important to know the 10 mistakes you make on the treadmill. This exercise equipment is often a necessity during rainy days or winters. When treadmill becomes a part of your regular workout, you should be aware of what is right and what is wrong to do on the treadmill. You could end up injuring yourself if you don’t have the right knowledge about working out or using the equipment. Find out what mistakes you generally make on the treadmill.

1. Craning yourself

Doing anything that disrupts your posture, such as leaning or hunching is a mistake. You tend to injure yourself when your balance is offset. Slouching can also cut short your oxygen supply. You should make sure to stand straight and align your heart, head and hips while running.

2. Skipping warm-up

You forgo warming up when you are in a hurry or simply want it done with the treadmill. You may not realize that skipping warm-up could cause injuries and aches. Warm-up does not take much time and you don’t have to stretch passively. A quick warm-up of at least 5 minutes that includes joints, toe touches, hip circles, etc will do for a pain-free workout.

3. Not cooling down

As you increase your speed while running, you should also remember to decrease it gradually when you are nearing the end rather than simply jumping off the treadmill. Running at maximum speed and stopping abruptly leads to sudden drop in the heart rate causing dizziness or cramping. Cooling down helps bring your heart rate down efficiently.

4. Not being prepared

Before hitting the treadmill you should keep necessary things handy. It’s important to stay hydrated so you should have water. You should avoid jumping off the machine to get water in the middle of your workout. You can keep a towel handy as well.

Mistakes You Make on the Treadmill

5. Holding the bars

It’s not a good practice to hold the treadmill’s handrails. Most people believe it to be a safe measure but holding onto the bars supports some of your weight which causes you not to work so hard. This way you will not burn many calories and your workout will be negatively affected. You should be comfortable to workout with each speed, before going faster.

6. Not paying enough attention to your arms

You should remember to use your arms as well while running on the treadmill. Swaying arms is important to stay balanced. They help in getting your workout and in reducing injury risk.

7. Setting the incline steeply

Steep incline makes you hold on to the treadmills’ bars to balance yourself while running. It does not help in strengthening your muscles and affects your workout.

8. Repeating the same thing

Most people tend to do the same thing all the time and see no change in the results. You should change things a bit by the changing the speed, incline or intensity. Try running slowly for longer one day and faster for a short time on another.

9. Being zoned out

When you hop on to the treadmill your mind should be clear of all the TV shows and other things. While you might be sweating out, your mind will be preoccupied with other stuff. You should focus on your posture, workout and gait instead.

10. Exceeding your limit

You should know what works best for your body and where to call it quits. You should not push yourself so much that you injure yourself while working out.

10 Unexpected Ways to Fit in Cardio in Your Daily Life

Fitness minded people will find these 10 unexpected ways to fit in cardio in their daily life very useful. Working out is highly essential for overall health. Sometimes you can’t help missing out on your regular exercise routine. But, there sure are other ways you can compensate for the missed part. Find out how you can fit cardio in your regular lifestyle. When you know this, you should try to put in some effort and get moving for the benefits in the long run.

1. Take the stairs

Use the staircase instead of elevators wherever and whenever you can. Taking one step at a time is known to be beneficial than taking two. Research suggests that the calorie loss rate is more when taking two steps, but the burn is higher for the entire flight, when you take one step at a time.

2. Walk and talk

When at work, you can hold meetings while walking. Any lengthy discussions can be conducted while walking rather than sitting. By walking, you spend two and a half times more energy than sitting. Also remember to walk, when you talk on cell phones.

3. Do your chores

You can burn lots of calories by vacuuming, mopping and cleaning around the house. Car washing also takes up much of your energy. This ensures you not only get good workout but also keep your home clean.

4. Park farthest

When you go out for shopping or other places, choose a spot that is farthest from your destination to park your vehicle. This means you have to walk a little farther and this gives you some exercise.

Ways to Fit in Cardio in Your Daily Life

5. Make more rounds

Go around the grocery store, even if you are habituated to going around some sections alone. You might be able to find more healthy foods and compare prices. When you hit the mall, exploring all the floors is not only fun, but also a good way of burning calories.

6. Change the way you commute

Instead of taking the car to work, go by walk or cycle at least once every week. If you are travelling by bus, get down one stop earlier or two and walk along. You will get good exercise and stay active.

7. Dance away

You might want to enjoy your weekend by going to pubs or parties. You don’t need an excuse to hit the dance floor and have fun. Dancing is the best way to get your heart pumping; so get moving.

8. Be sportive

Take up a sport of your interest and enjoy the game during weekends. By playing games such as tennis, football or basket ball, you burn many calories. It’s a great way to stay fit.

9. Have some hobbies and interests

Hobbies such as gardening, cooking, swimming, camping, etc are not only a great form of entertainment, but also help improve quality of life, when you spend time and energy.

10. Play

Spend time with your family and play with the kids. Having pets requires you take them for walking and playing. This will not only ensure good workout, but also strengthens you emotionally.

5 Good Reasons to Skip Your Workout

Check out these 5 good reasons to skip your workout when things get out of your hands. Sometimes you know you are missing out your exercise by making up excuses, but other times, it becomes unavoidable. You don’t have to feel guilty about missing out on your regular exercise, when there is a valid reason. You should know when it is ok to give the routine a break and when to simply brush your thoughts and carry on. Here is a list of justifiable reasons when you can completely pass on your workout.

1. You feel sick

If you are suffering from throat infection or a runny nose, you can continue working out, but if you have issues below the neck such as cramps, stomach problems, etc then it is better to get rest. If its fever and your body can’t take it, then it’s fine to take the couch for a few days till you recover. Also, you don’t want to go around spreading germs to your fellow gym members or catch something when there is an outbreak of cold and flu.

2. You are sleep deprived

Sleep plays a major role in determining one’s health. It is highly important to get sound sleep than working out. If you have sleep related issues such as insomnia or sleep apnea, then your body will be in a serious sleep deprived state. You need to get help with this issue first. If you feel jet-lag or have been assigned a new work schedule, then give your body some rest and time to adjust, before starting your workout. Missing out on sleep to get exercise is no good for your body or mind. In case, if you experience poor sleep for one night or two, then exercising reenergizes your body. But you should be able to tell whether you feel a little tired or highly exhausted due to sleep deprivation.

Good Reasons to Skip Your Workout

3. You feel queasy

If it’s just a digestion issue, then it won’t be a problem for exercising, but if you feel nauseous and are throwing up, then you should not work out. In case of diarrhea, your body goes dehydrated. Working out in such condition will make matters worse. So take a break for a day or two or till your upset stomach gets better. Meanwhile, you should consume lots of fluids.

4. You’re injured

It is important to forgo your exercise routine when you are injured. It is highly important that you take good rest to let your body work its way, so you can get back to your fitness plans. Exerting any kind of strain on your injuries can make things even worse. You should consult your physician or therapist to know about alternative activities or workouts that can be possible with the injury.

5. You feel sweaty, giddy or thirsty

Feeling dizzy, sweaty and thirsty are symptoms of extreme fatigue and heatstroke, which are on the rise from past few years owing to warm weather. You may experience heatstroke even when the weather is mild. So, it’s good to always carry water and quit your workout for the day, if you feel any of the above symptoms.

5 Fitness Goals to Aim for in 2014

These 5 fitness goals to aim for in 2014 let you know the importance of health in today’s lifestyle. These days it is really hard to keep up with everyday goals and pressures, which takes a toll on your health. Just the way you frame goals and targets to achieve the desired results in your job, you should set similar goals in order to improve your health. Getting fit should be your utmost priority. Here are 5 tips to help you set goals for this year.

1. Participate in a marathon

If you are into running programs, it’s time to take the next step and enroll yourself in a half or full marathon. You might have been planning to do so for many years, but don’t wait any longer to find the right moment. Once you sign up, you can start training regularly and prepare yourself for the big day. Working out each day will ensure you stay in shape and stick to your goal. Running your first marathon can be very exhilarating for you.

2. Take up a new sport

Taking up new hobbies is a great way to kick your everyday stress. If it’s a sport, then it has more benefits in store for you. Find a sport to follow and make it an objective to master it. Sport activity is a good way to stay motivated. When you strive to learn it, you push your body to new challenges. You get to learn and enjoy the sport and get a great workout at the same time. If you are adventurous you can try some offbeat activities such as rafting, rock climbing, kayaking or trekking.

Fitness Goals

3. Avoid processed foods for a week

With obesity and other health issues on the rise, you should be aware of the risks involved in consuming processed foods. These foods add empty calories and also add to the development of insulin resistance chances in your body. To deal with this serious problem, try cutting down all kinds of processed food items for a week from your diet. Consume only natural, healthy foods and you will know the difference by the end of the week. Once you are able to follow this goal successfully, you can cut down on processed foods as much as possible from your daily meal plan for more effective results.

4. Eat fruits and vegetables with meals

You can take the previous goal a little further by ensuring that you eat a fruit or a vegetable with every meal you consume. Make sure you snack on fresh fruits or nuts or healthy drinks. It is recommended to have five servings of fruits and vegetables per day to stay healthy. This goal is a must to try and keep.

5. Reduce your waist size

You should not set your goals by keeping body weight in mind. Most men think body weight is the main measure. It’s the waist-to-hip ratio and the circumference of your belly that is important to determine your health status. So you must target at reducing the size of your waist.