It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is all about efficiency at the gym, from Barry’s Bootcamp SF instructor Erica Stenz.
Erica Stenz is a Barry’s Bootcamp San Francisco fitness instructor.
If you’re trying to maximize your workout time at the gym – you need a plan. It’s about making every minute count. In order to burn maximum calories in just 30 minutes, you need to create a high-intensity interval cardio- and strength-training workout.
Intense cardio sessions will burn through stored carbohydrates and fat, but it’s important to supplement that workout with strength training in order to create the “EPOC” effect (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, informally called “afterburn”). That means that your body keeps burning calories post-workout due to excess oxygen consumption.
5 steps for an effective 30-minute workout
Create a plan with “3-2-1” circuits – this includes 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of high intensity cardio, and 1-minute of core/active recovery exercises (planks and side planks are my favorite to blast your abs). Each exercise in the circuits should be performed for 30 – 60 seconds. Your 30 seconds or so in between exercises will clock this workout in at almost exactly 30 minutes.
Here’s a starter plan: read more…
It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is from Lauren Slayton, the author of The Little Book of Thin.
Lauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared on Allure, In Style, Cooking Light, Self, WebMD, The New York Post, Good Morning America and The Today Show.
We’ve all been there. You come home at the end of the day, pull open the fridge door and wonder what you should eat. If you’re like many people, your fridge may look full. But if wilted lettuce, old pickles, and four different types of mustard sound familiar, I’m here to help. There’s no better place to start that spring cleaning than with your refrigerator. Feeling good isn’t about willpower, it’s about planning. Here are some easy steps to plan-it-fit.
First up, purge. I know, it’s a strange word coming from a nutritionist, but you need to be able to see what’s actually in the fridge. The rule is that if you haven’t used a food this winter, it can go. Or as I tell my clients, “One season, no reason.”
Next, have a smaller middle shelf. Put items you want to eat at eye level. You’re more likely to eat the first things you see. So place pre-cut veggies and fruit front-and-center at eye level.
Once you’re purged and organized, fill your fridge with these 10 staples:
Omega 3 Eggs – Calorie for calorie, no food provides more staying powder than a couple of eggs. You can hard boil 4-6 in advance or make an omelet using leftover cooked vegetables or greens. read more…
It’s time to hang up your winter coat! Starting today, we’ll be sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Our first post is from bestselling author Jenny Blake, who has a host of in-depth tips for cleansing your clutter.
Jenny Blake is a bestselling author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. You can find her at JennyBlake.me where she explores systems at the intersection of mind, body and business. For fun, Jenny teaches a Geek Yoga class in New York City for entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” —Leonardo DaVinci
Vortex begone, spring has sprung! But the remnants of winter’s hoarding and hibernation may have accumulated beyond your waistline—in sneaky crevices around your house, closet, computer, and email inbox. As many will surely be jumping on the juicing bandwagon to get beach-ready (kale on kale, anyone?), now is a great time to clear any winter clutter that accumulated over the last few months.
By definition, clutter is, “A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass,” or, “Things lying in heaps or confusion,” originally derived from the word “litter.” And who wants litter clogging up their life?
(Mood) Death by 1,000 Cuts
Just as your Fitbit helps track your physical activity, this week’s challenge is to improve your mental fitness at the same time.
Reducing unnecessary stress from your mind, body, physical environment and schedule will free you up for more fun activities that benefit your overall mood, health and wellness. It will be a heck-of-a-lot easier to hit your daily 10,000 steps milestone if you don’t have to dig out from relentless clutter piles every day!
If you’re anything like me, by no means is your clutter so bad that you can’t see the floor — it’s more like little nagging piles that grow so subtly you hardly notice they’re there. That stack of papers on your desk, the unattended to pile of clothes to be properly put away, and that back corner of your refrigerator with food you’ll probably never touch.
Not everyone is ready for a full-on Spring Clean — instead, warm-up with this 7-day Clutter Cleanse. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it: remove or streamline one clutter source each day.
Follow this daily regimen as your guide, or for the bravest among you: rip the band-aid off and dedicate an entire day to overhauling your physical, digital and mental environments.
Monday: Digital Desktop & Documents read more…
Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.
Today’s post is from Fitbit user Mark Sands.
I never really considered myself an athletic person. As a child, I regularly overindulged in sugary soft drinks and fatty foods. Portion control was nonexistent in my house. I tried to get into several different types of sports, but my weight held me back from truly enjoying them. I was teased by my peers. To make things worse, I saw little value in trying to do anything about it. I used food to comfort my overwhelming anxiety. As a freshman in high school, my weight was at its highest: 220 lbs. with a 42” waistline. I was 16 and officially obese.
Then a series of events occurred that changed my life forever. One of them was the loss of my father due to brain cancer. He wasn’t terribly out of shape, and he never did anything to get healthier. This motivated me to start improving my health.
Fast-forward to college graduation: I’d lost 40 pounds and 8” off my waist. I was stronger, faster and had more endurance than ever. I began to pursue a career in law enforcement and became even more focused on becoming fitter and healthier. I needed to be at the top of my game to combat the high stress of the profession, as well as the life threatening situations I might face on a daily basis. read more…
Step count, active minutes, calories burned. These are all important pieces of data that help us live healthier, more active lives. But we often don’t stress the important of rest and why your body needs days off.
With Fitbit, you can track and improve your quality of sleep. But that’s just part of the equation. Your tracker can also be extremely helpful in keeping tabs on your down days and limiting your activity so your body can fully recover in between your more active days of the week.
Still not convinced? Fitbit ambassador and ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes knows just how important rest is for active people of all levels. Here are Dean’s six simple reasons why getting your rest is so important.
1. Rest Prevents Injury – It’s common sense that resting is beneficial for injury reduction, but why? Well for starters, rest days prevent overuse. That extends from running to lifting and even walking. If you’re a regular runner, you know how much your legs and feet can take until you just need a day off. If you push it too hard without a break, your muscles and joints suffer from overuse and that’s where injuries can happen. read more…
Introducing Fitbit Success Stories, a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition. To continue with the momentum of American Heart Month, today’s post is from Adam Webber of the SF Bay area is especially timely. Read on for one amazing story.
My name is Adam Webber. I’m 33 years old and I live in Fairfield, CA in the San Francisco Bay area. In April of 2013, I set a goal to lose 100 pounds. This is my story of how I did it.
I had reached 255lbs. Like most people, life happened. I was eating cheap, easy-to-get food and never had the time or desire to exercise. I put on a lot of weight shortly after the birth of my son. He was born six weeks early and with two congenital heart defects. He spent 10 long weeks in the hospital before coming home.
My wife and I commuted daily to the children’s hospital in San Francisco and often stayed overnight. There was a lot of comfort eating and even more sitting around. Several months later, we (my wife and I) made the decision that if he needed to eat a heart healthy diet and exercise regularly [when he's older], we’d better be doing the same. In April, we purchased our Fitbit Ones and an Aria scale.
As a starting point, I saw my doctor for a physical. My cholesterol was 240. My blood pressure was 150/120. My body fat percentage was 50%. I started getting active. I started improving my diet. I began walking one mile per day. It was all I could do. I began doing something I had never done before: counting calories. I quickly learned that I needed to burn more calories than I take in. I set a daily calorie goal of 1,500 and was burning about 2,500. read more…
UPDATE: The #Fitbit2014 Challenge has officially come to a close. This week’s winners are Brian Griffin, @AmySader and James Carter.
But even though the official challenge is over, we’ll continue to host expert tips and advice throughout 2014, so stay tuned for good stuff all year long. The group challenge will keep on going every month, so join in!
Every Monday for six weeks starting January 6, we’ll launch a new weekly challenge for #Fitbit2014 to get your thinking more simple habits and less big resolutions. This week’s challenge arrives from renowned personal trainer Harley Pasternak.
There’s a seemingly endless amount of ways to work out, yet we all fall victim to routines. It happens. We hit the gym and do our regular weight, cardio, and/or movement circuits. And while routines can be a good thing, our bodies and muscles—just like everything else in our lives—crave change.
Let’s break the mold and try something new this week. We brought celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak on-board to share a few of his favorite moves. We’re calling them, “Harley Pasternak’s Moves of the Week!”
So start small. Add one new move to your next workout. Even adding one new exercise will activate new muscle groups and spice up a stale routine. Plus, change can help trigger excitement and motivation, which leads to even better effects from your workout.
So get inspired by Harley’s first move: The Sumo Squat.
What new move are you adding to your workout this week? We’ll be back with more Harley moves this week.
Remember, small steps can equal big change and while it’s our final week of the #Fitbit2014 challenge, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the momentum going! We’ll continue to offer training and health advice throughout the year, featuring expert tips from Fitbit athletes, trainers and ambassadors along the way. Stay up to date with the Fitbit Blog for the latest.
UPDATE: This week’s Share the Love winners are Nicky Everette, @
doyle_mitch and Michele Chavez Goodman. Congrats, guys!
Every Monday for six weeks starting January 6, we’ll launch a new weekly challenge for #Fitbit2014 to get your thinking more simple habits and less big resolutions.
It’s the second week of February. And you know what that means. Love is in the air all week, so for this week’s challenge, we’re keeping it dead simple:
Share the love this week with a friend or loved one, and get fitter together.
Exercise is so much more fun when you can share it with someone you know or love, and we all know that working out in groups can be a huge motivator. How many times have you gone to the gym solo, wishing you had someone there with you to push you to the next level? Or how often are you too busy to make your regular yoga or spin class, only to fall victim to an evening treadmill run? It’s frustrating. We know.
But it’s actually been researched: group exercise is a motivator. A study proved that people tend to exercise more when it feels social, being more inclined to join an exercise class if it’s a group one. And furthermore, a group environment helps encourages increased physical effort and spurs positive competition.
With a friend or significant other, that fun, competitive aspect can be eye-opening.
We’re happy to announce yet another new band color for the Fitbit Flex: violet! Violet Flex is available to order today from Fitbit.com and Target.com, and will be available in Target stores beginning on 2/16.
Violet is just the latest in colored accessory bands that can be used with the Flex, joining other recent additions such as pink and lime. With 8 different accessory colors and Tory Burch accessories on the way, there’s a Flex accessory for every occasion!
February is American Heart Month. If you’re a regular reader of the Fitbit Blog and are a Fitbit user, you already know how important activity is for your overall health. We recently focused on some insightful and helpful statistics about walking and improving your health. This month we’re seeing red, honing in on heart health.
To kick off Hearth Month, we dug up some great stats from the American Heart Association and other sources to help keep you motivated to move. While many of us just love to get/stay activate out of sheer enjoyment, many people do find it helpful to connect the dots from activity to actual health-improving results. Keep it in the back of your mind during those inevitable “down days,” when you really have to push yourself to move. Hey, it happens to the best of us!
But let’s not put the cart before the horse. You don’t get the positive results without actively taking steps (no pun intended) to get there. So here are a few tips from our friends at HeartMath to get you on the right track toward managing heart health, and a huge contributor to heart problems: stress.
- Practice kindness and patience. Positive feelings of kindness and patience can really help when you’re irritable. It can takes less than a minute to calm yourself and increase overall positivity, which can help reduce stress and lead to long-term heart benefits. And remember last week when we provided plenty of evidence that the act of giving makes us feel happy? That logically extends to the heart.
- Pets are a great way to manage stress. Now, we’re not pushing you to go out and impulse-adopt a pet. But research has shown that even petting an animal can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Dog-sitting over the weekend is a great way to start.
- Adjust your eating habits. We are what we eat, right? It’s no surprise that the foods we choose to eat directly affect our short- and l0ng-term health. Certain foods can fight disease, others help lower blood pressure or regulate blood sugar. Foods naturally rich in vitamins and minerals can help fight increased levels of cortisol – a stress hormone. Next time you get the urge to binge on greasy fast food or ice cream, try a handful of vitamin C-packed berries instead!
- Be social and exercise. Enjoying the company of others can relieve feelings of tension and improve overall psychological well-being. Taking a walk or exercising with others has an amazingly positive effect – and adds many more steps! Being with others that we care for can increase our positive emotional experiences. Some positive emotions have been shown to increase DHEA, known as the anti-aging hormone, and trigger oxytocin, known as the love hormone. These good-for-you hormones can help combat stress and may even boost the immune system.
Furthermore, activity increases mental wellness. That rush of adrenaline and the calm feeling that follows a great workout session? It’s not just confined to a single workout! It’s been proven that over time, those feelings can extend to your general everyday well-being. And that’s good for your heart. Follow the above tips, become more active, and you’re fast on your way to enjoying the benefits of these 14 heart-healthy statistics:
- Activity actually enhances your immune system, protecting your heart and reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
- Increasing your activity can lower your blood pressure by as much as 4 to 9 mm Hg.
- Physical activity improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Becoming more active keeps weight under control, and as you might guess, that puts less stress on the heart.
- Blood cholesterol levels improve under increased activity.
- Blood pressure goes down or becomes manageable when regularly active.
- An active lifestyle can improve your quality of sleep, while poor sleep can contribute to heart disease.
- Activity reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 %
- Children can see life-long heart-healthy habits by becoming active at a young age.
- Walking can lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running.
- Walking can significantly reduce the risk for first-time hypertension by 7.2 percent.
- Walking can reduce first-time high cholesterol by 4.3 percent
- Walking can reduce coronary heart disease by 4.5 percent
- Any activity that makes your heart work harder will help you meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.