The Fitness Guide

Rosie Gomez's Guide to Getting Fit!


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Yoga Styles: Which One Is Right for You?

Yoga workoutYoga has become incredibly popular in the United States over the last few years, with over 16 million people practicing on a regular basis. With a history steeped in the religions of South Asia, yoga was originally used as a way to quiet the mind by controlling the breath in a series of movements and postures.

While yoga is still an excellent way to relieve some of the stresses and worries in our hectic lives, it is also great exercise, and the very nature of yoga poses encourages stretching and the development of long and lean muscle.

Just 10 short years ago, yoga classes were not considered as mainstream as they are today, and one didn’t have many styles of yoga to choose from. Now that its popularity has soared and yoga teachers are learning more about the many different styles, it might seem confusing to a newbie.

If you’re looking to add yoga to your fitness routine but don’t know where to begin check out this handy list of three styles and the benefits of each.

1. Hatha Yoga

This type of yoga is excellent for beginners and while it’s not always considered easy, it is the best type for those who have never practiced yoga before. The poses tend to be more manageable and each pose blends seamlessly into the next.

The focus in Hatha yoga is about breathing and placing your body in the proper alignment. Blocks and other aids are often used to assist beginners in the poses, and the teachers are often very free with corrections to ensure that you get it right. Hatha is also good for those with injuries or other situations that might have hindered their flexibility.

2. Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga, is a challenging class that takes place in a room that is heated to over 100 degrees. The poses are more difficult and the heat adds to the overall effectiveness of this type of yoga, by loosening the muscles.

This type of yoga is best practiced by those with substantial experience, and you must check with your doctor before beginning, as certain health conditions could be exacerbated by Bikram yoga. However, if you do decide this is the class for you, you can expect to lose weight and build muscle if you follow a regular schedule.

Working out together3. Power Yoga

Easily the most challenging of all the yoga styles, Power yoga is designed as an intense workout and eliminates some or all of the spiritual practices of other types of yoga. The poses are difficult and each flows directly into the next with no pauses in between. Wear your monitor from HeartRateMonitors.com to really see how this type of yoga compares to other forms of exercise.

Power yoga is best for those who already have some strength and flexibility, and who have practiced other types of yoga in the past. If you’re already involved in other intense forms of exercise such as running or cycling, power yoga can be a great way to build upper body strength and keep your other muscles loose and strong.

Whether you’re interested in stress relief or want to lose weight and become more fit, yoga is the perfect way to accomplish all of those things. Simply assess your ability carefully and consult your doctor, then join the ranks of the millions of people for whom yoga has become their go-to form of exercise.


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Bikini Season and How to Get Ready for It

Bikini WeatherIt’s getting closer and closer to that time of year again! While it’s true that much of the United States is still blanketed in snow, the days of sun, vacations, and bikinis are just around the corner. While this might seem like a great time to freak out about the state of your body after a winter of less exercise than normal, there are plenty of things that you can do now to ensure that you’re ready. Obviously the first step is to choose your bikini, unless you plan to recycle the one from last season. In some ways this can be beneficial because you already know what your toned body looks like in that particular suit. If you decide to buy a new one perhaps keep it similar to the style of the old one. While you may already have a tried and true exercise regime, specific workouts can target those areas that are more prominent when you’re in a bikini. Try some of these moves to be certain that everything stay in places and looks fab when you’re on the beach this summer.

1. Squats

Squats are a bikini girl’s best friend. This exercise targets your quads, glutes, and calves and ensure that you look good both coming and going when you’re clad in your bikini. While these exercises are tough and may have you ready to give up, if you keep with it, the rewards are worth the effort. Start by standing with your feet hip distance apart, and sit back like you’re going to sit a chair. Ensure that your knees never extend beyond your toes, and then squeeze your glutes as you return to standing. Start by doing 20 reps in sets of three if you can, then increase the reps by 10 each, day after day. As always, be sure that your form is correct or you may risk injury.

Working out your abs2. Crunches

Crunches can feel like an exercise that the devil himself came up with, but there is really no better way to ensure that your abs are toned and ready for summer. Again, the proper form is crucial when performing crunches, otherwise the proper muscles won’t be targeted and you could hurt your neck or back. Lie on the floor on a yoga mat or blanket and bend your knees. Clasp your hands behind your head and keep your eyes focused on the ceiling. This can help keep your neck from rolling forward. Raise up, contracting your abs and keeping your back straight, until you are about eight inches from the floor. Keep your abs contracted as you return to a flat position. Start with three sets of 15 reps and increase that amount daily. While it’s certainly not the easiest of workouts, crunches are the fastest way to get that slim and shapely torso that you’re looking for.

3. Yoga

If an all-around workout is more your style definitely consider a yoga class. The movements and poses in yoga target the whole body and can help you develop long, lean muscles that will certainly get you, and your bikini, noticed. Shop around for yoga studios in your area and arrange to meet with the instructors. If you can be clear about your fitness goals they can help you choose the right class that can help you succeed. If you attend the classes regularly you’ll find that results come rather quickly. You can also combine yoga with other targeted exercises to see results even faster. Summer is closer than you think so now is the time to prepare. Pull that bikini out of the closet and get ready for some hard work, but you’ll be thanking yourself later.


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Stay Fit While Working an Office Job

shutterstock_82313836Losing weight and becoming more fit is not an easy task, but it can be especially difficult if you’re stuck behind a desk all day with limited time to exercise. In fact, this is one of the biggest complaints of office workers who want to lose weight and become more physically strong and healthy.

Not only is inactivity a problem, but offices are not exactly known to be bastions of healthy eating. The snacks and sweets that are constantly present and vending machines packed with sugary drinks combine to make maintaining a health regimen particularly difficult. Add to this the fact that sitting all day is certainly not conducive to adequate exercise and you have a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, there are ways to navigate around this sedentary office trap, and here are a few ideas that will help you begin or maintain your fitness journey while working a desk job.

1. Walk as Much as You Can

If you’re busy while you’re at work it can feel counterproductive or downright wrong to get up for a brief walk, but that’s exactly what you should do. If it’s at all possible you should be leaving your desk and moving around at least once per hour, even if it’s just a walk to a colleague’s office or to the coffee machine.

Try to take five or 10 minutes per hour to walk. Make a circuit around the cubicles, or walk up and down the stairs. Not only can this help you get your blood moving and help you feel better, but it can also clear your head and leave you more focused for the next hour of work.

2. Design a Desk Workout Routine

Exercise and workouts don’t have to take place in a gym; they can take place anywhere and at any time. One easy way to ensure that your fitness doesn’t suffer because you work in an office is to design a workout routine that you can complete at your desk. This can be a lifesaver in that, like walking, a mini-workout can help relieve stress and clear your mind.

Bring hand weights to the office and use them while you’re on a phone call. Try an office chair workout for tricep dips and squats, although you may want to close your office door for this one. Also, consider recruiting some of your coworkers to join you. A group is always a great motivator.

shutterstock_2263706083. Rethink Your Route

If you live near your workplace and you drive or take public transport, you are doing yourself a great disservice. If at all possible you should try to walk or bike to work as often as you can.

As with walking during your breaks, walking or biking to work serves double duty. You’ll find yourself energized and relaxed after a walk to the office, and a walk home at the end of the day will help clear your mind of work-related thoughts and help you be more present for the family that is waiting for you at home.

And the fitness benefits of walking aren’t too shabby either.

If you feel that you have to choose between your fitness and your job, these tips can help. Take charge of your health, try some of these exercise tips, and find yourself more energized, both at work and in your personal life.


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Adopting a Dog Can Make You Healthier

It’s no secret that owning a pet is good for you. PhysiciansRunning and other scientists have for years said that there are numerous health benefits. One of the ways that humans benefit from sharing their lives with dogs is increased physical activity.

If you’ve ever wondered how the simple act of adopting a dog can help you become fit and healthier, read on to learn more about the ways that dogs help their humans get into shape.

Go for a Walk

Dogs need exercise to keep their brains active and engaged and their bodies fit and healthy. However, modern dogs are often confined to a house or small yard for much of the time, so they depend on their humans for access to exercise. Because your dog can’t walk himself, you’ll need to help him.

Long walks benefit you as much as they do your canine companion. Most dog experts recommend at least 45 minutes per day of vigorous walking. Wearing a heart rate monitor can help determine how much effort you’ve put into the exercise with your pup. The harder you walk, the better it is for you and your dog; as a result, owners often find themselves losing weight and becoming more fit in the process. Additionally, if you’re ever feeling less than motivated, a pair of sad puppy eyes gazing at you from a position near the front door should be all the encouragement you need to get out and get moving.

Exercising with dogPlay Ball

Dogs are hunters, and while many of their bloodthirsty tendencies have diminished over the process of domestication, they still share a strong prey drive with their wolf ancestors. This is one of the reasons why your dog loves to chase balls and toys when they are thrown. You can use this instinctive drive to the advantage of your dog’s health, and yours as well.

Spend 30 minutes a few times a day playing with your dog in your yard or other safe enclosure. As you throw the ball and engage your dog in an active round of chase, you’re not only getting his heart pumping, but you’ll likely find that you’ve broken a sweat in the process too.

Boot Camp

Boot camps that focus on intensive physical training have become very popular ways for people to get into shape, and many personal trainers have taken this concept one step further. In cities across the country you can now take your dog to boot camp sessions with you.

A combination of activities that challenges both human and canine, these boot camps offer exercises that will whip both of you into shape. Boot camps also have the added benefit of socialization with other dogs for your furry friend, which will help make him a great deal happier.

These are just a few ways that dog ownership can have a positive impact on your fitness. The increased activity that comes with dog ownership is a great way to be more active in many areas of your life. Visit your local animal shelter or rescue group today to find a pup that is perfect for your lifestyle. Giving a forever home to a shelter dog is a great way to change two lives for the better at the same time.


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Exercise for Newbies: Tips to Get Fit

Getting Fit The world that we live in places a great deal of emphasis on health and fitness. We’re constantly bombarded with television ads that make sure that we’re all aware of the fact that we’re woefully out of shape. Images of fit and happy people parade across our television and computer screens, which often make us feel worse about our fitness levels as opposed to feeling inspired.

The good news is that exercise comes in many forms and it’s easy to begin a fitness program that suits your needs and level of activity. Of course, you should always check with your personal physician or healthcare provider for a full checkup before you dive into any exercise regime. However, once you have your doctor’s okay, it’s time to get started on the road to health and wellness.

Self-Assessment

You know your body better than anyone, so a self-assessment of your physical capabilities is a great place to begin. Take a reading of your resting heart rate, then take it again after you walk one mile. A personal heart rate monitor from HeartRateMonitors.com can be an invaluable resource as you begin on your fitness journey.

Assess the time that it takes you to walk one mile and keep track of this time over the course of a few weeks. You can also begin to measure your waist circumference, and keep track of this number as well. Often it’s easier to focus on inches lost rather than pounds.

Choose Your Activity

One of the hardest parts about exercising is feeling motivated to do it on a regular basis. If you’re stuck in an exercise routine that doesn’t make you feel good or one that doesn’t feel like very much fun, you’re more likely to avoid it altogether.

Think about activities that you particularly enjoy. If you’re fond of nature why not find hiking trails and hiking clubs in your area? For those who are fond of the water, swimming is a fantastic exercise that works almost all the muscles in the body and is easy on the joints. Even a set routine of walking around your neighborhood or town is a great way to get started and to make sure that you stick with it.

Personal TrainerThe Trainer Dilemma

When you start on your new fitness program it might seem that hiring a personal trainer at your local gym is a good idea, and for some people it is. However, before you make that decision you should establish that working out in a gym is something that is within the realm of possibility for you.

If you’re interested in working out in a gym, be sure to visit a few of the locations in your area. Set up an appointment with the various personal trainers and ask lots of questions, not only of the trainer but of yourself. Are you motivated enough to maintain a rigorous gym schedule? Is this trainer someone that you can work with? Are you able to take direction and criticism when you’re at your most vulnerable? While working with a trainer can be a great way to get in shape quickly and to learn ways to maintain that fitness, it’s not ideal for everyone.

Deciding to embark on a fitness journey is one of the best choices that you can make for your health. However, we all know that even the best laid plans can go awry. When you’re ready for your personal health and exercise plan to begin, it’s important to start off right. Visit your doctor, do an assessment of your physical condition, choose fun and interesting activities and investigate your local gym.

Once you take that first step toward health you’ll be so glad that you did!


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Why You Need to Add Swimming to Your Workout Routine

Many people who work hard to include Man Swimmingcardio into their workout and routines walking, running or cycling seem like the most obvious choices for a heart healthy workout. Of course this is true, but if you’re not adding a dose of water to that mix you’re missing out on some incredible cardio benefits.

Time spent at the pool is not just for summer anymore, and many people are realizing the incredible things that swimming does for the body. If you’ve eschewed the pool as child’s play, or believe that it’s not as effective as other cardio activities, then you’re missing out on a fun, thorough, and intense workout that can and will help you reach your fitness goals, with some other surprising results.

Have a Heart

If you’re cycling or running at an intense level, then you’re likely already getting the maximum in a cardio workout. However, if you’re walking or running at a more moderate pace, adding lap time at the pool can really bring your cardio workout to the next level. You’ll want to make sure that your swimming technique is correct and that you’re swimming often enough, so a brief consult with a swimming instructor can let you know if you’re on the right track.

With cardio workouts, it’s important to measure the intensity of your workout by how hard your heart is working. Knowing how hard you’re working is something many people don’t’ know how to gauge. Adding a heart rate monitor from HeartRateMonitors.com can help you know if you’re on the right track for optimum cardio fitness.

Swimming LapsFlexibility Is Key

One of the best things about swimming is the fact that most pools are heated. Not only does this keep swimmers comfortable, it has added exercise benefits, as well. The warm water helps muscles to relax, which means that you’re increasing your flexibility with each swim. Your muscles warm up more quickly and you’re able to stretch them much more quickly and efficiently.

If you’re a cyclist or a runner, consider a quick swim after your other workouts. This will help stretch your tired muscles and help prevent soreness and possible injury.

Increased Strength and Endurance

Because swimming uses every muscle group in the body, it’s the perfect workout for increased strength. While swimming is not going to build bulky muscles the way that weightlifting can, it does create long, lean muscles that help to boost overall metabolism. While most of the muscles involved in swimming are located in the upper body, specialized swim classes and techniques shift the work to the leg muscles, thus engaging the entire body.

Swimming is not as intense a workout as cycling or running, so a swimmer can maintain his or her pace for longer periods of time, which builds endurance. Again, this is a win for your heart health, but it also allows for an increase in calories burned.

Because It’s Fun

If the obvious health benefits aren’t enough to convince you to jump in the pool, think about how much fun swimming was when you were a kid. None of that has changed, and swimming is still the most fun you can have while getting fit.

There are a number of swimming clubs located all over the country, and the social aspect of these clubs makes membership worthwhile. Many clubs also organize outings to local lakes or beaches during the summer months, and swimming in open water can add a whole new spin to your workouts. Also, working out with a team of other dedicated swimmers can keep you motivated and help further your fitness goals.

One of the best ways to keep yourself focused on your fitness goals is keep your workouts fresh and diverse, and to add an element of fun. Swimming accomplishes those things and then some. If you’re looking to change up your workouts, jump into a swim routine; you’ll be glad you did. 


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Fun Activities That Pack a Calorie-Burning Punch

One of the hardest things about exercising and working out is the fact that most of it lacks the element of fun. Sure, you can catch up on episodes of “Scandal” while on the treadmill, but the fact remains that you’re still on a treadmill, and that’s not much fun.

Thankfully, those who create and design workout methods and routines are constantly on the lookout for ways to keep us engaged in exercise. While these workout creations are becoming more fun, they still don’t fully replace immersive games and sports that are challenging, active, and highly entertaining.

If you’re bored with your current workout and would like to add something new to your routine, consider some of these fun activities that just happen to burn a lot of calories.

flying disk on the beachPlaying With Flying Discs

While many of us are known to play with flying discs (like Frisbees) at the beach or at a backyard barbecue, we might not know that an hour of Frisbee can burn over 500 calories. Of course you’ll have to maintain a steady playing pace for that hour, but if you have a high energy child or an enthusiastic dog, you might find that the hour flies right by.

For the really athletic flying disc enthusiasts, see if there is an ultimate league in your area. Played like rugby but with a disc in place of a ball, ultimate is a high-energy, fun way to work out.

Horseback Riding

Learning to ride a horse can be difficult, but it is also a very physically challenging pursuit. Ask an experienced rider if an hour in the saddle is a workout and they’ll overwhelmingly agree that it is. Almost every muscle in the body needs to be engaged to maintain the proper position in the saddle, as well as to control the 1,200 pound animal you’re sitting on.

An hour spent actively in the saddle can burn as many as 400 calories. A simple trail ride at a walk won’t be enough, however. You’ll need to really work yourself and your horse to achieve the maximum fitness potential that riding offers.

Hiking

Hiking is one of the best ways to get out of a boring workout routine and into something new and different. However, if you really want to maximize your hikes you should consider hiking with a loaded pack.

A few heavy books or water bottles can act as weights, and as you hike with twenty or thirty extra pounds, you’re really taking your efforts to the next level. Your leg and back muscles get a great workout, and you’re raising your cardio benefits, too. Increase the weight over time for maximum results.

putting on rollarbladesSkating

Whether you’re on ice or asphalt, skating is a fun and physical activity that can burn more calories than walking. Fast paced and engaging, skating is perfect for those who want to try something other than walking or running. It’s also relatively low impact so it’s easier on the joints.

Find a skating rink in your area and take the kids or your friends for a fun workout that strengthens your whole body.

It can be a real challenge to keep our workouts fun and exciting while maintaining their health benefits. Try some of these activities to reap the physical and mental rewards.