All Articles Tagged "exercise"

Hop On The Scale: Companies Are Offering Customized Wellness Programs To Get Workers To Lose Weight

December 17th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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If your boss suggested that you lose a few pounds, would you think she had stepped over the line? Well, don’t be surprised if your boss soon asks you to shed some weight.

“Seeking to make a dent in the intractable problem of obesity — a condition affecting roughly one-third of U.S. adults and costing companies more than $73 billion a year, according to researchers from Duke University—businesses are experimenting with new measures to encourage workers to slim down,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Some firms are offering workers wearable fitness trackers and competitions on social apps, paying for weight-loss surgeries and drugs, as well as providing mental health counseling to address eating issues.

Over at L.L. Bean Inc.’s Bangor, Me. call center, they gave employees biometric screenings that found that nearly 85 percent of employees were overweight or obese. So the retailer enrolled 24 employees in a yearlong pilot program of exercise classes, nutrition coaching, and emotional counseling, all during paid work hours.

Workers who participated lost 15 pounds on average by the end of the year. The company is now doing a 16-week version of the program in other locations, with similar results.

Such fitness programs actual benefit the companies financially. Getting obese employees to normal weight, or even overweight, can save employers an average of nine percent of the money normally spent on health care or lose in productivity due to employee sick time, according economist Tatiana Andreyeva at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.

Already about a third of companies offer weight loss programs, and another seven percent are planning to offer one in the next 12 months. Also nine percent of firms offer insurance-premium discounts for participating in a weight-loss program, found a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management.

Surprisingly, 38 percent of employers cover weight-loss bariatric surgery for workers.

“A small number of companies are warming to newly approved weight-loss drugs, including Belviq, Qsymia and Contrave, which can cost anywhere from around $50 a month to more than $200,” reports WSJ.

Some companies offer cash incentives to employees to lose weight, which experts say is not a good idea as workers may crash diet before weigh-ins and regain pounds back soon.

Is this all too intrusive?

14 Things That Occur When You Start Back Working Out

December 2nd, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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For anyone who used to work out consistently, but then took a long hiatus, getting back into the swing of things can be a little… interesting.  Some things are harder than you anticipated, and you realize that your mind has to catch up with your current body (not the one you used to have or, the one you’re delusional to think that you still have.  No shade, I have to remind myself I’m not as small as I used to be every time I go jean shopping, but that’s a different post).

Here are 14 things that tend to occur when you get back to your gym rat ways.  Let me know if you can relate, or what you noticed when you start back working out.

My Back Is Aching, My Bra’s Too Tight: Easy Excuse-Busting Ways To Work Out And Eat Right

December 2nd, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Need a little push to recover from the holiday pig-out season? We’ve got excuse-busting ways to work out and eat right — without getting off of the couch!

Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Get Braids

Is the thought of sweating out your $600 holiday ‘do keeping you from burning calories? Swap it out for a set of cute box braids. Not only are they right on trend, you can use the sew-in break as an excuse to hit the gym hard until it’s time to change your hair.

Put In Work: How To Burn The Most Calories During Sex

November 24th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Not that you needed another reason to get horizontal, but heating up the sheets can burn serious calories. And we could all use a little extra help during the holiday season. So make sure he sees you grab seconds so he can help you burn it off later on.

Calories During Sex

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Sneak away for a few lip-locking breaks a day and you can burn up to 68 calories an hour. Make out on the couch like you’re handsy teenagers again and you can burn up to 500 calories an hour — but you might want to lock the door.

Working It Out: Can We Talk About Thin, Skintight Workout Pants…

November 12th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

I know most gyms have a “no judgement” policy, which I actually support and appreciate, but I must admit there is a major pet peeve I do judge at the gym (besides men grunting like they’re trying to open the jaws of life when they lift weights): It’s the women who insist on wearing the thinnest, tightest workout pants known to man — often times with panties of the neon assortment or no drawers at all.

Yes, I heard you just ask, sarcastically, “why you lookin’?” and trust me when I tell you this is not a “seek and ye shall find” situation. For every instructor bent on forcing its fatigued students who’ve done more crunches than a little bit to hold a downward dog pose for 30 seconds or more or stand wide-legged and bent over to stretch their hamstrings to the right and the left, I can tell you with complete assurance that I can’t help what I see. Nor can I understand it.

Well, wait a minute. Maybe I can. I venture to guess the same women who come to kickboxing class in paper-thin gray capri leggings and pink thongs are the same woman who go to work in see-through black leggings and green polka dot panties with a shirt that only hits the top of their tailbone. They are unaware that ain’t nobody trying to see that! Except, maybe, the thirsty men who conveniently post up right outside the workout classroom to lift weights for the view. And I could actually probably deal with the rainbow of panty prints thrown in my face — or just the widespread sweat marks on those who opt to leave their underwear at home (another move I don’t understand, but to each her own) if it was done in the name of thirst trapping. But I get the gist that these women truly don’t realize we can all see their business. And it’s not cute.

So, for any lady who’s put on her skimpiest workout bottoms on top of a bright pair of underwear (or none at all) and assumed no one would see her business because she couldn’t (because she was standing in a dark living room and not bent over face down, arse up), we done seen it all. And I think I speak for all the women in gyms around the world who’ve had to stand behind you as you wiggle around when I say you might want to consider the fact that you never know when the sun will shine down upon you on your way to or from the gym and reveal more than you and casual passersby bargained for. So, please, do all of us a favor and wear some drawers that fit and are a neutral color. Or hey, wear some pants that don’t actually show off every nook and cranny the Lord blessed you with. Time and place, ladies. Time and place.

Working It Out: That Time I Was Told Go To The Back Of A Zumba Class

October 22nd, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

Working It Out: I Was Told Go To The Back Of Workout Class

Source: Shutterstock

When you begin a new workout regimen to lose weight — or even think about beginning one — there are lots of things you can become anxious about. Can I really do this? Do I have time to do this? Do I have the money for this? Are there going to be creepy men at the gym staring at me? Are the skinny chicks who do this on a regular going to judge me? The latter actually wasn’t even a concern of mine when I got back into a Zumba routine several months ago at a studio not far from my office. I live for Zumba because the moves are ones I can actually do for a whole hour, I love Latin music, and I work up a crazy sweat. Plus the classes tend to be full of women — 90% of which are rhythmically challenged yet still doing their thing and having fun — so it’s always felt like a no judgement zone. Until the one day I met #ThisBish.

I always like to get to classes early so I can save up my energy for the actual workout, rather than running to grab a spot before the instructor begins. And because I’m one of those people who likes to workout toward the middle, if not the back, of the class. At this point in my journey, I’m just not interested in seeing belly flat flap all around in those gigantic jazzercise mirrors. The particular day I met #ThisBish though, I’d been running late and once I got to the class there were only a couple of spots left — one of which was second row left, right in front of those dag on mirrors. Though not my preferred spot, I wasn’t going to not workout because of that so I popped a squat for two minutes and began stretching when a voice not far from me said “This is kinda hard. You might wanna go to the back of the class.”

In my naivety,  which I still can’t account for because once I come into contact with people on the streets of New York City I tend to be overcome with the worst of attitudes, I simply smiled and replied “Oh, I’m okay here,” low-key thinking the woman was being sympathetic to the packed class struggle and trying to point out free space. When she returned my comment with an annoyed expression on her face I was confused, and almost as soon as the instructor turned on “Suavemente,” the light bulb went off in my head and I realized she was suggesting I go to the back of the class because there’s no way I’d be able to keep up or keep from embarrassing myself in the front of the class. “This Bish!”

When I tell you I have never pushed myself in a class so hard before I am not lying. For one thing, I’ve taken a Zumba class at least 75-plus times in my life. This wasn’t my first Latin rodeo so I wasn’t worried about keeping up. But just to prove little Halle the Hater wrong over there, I made sure I went from zero to a hundred real quick (in my Drake voice) and cut my eyes at her every time there was a break in the song to make sure she knew I caught on to her hateration. I also decided when the class was over, and my heart rate returned to a normal level, I was going to give her a piece of my mind for trying to play me. But low and behold, little miss I-do-this left the class early and I never got a chance to redeem myself.

As someone who writes about other people’s business all the time, I can’t exactly say with a straight face: why are people so concerned with what other people do? But, being overweight is always one of those conditions that, for some reason, always tends to lend itself to public scrutiny and suggestiveness as the expense of said plus-size person’s mental state. If my weight is that much of a personal affront to you, why not encourage me to push harder from wherever I am (like my Crunch instructor last week who ironically asked me why I keep going to the back of the class) or congratulate me for trying to get my life together (OK maybe not because that would be awkward to me).

Anyway, I know when some folks see me all they see is a walking burden on the health care system, but until I show up at your door with a doctor’s bill and a laundry list of comorbidities — or unless I stand right in front of you in a kickboxing class and block your view from the mirror, please let me live! I have enough stuff going on on my journey to Snatchedville. Trust me, I’m working it out. Has this ever happened to you?

How To Lose Weight While Working Your Sedentary Office Job

October 8th, 2014 - By Taylor Gordon
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Do you spend 40-plus hours a week sitting at a desk?

I did for a year and gained almost 20 pounds without significantly changing my eating or fitness habits. Not good.

The non-movement we experience at desk jobs can make it really hard to lose weight. So here are a few ways to attack fat while working in an office setting.

So This Is What Happened When MadameNoire Tried To Work Out With Tank

September 16th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Would you want to work out with Tank? We thought we did until we naively showed up to a New York Sports Club on a Friday a few weeks ago to find a bootcamp-like setup that involved us getting our butts whooped by three of Tank’s trainers for at 30 minutes. And on top of that, we had to learn the dance routine from the TGT singer’s new video. Ladies, the only thing that saved us was looking at these handsome men with muscles push us to our breaking points because this ish was hard! Watch the video and tell us what you think.

Hustle & Workout Flow: Jobs That Burn The Most Calories

January 17th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Now that we are a couple of weeks into the new year many of us have probably made and broken a few resolutions to do something better in our lives. One very popular promise many of us make is to get in shape in an attempt to keep things snatched and looking cute. Did you know that there are certain jobs that can help you on your fitness endeavors? Now this doesn’t mean you should skip a session at the gym, or that you’re going to run out and take one of these jobs. But, hey, good to know. Here are some jobs that burn the most calories.


Can You Get Too Skinny? The Fear Of Losing Your Curves

January 17th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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I was talking to an old friend recently about my weight loss.

It had been a solid year since the last time we’ve physically seen each other. Back then I was two and a half dress sizes bigger than where I am now. He said I was looking good. I smiled and then said, thanks. And then proceeded to tell him about all the effort I had put into my weight loss. I might have been a little overzealous in my description of my fitness and health regimen but I had been giving serious consideration to my health and fitness lately and felt rather proud of myself. Also I thought that my friend, who is also into his personal fitness, might appreciate my journey. However my dear friend didn’t share my enthusiasm. Instead when I told him about my next fitness goal, which is to run a 5K, he advised me to, “don’t get too skinny.”

No, “hey good job.” Or “hey here’s some tips on how to improve your stride.” My friend, who had listened to me for years cry over pains and other ailments likely brought on by my excess weight and overall poor eating habits, felt that my fitness priority right now should be how not to get too thin. I was slightly annoyed but laughed his comment off as just the misguided compliment of a man with a preference for bigger women (nothing wrong with that). However, my friend is not the first to express such weighty sentiments.

Over the years, I have struggled to find the perfect regimen to manage my weight. (Who would have thunk it to be good ole’ diet and exercise?) And for years, I have had those naysayers. The casual girlfriend, who compliments me on how toned my legs have gotten but advises me to watch that I not get too hard and bulky. The nosey coworker, who in the midst of singing the blues over her own weighty issues,throws shady jabs at me while expressing her fear of losing her curves. The random guy at the gym, who invasively interrupts my workout routine just to tell me that I don’t really need be in here because “men like women with some meat on them.” Even my own dear old dad, who would hound the teenage-me about my weight and the need to exercise but upon seeing first draft of the adult thinner me made the remark, “you don’t look well.”

Individually, the comments deserve an eye roll but the collective sum of “concern” makes me wonder why some folks seemed adamant on protecting me from getting too thin? And maybe, I should be concerned too?

“It’s just ignorance in the purest form. And by that I mean people are just unaware,” said Jena Renee Rogers, Philadelphia-based certified personal trainer, who has over 15 years experience instructing mostly African American women (including me) on how to reach and maintain their fitness goals.

She adds, “What happens is that when people see someone losing weight, they don’t really have a point of reference. It’s not that you are getting too thin, they just see you still exercising and eating healthy. They don’t understand your fitness goals, where you are and where you are going. They don’t understand health benefits. They don’t understand BMI. They don’t understand your hip to waist ratio. They don’t understand visceral fat around your waistline. The majority of the people, I find who make comments like that are the ones, who are not working out. So there is no point of reference. They don’t really get it or understand.”

The understanding Rogers speaks about is the knowledge that losing weight is not an easy task. Nor is maintaining a healthy weight. So while you might have reached your fitness goal, and you may look great in the eyes of your concerned spectator, there is still work required to maintain it all. Roger said that means continuing on the same dietary and exercise regimen that got them to the point. “To maintain that lifestyle, to maintain that look and to maintain that level of fitness, exercise is necessary for the rest of your life – at least three days a week, 30 to 60 minutes a day,” she advises.

Rogers says that she too hears among prospective clients the fear of bulking up and losing their curves, which she says is just all code talk for losing all fun feminine parts like boobs, hips, thighs and an ample behind. But she said that outside of having an eating disorder like anorexia and bulimia or some other health ailment, the odds that you could get to a point of being “too skinny” just from a healthy diet and exercise alone are relatively slim – pun intended.

“The amount of work that you would have to do to get bulky is unbelievable. Like you are not going to get bulky by lifting some five to ten pound weights and doing some squats and jumping jacks. I mean you have to change your diet. You have to be extreme. You have to be working out five to seven days a week, for one to to hour bouts at a time. It’s excessive to get those muscles,” she said.

She also adds that skinny women can have curves too. “Look at Angela Bassett or Jada Pinkett Smith. Look at Halle Berry. Look at that woman from 12 Years a Slave [ Lupita Nyong’o]. She is really thin but has a very toned physique and some wonderful curves. The whole idea that you can’t be thin, toned and have nice curves is silly,” she said.

And because it sounds ridiculous Rogers advises those, who find themselves facing the “too skinny” criticism to not get defensive. Instead, she says to just thank them for their concern and continue on with your fitness goal. “Seriously, just focus on the compliment you do receive,” she said.