All Articles Tagged "exercise"
Some celebrities say their fit frames come naturally. But these famous ladies are not afraid to share their real diet and exercise tips with you — and they’re not what you think!
Let’s face it, with a never ending to-do list that comes with raising a family, finding the time to workout can appear to be pretty impossible, which is why we suggest gathering up the entire brood and getting your sweat on together. Not only will it get ALL of you in shape (hopefully) but it will help you release stress, let the kids burn off some extra energy and actually create a fun family memory.
Here are three inspirational fitness ideas that are pretty easy and can be done without a gym.
1.Walk or Bicycle Everywhere You Can
Health advisors suggest that everyone walk at least 10,000 steps a day but an increased sedentary lifestyle means that most of us (our kids, too) are barely getting even half of that amount on a daily basis. So warm up those legs muscles with a bike or a power walk.
Here are some cool ways to get your steps in:
You and the family can bike or walk to the grocery store, library or to your child’s school or sports events.
Go for a 30-minute family walk after dinner instead of heading right for the couch and television.
Challenge everyone to take the stairs instead of escalators.
Make this competitive with weekly prizes and be sure to have everyone strap on a pedometer and log everyone’s progress on the refrigerator.
2. Walk or run for charity
We really love this idea, because it combines both fitness and the act of giving back. Team up with your kids and partner for a fundraising race and then take the time out to start practicing as a family for the event. Be sure to impart to the kids that it’s not so much about winning but about doing their part for a community, spending time together as a family and having fun while getting fit.
3. Start A Family Fitness Night
Pick one evening as family fitness night. Each week, let a different person design the family workout that you will all do together (i.e. frisbee, soccer, aerobics, skateboarding, etc). It really doesn’t matter what you choose, the idea is that everyone gets to pick a sport they enjoy and you all can rotate every week.
Get ready to move!
Gone are the days when women simply threw on a college t-shirt and their boyfriend’s shorts to hit the treadmill. When we workout we want to look good doing it, but we also care about how the clothing we wear helps us perform better and achieve the bodies we’re working so hard for. New Balance is getting us one step closer to our ideal with a new performance and lifestyle collection just for us, appropriately titled, NB Woman.
A lot of people sleep on New Balance, but they shouldn’t, especially since the brand is thinking so hard about us. NB Woman will reach 1 million women throughout the US with their new fitness catalog this Fall and they’re planning to drop another holiday collection in November. As a press release points out, “The Fall apparel collection focuses on form and function” offering “performance apparel and footwear for running, training, and studio, as well as lifestyle products for sporty chic street style.” And did we mention it’s cute?!
After our sister site, StyleBlazer, told us about the new collection, I reached out to try some items for myself, ‘cuz you know, I be up in the gym working on my fitness, and the fit is great. I sweat just thinking about working out so I have to wear clothing that minimizes my perspiration. Thankfully, NB Dry items are made from moisture wicking fabric which releases moisture away from the body for fast drying. Double Win! The CUSH+ midsole sneakers also offer extra cushioning that helps minimize the impact on my knees when running and provides good stabilization and flexibility during other exercises heavily involving my legs.
New Balance is also committed to helping women achieve their goals outside of apparel, offering a number of fitness-focused programs throughout the year and across the country, including the popular Girls Night Out events where ladies can come sweat away the pounds together in group fitness classes. For events in your area, visit their website here and be sure to take a look at the NB Woman catalog to get your gear on point.
We sure wish we had SoulCycle when we were in high school like these New York City teens.
A bunch of New York City high school students are spinning those legs—twice a week for six weeks—as part of the SoulScholarship program, a partnership with The Children’s Aid Society and the Carrera Program, a pregnancy prevention program.
In a school system where 32 percent of schools have no full-time, certified gym teachers and 28 percent don’t even have a gym, according to a recent city report, The Children’s Aid Society wanted to find ways to make fitness a priority.
With SoulCycle, they found a good fit—and an experience most of the kids wouldn’t normally have access to.
“The reality is classes are $35. This is not doable for everybody,” says Courtney Carrera-Ghatan, assistant director for national medical and dental services at The Children’s Aid Society.
The 25 students—from Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx and the Urban Assembly Institute in Brooklyn—were recruited for the program by Carrera-Ghatan and her staff members who work in the schools.
SoulScholarship also includes nutrition classes and help with resume writing and interviewing, and is making a big impact on the students.
“The days I come in, I’m more or less emotionally drained. This boosts my confidence. After I’m done with class, I instantly want to go back, no matter how tired I am,” said Micah, a rising senior at Fannie Lou Hamer.
As part of SoulScholarship, the kids are logging how much sleep they get, how much soda they’re drinking, whether or not they’re enjoying exercise, and how much water they drink daily. As a result, some encouraging stats have emerged.
“For the Brooklyn group, we found energy levels throughout the day increased by 15 percent,” says Kate Monaghan, a graduate student serving as SoulCycle’s program evaluator. “About 80 percent (including both groups) now enjoy exercise when they do it. That number started at 30.”
“We’re seeing directly that their self-esteem and confidence have improved, and they’re feeling a sense of community,” says Julie Koster, director of philanthropy at SoulCycle.
I hate my stomach. Anyone who knows me or who’s complimented me on my weight loss probably knows as much, as I have this nasty little habit of following up remarks like “oh my god you look so good!” with “yeah but I still have to get rid of this stomach.”
It’s the body part that single-handedly keeps me from reaching my goals because while I know my middle has definitely decreased, the progress is so not on par with the muscle gain in my thighs or my arms. And so I sometimes still ask what’s the point if the battle with this visceral bulge keeps holding me back from the figure I want. It also doesn’t help when a fellow gym goer who knew what your body looked like in the beginning tells you what a great job you’re doing and then looks you up and down and adds “you should think about getting a waist trainer.” It’s that comment and the prevalence of women I see walking down the street with internet corsets on on a daily basis that brings me to this piece here. Though I didn’t say this to the woman in the gym that day, my response to anyone with such ill advice or who has spent nearly $100 trying to craft a time capsule into an hourglass shape with nothing more than some boning and spandex is: Do better. (It was actually something more vulgar in my head but since I’m also trying to do better in other ways, I’ll only share the clean version of my thoughts here.)
I set up this post the way I did to illustrate that I understand the allure of a waist trainer. If all I had to do was wear an undergarment that’s just a tad more fitted than my beloved spanx with the hope that one day I could really rise out of bed looking like Beyonce and proclaim “I woke up like dis” I would. But as an apple shape who’s endured this uphill weight loss battle for nearly a year and sees many women my pre- and post-weight loss size buying these overpriced faux quick fixes, I’m here to tell you this ain’t what you really want.
On someone who essentially already has a toned (keyword here) hourglass shape, a waist trainer will no doubt accentuate the figure already there (another key phrase) to give off that exaggerated 34-26-36 Kim Kardashian-type look even Kim had to go under the knife for, but that’s another story. If, however, you don’t have a plastic surgeon on call or a flat abdomen as your baseline, I hate to break it to you but you’re only chance of achieving the waist-to-hip-ration you desire is losing belly fat. And that means diet — even more so than exercise. That’s what I mean about doing better.
It pains me to type that as much as I’m sure it hurts some of you to read, but facts are facts. I cannot count how many times an instructor at the gym has told a workout class: “abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.” See the other hard truth about belly fat is no amount of sit ups, transverse crunches, or planks is going to define your midsection if you don’t maintain a healthy diet. That doesn’t mean these exercises still aren’t important: working out your midsection helps strengthen your core so that your posture improves and you’re better able to stabilize your body when performing other complex exercises. But the real work happens on your plate.
I’m not a nutritionist, but I can speak to what’s worked for me during the past 11 months and the practices I’m imploring now to get where I want to be.
Choose your fats wisely
For starters, not all fat is created equal. While everyone has a thin layer of subcutaneous fat right beneath their skin, belly fat is most likely visceral fat, a deeper fat that surrounds your organs and can cause much more serious problems than ill fitting jeans (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) if you have too much. Funny enough, you can fight this fat with fat, provided it’s the right kind.
- Good fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; these are the fats you find in nuts, fish (like salmon), olive oil (which you should be cooking with by the way), avocado, and lean meats. No, you can’t go ham on these foods even though they have good fat, but when choosing the fat you incorporate into your diet, these items should top the list.
- Bad fats: saturated fats don’t have to be cut out altogether but they should be limited. This means less ground beef, steak, and butter (opt for cooking sprays) and treating cheese as a treat not a daily tradition.
Eat whole foods
No, not the overpriced organic grocery, I mean foods that are unprocessed. On top of not being good for your health, white breads, white rice, fried foods, and refined sugars like those found in soda and juice, increase inflammation in your body (read: food baby). On the flip side, vegetables, fruits (with natural sugar not canned fruits in syrup) and whole grains (wheat) are good for your body and are full of antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties (goodbye food baby).
Step up your protein
Protein is key to weight loss in any area of the body for a number of reasons. Primarily, protein helps you feel fuller longer which means you can stick to your calorie deficit goals without feeling like you’re starving and actually drop pounds. It also requires more energy for the body to digest protein, which equals increased calorie burn. Plus, protein is essential to muscle repair and growth, which you’ll need to fight belly fat. See point on strength training below.
Reiterating that point about crunches and such, toning exercises build muscle but you have to get rid of the fat to realize the full results of said toning and that means vigorous exercise, i.e. cardio. This is not the doctor-recommended standard of 30 minutes of physical activity a day, this is high-intensity movement that will increase your heart rate and start burning through those fat stores. Many gym-goers are partial to the elliptical and run-walk intervals on the treadmill. I tend to get bored with those monotonous activities and opt for activities like Zumba and kickboxing which don’t feel like a workout, because even though I’m about this life, I’m still not really about it.
Still strength train
Muscle burns more calories than fat which means when you increase your muscle mass you naturally burn more calories throughout the day. (In case you didn’t catch on, this is the dieter’s version of the good news Jesus talked about in his day.) Two-three days of toning work with weights per week is the usual recommendation to increase muscle mass safely. Don’t worry, we’re talking lean muscle, not bulk.
At the end of the day, weight loss is still a numbers game no matter your specific goal. That means you have to consume less calories than you expend and the only way to be sure you’re doing that is to be mindful of how much you consume. You may not have the time or energy to track as carefully as I do, but at least check your portions and the calories associated — instead of guestimating which most of us do wrong — so you don’t unknowingly set yourself up for failure.
As I rack up a lengthy list of questions to ask God should I make it to the pearly gates, one of the items at the top of my list is why my stomach is both the first place I gain weight and the last place I lose it. It sucks and it doesn’t come quick, as it appears these last 40-45 pounds are all going to come from my midsection, but I do know that I’ll lose it if I do what I’m supposed to do. And that means following my own suggestions and spending less time looking up Groupon deals for tummy tucks than I do cooking and working out. Godspeed.
The standard of beauty in America has long plagued the Black woman. From back in the day, rail thin was in and sisters with curves were often-times left out into the cold. Fast forward to the present day, you have Kim Kardashian getting praised for her assets and more and more Black women going through the rigors of plastic surgery to get a bigger booty. If one more person says Serena Williams is mannish, I am going to scream.
But, I got news for you. some of us men go through similar things.
I subscribe to two magazines – Esquire and GQ. As time has gone on, I have evolved as a man and want my style to reflect that. The only issue is, I cannot find anybody in these magazines that look like me. The models are all super thin, extra fit and exclusively wear “slim fit” clothing of all sorts. These dudes are perfect in every European way – even the ones with melanin.
I have managed to maintain my weight, driven by an aspirational need to stay in line with what is seen as attractive and my own dreaded self-loathing.
Most men won’t admit it, but a lot of us simply hate ourselves.
One of my homegirls called me out on that after telling me that she had finally discovered self love. For men, it comes out in different ways, I believe. For example, some dudes will totally stop caring that their belly could give Santa a run for diabetes. Hello, dad bod. Others stop buying new clothing when they get married and then can be seen wearing 2000’s Karl Kani or something. They chalk it up to getting older, being too busy or simply being wore down to the very last compound.
To keep it 100, I have always been hyper sensitive about my size and physique and it has dominated my approach to women, socializing, the beach, and just about every facet of life. At one point in my life, I couldn’t even take a compliment until somebody told me to just say, “thank you,” and shut up after that.
Only recently have I started to get better. But think about it…
From when we are kids, super heroes with bulging muscles and spandex have come to represent higher manhood. Then, it turns real through Hollywood with dudes like Arnold and Stallone. Then, rappers like LL Cool J. Sure, some dudes rejected these standards like Biggie Smalls, but the standards remain. Our esteem is constantly under siege. I know it is seen as a wholly negative, but I do my best to accept the challenge. I push my fitness as much as I can, eating right and staying dope as much as I can. Sadly, I want to look as good as I can when I transition after life on this Earth.
It is a delicate juggling act of self esteem and health.
Listen. Men aren’t going to admit to this. We care even when it seems we don’t. Some dudes from the younger generation may, as they tend to be thinner and oftentimes less inclined to adhere to those stereotypical standards of masculinity. I idolized Batman, Superman and The Hulk before Malcolm, Martin and Mandela. I think some of this mental super human strength is necessary to be real. A dude and I had a candid conversation and he said, “Who is going to defend the women when America breaks out in war?” He then lightly punched me in the shoulder as if to say, “Yeah…sturdy people like me and you.” I know that is a whole ‘nother conversation, but I’m just saying…
We have to stop the bleeding and defy the presumed contradictions. I definitely want my daughter to love herself in a way that I did not, but I also want her to be health conscious in a way that escaped me as a youngster. I want to be that super hero to her, but also a flawed human, too. She’s got to learn that what the Creator gave her is enough and that’s something that I have to wrestle with as women whistle at Idris Elba. I have never wished I was Idris. I wished I was his best buddy, but not him.
I’m enough too.
Yeah – sniff, sniff – I’m enough too.
Here Are 5 Ways You Can Feel Good, Dad!
1. Work out.
I know I am never going to have the body of my favorite super hero, The Incredible Hulk. But, like I said, this is aspirational. This means, I continue an endless quest towards being in shape. This means, I willingly workout knowing I’ll never slip into the overweight Chuck that used to fill me with self-loathing. Work out, man!
2. Pose In The Mirror
I know this sounds a bit silly, but do it. There are studies that say posing in a powerful position actually makes your stronger and boosts confidence. When I was a kid, I walked with a slump. They always told me I would been a hunchback by the time I got older. Clearly, I am not the Hunchback of New York now, but I feel it was reflective of my state of mind then.
3. Accept The Compliment
You might think you are wack, but you don’t need to tell everybody! I never thought I was wack, but for whatever reason, I was unable to accept compliments. I just didn’t believe that the person was telling the truth. Now, I give them. I know it also makes others feel better, particularly if it is from a genuine place.
4. Dress For Success
Women know this – knock ‘em dead! Men tend to hold on to the same suit for year and years, forgetting that men’s styles do change even if we don’t. So, force change upon yourself and do different things that illicit a reaction from people. Sure, its outside stimuli but it builds you up, just as other influences can tear you down.
5. Accept Who You Are
I have my dad’s body now. Now, I love my dad, but there are parts of him I have been trying to avoid. However, as I get older, embrace the “man weight” – that inevitable scoundrel that creeps up on many of us. People that truly know me, know that I’m very uncomfortable in my own skin, but even that is a part of my self that I embrace. Hell, I am all about the work – in career and in life. I enjoy it but own the notion that it is a process. However, being honest, I don’t want my kid to go through the inner turmoil so hopefully she will pick up the newer me, not the old me. It has been fairly recently that I have truly learned how to smile with genuine happiness behind it. Life ain’t perfect or fair and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be.
Congrats! You’ve been working out and eating healthily for a while and are starting to see and feel wonderful results. Your dedication is paying off! Now you have a vacation coming up, and are concerned with stalling your progress, or worse, backsliding and re-gaining weight.
Don’t worry, your vacation does not have to be a saboteur to your healthy lifestyle. Here are four easy ways to stay fit on vacation.
Choose Active Excursions
Step one is to choose a vacation that offers you the ability to be active each day. Yes, lazing on the beach and tanning is relaxing and fun, but doesn’t burn many calories. Snorkeling, Diving, Hiking, even walking tours offer lots of fun and a great calorie burn. Plan your vacation with being active in mind. My husband and I always make sure to pick an active excursion to mix in with our beach days when we cruise. And when we travel to cities like Vegas, we are sure to spend time walking or hiking in the canyons.
Make Use of the Hotel Gym
If you’re a gym bunny, be sure to choose a hotel that has a decent hotel gym or offers running paths. Sneak away in a quiet pocket of time to grab a quick workout. Hotel gyms are never crowded, and you’ll likely never have to wait for a machine like at your home gym. We have found that even the most sparse hotel gyms have at least a cardio machine for you to do intervals on, and a few free weights for you to get a full body work out if you’re so inclined.
Pack Your Workout
If you normally work out at home, bring your “gym” with you. Exercise bands are light and travel easily. You can bang out a workout in the morning before heading out for the day, to get you in the healthy mindset to make better choices throughout the tours and exploring.
At a loss for a quick in-hotel-room workout? Check online before you leave or pull up an exercise app on your phone while on vacation. I’m a beachbody junkie so I will use beachbody on demand to play my workouts on my computer from anywhere.
Choose Healthier Meal Options
The constant dining out during vacation can really sabotage your healthy eating efforts if you let it. Nobody wants to eat strictly clean during vacation, but you can make easy choices to minimize damage to your current results. Try starting each meal with a green salad, to fill up on veggies and eat less of your decadent meal or dessert. On our recent cruise I ate on plan for all meals, had a salad with each meal, and only splurged for desserts.
Wear a Tracking Device
Wear a pedometer or a calorie counting device during your vacation. Be mindful of how many steps or how many calories you’re burning. Set a goal amount for the day and be sure to reach it. This gives you a fun way to ensure you’re being active, without forcing you to adhere to a specific workout regimen. I wore my Jawbone wristband for the cruise and had a great time trying to beat my step count each day.
This is just a start to the many ways you can sneak fitness into your vacation and keep your momentum and progress going. Enjoy your vacation, but don’t let it ruin all of the hard work you’ve been putting in. If you backslide during vacation, don’t beat yourself up, just get back to the healthy habits you were implementing before your vacation.
Have a great trip!
Danielle Faust is a certified life and wellness coach helping busy women create kickass lives. She’s the blogger behind the mommy/lifestyle blog OKDani.com and co-author of From Blank Space to Blogging Brilliance.
With summer comes family vacations, changing schedules for your children, traveling for work, and a full calendar of social activities. For those who may not work out regularly, the intention is to start working out with the New Year. However, the motivation comes and goes and before you know it summer is here and that swimsuit you packed away is now snug in all the wrong areas.
US Open body builder, fashion designer and philanthropist Theresa Roemer offers five fierce fitness tips to get in shape and get the sleek summer figure you want in record time:
- Wake Up Earlier – Feel as though there isn’t enough time in the day to work out? Commit to getting up at least 30 minutes earlier. It’s that simple. Create the time you need to take care of you.
- Incorporate Working Out Into Your Regular Schedule – Add a standing meeting with yourself to your calendar. Stick to it as you would a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment for your child. Make yourself a priority or a regular basis. Whether the time is working out or allowing yourself time to prepare a healthy meal instead of grabbing fast food use this extra time doing an activity that will help you to reach your goal.
- Speed Up Your Metabolism With Intervals. Interval training has been proven to speed up the metabolism in a short period of time. If you are looking for quick results interval training is the answer. Example: Spend 20 seconds speed walking or jogging with 10 seconds of recovery. While any amount of activity is good, being conscious about HOW you are working out will provide quicker results.
- Recruit a Partner – An accountabilibuddy can make all the difference when you are looking to change your routine and often lack commitment. Having a friend with a common goal will keep you both motivated and you can cheer each other on when one or both of you is feeling less than enthusiastic about working out.
5. Consistent Sleep – Your sleep hygiene is critical to losing weight. A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that going to bed at a decent hour not only stops late night snacking, but those who sleep 6-8 hours a night burn 20 percent more calories after a meal compared to those who are sleep deprived. That should be enough motivation to pack it in early.
About Theresa Roemer
Health became important to Theresa at a young age. As a sickly child who was diagnosed with a lifetime of physical constraints, Theresa became interested in health and fitness. Theresa opened her chain of fitness centers, Body by Design in Wyoming in 1991 and ran five fitness facilities through 2000, while also providing personal training services through her company Phenomenal Physiques. She took the U.S. Open title in body-building at the age of 40, and in the year 2010 Theresa held the titles of Mrs. Houston U.A., Mrs. Texas U.A., and was the 1st runner up for Mrs. United America concurrently. Theresa Roemer is also the CEO of Theresa Roemer, LLC and a small business owner who specializes in business philanthropy.
It may sound superficial, but if we’re being honest hair is a big consideration when it comes to Black women’s physical health. Even if we don’t let our strands stop us from busting a sweat, there’s no denying it takes some planning, pre- and post-workout, to put our best hair forward after a cross-fit class, Zumba, running the treadmill, or any other physical activity.
A few of MadameNoire’s editors have been going hard with their fitness routines lately so we decided to break down what we do to maintain hair that not only looks great but is healthy from the inside out. Read on to see how we care for our locs, permed, natural, and transitioning hair while working out.
Every time I prepare to go running, my routine is the same: Throw on some workout gear, grab my headphones, find a random place to stick my keys, and pull my hair back in a struggle ponytail to stuff it under a cap. Nothing about this 10-minute prep is inconvenient, but each time I cringe at the thought of how much maintenance it’s going to take to return my hair to a presentable form after a decent sweat session.
I’ve been natural for two years now. Long enough that my hair schedule and styles are pretty set, and even if wash day does skip around, my hair doesn’t fret. It gets me. Well, it gets me most of the time.
But because my fitness routine hasn’t been this consistent since those high school track and field days, my new natch pattern has no loyalty to this change of pace. Not to mention, every switch in seasons requires me to rework my hair product concoctions in order to keep my hair moisturized, frizz-free, and my blowouts protected from impending summer humidity. That means double the not-so-fun task of trial and error with hair products and styles all over again. Yay.
When I first started working out regularly, I was letting my post-cardio hair air dry. But the tangled ‘fro that followed, especially under my resident Bad Hair Day hat, was a frightening hot mess. In the hopes of improving the look and feel of my strands, I started co-washing every other workout day to ensure my hair was clean, which helps promote hair growth and retention, right? Well, that was overdrying my hair a bit, making it a tad too brittle. Despite my best efforts, my hair isn’t really cooperating with me and my new lifestyle.
So I’m starting to wonder, is this my punishment for wanting to be my healthiest self? Are my hair goals at a standstill because my body goals are flourishing? Hardly. Though I do believe it’s a dilemma every natural girl faces at some point during her fitness journey. So how do I keep my hair cute and clean, my edges laid, maintain my style from the gym to a possible post-gym outing, and not go crazy wrestling with my hair every day?
If you thought I had the answer, I don’t (I would not have written this if I did). I have yet to find that sweet spot of looking somewhat decent after exercising. And while I struggle to salvage my hair post-workout, I don’t think it’s impossible to do so.
As the saying goes (and remains true), everyone’s hair is different. So while throwing in quick Celie braids before hitting the gym works for some, I’m stuck with a head full of crusty tendrils after the sweat dries. (Sorry, I can’t get jiggy with chasing my summer body goals through St. Nicholas Park in a head scarf either.) It’s a process to nurture your hair to the point that everything you do with it just, well, works. And that’s just the nature of being natural. Add in the fact that you’re pounding the pavement and introducing a whole new set of elements to your ‘do every day, and it’s safe to say that managing natural hair can be extremely frustrating. This is especially true when you’re trying to get your body right. It’s a whole new hair obstacle that’s not for the faint of heart.
For now, the answer for me is a protective style (thankfully a hair appointment is set for the end of the month). I can’t focus on the extra TLC my hair needs right now. And although you can’t totally abandon your tresses, even with a weave or wig, my hair and my hands needs a break because mama is tired. I do love my hair and I’m dedicated to figuring out what it needs. But until I can figure out how to successfully marry my hair goals with my new workout schedule, it will be a painful process and a long summer…for the both of us.