10 Fitness Tips for Fall

Check out these 10 fitness tips brought to you by Livestrong.com to help motivate you as we ease into this beautiful Fall weather.

Overview

Autumn is a transitional time of year. The leaves on the trees change, it becomes darker earlier, and the temperatures cool down. It is a favorite time of year for many people. However, these same changes can also lead to stress for individuals who tend to fall off the health and fitness wagon during the transition. There are many enjoyable opportunities to remain fit, or even begin a fitness program in the fall that can work for everyone. Planning for seasonal changes, finding support from group exercise and embracing events and activities that the season has to offer are key factors in staying fit through the transition.

fall-exercise

1. Take Advantage of Autumn Activities

Autumn group events like pumpkin picking, corn mazes, haunted trails, and building leaf piles are active options that can also be fun bonding experiences for family and friends. Organize a weekend trip or local get-together with an autumn theme and plan to be active.

2. Get Involved in Community Events

With the fall season come many holiday-themed local fun runs and events. Look in the newspaper for Halloween runs, turkey trots and reindeer romps. According to a 1991 summary report by ERIC Digest, training for a specific goal such as a race increases adherence to an exercise program. Signing up with friends or family will hold you accountable for completing the training.

3. Head to the Trails

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year for getting outside. Grab a friend and find some local parks or trails to walk, run or bike and take in the view of changing leaves.

4. Dress for the Weather

When weather gets cooler, it can deter people from going outside to work out. This problem can be mediated by wearing wind-shielding clothing and dressing in layers. Proper attire and accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) that cut down on bulk but still allow for warmth make outdoor fitness more enjoyable as the chill of fall approaches

5. Drink Water

Stay hydrated even when the temperatures cool down. People often feel less thirsty when it is not hot outside, but staying hydrated is just as important in the fall as it is when the sun is blazing. When fall rolls around, remember to stay on top of your fluid intake to help with both exercise recovery and appetite control.

6. Drink Tea

Drink more tea to warm up for the cooler temperatures. Green tea and black tea contain antioxidants that help ward off diseases during flu season so you can remain healthy and active as the season shifts.

7. Avoid Holiday Candy

According to the National Institutes of Health, on average, non-obese adults gain about a pound a year around the holidays. In addition to creating unhealthy habits, accumulation of this weight over time can lead to obesity. Be sure to pack lots of healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day to help deter you from grazing on sweets that pop up in the office, at home or at holiday parties.

8. Turn Fall Chores into a Workout

According to Health Status, a 150-lb. person can burn 135 calories by raking leaves for 30 minutes. Turn outdoor chores into a game by setting small, achievable goals to help pass time and burn away fat.

9. Exercise Early in the Day

Try to work out in the morning or during the day. With the time changing and the sun setting earlier, it can feel as though it’s later in the day than it really is. This can make people more tired than usual. Getting into a routine of working out early will guarantee the workout gets done and still allow time in the afternoons and evenings to relax.

10. Vary Activities

As the weather cools down and summer ends, it can become difficult to stay motivated. Trying a variety of different activities and varying workouts will help keep a fresh spin on exercise and allow for confidence to build within a wide range of activities.

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Personal Trainer & Nutrition Consultant: Nicole Cunningham

Nicole Cunningham can help you get in shape, be healthier and become a stronger and fitter you! Nicole is our newest local resource for our resident’s of Riverwalk at Millennium and all ScullyFit Community Residents.

As a personal trainer for 7 years, Nicole has experience working with all ages and fitness abilities. She has worked quite a bit with kids who want to be active and improve in sports as well as the elderly who wish to stay strong and healthy as they age. Nicole has also helped people recovering from injuries who are trying to get back to their normal daily functions. She also has experience working with pregnant and post pregnant women, helping them return to their pre-baby shape.

Nicole attended NPTI (National Personal Training Institute) where she became a certified personal trainer and certified nutrition consultant. She has also gained a wealth of knowledge from her experience training as a division one rower at a big ten school and from her training at the Olympic training center while rowing for the United States national team.

Nicole’s goal is to help people lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. All of her workouts are individually created for each person based on their needs and goals. No two workouts will be the same.

Schedule an appointment with Nicole today! Get in shape, be healthier, become stronger and fitter!

Nicole can be reached by phone (707) 322-2689 or e-mail Nicolecunningham85@gmail.com

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30-Day Running Challenge

We are almost done our 30-Day Arm Challenge! My arms are burning, but they look fan-tastic!! June’s challenge is brought to you by Shape Magazine and is a 30-Day Running Challenge.

Whether you’re looking to run faster, increaseyour endurance, or just start running, learn how to be a better runner in 30 days with our #RunIntoShape challenge. This is a challenge for every fitness level.

30 day running challenge

 

Here’s How It Works

Check it out: Underhill devised this easy-to-follow, weekly schedule to help you become a faster, stronger runner. The good news? That doesn’t mean you need to hit the pavement every day! This mix of running, strength training, and—of course—recovery will keep your body primed to move all month long.

Visit the Shape.com site for a day by day guide to follow along with. Post a comment and let us know how your progress is going! Happy Running!!

 

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9 Essential Strength Benchmarks for Men

We have been wanting to add more Strength Training content for our male followers, and came across this excellent article from livestrong.com. Go to the link to check out the full article, but we share the highlights below. As we have mentioned in past posts, having goals is crucial to the success of every workout routine. Without a goal, you don’t have a measurable mark to measure success and accomplishments against. This article details some strength benchmarks so you can see how you measure up and where you need to strive for some improvement. The article notes that you should also keep in mind if you are over 45, or have less than two years of consistent training, aim for 80 percent of all the goals listed.

Benchmark Goal No. 1: 2 Minute Plank – Planks are a simple exercise in regards to complexity, but are challenging to the core. A strong core will enhance your ability withstand heavy weight while squatting, pressing and deadlifting. HOW TO DO IT: Simply set up in a push-up position, but instead of having your weight on your hands, place it on your elbows. Maintain a neutral spine from head to toe. You should be in a perfectly straight line. While performing, do not allow the back to sag. Flexing your rear end and quadriceps will create more stability while performing this exercise.

plank exercise

Benchmark Goal No. 2: The Barbell Bench Press for 1 Rep at 1.5 Times Your Body Weight – This is a good goal for bench pressing, or you can substitute this for 5 repitions at 85% of your body weight. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back, grasp a barbell at shoulder width or slightly wider, lower the bar to the mid-chest and drive the bar back up to full extension. Pull your shoulder blades together to ensure you have a good base of support and that you protect your shoulders. The elbows should tuck in slightly toward your torso at about a 45-degree angle. Grip the bar hard and try to “rip it apart” throughout the movement.

male doing a bench press

Benchmark Goal No. 3: The Standing Barbell Press for 1 Rep at Your Body Weight – A good goal is to press your body weight for 1 rep, or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. This move focuses on the front shoulders, triceps and core muscles. HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a bar about shoulder width, starting with the bar on the upper chest. Tense your whole body, and, without using your lower back, drive the bar over your head and slightly back. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and brace your abs while pressing.

male overhead press

Benchmark Goal No. 4: The Push-Up for 50 Full-Range Repititions – The tried and true push-up is a fantastic indicator of your upper-body strength and endurance. It is also a good guage of your relative strength and body composition. A good goal for most men to shoot for is 50 full range repetitions. 50 can be a lot, so be realistic in what you think you can do, and then create a plan to build from there.  HOW TO DO IT: Assume a standard push-up position, with your hands outside your chest. Lower yourself down to the floor, keeping the elbows tucked to about 45 degrees, the core tight, and the neck in a neutral position (don’t look up). Drive back through the floor without letting your back sag. To ensure adequate depth, place a toilet paper roll on the floor beneath your belly and touch your forehead to the floor on each rep.

push-up

Benchmark Goal No. 5: The Chin-Up for 15 Full-Range Repititions –  A fantastic goal to shoot for is 15 full-range repetitions. Trainer Matt Kasee emphasizes a high-training volume and improving your grip strength when trying to achieve this goal. “Back muscles can handle a lot of work. In order to knock out 15 body weight chin-ups, practice your chin-ups using various rep ranges at least 3 times a week with a heavy day, moderate- and high-rep day.”  HOW TO DO IT: To perform, start from a dead hang from an overhead bar. Aggressively drive your elbows down — focusing on pulling your shoulder blades into your back pockets — and pull yourself up over the bar until it hits your upper chest. Lower back down under control and repeat. Be sure to minimize any body squirming or flailing, and keep the repetitions strict and smooth.

chin up

Benchmark Goal No. 6: The Deadlift for 1 Rep at 2.5 Times Your Body Weight – Perhaps no other exercise indicates your full-body strength better than the deadlift. Period. Shoot for pulling 2.5 times your body weight for a single rep, or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Walk up to a loaded barbell and align the bar with the middle of your feet (feet inside shoulder width). Bend over and grasp the bar. Pull your hips down, flex your lats, brace your core and grip the bar hard. Break the bar from the floor and pull — making sure not to round the back! — up until standing. Take caution not to hyperextend your spine in the top position.

deadlift

Benchmark Goal No. 7: The Barbell Squat for 1 Rep at 2 Times Your Body Weight – The barbell squat has long been heralded by gym rats as the “king of all exercises.” If you have a big squat, you’ll have slabs of muscle not only on your legs, but all over your body as well. A strong goal is 2 times body weight for a single rep or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Place a barbell across your upper back, keeping the shoulder blades pulled together to create a strong base. Un-rack the bar, step back, set your feet slightly wider than shoulder and then push the hips back and descend to point just below parallel. Make sure to keep the weight on your heels and your spine in a neutral alignment. To finish the rep, stand up aggressively to full extension.

barbell squat

Benchmark Goal No. 8: The Barbell Hip Thrust for 10 Reps at 1.5 Times Your Body Weight – The hip thrust, which has quickly become a staple in the programs of serious strength trainees and athletes around the globe, is a fantastic indicator of your strength in the important “posterior chain” muscles: the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. A good goal to shoot for is 10 reps with 1.5 times your body weight. HOW TO DO IT: Roll a loaded barbell over your legs so it’s sitting across the front of your hips. With the knees bent and your back elevated on a standard bench, hold the bar just outside the hips and then thrust up until you are parallel to the floor, making sure to squeeze the glutes and not hyperextend the lower back.

hip thrust

Benchmark Goal No. 9: The Hang Clean for 1 Rep at 1.25 Times Your Body Weight – hile strength — the ability to produce force — is very important, power (or how quickly and explosively you can express your strength) is equally important. A good goal is to hang clean 1.25 times your body weight for 1 rep or 85 percent of that number for 5 reps. HOW TO DO IT: Grasp a barbell at arm’s length and shoulder width apart. Keeping the chest up, push the hips back until the bar barely clears the knees. Explode and extend at the hip, knee and ankle, shrugging and pulling the weight up towards the chin. Allow your elbows to rotate underneath of the bar and catch it in a racked position.

hang clean exercise

Sooo… How do you measure up? Be sure to record your results, and continue to test yourself periodically to monitor your progress. As was mentioned at the beginning of this post, be sure to check out the full article at livestrong.com for further details and tips on how to best execute each exercise as well as video demonstrations.

 

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30-Day Arm Challenge

I came across this challenge at the perfect time, because a few days ago I was just thinking to myself “I really need to tone my arms more before summer”. Fitness Magazine has created what looks like an excellent 30-day Arm Challenge to get your guns blazing just before summer!

This arm challenge is broken down into four weeks: Week 1 is all about body-weight basics, Week 2 adds dumbbells, and Week 3 mixes body-weight and dumbbell moves to build can’t-stop-won’t-stop endurance. Week 4 combines body-weight ~flows~ with some weighted moves to tone your arms to perfection.

The first day of each week, you’ll only do one exercise. But on the second day, you’ll do exercises from both Day 1 and Day 2. On Day 3, you’ll do the exercises from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3, and so on. On Day 6 of each week, you’ll ditch the exercises from earlier in the week and focus on fine-tuning work, and on Day 7 of each week you’ll do a push-up challenge, so you can gauge your progress and start feeling strong.

The challenge details are listed below:

30 day arm challenge

 

The chart above shows what you need to do each day to follow along. Go to the Fitness Magazine site for video instruction on each move along with the number of suggested reps for each day. We will be starting this challenge May 1st and hope you will join along with us. Post your comments and pictures of your results on our ScullyFit Facebook Page or in the comments section below. Good luck!

 

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Fresh Mango Margarita

Frozen Mango Margaritas

 

We came across this recipe on the How Sweet It Is Blog right in time to get ready for Cinco de Mayo! The pictures look so amazing, we can’t wait to try it!

The recipe calls for this to be made with fresh mango, but you can substitute frozen chunks that are easy to find at Trader Joe’s or Target. It will make the drink extra frosty. If you use the frozen mango, you will just need to use a little less ice.

Personally, I could go without the chili powder for sprinkling, but that’s totally up to you and your taste. Enjoy!!

Fresh Mango Margarita Frosty

ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh mango chunks
  • 4 cups ice
  • 1/2 cup silver tequila
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeeze lime juice
  • 1/4 cup grand marnier liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • lime wedges for garnish
  • chili powder for sprinkling
  • simple syrup, if needed for sweetness

directions:

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender and… blend! Taste and if desired, add a little more tequila or a little simple syrup – whatever you need. I like to blend without the simple syrup and then taste and add it if the mango is not sweet enough.

Spoon the frosty into cups and serve with lime wedges. Sprinkle with chili powder if you’d like!

If your mango isn’t sweet enough, add a few tablespoons of simple syrup! To make the syrup, heat 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and let cool to room temp.

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20-Minute Cardio Blast Workout

This energetic workout is brought to our ScullyFit residents by Susi May of PopSugar. Some days, your schedule just doesn’t allow for a long workout, or maybe you are traveling and don’t have access to your local gym or at home equipment. I came across this quick and effective 20-minute workout that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere – even your bedroom or hotel room. It looks simple at a glance, but I can assure you it’s challenging.

cardio blast workout

 

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Broccoli Melts

broccoli melt ingredients, clean eating, healthy snacks

If you’re trying to work your way into a healthier diet, but not ready to plunge right into Lentils and Kale for dinner, this will make for an excellent “gateway” snack.

We found this delicious looking recipe on smittenkitchen.com this morning, and can’t wait to try it. For set by step pictures, visit the smittenkitchen site. For a healthier version, I suggest cutting back on the provolone.

Broccoli Melts

I usually make this with broccolini, which I prefer because it much less notably discolors when hit with lemon juice. Outside of aesthetics, both broccolini and regular broccoli work the same here, and are equally delicious. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys anchovies, they meld well here with the garlic and pepper flakes.

Yield: 8 small-medium open-faced melts

1 pound broccolini or regular broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
A few pinches red pepper flakes, to taste
Finely grated zest, then juice, of 1/2 lemon (juice before zesting only if you enjoy being grumpy)
Coarse salt, to taste
1/2 cup finely grated aged pecorino romano cheese
8 thin slices totally unfancy deli provolone
8 slices bread of your choice

If using broccolini, cut it into 2-inch segments. If regular broccoli, peel the stems with a vegetable peeler first so that they cook evenly, and cut the rest into large chunks.

Pour about 1-inch puddle of salted water into a large sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cover with a lid and boil/steam for 2 minutes. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels, wringing out as much extra liquid as possible. Chop into small (roughly 1/2-inch) bits.

Wipe sauté pan dry and heat over medium. Add olive oil and let it heat for a full minute. Add garlic and pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minutes, or until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden. Add the broccoli and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, seasoning with salt. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add lemon zest, juice, pecorino and more salt and pepper flakes to taste.

Heat broiler. Arrange slices of bread on a tray and lightly toast on both sides. Scoop broccoli mixture onto each slice of bread, lay a slice of provolone over it and run under the broiler until cheese has melted and begun to blister. Eat. Repeat. Don’t forget to share, or at least hide the evidence if you decide not to.

broccoli melts, healthy recipes

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Source: smittenkitchen.com

Tone in Twenty Workouts by Fresh Fit Foodie

For me, the best way to stay engaged in a workout regiment is to constantly switch it up. It keeps it interesting, and certainly makes it go faster.

Some days, your schedule just doesn’t allow for a long workout, or maybe you are traveling and don’t have access to your local gym or at home equipment. I came across these fantastic HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts on FreshFitFoodie.com that require no equipment and can be done anywhere – even your bedroom or hotel room. I’ve already tried a few and they are awesome – quick and effective!

tone in twenty workouts; hiit workouts

tone-in-twenty-core

tone-in-twenty-everything

tone-in-twenty-lower

tone-in-twenty-upper

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Should You Exercise When You Are Sick??

exercise when sick

Getting into a good, steady exercise routine feels great and it’s so frustrating when life gets in the way – especially when it’s in the form of an unwanted cold or flu. When you get sick after you’ve come so far to get into a regular schedule, it’s natural to wonder – “Is it still ok for me to get my cardio in today?” “Will exercising make me feel worse? Or will it help me kick this cold”.  We’ve wondered the same things, so we asked our experts and did our research to get you the answers you’ve been looking for.

In short – the consensus is to use your judgement, evaluate your level of illness and decide accordingly.

If your sickness is simply a common cold, it should be okay to work out, as long as you listen to your body. In regards to whether or not to work out when you’re sick, fitness trainer Anthony Moscardelli explains “It’s not so cut and dry. It’s almost like saying, should you stop exercising if you are injured? The old school of thought is to work around your injuries. The same thing holds true for being sick. If you are “deathly ill”, then obviously you shouldn’t exercise. If you simply have a common cold that is entirely different. Most people with a common cold may feel a bit weaker and should curtail their workouts according to how they feel. I would not suggest to just stop working out all together, as some colds or sinus infections could take 3-5 weeks to get rid of entirely.”

With this information in mind, there are a few things to be cautious of.

  1. Physical activity increases your heart rate, which some cold medicines can cause also. This combination can cause you heart to pump very hard, and lead to a shortness of breath. If you start to experience this, slow down or stop.
  2. If your cold comes along with a fever, exercising can stress your body even more – so hold off for a few days.
  3. Decrease your intensity. If you work out too hard when you have a cold, it can cause you to feel worse and can even slow down your recovery – so cut it back a little.

Richard Besser, MD says to use the neck rule”: If your symptoms are above the neck – sneezing, sinus pressure, stuffy nose – then breaking a sweat is generally considered safe. The American College on Exercise recommends holding off completely if you are experiencing flu-like or below-the-neck symptoms like nausea or vomiting.

So – if you’re symptoms are above the neck and you’re feeling up to sweating out some of those germs, here are the best workouts to embrace and the ones you should completely avoid.

Just Do It

  • Walking: If you want to get moving but don’t have a ton of energy, something is better than nothing. Even a 20 minute walk can help you reap the benefits of regular exercise, and as a bonus can help your symptoms. “If your sinuses are plugged up, walking will stimulate you to take deep breaths and can help open up those passages,” says Besser.
  •  Jogging: If it is part of your regular routine. Running is a natural decongestant – just remember to scale back the intensity.
  • Yoga: Research suggests that stress relieving techniques like breathing exercises and yoga may help boost immunity. A Swedish study also found that humming is a good way to open clogged sinus passages
  • Dance: This is a low impact alternative that allows you to break a sweat without putting too much stress on your body.

Don’t Do It

  • Endurance Running: If you’re in the middle of training for an upcoming distance run or marathon – put it on the back burner, even if you are just starting to feel better or are just coming down with a cold. Andrea Hulse, DO, explains “In general, regular exercise stimulates the immune system and helps keep us healthy,” says Hulse. “But too much regular exercise at a high intensity can have the opposite effect,” she adds. Immune function may be compromised for up to 24 hours after prolonged, continuous exercise (1.5 hours or longer)
  • Lifting Weights: Your strength and performance will likely be diminished while you’re battling a cold, says Besser—especially if you’ve missed out on quality sleep—putting you at increased risk for injury while trying to lift heavy equipment. Plus, the muscle strain required to lift weights can cause sinus pressure and headaches to feel even worse, he adds.
  • Team Sports: Plain and simple – nobody else wants what you have!

So the last question out there is – “When is it ok to  resume your regular exercise routine after you’ve recovered?” Raul Seballos, M.D., vice-chair of the department of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic says, “Listen to your body. Colds typically last for a week to 10 days but it may take you two to three weeks to recover from the flu, depending on the severity. Don’t go 100 percent the first three or four days. Start at 75 percent of your normal workout (for both cardio and weights) and increase gradually for the first week or so. If you try to go back too soon you may have a prolonged recovery phase. You may also be more short of breath if you’re recovering from an upper respiratory infection.”

*You should always consult your doctor for a confirmed medical opinion. The content in this article was developed through online research and discussions with local fitness trainers.

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Source: Mens Fitness, WebMDHealth