Tag Archives: Guest Blog

Get Surfer Ripped Without the Waves at Crunch’s SurfSET Fitness Class

Crunch Gym is known for their unique group exercises classes, and their newest offering Surfset is no exception. The class is described as “the world’s first total body surf trainer designed to mimic real surfing.” And after seeing creator and former pro hockey player Mike Hartwick’s pitch it on the hit Fox show Shark Tank, I knew I had to check it out.

All in all, this class is genius. Half of it takes place on a custom-built indoor surfboard called the RipSurfer X. The other half is spent using sandbags, imitating the common movement patterns used in surfing.

crunch surfset

According to the official Surfset website, the RipSurfer X is designed to get participants a surfer body that is “lean without looking weak, and muscular without the bulk” and designed to simulate real life surfing. Think of it as a surfboard balanced on small stability balls. In order to remain standing, you have to find your center of gravity and keep your core muscles (i.e. abs, back, and upper legs) active in order to remain standing. You may not feel it that day, but come tomorrow you will feel sore in muscles you never knew existed! (more…)

The Food Fighters: 5 Immune-Boosting Nutrients You Need to Ward Off Cold, Flu and Illness

By Team Best Life

For every day of good health you enjoy, you can thank your immune system. Adequate sleep (7 to 8 hours per night), regular exercise, and well-managed stress all contribute to boosting your immune system. In addition, what you eat has a direct effect on how well your body defends itself from microbes and other disease-causing foreigners. And the best foods have plenty of these nutrients.

vitamin c

Vitamin A

What it does: Once converted from beta-carotene in the body, vitamin A helps develop defensive T-cells that protect you from foreign bacteria and viruses.

Where to find it: Beta-carotene-rich foods (look for orange), such as cantaloupe, carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Also, leafy greens like collard, kale, mustard, and spinach.

Vitamin C

What it does: It stimulates the production of immune cells such as neutrophils, which attack bacteria and viruses while protecting these cells from free radical damage.

Where to find it: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, sweet red pepper, tomato. (more…)

Cardio Doesn’t Have to Make You Weak in the Knees: 5 Gentler Approaches to Cardio Exercise

When we think of cardio, running is often the first thing that comes to mind. Running is a great form of exercise, however, it isn’t the right solution for everyone. From beginners who haven’t built a base of strength yet to those with arthritis, high impact movements like running aren’t a good fit.

Cardio, by definition, actually means “from the heart.” Therefore, from an exercise perspective, it is anything that gets your heart rate up. This means there are plenty of low- or no-impact activities you can do to accomplish this goal. Make cardio easier on your knees while still benefiting your heart with these five moves.

kettlebell woman

Walking is a great form of cardio that we already know how to do, but you have to do it briskly or find a way to push yourself. The heart is a muscle and, like your biceps, gets stronger only with challenge. Make your walk more challenging by increasing the incline on the treadmill or wearing a weighted vest on your outdoor walks.

Dance lets you sweat and de-stress. Have you seen the transformations on Dancing with the Stars? If ballroom isn’t your thing, try a hip-hop or swing class. You can always crank up your favorite tunes and get crazy in your living room. (more…)

3 Ways to Get a Better Workout and Burn More Calories

By Bob Greene of TheBestLife.com

Did you hit up a Spin class, get in a run, or head out on a hike today? Good job!

Now, did you take some time to warm up, stretch and cool down? These three elements, which would set you back only about 20 minutes, are nearly as important as the workout itself. That’s because they can prepare you for your workout and may also help prevent injuries.

I know what you’re thinking: I just don’t have the time. I’m lucky enough to squeeze in a quick workout let alone all these extras. But I urge you to find time. Doing so will help you get a better workout and burn more calories. In other words, it’s worth the effort. Still not convinced? Take a look at how little time each element will cost and how big the rewards are.

stretch

Warm up

What it is: Light cardio aerobic activity done before a workout

Why you need it: It helps get your muscles ready for exercise. A warm up can be anything from a quick walk or slow jog to jumping jacks or jumping rope.

Time Investment: 5 minutes (more…)

Boomers, Get Your Groove Back! 5 Ways to Enjoy the Active, Healthy Retirement You Want

A recent study by Prevention Magazine and Kellogg’s found that Boomers (ages 48-67) are looking forward to an “active, healthy retirement,” yet one-third of them don’t know where to start, while a full half of those surveyed would make positive changes if they knew how those changes would affect them.

As an active, healthy Boomer, I am going to share some simple steps you can take to come over to the two-thirds light!! But first, why the heck do 81% of you know your credit card balance, while only 49% of you know your body mass index (BMI) or cholesterol levels? You cannot buy better health with that credit card!!

boomers

1. Add in one healthy food to your daily diet and cut out one unhealthy food. Rather than look for fat content (some fats are healthy), look for the number of ingredients. The fewer, the better. The closer to the ground, the better. Think of the difference between an apple sprinkled with cinnamon (two ingredients) versus an apple-cinnamon toaster pastry (more than 25 ingredients). Do this once a week and by the time you’re one year older you will have completely revamped your diet.

2. Move a little more than the day before. Not only does movement keep you fit, it makes you smarter. Can you walk just 22 minutes a day? Or dance? Some laps in the water? It’s common knowledge that movement helps you lose weight and stay heart healthy, but being able to outsmart your kids, grandkids, friends, partner and cat (you can tell who’s boss in my house), well, that’s pretty motivating! (more…)

5 Ways to Eat, Drink and be Less Menopausal

By Team Best Life

Menopause is thought of as just one of those things every woman has to go through, including its less-than-comfortable symptoms. But studies show that women can control just how bad menopausal symptoms are. It all depends on…

menopause
What you eat. Want to lower your incidence of hot flashes and night sweats? Avoid foods with refined sugar and high fats (like candy, cake or other sugary snacks). In one Australian study of 6,000 women, these foods correlated with a higher likelihood of hot flashes and night sweats. On the flip side, women whose diet was high in fruit and fish reported lower incidences of these symptoms.

What you drink. The Harvard Women’s Health Study revealed something surprising: Women who drink alcohol—just one drink a day—are less likely to gain weight in mid-life than those who don’t drink at all. (One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.) Red wine was found to be particularly protective. According to the researchers, this might be because women metabolize alcohol in a way that makes it less likely to result in increased fat. (more…)

Get More from Your Long Runs to Really Go the Distance

Long runs, any run over 90 minutes, are not your typical run. The goal of a long run is “time on your feet,” that is getting your body, especially your legs, used to running for 2-4 hours consistently and preparing for race day. To get the most benefits out of long runs requires advance planning. You want to carefully consider the route, hydration and fueling, clothing choices, safety, and transportation needs.

Although the most important aspect of these training runs is plain and simple – time on your feet – following the tips below will help you run your best on race day and feel great.

runners
Course Simulation: Run routes that look like your race course – similar elevation changes and surfaces. You can find the race’s elevation chart on the race website or map it out yourself on MapMyFitness. This is a great way to prepare yourself, and your legs! If you have hills at the beginning or end of your course, practice starting or finishing your long runs with similar hills. If you live in the city where you are racing, practice running portions of the course. (more…)

Be a Portion Control Pro! 5 Ways to Divide While Conquering Your Meals

By Janis Jibrin, M.S. RD, Lead Nutritionist for TheBestLife.com

Having trouble getting your portions under control? Here are five tactics to help you rein them in.

portion

Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re likely to feel hungrier because your body produces more appetite-spiking hormones and fewer “I’m full” signals. For instance, a German study found that after just four nights of sleeping seven, six, six and finally just four hours, women took in 20 percent more calories than they did after getting eight hours of sleep. For most people, seven to eight hours is ideal.

Don’t wait too long between meals. You know what happens when you do—you become ravenous and devour everything in sight! Make sure to carry a nut and seed bar or another 150- to 200-calorie snack for when you’re stuck in a meeting, on a plane, or in another situation where having a meal isn’t an option. (more…)

“I’m Here, Alive and Well and Thriving.” A Breast Cancer Survivor Used Exercise and CrossFit to Aid Her Recovery

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my breast cancer journey, so I thought that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would be an appropriate time to check in.

First and foremost, I’m doing awesome! This past July marked my two-year survivor anniversary. In the past two years, I’ve been through five major surgeries, countless “minor procedures,” six rounds of chemotherapy, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 3 ½ years. If it seems like a lot to read, imagine going through it. But…I’m here, alive and well and thriving.

carol
Although I’ve been through a lot, I attribute my success and ability to cope to three things:

  • My Faith in God and His awesome power
  • My husband, Alvin; my family, friends and followers standing by me all the way and pushing me to keep fighting
  • Exercise

Without these three elements firmly entrenched in my life, I shudder to think what kind of shape (physical, emotional and mental) that I would be in right now.

Faith and family, I’m sure you can relate to how important these are to you when you need them most; but exercise?

Let me explain. This is not just any old type of exercise, but serious, vigorous, out-of-breath, leaves you crawling exercise. I first heard about how important exercise is to cancer recovery from a guest on my radio show. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma and survived. While on the show she said that she attributed her success to vigorous exercise. This point stuck in my mind and when I was faced with a similar situation, I put my plan in motion. (more…)

Hiking Everest and 450 Miles Across Spain Helps Kay Cherryholmes Find Her Way to Health

By Kay Cherryholmes

One day I googled myself and I was caught off guard by a blog link that had me tagged as one of his Top 10 Most Inspiring Athletes of 2010! I had met the guy while hiking and considered him a dear friend. At first I smiled; feeling like I had somehow been a positive in his eyes, then almost immediately it read that he met me while hiking in Nepal to base camp of Mt. Everest and that my BMI was that of a mack truck!

everest kay

Instantly real tears fell. Not tears of his writing, but tears of truth about my struggle to achieve fitness. Who was I kidding? Mostly myself it seems. I grew up a competitive gymnast. I was always on a scale and measured my success based on a number that ranged between 114 and 119.

Fast forward from age 14 to age 44 and I had been married, divorced, raised two children as a single mom, and was completely disconnected from the fitness I knew as a young adult. My mind, however, continued to crave challenges, even in a 230-pound body. For all the struggle that it took to walk up into the Himalayan mountains 80 pounds overweight,it never began to stop me. He wrote that it was my perseverance that got me on his Top 10 Athlete list.

I always describe myself from the shoulders up as a ‘Michael Phelps type‘ and from my shoulders down more of a ‘John Belushi type’. I am part extreme athlete, part party girl. Too much brie and wine and not enough cardio.

After more than a decade of athletic events where I have fought with the struggle of weight in competition I decided that my next adventure would be a 450-mile walk across Northern Spain; the Camino de Santiago. It is a spiritual pilgrimage that took me through the heart of many regions in Spain. Once again I would carry the extra weight on my body and an additional 30-pound backpack with all the necessary gear I would need in my 40 days of hiking.

camino santiago

I wanted to remove myself from all of the excuses at home that get between me and a stronger, more fit body. I left behind the wine, cheese, friends, family, dishes, laundry, job, dog, television and my comfy new couch. They’d all become specks of home reality in my rear view mirror as I landed on Spanish soil. I would be forced in to my own mind and body for hundreds of miles and countless days. I wanted answers and to be accountable to myself. I would have no other choice but to face the dragons in my head, that for decades have defined my mindset and impacted my choices. (more…)