The Fitness Guide

Rosie Gomez's Guide to Getting Fit!


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3 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Health

Drink more waterWhile most people would say that they want to become healthier, as we all know, saying it and doing it are two very different things. It can seem like an insurmountable task at times, especially for those people who might be severely overweight or have an ongoing or chronic medical condition.

The good news is that, after you receive the go-ahead from your health care provider, there are many small ways to begin improving your health, and most of these can be done throughout the course of an average day. Yes, joining a gym or an exercise program is a great way to get started on the road to better health, but it’s not the only way, and for those people who might be intimidated or unsure, having a list of little things can be a big deal.

If you’re ready to partially take the plunge and learn how to improve your health, check out this list for tiny ways to make a huge impact.

1. Drink More Water

It seems so simple, but some might be surprised to know that many people struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day. Perhaps it’s because we’ve gotten used to the strong taste of flavored drinks, but whatever the reason we should all make a conscious effort to hydrate with water over anything else.

Aim to drink 64 ounces of water each day. While this might sound like a lot, it translates into only eight 8-ounce glasses. Add sliced fruit or fresh berries to your water if you’d like a little flavor, just don’t add sugar or other sweeteners.

2. Keep a Movement Diary

Even those who might self-identify as couch potatoes move more in one day than they might think, so it is a great idea to keep a movement diary. Simply jot down the times that you engage in any movement throughout the day. This could be as simple as taking the trash out, or something more intense like walking your dog for 30 minutes.

Now might be a great time to invest in fitness tools like heart rate watches, as well. As you monitor your heart rate you’ll have a better idea of your fitness level, and seeing your heart rate decrease over time can also encourage you to keep going and increase the amount of exercise you do every day or week.

Snack Healthy3. Snack More Often

While it might seem logical to skip or reduce meals during the course of your day to try and lose weight, that can actually have the opposite effect on your health. The human body needs energy in the form of food to keep all of its systems operating, but a bag of chips or a fast food burger is not the best way to accomplish this.

Be sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast, and then plan to have a snack two hours later. This could be as simple as a spoonful of natural peanut or almond butter, a piece of cheese, or a handful of grapes. Then, plan to have another snack after lunch. Again, choose something healthy like a piece of fruit, a slice of whole grain bread, or a cup of yogurt. As your body gets used to being fueled throughout the day you’ll find that you feel better and that you eat less at meal times.

Health and fitness are not a destination but a journey. If you start with small steps that you can increase to big steps over time, you’ll find that the journey becomes more rewarding and a whole lot easier.

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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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4 Healthy Winter Produce for Your Cold Weather Menu

Winter is rough for many reasons. The weather is cold and uninviting, the amount of light diminishes, and we respond to these stressors by binging on carbs, sweets, and other unhealthy foods.cold weather vegetables

So what’s the solution? While much of it centers on maintaining a certain level of self-control and willpower, a portion of the answer may lie at our local grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Fresh and healthy produce is not only limited to the spring and summer months. Wintertime harvest offers up a great deal of tasty options that are fresh and healthy.

Revamp your wintertime menu with these healthy and tasty items, and prepare to chase those cold weather blues away.

1. Potatoes

The humble potato is often dismissed outright due to its high level of starch, but these vegetables are not only tasty but they also bring a number of essential vitamins and minerals to the table. Potatoes are high in potassium, folic acid, and magnesium, and even boast a fair amount of protein. The sweet variety boasts a great deal of beta carotene as well. Whether you choose the sweet ones or the plain white kind just eliminate the butter and cream that you might be tempted to add and you have a versatile and healthy dish for your winter table.

Parsnips2. Parsnips

For the uninitiated parsnips might be passed over as slightly anemic carrots, but these long, white veggies offer a vitamin punch and they’re quite tasty as well. They are at their peak during the fall and winter months and come loaded with fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Parsnips lend themselves well to purees and soups, so the possibilities are endless. Some home chefs like to roast the parsnips with some crisp, fall apples until they’re both tender and combine them into a sweet and savory soup. Add some homemade bread and you’ve got a wintertime meal to remember.

3. Squash

Almost everyone is familiar with the most famous of the fall and winter squash — the pumpkin — but this type of winter vegetable comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each has a number of unique aspects, but the health benefits are all very similar.

Squash boasts an impressive amount of beta carotene, as well as fiber and potassium. Additionally, the recipe possibilities using squash are endless. Butternut squash is delicious when baked with olive oil and garlic, and acorn squash that is roasted, cubed, and tossed with radicchio, lentils, and goat cheese results in a wonderful winter salad. Take your pick of any of the squash recipes you come across and you can’t really go wrong.

4. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a strange fruit, but one of the most unusual things about them is the fact that they are harvested in the fall and winter. As one of the oldest-known fruits in the world, they are among the healthiest, as well. While getting the seeds out of the fruit might be quite a task, those seeds are packed with heart-healthy antioxidants and are high in fiber too.

If extracted seeds aren’t your thing, find some fresh pomegranate juice at your local store or farmers’ market. Just make sure it’s sugar free and you can still reap the health benefits.

It’s perfectly normal to want to hibernate during the winter and eat all of those foods that you’ll regret in the spring. However, reach for some of these winter veggies during your next grocery visit and find more to love about the season.


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Change Your Diet to Jumpstart Your Fitness Goals

grocery shoppingSo you’ve made the commitment to become more fit and healthy through exercise! Congratulations! While we certainly don’t want to take anything away from your amazing accomplishments, there might be a few things that you’re missing.

Mainly, your diet.

Changing one’s attitude toward health and fitness is not a quick process; it takes time to make any type of significant change. However, while adding an exercise program to your life is wonderful, you won’t see the results that you want unless you alter your diet as well.

Calorie counting can make a difference, but it can often feel so complicated that people get frustrated and give it up altogether. A better approach to a diet change might be a whole lot easier than you think.

Here are some fantastic suggestions to help you make better and healthier food choices, without giving up all of the things that you love.

Reduce or Change Animal Protein

One of the single greatest hindrances to your diet may be the animal protein that you eat. Beef can be especially crippling to your diet. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that you can never eat steak or a big, juicy burger again; you’ll just want to make different choices.

When you buy beef you’ll want to be aware of the cut that you choose and the part of the animal it comes from. Rib-eye steaks are juicy and rich in flavor, but it’s the high fat content of that particular cut that makes them that way. The next time you buy beef, choose a sirloin tip steak instead of the rib-eye. With a little bit of tasty marinade this cut can taste great and you will save approximately 200 calories and 30 grams of fat per 6 ounce portion.

asian foodThink Asian

Many people who live in countries in Asia enjoy more longevity and a much healthier lifestyle than we do in America. Why is this? Many researchers point to healthier eating habits and greater physical activity as major contributing factors. Before you pack up your suitcase and head to Tokyo, why not incorporate healthier, Asian style food into your menu?

Asian food focuses heavily on vegetables, fruits, and lean protein, often in the form of tofu or fish, and rice. You can combine any or all of these ingredients with some Asian flavors to make a tasty and healthy meal. Sauté your fresh veggies with a little sesame oil and ginger, and add any lean protein of your choice. Chicken or shrimp works well, or you could choose a fried egg. Serve this over a bed or healthy, brown rice and you won’t even miss the potatoes that you might have become accustomed to.

Also, use chopsticks to help you take smaller bites!

When you’ve just started a fitness program it’s important not to skimp on protein. You are trying to build muscle, after all! However, if you choose your proteins more carefully and combine leaner cuts with an abundance of vegetables and healthy carbs, you will feel full and your body will be getting the essential nutrients it needs to get fit.

While it might feel worrisome to think that you’ll never have a rib-eye again, don’t worry. That’s what the occasional cheats are for!


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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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How Smart Cardio Can Help You Meet Your Weight-Loss Goals

feet on scaleFor many people who are working to achieve fitness goals, cardio workouts inspire intense love/hate relationships. Cardio workouts can be time consuming and monotonous, and after the initial weight loss you may be frustrated when you quickly hit a plateau.

Fitness experts keep saying that cardio is an integral part of a workout routine, but they are also quick to describe all of the ways that we’re doing our cardio wrong. The frequency and duration of cardio workouts, it turns out, are not as important as the intensity.

That’s right, intensity.

It might come as something of a blow to those of us that think an hour on the treadmill while watching cat videos on YouTube counts as cardio. If that statement sounds familiar, read on to learn how you can maximize your cardio workouts and achieve your fitness goals much more quickly.

Map Your Workouts

If you feel like you’re stuck in a cardio rut, don’t despair. You’re not alone. Many people feel quite comfortable in their cardio routine without realizing that they’re likely sabotaging some of their fitness goals.

Start keeping track of your cardio exercises. If you’re running, walking, or cycling, make a note of the distance traveled and the time that you spent doing it. Then decipher your miles per hour rate. Experts say that traveling three miles over the course of an hour each day is the amount of exercise needed to maintain the weight of an average woman. Surely we can do better than that.

Many people use heart rate monitors while they map workouts, as well. Keeping track of your heart rate while you exercise can provide you with important information that will help you move on to more intense workouts.

running at sunriseIncrease the Intensity

Most experts agree that intensity is the key to a successful cardio workout. The human body is uniquely capable of adapting very quickly to exercise. While you might think that your current walking or running routine is sufficient, your body says otherwise with a decline in weight loss.

Start slowly in the beginning but focus on pushing yourself each time you walk, run, or cycle. Alternate your current pace with bursts of speed and lengthen the duration of those bursts over time. For instance, if you would describe the intensity of your workout as a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, try to reach a 5 on the intensity scale for one minute out of each ten minutes that you’re exercising. When that pace begins to feel comfortable, it’s time to move up again.

Experts also advise that you consider varying your cardio workouts. For instance, if you’re a runner you should try cycling once or twice a week to challenge your body and its metabolism.

Cardiovascular fitness is important for overall health and it can be a powerful weight loss tool as well, if done properly. Get a clear picture of your current workouts by keeping notes and using a heart rate monitor, then focus on increasing the intensity of those workouts over time. Before you know it you’ll be stronger, more fit, and much closer to meeting your weight loss goals.