Gym Bag Essentials

gymbag Gym Bag EssentialsAt times it is hard to motivate yourself to get to the gym, let alone finding the time to pack a gym bag. Ideally, a gym bag should be a designated bag which is large enough to tote everything you need for a comfortable workout and post workout session.It should be lightweight, sturdy, washable and durable.

To make a trip to the gym a cinch, here’s what your gym bag should ideally carry:

  • A Water Bottle. You need to be hydrated to work out properly.
  • Towels. Nobody likes that person who doesn’t wipe down a machine after them.
  • Heart Rate Monitor. To make sure you’re in the fat burning zone, or the cardio zone.
  • A change of clothes for post workout.
  • Toiletries for showering and freshening up after your workout.
  • Running Shoes.
  • Laundry Bag. Keeps your gym clothes separate and prevents your gym bag from getting stinky.
  • Flip Flops. Quick slip on shoes for walking around in the locker room and shower. Prevent the spread of athlete’s foot.
  • Fuel. Something to give you more energy. Banana, granola bar, etc.
  • Deodorant to help keep you smelling fresh.
  • MP3 Player or iPod. Keep you entertained and keep your energy level up by working out to some of your favorite tunes.
  • Magazines or reading material.
  • Brush, Comb and hair accessories.
  • A Workout Journal. Essential if you want to keep track for weight loss and getting fit.

If your gym bag has multiple compartments, you can use these to store your items securely. Inside zipped compartments are also a great place to store your gym membership card and locker key, along with your regular essentials such as a cell phone, car keys, and credit cards.

Because a gym bag has a tendency to get dirty and smelly, it’s important that your designated bag be washable. You can also invest in odor repellent shoe sachets, or create your own by tying up baking soda in a piece of muslin cloth. Have your bag ready so all you have to do is grab it and go. Eliminate any excuse to keep you away from your workout.

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Gratitude – Positivity in Your Life

gratitude Gratitude   Positivity in Your LifeGratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Gratitude is the feeling you have when you realize that you have so much in your life. No matter what is going wrong or what you still want in your life, be grateful for what you already have. Showing gratitude is one of the fastest ways to turn your life around.

Scientists have discovered that there is a link between gratitude and well being. Grateful people have more enthusiasm, are more satisfied with their life, have more vitality, are more optimistic and have lower levels of depression and stress. Gratitude is reciprocal. One act of gratitude encourages another. Your act of gratitude can trigger a chain reaction.

How do you create a life of gratitude?

  • Take pleasure in the small things of life.
  • Reach beyond yourself and do good to other people.
  • Give with no strings attached.
  • Be appreciative – tell people what you appreciate about them, you’ll make their day.
  • Remember to say thank you.
  • Give praise.
  • Focus on what you have and what’s going right in your life.
  • Start a gratitude journal – record small things that make you smile, add photos of people you are grateful for.
  • Write at least 5 things each day for which you are grateful.
  • Show your gratitude by giving a card or small gift.
  • Concentrate on solutions rather than problems.
  • Look for the good in people and situations.
  • Spend time helping people who are worse off than you.
  • Do small kindnesses and bring joy to someone’s heart.
  • Write a thank you letter for all the good things in your life.

Think of all the little things that cause joy in your life that you have to be grateful for. The more you focus on the good, the more joy you will experience.

Gratitude opens doors for you, enriches your life and overflows into other people’s lives. Create an atmosphere of gratitude and watch it change your life and maybe even those around you. Let’s make the whole world smile.

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Getting Enough Zzz

sleepdeprived Getting Enough ZzzSleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles. Sleep is sometimes a luxury to many. Everyone needs to sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy.

Everyone’s lives are busy and people are constantly on the go. Sleep is often compensated to make time for other activities. Over time this can be very dangerous to a person’s health because sleep is necessary for the body to function properly. While you are sleeping, your body uses that time to rejuvenate and prepare for the following day. As you deprive yourself of sleep, your body begins to wear down and becomes more susceptible to disease, poor health, and poor mental condition. Sleep is especially important when you’re involved in a workout routine. Sleep is the most important part of your workout program. When you are sleeping, your muscles are healing and getting bigger. Getting enough sleep should be a priority.

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to be productive. Kids need even more sleep than adults. Getting enough sleep has many benefits:

  • Get sick less often
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Boost your brainpower and your mood
  • Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
  • Make better decisions and avoid injuries

It’s an excellent idea to keep a good sleep ritual that will get you to bed at a reasonable hour each night. Try these key points to healthy sleep habits.

  1. Go to bed at the same time each night.
  2. Limit your caffeine intake to earlier in the day, stopping caffeine after 4 p.m.
  3. Try to turn off the TV and computer an hour before going to bed.
  4. Have some tea (caffeine free), listen to soft music and read a book before bed.

Just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort.

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Flu Season – How to Protect Yourself

flu Flu Season   How to Protect YourselfRunny noses, coughing, and that overall “icky” feeling, urgh – the Flu. Flu season may be starting soon and there are many ways to naturally increase your immune system to protect yourself from catching that annoying virus this year.It is important to have a strong and healthy immune system. By keeping up with your workout regime, you are actually helping build a healthy immune system as well. It can also be helpful to add a few things in your daily practices.

Vitamin D
Fall and winter are the times when the probability of getting the flu is higher. This is because of the lack of vitamin D absorption that we get from the sun. Vitamin D regulates the immune system by increasing production of broad-spectrum antimicrobial peptides which destroy the influenza virus. At the same time these peptides prevent the body from manufacturing an abundance of inflammatory cells which suppress the immune system. To increase your Vitamin D naturally (other than the sun) try salmon, sardines and cod liver oil.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts the immune system by increasing the level of antibodies and white cell production. Vitamin C also strengthens the respiratory system by reducing inflammation and increasing collagen, which greatly increases our ability to fight against infections and viruses. Some natural sources of Vitamin C are oranges, grapefruit and sweet red pepper, which actually has twice the Vitamin C content of oranges.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E work in tandem with Vitamin C to build our immune system by reducing inflammation. Vitamin E protects the immune cells by protecting the membrane of the cell. It also increases the protection of lymphocytes called natural killer cells that kill germ and cancer cells and it increases the production of antibodies that eliminate bacteria. Natural ways to add Vitamin E into your diet are avocado, almonds, peanuts, dark leafy vegetables, wheat germ and mango.

Carotenoids
Carotenoids are phytonutrients that are responsible for the bright colors of fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are antioxidants that reduce inflammation by destroying free radicals that damage the cells. The main Carotenoids is Beta Carotene. The body converts Beta Carotene into Vitamin A. Beta Carotene increases immune cell production and protects the mucous membranes and lining of the lungs, which increases the ability to fight infections. Find natural Carotenoids in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3s are essential for boosting the immune system. They reduce inflammation and protect the integrity of cell structure. Omega 3s also help to dilate the blood vessels, which helps cells to absorb important nutrients. Natural sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids are salmon, cod liver oil and flax oil.

Water
Water is important for healthy cells. Water works as a transport for minerals and vitamins to our cells. Water aids in keeping cells plump allowing them to absorb important nutrients for cell metabolism and proper function.

Exercise
Keeping fit and active is important in keeping the immune system working. Exercise increases blood circulation which is very important. The body needs good blood flow to transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Exercise also decreases cortisol levels, helping alleviate stress which then allows the body to produce immune fighting cells.

Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential. Sleep allows your body to rejuvenate cells and helps the immune system function properly. Sleep also keeps cortisol levels down keeping immune cells at a good level and keeping your energy level up.

Other factors that can naturally help protect yourself from the influenza virus are good levels of:

  • Bioflavonoids
  • Zinc
  • Selenium

Decreasing your stress, avoiding sugar, excess alcohol and caffeine is also extremely helpful to protect you from the higher probability of catching the flu.

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Caffeine Does Have Its Benefits

caffeine Caffeine Does Have Its BenefitsThe benefits of caffeine and coffee are more than just helping you stay awake in class or during that boring business meeting. And, you don’t always have to drink something to get the benefits of caffeine. The most obvious health benefit as already noted is that it acts as a stimulant, improving thought processes, wakefulness, focus and condition, especially in sleep-deprived states. This systemic stimulation of the body can also increase metabolism and willingness to carry out activities.

Caffeine is also associated with a decreased risk of developing cancer. In particular, moderate regular coffee consumption appears to help prevent liver, endometrial, and colorectal cancer. Coffee may also aid in the prevention of liver cirrhosis. Along with anesthetics, coffee is some time prescribed to help with pain relief.

Caffeine can also aid in treating certain disorders such as anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.

A little more recently there have been reports of people benefiting from caffeine intake. Approximately three to five cups of coffee per day showed a reduction of type 2 diabetes, liver disease, gout, Parkinson’s disease, and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine taken daily through coffee or powder, can even help improve a person’s memory retention and increase attention span as well. Recent studies have shown a reduction of strokes in middle-aged women and older as well. This study done by Swedish researchers found that women who drank one or more cups of coffee a day were less likely to have a stroke compared to those who did not.

Caffeine is actually a well used ingredient in many skin care products. And coffee can be a great product to actually apply to the skin. Coffee or caffeine when it is applied to the skin operates as an antioxidant, vasoconstrictor and diuretic as well. Coffee works as a great exfoliator to help you get rid of your dead skin. By applying it directly to your skin and rubbing the granules gently, your skin will feel baby soft.

Coffee grinds have three times more antioxidant power that help reduce premature aging signs, hyper pigmentation, skin wrinkles, brown spots on skin and appearance of lines. Coffee is full of antioxidants that act as a vasodilator to heal your skin problems. It was previously believed that drinking too much caffeine will affect your skin by taking all the moisture from your skin because caffeine dehydrates fat cells that result in vacating the potassium and sodium component of the skin cells. But if you take coffee in moderation, those antioxidants will work to fight against free redicals that cause skin cancer. Studies have shown that coffee inhibits the growth of skin cancer cells in the body.

Coffee is also found in many skin care products including body scrubs, lotions, creams and perfumes and is used for its ability to reduce cellulite in the body. Coffee is also used in sunscreen lotion and creams as it contains sunblock effects. The caffeine that is present in the skin care products help also to reduce the redness in your skin. Caffeine tightens and firms the surface of your skin and improves your skin tone and complexion. Coffee improves the micro cellular flow in your body. It frees your skin from different radicals that causes acne, eczema and skin cancer. Coffee is also a known odor neutralizer and can absorb strong odors, like fish.

Coffee can also make your hair look great. It improves your hair and minimizes hair loss. Coffee includes rich antioxidant contents that can repair the damaged hairs and prevent hair breakage. It helps to make hair look smooth and shiny.

As in all cases, too much of something is never a good thing. It is stressed that with moderation, caffeine has many positive effects on our bodies. A safe, healthy intake of caffeine ranges from two to four cups of coffee a day, or 200 to 300 milligrams.

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Add Fiber to Your Balanced Diet

fiber Add Fiber to Your Balanced DietOne of the simplest ways to kick start a healthy diet is to increase your dietary fiber. Processed food and fast food are easy and quick but they can wreak havoc on your digestive tract. Not only that but processed foods, which are high in fat and high and calories are linked to obesity and other diseases.

What does fiber do for us? Fiber’s primary role is to promote healthy digestion. Fiber cleanses the digestive tract by speeding up the excretions and toxins from the body. It also helps to prevent waste from sitting in the intestines.

There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber passes through most of the bowel system unchanged and promotes the growth of friendly bacteria. Since this type of fiber is not digested by the body it helps to slow gastric emptying and therefore can help to reduce your food intake because you will feel fuller for longer. Insoluble fibre is found in bran, wholemeal flour, brown rice, whole grain cereal, vegetables, edible peels and nuts and seeds. Soluble fiber helps to reduce the level of cholesterol by binding fats that cause high cholesterol and pushing them through the bowel. This helps to prevent the bad fats from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Soluble fiber absorbs water during digestion which acts like a natural stool softener. Soluble fibres include fruit, vegetables, lentils, peas, beans, oats, barley, oatmeal and potatoes.

In terms of weight loss increasing your dietary fiber can aide in reaching your goals if combined with a balanced healthy diet and exercise. Fiber helps in long term weight loss and your dietary fiber intake should be monitored to ensure you’re meeting the daily recommended dose. Speak with your Doctor or Trainer to find out how much fiber you should be consuming per day. You want to make sure that you’re not consuming too much fiber as well because it can cause a mineral deficiency.

High fiber foods are typically low in calories and are filling so they help to prevent overeating or snacking in between meals. Due to the slowing of digestion with added fibre you can also help to stabilize blood sugar levels which is beneficial to diabetics. Fibre will also help to prevent tiredness, hunger pangs and lack of energy.

Adding dietary fiber to your diet is not a fad and it’s not a passing trend in healthy eating. It’s a key part in maintaining a health and balanced diet which can aide in weight loss but also keep you healthy and your body functioning at an optimal level. There are many easy ways to add fiber to your diet but if you’re still unsure on how to make this healthy change then ask your Doctor or training to go through your eating habits and help determine where you can make some changes.

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Seasonal Workouts

seasonal Seasonal WorkoutsChanging your workouts every season can help reduce boredom and keep things fresh, leaving you energized and motivated to stay interested in working out.Try adding something new each season, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Winter
The colder weather might keep you inside and out of the elements. In the winter you want to spend a little bit more time warming up then you usually do. The cold outside can make your muscles tight and unwilling to move. So it is really important to achieve a high degree of flexibility throughout your body if you want to stay injury free. If you do step out to do an outside exercise, make sure you are layered in clothing. The first layer should be of a material that absorbs sweat. The outermost layer should be wind and water proof. Enjoy some winter sports as well. They offer a fun way to get in some exercise. Ice skating and skiing are both winter activities that burn lots of calories. Getting to the gym to do your workout will also help to fight those winter blues. Add in some swimming or water aerobics at your gym or your local pool is something different to keep you interested. Talk to your trainer to give you some good suggestions for water fitness. Keeping fit during the winter will also help with those shoveling injuries that can happen, keep your fitness levels up and your back, arms and legs strong. Staying healthy and active will make the winter just fly by.

Spring
After what might have been a long winter, or at least what may have felt long, getting outside in the spring is a great way to refresh your workout routine. Talk to your trainer to have them build some outdoor exercises into your gym workout. If it’s not raining, add a walk to your daily routine either at lunch or in the evening after dinner, it’s a great way to enjoy the warmer weather, spring flowers and fresh air. Now that the snow is gone, there is no reason not to dust off that bicycle and take it out for a ride. Plan a good route with your trainer with some challenges, will add to your regular workout routine. Keeping fit through the spring will help you eliminate the potential of sore backs when you go to do your spring gardening.

Summer
Ahhhh….summer. Warm weather, longer days. Summer is a great time to get outside for some exercises to accompany your gym workouts. There are endless possibilities to get active in the summer. Summer is a good time to join a team. Get active in a baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis league, etc. It’s a great way to get some exercise while having fun and meeting new people – most of the time it doesn’t even feel like exercise. Summer weather and conditions are great for starting that running program you have always wanted to do. The longer days and drier pavement makes it a lot friendlier to people to get out. Set up a route with your trainer that will challenge you and get some good results. Don’t forget you still need to visit the gym and work with your trainer to do some weight training. A full body workout will work best for a balance of losing weight and improving strength. Always remember, with summer usually comes heat, so make sure you drink lots of water to keep you cool and hydrated.

Fall
The leaves are turning and the days a little cooler. What better time to take some of your workout outside. Take a day a week and meet your trainer outside of the gym. Find a fitness trail nearby and do your workout routine. Fall is probably the best time to head out for a hike. Plan a day of it and pick a trail and area to explore. A trail with some hills will help burn more calories, tone your thigh and buttocks and usually gives a spectacular view as well. While the weather is still warmer and the waters not too cold, Fall can be a great time to get out for a paddle on a nearby lake, river, pond. It’s an excellent cardiovascular workout and a good way to keep your arms in shape.

Whatever the season, there is always something new and exciting to add to your workout regime to keep your interest and motivation. Work with your trainer and plan something different each season and keep things fresh to help you stay on track of your goals.

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Marathon Training

marathontrain Marathon TrainingSo, you’re getting ready to run a marathon. What should you do to really prepare? What should you eat, how should you train? Here are some helpful suggestions to get you on track to reaching your goal.

Key points that a good marathon training program should include.

Training Level
Before you even start training you should have a fairly good idea of your marathon goal as it relates to your running ability and experience. Don’t be too ambitious at the beginning if you haven’t run a marathon before. Sometimes just finishing the race comfortably is a good enough goal. Pick a training level you can handle from a weekly mileage perspective. You will run a lot of miles during the weeks of training. The program you follow will need to be tailored to your own marathon goal. One size does not fit all.

Vary Your Runs
Try to vary your running pace from run to run. In fact most training programs will indicate what type of fun you should do each day. For example, easy pace, hill run and marathon pace.

Alternate Your Training Days
The problem with training for a marathon is that your body does not have enough time to recover from the increasing effort as you get further into the schedule. To counter this a good training program will follow the hard day – easy day principle as much as possible. This means you will alternate lighter training days with the harder ones. For example: Day 1 – 7 miles at tempo pace. Day 2 – 7 miles at an easy pace. Day 3 – 9 miles at your intended marathon pace. Day 4 – 7 miles at your intended marathon pace. Day 5 – rest. Day 6 – 17 mile long run. Day 7 – 5 miles at an easy pace.

Diet
A good program should also include dietary advice. Many marathoners believe that eating lots of carbohydrates is all they need for training. This actually is not true. Yes, lots of carbs will fuel your running, but you need proper amounts of protein as well to help repair muscle tissue that is broken down, especially during the longer runs. You also need adequate amounts of fat, but unsaturated as much as possible.

Mental Preparation
It takes a lot of mental fortitude to get out of the door day after day (especially in poor weather conditions) and go for your required training run. Some things to help are training with a friend or a group with similar goals, taking a couple of days off if you feel down, keeping a positive attitude, and visualizing reaching your goal.

Cross-training
It’s not all about running. It’s about other activities that will help you build endurance and stamina. It will help you also avoid injury.

Without a proper training schedule and without commitment, you will have difficulty reaching your goal. Keep strict to your schedule. When marathon day comes, you’ll be thankful you did when you successfully cross that finish line.

For more articles go to http://thegym.lifestyleezine.com

Marathon Training

marathontrain Marathon TrainingSo, you’re getting ready to run a marathon. What should you do to really prepare? What should you eat, how should you train? Here are some helpful suggestions to get you on track to reaching your goal.

Key points that a good marathon training program should include.

Training Level
Before you even start training you should have a fairly good idea of your marathon goal as it relates to your running ability and experience. Don’t be too ambitious at the beginning if you haven’t run a marathon before. Sometimes just finishing the race comfortably is a good enough goal. Pick a training level you can handle from a weekly mileage perspective. You will run a lot of miles during the weeks of training. The program you follow will need to be tailored to your own marathon goal. One size does not fit all.

Vary Your Runs
Try to vary your running pace from run to run. In fact most training programs will indicate what type of fun you should do each day. For example, easy pace, hill run and marathon pace.

Alternate Your Training Days
The problem with training for a marathon is that your body does not have enough time to recover from the increasing effort as you get further into the schedule. To counter this a good training program will follow the hard day – easy day principle as much as possible. This means you will alternate lighter training days with the harder ones. For example: Day 1 – 7 miles at tempo pace. Day 2 – 7 miles at an easy pace. Day 3 – 9 miles at your intended marathon pace. Day 4 – 7 miles at your intended marathon pace. Day 5 – rest. Day 6 – 17 mile long run. Day 7 – 5 miles at an easy pace.

Diet
A good program should also include dietary advice. Many marathoners believe that eating lots of carbohydrates is all they need for training. This actually is not true. Yes, lots of carbs will fuel your running, but you need proper amounts of protein as well to help repair muscle tissue that is broken down, especially during the longer runs. You also need adequate amounts of fat, but unsaturated as much as possible.

Mental Preparation
It takes a lot of mental fortitude to get out of the door day after day (especially in poor weather conditions) and go for your required training run. Some things to help are training with a friend or a group with similar goals, taking a couple of days off if you feel down, keeping a positive attitude, and visualizing reaching your goal.

Cross-training
It’s not all about running. It’s about other activities that will help you build endurance and stamina. It will help you also avoid injury.

Without a proper training schedule and without commitment, you will have difficulty reaching your goal. Keep strict to your schedule. When marathon day comes, you’ll be thankful you did when you successfully cross that finish line.

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Take Charge

success Take ChargeIt’s time to stop dreaming of what could be and take charge of your life. Success will not come to you automatically; you need to do something about it. When we take charge of our lives it frees us up to prosper. Take charge of your life and make the things that you want and your goals happen.

Taking charge is a mindset of positivity. It means that you believe in yourself and your vision and you are committed to taking the steps that will make your vision a reality. There are times when we may actually be unaware that we are not in charge or realize that we can do something about what is not okay with our life. It takes self-awareness to care for self. We have to learn to listen to what we are feeling and then think about how we want to handle the situation.

The ability to have a “can-do, positive attitude” stems from the construct that your thoughts determine your feelings and your behavior. For example, if you think that creating a successful career is hopeless, you probably feel apathetic and scared. Build up your confidence and attitude and you will see the positive flow through all the aspects of your life.

How do you take charge? Here is a strategy you could use.

Firstly, you need to identify what you want to accomplish in your future. Think and visualize your life in 5 to 10 years. You need to have a vision of what you want so that you can start planning and making the decision to move to the destination you desire. You need to have a clear target, know exactly what you want.

Secondly, you need to take actions to make your goals and dreams come true. This may require some extreme changes to your life. Set your sights on your goals and make the changes and take the actions that are required to get you there.

Finally, it is important that you review your goals and dreams constantly while making these changes. This will allow you to stay focused and remind you of the outcome you desire.

To be fully in charge of our life is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It is worth the lifelong investment to put effort into making it happen. We have the ability to consciously grow so that we can be the person we are capable of being. The result for us will be that we can truly prosper.

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