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The Unexpected Ways Yoga Can Build Muscle

yoga stretch

I am a bodybuilder. I cannot even count the number of times that I have walked around in a tank top and people have asked me, “wow, do you do a lot of yoga or something?”

I used to get so offended by this question. I would think to myself, “How in God’s name does anyone think that yoga could have built this hard earned muscle? Stretching doesn’t build muscle!”

Little did I know, yoga is way more than just trying to touch your toes, and I was humbled by discovering this first hand when I decided to give it a try. I thought that a nice little stretch session would be good for my flexibility and recovery after demolishing some weights, but yoga offers a lot more than just that.

I ended up doing two workouts that day. I had no idea that yoga could be such an intensive practice and provide much more for my body than an increase in flexibility. Yoga has made its way into my weekly exercise routine, and it has not only helped my flexibility, but also my muscle building as well.

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Top 25 Diets of 2016: Reader’s Choice

It’s here!!!

We are halfway through 2016, and nearing closer to the summer months day by day.  To help you navigate the endless diets out there, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to our top 25 diets as determined by you, our faithful readers.

From pills to Paleo, to counting points to cabbage soup, see what hot diets every one is talking about this year!

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10 Reasons You Need to Eat More Fruits & Veggies

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are the most valuable players in your healthy diet because they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Eating a variety of whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables will not only help you meet your weight loss goals, it will protect your overall health as well. Not convinced? Courtney McCormick, Corporate Dietitian at Nutrisystem gives 10 more reasons to eat these colorful, flavorful foods.

  1. Low-Fat Protein
    Yes, protein. We tend to classify vegetables and fruits as carbohydrates, but they also contain amino acids, the building blocks of protein. A cup of broccoli, for instance, has 2.57 grams of protein and an avocado has 4 grams. Even fruits help supply the 15 to 20 percent of total calories from protein that you need each day. Blackberries and kiwis, for example, each have 2 grams of protein per cup.
  2. Nutrient Density
    A helpful way to think about your food choices is nutrient density, a ratio of the vitamin and mineral content to calories. Fruits and vegetables top the list of most nutrient-dense foods because they’re packed with the healthiest compounds, but very low in calories. You get more bang for your buck from eating produce because you get more nutrition in every bite than with almost every other type of food.
  3. Disease Defense
    People who eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), some types of cancer, and digestive problems, and are less likely to suffer from diabetes and other blood sugar disorders, according to the National Institutes of Health. Eating more fruits and vegetables may be the single most important step you can take to protect yourself from non-communicable diseases.
  4. Easier Digestion
    The process of breaking down food you eat into nutrients your body uses can take up to 30 hours. Fruits and vegetables contain more fiber than other types of food and it plays a key role in keeping your digestive tract working swiftly and smoothly. Eating lots of fresh produce prevents constipation and other kinds of digestive discomfort.
  5. Nearly Unlimited
    You might think of non-starchy vegetables as the hunger killers. Whenever you are feeling famished, you can snack on your favorite veggies with no guilt.
  6. Endless Variety
    From crunchy carrots to spicy peppers, buttery pears to sweet strawberries, you find more diversity of taste, texture and color in the produce department than anywhere else in the supermarket. No matter what you’re craving, there’s a vegetable or fruit that’s certain to satisfy it.
  7. True Versatility
    You can never be bored when eating fruits and vegetables because there are so many ways to enjoy them. When raw, they’re at their crunchiest and juiciest. Roasting caramelizes their natural sugars, making them sweeter, while deepening their other flavor components. Steaming brightens up their tastes, bringing their full complexity to the surface. Grilling vegetables and fruits adds smoky flavor that makes every meal seem like an outdoor barbecue.
  8. Naturally Portable
    In today’s fast-paced lives, many of us frequently refuel our bodies away from home, on the way from one appointment to the next. Fruits and vegetables are ideal for eating on-the-go because they’re so easy to take along wherever you will be. Many come in convenient single serving portions, some (like apples and bananas) even have their own built-in packaging.
  9. Best Deal
    Pound for pound, calorie for calorie, nutrient for nutrient, fruits and vegetables are the best bargain when you’re food shopping. Fresh produce costs less per pound than meat and seafood. And you get more nutrients per dollar spent from fruits and vegetables than you do from grains or any other item in the supermarket. Eating well for less is an unbeatable deal.
  10. Healthier World
    The resources, such as water and energy, needed to grow and distribute fruits and vegetables are significantly lower than those used in meat production. Eating more produce reduces the environmental impact of your diet and hel

Top 10 Diets for 2016: Editor’s Picks

weight watchers blog size

With summer peering its head right around the corner, the time has come to shed the cold weather coat that has been keeping you warm the past few months.
However, with so many diet approaches on the market these days, the vast selection can be paralyzing when beginning to work toward your weight loss goals.

Luckily, our Editors have compiled a list of the top 10 diets so far for 2016 to not only make choosing a diet that much easier, but so you can better your chances of seeing results that much sooner.

1. Weight Watchers
This diet allows you to eat whatever you like within your personal daily ‘points’ range. This approach teaches you how to incorporate any and all foods into a healthy diet, and learn the portion sizes that are right for you.

2. Plexus Slim
This diet is a stimulant-free, powdered supplement that you mix with water and consume 30 minutes prior to a meal. The antioxidants help to release fat, reduce appetite, and also provide beauty benefits.

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Play Your Way to a Summer Body Without Losing Intensity

Three women doing push ups in park

As you roll out of bed, you are met by the warm sunshine of spring. Finally! After months of oppressing rain and cold, warm weather is finally here.

So what to do first? I know! How about we go and sit in the dark, dingy gym to work on our summer bodies we have all procrastinated on.

Sike! Walking on a treadmill while peering out of the gym windows at the blooming flowers and chirping birds is right next to jumping off a cliff on my list of things I would like to do with my time.  However, something must be done about the several mugs of hot cocoa and cookies being used as insulation to keep warm during the winter months. Very strategic. But, now it is time to unveil the holy beach bod and it appears the only choice we have is to drag ourselves into the gym if we want to get a workout intense enough worthy of a bikini ready booty.

What’s that, you say? Tight and toned without a dumbbell? That’s right. Those extra few pounds may just be enough resistance to build a bit of muscle. Now, let’s go to the park for a full body workout!

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