Reasons Why You Should Make CrossFit Part of your Summer Routine

 

Crossfit: Many Benefits

Summer is great way to get back into shape or to discover a new workout routine. For years, I’ve explored various fitness approaches in the quest to achieve an optimal level of health. Over the past year or so, I’ve developed a love for Crossfit. This high intensity routine has surged in popularity over the last decade and owes its success to the effectiveness and collaborative nature of its design. Interested in learning more about CrossFit? Why not try this extremely fun and effective fitness program out this summer!

 

You’ll get into Amazing Shape

Check out any photo of a crossfit gym and my point will be illustrated perfectly. Crossfit is a phenomenal way to get into amazing shape, super fast. You’ll learn to push your body and fight through the pain. You’ll continue through it because you’ll be surrounded by fellow success stories.

 

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It’s All About Community

One of the best things about the Crossfit craze is the strong community that accompanies the workout. You’ll never be in the gym lifting weights alone. You’ll be scarce to find a fellow crossfitter who won’t jump in and model a new move. This can be extremely beneficial to new crossfitters as they learn and adapt to the movements.

 

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You’re Life Will Improve

Yes, you’ll be in better shape. Yes, you’re heart and your joints will be healthier. But you’ll also notice improvements in other areas of your life. To start, you’ll notice a huge mood in your mood. Constant exercise performed alongside your active community will do wonders for your mental health. You’ll laugh more. You’ll sweat more. You’ll release a ton of endorphins. Who wouldn’t want to achieve a lifestyle that gets you in shape and manages your mental health as well?

 

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It’s Fun

There’s something electric about the sport that motivates and excites even the most timid fitness enthusiast. Why is the sport so fun? Many of the movements hark back to your childhood days; playing on the playground. It’s a wild form of freedom. And an outlet that many adults don’t get to explore nearly enough. Exercise should be fun. The most successful athletes can manage their health and keep up with their routines because of this aspect. The secret to crossfit is the varied workout movements. You’ll never get stuck cycling for an hour or repeating the same three circuits. Crossfit is all about varying the movements to target different parts of your body in fast and intense interval cycles.

 

Crossfit continues to make its way into every town and city in America. It continues to cultivate new communities of crossfitters; individuals who notice a tremendous improvement in their physical and mental health. What about you? Will crossfit change your life this summer?

 

Not sure you’re ready to try it out a gym or Crossfit studio? Check out my previous post, where I outline one of my favorite workouts. A few of these movements are crossfit standards!

 

Crossfit woman

2016 Fitness Gear Round-Up

As a fitness connoisseur and lifelong adventurer, I’m always on the hunt for the newest tools and gear to make fitness even more fun and rewarding. 2016 doesn’t disappoint. Check out my latest discoveries. Have you used any of these? What gear have you found to be the most rewarding?

 

2016 Fitness Gear Round-Up

 

Best Cycling Apparel : Vulpine Button Down Oxford Shirt : Perfect for days when you want to ride to work but don’t want to bring a change of clothes. This classic-cut shirt features a lycra mix for stretch and flat seams to prevent chafing.

Men's Button Down Oxford Shirt, Vulpine.
Men’s Button Down Oxford Shirt, Vulpine.

 

Best Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Charge HD : While the fitbit remains to be inaccurate when it comes to measuring miles or tracking steps, it still provides many useful features like the GPS and its community centric spirit. Compete against your family members and friends to see who log the most miles. Are you the fittest of them all?

 

Best Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 225 / Need to upgrade your running watch? Check out Garmin’s latest tech that features its first heart-rate monitor. It’s best chest-free device a runner can find.

Garmin Forerunner 225
Garmin Forerunner 225

 

Best bike light: Blaze Laserlight / Need your own bat signal? Check out the Blaze, a front light that projects the image of a green, neon bicycle in front of you. The strategy–to help motorists see you before you arrive is a genius way to announce your impending arrival.

 

Best running shoes: ASICS MetaRun / Runners, look no further. This shoes was designed with long-distance runners in mind and has spent more than 3 years being tested in the lab. The kicker? There’s only 60,000 of these shoes made so you better hurry to claim your own.

Asics MetaRun
Asics MetaRun

 

Best headphones: Trainer Ti100 / These lightweight in-ear earphones feature two custom tips. While these phones offer a few improvements from the previous model, like a looser fit, these earphones may feel like they’ll slip out, though they won’t on your run!

 

Best Sleep tech: Withings Aura / Sleep is fundamentally important to athletes so why not include this on the gear roundup. This comprehensive sleep device will measure, soothe, and help keep you slumbering each night. Featuring a smart alarm and brightening lamp, designed to wake you slowly and naturally. Connect the supporting app to monitor your the temperature and noise while you sleep.

Withings Aura
Withings Aura

 

As a fitness lover and outdoor enthusiast, I find it amazing, and at times, overwhelming, at the amount of new technology and gear that is available to buy. It may seem easy to get stuck using the same brand of running sneakers for years on end, but why not give another brand a try? You might be amazed at the differences between two shoes. As always, send me your latest finds as your embark on your active lifestyle.

 

Mark’s Go-To Workout

 

Over the years, my workouts have transitioned from one sport to the next. I’m always interested in trying out the coolest trends! In the past, I’ve never been concerned about my nutrition. My philosophy? If I’m working out, I’m working it off. Now, science and technology have provided so much information debunking this fact. Living a healthy lifestyle means so more than being active.

I’m not a nutritionist, and I’m not writing this to tell you how to eat – but utilizing common sense when it comes to your food is important. If you are going to dedicate your time and energy to working out, why not start right at the refrigerator. Why wait for “next Monday” to start that new workout program when you can start right now by reading the back of a food label.

 

Gallery of food photos

 

We already know trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils are bad to consume in high amounts. Want a challenge? Take a minute and go over to your kitchen and read the labels on your favorite snacks. How many trans fats do you see? Now, look to see how many grams of sugar are in single serving. That many?

While you may be working out all the time but you’re not concerned about your diet, chances are you aren’t losing the weight. Here’s a secret. You can become healthier faster by not working out. You’ll actually see more results when you focus on the foods you consume! (Or not consume.)

Don’t worry. Healthy food does not equate to foods that don’t taste good. In fact, if you can discipline yourself for just two or three weeks, and adhere to a healthier diet, you’ll be amazed how awful that old way of eating tastes. Give up packaged foods. Foods with high sugar and high fat. Focus on eating real food – vegetables, fruit, nuts, and meats. The closer it is to its natural state, the more nutrient dense and healthier it is.

After you have the hang of eating real food, you’re ready to work out! As I mentioned earlier I have changed one sport to another and within each sport from one workout regimen to another. I have several workouts that I would like to share with you. I’ll start with exercises you can do at home, no equipment required.

Here are a few of the exercises I use most frequently:

  • Burpees:  I love burpees! A proper burpee begins standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hands above your head. Squat to the floor, hands flat on the floor in front of your feet, kick your feet back at the same time to a straight arm plank. Go down and do one push-up. Kick your feet back to your hands and thrust your body into the air extending your hands over your head. Finish in the standing position your started. That is one burpee!

 

  • Knee Tucks:  Begin this exercise in the straight arm plank position. You can put your feet shoulder width apart or together depending upon your shoulder strength and what is most comfortable. Now, in one single motion, kick your feet to the outside of each wrist, knees bent. Now kick back to your starting position. You’ve done one knee tuck.
  • Side-to-Side Knee Tucks: This exercise is identical to a standard knee tuck except you kick both feet to the same wrist. Alternate each side with each new kick. Don’t worry about kicking your feet all the way to your wrists. Start with what is comfortable –the side to side motion is most important. You’ll work those obliques!

 

  • Spider Push Ups:  A spider push-up is a normal push up with a slight alteration  First let’s make certain your normal push up form incorporates proper technique. Remember, a strong core is necessary to perform a proper push up. If your back is concaved, you are doing it wrong and will potentially hurting yourself.  Flatten your back, get that butt up and hips down. Feel weird? Good, you’ve been doing them wrong. Another common push-up mistake is not going down the entire way or doing a “pulse” push up.  If you turned a 2×4 on its edge under your chest, your chest should touch the 2×4.  On the way up straighten out those elbows.  The spider push-up incorporates all the motion of a properly executed push up except during the push up phase of the exercise, bring in your right knee and try to kiss your elbow with your knee. Alternate side-to-side for each push up.

 

  • Side Bends:  These are exactly what they say – a side bend. Feet shoulder width apart, hands flat against the outside of your thigh. Stand tall and bend sideways at your waist to try and touch the outside of your knee. Keep your core tight, your back straight using your obliques to control the movement. The benefit of this exercise, it allows your heart rate to come down and it comes at a time in the workout where you need to catch your breath.  Enjoy the break.

 

  • Mountain Climber: Start in a straight arm plank position. Quickly move one leg forward under your body, then back, then the other. Almost like running in place in this position.  

 

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I’ve selected a workout that works best with a partner. This provides two things. First, it helps with timing.While you are doing a set, your partner is resting and vise-versa. It also provides a challenge and helps you execute proper form and technique. Second, a partner helps you commit to a schedule and a routine. Ready to get started? Here we go.

 

10 Burpees

20 knee tucks – side to side

50 jumping Jacks

20 knee tucks – feet to wrists

10 Burpees

50 Mountain Climbers (25 each foot)

10 standard push ups

20 knee tucks – feet to wrists

10 Burpees

10 spider push ups

50 jumping jacks

*10 pull ups

20 knee tucks – side to side

10 Burpees

50 Side bends

*10 pull ups

50 mountain climbers

50 side bends

1-mile run

 

*If you do not have access to a pull-up bar, you can do 15 standard push ups, instead.

Keep a slow pace until you feel comfortable with the basic exercises. If 20 knee tucks are too much of a challenge, simply modify the workout. After you increase your strength and endurance, you can begin to challenge your workout partner. Try and go through the series twice!

After you’re finished, treat yourself to a healthy snack and pat yourself on your back. And always remember, “If you want it, you gotta go get it!”

 

Paleo Diet: Making the Switch

 

Paleo: Making the Switch

 

In my earlier post, I’ve outlined the basic history and overview of the Paleo Diet. While many of you may find it an interesting topic, you may find yourselves questioning if this lifestyle change is right for you. What are the noticeable differences? How will it affect my life for the better? Most importantly, how will this be different from all of the other diets I’ve tried?

I know first hand how difficult it can be to manage a new exercise routine or diet change. These are significant life changes and they require a large amount of time and dedication. After the initial excitement of embarking on a new journey wears off, what remains? You feel tired. You’re craving your traditional food choices. Worse yet, you’ve committed weeks, maybe even months to the change and you’re barely seeing any results.

 

Plant photo

 

Various diets promise fast results overnight. Don’t believe them. I’m can’t promise that adopting the lifestyle will be easy. What I can guarantee is that in a short amount of time, you will have more energy and you’ll look and feel healthier. The Paleo Diet is different from other fad diets. It prioritizes real food that our ancestors ate millions of years ago. We’re not only biologically built to consume this food, but to benefit from the specific nutrients related to it. Check out the list below as a preview of the awesome new lease on life you’ll receive after making the switch.

 

You’ll look better.

What happens when you consume more protein and fats? You’ll not only lose weight but you’ll develop muscle in its place. By ditching a carb-heavy diet, you’ll be reaching for a richer, healthier palette of foods designed to sculpt your body into a leaner and stronger form.

 

Cherries

 

You’ll feel better.

You’ll not only eat a lot of meat but you’ll also consume a large portion of vegetables. Vegetables are the secret to a healthy and happy digestive system. Strive to eat 2-3 servings of dark, leafy greens for a week and watch what happens. You’ll micro-biome, or your gut’s ecosystem will begin to repair and run at an efficient level. Amazing things happen when your gut is in working order.

 

Sunlight on tree.

 

You’ll sleep better.

Paleo prefers that you exclude coffee from your diet. This can be an extremely hard switch to make. You’ll no doubt feel tired, restless, even depressed. This is what happens when your body detoxes from harmful substances. If you’re serious about adopting a pure Paleo diet, try and stick with the elimination. In a few weeks, your body will begin to adjust to your normal energy levels. Better yet, you’ll have less sleeping issues due to the elimination of caffeine in your system.

 

Cat sleeping

 

You’ll work faster.

Your bones will be stronger. You won’t be reliant on caffeine. The paleo diet restarts your system to run at an efficient level. Another added perk? Say goodbye to the mid-afternoon slumps at work. When you’re no longer dependent on caffeine or sugar, your body will no longer run in spells, dipping when sugar is low. For those interested in adopting a Paleo lifestyle, the rewards are countless. Check back often for more posts on how to live a healthy and active life.

 

Man Hiking

 

4 Tips Every Beginning Cyclist Should Know

 

Mark Dziuban offers 4 tips.
Mark Dziuban offers 4 tips.

 

 

Cycling is a great way to become physically active while providing an outlet for the adventurous and travel-minded individual. It’s a great way to boost your aerobic activity. It’s also an excellent way to support the environment. All beginning cyclists can benefit from the following tips, designed to get you logging dozens of miles in no time.

 

Develop a Plan

 

The sooner you create a plan for your cycling routine, the faster you will see results. Cycling, like any form of aerobic conditioning, requires a steady, but slow, plan. You can find hundreds of training plans online or in cycling guidebooks. These plans help get you from a low-mileage position to race-ready in a matter of weeks or months. Check out this plan, featured on Bicycling.com.

Additionally, researching local races or rides can be a great motivator to put your plan in action. You’ll find it easier to stick with your weekly and monthly goals when you have your eye on a larger prize.

 

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Invest in Proper Equipment

 

What tools do cyclists need? To start, you’ll need to research what type of bike is right for you. Check out REI’s guide, here, for an overview–road, mountain, crossover, folding? Be sure to have your bike fitted. Test rides are an extremely important process in buying this investment piece. Unlike a pair of sneakers that may only last a season, a high-quality bike can provide you with years of value.

Necessary accessories include safety gear (helmet and reflective clothing), tail lights, an adjustable mirror, a travel-sized tool kit, and a small saddle bag to hold your accessories. It’s not a bad idea to keep a rain jacket, water bottle, and snacks with you, either.

 

Take care of the human machine

 

This is a crucial tip for any new fitness program. Proper self-care will provide you with a solid foundation. After each workout, carve out time to stretch. Make healthy eating a priority. Keep track of the hours that you sleep and strive for longer sessions. Because cycling is such a time-consuming and physically strenuous activity, it’s also important to fit the activity around your professional life. As a beginner, it’s not advisable to log a difficult workout after spending 10 hours in the office. Train when you’re fresh and take time to recover when you’re feeling tired. Living a healthy lifestyle will support all of your physical endeavours and allow you to reach your fitness goals faster.

 

Row of Bikes. 4 Tips for New Cyclists

 

Join a Community

 

Finding a community of riders can be a huge help in motivation. Stop by your local bike shop for teams that ride in the area. Just like the bicycle, you’ll want to find the right group for you. Groups will differ widely in terms of style and purpose. It’s most beneficial to first find a “no drop” team. During the ride, experienced cyclists will fall back to help those unable to continue with the pack. Before you begin your group adventure, you’ll want to be sure you can ride in a straight line, have all of the proper equipment, and are capable of controlling your speed.
If you’re not ready for the large group ride, why not enlist a friend or family member to start the hobby with you. You’ll receive the same amount of motivation with less stress.

 

Bike shot. 4 Tips for new cyclists.

 

 

The History of the Paleo Diet

 

Brief history of the diet template. Benefits, movement.

 

What is the Paleo Diet? The Paleo Diet is more than a shift away from processed food; it’s a return to the root of early human practices. As humans, we are biologically structured to benefit from the foods that we’ve consumed for the longest amount of time. What does that mean? It means that our primal ancestors spent more time grazing on fruits and nuts than modern humans have spent cooking, packaging foods, and even farming. The biological conditioning is important because as humans, we’ve advanced so quickly socially and culturally. However, our bodies are still tied to the food habits we developed hundreds of thousands of years ago.

 

The Paleo Diet traces its lineage way back to our earliest ancestors. When civilization was a budding enterprise, humans encountered challenges much different than the obstacles we face today. There were no grocery stores. There were no reliable tools or appliances to prepare food. Humans relied on grazing and hunting for their nutrients. Today, the Paleo Diet strives to model its tenants to those same priorities. Why? By eating a diet that appeals to our evolutionary roots; we’re able to ward off diseases, illnesses, and a host of modern ailments.

 

At its core, Paleo eating strips away all processed foods, and all foods high in sugar and carbs. These are all modern ingredients that are bodies have not been able to accommodate. While the Paleo diet may seem severe, its foundation is simple and easy to follow. The basic regiment? Eggs, fruits and vegetables, pasture-fed meat, and nuts.

 

 

Eggs

 

The science behind the Paleo Diet suggests remarkable benefits. Individuals eating the low-carb diet find they’re more focused, they weigh less, and perhaps most significantly, they are more inspired to adopt additional cave-man habits, like developing a healthier sleep schedule or relying less on technology for entertainment.

 

The Paleo Diet was introduced to the world nearly five years ago by Michelle Tan, a pharmacist living in Palo Alto. Ms. Tan’s original mission–to recreate a primordial sleep routine, soon encompassed so much more. Today, the Paleo diet is the subject of hundreds of articles and blogs. Celebrities have endorsed its success. There are retreats, classes, and nutritional plans to follow. Ms. Tan’s blog: Nom Nom Paleo, receives a healthy daily following and offers a collection of recipes, podcasts, and articles demystifying the simple and effective diet.

 

The Paleo’s cult-like following is not surprising. The diet exudes a passion for living and eating. It attracts motivated, ambitious individuals who are looking to better their lives through science and history. This is not a diet for those looking for a quick fix. And despite the diet’s prohibitive groups (no gluten or processed foods), Paleo encourages people to prepare and eat food that brings them joy. Eat what you love; love what you eat. Ancestral eating is more than an emphasis on real food over processed food. It’s a return to a template that provides our bodies with the nutrients that we need to function and survive.

 

Carrots

 

 

 

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