Whether you’re just starting a training program or have been a fitness fanatic for years, you’ve probably experienced an “exercise high,” the feeling of exhilaration a lot of people experience during or after exercise. It’s brought on by the release of hormones called endorphins that serve as natural pain relievers in the brain. It’s those same endorphins that can make exercise feel addictive, sometimes making it difficult to take a much-needed break.
Exercise activates the pleasure centers in the brain by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter. When experiencing an endorphin high, also called runner’s high, the intense exercise activates the endorphins, which signal the release of dopamine. Yes, repeated activation of dopamine has some risk of addiction, but that’s not to suggest exercise isn’t good for you. In addition to its long list of health benefits, exercise can also serve as a natural anti-depressant. But as with most things, too much of a good thing can be bad, so it’s important to recognize if you may be over-exercising, the risks of doing so and when to take a day off.
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Most fitness experts would agree that expecting to get fit fast from a diet or even exercise isn’t a responsible way to approach weight loss. Losing weight and staying fit takes dedication and consistency. But science may have proven otherwise.
Recent studies are finding that quick fat loss—in some cases, in as little as two weeks—may be possible with high intensity interval training, also known as H.I.I.T., short bursts of challenging activity like sprints followed by periods of rest or lower intensity work in between. The highly effective workouts are gaining popularity for the lean physiques they create and revved-up metabolisms that keep its fanatics burning fat long after the workout is over.
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If you’ve been exercising consistently or recently increased the duration or intensity of your workouts, you may have noticed your appetite has a mind of its own. Hunger may strike at inopportune times or you may even feel ravenous all day long. The solution is to make meals and snacks good nutritional investments so you can increase satiety without filling up on empty calories.
Follow these rules to avoid an empty stomach and ensure you’ll have plenty of energy throughout the day.
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Getting your fitness routine down to a science is huge—but that’s only half the equation. The right snacks and meals before and after a workout can make or break your efforts. The pre- and post-workout meals are the most important ones of the day, and according to the American Heart Association, food should be considered fuel and your body the vehicle. If you’re not putting the right fuel in your tank at the right times, you’ll be running on fumes.
The right fuel can make your workouts more efficient and give you better results, but you don’t have to diet or stick to a rigid eating schedule. Here are a few important guidelines to keep in mind when planning your pre and post-workout meals.
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Intense exercise programs like P90X, CrossFit and Insanity are some of the hottest workouts in fitness right now. Many are drawn to the challenging, mega-calorie-burning sweat sessions that leave their muscles sore and deliver fast results, and the supportive community keeps them coming back for more. But as enjoyable—and perhaps addictive—as high-intensity, out-of-the-box workouts may be, they can also be dangerous, especially for beginners or those with a history of injury. Here’s why.
If you’re reading this post, I’m going to guess it means you’re trying—trying your best to lose weight and get into the best shape possible. Problem is, it’s just not working out for you, right? For some, not being able to lose weight means they’re not working out enough or they’re eating way too much junk food. But you’re different: You eat the right things, you work out every day, and you’re definitely not overeating. So what gives?
Get this: The key to losing weight is not to work out more, not to eat better and not to eat less. You need to eat more! Before you think I’ve lost my mind, let me explain some very basic science to prove it.
Everybody has a morning ritual. Some wake up and have their coffee as they listen to the birds sing. Others turn on the news as they iron their clothes. But those who struggle with their weight tend to have the same old routine: You wake up, go to the bathroom, get on the scale. Does this sound like you?
“Oh no, I actually GAINED weight!” you think to yourself. “This can’t be right, let me try again.” So you step off the scale and try again only to see the same result. “Maybe if I move the scale over it’ll be better. This tile looks uneven.” But the scale reads the same number yet again, and your day is off to a not-so-great start.
If this sounds like you, I have some good news: You don’t need to step on the scale to see results. The number on the scale is only a fraction of the story.
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I’m sure you’re well aware by now that 70 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight. But have you ever thought about the flip side of that statistic? It implies that around 30 percent of U.S. adults are able to maintain a healthy weight despite the abundance of calorie-dense foods and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. In a 2010 poll, only about half of normal-weight adults reported exercising three times per week. This raises a good question: If you’re already at a healthy weight, why should you exercise?
I’ll tell you why—keep reading.
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Happy New Year, Be Wellers! Are you ready to get 2013 started on the right foot?
For many, the New Year means a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate. It also means a new resolve to finally (finally!) lose some weight. The sober truth is that while many will vow to take better care of their bodies, the vast majority will fail miserably within the first 60 days. (Womp, wommmmp.)
Now for the good news: You don’t have to be one of those people who fail. No, really. Keep reading, because I’m about to give you five simple rules for making (and keeping) your New Year’s lose weight, get fit resolution.
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Imagine having your own personal gym at home: There’d be no membership fees, no waiting for equipment, no sweaty guy grunting loudly as you try to finish your set. I bet your workouts would be a lot more efficient, frequent and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the machines you find in a standard gym cost anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000—no problem if you’re a millionaire with a spare 10,000-square-foot room, but a tad prohibitive for those of us on space-and-financial budgets.
What we need are smaller, cheaper, but no-less effective exercise equipment that can be stored in a closet. If I were building a great home gym, here are the three pieces of easy-to-store, easy-to-use exercise equipment I’d invest in.