All Articles Tagged "working out"

Common Workout Injuries And How To Prevent Them

October 20th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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You’ve posted your motivational quotes all over the walls. You’ve purchased workout clothes you love. You’ve set aside time in your schedule for workouts, and you’ve treated yourself to a membership to that nice gym that puts cucumber in their water and doesn’t charge you for towels. If you’ve done all this, it can be extremely disheartening to be taken down by a workout injury. All you wanted to do was get in shape, and now you’ve made a mistake that renders you bed ridden (or at least couch ridden) for weeks. The worst part is that most gym injuries are easily avoideable if you just know what to do –and what not to do. So, don’t sit bitterly on your couch and watch people jog outside your window. Be informed about these common workout injuries and how to avoid them.



A pectoral tear

Men and women do a lot of pectoral work because it can give both genders a nice, sculpted chest. But a tear in this region—whether it’s across the chest or right by the upper arm—is very painful, and makes daily activities like typing and driving difficult.

How I Fell In Love With Exercising Again

September 26th, 2016 - By Tanay Hudson
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When I first started working out in college it was exciting. I weighed 246 pounds when I began my journey to healthy living, and during my weekly weigh-in what I saw on the scale never disappointed me. Every week I lost anywhere from three to six pounds. My clothes were becoming looser and when I looked at pictures of myself I saw a new, slimmer me. But after losing 50 pounds, I got bored. My mix of gym and at-home beginner workouts became blase, so I started working out strictly at home and let Shaun T and Jillian Michaels supply me with heart-pumping sweat sessions. But after a few months, that got dull too. Then my weight loss slowed down, which really made me loathe exercising at one point. Why work out if I wasn’t losing pounds? Plus, I became sick of eating the same veggie-based meals. I had slowly lost my desire to sweat it out and I hit a plateau, but by stepping out of my comfort zone I was able to overcome it and find the fun in being fit again.

I was always scared to run on the treadmill or outside. (I tried to run once on the treadmill and got a painful cramp so I didn’t try anymore.) I’m also clumsy so when I thought about hitting the pavement I’d envision myself stumbling to the ground. A few years later, I tried for the second time. By shocking my body and changing up my workout I knew I would start to shed pounds again, so I gave it a try. I paced myself and ran and walked in intervals and before I knew it I was running at least 4 times a week. After my run, I  noticed a boost in my mood thanks to what’s known as a “runner’s high.” Research has shown that running, and exercise in general, leads to your brain producing endorphins, a chemical that reduces pain perception and promotes a more positive mood. With some guidance from a trainer and a running app, I then ran my first 5K race. The feeling of accomplishing something I thought I would never do was invigorating.

Another thing that helped me get out of my rut was changing my diet. I became weary of the same ole chicken, seafood and veggies combo. When the grocery store in my neighborhood closed shop, grocery shopping became difficult, especially when I wanted to try new things. So I decided to give HerbaLife a try and it turned out to be a great fit. I have long work days as a therapist, so eating three meals a day isn’t easy. With my HerbaLife program, I have a shake for breakfast and dinner and I eat a meal for lunch. I have my shake before I leave for work and while I am sitting in my last session of the day I sip on my shake for dinner and then head off to the gym.  Plus, the shakes come in flavors like Dulce de Leche, Cookies and Cream and Dutch Chocolate, which have all left my taste buds satisfied.

Meeting with a trainer also helped put me back on the right track. I used the same machines repeatedly, so to help me use the gym more effectively, I consulted with a trainer for guidance. She educated me on the right moves to target my problem areas and showed me exercises that help me capitalize on my workouts and burn more fat. I was familiar with certain moves thanks to Insanity and Jillian Michaels DVDs, but there was so much more to learn. Having a trainer advise me and show me new things made me motivated to lace up my Pumas and train harder.

I’m usually solo dolo during my daily fit fest, but having a workout buddy is pretty helpful. Not only does the workout go faster, but I pick up on some of my partner’s different workouts and give them a try. When I am with him I am more likely to pick up the weights and do some strength training, which I neglect at times due to my love for everything cardio.

Being in a funk when you’re trying to be fit can be a major setback. Finding ways to revamp your workout and spice up your diet can be just what you need to get back to going hard in the gridiron.


How To Fall In Love With The Gym This Fall

September 22nd, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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As the sun starts to set much earlier, and the air gets colder, your options for outdoor exercise become limited. If you live in an area with the true four seasons, then soon enough, you won’t be able to go for a morning jog without worrying about slipping on icy ground. For most, the change of seasons means a change in workout setting, aka going back to the gym. The gym can be a mundane, soul-crushing place where you feel like all you see is gray walls and miserable faces, all you hear is the painfully repetitive sound of the pounding elliptical machine, and all you smell is sterilizing wipes mixed with sweat. And, honestly, in the fall when people often suffer from some degree of depression because of the changing seasons, you don’t need that. But the gym can also be your sanctuary from the dreary weather, and your bright place during darker evenings…if you know what to do. Here are 15 ways to enjoy the gym more this fall.

Survey: Menstrual Cups The Best Protection While Working Out On Your Period

June 13th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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You and I have talked in depth about the ways in which we handle working out while on our period. In the comment section for “Girl Talk: How Do You Deal with Working Out on Your Period?” many of you said you use a tampon and go about your merry way. Some of you said you double up on panty liners. And a few of you said you just opt out of exercising during the heavier days, and sometimes throughout your entire period. For those who just don’t feel fully protected or comfortable during that time of the month, according to a recent study, one form of feminine hygiene protection is making women more likely to step in the gym while Aunt Flo is in town: the menstrual cup.

According to a study of 1,500 women between the ages of 20 and 34 from 40 different countries, which was done by Intima, a feminine care brand, 42 percent of women said the menstrual cup was the product that kept them active during that time of the month. Users and researchers also found an 84 percent increase in their confidence, along with a 73 percent boost in their overall comfort while exercising. As we spoke about previously, the lack of comfort due to heavy flow, sweat, the discomfort of bulky products, and the possible cramps is what usually makes us cancel our dates in the gym in favor of a date on the couch with ice cream and chips while we nurse our cramps.

Menstrual cup users are also fond of the extended wear you can get out of the products, with 12 hours as opposed to eight. And they noted a decrease in dryness down there, as well as diminished odor and cramps.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about preference. What is your go-to coverage? A few of you have stated in the past that menstrual cups are your product of choice during that time of the month. How has your experience been working out with one?

Ways You Should Work Out Like A Man

May 12th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Not every woman wants the same body (nor should she!) but most women’s fitness advice tends to advise us in ways that would result in the same body–trim and toned. The truth is that women, as a whole, want something different from their workouts than men do. We want to feel strong–like we can climb stairs or run a marathon without getting winded. Men want to feel strong like the Hulk–like they could lift a car or win a fight. Women want to chisel down, and men want to beef up. Knowing this, we usually don’t take fitness advice from men. We think that would leave us looking like men. And that’s unfortunate! Because really, the way that men workout can benefit any body, including yours. Here are ways that women should work out like men, that will actually save time and sanity.

Mom On The Move: Fitness Enthusiast Angelique Miles, Part 2

March 21st, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Angelique Miles

Angelique Miles

Mom On The Move is a weekly profile of a mom mover and shaker. Women we admire, who inspire us and who have amazing stories to share, oh and they happen to have kids, too! While we love to talk about celebrity moms and their fabulous lives, we also love (and need) to know about real moms who are out here doing it all, just as fabulously. This week we’re profiling fitness enthusiast Angelique Miles.

Mommynoire: When we see you on Instagram and Facebook, like so many other people, I’m so inspired. First of all that you put yourself out there almost every day to share your workouts and tips, but also that you’re doing it, period.

Angelique Miles: Well, thank you. It’s definitely not easy to share everyday.

What are your favorite workouts?

My absolute favorite workouts are barre workouts. I was introduced to them back when I was working in music and started taking classes doing the Lotte Berk method. (Lotte Berk Method is a mélange of strength-training, dance, orthopedic back exercises, and Hatha yoga all rolled into an intense, hour-long mind-body workout to driving rhythms followed by an inspirational cool down.) I love barre classes, like Pure Barre, The Bar Method… I don’t get to do it that often because the classes are very expensive but I like to go back to bar when the weather gets warmer.

What do you like most about it?

It gives you a full body workout in one hour and every muscle that you strengthen you also stretch, so you’re developing elongated muscles. If I can incorporate three-to-four barre classes into my workouts per week, I’m very happy.

Because I went through a period of transition, and with that comes cutting back on finances, I had to figure out how I was going to get into these workout classes, and so I got a gig teaching classes, so I could workout as well. That’s how dedicated I am.

Now, since I live within walking distance of so much, I do gym workouts, Spin classes, lift weights and I’ve gotten into Bikram yoga in the last few months. I’ve also started running because I signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon which takes place in May. I try different things always. I can’t stand monotony. Plus, it takes a variety of workouts to achieve the aesthetic I want. I don’t want a runner’s body but I don’t want a muscular body either.

Angelique Miles 1

Angelique Miles

So are you one of those people that loves the act of working out or how you feel afterwards?

To be honest, I don’t love doing any of it, but I really love the results. I was very thin until I was 40, but if I don’t work out I’ll be out of shape and start to look matronly. So I’m going out scratching and clawing, I’m not going down without a fight. (laughs). Someone once made the comment that they wished they loved working out as much as I do and I said, “I do not love working out. I do what I have to do look a certain way and feel a certain way.”

I don’t like doing it while I’m doing it. I cannot wait until Spin class is over, but I do it because I have goals in mind.

What motivates you most?

For me, I refuse to wear a one-piece bathing suit. I won’t be that 50-year-old, that 60-year-old, in a one-piece because I let myself go. I’m like, bury me in a bikini! because I will look good until they put me in the ground. I just keep those goals in mind. I look at some of my peers like, what is going on? I just want to encourage people to never give up on yourself. I know some people say, “Oh you’re supposed to work out for your heart and health,” but I don’t know one person who goes to the gym for their heart, they want to look good. Be a little vain. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but do something and make that committment to yourself.

Is that commitment costly? You hear people complain about the investment of joining a gym…

I told someone how much I pay for Bikram a month, like $140 and they balked, like that’s too much, but they’ll pay that for two nights for dinner out in New York City. Call me crazy, but I’d rather invest that money in me. You can spend your money on hair and nails and alcohol but your body looks crazy?

So that brings us to the fitness vs. hair debate. What’s your philosophy on taking care of your hair instead of sweating it out?

My thing is I get it–I’ve relaxed my hair, I’ve worn weaves, I absolutely get it. I’m that person that I’d rather workout all week and wear my hair in a ponytail all week, and then get my hair done Friday and wear it out cute all weekend. I had to figure it out–if I had to bring a flat iron and do my edges before going out, that’s what I did.

I never let anything get in the way of my fitness. What’s the point if you’re not fit?

You have to find out what works for you. Right now I’m wearing it really short, so that’s what works for me. It’s liberating because I don’t even think about it. My hair is easily manageable so it can get wet everyday and I can still style it and let it dry naturally and go out at night. I give myself Monday through Friday and maybe get my hair done Friday afternoon. But hair should come secondary to fitness.

How much do you watch what you eat?

I don’t eat as well as I could but that’s a seasonal thing. The winter holidays are what they are…I’m giving myself the chance to eat whatever I want, within reason, for the rest of the month. Like yesterday I had a cinnamon bun because I wanted it. And I’ve had a sweet tooth lately and I think it’s because of the running I’ve been craving carbs.

Once upon a time, every January I’d come out the gate and diet, but then I’d crash. So I give myself the freedom of eating what I want and then about now–as Spring is starting–I get back to eating clean. I have protein shakes and cut back on carbs.

Angelique Miles

Angelique Miles

It’s important to treat yourself and watch what you eat, that elusive balance everyone talks about…

Exactly. Everyone should know what their body needs.
That’s why I feel I have so much to share, especially with women. Fitness is a big part of my life, but that’s not all I can speak to because as women and mothers and wives and career women, there’s so many things that take the focus off of us. I can speak to life’s curveballs–I’ve been there and overcame things personally and fitness can help a person get through those times…it did for me.

How do you balance personal life with professional? Is it easier since you have your own business or just as tricky?

Being an entrepreneur, it’s often feast or famine. Sometimes there’s things you can do and sometimes there’s just things you can’t do. I have a great group of friends and family around me that keep me going, and it’s never really an issue.

Coming from a high-profile position and now making this transition, there are people that are no longer in my life and that’s OK because they were there for the position (I held) anyway and not for me. So the people that are in my life now are the people that are supposed to be here.

It was difficult at first, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I appreciate it. It was a necessary cleansing.

How do you feel about where you are now in life?

I think it’s weird that I’m at this age and I feel like I have to do something on my own. Trying to look for a job at 50 is different. At 35, you think, oh let me go get this job and make these sacrifices. At this point in my life, I want to figure out what I can do and be happy. I want to live this half of my life as happy as possible.

Let’s finish up with a day in your life: How do you start your day?

I make sure to work out in the mornings. I can then I can do my work, have meetings and then do something in the evening if I want to.

What’s for breakfast?

I usually have a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit–blueberries and bananas. Today I had a fried egg and avocado. Monday and Friday I have Bikram and Spin and a bunch of other stuff so I make sure I have a hearty breakfast on those days.

Do you workout with music?

I can’t run without my music. When I’m weight training I have a Flip Belt, it’s so much better than the fitness armbands for me. I listen to a lot of Paradise Garage music and older hip-hop like Big Daddy Kane and  then I’ll throw in some Ty Dolla $ign.

What’s after that?

I work from home usually. If I have a lunch meeting, it’s near my home in Harlem anyway. I love the freedom of working from home. It would have to be a really, really good circumstance for me to work in an office again. There’s sacrifices that come with working from home as well, but I enjoy the freedom very much.

What’s your beauty routine?

I’ve been using coconut oil for everything lately, but I’m using it less on my hair because someone told me I should use Jojoba. When I go out, I use this foundation by Becca. Since I work out so much it’s usually shower and coconut oil.

For my hair I like Nairobi Mousse and Moroccan Oil. I like to use faux lashes because my hair is short and it makes my eyes pop. I do them every couple of weeks, so it really makes a difference for my look. I use Josie Maran Lip and Cheek Tint and I’m good.

What about workout gear?

I like cute workout clothes, because you don’t want to look like you’ve been through it even though you have with your workout. Again, invest in yourself and you’ll feel better too.

Working Out While Pregnant: Unless You’re Lifting More Than Me, Please Zip Your Lip!

March 18th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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There’s going to come a point when I will lose my patience and go off on someone.

As an expecting mom who works out, it’s only natural to get a few stares when I go to the gym. I know it’s not everyday someone sees a woman with a bun in the oven squatting weights or running on a treadmill. I get it. What becomes annoying are the constant stares and even comments about whether or not I need to be there that bother me.

Unless you are my doctor, know the ins and outs of my uterus or are my husband, please take several seats—you might just learn a thing or two.

Pregnant workout at 31 week, photo credit Tanvier Peart

working out at 31 weeks

You wouldn’t believe how insensitive some people are who allude to the idea that I shouldn’t have children if I’m that concerned with my figure. Contrary to popular belief, sitting around and stuffing your face with every craving you want does not help your pregnancy. In fact, it can cause problems and even lead to pre-term labor if you aren’t too careful. I’m not one to shame other people who don’t workout as everyone’s abilities and bodies are different. Sometimes there are medical situations that make you stay off your feet.

I just don’t understand why some folks—mainly women in my experience—are so quick to point the finger at those of us who have a history of working out while pregnant, and have the approval our doctors to continue.

My current pregnancy is not my first rodeo when it comes to carrying a child. I gave birth to my son in January 2014 and exercised all the way up to 40 weeks. Because I was so active my labor was extremely manageable—to the point of not needing medical assistance (e.g. an epidural)—and only took seven hours for him to come out. I’m hoping to have the same luck with this pregnancy and thus far see many similarities. Working out (my weekly regimen typically includes cardio and strength training) makes my pregnancy a breeze. I don’t complain about achy joints, knee problems, or back pains.

I know I shouldn’t care what people think but it gets really old to have folks staring at you like an animal at the zoo. Yes I know I look awkward with a big belly working out, but guess what, I’m doing it. Perhaps these spectators are a little salty someone “bigger” than them is lifting more and running faster, but that’s not my problem is it? You do what you can to the best of your ability, and the only person you should be competing with is yourself.

Rather than judge me on what you think you know, just applaud the fact pregnant women like me are trying to stay healthy for the sake of our unborn child. It’s so easy to point the finger when you don’t know how we modify our workouts, or the conversations we have with our doctors.

Even if you don’t understand or agree with people who workout while pregnant, please save your criticism for yourself.

This article was originally posted in 2015.

Most Black Women Don’t Preserve Their Hair When Working Out, Says Study

March 12th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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A Black woman’s struggle with keeping her mane maintained and edges laid while putting in serious work at the gym has been on going since what seems like forever. Some ladies have even felt forced to choose between working out and having great hair, which shouldn’t be the case, but it definitely happens. Whether you opt for a quick updo or a fashionable, gym-appropriate scarf to protect your situation, sometimes preserving your ‘do just doesn’t always happen like you’d like. And a new study proves this notion right.

According to JAMA Dermatology, when majority of Black women work out, we don’t actually protect our hair. The study pulled this conclusion after administering a 70-item questionnaire to a group of women at the completion of a 12-week community physical activity program featuring biweekly seminars and group exercise sessions. In addition, the questionnaire included 61 questions regarding demographic information, hair-and scalp-related symptoms, hairstyles worn, and hair care in relation to physical activity.

Approximately one-third of the women that participated in the study said they modified their hair to accommodate their workout with natural hairstyles or protective styles like braids. 38% protected their tresses during exercise by wearing a ponytail or bun, while 31% opted for a scarf or hair wrap. In addition, after completing their work out, 46% of women chose these same hairstyles to easily style their hair or didn’t style their hair at all.

In that same group, 18% of women copped to the fact that they willingly exercised less than they would like because they would sweat out their hairstyle, and 13% said the time they needed to restyle their hair was an inconvenience. Nevertheless, nearly half of the women stated that they didn’t do anything in particular to protect or preserve their hair during exercise. Interesting. 

What are your thoughts about this study? Is protecting and preserving your tresses a major deal when working out?

There’s A Fashion-Forward Fitness Tracker Strictly For The Ladies Coming Soon

February 14th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Fitness trackers just got even more fun and fabulous thanks to Fitbit.

Recently, the company which revolutionized wearable fitness technology, announced that they have a new tracker coming soon. Dubbed the Fitbit Alta, the fitness wristband is both female-centric and fashion-forward, Mashable reports.

Giving consumers both fitness and fashion on display, this new tracker will boast of sleeker style that you’ll actually want to wear: a steel face and easily customizable bands (metal, leather and classic), making it the perfect device for the casual fitness enthusiast.

Alta is definitely the most fashion-forward and ahead of the curve tracker we’ve seen to date with automatic activity tracking and sleep monitoring, silent alarms and a five-day battery life. Not to mention, those that are designer-obsessed will see collaborations with Tory Burch and Public School.

The Fitbit Alta is now available for pre-sale ($129.95) and will officially luanch in the U.S. in March and worldwide in April. Will you be copping?

An Addiction To Exercise: When Working Out Becomes Unhealthy

February 11th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I had a feeling I was doing too much when I told my fiancé I was thinking of going to the gym after initially planning not to, and he responded with, “I don’t understand why you can’t just go home and rest for once.”

Did he not understand that if I were to forgo the gym and go home, if left to my own devices, I would stuff my face with all of my trigger foods? I mean, duh! Who does he think I am?!

But I went home anyway, and I did just what I thought I would do. After not making white rice for myself in more than a year, I decided to make just that–and red beans with ground turkey and cornbread. No gym? No rules!

I ate that, two helpings, as well as some cookies and a pity salad. When I woke up in the morning and got on the scale, the increased number yelled back at me, “What did I tell you about carbs?!” I felt crappy all over again.

Just a few hours later, while perusing on BlackGirlLongHair, I saw a story about popular fitness blogger Francheska, or Hey Fran Hey, who proudly showed off her 25-pound weight gain last summer:

Hey Fran Hey

I had two thoughts.

“If only we could all look so good with 25 extra pounds…”

And, “I think I’ve been going about this whole exercise thing the wrong way.”

And not because I immediately determined that I wanted my body to look like hers, but because I immediately connected with her story.

As I’ve said before, I lost more than 40 pounds within the last year. I had ballooned after college and decided to commit to not only eating better but tangible fitness goals. Once I dropped that weight, I guess you could say I became a little obsessed with keeping it off.

I enjoy working out these days. When I don’t go, I start to feel sorry. In fact, I try to go at least four times a week. But you’ll almost always find me there for nearly two hours, obsessing over doing everything in my power to work off the food I ate during the day, build more muscle, and define my abs some more. I sometimes feel like I haven’t had a good workout until I burn upwards of 600 calories. Just workout and leave? Oh no. I have to do cardio, and then do ab work, and then make time for weight training. If I don’t do all three, I worry that overnight, the abs I worked to get will disappear, my arms will get flabby again, and I’ll balloon like I did years ago.

And that’s why it takes everything in me not to step on the scale every morning. Why before I put clothes on in the morning, I check to make sure my abs are still showing. Why I spent a grip last year trying every boutique fitness class I could in NYC to find something that would get me hooked for the long-term. Why I feel absolutely shameful every time I can’t get my willpower together and have seconds when I eat sometimes. Why I keep talking about fast metabolism in the hopes I can get that, and then eat whatever I like, whenever. Why I could relate to Francheska.

I’m focused on the wrong things.

And it’s almost laughable, because who would think that an obsession with getting in shape and having such a fixation without starving or purging yourself would be unhealthy? Why, working out has been deemed pretty much the best thing you can do for your body! But it’s definitely unhealthy when you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

Like hoping to blow everyone’s mind with your Instagram selfie that proclaims you got up at the crack of dawn for spin class. The harder you go, the more kickass you seem and feel.

Or because you want to look like the celebrities who go hard with the help of trainers and chefs who keep their diets restricted.

Or, in my case, because you want don’t want to look like what you used to, not in this health-obsessed society we now live in. And, therefore, you’re frightened at the prospect of it. So Zumba, then weightlifting, then a run on the treadmill until your plantar fasciitis flares up it is.

So, I’m working on it. I do, in fact, plan to go to the gym after I finish writing this, and I also plan to bounce that ass in Zumba on Saturday. But I want to focus on doing those things because they make me feel good, not because if I don’t, I will lose control and spiral into a binge-eating session. So maybe I need to stop “treating myself,” so much. Maybe I need to focus on how I’m eating again. Maybe I need to stop buying all my trigger foods and then going overboard. Or maybe, I need to cut myself some slack and appreciate the work that’s been done instead of harping on what could go wrong.

Whatever I do, I need to get it together, because this obsession with exercise, weight and the scale that tells me that number is not cute. Or healthy.