All Articles Tagged "exercise"

15 Ways To Tweak Your Diet For Your Age

February 27th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

It’s not your imagination. Dieting does get harder every year — unless you know how to tweak your diet for your age. Read on for the most common diet traps at any age and how to beat them.

Working It Out: I Lost 54 Pounds In 5 Months

February 25th, 2015 - 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.

February 25, 2015 vs October 24, 2014

February 24, 2015 vs October 24, 2014

In October I had the bright idea to chronicle my weight loss journey in what I intended to be a bi-weekly column called “Working It Out.” Since then I’ve only written two articles, one of which wasn’t even about me. (I know, I’m trifling.) But, the good news, is I didn’t not write the column because I fell off the weight loss wagon. In fact, I’ve been going pretty strong and five months later I can happily report that I’ve dropped 54 pounds.

Praise be to sweet baby Jesus and my new waistline.

I had some very emo thoughts about this milestone that I planned to share when I initially mapped this article out in my head this morning, but right now why I made the decision to lose weight doesn’t feel nearly as important as the fact that I have and, as a result, finally understand the mantra my best friend has tried to ingrain in my head for years and my personal trainer reiterated months ago: None of this is really about me.

My goal when I signed up for yet another gym membership October 3, 2014 was to lose weight after a health wake up call and to be snatched by my 30th birthday in May — emphasis on the latter ‘cuz… you know. Within about nine weeks I dropped 15 pounds and then hired a personal trainer to rev up my results — and because I know myself.

February 25, 2015 vs November 23, 2014 (My first day of personal training)

February 25, 2015 vs November 23, 2014 (My first day of personal training)

This isn’t my first time losing weight; it is, however, the first time I’ve lost more than 50 pounds. In fact, the three times I recall losing any significant amount of weight before, it was always somewhere between 44 and 48 pounds and then I’d be feeling good about my results and slack off like, Oooh Popeyes! and then my waist was like, Ooooh you tried it! and within nine months to a year I was back at negative square one, having gained back more than I lost.

I’ve already talked about the emotional journey personal training has taken me on, though I likely didn’t give enough credit for the difference being accountable to someone has made on my results. Even when I lost nearly 50 pounds before, never did I do so in this amount of time, nor go to the gym and monitor my food as consistently. And though up until now a big part of staying on the straight and narrow has been fear of the wrath of my trainer, I now feel a sense of accountability to every person who’s taken note of my results and even more so to those who have been inspired by my journey.

My trainer has a thing for kettle bells and one session about a month ago after unsuccessfully begging him not to make me do a particular workout with them, he told me, “Inspire people with your swings.” I rolled my eyes, sure no one would find anything inspirational about me huffing and puffing as I begrudgingly heaved 16 kgs in the air. And yet last week I swung a 20 kg kettle bell and a man actually came over and hit me with a fist pound, acknowledging what a big deal it was for me to be able to move that much weight and telling me he can see how hard I’ve been working.

February 25, 2015 vs Dec 10, 2014

February 25, 2015 vs Dec 10, 2014

That incident was just one of several motivational moments that’s happened over the past few weeks (and months even) as I realized people aren’t watching me in the gym because they find my struggle amusing. They see me putting in work and feel motivated to do the same and tell me as much. (Basically trainer was right about yet another thing.)

Most of us work out at gyms among people who look nothing like us, and never have, so their words of encouragement and assurance that we can do what they haven’t had to (i.e. drop pounds) hold little weight. Even though we proudly proclaim, “Black Girls Workout Too!,” what I needed was an “Overweight Black Girls Workout And Lose Weight Too” slogan when I first started. So, I posted these progress pictures here to let anyone of you out there hesitating to start, and doubting that you can succeed, know that weight loss is possible and the 1-2 pounds per week it’ll take you to lose weight is essentially an overnight process in the grand scheme of things. The time will pass anyway, you might as well spend it improving yourself as it does, because you can.

*If there’s anything you want me to touch on in future “Working It Out” columns let me know in the comments section.

9 Things I Wish Somebody Told Me About Hiring A Personal Trainer

February 6th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Ten weeks ago I signed my life (and a good portion of my money) away to a personal trainer. I’ve always wanted to hire someone to put an end to my cyclical weight gain/loss pattern every few years, but the truth is I had no idea what I was getting into when I put my signature on the dotted line. Twenty-nine pounds down, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that hiring a trainer was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life; however 29 minutes into my first real session my thinking was more along the lines of “f*ck this.” So, to help you get over the hesitation of hiring a trainer or the mental hump that might make you think you can’t handle the pressure of the experience, here are nine things I wish somebody told me before I took the plunge.  

How To Get A Total Body Workout In Under 10 Minutes

January 27th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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It’d be nice if everyone had hours to devote to the gym every week, but let’s be serious: for most of us, that’s not gone happen. Luckily, our sister site, StyleBlazer, has our backs. They reached out to Xtend Barre studio in Brooklyn to get a few tips on toning on a time budget and that’s when they came up with this killer 10-minute total body workout to get you toned in no time — literally.

Check out the video above with Xtend’s certified barre instructor and get ready to build those biceps, butt, and thighs.

You Can Save A Lot On Your Gym Membership, But Most Gyms Are Hoping You Don’t Workout

January 6th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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If you vowed to join a gym and lose weight for your 2015 New Year’s resolution, here is some advice that could save you a few dollars when joining a gym.

First, play hard to get. There are a ton of gyms around to choose from, so when you go in and hear the sales pitch don’t act interested. In fact, walk away. The gym will most likely call or email you with a better deal, reports Business Insider.

Ask for the gym to let you forgo the initiation fee. Paying in advance for the entire year will also save you a few dollars.

If you’re a student, see if they have a special rate for you. And some will offer a military discount as well.

And don’t be in such a rush. Usually the spring and summer months have lower rates. If you don’t want to wait, Business Insider suggests you “sign up in the middle of the month, as for the remaining weeks free and have your membership start the following month.”

Lastly, if you can’t get any sort of discount from the gym, ask them for a few perks such as a personal trainer or massages for free.

Given the time of year, you’re probably hearing a lot about gym memberships these days. It’s a big business, with lots of people paying lots of money to gain access. And there is a new gym trend emerging, sending prices through the roof. But luckily there is a counter gym movement going on as well — gyms that cost just about $120 a year are also seeing an increase.

For example, the high-end CrossFit has gone from 13 affiliate gyms in 2005 to a whopping 10,000 today. In Manhattan, CrossFit will run you about $2,500 annually. “High-end gyms catering to individuals with intensity and ample disposable incomes are proliferating, particularly in urban markets. The infamous and fast-growing SoulCycle costs an eye-watering $34 a class,” reports New York magazine. If you worked out four times a week for a year, this would cost you an incredible $6,000 annually.

On the opposite end of the pricing spectrum, Planet Fitness has more than tripled its number of locations nationwide.  According to an industry report by IBISWorld, “From 2010 to 2014, many small, low-cost gyms with few amenities and month-by-month contracts have fared well. Poor economic conditions, coupled with many consumers continuing to be budget conscious over the period, have caused new trends to emerge.”

Most experts say to skip the middle-market gyms, where monthly fees were about $80 and drop-in fees about $10. Mainly because most gym goers at these gyms don’t go consistently enough to make the price worth their while. According to one study, gym goers went “so infrequently that 80 percent of the monthly members would have spent less if they’d just paid for dropping in. Only 1 in 10 or 20 went three times a week; about 1 in 4 people on a monthly or annual contract only went once a month,” reports New York.

If you skip from going to Planet Fitness, where you’re only shelling out $10 a month, it won’t be as much of a financial loss.

In fact, most gyms have built their business model around the fact that most people pay but don’t go. “Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won’t show up,” reports NPR.

From less intimidating designs to annual contracts that make us feel better about making the commitment to go to the gyum (even if we don’t actually show up), health clubs have become experts on member behavior and use all that knowledge to get you to sign up. Even if showing up becomes the problem.

And when we finally realize that hey, we’re wasting money, the gym will offer an incentive to keep you. “Planet Fitness has bagel breakfasts once a month and pizza dinners. Those are its busiest times. It also has massage chairs. Other gyms have mixers and movie nights and spa treatments,” reports NPR. And get this, those who sign up but don’t go to the gym are actually helping keep te costs down for everyone. “People who don’t go are subsidizing the membership of people who do. So, if you don’t work out, you are making gyms affordable for everyone,” reports NPR.

So have you hit the gym yet in 2015?

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

Image Source:


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.