Fitness

New Years Resolution Survival Guide: The Separation is in the Preparation

coffee and notepad with the text 2016 resolutions

We know you’re barely done digesting your Christmas cookies, but it’s time to start looking forward to 2016. The New Year brings new opportunities to start fresh, set goals for the year ahead and make positive, lasting changes in your life. But before you can starting working toward your New Years resolution, you need to find the right one.

Take some time to reflect on the last year. What would you have liked to have done differently? What was the biggest source of stress for you? What would you have liked to work on, but just didn’t find the time?

Now think forward: What are your goals for this coming year? What do you want to achieve? Get your ideas churning with 8 Ways to Make a Healthy New Years Resolution.

Coming up empty? We’ve got you! 20 Healthy New Years Resolutions You Should Make.

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The Biggest Loser Returns for Season 17 with Big Changes

Biggest Loser cast 17

The Biggest Loser is back January 4, 2016 for its 17th season, but with a new host, a new gym and even a brand new logo, this season will be anything but business as usual.

America’s favorite trainers Dolvett Quince and Jen Widerstrom return this season to train eight teams of two contestants, all competing to shed the most weight for the $250,000 grand prize. Seven of the teams know each other well, with couplings including spouses, parents and adult children, siblings, and best friends, all looking to improve their lives and heal old wounds through losing weight and getting their health under control.

The members of the eighth team are strangers to each other, but you may know them quite well:  former “Survivor” winner and “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Richard Hatch, 54, and “The Voice” season two semi-finalist Erin Willett, 26.  While they may be used to the bright lights and cameras, this team will still have to work  just as hard as the other contestants to lose their excess weight while figuring out how to work together and support each other in making lasting lifestyle changes.

While this season will have all the calorie-burning, sweat-dripping excitement you’ve come to know and love from The Biggest Loser, season 17 brings with it a lot of changes, too.

The new host is a friendly, familiar face: beloved former The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper. The newly renovated “Biggest Loser” gym features a brand new look, logo and modernized state-of-the-art equipment, including eight individual high-tech wall monitors that track each contestant’s stats in real time, including calorie burn and heart rate. The gym will be split, with one half dedicated to Team Dolvett and the other half dedicated to Team Jen. Weigh-ins are also getting a revamp, featuring double scales so teams can weigh in and face off side by side.

The theme for this season is ‘Temptation,’ and will focus on real world situations and roadblocks that everyone faces in their pursuit to live a healthy lifestyle. Players will spend more time off-campus this season than ever before to better prepare them for what they will face when they return home, and offer viewers helpful take aways they can implement immediately in their own fitness journeys.

The Biggest Loser season 17 premieres Monday, January 4 (9-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.

Abs are Made in the Kitchen: Clean Eating vs. Strength Training

Clean Eating Strength Training

People are finally starting to understand that strength training – not cardio – is the best way to build the shape and definition you want. Hurray! So many hours on the elliptical, saved!

Well, now we’re here to tell you that nutrition is even more important than strength training when it comes to seeing results. How can that be?

You may have heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Or, perhaps, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” These rules of thumb survive the test of time because they’re true. But what exactly do they mean?

Your food won’t magically build muscle without you having to lift a finger; only resistance training can do that. But in order to see that hard work you’re putting in at the gym, you need to focus on what you’re putting in your mouth. (more…)

Fabulous Adventure Vacations with Just Enough R&R

hike

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who take a vacation to totally relax. They go to place like Hawaii and Mexico to stay at an all inclusive resort to golf or spend time in the spa. A vacation is a way to get away from the world.

Then there are those who see a vacation as an adventure. It’s a chance to hike a mountain pass, to camp on the ridge and see the sunrise. A vacation is a chance to breath deep as they plunge into new experiences and to see what their bodies can do.

Then there are people like me who want a little bit of both. I want a good hike in the morning, followed by an amazing meal of local cuisine. I don’t mind getting up for sunrise as long as there is a cup of tea and a comfortable bed waiting for me at the end of the day. I want to get away from my every day, but I still want to experience what the world has to offer.  If that describes you too, I’ve got some great ideas for a fit adventure followed by a little R&R.

RUN

Hood to Coast Relay: Here’s your chance to see that amazing sunrise! This 198-mile relay race takes you from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon. It’s the longest relay foot race in the world, starting early on Friday morning and lasting well into Saturday. Stay the night at the Shilo Inn in Seaside after the race to rest up, have a good meal, and catch the shuttle service back to Portland on Sunday. (more…)

The Perfect Sports Bra Fit: What the Experts Say for Any Size

sports bra

We all have that one sports bra. The one you’ve had since high school, full of holes with no elastic left. While it’s supported you through the years, over time, it’s lost its ability. But like an old boyfriend, you keep it around because it’s comfortable.

Sports bras are supposed to be your boobs’ best friend, but an ill-fitting one can turn into their worst enemy. Too small, and it will smash and suffocate while on and be nearly impossible to take off. Too big and it won’t do anything for you at all. Either way, you’re setting yourself up for an uncomfortable workout that may even do damage to your body.

According to Renelle Braaten, founder and president of ENELL, who creates state-of-the-art, high-quality performance sports bras for women C cup or above, “An ill-fitting or unsupportive sports bra, especially while engaging in sports or strenuous activity, can cause premature sagging of the breasts and stress on your back muscles,” she told DietsInReview.com. She explained that this can cause breast, back, shoulder, and arm pain. “It can also cause headaches, indentation, scarring, chafing and/or improper posture.”

It’s such a problem, in fact, that many women cut their workouts short or skip them entirely. This isn’t news to ladies, however, as we have been coming up with our own ways to deal with poorly fitted sports bras over the years. Some girls wear regular bras under their sports bras to get the support and coverage they need, while some double up on two sports bras in an attempt to stop bouncing and avoid blacking out their eyes. (more…)

4 Sculpting Moves You Can Do With a Chair

No workout equipment? No problem! All you need is a chair

Sitting too much is bad for your health, numerous studies suggest. But as AcaciaTV trainer Deazie Gibson demonstrates, a sturdy chair can also be a terrific asset for getting into shape — even when you’ve got no other equipment.

Using only a chair, do 1-3 sets of each of these four simple sculpt moves 3-5 times a week. Put them all together for a total body workout or perform one exercise every time you take a break from sitting.

glute bridge deazie

Glute Bridge: Works core and glutes

Lie on your back in front of your chair. Place your heels on the seat of the chair so that your knees are bent comfortably. Slowly raise your butt and back off the floor, keeping your shoulder blades press firmly downward. Hold a moment at the top of the movement and lower down one vertebra at a time. Do 8-15 reps per set.

chair planks deazie

Chair Plank: Works core, shoulders, arms, glutes

Kneel down in front of your chair and place your elbows on the seat. Lift your knees up off the floor and extend your leg so your body is in plank position diagonal to the floor. Pull your abs inward and don’t allow your back to sag. Hold 10-30 slow counts.

chair squats deazie

Chair Squat: Works glutes and thighs

Stand tall about a foot in front of your chair facing away from it, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees to sit back and down. As soon as you feel your butt lightly touch the seat of the chair, stand back up to the start. As you lower, your knees should track over your toes. When you stand back up keep your knees “soft.” Do 8-15 reps per set.

chair dips

Chair Dip: Works chest, shoulders, triceps, core

Sit on the edge of the chair with a hand firmly gripping each side of the seat. Either bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor or straighten your legs and lift your toes up off the floor. With your arms straight, slide your butt off the chair. Bend your elbows to lower your torso towards the floor. When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, press back up the start. Do 8-15 reps per set.

And be sure to check out AcaciaTV’s 100-plus hours of streaming, on demand workouts. Like this routine, most require little if any equipment.

Also Read:

4 Super Effective Moves for an Explosive Leg Workout

30-Minute Outdoor Fitness Circuit

Build Your Core Without Killing Your Neck

11 Hikes You Must Take This Summer

best hikes

Some people hike all year, and some of us are fair-weather hikers. Regardless of what type of hiker you consider yourself to be, it is undoubtedly time to lace up the boots. If you are planning a trip to a new part of the country, or if you are simply tired of the same ‘ole hikes in your area, we come bearing gifts! We’ve rounded up some of the best hikes in the country

Before you get going however, make sure you are well prepared.

  • A hiking backpack with a hip belt so you are not carrying all of the weight in your shoulders. Plus, it provides a place to carry your gear.
  • Water is a must! So are snacks like trail mix, granola bars, fresh fruit, and protein bars.
  • Insect repellant if you are prone to bug bites.
  • Hiking boots are arguably the most important piece of hiking equipment. You need well-fitting boots that can take on the terrain and keep your feet dry and secure.
  • Layer your clothing with light pieces that can easily be removed when it’s hot, put back on when it’s cold, or stored in your pack.

BEST HIKES IN THE U.S.

Pacific Northwest

>> Ramona Falls Hike, Mt. Hood, Oregon

The Ramona Falls Hike is a seven-mile loop, round trip. Though the hike is described as “moderate,” it is not necessarily recommended for families because of the bridge crossing the Sandy River. The beautiful hike is a Mount Hood favorite, however. People love the relatively easy- to-navigate trail, the short distance out of Portland, and of course, the gorgeous Ramona Falls.

>> Mount Finlayson Trail, San Juans, Washington

The gorgeous Mount Finlayson Trail is one of the best hikes in Washington State. The trail is nearly four-miles round trip and offers gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, the the beautiful Puget Sound. There are plenty of trail heads and paths to take along the hike, so have fun exploring!

>> Oyster Dome, Chuckanut, Washington

The Oyster Dome hike is a nearly seven-mile hike, round trip, though the whole time you will be eager to get to the top. From the top, Oyster Dome is one of the most gorgeous views in the world. Enjoy both the Lummi and Orcas Islands from afar and the beautiful Samish Bay below. The hike can be family friendly, but watch out for the very unforgiving ledges. (more…)

Get Ripped Like Summer 2015’s Biggest Blockbuster Stars

mad max workouts

Blockbuster movie season has officially begun. Though there are many, many reasons to see the following films, these action-packed summer movies feature some of the hottest celebrities in the world. If you use A-listers as your guiding light at the gym, see how can you combine your workout with your favorite new movie.

The secret? Almost all of these stars rely on strength training to get trim, lean, toned arms, legs, booties, and bellies. Strength training is not only one of the biggest trends in fitness this year, it’s one of the very best things you can do for your body. Yes, even women. Even two days of weights a week will make a difference in how you feel and look. If you need inspiration to get started, this list has a lot of muscle.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Everyone has been talking about Age of Ultron lately, and why shouldn’t they be? The sequel to 2012’s The Avengers has certainly earned its buzz. Wondering how you can get in superhero shape yourself? Grab a kettleball and wield it like Loki’s hammer. I mean–try not to hurt anyone or yourself–but your arms will thank you later.

Turkish Get Up Full-Body Kettlebell Workout

Hot Pursuit

The buddy-comedy Hot Pursuit stars two of the hottest actresses in the world: Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. It would be stellar to have either of their bodies, but to match their workouts, you’re going to want to focus on your squats. It is safe to say that both sexy ladies have very nice backsides. Work those glutes, guys.

Lower Body Blitz Workout (more…)

30-Minute Outdoor Fitness Circuit That Lets You Skip the Gym

Take it from AcaciaTV motivation coach Alison Heilig, you don’t have to join a gym to get in shape and lose weight. Heck, you don’t really even need any equipment.

“Every time, we change it up and make a game of it to keep it exciting,” Heilig said of her weekly workouts with her neighborhood running club.

Want to join in on the fun? Lace up your shoes and try this outdoor fitness circuit. After a 5-minute warm up, alternate between 2 to 5 minutes of walking or running and these four fitness moves. Do a 5-minute cool down at the end. Start with one circuit and build up to three!

stair running acacia

STAIR RUNNING

Find a set of stairs with at least 20 steps and sprint up to the top. Jog down and repeat for a total of 3 sets. If you can’t find a staircase long enough, just do more reps on a shorter set or use a curb, bench, or box to do step-ups for 1-2 minutes. Challenge yourself by taking the steps two at a time. (more…)

Try This Healthier Work-At-Home Fitness Routine

work-at-home

Congratulations! You have finally escaped the cube farm and negotiated a work-from-home schedule. You imagine sleeping in a little later, trading high heels and skirts for sneakers and sweats, and saving a ton of money skipping your morning latte run in favor of your own Keurig creation.

Working from home can help work/life balance and put some money back in your bank account, but there are also drawbacks. According to a 2012 US Bureau of Labor Statistics study, telecommuting may actually cause your boss to have higher expectations about your ability to work more hours, including nights and weekends.

Your own expectations about what you can do with this new-found freedom may also be slightly askew. If your job required hours of sitting before, don’t expect that to change because the treadmill is now in the next room. You may find yourself moving less because your co-workers aren’t stopping by your desk to ask you out for lunch or you don’t get to climb a few flights of stairs on your way to your next meeting.

Working from home requires setting some clear boundaries about not only your office hours, but also meal and exercise breaks. Use these tips to help you create a new “work at home” fitness routine. (more…)