6 Reasons Why the LUXX Bag Is The Best Travel Companion Ever

By Tommy B.

In other words, don’t uxxeave home without it.

Travel — one of the great pleasures of life that can quickly turn into a nightmare depending on a few key factors such as plane delays, airport pickups and the ultimate disaster:

Forgetting a crucial item at home.

I was on my way to London when the sun had just cracked through the piercing, grey New York City clouds and that’s when it hit me:

My pants seem unusually light.

And then the frantic search for the iPhone began, culminating in mass chaos and anxiety, almost turning around and ultimately – headed overseas without it.

Now, I hope this doesn’t happen to you and since then I’ve implemented a failsafe system to make sure that was a one and done.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to go on multiple trips with the LUXX bag, and I have to say — it’s a rockstar for your trips and is my new favorite travel buddy.

I’ll reveal 7 reasons why I’ll never travel again without it – and why you shouldn’t either.

The LUXX Bag by LIVE WELL 360

The LUXX Bag by LIVE WELL 360

Functionality At A High Level

My favorite part about the bag is how functional it is — you can truly tell the attention to detail that went into creating this from a design perspective.

Nothing’s missed and every time you open it, you’re reminded that there’s no shortage of space.

I’ve never seen so many compartments in a bag — varying in size, from the exact dimensions to slide your iPhone (unless you lost it, like me), a perfect place to put your laptop or a pair of shoes.

There’s no other bag on the market that is this functional, that’s for sure.

I experienced this firsthand when I was on a flight to Cabo and had to do the dreaded overhead compartment search – only this time I found everything quickly and effortlestly without making a mess.

That’s a win.

Built To Weather Any Storm

This thing may look nice, but it’s tough.

Seriously, it’s made with such high quality materials that when I first received the bag, I couldn’t stop playing with it and touching the next level materials used to make it.

I’m a guy; I naturally don’t treat bags very well and tend to throw them around a lot.

This bag, however — could make it through any storm and look quite good during it.

I know this thing is going to last forever and even after 3 intense trips, one which involved hiking in the desert – it looks as if I just opened it.


0F5A9537Looks The Part, In Many Ways

Have you ever had have a really amazing shirt that you absolutely adore, yet only find the right chance to wear it once, or at most – twice a year?

Yeah, that’s what happened when I had someone design a custom denim shirt last year.

It arrived in the mail — I was super excited because we handpicked every little detail of the shirt, down to the collar, the buttons and more.

Then it hit me:

It’s denim; I’m limited as to when and how many times I can wear this.

That’s where the beauty and aesthetic powers of the LUXX bag come to play and ultimately, shine.

I decided on the Royal Blue version as I’ve got so many black colored clothes that I’m 67% certified ninja — and it makes a bold statement whether I’m headed for a weekend getaway or off to yet another fitness seminar.

There’s nothing like a bag that both plays and looks the part, and the LUXX bag will have heads turning for sure.

13040844_10153643009803196_713513773617818945_oIf The Decathlon Had A Bag, This Would Be It

Fitness isn’t just a part of my lifestyle, it is my lifestyle.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely to resonate with that statement in some shape, way or form.

On any given day, I’ll be doing anything from strength training to interval training, spinning, yoga, running, hitting an awesome hike — you name it.

Being active makes me feel alive and connected.

Bursts of inspiration to hit a workout happen quite randomly as well as invites from others at the spur of the movement.

This bag allows me to truly be ready for anything while on the move, and never have to tell my buddies:

Sorry, I didn’t bring a change of clothes.

Water bottle compartment? Check.

Yoga mat or jacket holder straps? Check.

Place to put wet, sweaty clothes? Check.

Special area for an extra pair of kicks? Check.

The list goes on and on and if you’re an active person, this will be your new training buddy in a flash.

Next Level Comfort

So it’s durable, looks awesome, highly functional and made for you and I, the fitness person on the run — but is it both easy to use and comfortable?

You bet.

I was delighted with the attention to detail on this bag in the form of comfort and the myriad of options in terms of how you hold it, carry it, strap it across your shoulder and body, etc.

The shoulder strap is beyond comfortable and even with a jam-packed, heavy bag, at no point did it feel uncomfortable or as if I wanted to put it down during my recent cross country excursion.

0F5A9301It’ll Inspire You

Have you ever been inspired by a fitness bag?

Your answer may be yes after using this one.

This bag reminds me every day to stay inspired, to go after what I want and to commit to the things in life that I love.

The lifestyle brand is more than just fitness bags; they’re on a mission to help people achieve their fitness goals (just check out their social media channels). As a student of fitness and examining the things that fill our space, I appreciate being surrounded by positivity.

0F5A9437Last Words

So yeah, this thing is pretty cool…even my girlfriend officially has bag envy in a major way.

The great news for me is I know I won’t have to invest in another bag for a very long time, if ever – due to the all the reasons listed above.

As an active person on the move who appreciates style and functionality, I’m all in.

Grab yours. You won’t regret it.

21 Ways To Make Every Day A Masterpiece

By Tommy B.

If you’ve ever sat out to watch a sunrise, you feel the energy of a new day, a new opportunity, and a blank slate.

It’s a reminder that this experience is short and what we did yesterday doesn’t matter — meaning, it mattered yesterday, but today is a new chance.

It’s a new chance to live a life of intention, enthusiasm and moving forward towards our dreams.

In other words, we have an opportunity to craft a masterpiece.

For many, the word masterpiece may trigger them and make them think they shouldn’t be included in the same sentence…nonsense.

We’ve all had those days where we truly moved the needle of our life forward, we connected with others in a deep, vulnerable way and we had an experience that left us laying with our heads on our pillow saying…

Wow, that was awesome.

In this post, I’ll share 21 ways to craft your own masterpiece, every single day.

Have An Epic Attitude

In this timeless work, On The Shortness of Life, Stoic philosopher Seneca spoke about today being the day.

How every single day is our day, a chance to embrace a new experience and live out the life of our dreams.

To me, that means having an amazing attitude, despite our circumstances and truly understanding that yesterday’s events have no real impact on what may happen today.

We all have that friend that has a contagious attitude no matter if we’re stuck in hours of traffic and there’s something special about harnessing that energy.

Via WGNTV

Via WGNTV

Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier

Waking up earlier is my #1 productivity and fulfillment tip for those who are looking to make incremental, yet impactful steps in their life.

It doesn’t matter what you do during this time, as long as it’s important to one person: you.

You may take time to read, write, or simply sit on your couch and contemplate life for a few minutes – as long as you’re intentional, it’s all that matters.

According to this article on the Huffington Post, “One study conducted by The University of Toronto, found that “people who wake up early in the morning are generally happier and have higher satisfaction overall in their lives.”

Get Your Namaste On

Taking anywhere from 3-20 minutes to establish a breathing practice, or yes, meditation will set the tone for the rest of your day to react less out of emotion and having the ability to choose how you see negative events.

Breathing has immense physiological and mental benefits, and there’s no way to do this wrong.

Bonus points for those who “OMMMMM.”

Via Stephenlifecoach

Via Stephenlifecoach

Complete One High Level Task

Completing one action first thing in the morning is one of the most powerful tools to harness momentum.

For example, writing, editing and shipping this blog post is the task I’m using to create momentum today.

The key word here is: completion.

Don’t start something in the morning unless you’re going to finish it and keep it very simple.

Get Moving!

Energy creates energy and getting moving in the morning will dissolve any negative emotions and get you focused on the present.

It doesn’t matter what you do — a traditional gym training session, a high intensity workout, yoga, pilates, sprinting, hiking, it’s the simple action of blood flow that stimulates your creativity and connection to your physical body.

Craft A Plan

Crafting a plan is essential to having a masterpiece type of day – even if you’re not the planning type.

Knowing what’s on your plate leads to clarity which allows you to easily make decisions and move forward with your life.

One powerful tool to add is to schedule time to “let go” and block out spaces during your day to do whatever you feel like doing, combining the certainty of planning with the addition of spontaneous activity.

Via HuffingtonPost

Via HuffingtonPost

Don’t Check Email or Snapchat!

Whatever you do, do not check email in the morning and better yet, keep your phone on airplane mode.

This is likely one of the most essential tools of the day, especially in the morning.

The further you can push this, the more clarity you will have.

Set a minimum time to check email, for me it’s 9:00AM at the earliest when I’m up at 5:00, yet many days it can be 11:00 or 12:00PM by the time I get around to it.

Sid Savara mentions the countless reasons why you shouldn’t check email or social media in the morning in a great article here.

When you start your day with an influx of messages, you lose the ability to control your own thinking and start to react instead of act.

Turn Up Some Music You Love

Listening to music you love will increase your energy and put you in an awesome mood, use your intuition to pick something random and truly listen to the music.

Dance if you feel so inclined.

Use The Power Of Gratitude

One of my favorite quotes of all time is:

Your biggest problem or obstacle is someone’s dream luxury.

Any time you can truly, authentically dig deep and find all the amazing things in your life you can be grateful for, your internal and external state will shift and you will be open to receive more.

Via Abcnews

Via Abcnews

Lift Others Up With An Abundance Mentality

Send a few messages, texts, notes, tweets, and handwritten cards, whatever it may be to other people.

Using this as a consistent habit shifts you into a mindset into abundance.

Additionally, we all have “those days” — and we never know what someone else is going through.

Have At Least One Meaningful Conversation

Every single day, have a deep, meaningful conversation with someone in which you both truly connect.

To establish a connection that goes deeper than the surface area, it requires vulnerability and letting your guard down.

That means telling someone how you really feel, unveiling a belief or a challenge and simply being real.

Complete One Action That Scares You

This one’s easy, because we all have extreme resistance on a daily level.

Pushing through this resistance is an amazing feeling and will get you in a powerful state.

This could be anything, to be honest: posting a video on social media, talking to a stranger, trying a new fitness class with your friend — your choice.

Via Lesserknownfeatsofawesomeness

Via Lesserknownfeatsofawesomeness

Laugh, Really Hard

Some of the tips above are somewhat serious; yet embracing humor is essential to not taking yourself too seriously.

Finding the comedic angle in situations, surrounding yourself with others who make you laugh and having a light heartedness about life is crucial to feeling amazing.

Fight Negativity With Love

We can’t control what people say about us and at some point, conflicts will arise.

It may be your roommate, a co-worker, someone gossiping or a fight about politics online (note: don’t engage, please).

When you feel triggered, rise above and fight negativity with love and kindness, you will feel amazing for being in control of your emotions and the other person will soon regret anything that was said, even if they don’t admit it.

Ground

Walking in nature is one of the best ways to connect with the Earth and you in a deep way — walking barefoot in grass for a few minutes have been proven to increase fulfillment and happiness.

Getting a few minutes outside no matter what you do is an essential part of crafting your masterpiece.

Via Greatist

Via Greatist

Eat Food That Nourishes You

We’ve all had those meals that seemed amazing at the time, yet we knew were full of processed food, sugar and a host of other things we don’t want to know about.

And then it hit us: energy slump, digestive issues and negative feelings.

Nourishing our bodies every day with food that makes us feel good and is nutritious is crucial for our mental energy and clarity.

Perform A Random Act Of Kindness

Every day we encounter opportunities to help someone out, yet a lot of times we stop ourselves short because of our own ego, i.e. thinking:

What will they think?

Scratch that and do it anyways!

Maybe you help an elderly person with his or her groceries to the car, maybe you ship someone a book by surprise or smile and compliment a stranger.

Force Yourself To Perform

This one’s different and it’s all about putting you out there.

This can be anything — an important meeting, an interview, filming a video, dancing in public, doing a fitness event, etc.

There is something so powerful about putting yourself out there and showing up to some type of performance, no matter how small or seemingly simple it may be.

Journal Your Emotions

At the end of the day, use a journal to get everything you’re thinking and feeling out of your head onto paper.

This will help you unload the weight off your shoulders and see that most of what you’re feeling isn’t really too important.

By making it real and putting it to paper, you can question each one and reflect on if it’s worth keeping it in your headspace or not.

Create A Shut It Down Time

At around 9PM, I go on Airplane mode on my phone and stop watching TV…it’s not easy, but this will increase the quality of your sleep in a major way.

Training your body to have a time to start the process of recovery and rejuvenation is crucial, which is our next one.

Establish An Evening Ritual

While morning rituals get all the love, an evening ritual is just as important to wind down and let the day go.

Some favorites include a warm bath with candles, getting a self-massage or foam roller, stretching, dimming the lights and reading and a combination of all of these.

Our minds and bodies are extremely habitual and routine based and this will signal to your body…

It’s time.

MindBodyGreen has a fantastic article on 7 things you can do in the evening to create a powerful experience the next day.

What’s Yours?

There you have it…some easy ways to make today or the next day a masterpiece and find more energy, love, connection and fulfillment.

Of course, not every day is going to wind up perfect but the more we will our day with things and people we love, productivity, kindness and energy, the less space there is for all the other stuff.

What’s your favorite from above or do you have one of your own to add?

We’d love to hear – post to comments.

How To Stay On Track During The Distractions Of Summer Fun

By Tommy B.

Ahhhh, summer — warm weather, sandy beaches, and one too many cocktails.

It’s life, and it’s bound to happen.

Summer, for many people, is a time to relax a little bit more, let their hair down and turn up some of the best road trip tunes.

It’s that time of year we’ve all been waiting for and never gets old.

And these are all good, no, actually – great things.

Yet, going overboard and waking up in September 10 pounds overweight, sluggish and completely out of sync with our bodies is not anything we ever plan.

According to PopSugar, there are many reasons why, including longer days, the availability of cocktails and endless dinner invites.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and you know that.

We’ll explore fun, practical and simple ways for you to stay on track while still enjoying all the awesomeness that comes with summer.

Let’s get rolling.

Via 7-themes

Via 7-themes

But First, Psychology

Before we get started, there’s one thing we need to address:

Your mind and viewpoint in regards to summer do matter.

What happens to most people is they have an “all in” or “all out” approach, which, as you can guess — means they seriously let go during summer.

Adopting this attitude simply isn’t worth it because you’re getting rid of one of the most powerful tools of results:

Momentum.

So the first shift is a simple mindset shift, acknowledging that yes, you’re going to likely change your routine and that it will impact your health, fitness and maybe even the scale a little bit.

And that’s okay…but you’re committed to not completely letting go.

Because you know that when you take care of yourself physically, you feel better, you have more energy, confidence and even more fun.

Via Posterjack

Via Posterjack

Embrace The Season

If you’re in the Northeast or Midwest, you’ve likely been hibernating for a little while.

Every year, the winters seem a little longer, no matter how much snow we got or didn’t get.

That first 75-degree, sunshine soaked day sure feels good, doesn’t it?

One of the best ways to stay fit during the summer is to simply do activities that are based on being outdoors and challenging yourself in new, exciting ways.

These activities also work well because instead of mentally telling yourself that you’re headed to the gym, you’re simply doing something outside that also happens to get you fit.

Try to think outside the box with this one and make it a fun, social event with your friends or family.

Some activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Surfing
  • Hiking
  • Sprinting
  • Beach volleyball
  • Playing with the kids

…and so much more.

Via Weightlossvillage

Via Weightlossvillage

Control Your First Meal Of The Day

Nutrition is often the main culprit that impacts people during summer because our willpower is limited and there’s usually an abundance of amazing food.

One great thing you can do is to simply start your day with a healthy meal you’re able to control.

This sets the tone for the day, fuels your body in a fantastic way and will give you some momentum — think of it as a keystone habit.

Keystone habits are habits that create a domino effect in life, leading us to likely add in supporting activities without thinking about them.

So if you’re able to have a healthy meal to start you day, you’re also more likely to drink enough water, hit your workout, and have less processed food and sugars.

Speaking of…

Via Tasteofhome

Via Tasteofhome

Pass The Sugary Drinks, Be A Cheap Date

The summertime means sunset cocktails, cold beers at the beach and delicious dinner dates.

Alcohol isn’t going to make or break you in most cases, it’s what’s in the actual drinks that make you feel terrible.

Your typical margarita drink is going to contain roughly 30-60 grams of sugar — yes, you read that right, and many times more.

When you combine alcohol and sugar, you’re in for a world of pain the next day, leading to headaches, digestive issues, and never wanting to leave the couch.

Instead, keep it simple and be a cheap date.

I always recommend the Norcal Margarita, simply because, well it’s awesome and was developed by Rob Wolff of the Paleo Solution.

This simple drink involves:

  • 3 ounces 100% agave tequila
  • Juice and pulp from one lime
  • Add ice and shake
  • Fill glass with soda water
  • Garnish with salt

Simple, yet delicious.

Always opt for clear drinks with as minimal ingredients as possible and if you must order a traditional drink, ask for the “skinny” version.

Via  Usattravel

Via Usattravel

Make Fitness Part Of The Trip

I remember landing in Paris with my family a couple summers ago and we all made fitness part of our experience.

There’s no better way to explore a new city, cure jetlag and rust off sitting in a tiny plane seat than by getting some blood flow and getting out there.

If you’re headed somewhere new, research in advance and book a yoga class at a popular spot, or take a surfing lesson excursion that will force you to get moving.

Even though you may be tired, and feel like you’d rather relax…we all know, once you get moving you’re going to feel amazing and inspired to immerse yourself further in this new place.

Via Fwallpapers

Via Fwallpapers

OMM, Or Mindful Weight Loss

We know the amount of lifestyle stress we experience on a daily basis effects our hormones, which directly impact whether we burn fat or gain weight.

Use the relaxation of summer to get some you time, you know — a spa day, a massage, a walk on the beach without a phone, being in nature, maybe picking up the meditation practice you’ve been putting off.

This will do so much for your clarity and mindset, leading to a healthy, mind and spirit – and in many cases, a faster rate of weight loss.

MindbodyGreen talks about mindfulness and weight loss, with simple practices you can incorporate daily.

Via Shopnewshoes

Via Shopnewshoes

Walk As Much As Possible

Going back to my Eurotrip last summer, I don’t think I’ve ever walked so much.

Whether it was spending the day observing unbelievable architecture, or going to museums or parks in town, by the end of the day we had walked miles and miles.

Use this to your advantage and ditch your car – using walking or renting a bike instead.

This small change may not seem like much on the surface but truly adds up over the course of a season.

Via Sites.psu

Via Sites.psu

Drink Inordinate Amounts Of Water

We all know the importance of water, especially during the summer heat that can leave many people dehydrated.

Dehydration means your body isn’t focused on fat loss or anything else that makes you look and feel healthier.

Going the extra mile and having 1, 2 or 3 more cups a day can have a big impact on the way you feel and your body’s ability to flush out toxins and improve everything from your skin to your energy.

The bare minimum should be half your bodyweight in ounces, but shoot for 3/4th of your bodyweight in ounces instead.

You may not be able to make it through a feature length film without going to the bathroom, but hey – priorities matter.

Via Stephenlifecoach

Via Stephenlifecoach

Craft A Plan!

We all know the value of preparation and what it can do for us in a bind.

Summer brings different routines, days and places where our most familiar food may not be available.

By realizing this in advance, we can plan ahead and avoid getting so hungry we splurge on something we don’t even like.

Even being mindful of the upcoming BBQ and bringing healthier food options such as chicken, or creating burgers in a lettuce wrap, extra vegetables, etc. – goes a very long way.

What Are You Going To Do?

Summer 2016 is in full swing and it’s the best time of year, no questions asked.

Given the above, we’ve shared some ideas, tricks and ways of both having a blast this summer and also staying healthy and on track with your fitness.

Because at the end of the day, you deserve to look, feel and show up as your best self, no matter what time of year it is.

Building Muscle on a Vegan Diet

Many people have the misconception that meat = muscles. While chicken breast and other types of animal flesh are classic lean muscle-building proteins, they’re not necessary for building muscle. If you’ve recently jumped on the vegan bandwagon, you’ll be glad to know that you can achieve a strong, toned bod without eating meat.

Let’s start by discussing what exactly a vegan diet consists of. In general, a vegan diet is made up of only plant-derived foods. This means no milk, no honey, no eggs, and especially no animals or animal products (on land or sea).

Building muscle on a plant-based or vegan diet is possible, but requires a little forethought. You need to take in more protein from sources that don’t interfere with your vegan lifestyle. You also need to create a calorie surplus, which is tricky when your food options are limited and consist mostly of low-calorie plant-based foods.

Plant-eaters rejoice. You CAN build strength, muscle and health. Here’s how it’s done:

Via Theluxuryspot

Via Theluxuryspot

Up Your Protein Intake

Protein is the foundation of muscle building. Without it, the human body is not able to function normally. Too little protein can cause symptoms like fatigue, depression, anemia, low sex drive, and muscle loss.

Protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of muscles. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body is not able to adequately build, repair or maintain muscle tissue. While animal sources are ideal as they contain all 20 of the amino acids needed by our cells to build proteins, a carefully planned vegan diet can provide the body with adequate amounts of protein for muscle-building.

Exactly how much protein you need will depend on how strenuous your workouts are. According to Men’s Fitness, the average male with a sedentary desk job requires just 0.36 grams of protein for each pound of body weight per day. If you exercise, these requirements can actually double. If you’re looking to build strength, aim for between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein for each pound of body weight.

So what vegan-friendly foods offer the most protein bang-for-your-buck? These plant-based proteins are healthy and deliciously satisfying:

  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Quinoa
  • Artichokes
  • Green peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Edamame
  • Hemp milk
  • Black eyed peas
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Green Beans
  • Chickpeas

Another easy way to ensure you’re getting enough daily protein is to add a scoop of protein powder to your water. Create a yummy and nutritious shake or smoothie by adding fresh spinach, fruit, unsweetened almond milk, and a few ice cubes.

Via Gymaholic

Via Gymaholic

Take Your Vitamins

Vegan or not, vitamin supplements can be a crucial component in fat loss, muscle building, and all-around better health. Nutritional supplements can also help bridge those nutritional gaps that some vegans experience.

Here are several key vitamins you need to build muscle and strength:

Vitamin D: This fat soluble vitamin is found naturally in few foods. It is, however, synthesized in the body during exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is responsible for regulating neuromuscular functioning. Some studies show that people with serum vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/l have lowered strength, muscle wasting and weakness.

Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate, vitamin C is an essential nutrient necessary for growth and development. It’s especially important for athletes and bodybuilders as it protects the immune systems and promotes recovery from training.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E cannot be produced naturally by the body. Therefore, it must be obtained from dietary sources. This fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant promotes muscle growth and inhibits muscle breakdown.

B Vitamins: Of all the vitamins required for muscle gain, the B-complex is one of the most important. The B-complex consists of eight B vitamins that help boost energy and improve cardiovascular and nervous system health, as well as mental well-being.

Create a Calorie Surplus

When losing weight, you generally aim for a calorie deficient. You can create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories then you burn. When you’re trying to build muscle, you want to create a calorie surplus, which occurs when you eat more calories than you burn. Sound counterproductive? It really isn’t.

When you create a calorie surplus, your body uses the extra energy to do one of two things: store fat or build muscle. Extra calories are needed to build muscle tissue, so don’t think you can get ripped while on a strict diet. You need to eat.

Creating a calorie surplus can be complex. The surplus needs to be big enough to effectively build muscle, while small enough to prevent gaining unnecessary weight. So how do you find a balance?

As a general rule of thumb, men looking to build muscle should add an additional 250 calories per day, while women should add 125 extra calories. For example, if you’re a guy with a daily calorie maintenance level of 2,500 calories, you should now eat 2,750 calories per day to build muscle.

Via Gcasted

Via Gcasted

Drink Enough Water

We all know the importance of water for overall health, but did you know that dehydration can seriously affect your muscle building progress? Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells, as well as transport waste out of the body.

Without water, you couldn’t flex or even move your muscles. When the body becomes dehydrated, your muscles become depleted of electrolytes, which can cause cramping. Without the proper amount of water in the body, strength is also impaired.

Now that we’ve covered why water is so important when building muscles, let’s talk about exactly how much we need. The standard eight glasses a day is not enough for serious muscle builders. To keep up with the greater demands on your body, you need to significantly increase your water intake.

Opt for 1 liter of water for every 1,000 calories expended per day. For example, if you burn 2,000 calories per day, try to consume at least 2 liters of fluids daily.

Via Seriouseats

Via Seriouseats

Eat More Frequent Meals

Yes, it’s true. Eating more frequently can aid in fat loss and muscle gain. This means eating six or seven small meals instead of the usual three larger ones.

Eating small, more frequent meals offers a wide range of benefits. When you eat, you stimulate your metabolism which helps to burn more calories. More frequent meals also allows your body to use the foods’ nutrients more efficiently as the body has to deal with only small portions at a time instead of a large meal.

Chowing on six smaller meals a day also promotes a steady stream of essential nutrients, such as amino acids. This helps the body maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which is the difference between the amount of protein you have in your system and the amount excreted. When you have a positive nitrogen balance, you’ve achieved a net surplus of protein in your body.

Of course, this option is not for everyone. It’s best to experiment with different meal frequencies to see what works best for your unique needs and lifestyle.

Via Youtube

Via Youtube

Work Out Your Body

If you search the internet, you’ll find thousands of workouts and training programs designed to build muscle. While there’s no one best workout, it’s crucial to integrate the right types of exercise into your daily routine to see optimal results.

Before you can build muscle, you must first understand that muscles burn both fat and sugar. Activities that require quick bursts of energy, such as weight lifting, use sugar as fuel. When you engage in longer bouts of exercise, your body uses fat as fuel.

If you are overweight or your body is not used to exercise, you’re likely not burning fat effectively, which can result in loss lean body mass. To see results faster, you want to improve your body’s ability to burn fat through two main types of exercise, aerobic conditioning and weight lifting. As you gain muscle, your body will be able to burn sugar and fat more easily.

Via Crossfitimpulse

Via Crossfitimpulse

Consume Enough Fats

You need fat to build muscle. No, we’re not talking about devouring Big Macs or demolishing a piece of cake after every meal.

Your body stores fat if you don’t eat fat. Therefore, you must consume some fats if you wish to control your weight and build muscle. Dietary fat provides energy in which the body uses to fuel exercise. It also aids your body in vitamin absorption and promotes healthy growth and development.

The American Heart Association suggest eating between 25 and 35 percent of your daily calories from dietary fat. Unsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids can improve heart health and promote muscle gain. Limit your saturated fats, as these can increase your cholesterol levels.

If you’re a vegan, you’ll need to seek plant-based fats. Here are a few great options to try.

  • Seeds (saviseeds, hempseeds and chia seeds are all great options)
  • Nuts (try almonds, walnuts or Brazil nuts)
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Cacao nibs (yes, you can eat chocolate!)

Muscle building and a vegan diet don’t always go hand-in-hand. It can be tough to bulk up when your diet is limited to plant-based grub. Gaining muscle mass as a vegan comes down to getting enough protein and essential nutrients, and maintaining a strict exercise regimen that caters to muscle building. Ready to get in shape? Grab a protein bar, your gym bag, and start building muscle.

The Best Way to Pack Your Gym Bag

We’ve all been there. You arrive to the gym ready to work out only to realize that you’ve forgotten a few key items. Maybe it’s your sneakers or water bottle. Or perhaps you left your exercise clothes at home, leaving you with just the dress pants and button-down you wore to work that day.

One way to make sure that you never forget your workout essentials is to pack a gym bag.

With a gym bag loaded and ready to go, you’ll have no excuse to skip your next workout. So what’s the best way to pack your gym bag? Here are a few must-have gym essentials that will help prepare you for a more productive workout.

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Athletic Attire

When it comes to workout clothes, your favorite pair of sweats just won’t do. When you exercise, you sweat. When you sweat, you want to have on clothing that will efficiently release heat and moisture.

Today, there are many breathable materials that help to wick sweat off the body, reduce uncomfortable chafing, and curb rank body odor. Bamboo, polypropylene, spandex, and some cotton blends are highly effective at keeping you comfy and cool as you walk, run, lift, or train.

Hot to pack a gym bagWomen, start by finding a fitted top that is slim-fitting and made from a performance material. The bottoms you choose will depend on the type of exercise you plan on doing. Cropped leggings are ideal for yoga, while stretch pants are great for Pilates or a run on the treadmill. Above all else, a supportive sports bra is paramount. When shopping for sports bras, move around, bend down, and jump up and down to ensure that it stays in place.

Men, stick with basic t-shirt constructed from a wicking material and preferably a long-sleeve layer. A hoodie or sweatshirt will keep your joints, muscles and ligaments warm as your workout, which reduces your risk of injuries. For your bottoms, choose between athletic shorts or pants, loose enough to allow for sufficient movement but not baggy.

Via Faveable

Via Faveable

Quality Shoes

You probably already know the importance of a quality pair of athletic shoes, but what exactly qualifies as a good sneaker? The perfect pair of gym shoes are supportive, lightweight, and provide a good grip on surfaces.

The best type of shoe will also depend on the gym activity. If you plan on lifting weights, you’ll want flat-soled shoes that offer a firm, flat grip on the ground. If you’re participating in a strength-training or cardio class, you’ll need supportive shoes with ample cushioning. Opt for a wide toe box to allow for optimal movement. If you walk or run outdoors or on the treadmill, a pair of running shoes are a must.

Many people continue to underestimate the value in investing in a good pair of gym shoes. According to the Nike Sport Research Laboratory, the right pair of kicks can enhance performance, protect the feet and entire body against injuries, and provide just the right amount of cushioning for comfort and stability during workouts.

Via Greatist

Via Greatist

Towel

Some gyms provide towels free of charge or at a small fee. Others don’t.

Whether or not your gym hands out towels, it’s best to bring your own. Pack a quick-drying towel made from a microfiber material. Microfiber towels are more bacteria-resistant than your average cotton variety, and are great for wiping off sweat during strenuous workouts or drying off after a post-workout shower.

Microfiber towels also fold up to a fraction of the size of traditional towels, ensuring a compact fit. They dry faster too.

Via Workoutgearlab

Via Workoutgearlab

Water Bottle

Water is undeniably the best source of hydration on the planet. It not only quenches your thirst, but also helps maintain the balance of body fluids which aid in digestion, circulation, absorption, transportation of nutrients, creation of saliva, and temperature control.

As the average person sweats between 0.8 and 1.4 liters per hour of exercise, it’s only natural that more fluids must be taken in to maintain a healthy level of hydration.

Pack a water bottle in your gym bag to ensure that fluids are always available during your workouts. Opt for a refillable water bottle to save money and help the planet.

If you prefer a little flavor, infuse your water with fresh fruits. Drop some fresh or frozen berries, apples, pears, melon, citrus, or tropical fruit into your water bottle and let is sit in the fridge for a few hours before your scheduled gym visit.

The ROBYN toiletry bag.

The ROBYN toiletry bag.

Toiletries

No one likes to leave the gym feeling like a sweaty mess. Take the time to freshen up after an intense workout with a few essential toiletries. Deodorant, facial wipes, and a hair brush are just a few gym staples.

If you plan to shower at the gym, be sure to bring along small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

While men are typically low-maintenance when it comes to pampering, women may want to pack a few extras, such as a cleanser, moisturizer, nail file, and cosmetics.

If you’re not a fan of zip-lock bags, pack your toiletries in a toiletry bag inside your gym bag. You don’t want to put your toiletries directly in with your gym clothes and other items to prevent damage if your shampoo bottle spills or your moisturizer explodes.

Via Idownloadblog

Via Idownloadblog

Heart Monitor

While most seasoned gym rats can get away without the use of a heart monitor, those new to the fitness scene can benefit greatly by this small device.

Heart rate monitors are typically used during cardiovascular exercise to track your heart rate. While you don’t necessarily need to check your intensity during workouts, the data on a heart rate monitor can provide useful information, such as how hard you’re working out.

If you’re new to exercise, knowing exactly where you are in your target heart rate zone can be beneficial for your safety, as well as your fitness progress. Most modern heart rate monitors also provide other useful data, such as how many calories you’ve burned.

Looking for other cool tools to add to your fitness device arsenal? Try an interval timer. These innovative devices help you better focus on your workouts by timing a single interval or multiple intervals, then repeating them once or as many times as you’d like.

Via Passionconnect.in

Via Passionconnect.in

Music

Music is a powerful motivator and distraction, helping to make your workouts fly by. Be more productive while at the gym by bringing along your music device loaded with a playlist of energy-pumping jams.

Whether it’s on your smartphone, MP3 player or other music device, an easily accessible playlist of songs is the perfect way to get you “in the zone” during your workouts. Just remember to bring your headphones to prevent bothering others.

According to Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., “music is like a legal drug for athletes.” The right tunes played during exercise can help to significantly decrease the perception of effort and boost endurance by as much as 15 percent.

The type of song will have differing effects on the body and mind. For example, listening to upbeat, intense music before and during your workouts can amplify your ability to achieve a more productive workout. In comparison, listening to soft, relaxing music at the end of a workout can help you to better slow down and unwind.

Via Popsugar

Via Popsugar

Healthy Snacks

There’s nothing like a hardcore workout to produce a hunger attack. When you get a hankering for something tasty, don’t stop at the convenience store or nearest drive-thru. These types of impulse buys can have serious consequences on your health, fitness progress and wallet.

Instead, feed your hunger with healthy snacks that you bring to the gym with you. High protein options are your best bet for settling your craving without overdoing it on calories. Opt for portable snacks that have at least 10 grams of protein and about 100 to 200 calories. Here are just a few delicious ideas for your next high protein gym snack:

  • Trail mix
  • Mixed nuts
  • Natural or low-sodium jerky
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • String cheese
  • Homemade granola
  • Protein bars
  • Roasted chickpeas

 

The TOTE Fitness Bag by LIVE WELL 360.

The TOTE Fitness Bag by LIVE WELL 360.

Final Thoughts

A perfectly packed gym bag needs to be able to do it all. In addition to carrying your workout gear, it should have all the workout necessities you need for a productive, motivational, healthy, and safe workout session.

Packing your bag ahead of time will help to save you time and stress as you’re moving from home to work to the gym, along with all of the other responsibilities in your day-to-day life.

At the end of the day, take out your sweaty workout clothes and wash them for the next day. Also take the time to restock any toiletries, snacks or other items you may need for your next visit to the gym.

Of course, the gym bag itself is just as important as its content. While a discount brand may seem decent at first glance, you’ll soon find that you get what you pay for. When it comes to fitness bags, opt for quality. Our Live Well 360 fitness bags hit the mark in terms of size, quality and long-term performance.

Summer Fitness: 13 Tips for Exercising in the Heat

You’ve waited all winter for the weather to warm up. Now that it has, the sweltering temperatures are forcing you back indoors. Instead of retreating to your comfortable air-conditioned abode, venture out into the heat.

Exercising outdoors during the dog days of summer can have numerous advantages. The heat can improve your fitness level by challenging your body and mind. It can also increase your tolerance to heat, making future outdoor workouts more tolerable.

Of course, you don’t want to set out into scorching weather without taking the proper precautions. When the temperatures near three-digits, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are your enemies. Follow these tips for exercising in the heat safely this summer.

Via Latimes

Via Latimes

Dress Appropriately

While it’s common sense to dress in light clothing during summer workouts, there’s more to it than that. When it’s hot and humid, your basic shorts and tee won’t do.

Turn in your everyday summer attire for weather-appropriate athletic wear. Moisture-wicking materials are ideal, as they contain tiny tubes that absorb moisture to prevent sweat from sticking to your skin.

For your base layer, opt for synthetic-based fibers as they are lightweight and easy to clean. If you prefer a natural material, bamboo is breathable, soft and repels odors. Nylon and polypropylene are also popular due to their water-resistant nature and ability to contour comfortably to the male or female form.

Stay Hydrated

We all know the benefits of drinking plenty of water, but when it comes to summer workouts, water can be lifesaving. When you work out in hot temperatures, you lose a lot of body moisture in the form of sweat. In fact, the average person sweats between 0.8 and 1.4 liters per hour during exercise – and that’s in normal conditions.

Experts recommend drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before exercising, followed by another 8 ounces during your warm-up. Down another 7 to 10 ounces for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise, and then 8 more ounces about 30 minutes following your workout.

When determining adequate water intake, you’ll also want to consider replenishing your electrolyte and salt intake. A sports drink can get the job done in a pinch.

Via Workout-artist

Via Workout-artist

Take It Slow

New to outdoor summer workouts? Remember to take it slow. Until you become more accustomed to exercising in heated conditions, you’ll want to limit your time in the sun.

Begin by performing mini-workouts, consisting of just 10 to 15 minutes. Over the weeks, slowly add time outdoors. In addition to increasing your time outside, you’ll also want to gradually increase the volume and intensity of your workouts. For example, start by walking along your usual route, then slowly transition to jogging and eventually running.

The key is to not overexert yourself. If your usual workout is too demanding in the heat, dial it down to something more manageable.

Avoid Peak Hours

If you really want to get healthier, you have to make fitness a priority in your life. That means putting aside a block of time each day to work out – no excuses.

When scheduling your daily workout, think practical. Don’t hit the pavement during mid-day peak hours when the sun is at its hottest, which is typically between noon and 6 PM. Instead, save your workout for the early morning or late evening.

By saving your workouts for the earlier or later parts of the day, your exercise session will be more comfortable and you’ll lower your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Via Empowher

Via Empowher

Eat Up

Exercising in normal conditions can quickly lead to exhaustion and fatigue. When you work out in the heat, these side effects are often magnified.

When you need to power through a workout, depend on healthy snacks for energy. Dry snacks like nuts, crackers or energy bars are fine for normal conditions, but when you’re facing high outdoor temperatures, opt for something a bit juicer.

Fresh fruits are fantastic snacks for when the weather is hot. Not only are you consuming an abundance of essential nutrients, you’re also hydrating your body with the fruit’s replenishing juices.

Need ideas? Try watermelon, mango, pineapple, nectarines, or peaches. Yum.

Slather on Sunscreen

While there’s a slew of information regarding sun safety out there, many people still do not fully understand the dangers of UV rays. Any tan is a bad tan. The darkening of the skin is essentially the body’s response to damage.

Sunscreen is critical for keeping your skin safe while you exercise outdoors. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen between 30 and 50 for optimal coverage. Rub about 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen on all exposed skin approximately 20 minutes before going outdoors to allow plenty of time for the product to ‘soak’ in.

Remember that you’re going to sweat, so apply liberally. If you’re working out away from home, bring a bottle of sunscreen with you and reapply as needed.

Break It Up

If you’re not used to exercising outdoors in the summer, you’ll want to start slow. Consider breaking up your exercise routine into several smaller chunks instead of one extended workout session.

Try 30 minutes in the morning, followed by another 30 minutes in the evening. Or break it up even further with three 20 minute sessions in the morning, afternoon and evening.

These small spurts are not only great for people with chaotic schedules and little time to exercise, but also for those looking to exercise in the heat. While it may be too hot to fit in a full hour of running, you can probably power through a 20 minute run.

Via Shockingfitness

Via Shockingfitness

Check the Forecast

There’s not a cloud in the sky. However, a sunny day doesn’t always mean it’s safe to exercise outdoors. Before spending time outside, check the weather forecast.

If there is a heat advisory, high ozone, or air pollution warning, you may want to limit your exercise to indoor activities.

Not only will it be ultra-uncomfortable to work out in these harsh conditions, you can also harm your body. Pollutants in the air can cause damage to your lungs and the high heat puts you at a higher risk for heat cramps and other heat exhaustion symptoms.

Seek Shade

If you want to exercise outside in the summer but don’t like the hot sun beating down on you, seek out a shaded route. Search your area for running or biking routes that are primarily made up of shaded areas, such as public tree-lined parks or wooded land with canopied trees.

Ride your bike along streets or roads with tons of trees for shade, or take a long hike in the woods.

If you can’t find areas that offer sufficient shade, be sure to take frequent breaks. During these breaks, go indoors or find a place to sit and cool down, such as under a tree or in the shadow of a building.

Monitor Your Heart Rate

The heart goes into overdrive when exercising in the heat. In fact, the heart beats about 10 bpm (beats per minute) faster for every degree the body’s internal temperature rises.

Keep an eye on your heart rate by utilizing a heart rate monitor when you work out outdoors. Monitoring your heart rate allows you to better understand how your cardiovascular system responds to dehydration and heat stress, and what tools and treatments work to reverse these ailments.

To obtain the full benefits of a heart rate monitor, you must know what the numbers mean. The highest number is the maximum heart rate (MHR), which is the fastest rate in which your heart beats in one minute.

As you become accustomed to a certain type of exercise, your maximum heart rate will gradually lower, as well as your resting heart rate.

Via Twuhealthstudies

Via Twuhealthstudies

Take a Dip

Just too hot to exercise outdoors? Beat the heat by taking a dip at the pool or beach. Swimming is a fun and effective way to cool off and work out at the same time, and best of all, time spent in the water doesn’t even seem like work.

Did you know that swimming is actually a full-body workout? It keeps your heart rate up while taking stress off your body. It helps you to build endurance, cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. It builds strength and tones muscles. It also helps you to support a healthy heart and lungs, as well as maintain a healthy weight.

Grab a Workout Buddy

Having a workout buddy is not just beneficial for when boredom strikes, it can also be advantageous to your health.

If you start to feel the effects of heat poisoning, having a friend by your side can ensure that you quickly get the treatment you need. Your workout buddy may even see the signs of heat exhaustion before you do.

Having a workout buddy is especially important if you’re exercising in an area that you’re not familiar with. The last thing you want to do is get sick while all alone in an unfamiliar place.

Via Livestrong

Via Livestrong

Know Your Limits

Before traveling out into the heat, do your homework. Do you know the signs of heat exhaustion, and do you think you would recognize them if they happened to you?

Confusion, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and fainting are all common symptoms that can occur when your body overheats. You may also suffer from muscle or abdominal cramps, as well as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

If you start to feel under the weather while exercising outdoors, don’t ignore your body. Immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in a cool room. Drink some water and remove any unnecessary clothing. If possible, cool off in the shower of bath.

Final Thoughts

Outdoor summer activities are not just limited to jogging and yard work. As long as you’re careful, exercising in the heat can be fun and add variety to your routine. Enjoy the warm summer sun all season long by taking the proper precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and injuries. Don’t let the sweltering summer temperatures put a snag in your workout routine. Sweat it out and reap the benefits of a healthier, leaner physique.

Why Having a Gym Buddy is the Best Way to Go

In a fitness slump? It happens from time to time. You may lose your motivation to work out and pretty soon, you’re packing on the pounds. When your enthusiasm for physical fitness starts to plummet, partner up.

While some people thrive on solo exercise, others need the extra push that comes from a supportive workout partner.

Research shows there’s strength in numbers. One study found that couples that worked out separately had a 43 percent dropout rate, compared to the 6.3 percent dropout rate of couples who exercised together at the gym.

Here’s a few other great reasons why having a gym buddy is the best way to go.

Via Watchfit

Via Watchfit

Stop the Excuses

Excuses can derail your fitness journey. Sure, it’s easy to stay in bed when you have plans to go to the gym on your own, but when you’ve made plans with a friend, backing out gets a little tricky.

A workout buddy holds you accountable for your fitness, or lack thereof. He or she will likely stop you from making lame excuses on why you can’t go the gym. If your buddy is really motivated, he or she may even come to your home and drag you out of bed.

In short, the buddy system encourages you to get things done.

Get Excited Again

Remember when you used to get excited about going to the gym? Well that excitement probably took a nosedive after months of training.

The same old routine can get boring. The good news is that small changes can make hitting up the gym feel invigorating again.

Having a gym buddy by your side is an easy way to make your workouts more enjoyable. By persuading a friend to come along, you have something in your day to look forward to.

Whether you’re gossiping as you run on the side-by-side treadmills, or celebrating a small victory after a gym session, having a friend/gym buddy along for the ride can keep you engaged in your fitness.

Via Calisthenicsdaily

Via Calisthenicsdaily

Challenge Yourself

If you have a competitive streak, a workout buddy may be just what you need. With a great competitor in tow, you’ll likely have the urge to challenge yourself to keep up.

When you get bored of your workout routine, a new challenge is just what the doctor ordered. Maybe you’ll compete to see who can do more pushups, or perhaps you’ll square off and see who can hold a squat longer.

Who wins doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you’re challenging yourself and giving your motivation a much-needed kick.

Have a Spotter Present

If you’re not overly socialable, you may feel awkward asking strangers at the gym to spot you. With a workout buddy available, you’ll always have a spotter.

Your spotter can help you with all sorts of things, from counting your reps to watching your form.

With a spotter in your presence, you’re also less likely to get injured. You can test your newfound strength without the worry that you won’t be able to lift that added weight.

With someone watching, you’ll feel more encouraged to power through your workouts, resulting in a longer, more intense weight lifting session.

Via Muscleandfitness

Via Muscleandfitness

Get Motivated

Drumming up self-motivation can be tough after weeks or months of grueling workouts. Having a gym buddy can not only skyrocket your motivation, but can also give your confidence a major boost.

For many people, having someone in your corner can make a significant difference in the way you perform and your overall commitment to your fitness goals.

One study found this concept to be true. Researchers at the Society of Behavioral Medicine discovered that participants that trained with a partner were more likely to workout longer than participants that exercised alone.

Over time, this motivation will stick and you’ll get in the habit of working out to the best of your ability without relying on outside encouragement.

Experience Variety

Working out with a gym buddy adds variety to your fitness routine. Your exercise partner can teach you fresh workouts and introduce you to new machines.

When you work out alone, it’s easy to fall back to the same-old exercises. Overtime, you may find that you experience a fitness plateau. As you become accustomed to a certain exercise or machine, it no longer presents a challenge. By increasing the intensity, adding weights, or adding in new exercises to your regimen, you can challenge yourself again.

Learning new workouts at the gym also keep things interesting long-term.

Via Ymcansw

Via Ymcansw

Reach Goals Faster

Motivation is a powerful thing. One study found that simply receiving a phone call every two weeks can increase your amount of exercise by up to 78 percent.

If a phone call from a machine, trainer or friend is able to produce such amazing results, the outcome of a gym buddy should be two-fold.

With a workout partner there to keep you accountable, you’ll stay more consistent with your fitness routine and push yourself harder to reach your goals. This will inevitable allow you to reach your goals faster, whether it’s losing weight or toning your physique.

Schedule Workouts

Face it, life can get hectic. When you’re trying to work out with a gym buddy, you’ll most likely have to schedule your workouts so that it conveniences both parties.

As time is likely a luxury, you’ll be more likely to schedule your workouts and stick to them. You don’t want to disappoint your friend by skipping out on your gym date, so you make time in your schedule to be there.

Scheduling workouts is key to maintaining a regular fitness regimen. When you know time is precious, you’ll push yourself harder and not waste time during your gym visits.

Relieve Stress

With a gym buddy, your workouts double as therapy sessions. Not only are you getting the benefits of physical health, but also emotional health.

We all know that exercise has natural stress-relieving properties. With friends involved, your stress levels dwindle even more.

In a study conducted to determine the stress-reducing benefits of exercise, it was found that exercising with others versus exercising alone can result in greater stress relief.

Even if you don’t like to talk when you work out, exercising with a friend nearby can create good vibes and a comfortable energy that can be advantageous to your bottom line.

Save Money

There’s no denying that a gym membership can get costly, forcing many people to look for alternative fitness avenues.

You’ll be glad to know that many gyms offer discounts when you and a gym buddy sign up together. A personal trainer may also charge less per person when you book a session with someone else.

Persuade a friend to join the gym with you and get the perks of having a gym buddy, while saving a few bucks.

Form a Stronger Bond

Whether it’s with a friend, partner or spouse, working out together can help form a special bond between two people. The road to better health and fitness is a journey that two people care share together.

This bond can be especially beneficial for couples, as the time spent together during exercise can bring two individuals closer together. When couples work out together, it can have both a physical and emotional impact.

That special bond also breaks down to an intimate level. The physical symptoms you experience after exercise, such as faster heart rate and an adrenaline rush, are similar to effects associated with arousal. This may be why some studies suggest that men and women feel more attracted to one another after an adrenaline-driven activity.

Shop Together

What’s better than working out together? Shopping together. If desired, your gym partner can easily double as your shopping buddy.

Get excited to go back to the gym by shopping for some new athletic wear and accessories. Get advice from one another on the best materials and styles to wear. Try out new health gadgets that may take your fitness to the next level.

Whether you’re shopping for a new pair of running shoes or a spacious fitness bag to lug all of your gym essentials back and forth from the gym, shopping together can help foster motivation.

Via Februaryexclusiveoffers

Via Februaryexclusiveoffers

Celebrate Successes

Reaching your fitness goals is a great reason to celebrate. However, celebrating your progress alone is not as fun as celebrating with a partner.

Make your fitness journey more exciting by setting small goals and celebrating every few weeks when you reach them. A small victory could mean a trip to the spa or a splurge at a pricy restaurant.

Celebration is significant for many reasons. Your partner has seen you through your highs and your lows, and when you finally reach your desired goal, it’s due to a team effort.

Final Words

Having the right ymym buddy can make all the difference in your motivation, confidence and ability to reach your goals. The buddy system means more than just driving to the gym together. It refers to the encouragement that two partners give to one another and the successes that they share together. If you need a push to stay on track with your fitness, grab a buddy.

The 411 on Hot Yoga

By Brandy D.

Yoga has a long, rich history, dating back more than 5,000 years. While various styles of yoga have come and gone over the centuries, hot yoga remains highly popular. Unlike traditional yoga which is typically performed outdoors or in comfortable indoor temperatures, hot yoga is purposely performed in hot and humid conditions.

Many people think that hot yoga is exclusive to Bikram, but that is just one style. Others include Moksha, Baptiste Power Vinyasa and Hot Power Yoga.

While each style differs, the primary concept is the same – to practice established postures and positions in a sweltering environment. You may be wondering why anyone would torment themselves in the name of fitness. The reason is simple. Hot yoga can help prevent injury by warming up the muscles, promote a deeper stretch, and detoxify the body by releasing harmful toxins in your sweat.

Via Mangalayogastudios

Via Mangalayogastudios

Key Benefits of Hot Yoga

Yoga may be associated with exercise, but this ancient practice is not just limited to weight… Click To Tweet. It can also have other health benefits. An estimated six percent of adults used yoga for health purposes within the last year, according to a National Health Interview Survey. In addition to working nearly every system in the body, yoga can also provide mental and emotional health advantages.

Here are some of these incredible benefits of hot yoga:

  • Increased Strength:
    Yoga may be low impact, but the unique practice has a way of working out muscles you didn’t even know you had. The poses require unique orientations that engage the muscles and tone the body. Of course, some poses are more effective than others when it comes to body strengthening. Work the arms and legs with the Chair Pose. Downward-Facing Dog offers all-over strengthening.
  • Rapid Healing:
    We all know that exercise promotes faster healing, but hot yoga does one better. When practiced regularly, the age-old therapy can help to heal old injuries and prevent new injuries from developing in the future. Hot yoga has also been found effective in reducing symptoms associated with asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, and depression.
  • Enhanced Flexibility:
    While you likely won’t reach contortionist status, you can improve your flexibility by mastering some simple postures. When performing hot yoga, you may find it easier to reach deeper stretches during your very first session. This is because the temperature of the room warms up the muscles and connective tissues, making them more elastic and providing a greater range of motion.
  • Body Detoxification:
    Practicing yoga in a hot, humid environment puts the lymphatic system into overdrive. When stimulated, the lymphatic system works hard to flush out toxins from the body, ridding it of harmful substances that can affect one’s health. These dangerous waste products are released from the body through the skin in the form of sweat.
  • Improved Fat Burning:
    Like any type of exercise, hot yoga speeds up heart rate. When your heart rate increases, calories are rapidly burned, leading to faster fat loss. The introduction of heat also helps to boost metabolic rate and maximize the breakdown of fatty acids and glucose. The result? An increased ability to burn stubborn fat deposits.
Via Bikramhotyogalongbeach

Via Bikramhotyogalongbeach

A Look at Bikram Yoga

Popularized by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, Bikram yoga consists of 26 postures that systematically work every part of the body. Bikram is one of the most well-known types of hot yoga and one that is most widely practiced.

During Bikram yoga, the same 26 poses are repeated over a 90-minute class. These poses were specifically chosen by Choudhury, inspired by classic hatha poses. Together, the set of poses is designed to transfer oxygenated blood throughout all areas of the body to refresh every organ for optimal health.

Bikram poses vary in complexity, ranging from easier positions like Standing Deep Breathing, Tree Pose and Dead Body Pose, to more difficult positions like Half Moon Pose, Eagle Pose and Spine Twisting Pose.

In most Bikram yoga classes, the rooms are heated up to a searing 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius). The humidity is kept fairly high, typically around 40 percent.

During a Bikram session, participants are asked to follow an 80-20 deep breathing method. During the 80-20 method, you begin by taking in a full breath, then assume the yoga position. While holding the position, inhale and exhale only 20 percent of your lung capacity during each breath. The goal is to always keep 80 percent of air in your lungs.

Similar to traditional yoga, Bikram yoga helps to build strength, flexibility and balance by gently stretching and manipulating the muscles, joints, tendons, spine, and internal organs. As you learn to master the positions and breathing techniques, you may notice an expanded lung capacity, lubricated joints, strengthened bones, and toned muscles.

Regular practice can also provide other key benefits, such as the rapid healing of injuries and illnesses and more effective weight loss.

Via Hotyogamidwest

Via Hotyogamidwest

Avoiding Injury and Illness

A session of hot yoga can be tough. Within minutes, sweat pours down your body. Your deep breathing attempts make it difficult to concentrate at the task at hand, and you’re forced to push your body to twist into the next position. While physically and emotionally demanding, most hot yoga enthusiasts find the end results to be well worth the effort.

There has been much controversy surrounding hot yoga since its introduction in the ‘70s, primarily due to the high heat factor. Not only does exercising in hot conditions drastically increase your risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke, but you also face the risk of injury. Some people stretch their more-pliable-than-normal muscles beyond their limitations, which can result in muscle damage.

However, recent studies have found concerns that hot yoga is dangerous to be unfounded. According to a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), which studied a group of men and women practicing hot yoga and basic yoga, heated yoga classes with temperatures ranging from 90 to 95 were not found to be more dangerous than the non-heated yoga classes.

While hot yoga may not be any more dangerous than basic yoga, it’s still important to stay safe. This style of yoga is considered unsafe for children, women who are pregnant, adults over the age of 60, and those suffering from certain medical conditions that have been advised against exercise or exposure to high temperatures.

If you’re new to hot yoga, start slow to give your body time to adjust. During your first session, you may want to sit back during more challenging positions. Allow your body to gain endurance against the heat.

Staying hydrated is of the utmost importance during hot yoga, as your body loses a lot of moisture as you continually sweat. Drink water for two hours before the class, throughout the duration of class, and for one to two hours after class.

You’ll also want to think carefully about your wardrobe choice. Skip cotton in favor of a moisture-wicking athletic material. As your clothes are bond to absorb a great deal of sweat, sport a firm-fitting ensemble that won’t collect sweat and start to droop. Keep as much skin bare as possible to allow your body ample opportunity to release heat.

Via Bikramyogaparkslope

Via Bikramyogaparkslope

What You Can Expect

If you’ve never been to a hot yoga class, you may not know what to expect. Even if you’re a self-proclaimed pro at traditional yoga, stepping into a 95 degree-plus room can be a little intimidating. Am I going to pass out? Will I have to leave mid-way through due to the heat?

While your first session will no doubt be taxing, you can get through it by being fully prepared.

  • How to Prepare:
    During your first hot yoga class, arrive to the studio 10 to 15 minutes early to give yourself time to get acquainted with the studio and teacher. It’s best not to eat anything for at least two hours before the class. If you need to eat, stick to just a piece of fruit.
  • What to Bring:
    Be prepared for whatever your class throws at you by having some essential staples available. If possible, bring your own yoga mat. If you don’t have one, most places will let you rent one for a small fee. You’ll also want to bring a big towel, a bottle of water, and a change of clothes if you plan on showering afterwards. For convenience, keep all of your supplies in a durable fitness bag.
  • Getting in Position:
    Once in the studio, you’ll want to find a place to roll out your yoga mat. If the studio has mirrors, like many do, find a place where you can see yourself to allow for better alignment of your body during positions. If you’re new to yoga, choose an area that provides you with a clear view of the instructor.
  • After a Session:
    After a session of hot yoga, be sure to hydrate yourself adequately. Opt for one to two liters of water to help rehydrate your system. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your session, don’t hesitate to consult with your instructor.

If practiced on a routine basis, hot yoga has the power to completely reshape the body. The carefully cultivated poses, coupled with the high in-studio temperatures, create a rejuvenating atmosphere where participates can effectively tone, strengthen and lengthen muscles while shedding excess pounds. While the word “hot” may be daunting at first, the heated rooms provide a multitude of benefits that aim to enhance health and wellness. Of course, hot yoga is not for everyone. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any type of new or intense exercise regimen.

9 Easy Hacks to Boost Your Metabolism Today

Boosting your metabolism allows you to burn more calories with less effort. While gender, age, and genetics all factor into your metabolic rate, there is still some wiggle room that allows you some control over how fast you shed those extra pounds. Turbocharge your metabolism today with these simple diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips.

Drink Water Before Meals

While most people know that sufficient water intake is key to better health, many don’t realize the direct effect it has on your metabolism. Research has shown that drinking water can increase the metabolic rate in healthy men and women by up to 30 percent. Gain the full benefits of water by drinking one to two glasses before each meal. Not only can you fight dehydration and boost your metabolism, but water will naturally fill you up so you end up eating less.

Soak Up Some Sunrays

Spending time in the sunshine can help burn excess calories. Moderate exposure to UV rays releases nitric oxide in the body, which plays a key role in metabolic rate. Choose to venture outdoors when the UV rays are most powerful, which is generally between 10 am and 4 pm, or when the sun is at its highest in the sky.

Protein-shake

Increase your protein intake to boost your metabolism.

Up Your Protein Intake

If you want to boost your metabolism, you’ll no doubt what to look closely at your diet. Are you getting enough protein? All types of protein are effective at accelerating your metabolism due to its thermogenic effect. When you eat sources of protein like eggs, chicken breast, oats, or even supplement with a protein shake, your body produces more heat and in turn, burns more calories.

Make the Switch to Tea

Instead of your usual cup of coffee in the morning, sip on a healthy herbal tea. Tea has been shown to help your body burn up to 100 additional calories over the course of a day. Besides tasting good, tea also has other significant health benefits. It can lower your cholesterol and cortisol levels, reduce inflammatory reactions, increase memory and concentration, and may decrease allergic reactions to pollen. Tea is also chock-full of healthy antioxidants referred to as catechins.

Chew your food and slow down when eating. Via Health-hazard

Chew your food and slow down when eating. Via Health-hazard

Slow Down When Eating

Living a busy life means doing things fast. You likely shower fast, work fast, and probably eat fast. Unfortunately, wolfing down your meals can lead to extra weight gain. On average, it takes about 20 minutes before a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) sends a signal to your brain to stop eating. When you eat quickly, it’s easier to overeat because you haven’t given your body enough time to register that it’s full. The next time you eat a meal, slow down, chew more carefully, and take smaller bites.

Savor a Square of Dark Chocolate

Eating chocolate to lose weight may seem counterproductive, but dark chocolate is not your average sweet treat. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are believed to play a role in regulating metabolism. Indulging in one or two squares of dark chocolate can also lower stress hormone levels, which can deter stress-induced eating behaviors.

people-laughing

Laughter is the best medicine! Via Successyeti

Take Time to Laugh

While it may seem simple, laughing can be significantly beneficial to your overall health. Not only does laughter promote happiness and wellbeing, it can also act as a workout. As few as 10 minutes of laughing can help you burn 10 to 20 percent more calories as you would if you remained laughter-free. That’s enough laughs to burn 10 to 40 calories.

Stand Instead of Sit

You may spend a lot of your day sitting, whether you’re at home in front of the TV or at work at your desk. Sitting for extended periods of time is not just bad for your posture. A sedentary lifestyle also doesn’t allow for much energy consumption. Keep your metabolism moving at peak velocity by spending more time standing instead of sitting. If you must spend long hours at a desk for work, consider converting your office desk to a standing desk by placing boxes under your laptop or keyboard.

people-sleeping

Sufficient rest is key to a steady metabolism. Via Scitechdaily

Get Enough Shut-Eye

How many hours a night do you sleep? If it’s fewer than seven, you’re likely suffering from some level of sleep deprivation. Skimping on sleep can have a major impact on all aspects of your health, including your metabolism. Studies have shown that adults who sleep at least nine hours a night typically have healthier metabolisms, crave fewer sweet and salty foods, and are generally less hungry compared to those who sleep fewer hours.

In Conclusion…

Sure, your metabolism may slow down as you get older, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t beat the system. Simple changes in the way that you eat, exercise, and complete day-to-day activities can have a major impact on your metabolic rate. When you need a boost, try these simple hacks to rev up your metabolism.

What other life hacks do you use to super-charge your metabolism?

 


 

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The App that Has Me Looking Forward to My Workouts

Let me set the scene for you: it was Monday night, I was at the gym and I was feeling a bit bored with my regular routine. I contemplated giving up entirely and heading home for the night but instead, I flipped open the app store on my phone to see if I could get inspired with any workout apps. I checked out a couple before stumbling across the Nike Training Club app.

The Nike Training Club app is the workout partner I always wished I had. Consider it your personal trainer of sorts.

The app features many fantastic workouts in a wide range of styles, which means that I can always find something that matches up to my mood and my preferred workout method. The workouts are also categorized by fitness level, which is awesome because I can choose a less intense workout when I’m feeling a bit sapped of energy and a higher intensity workout when I feel like a Workout Goddess.
nike-screenshot1

The app is also super simple to use.

Once you’ve downloaded it and found the workout you want to do, you simply load it up, choose your music preference and get ready to get sweaty. The app times each of the moves in the workout so you know what to expect and features a helpful video so you have guidance throughout your entire set. You can follow along to the workout in real-time and you can also take a quick look to see which moves are coming up. There is also a helpful guide around the type of equipment that you’ll need for the workouts so you can be sure you’re prepared before you start.

nike-screenshot2

The built-in community is motivating.

There’s also a really helpful Instagram-style news feed that is completely sports-related. You can get inspired by other training club participants and post your own photos to inspire others. One of the things that is extremely motivating, when it comes to keeping up with regular workouts, is community. Knowing that I can share my goals, my progress pics and other fitness-inspired items, encourages me to want to hit the gym up more often and capture more of those moments.

nike-screenshot3

It goes where I go.

The best part about the Nike Training Club app is that it’s mobile. I can literally toss my phone, and a pair of headphones, into my gym bag and have really fun workouts wherever I go. As someone who likes to mix it up and keep my workouts from getting boring, this has become my go-to app for workout ideas and inspiration.

What about you? Is there a particular fitness app that you use to motivate and inspire your workouts? Leave them in the comments below!

How to Avoid Plateauing in Your Routine

Shedding those unwanted pounds is a breeze when you first begin a new workout routine. Unfortunately, once you get into the groove of things, your progress can slow down.

Avoid these motivation-zapping plateaus in your workout routine by making a few simple, yet necessary, changes to your fitness regimen.

Stick in a rut? This can happen to the best of us. Try these tips to avoid plateauing as you work to develop a healthier you.

Switch It UP

MIX IT UP

One of the most common reasons people hit plateaus is not due to effort or motivation, but to their workout routine.

If you’re performing the same workout, day after day, you’re not challenging your body. As time progresses, your workout becomes easier and eventually ineffective. This type of plateau is very common amongst all fitness levels.

So what do you do? Mix it up.

Once a month, alter your workout and incorporate more challenging exercises that help improve flexibility, mobility, and strength.

If you’re not ready to up the ante, try making the exercises you already do more challenging. Increase weight or repetitions, boost the intensity, or try your hand at interval training.

Keep Your Nutrition In Check

KEEP YOUR DIET IN CHECK

Even if you’re eating relatively healthy, you may not be getting enough of certain nutrients your body needs to keep up with its physical demands.

Plateaus in your workout routine can easily develop when your diet is overlooked. Not only is it important to look at what you’re eating, but also break down the nutrient content.

When working out, you’ll want to keep your eye on three primary macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. These are the nutrients that provide our bodies with energy.

Lack of these essential macronutrients can essentially cause your metabolism to stall, resulting in less calories burned.

Get Some Support

GET SUPPORT

Everyone needs a little help now and then, and supplements may be just what you need to push pass your plateau. Supplements make it easier to obtain the nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy diet and build muscle.

Filling in those nutritional gaps can help to kick start your new fitness routine and keep it running smoothly.

Start with a basic multivitamin to get an adequate dose of all essential nutrients.

Feed your post-workout hunger panes with a protein powder or bar, as whey protein is most easily absorbed after exercise.

You may also want to look into supplements that aid in faster recovery, such as BCAAs, glutamine, and vitamin C.

TRY SOME NEW RECIPES

The same meals day in and day out cannot only get boring, but can also affect your workout efforts.

Take a look at your food journal.

If you’ve lost a bit of weight since the last time you made adjustments, your daily calorie requirements are now lower. Therefore, eating the same amount of calories each day will no longer produce results.

Start fresh with some new healthy recipes that are lower in calories but high in nutrients.

Try to cut out all processed foods and stick to only whole, fresh options like vegetables, high-fiber fruits, lean proteins, and beans. Purchase a few new “healthy” cookbooks, check out some from the library, or search online for new, nutrient-rich recipes to try out.

SLEEP IT OFF

It can no doubt be frustrating to hit a plateau when you feel like you’ve come so far. However, it’s important to know when to take it easy and give your body a break.

When losing weight and building muscle, your body needs time to regenerate and repair muscle tissue. The most effective time to restore your energy and health is during sleep.

To reach your workout goals, adequate sleep is critical.

The average adult requires 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to recuperate from the day before. The amount of sleep you get will directly affect your health, energy levels, and how effectively you train.

At the end of the day, don’t skimp on proper shut-eye.

ENGAGE IN MORNING CARDIO 

Whether you’ve hit a brick wall in terms of progress, or simply want to step your weight loss game up a notch, incorporate some moderate cardio into your morning routine.

While cardio can be effective anytime of the day, the morning is the best time to engage in a quick workout, as your stomach is empty.

Performing cardio in the morning on an empty stomach can get your metabolism working at full speed for the rest of the day.

Stored fat is then used as fuel to power your workouts, helping you to burn excess fat faster than ever before. Follow up your workout with a light, yet nutritional breakfast to help revitalize your energy reserves.

CONCLUSION

Plateaus often come when you least expect them, but that doesn’t mean you need to call it quits. By making some simple changes to your daily routine, you can overcome any plateau and prevent future obstacles.

What are some other tactics you use to overcome plateaus?

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Recipe: Zucchini Noodles and Grilled Shrimp

Spiralizing vegetables and using them in place of pasta has been becoming more mainstream lately. We love this trend and hope that it is one that sticks! It is a great option to still enjoy meals that you love, but remove the heavy carbs and add in a great healthy component.

We’ve seen cucumbers, carrots and sweet potatoes being turned into “noodles.” There are gadgets on the market that you can buy to do this for you, or you can use a mandolin and julienne the veggies for a similar result! This recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking is packed with flavor but super simple to make, we know you’ll love it!

CA-Almonds-077-copyINGREDIENTS

2 cups basil, stems removed (packed)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, divided
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 lemon, zested
1 pound shrimp (26 – 30 count, peeled and de-veined)
5 medium-sized zucchinis
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this Zucchini Noodles recipe, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Fitness on the Road: 5 Simple Ways to Dominate Your Next Trip

Most fitness buffs will tell you that the key to success is consistency. For many people, maintaining a healthy workout and diet plan at home is a cinch. Unfortunately, one trip out of town can cause utter chaos.

You may eat differently, exercise differently (or not at all), and probably even sleep differently.

Without access to your gym membership, local Whole Foods store, and network of support, how do you stay on track?

Proper exercise and eating habits can be sustained on the road with the right mindset. Sure, you’ll be tempted by greasy burgers, endless piles of fries, and the allure of cakes, cookies, and pastries, but be strong.

In short, proper fitness can happen anywhere. Here are a few simple ways to stay in tip-top shape while on the road.

1. Pack for Success

Chances are you’ll have limited time to squeeze in workouts while on the road. However, this doesn’t stop all travelers from getting some much-needed exercise. According to an analysis of Business Travelers from Scarborough, individuals traveling for work are 78 percent more likely than the average U.S. adult to belong to a gym.

Whether you’re traveling for work or play, it’s crucial to be prepared. Packing for success means bringing items that will be beneficial to your long-term wellness.

First consider you attire. In addition to your day-to-day clothes, you’ll want to pack some comfortable, breathable workout wear. Opt for moisture-wicking clothing which tends to be lightweight and easily folded. Of course, you’ll also want to have a pair of supportive shoes and running socks to keep your feet dry and free from injuries.

If you’re a female, a good quality, supportive sports bra is a must. Don’t be a cheapskate when it comes to your bra. A great sports bra minimizes movement, maintains comfort, and can help prevent irreversible damage that can lead to “sagging” breast tissue.

Finding an open gym while on the road is not always easy. To ensure that you get enough exercise, bring along some essential tools. Lightweight, no-bulk equipment can be thrown into a duffle bag and stored in your trunk for easy access.

Great options include:

  • Jump Rope – Small, lightweight, packs easy, and provides an intense workout.
  • Pedometer – Keep track of every step you make.
  • Resistance Band – Compact and aids in stretching and toning.
  • Yoga Mat – Start your morning off with a session of yoga.
  • Therapy Balls – Fight off tightness and relieve stress.
  • Laptop – To watch workout videos when your motivation starts to fizzle out.

For gym rats who prefer to use real equipment, your pre-trip organizing should include research. Determine where and when the gyms are open at your destination. Call different gyms and try to work out a good “walk-in’ deal to get some workouts in without having to pay a costly membership fee.

Whats-In-Your-Bag-Accel

2. Make Pit Stops

Pit stops are simply a part of travel. Bathroom break? Snack break? Need a few minutes to stretch your legs? Use these pit stops to your advantage by fitting in a quick workout.

Schedule some time for a quick workout at a rest stop, gas station, or park. Just a few short spurts of physical fitness throughout the day can help keep you in peak shape and your metabolism working at maximum speed.

These effective no-equipment exercises take mere minutes to complete.

  • Lunges – Lunges work the glutes, quads and hamstrings. Take one large step with one foot, bend your knee to a 90 degree angle, and hold. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Jumping Jacks – Jumping jacks work the calves, hip adductors and hip abductors. While simple, jumping jacks can deliver an excellent cardio workout.
  • Pull Ups – Pull ups work the biceps, lats, traps, deltoids, and rhomboids. Find a sturdy tree branch, grip it, and pull up.
  • Calf Raises – Calf raises work out and tone the calves. To do them, stand on the edge of a ledge or curb and rise your heels.
  • Shoulder Circles – Shoulder circles target the deltoids. This simple exercise consists of putting your arms straight out to your sides and making circle motions.
  • Box Jumps – Box jumps work the hamstrings, calves, and quads. Find an elevated surface, such as a park bench, and jump up, then down again.
  • Decline Push Ups – Decline pushups target the upper chest. To do this exercise, perform a pushup like usual, but rest your feet on an elevated surface.
  • Jump Squats – Jump squats work the hamstrings, calves and quads. With your hands behind your head, complete a regular squat. When you reach the lowest point, jump upwards off the ground.
  • Leg Raises – Leg Raises work the abdominals. Lay down and lift both legs off the ground simultaneously to create a 90 degree angle with your body.

There’s no excuse not to work out when the world around you provides ample opportunity for physical fitness. Stairs in your hotel? Jog up and down them. Waiting for your flight? Walk back and forth through the airport instead of sitting.

Via ahealthiermichigan.org

Via ahealthiermichigan.org

3. Record Your Workouts

Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. Health and fitness apps can be found by the dozens, and while some are more useful than others, research shows the benefits of using an app to maintain wellness.

In a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, three quarters of participants who used fitness apps reported to being more active compared to past users and non-users. Interestingly, research also found that current users of fitness apps also had lower body mass indexes than past users and non-users.

From fitness diaries to mobile personal trainers, using the right app can help you reach your goals faster and keep you on track when on the road. Here’s our top app choices:

Fitbit

One of the most popular fitness apps today is Fitbit, available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and the web. While the app can be used in combination with an activity tracker, one isn’t necessarily needed to use the app. Fitbit allows you to track calories, log your weight, count your steps, and retain other health information.

The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

Available for free on Android and iOS, The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout is the perfect exercise routine during hotel stays. All you need is seven minutes and a chair to get a medium-intensity workout consisting of moves like jumping jacks, crunches, planks, pushups, and high-knee running in place.

Lose It!

Lost It! offers a combination of innovative fitness and nutrition tools, coupled with a supportive network of like-minded folks looking to lose weight. Use the app to count calories, log exercises, and get advice from people who are also shedding unwanted pounds. The app is available on Android, iOS, Nook, Kindle, and the web.

WalkJogRun GPS Running Routes

WalkJogRun helps runners find or create running routes in any city of the world, along with tools to help them train effectively. When traveling, it can be hard to determine where a decent and safe route is to workout. This GPS running app has logged more than 207,000 miles of running routes. WalkJogRun requires iOS 6.0 or later.

Endomondo

This free app acts like an electronic coach, giving users feedback in real-time during exercise. Endomondo keeps an accurate record of your fitness history and manually logged workouts. Users also have access to user-made walking, running, and biking routes which can be extremely useful when traveling to new cities.

Via energyhealthclubs.com

Via energyhealthclubs.com

4. Invest in Wellness

Staying healthy and fit while on the road has never been easier than with the help of fitness-friendly hotel chains. In 2012, 84 percent of hotels offered an exercise, health, or fitness facility on-site.

Hotels know it can be tough to stay focused on fitness when traveling. That’s where hotel fitness programs come into play.

More than just a few exercise machines in the basement of the hotel, these fitness programs consist of yoga classes, personal trainers, health-conscious meals prepared by top-quality chefs, and sometimes even exercise equipment in the guest rooms.

If you’re having trouble staying motivated to work out while on the road, it may be wise to invest in a hotel fitness program. Of course, these programs vary from hotel to hotel so do your research behind handing over the dough.

Via healthcomu.com

Via healthcomu.com

5. Watch Your Calories

Meals on the go often consist of fast food, room service, and vending machine goodies. While cheap, fast, and convenient, these foods are not good for you. So what should you do when you’re hungry at the airport, or are craving a snack on the interstate?

While it may take some planning, you can eat healthy on-the-go. Whole grain cereal cups, high-protein energy bars, vegetable juice, low-fat yogurt, trail mix, and single serve vegetables are easy to pack and store and offer a nutritional kick.

If you have access to a kitchen, it’s best to make your own snacks and meals versus eating out. While some restaurants offer healthy, low calorie meals, most serve food loaded with salts, fats, and artificial flavors. If you must eat out, choose simple dishes, such as a basic salad with grilled chicken.

Between lack of time, an unfamiliar location, and the temptation of delicious foods everywhere you look, it’s easy to overindulge in flavorful fare. Try to steer clear of fast food and stick to venues that offer more nutritional options. A whole grain roll loaded with veggies from Subway is by far the better choice than anything at McDonalds.

Final Thoughts

Even those with a strong commitment to health can find it challenging to maintain their physical fitness while traveling. Fortunately, there are many things you can do on the road to better manage your eating and exercise habits. Schedule a time and place for your workouts and keep yourself accountable.