Build Lower Back Strength with Bosu Supermans

Looking to shake up your workout? Incorporating BOSU ball exercises can add some spice to your routine, while still giving you awesome body-sculpting benefits.

There are SO many ways you can add a BOSU ball to your training, all depending on your needs and the areas you want to target. Plus, there are different variations for every fitness level.

And as a bonus – you’re getting an ab workout, too! A BOSU ball incorporates balance and stability into every exercise so you are constantly tightening and strengthening your core.  

Strengthening Your Lower Back

Your back is your foundation and gaining strength in your lower back can help support your entire spine. If you spend a lot of time sitting, the muscles in your lower back may be getting lazy, and you may even be experiencing some back pain.

So let’s work on strengthening that foundation!

A great way to increase strength in your lower to mid back is to add BOSU Superman’s into your workout routine. This exercise really targets those lower back muscles, while also working your glutes, hamstrings, and even shoulders. 

The Exercise: BOSU Superman

1.   Get on the ball.

Place your BOSU ball on the ground, round side up. Lay face down with your tummy on the BOSU ball. Toes and forearms should be resting on the floor.

2.   Engage your core.

Pull your bellybutton in toward your spine, squeezing those abs and engaging your core.

3.   Superman!

Lift arms and toes off the floor while maintaining your balance. Squeeze your glutes to keep legs up. Now hold for a count of two feeling a squeeze in your lower back, lower arms and legs without touching the ground and lift again. This is not a big movement. Only go up enough to where you feel the lower back muscles engage. Do 2 to 3 sets for 15 – 20 reps.

TIP: Don’t let your shoulders creep up to your ears – pull your shoulder blades back and together. And don’t forget to engage your core and breathe.

The Variation: BOSU Hyperextension

If you can’t hold your balance during the BOSU Superman, try this variation – the BOSU Hyperextension. This exercise still emphasizes your lower back muscles, but you’ll get some added stability by keeping your toes on the ground.

To perform this exercise, you’ll get on the ball in the same position as the Superman, with feet placed about shoulder width apart. Your arms can be crossed over your chest or placed behind your head.

Then, lift your chest off the ball to hyperextend the lower back. Hold for a count of two and repeat. Remember this is not a big movement. Only come up enough to get a squeeze in the lower back. Toes are staying firmly on the ground throughout this move.  Do 2 to 3 sets for 15 – 20 reps.

Remember, always keep your abs tight and breathe.

6 Steps to being Healthy in an Unhealthy World

It’s hard enough sticking to a healthy lifestyle with the everyday temptations -- convenient fast food on every corner, girl’s night out featuring sugary margaritas, and supermarket shelves stocked with chips and sodas galore.

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Top that with pressure from friends and loved ones and it just gets a whole lot tougher to stick with the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to create.

You know what I mean. Friends out to lunch begging, “Oh come on, just one!” or fellow co-workers always trying to convince you to take part in the office goodies that are constantly a part of the office environment.

So, how do we combat temptations, stand up for our healthy choices, and encourage our friends and family to respect our healthy lifestyles? Simply put, how do we remain healthy in an unhealthy world?

1. Know Your Stuff

No one’s going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. The conviction in your choices has to be strong enough to withstand judgement from outsiders. But it’s easier said than done.

The best thing you can do is educate yourself on why you’re doing what you’re doing. That way, instead of a defensive response to your bestie urging you to try some of her nachos, you can educate them instead as to why you’re skipping them.

It’s important that as women, we’re encouraging each other to be our best selves. Having an educational conversation with the people around you will be a win-win. But that means you have to know your stuff and be firm in your convictions.

Try explaining how much better you started feeling when you removed greasy food from your diet. Or how you’re working really hard to lose 15 pounds by Christmas and know the nachos won’t help. You’ll feel more confident when you’re educated and it’ll become easier to stand up for yourself in a way that feels good.

But hey -- if you’re that friend pressuring someone to eat food that you know they’re working really hard to avoid… well let’s just say, don’t be that friend. 

2. Communicate Openly with Friends and Loved Ones

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you feel like you’re the only one in your circle who’s even attempting to live a healthy life. Your kids have pizza every other day, your husband seems unable to live without dessert, and nearly every photo on social media includes a friend of yours holding a Mai tai. Great.

The first step is to ask your loved ones for support. Tell them you want to make healthier choices, so you feel better with more energy.  Maybe you’re concerned about aging and staying healthy as you age, living a long life free of disease.  The key is to communicate. Your family can’t read your mind!

Make it really obvious that you’re changing your old habits for new, healthier ones. Whether that’s posting your gym routine to Instagram or filling the pantry with almonds instead of Oreos, it should be really clear to the people around you that this is important.

3. Get Others Involved

You don’t have to do it alone! Include your family and friends in your healthy habits and urge them to get involved.

Decide on healthy recipes with your family and make an effort to cook together. Start a fun fitness challenge with your coworkers. Go to the gym with your friends instead of going out for drinks.

When you encourage others to join you on your health journey, they will benefit, and appreciate your support. We can all learn together. We as women need to education and support other women and our children why it’s important to lead healthy lives.

4. Find a Likeminded Community

Once you start living a healthy lifestyle, the community will naturally follow. You just have to get out there.

For instance, once a week, you can trade your solo gym workout for a group exercise class and meet some new people. Spend time at the local juice bar. Chat with the farmers at the fresh food market. Nurturing this new community will only strengthen your bond with eating better, healthier foods and taking care of your body.

There’s a whole online community of likeminded health-conscious people, too – which you probably already know since you’re here. Connect on social media with other individuals who want to learn about implementing a healthy lifestyle.

5. Lead by Example

Sometimes, you’re not going to have the support you need from friends or loved one. But that’s ok. In this case, you need to lead the pack.

For your kids’ bake sale, bring protein packed oat clusters instead of sugary treats. When you’re invited to dinner or a party politely ask what’s on the menu and ask if you can bring a veggie tray instead of fattening dips and desserts. And it never hurts to be proactive, if it’s a pizza party you might want to eat before you go and snack on the veggies (that you brought).

Leading by example will give you the self-assurance to stick with your healthy lifestyle no matter what anyone else has to say. There’s nothing better than inspiring others and to feel good about the choices you made after you leave the party.

6. Mindfulness - Slow It Down and Take a Breath

No one is perfect and you shouldn’t expect to be. Being healthy in an unhealthy world can take its toll since there are so many unhealthy choices constantly thrown our way.

Notice these moments of stress, stop, and take a 3 or 4 deep, cleansing breaths. You may even want to plan these “check-ins” into your schedule.

Practices checking in with yourself as you come to the end of your lunch break, on your way to pick up the kids from school, or before bed. Remind yourself to breathe and ask yourself how you’re doing. Acknowledge your efforts and be proud of yourself accomplishments.

It’ll be absolutely essential you have a plan to reset.

How do you manage being a healthy, strong woman in such an unhealthy world? How have you learned to cope with pressure from friends and family? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

7 Tips for A Flatter Tummy

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One of the first things my new clients say is that they want a flatter tummy. Belly fat can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. It also affects a woman’s confidence and how she feels in her clothes.

Even more important is the problem that this type of fat around the mid-section is a risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The good news—you can do something about it.

Here are 7 tips to help you lose belly fat so you can wear those form fitting clothes and feel beautiful in them:

1.    Eat a high protein diet: Protein should be a part of every meal. It keeps you full, decreases your appetite and helps build strong muscles. Studies have shown that eating quality protein (i.e., beef, salmon, eggs, turkey, pork, fish & chicken) throughout the day decreases abdominal fat—the type of fat that can be a precursor for obesity and disease. Not sure how much protein to eat? Strive for 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. 

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2.    Cut out sugar: For many of us, this is easier said than done. Sugar tastes good and many compare it to a drug that you can become addicted to over time. Quitting cold turkey usually doesn’t work. Instead, try to find healthier ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Swap out candy for some fruit, and if you crave chocolate, eat a small piece of dark chocolate (at least 70% dark or higher), which is also heart healthy. And don’t forget those sugary drinks that are often overlooked. Ditch the sodas and juices, which are loaded with sugar. Flavored unsweetened seltzer or water is just as good and ten times better for your waistline. 

3.    Get active: It sounds obvious, but it’s always worth repeating. Cardiovascular exercise and resistance training will always work in reducing belly fat. You’ll burn calories whether you’re running, walking, biking, rowing or taking your favorite dance class. Studies show that aerobic exercise leads to weight loss, which ultimately results in reduced abdominal fat. What women sometimes forget though is the strength training part of the equation. Resistance training at least three times a week will not only get you stronger, but the muscles you build will take the place of fat. So don’t forget to lift those weights!

4.    Cut refined carbs and processed foods: Carbs often get a bad rap and there is some good reason for that. The problem occurs when you don’t eat the right carbs. A refined carb has basically been stripped of its nutritional value including fiber, vitamins and minerals. The lack of these important nutrients has been linked to obesity. Opt for complex carbs such as yams, sweet potatoes, whole oats, quinoa, and wild brown or black rice.

The same goes for processed foods. Just seeing the word “processed” on a food should be enough for you to stay away from it as it’s far from being natural and healthy. These foods are usually loaded with sugars and other ingredients that do nothing to keep your body healthy or your belly flat.

5.    Drink apple cider vinegar (ACV) every day: A tall tale or health hack? Whatever you may think about drinking apple cider vinegar, the truth lies in the science. One study showed that daily intake of apple cider vinegar significantly reduced belly fat. The acetic acid in the vinegar is what does the trick. And not only that, ACV has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels. Just be sure to dilute it with some water so it’s easier to drink.

6.    Drink plenty of water: Water is essential for all living things and that includes you. Water regulates your internal body temperature through sweating, it metabolizes and transports carbs and proteins, it helps flush waste out of your system and it keeps your joints lubricated. The list goes on and on. When it comes to belly fat, water is the perfect weapon to keep your body healthy while flushing out whatever may be causing belly bloat.

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 7.    Get more sleep: They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. A good night’s sleep, which should be at least seven hours a night, is important for a variety of reasons. Not only is it beneficial for mental clarity, but it also reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Lack of quality sleep has also been shown to increase the levels of ghrelin—the hormone that regulates your appetite. That means you’re more likely to eat more, which can lead to belly fat.

Some of these tips may be much easier than others and that’s okay. Rome wasn’t built in a day so no one expects you to change your habits over night. Pick the one that you know is the biggest contributor to your belly fat and work on changing that behavior. If you can break the most challenging habit, the rest should be easy!

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3284412/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17637702

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25477716

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/


 

Mitochondria 101 - Why It’s Important to Your Health

Mitochondria are a number of organized structures within a living cell. The function of the mitochondria is to produce energy within the cell called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This cellular respiration takes nutrients from the cell, breaks it down and creates energy for the cell. When it comes to health and disease prevention, your mitochondrial wellbeing and capacity basically can't be exaggerated enough. On the off chance that your mitochondria are not working great, nothing else will either. They affect metabolism and play a role in our well being and how our body produces energy.

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Mitochondria 101

The powerhouse of your cells, creating around 90% of the vitality being produced in your body.

Mitochondria are the powerhouse of your cells, creating around 90 percent of the vitality being produced in your body. With much neglect to acknowledge is that completely everything that occurs in your body, every single muscle constriction, biochemical course, cell recovery, detoxification etcetera requires vitality. Nothing can happen in a vitality vacuum.

"A lot of things occur in the cell that individuals don't think about, like the exchange of particles crosswise over films, or the support of the state of the cytoskeleton (microscopic network of protein filaments and tubules in the cytoplasm of many living cells). For the micro tubules to keep up their shape, they require a contribution of vitality. Everything that occurs in the cell requires vitality, whenever you have a reduction in that vitality generation, things can begin to fall apart."

How Do We Eat to Optimize Our Mitochondria?

The most important food ingredient to give up is sugar and limit grains because they resort to sugar in the bloodstream. Mitochondria do better functioning off healthy fats, like sardines, walnuts, avocado, coconut oil, and MCT oil. You want to eat high fat and low crab, because the mitochondria use fatty acids or carbohydrates to create the ATP, but if you give them more fat and less carbohydrate, you'll have less free radicals formed. You also want to eat lots and lots of colorful vegetables, because the more phytonutrients you must nourish your body, the more you will certainly nourish your mitochondria as well. We additionally know some veggies, like sulfur-rich veggies (cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), benefit producing glutathione, an effective antioxidant that benefits the mitochondria.

Mitochondria likewise have other fundamentally essential capacities. For instance, they go about as the organizer for apoptosis (a form of programmed cell death), a critical procedure that guarantees the passing of failing cells that may transform into tumors. This is called Apoptosis.

Apoptosis is essentially cell suicide. Through the span of a cell's life, it's going to be harmed. At the point when that harm crosses a limit, signals are sent to the phone that let it know, 'you’re never again be useful, and you better confer suicide for the more prominent benefit of the living being.' What's intriguing is that the most current research has demonstrated that it's the mitochondria that start that phone suicide program.

It's the mitochondria that get each one of those signs and decide if that limit has been achieved. It's additionally fascinating that if your mitochondria are broken, it probably won't have the capacity to comprehend those signs appropriately and not give the flag for apoptosis or cell death when it should happen.

Another important facet is that every one of those distinctive things that occur in the apoptosis course likewise requires a contribution of vitality. In this way, even though it may have the capacity to peruse the signs legitimately and give the flag that it's a great time to commit suicide if there's insufficient energy produce, defective cells will survive and multiple. The dysfunctional mitochondria are the basis behind what we know as cancer.

5 tips to Strengthen Your Mitochondria:

  1. Sun Exposure - Sunlight is one of the most powerful mitochondrial boosters for optimal wellness and wellness.

  2. Cold Thermogenesis - Daily cool showers, polar plunges, or cryotherapy are fantastic means to cool exposure.

  3. Periodic Intermittent Fasting - Studies have shown calorie limitation to enhanced mitochondrial function as well as increased longevity.

  4. Move Extra - The average American sits for 13 hours a day. Include the advised 8 hours of rest and we're inactive for 21/24 hrs. each day - almost 88% of our time. Mitochondria like exercise, activity, as well as movement. Feed your mitochondria as much movement as possible.

  5. Vitamins - These are the 5 natural supplements that boost mitochondrial function.

    a. BioPQQ (polyquinoline quinone)

    b. Magnesium Threonate

    c. B-Vitamins - especially nicotinamide (a form of Vitamin B-3)

    d. Nitric Oxide Boosters - L-Arginine and L-Citrulline

    e. Alpha-lipoic-Acid


Resources:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/02/25/mitochondria-facts.aspx

https://www.naturalstacks.com/blogs/news/supplements-that-support-healthy-mitochondrial-function

https://www.naturalstacks.com/blogs/news/5-ways-to-improve-your-health-by-boosting-mitochondria


The 5 Things I Do Every Weekend to Stay Healthy All Week

Staying healthy all week takes some planning, and what I’ve learned is that if I don’t have a plan and schedule the whole week goes haywire. One of my favorite quotes that I find so true is “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Benjamin Franklin. I want to be successful in my health journey and I’m sure you do too, so let’s make a plan. Here I talk about the 5 things I do every weekend to ensure my success for the week.

1. Routine

Routine is everything because the body strives on regularity and structure, especially if your main goal is weight loss. If you have a structured schedule on weekdays and then everything goes haywire on the weekend your body will pay for it. For instance, if you are eating healthy planned meals during the week and then you go crazy on fast food, sugar, and alcohol on the weekend you will wake up Monday morning feeling sick and 3-4 pounds heavier than the week before. Talk about making yourself feel bad. To avoid this, think of how you want to feel on Monday morning, and what steps you need to take to create that good feeling, and then do that!

If you want success with your weight loss and to wake up Monday morning with a flat tummy with no weight gain follow your same structure as you do during the week. Some examples are, eat at the same times on the weekend as you do during the week, stay hydrated and drink all your water, get 8 or more hours of sleep and if you missed any of your workouts during the week make sure to get it in on the weekend. I’ve been doing this for many years and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that “winners are made on the weekend”.

2. Meal Planning and Shopping for The Week

Every Saturday I plan my meals for the next week, make a grocery list and head to the store. I like to shop at Costco for the most part since I can buy in bulk and save money. It’s important to buy organic veggies, fruit, and meat since these are free from pesticides and added hormones our bodies should not be consuming. If you have a local farmers market get your fruit and veggies there. Strive to get fresh foods that are in season. If possible buy local eggs, meats, such as chicken, pork, and beef.

3. Advance Prep for The Week

When I return from the grocery store I clean, cut, and measure out the veggies, and make my salads for the entire week. I have individual containers for salads and meals. If I have time on Saturday I will cook all my meat and/or recipes and divide them up into their individual containers with the veggies and carbs. It works best if I shop on Saturday and cook everything on Sunday. If you are working an 8 to 5 job you will want to have your meals ready and with you all day. Having your food with you and eating on a regular schedule will avoid blood sugars from dropping so you don’t eat unhealthy fast foods that put on weight.

4. Pack Your Gym Bag the Night Before

Sunday evenings I make sure my gym bag has everything I need for my Monday workout. I keep certain things in my bag at all times such as toiletries. I always have my headphones in my bag and charged up every weekend. I have my workout gloves and straps in my gym bag at all times. I put out my workout pants, top, shoes and socks so I don’t have to think about it the next morning. It’s there ready for me to put on and head out the door. Or if you are heading to the gym after work you’ll have your gym bag packed and waiting in your car, no excuses, you’ve already planned for it.

5. Gym Schedule

I always have my workout times scheduled on my calendar. Every Sunday I look it over to make sure there is nothing that will get in the way of my workouts for the week. If it’s on your schedule you can arrange everything else around it. If someone wants you to comment to something else during that time simply tell them you don’t have that time available and inform them of another time you do have available. Don’t let others dictate your schedule.

Final word, these five simple things I do every weekend might seem basic but they are important for your success if you want to make progress. Most people fall off the wagon on the weekends and never hit their goals. Being and staying healthy is a lifestyle. Give it 100% for 21 days and I promise you will feel better than you have felt in years.