Category Archives: Articles

Hair Tip: Mane ‘n Tail Horse Shampoo

The past few years has been this huge journey of me trying to grow my hair back after the price my scalp had to pay from my picky eating. From starting to eat right to Youtube-searching “scalp massages that stimulate hair-growth” (don’t make fun… I was desperate), there was just one thing I was missing that would really get my hair back to its original fullness… and that was the right type of shampoo and conditioner. So I asked my hair dresser of many years now, Kelly Meador, what shampoo I should buy, what salon would sell it, and how much it would be (expecting I’d have to drop some big bucks), but to my surprise she told me to go to a pet store…

WHAT?!?!

Her suggestion: Horse shampoo.

You can purchase Mane ‘n Tail at your local CVS. It’s also available in the pet section at Wal-Mart and various pet stores- and those are usually the cheapest.

At the time I thought, “Great, I’m a thin-haired freak about to use horse products to desperately get my hair back…”

But after just one month of use, I had already noticed a HUGE difference in my hair – it was the answer to my hair prayers. I started using Mane ‘n Tail religiously and my locks not only got thicker, they got stronger and shinier too.

About Mane ‘n Tail

Forty years ago, Mane ‘n Tail was an exclusive product only used by animals and their owners. Diane from Customers Affairs of Straight Arrow Products, Inc. (the company that produces the shampoo and conditioner) says the company never had intentions to make the product usable for humans, but after the product had been selling on the shelves of pet stores for a couple of years, the company was informed that horse owners started using it on themselves, and saw great results when it came to thickness and hair-growth.  So Straight Arrow Products decided to officially sell the shampoo and conditioner in local drug stores for human use around 20 years ago.

Horses have thick hair, obviously, and it’s difficult to tame, but many horse owners use Mane ‘n Tail on their noble steeds because it prevents their hair from breakage and shedding and also helps maintain  their manes and tails so it’s not rough, frizzy or tangled. Diane says that the secret ingredient in the product is hydrolyzed protein, which also helps with sealing split ends- making your hair look and feel stronger.

“In our Mane ‘n Tail product, there is hydrolyzed protein, which helps you maintain the health of your hair and your scalp,” she says. She adds that the protein in the product is successful when it comes to grooming horses, and is just as successful when used by humans.

Personally, I had doubts when it came to using horse shampoo on my hair because mine was so thin, and I figured it’d make my hair greasy since the shampoo is meant for animals with insanely thick hair… but it actually gave my hair nice texture and made it shiny.

“It’s not a very weight-heavy product and neither is the conditioner,” she say. “It’s fine for any type of hair. We have all types of hair folks and animals that use the Mane ‘n Tail product,” from thin-haired “folks,” to cats who have the most delicate hair of all.

My Experience With Mane ‘n Tail

I LOVE Mane ‘n Tail and have been using it for 2 years now. Earlier this year, I  switched to another product by Moroccan Oil (an expensive brand) to switch up my routine, but still, my hair looked and felt better with the cheap animal stuff, so I switched back. For the price and its results, it really is a great buy- it makes you have beautiful hair, it’s cheaper than the desired brands and the conditioner also works as a leave-in product!

And I’m not just talkin’ to girls, I recommend this stuff for boys too and for all thin-haired and thick-haired people.  After all, look at me now….

Nahhh (no pun intended) … Just kidding. This is me now.

This was right after a haircut Kelly gave me this year.

Shake The Salt Habit Off!

Today, Americans are consuming an excess amount of sodium, ingesting more than half of what is recommended by dietitians and nutritionists, and one fast-food joint is acknowledging it.

“Where’s the Salt Shaker? Salt shakers are available at the beverage station, their new home, as Boston Market focuses on reducing sodium while delivering the same great taste.”

Just a few weeks ago, Boston Market, a popular restaurant chain, removed all salt shakers off the tables of their 476 locations, to raise awareness of the dangers of consuming too much sodium. But the chain has not eliminated the shakers altogether- they are still available, just customers have to walk a few extra steps to retrieve them at the condiments counter. The restaurant’s officials and employees refuse to comment on their new salt plan, but Boston Market said in a public statement that their goal is to encourage their customers to try the food before adding mounds of salt on it.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the adequate intake of salt for an average person should be no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, and research shows that the average daily sodium intake for Americans ages 2 and up is 3,436 mg.  And this extra sodium, as reported by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is not coming from table salt, but mostly processed and fast foods.

“Most of the sodium in our diets are not coming from a salt shaker, it is coming from all the processed foods that we eat,” says Erin Macdonald who has been a nutritionist for 18 years and is currently a dietitian at Complete Wellness, NOW! in Rancho Santa Margarita,  Calif.  ”Everything that comes in a can, a jar, a bag, a box, and fast foods, [have] a lot of sodium in it because sodium is a preservative.”

And Boston Market is well aware of this and has a plan to reduce 20 percent of the sodium in some of their most popular dishes such as the rotisserie chicken, macaroni and mashed potatoes. The chain’s CEO George Michel said in a public statement that they also have plans to have a 15 percent decrease in other items on the menu by 2014.

But MacDonald says that the high amounts of sodium is not just in unhealthy fast foods, but can be found in food items that we normally would consider healthy, such as wheat bread and lunch meats. “Every time someone has a sandwich, all of a sudden they’ve just gotten a big shot of sodium,” she says.

Since most of our food is already packed with lots of sodium, adding extra salt to foods can seriously harm the body and potentially destroy your health in the future, says Dr. James Brodsky, owner of Villa Park Pharmacy in Villa Park, Calif. and is a Clinical Pharmacist and a Nationally Board Certified Naturopathic Physician.

“Some people, when they’re older can’t process the salt very well and it causes high blood pressure,” he says. He adds that too much sodium can also increase the chances of heart disease and strokes, cause vasoconstriction and poor kidneys.

And depending on the amount consumed, an excess amount of salt causes the body to retain between 6-10 pounds of water, which not only makes you heavier, but can “raise up into your body until it gets to the lungs… and you can’t breathe and die from that.”

This is a blood vessel of a person with bad cholestrol. Plaque and cholesterol clogs the vessel, which is a problem because the canal where blood flows through becomes smaller. With high blood pressure, the blood puts pressure on the blood vessel walls when pumping blood and vasoconstriction makes the walls of the vessels stiff, making it not flexible enough to handle the high blood pressure. No matter what, the same blood has to pump through the same space and with not enough room to pump blood, and the walls of the vessels not flexible enough to handle the high blood pressure, a stroke will occur because the vessel is not pumping blood adequately.

People who normally have poor diets and already have previous health problems are most at risk because, “salt only makes your condition worse,”especially if you have high cholesterol, says Dr.Brodsky, who has treated patients with high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes for 45 years now.

Having no sodium in your diet is not healthy for you either because it is an electrolyte that the body needs to function. Without it, you can become fatigue and be at risk of heat stroke on days you are out in the sun. But Dr. Brodsky says that when it comes to table salt, there is “no medical need” for it because “we get a little over 1,000 mg of salt without even salting food.”

The only need for salt is taste, and Macdonald says it’s best to add natural herbs and spices such as pepper to your food instead of table salt. Even adding a squirt of lemon may do the trick.

But Dr. Brodsky has a different suggestion. He says that people should “cut back on the salt” and start using potassium chloride, a sodium chloride alternative that can be found at local supermarkets.

Choose No Salt over Morton’s traditional salt.

And if you really can’t stay away from salt, he says to split your salt shaker half and half; half sodium and half potassium chloride.  ”It still tastes about the same,” he says, “but you’ll be better off.”

 

Be Scary In Shape This Halloween

Today’s August 31 and you know what the means… it’s exactly two months before Halloween!

Okay, I know it’s kind of early to start thinking about what costumes you’re going to be wearing, but the holiday will be here as soon as you know it, and if you want to win the best body costume award at the Halloween party you’ll be attending this year, you need to start preparing for it, well, today.

So ladies, do you think you want to go the sexy nurse route showin’ off some leg? And gentlemen, are you going to show off those abs in a revealing caveman outfit? Whatever it is, if you’re planning on showing some skin this Halloween, you need to start preparing for it NOW to have that fit body you’ll be confident to reveal on the big day, according to Juli Stockstill, a certified personal trainer at Private Fitness/ The Pilates & Yoga Room in Anahiem Hills, Calif. She says that two months is the perfect amount of time to get the body scary in shape for the Halloween season.

“It will take your body 3-4 weeks to reset your metabolism- almost conditioning yourself to see really great results,” says Stockstill who has been in the weight-loss business for 19 years. “You don’t lose much weight [the first month] because the body is adjusting to a healthy lifestyle and it takes your body some time to condition yourself to really get at that point where you’re really dipping into those stored fat cells for energy during exercise.”

But don’t give up if you’re not happy with what you see in the mirror by September 31! She promises that you will start seeing results by the month of October.

“The next four weeks you’re really going to see some good results,” she says. “You’re body is already in full swing of what you’re doing as far as working out and have been, you know, consistent with what types of foods you’re eating.”

Many people start thinking about how they’re going to lose weight or get in shape for Halloween a week or two or even days before the actual date, and it often results in them finding desperate ways to quickly shed some pounds, like crash dieting. Although it may be a quick fix, research shows that fast weight-loss by crash dieting can severely harm your long-term health, and Stockstill is not for it.

“I don’t like crash dieting because if you do it too often throughout your lifetime, you’re definitely going to compromise your metabolism long-term,” she says. “What will happen is- your body is used to burning a certain amount of calories every day and having a certain amount of calories to burn… then all of a sudden you restrict those calories… and your body will end up going in, what they say, starvation or storage mode because whatever you do end up eating, your body feels that it doesn’t want to burn through those calories that it is getting, and so your body starts becoming very conservative with what it will burn.”

Stockstill says crash dieting does make you skinner, but the ultimate result is making you fatter (Yep, just dropped the F bomb, please excuse my language).

“If your metabolism has been constantly comprised through your early 20s, when you start to get into your late 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, your metabolism had a toll taken on it, so you tend to gain weight easier,” she says.

So crash dieting is just a big no-no. Plus the weight that disappears during crash-dieting is not the fat you want to lose (because the body is trying to store it to function), but rather muscle that is melting away- the stuff that makes you look good.

“Fat does not have shape, but muscle does, so when people say they want to sculpt their body, that can only come by gaining more muscle. And the way that you do that is through weight training or some type of resistance training,” not crash dieting, she says.

So the best way to get in shape this Halloween is not yo-yo dieting, but by working out and consistently fueling your body by eating right.

Here’s what she recommends:

Working out-

  • For people who haven’t seen the inside of a gym for quite some time now, she says you should be doing 45-60 minutess of cardio to get in shape. “For a person who needs weight-loss, they need to do longer 
  • cardio at a lower intensity,” she says. “For weight-loss, they say to keep your heart rate at a lower level, but to workout longer. It’s better for long term weight-loss.” She also says to add a little bit of strength training workouts. Do this at least 3 times a week.
  • For people who have been keeping up with the gym, she says you should be doing 20-30 minutes cardio at a high intensity and one hour strength training. “When you’re more fit, you can push yourself to do more.” Do this at least 3 times a week.
  • TIP: Intensity levels are very unique to each person’s fitness level. The goal is to push yourself and for some, that may mean running at 4.0 speed on the treadmill, and for others, it’s a 8.0 speed. Stockstill recommends using the “talking test” to figure out how hard you need to push yourself.
  • Talking Test: For lower intensity cardio, “you should be able to carry a conversation, but not be able to sing.” And for higher intensity cardio, “you should feel like it’s challenging to talk.” Another reason to workout with a friend! You’ll have someone to talk to.

Meal Plan-

Remember, calorie-intake varies for each person. “It depends on age, weight, height, and other things,” says Stockstill. She says keeping a clean diet with  low sugar and carbohydrates with high fibers, such as brown rice and yams, is best for anyone who is trying to get fit for Halloween. And here’s a plan, that she says, everyone can follow:

  • Breakfast- One egg with extra egg whites, a slice of whole grain/ high-fiber toast or a low-carb tortilla, and 1/4 of an avocado.
  • Lunch- One chicken breast, 1/4 cup of brown rice or half a sweet potatoe, and steamed veggies.
  • Dinner- 4 oz of protein (preferably fish), salad with mixed veggies (carrots, brocolli, cucumbers, etc.) with low-fat dressing, and crewtons for some crunch.
  • Snack- Greek yogurt with the highest amount of protien and berries.

So there ya go! Look and feel good this Halloween… the right way. Who knows, maybe this will become a routine and you’ll have a scary-in-shape body all year around.

“It’s all about clean eating,” says Stockstill, “and getting in a routine you can sustain long-term.”

If my grandma can do it, you can do it…

Meet Tao Porchon-Lynch.

Okay… so she’s not really my grandma, but you get the point.

Usually, after a women turns 30, she hates to reveal her actual age and might even lie saying she’s 10 years younger than she really is, but for Tao Porchon-Lynch, she flaunts it. At 93-years-young, Lynch, who is originally from Pondicherry, a French colony in India on the Bay of Bengal, is proud to reveal her age and proves the cliche that age is really nothing but a number.

A couple months ago, Lynch was dubbed as the World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher by the Guiness World Records and has been practicing yoga for more than 70 years and teaching it for over 45.  She’s also has trained and certified  hundreds of yoga instructors since she founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga in Westchester, N.Y. in 1982.

She is currently teaching regular classes at various Westchester studios, across the country and even around the world, inspiring people not only to use yoga as an anti-aging regimen, but to help people tap into their human potential and appreciate life, just like she does.

“Feeling the energy of life within me opens the door to appreciate the life force behind everything in this universe,” she told me.

If this isn’t a perfect if-my-grandma-can-do-it-you-can-do-it example, then I don’t know what is. I caught her before jetting off to teach in Montana, and I was able to ask her a few questions that will help us on our journey to becoming healthy 93-year-olds one day. Hopefully you feel inspired to get up and start being healthy!

Q&A With Tao Porchon-Lynch: The World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher at 93

 

1) It seems that some people just can’t bring themselves to start exercising. As the oldest yoga teacher in world, what are your suggestions for people who are just not motivated to stay healthy? How have you stayed motivated all these years?

Motivation is inside of you. Learn to breathe and you will open up the door for what you want to do… Just get in tune with your inner self. If someone is too lazy to use the life force to activate the body, tune into the inner energy of the breath. Know that each action of your heart is the inner life force. No! I’m never thinking of being “motivated!” Since a child I wanted to live every moment of my life.

2) When did you start exercising?  

When I was young I watched some boys doing yoga and it interested me. I decided if they could do it, so could I.

3) How has exercise benefited your health over the years? What do your doctors say about your health? Are they impressed? 

I don’t believe in checkups!

4) Sometimes people do get motivated to exercise and go on a work-out spree for a good three months, but then they fall back into their same old lazy rituals and gradually fall back into the exercise-less lifestyle. What are some tips when people want to give up?

I don’t think of yoga as exercise, but feeling how wonderful it is to get new energy into my life.  It is the linking up of body, mind and spirit. Watching the dawn makes everything in nature pulsate with our life. Renewal of the life force makes us aware of it.

I start the day knowing there is no such word as “can’t do something,” only the verb “to be able.”  When you get up in the morning know this is going to be the best day in your life.

 5) Along with exercise, how healthy do you keep your diet? What does it consist of?

I don’t eat too much.  I eat slowly. I eat mostly fruit, fruit juice and green vegetables. I like cooked greens as well as salads.  I’ve never liked large portions of any food. I never eat meat because I can’t kill anything.

I think of the wonder of the earth and how it along with the sun and rain provide me with food. People say I eat like a bird. Well, that’s a good example how to feed the body. In the U.S. we eat too much which creates a heaviness in the body and stifles the energy.

6) As a yoga instructor, are you able to do all the yoga poses? Are you limited at all?

I have a hip replacement in one hip and a long pin in the other leg. The pin prevents me from doing some yoga poses.

Don’t spend your time thinking about what you can’t do. I don’t let pain take over me and I know if I keep using my limbs and let the power of the universe “breathing” be my guide, there isn’t anything I cannot do.

7) Everyone has a weakness when it comes to food. What’s your guilty pleasure?

 Ice cream, milk chocolate and wine.

8) What are your top 5-10 motivational tips for people to start getting healthy?

Don’t procrastinate.

Tomorrow never comes.

Look for the wonder of health being unnerved in our bodies and mind.

Know the secret of life dwells with every breath we take.

Live, live, live. Don’t waste your life restricting.

Look how dawn awakes nature and makes the darkness and ignorance of night fade away.

Let your body feel the  freshness of the energy of a new day.

Open up to help your body and mind become renewed.

Don’t allow it when you are so young to become stagnant. There are so many wonderful things to do and so little time to do them!!!

9) You are a perfect example of how people can exercise at all agesWhat would you tell a lazy 20-something-year old who doesn’t think exercising is important? And what would you tell a 50-year-old who says they just can’t push their body to do it?

It’s important to keep the body moving at any age. Stagnant muscles cause stagnant minds!!!!

*All photos were taken off Google Images

The Dens Workout Plan

It’s the end of August and summer is just about over, and for some people, that means it’s back-to-school time. So watch out upcoming freshman! Avoid gaining the “Freshman 15″ like I did my first year in college with The Dens Workout Plan.

Step aside all you sweaty, buff, smelly boys… Girls can go in the weight room too!

As you guys know from  last week’s post, it was around this time of the year a couple of years ago that I started becoming a regular at the gym. Initially, Dens taught me this workout so I wouldn’t pack on the pounds, but now I’m still using it to stay in shape.

So don’t think this post is just for the freshies goin’ off to college… this workout is meant for anybody who is avoiding any type of “15″ weight-gain and for those who are trying to keep a tight figure.

So all you freshman, work out beginners,  gym-goers who need a new routine, and people who feel lost in the weight room… DRUM ROLL PLEASE!

Dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…

Behold… The Dens Workout Plan!

Step 1: Warm up

Your warm up session should be about 10 minutes. You can choose any of the cardio machines because any of them will do the trick (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc.).

Make sure to always  warm up before your workouts with a good cardio session. It may be obvious, but  here’s why according to Dens, our go-to friend trainer:

  • Your muscles will be warmed up and ready to go when you start exercising
  • You’ll increase your body temperature, which allows proper oxygen supply to the body
  • Your muscles will be able to contract and relax more quickly during your workouts because using cardio to warm up helps increase blood flow to the muscles
  • It boosts your exercise performance

STEP 2: ARMS

1. Curls: When doing curls, make sure to keep your back straight and reframe from arching or hunching the back. Separate your feet shoulder-length apart and keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible. Then bring the weights up to your neck and extend your arms back down. Do these slowly to burn fat.
What does it do?: “It primarily works out the biceps. It’s good for toning the arms.”- Dens

For beginners, I recommend using 7.5 lbs. That’s what I did when I first started, but now I’ve bumped it up to 10-12.5 lbs. Use higher weights only when the workout has become too easy for you.

For beginners, do about 10-12 curls. It may seem like a small number but your going to do this three times. Once you have become more advanced, bump it to 12-15 curls. I’m currently doing 15. Do 3 sets of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. These Things: Again, make sure your feet are shoulder-length apart. Grab a weight, bring it over your head, and drop your forearms to bring the weight in between your shoulder blades. Make sure to keep your elbows in the same place throughout the whole exercise above your head. Nothing but you forearms should move. Then lift the weight straight up in the air and drop it back down to the center of your back. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “These are good to shape the outside of your arms and it works the triceps. This helps the flabby underarm fat we all hate.” – Dens

If you are new to the workout, start out with 10 lbs, then when your body has gotten used to it and you’re able to increase the weight, start using 12.5-15 lbs.

Just like with curls, I suggest that if you’re new to working out, do “these things” 10 times. Then when your more advanced, bump it up to 12-15 times. Usually I do 12, but on a good day I do 15 :) Do 3 sets of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FYI- In college, every time Dens, Maggie and I were going over what we were going to do at the gym, we’d never know what to call this workout so we’d say, “Ok, we’ll start off with running, then curls, then these things,” while moving our arms up and down to show what we meant. That’s where it got its name.

3. Cheerleaders: Grab your weights and hold your elbows straight out  in front of you with the dumbbells straight up in the air . Then spread your arms to the side like your flexing for the gun show. Make sure your arms only go to the side and don’t bring your elbows/arms behind your back. Be sure NOT to drop your elbows as well. Then push the weights straight up in the air above your head. Do these slowly to burn fat. Then repeat.

What does it do?: “Cheerleaders are good for chest and shoulders and keeping that area toned.” – Dens

Beginners should use 7.5 lbs. When you are more advanced, start using 10 lbs.

First start out doing 10 reps of these, then when it’s time, bump it up to 12-15 reps. That’s what I do now. Do 3 sets of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success!

STEP 2.5: LEGS  (Switch off arm and leg days. Don’t work on both in one workout session.)

1. Lunges OR Squats (I like to mix it up. Don’t do both in one day.)

When doing lunges, make sure you leave enough room between your legs so when you do the lunge, your knee doesn’t go forward past your ankles. As you lower your body, make sure both legs come to a 90-degree angle. Inhale as you go into the lunge and exhale when you come back up. Make sure to switch off legs. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “They work a ton of muscles, mainly the butt, the hamstrings, and your quads. With these, you can say good-bye to your flabby thighs.” – Dens

Beginners start off with 7.5 lbs. and when you are able to, start using 10-12.5 lbs. Personally, I think 12.5 lbs. is too heavy, so I use 10 lbs. If you are a beginner, do 5-8 lunges on each leg. If you are more advanced, do between 8-10 on each. Do 3 sets of these.

1.5. Squats

Keep your legs shoulder-length apart. DO NOT let your knees go forward past your feet! That can do damage to them. You want to keep most of your weight in the back of your heals for balance and pretend you are sitting in an imaginary chair. That’s how far you should go. And make sure to keep your upper body tall and your back straight when squatting. When you go down, stick your bum out as far as you can too. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “Squats are a great exercise for definition in your entire legs. It works all the muscles from your feet to your butt.” – Dens

Beginners start off with 10-15 lbs. When you are at a more advanced level, pump it up to 20-25 lbs. Currently, I am doing 20 lbs.

Whether you’re a beginner or not, you should be doing 3 sets of 8 with these. No more or no less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Calves

Grab a weight and hold it on one side. Let’s just say you hold it with your left hand to your left side. Stand on your toes on your right foot and go up and down. Your toes never leave the floor, you simply just stand on your tippy toes and go back down. Do the same with the other side.

What does it do?: “It gives great definition to the calves.”- Dens

Beginners use 15-20 lbs and do 20 reps. When you’re more advanced, start using 20-25 lbs. and do between 20-30 reps. That’s what I’m doing now. Do 3 sets of these.

3. Good Girls, Bad Girls

For the record, I did not come up with this name. I’ve heard personal trainers use it all the time and you’ll know why with these pictures. But these leg workouts are pretty straight forward since they are on a machine, so take a seat and spread your legs. There are two of these machines though so make sure you do both. One you push your legs out and the other you push them in. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “These work your adductors and abductors- that’s like your inner thigh and your outside of the hips to your butt.” – Dens

This one you push out. Beginners, you should use 30-50 lbs, and if you are more advanced, you should do 50 lbs or higher. I currently do 60 lbs.

This one you push in. Beginners should do about 10-12 of these, and more advanced people should do between 15-20. Do these 3 times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Umm… does this good girl, bad girl machine belong in the gym… or delivery room?

STEP 3: ABS

1. Side-To-Sides

Grab a weight and keep your feet shoulder-length apart. Then do not move your legs, but tilt your upper body to the side (like you’re doing crunches but on the side) bringing the weight lower down your leg. Then bring yourself straight back up. Make sure to keep abs tight while doing this and do them slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “These work your oblique muscles for your abs. These help get rid of the love handles.” – Dens

Beginners should use 12.5-15 lbs. Advanced people should bump it up to 15-20 lbs.

Beginners do 15 on each side and advanced people do 15-20 each. Do each side 3 times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Leg-Lifts

Grab a yoga mat and lay flat on the floor facing upward. Place hands under your bum with your palms on the floor, fingers toward your feet. Extend your legs up and bring them to the floor. The closer your feet get to the floor the better it is for the abs. And don’t worry about keeping your legs completely straight when you bring them up because they can be slightly bent.

What does it do?: “Its primary function is to work the inner core, but it also defines the legs.” – Dens

Beginners try doing 10-15 of these. Then when your more advanced do between 20-25 of them.

Do 3 sets of these.

3. Crunches

There are two kinds that I do. The first one are normal crunches where your legs are up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head, and with your abs, bring yourself up forward as much as you can.

What does it do?: “When your knees are up, your working your top abs.”- Dens

Start off doing 40 of these, then add more when you feel you are able too. Currently I do 50. Do 3 sets of these.

The second kinds are laying-down crunches. It’s the same concept as the regular crunches, but instead of keeping your legs at a 90-degree angle, you lay them flat on the floor with your toes pointing up.

What does it do?: “When your feet are on the floor, you are working your lower abs.” – Dens

Same with the other crunches, start out with 40 and then boost it up. I am currently doing 60 of these. Do 3 sets of these.

STEP 4: CARDIO

As you remember in my last post, finish off your workout with a cardio session at the end, because like I said, cardio post-workout burns more fat than pre-workout. And just like with the warm up, choose any cardio machine because any of them work. For me, I like to do 20 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes on the treadmill (total of 30 mins).

FINAL TIPS:

  • Do this work out 3-5 times a week (I do 4-5)
  • Switch off arm and leg days. Don’t do both in one day.
  • When doing arms I go in this order: curls, these things, then cheerleaders. Then I start over and do them two more times instead of doing curls 3x, these things 3x, and cheerleaders 3x. Same goes for leg and ab workouts.
  • Make sure your you do everything SLOWLY to burn fat
  • Make sure to break a sweat! If you don’t, boost it up by doing more or adding more. REMEMBER, using less amount of weight with more reps is better than more weight and less reps.
  • If this workout causes you pain (not soreness), don’t do it.

*All photos were taken by photographer Richard Urwin Wheeler.

Learn how to burn fat quicker at the gym

Typically, when I go to the gym, I like to start my workouts with a 20-30-minute cardio session, move on to abs, then finish the workout with weights. But lately, I feel like my usual routine hasn’t been doing much for me, so I figured I’d switch it up… or pump it up.

In the past few weeks I’ve started doing cardio for an extra 20 minutes along with my typical weightlifting, and damn do I sweat! You know what they say, when the body’s sweating, the fat is crying :) . But even though I was a human version of the Niagara Falls, I found out that my extra cardio wasn’t actually burning the fat like I thought it was doing. These tears meant nothing!

A friend of mine and a 24 Hour Fitness trainer who works at the gym I go to in Orange, Brady McManus,  stopped  me while I was ahead and gave me a helpful tip. Boosting up my cardio was the right idea, but he told me to keep doing what I was doing. It turns out, I didn’t need to add any minutes on the treadmill at all.

His tip: Just flip the routine.

Start off weightlifting AND THEN do your cardio session. (He recommends to stretch and do warm up cardio for 10 minutes before lifting though to warm up the body).

Here’s why according Brady:

“The best way for the body to burn fat while doing cardio is to have your body depicted of carbohydrates. As you intake carbs, your body stores the glycogen in the liver, then your body waits to use that as fuel. When you are walking or running or doing any form of cardio, your body can use either the stored glycogen or fat stored. The only problem is your body won’t use any fat store until glycogen is all burned up. But when your body does weight lifting first, you burn the glycogen, then when you do cardio or anabolic exercise, there is no glycogen to continue the burn and you will burn fat.”

-Brady

Let me translate this science lecture for you.

Basically in order to burn fat stored in the body, you have to burn glycogen first. If you start your workout with cardio, you will start burning glycogen NOT fat.

I know what you’re thinking… “Wouldn’t weightlifting burn the fat then since I just burned the glycogen running?” Well, it doesn’t quite work that way.

“It takes longer to burn glycogen during running,” so you won’t burn enough doing that. Then when you lift weights, you’ll continue to burn glycogen, not fat, he says. “Glycogen burns faster during weightlifting. It [allows] to burn the fat when doing cardio after.”

Glycogen come from carbs – pasta, bread, potatoes, cookies… you know all the good stuff. So the first thing I thought when Brady told me all this was, “Great I’ll eat no carbs  so I don’t have any glycogen! Then I can cut right to the chase and burn the fat!”

But nope. It doesn’t work that way either.

“Glycogen you can think as fuel to your tank. If you don’t eat carbs you aren’t fueling your tank. You can do low carbs but no carbs isn’t the answer.”

So there ya go. If you’re anything like me and your sick of seeing no results, burn fat quicker by doing this. I just started and you should too!

Taking a daily jog makes you live longer… and reading The Daily Jog does too ;)

If working out isn’t your thing or you simply can’t make enough time for it, don’t worry! Jogging regularly up to just one to two and half hours a week can add between five to six years to your lifespan, according to a Danish Study released in April of this year.

And if you hate sweating, that’s okay, because the study also revealed jogging at a slow and steady pace is more beneficial to your health than jogging at intense speeds. This is because experts say it’s less work for the body and doesn’t wear it down as fast.

It may seem like less work, but the research shows that repetitiveness in exercise is key.

Researchers observed about 20,000 Danish men and women ages 20 to 93 since the 1970s, and the participants of the Copenhagen City Heart study had been consistently jogging for an average of 10 years. Compared to non-joggers, it is estimated that the age of death among male and female joggers were reduced by 44 percent.

“Repetitive exercise like jogging will overall improve your health,” says Dr. Adolhoda, a cardiac surgeon at UC Irvine Medical Center and Long Beach VA Hospital. “If you do this repetitively, your heart rate is slower, your blood pressure is lower, and both of these are very beneficial to the heart muscle. Your organs are going to function better, and therefor, you live longer.”

He says this is why. Low blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood because the blood is not as forceful against the heart’s arteries, which lowers your chances of  a stroke and heart disease. And a low heart rate is good for the body because it requires less energy for the heart to function. The heart muscle works less to provide more and it makes each heart beat more efficient.

Repetitive jogging keeps the heart in shape, says Dr, Adolhoda, and in turn, keeps you in shape. Another way jogging keeps you in shape is by boosting your metabolism, which means we can eat more!

“Your appetite improves,” says Dr. Adholoda. “Your body is in need of more protein, more water, and nutrition, so you eat more. You eat more but don’t gain weight.”

So don’t think that just because you had yogurt and oats for breakfast you’re doing your body any good, because if you’re not active, eating less can mean gaining more.

“If someone is sleeping on the couch all day and doesn’t eat much they become more fat,” he says. “You must be active because instead of converting calories to fat, it converts calories into protein which bulks up muscle.”

Dr. A compares a lazy coach potato to Michael Phelps. Although he’s not a jogger, he says regular exercise requires more food intake and it has been reported that, for Phelps, he eats roughly 8,000-10,000 calories a day. Sounds like my kind of diet.

And jogging can prevent illness like the common cold or flu because the immune system becomes stronger. “That could also be a reason why that jogging increases your lifespan because it boosts your immune system and it increases your survival.”

Experts have even suggested that the exercise can also prevent other illnesses… like the “C” word. This is because jogging regularly trains you to become a better breather, delivering oxygen properly to the muscles and tissues in the body.

“Better oxygen delivery to the tissues can prevent cancer. People who exercise more repetitively and all their life may be protected from cancer because cancer is a result of damage to the tissues, and one damage is having the tissue not have enough oxygen.”

Besides the healthy heart and the fast metabolism, jogging makes you happy.  Seriously, it gives you a high that can be addicting.

“When you’re exercising, your endorphin levels go up and this hormone makes you feel better- makes you feel good. As a result of that, you like to keep going with that repetitive exercise.”

So just get started because once you start, you may never stop… or die! JK, but really.