Your Winter Fitness Guide

Get active at least 30 minutes a day.

In order for your body to be fit, you have to get active. Let me help you get started with an activity plan to help you get the results you want. My approach to getting fit is sustainable and long-term, so you can get and keep your results progressing week after week.

Everyone should be active in some way, especially as our modern technology filled life keeps us seated for too many hours a day.No matter what your current fitness or activity level is, there’s so much research that shows us that balanced nutrition and a consistent approach to being active is a great long-term strategy for improving and maintaining a healthy body. If you’ve been resisting fitness and trying to control your body composition with diet alone, let me show you how to enhance your nutrition results and sustain them by adding regular activity into your week.

Get the amount of activity you need

Each person should strive to get active for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Some of the many health benefits associated with exercise are improved bone density, improved muscle tone, cardiovascular improvements and increased energy levels. If you want to make a big impact on body composition or improve your athletic performance, you’ll need to strive to be active for longer periods of time. Aim for 60-90 minutes of varied intensity levels that fit in with your specific personal fitness goals.

Don’t be scared of exercise

The reason so many people avoid exercise is because they associate it with many negative things, like not feeling good, sweating, hard work and sore muscles. Now, I can’t promise that getting active won’t make you sweat, but I can tell you that if you follow a slow, progressive approach to getting active, you’ll start to associate fitness with improved body composition, body confidence and feeling great. Jumping into a routine too quickly can lead to increased muscle soreness, so be kind to your body and increase your intensity as your fitness level increases. If it’s too late and you’re already sore, plan a few days of easy exercise to recover, such as gentle walking and stretches. During your next session, push yourself enough to get results, but not so hard that you can’t walk the next day.

Take a fun approach to getting active

Your chosen activity should be fun because it’s what’ll keep you coming back for more. Avoid the extreme January jump or summer push and slowly progress your activity level as your fitness level improves. If you fall off-track, you’ll have to start back at the beginning. When you stop exercising, you lose some of your cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength.* Have confidence, though, because the climb back to where you left off may be faster than the first time you started out. Your body has an amazing muscle memory.
How to improve your fitness level

Here are some simple tips to get you started:

  • Perform simple stretches to ensure you’re moving your muscles and joints through their full range of motion each day.
  • Increase your daily activity level by taking the stairs, parking in the furthest space from the store, gardening, dancing, and playing with your children. Just get moving!
  • Start adding regular walks to your day. You can slowly increase your time until 30 minutes feel comfortable. Then increase your intensity level by walking faster. Start including varied terrain such as hills, and then progress to a jogging or running pace.
  • Perform bodyweight resistance exercises, such as simple squats, lunges, push-ups, and then progress to using weights.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. Push yourself enough so you feel like you’re challenging yourself, but not too hard that you risk getting injured or walk around feeling terribly sore the next day.
*Egner IM, Bruusgaard JC, Eftestøl E, Gundersen K. A cellular memory mechanism aids overload hypertrophy in muscle long after an episodic exposure to anabolic steroids. J Physiol. 2013 Dec 15;591(Pt 24):6221-30.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Fitness Motivation: Three Tips to Help You Stay Active

Walking can improve your wellbeing.

The more sedentary you become the harder it is to get yourself moving. Try these exercises to get you back in the fitness groove.

Many people find it difficult to get and stay motivated with their exercise and healthy active lifestyle plans. The reasons for this lack of motivation are vast, but two very common ones are: today’s modern sedentary lifestyle and the natural aging process.The more sedentary you become the harder it feels to get yourself moving. Sitting around all day decreases your energy levels and can have a negative impact on your body weight, which in turn makes movement less comfortable. This combination of lack of energy and not feeling good only compounds the desire to remain sedentary. Breaking this vicious cycle is essential if you want to get and stay motivated toward reaching your personal wellness goals.

The natural effects of aging can also make it difficult to maintain your exercise motivation, and although we can’t prevent the aging process, there are some great ways that we can counteract Mother Nature’s aging effects, and keep you motivated and exercising on a consistent basis.

Here are three tips to help you fight towards staying active and motivated.

Meet your minimum exercise minutes each day: Getting your body moving on a regular basis is not only great for helping you to reach your body composition goals, but it also gives you a natural energy boost, promotes increased circulation, and improves your overall sense of wellbeing. When you keep your joints moving with regular activity, you are less likely to experience loss of mobility and joint soreness that are commonly caused by inactivity. It is recommended that in order to experience the health benefits associated with daily activity, you need to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The first step is often the most difficult, but once you get active, the feel-good benefits make it easier to continue. Even if you can’t commit to 30 full minutes to start with, know that a little bit of exercise is always better than doing none at all.

Mix up your impact: It’s important to strive to maintain healthy bone density as we age, and regain it after spending prolonged periods of being sedentary. Performing exercises that are high impact in nature, such as walking, running or jumping can help you maintain healthy bones. Alternating between low impact activities, such as swimming and cycling, and high impact activities, such as running and jumping, is a perfect way to ensure you are maximizing the bone health benefits of your exercise routine, at the same time as ensuring that you are not putting too much stress on your joints. Mixing up your routine will help you avoid excessive post-exercise joint soreness and prevent you from getting bored.

Focus on your muscles: A common age related issue that can be helped with exercise is the natural loss of muscle mass known as sarcopenia. Muscle loss or body composition imbalance is not always due to the aging process, spending a long time being inactive or being underweight can also reduce your lean muscle mass.

Lifting weights or performing body weight exercises in combination with consuming a protein-rich diet will ensure that you build lean muscle mass and retain your strength. Maintaining your muscle mass is great for your metabolism and for helping you look and feel your best. Try to perform muscle-building exercises at least three days a week.

Whether you are working towards achieving a specific goal, or simply want to feel young and energized, a daily focus on being active will help you get and stay motivated.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Five-Minute Workouts to Keep Your Fitness on Track

Start your day with a core workout.

Some exercise is always better than doing none at all. Commit to doing quick five-minute workouts any week you feel too busy to hit the gym.

The great thing about Halloween, if you have kids, is the extra walking minutes you can accumulate for the entire family as you go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. The week leading up to Halloween, however, can be hectic and interfere with your usual workout routine. The extra treats consumed can mess with your waistline too, so here are some fast and effective workouts you can squeeze into your day to keep your results on track.

We all know that busy days are a part of life, and as a busy working mom myself, I know all too well that some days getting in a workout seems almost impossible. But with a no excuses attitude, I also know that you don’t have to let your hectic schedule interfere with getting in a quick burst of exercise. If getting in your daily 30 minutes is challenging this week, commit to five-minute bouts of exercise to ensure that you stay on track with your personal body composition goals.

Here are five quick at-home routines that you can add to your day.

Morning start: Jump out of bed and do this fat burning routine in your p.j.’s. It’s not as intense as a HIIT workout, but it will help get your blood flowing and promote the release of your natural feel-good endorphins to help you start your day feeling good.

Mid-day blast: This workout will get your heart rate up and challenge your body. It has lots of my favorite athletic style moves that promote muscle strengthening and, because it’s high in intensity, you will burn calories for a while afterwards as your body recovers.

Lower-body Fix: Working the muscles of the posterior chain – a.k.a. the booty and legs – is great because this major muscle group burns calories faster than working smaller muscles, making a lower-body routine a perfect choice when you are short on time.

Upper-body focus: This quick upper-body workout is great for toning the chest and arms.

All about the abs: This core focused abdominal workout is sure to make you feel great. If you have little ones at home, this routine is great for when they are taking a nap.

Stress relief before bed: If you are wound up at the end of the day, consider spending some time before bed doing this stretching routine. It will help you connect your mind, body and breath. Stretching at the end of the day may help clear your mind and slow your energy down to help you get a good night’s sleep. It’s not a big calorie burner, but the relaxation and muscle stretching benefits feel great.

Short workouts are a perfect option for days when you know you are busy. If you perform all six workouts, that’s your 30-minute health benefits of exercise met for the day. If you only have time to do one or two routines, get in the rest of your exercise minutes with walking and staying generally active.

An at-home workout can be highly effective. Even if you only have time to squeeze in a few minutes of exercise, it can make a big difference with how you feel. Getting your body moving each day can build your self-confidence and your muscles too. Make this Halloween a healthy and fit one.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Fast-Track Your Fitness Results with a Balanced Exercise Plan

Stretch for body confidence.

Get better and faster results by customizing your workouts – discover what’s missing from your current routine.

 

Taking a balanced approach, in my opinion, is the best approach to living a healthy, active lifestyle. Training in a balanced and structured way will help you to more accurately progress your workouts, may help you to avoid unnecessary injuries, and following a balanced routine may enhance your overall training results, helping you reach your goals faster.

We all have our individual likes and dislikes when it comes to exercising, so customizing your routine based on what you love is the best way to ensure you stay motivated and dedicated towards achieving your goal.

Here are four elements of exercise that every good plan should include.

Stretching: Stretching on a regular basis can help you gain body confidence and make you become more conscious of your posture. Stretching is also great for improving joint stability, muscular flexibility and alleviating muscular tension.

Dynamic warm-up stretches and static post-exercise stretching can take as little as 10 minutes of your time, yet can make a dramatic difference in how you feel. Ensure that every workout starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down.

Cardio: Engaging in cardiovascular activity is good for your heart and great for burning excess calories. Your heart is a muscle, and pushing it to work hard a few days each week may help improve your cardiac output. If you engage in cardiovascular activity on a regular basis, you may lower your overall resting heart rate, which is good for your long-term health. There are so many activities you can choose from; walking, running, cycling, dancing and swimming are all very popular, but any exercise that gets your heart rate up will work.

Performing moderately intense cardio based activities for at least 150 minutes per week or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity – or a combination of the two – is a good amount to aim for to reap the health benefits associated with exercising.

Strength: When you add resistance based training to your routine, you will start to notice changes in how you look and feel. You may loose excess body fat and gain lean muscle mass, which is not only great for your appearance, but it also helps your body become more efficient at burning calories. A body with a high percentage of lean muscle mass requires more calories just to sustain itself than a person of the same weight who has a higher percentage of body fat.

You can stimulate muscle tissue to grow by exercising, using your body weight as resistance or by lifting weights on a regular basis. Performing resistance based activities three to four times per week, combined with consuming a protein-rich diet can help you achieve great results.

Endurance: Engaging in regular, prolonged physical activity can improve your muscular strength and boost your overall endurance level. When you exercise, your body must deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues in order to help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily tasks. You can improve cardiovascular endurance by extending the duration of your workouts, and muscular endurance can be achieved by increasing your weight and reps at the gym.

Spend at least one session per week focusing on your endurance based fitness level.

We all have different goals for our bodies, so taking a personalized approach to your plan is the best way to ensure that you are striving toward becoming your best self. You get to decide how much of each mode of training you incorporate into your week to feel at your best. Keep an exercise journal as you experiment with your plan, so that when you do find the perfect exercise combination for your body, you will have it written down for future reference.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

5 Ways to Ramp Up Your Excercise Routine

Train with a friend for better results.

 

Do you find yourself getting sad as the colder days and early dark nights of the fall months start to settle in? If that sounds like you, beat the post summer blues by increasing your commitment to living a more active lifestyle.

Performing structured daily exercises can help you perform at your best in both physical and non-physical tasks, because the benefits of exercising go far beyond the physical. Physical activity promotes the release of endorphins, such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These hormones are your body’s natural happy hormones, so their increased release can give you an emotional boost and makes you feel happier and more productive. As the summer ends and the winter approaches, it’s important to find ways to enhance you mood, and I believe there is no better answer than ramping up your physical activity routine.

Exercising regularly can greatly enhance your emotional sense of wellbeing and positively impact your overall mental health. The number of brain related benefits associated with exercising regularly are vast and include improved brain structure, improved brain function, improved cognition, enhanced memory, and an improved ability to cope with stress.

“Right now is a perfect time to get more active”

The fall months signal the upcoming stress of the holidays, and quite often the holiday season includes a lot of unhealthy eating. This increased stress, in combination with access to more unhealthy foods, can lead to weight gain and make losing weight more difficult. Finding time for activity is especially important during this time of year. Ramping up your exercise routine during periods of stress will allow you to regroup, focus on yourself and kick-start your results.

Here are five ways you can ramp up your exercise routine.

Increase your exercise time: Spend an extra few minutes at the gym to ensure you are doing a complete and challenging routine. Allowing yourself an extra 10-20 minutes for your workout will make you feel less rushed and give you the opportunity to complete a more thorough and balanced workout.  Making time to complete a session that has a suitable dynamic warm-up and a post-workout stretch is a great way to perfect your personal routine.

Train with a friend: Make your gym time a little more fun and social for a few weeks and train with a friend or join a group. It’s easier to stay motivated when you have a friend by your side to push you through.

Get outside: The temperatures at this time of year may be dropping, but if you dress appropriately you can enjoy the crisp, cool air, and a change of scenery may boost your mood.

Mix up your routine: Try a new mode of exercise to give yourself a challenge, taking a class or following an online routine is a great way to infuse some energy into your workout.

Up the intensity level: If you feel capable, push yourself a little harder in your workout, increase your weights or add a few extra reps. Trying a HIIT style session will decrease your time spent at the gym without negatively impacting your results. In fact, HIIT style training can boost your fitness level.

Make your personal mental and emotional health a priority and stay committed to living a healthy and active lifestyle regardless of the season.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

VIDEO: #ActiveBodyFit – Challenge Trail Workout 1

Samantha 14Ready to find your inner athlete? Here’s a challenging workout with five key warm up moves, a five minute jog and a two mile run. Now let’s get to it!
 

 

 

By Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Family Fitness: Raise Healthy, Active Kids

Get active with your kids.

Whether you want to raise superstar athletes or just emphasize the importance of physical fitness in order to raise healthy, active kids, it’s never too late to get started on a family fitness journey.

There’s never been a better time to get active with your family! If you’re looking to change your children’s current lifestyle and make healthier choices, then I have six great tips that may help you get or stay on a path to raising healthy, active kids. An active lifestyle is a great family goal that can be achieved with a few creative changes.

Related Article: Design Your Own Healthy, Active Lifestyle Plan

1) Talk to your child’s physician

I always advise that you talk to your child’s doctor about what kind of fitness is right for them —especially if it’s a drastic lifestyle change. The words ‘active’ and ‘kids’ used to go hand in hand, but in today’s modern world, many kids hardly ever run around or play sports. Going from complete inactivity to a sudden active lifestyle can be a shock to the system. All changes in physical activity should be gradual. Checking your kids’ health before making any lifestyle changes should be the first step to achieving your family’s fitness goals.

2) Create a routine

The best way to get going on your family fitness journey is to write out a schedule and pick two activity days per week. Consider planning outdoor activities such as hikes, bike rides or sports to make it feel less like a duty and more like playtime. The more you can involve your kids in the planning process, the more enthusiastic they will be about the change.

3) Embrace modern technology

If you have children that are reliant on modern technology such as computers, video games, and tablets, you might face a full-blown rebellion if you try to swap gadgets for family fitness time. Instead, you can embrace modern technology and ease into an active lifestyle with fitness games and challenges. There are many dance, fitness and activity games available that combine technology with simple tasks to help entertain kids into getting active. This tip shouldn’t take away from traditional outdoor activities, but it’s a step in the right direction.

4) Go back to basics and keep it simple

Remember how much fun it was to play a simple game of catch with your friends when you were younger? As you move towards more traditional fitness-based activities, focus on fun coordination and body awareness moves. Kids have developing nervous systems and would benefit greatly from engaging both small and large motor skills. These activities include kicking, catching and hopping, and they could feel more like a game rather than fitness.

5) Be smart about fitness

Children get so many ideas of what think they can do. Your child may see photos in the media of other kids lifting heavy weights. In reality, it’s not a good idea for children to be doing heavy lifting. There are differing opinions on the correct age that children should start lifting weights, and it’s a decision that should be discussed with your child’s physician. I believe doing exercises that use your body weight are a perfect way to build strength for kids and adults. I started my weights program at the age of 15. My husband started using weights at the age of 17, and we’ve both been successful in the fitness world. My children will be well into their teens before they touch a weight. Until then, they’re going to have fun with squats, pushups and playing on the monkey bars!

6) Lead by example

The greatest gift you can give your children is to lead by example by practicing healthy habits. Try popping in a fitness DVD or follow a fitness routine on the computer to set an active example. If your young children want to join in, you should let them! Just make sure they stay away from the equipment, especially weight machines and treadmills. A fall on a moving treadmill can cause permanent scarring and burns (I know this from personal experience – you don’t need to make the same mistake!).

We can all make healthier choices to lead our children down a healthy, active path. If you keep it fun for them, you can set them up for a lifetime of being active.

Written by Samantha Clayton, A.F.A.A., I.S.S.A. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com