June, 2014

6 Ways You’re Doing Squats Wrong

Lean legs and a tight tush are just a few tweaks away.

squats

Squats are one of the best exercises for a stronger, fitter you—but only if you do them right. So before you crank out another rep, make sure your squats aren’t falling victim to these all-too-common mistakes:

Letting Your Knees Fall In
A combination of wide hips and weak inner and outer thighs makes this mistake pretty much ubiquitous among women. Unfortunately, when your knees move in toward each other during a squat, it can put undue pressure on your knee ligaments, resulting in injury, says exercise physiologist Marta Montenegro, C.S.C.S. But correcting this mistake isn’t as simple as willing your knees into place. You need to strengthen your inner and (especially) outer thighs, she says. Lateral band walks are a great way to do just that.

Not Lowering to 90 Degrees
If you don’t complete the exercise through its full range of motion—all the way down until your thighbone is parallel with the floor—you won’t fully engage your glutes and the upper part of your hamstrings, says Montenegro. Basically, you won’t get a better butt. To train your body to complete the entire move, try practicing some squats in front of a knee-high box or step. Lower your body until your butt just barely touches the box, and then push back up.

Arching Your Back
Your back naturally has a slight “S” to it. If you don’t have enough lower back strength—and many women don’t—it’s easy to add some extra arch while squatting. The problem: That dumps the weight into your lower back and means you risk injury, says Montenegro. To shore up your lower-back strength, try performing this dumbbell straight-leg deadlift.

Doing the Same Squat Over and Over
If you aren’t regularly switching up your foot positions, you aren’t taking advantage of what a versatile exercise the squat really is, says Montenegro. For instance, if you stand with your feet closer than shoulder-width apart, you’ll target your glutes. Take a wide stance, and you’ll work those hard-to-tone inner thighs. Move one leg forward a bit, and your booty will burn. Interested? Here are seven squat variations you NEED to try.

Lifting Too Little
If you complete your squats with lighter-weight dumbbells in-hand, you might want to consider reaching for something heavier. “Women tend to think that because we want to slim our legs, we should do a lot of reps with a low weight,” says Montenegro. “But if you don’t lift more weight, you aren’t going to tone anything.” Plus, when you lift heavier, you burn more calories. Her advice: Try upping the poundage of your hand weights so that you can only eek out six reps at a time (with proper form, of course!).

Going to Too-Great Pains to Keep Your Knees Behind Your Toes
“For so many years, it has been ingrained in our brains that the knees should never go past the toes when squatting,” says American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. While letting your knees move past your toes increases the stress placed on them by 28 percent, trying to restrict any forward movement of the knees ups the stress placed on your hips by a whopping 1,000 percent, according to a 2003 University of Memphis study. So instead of dwelling on your knees and toes, focus on starting the squat by pushing your hips back before lowering your body toward the floor, says Matthews. That will automatically reduce how far forward your knees travel, but without pre-registering you for a hip replacement.

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19 Foods You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen

A well-stocked kitchen allows you to throw together a fast, flavourful meal after a long day. And, when you wake up and have to dash out the door for work, it pays to have grab-and-go breakfast and snack options on hand. We tapped registered dieticians, personal chefs, and bloggers for their must-have foods to always keep in their kitchens. (And yes, they’re all good for you, too.) Some you probably already have, while others you’ll want to add to your list.

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1. Extra-virgin olive oil

Why? No surprise here—olive oil is one of the reasons why the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest in the world. How to use it: Los Angeles-based personal chef Hallie Norvet recommends buying cold-pressed olive oil for the best flavour. Cook with it, but also drizzle over finished dishes, like grilled fish, pasta, and vegetables sides. (Just be sure not to go overboard. Even though it is good fat, one tablespoon still packs 120 calories.)

2. Nonfat Greek yogurt

Why? Greek yogurt is packed with 18 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving. Though it’s creamy and seems indulgent, it contains just 100 calories per serving.
How to use it: Greek yogurt makes a great low-cal and low-fat substitute in recipes for mayo and sour cream, says Melissa Wieczorek, co-owner and chef of A la Maison Personal Chef Service in Newtown, Penn.

3. Canned olives

Why? They have a long shelf life, they can be thrown into a variety of dishes, and they have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Go for all-natural without added sodium.
How to use them: Throw them on top of salads, stir them into pastas, or try snacking on them. You can eat 10 for about 50 calories. “They’re perfect when you’re craving something salty, but it’s more satisfying than a fluffy cracker in your belly,” says dietitian Jenna Braddock, RD.

4. Honey

Why? It’ll last in your cupboard for years. And in addition to being a versatile sweetener, honey can serve as a hangover helper, cough soother, and more.
How to use it: Sweeten homemade marinades and salad dressings. Braddock also likes to incorporate it into whole-grain baking. “Whole wheat flour can be denser, but adding honey in place of regular sugar keeps things tender and moist.” In recipes that call for sugar, swap in an equal amount of honey and reduce baking temperature by 25 degrees.

5. Beans

Why? Not only inexpensive, they’re also a great source of protein and fibre. (One cup of chickpeas, for example, contains a whopping 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fibre.)
How to use them: Keep beans of all kinds in your kitchen. Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste favors chickpeas, black beans, and white northern, but what you stock in your pantry is up to you. Keep canned around for salsas and salads; dried to make larger servings that will last the week.

6. Quinoa

Why? For one cup of cooked quinoa, you get 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre for just 222 calories. Plus, the hearty whole grain is a good source of energising iron and B vitamins. Chef and registered dietitian Allison Stevens also likes it because it’s one of the speediest grains to cook; it’s ready in 15 minutes.
How to use it: Combine cooked quinoa with shredded chicken, chopped veggies, and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Or, eat quinoa hot as a substitute for oatmeal. Stir in almond milk, dried fruit, nuts, and drizzle with honey.

7. Eggs

Why? One egg contains six grams of belly-filling protein for only 70 calories. One study found that overweight women who ate egg breakfasts lost twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels.
How to use them: Hard boil a bunch at the beginning of the week for an on-the-go breakfast or snack with a piece of cheese and fruit, says Wieczorek. Or, throw a fried egg on top of a rice-and-veggie bowl or a salad for an extra dose of protein. You could also try one of these high-protein breakfast recipes that feature eggs.

8. Sea salt

Why? Although the CDC recommends limiting your salt intake, excess sodium is often a problem in prepared and processed foods, not the foods you cook yourself. Adding a sprinkle of salt to the foods you cook in your kitchen helps flavors pop.
How to use it: Use just like you would regular salt. Norvet loves sea salt, which contains a higher mineral content than regular table salt.

9. Tomato paste

Why? “Tomato paste adds a great umami flavor, or a richness to food that you’re trying to keep low in calories and fat,” says Braddock. Even better: tomatoes, particularly tomato paste, are bursting with cancer-fighting lycopene.
How to use it: Buy it in a can or in a squeeze tube and use it to add an extra layer of flavor to curries and stir-fries.

10. Bananas

Why? They’re economical, available all year, and supply a nice sweetness to foods like smoothies and plain yogurt without adding sugar, says Braddock.
How to use them: For a quick snack, smear a banana nut butter or top on whole grain toast. Banana turning brown? Freeze it and whirl in your food processor until smooth for banana “ice cream.”

11. Fresh herbs

Why? Packed with a surprising number of antioxidants in their little leaves, they add a wonderful flavor to any dish. Herbs also give new life when used on leftovers or make already-prepared foods taste homemade.
How to use them: Keep a variety around, says Wieczorek. Cilantro for Thai or Southwestern dishes; basil for Italian, rosemary for marinades or on roast chicken. (Try these recipes for fresh herbs To make sure they stay fresh, store in in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator (not wrapped in plastic) or stuff the sprigs in a glass of water like a vase. (It’s pretty, too!)

12. Chocolate

Why? Dark chocolate provides powerful disease-fighting polyphenols and has even been associated with weight loss.
How to use it: “I always keep dark chocolate on hand, and not just for chocolate cravings,” says Wieczorek. You can also use it as a surprise ingredient in sauces. For example, throw one square into a braising sauce for meat to elevate the flavor. Try these 27 healthy chocolate recipes.

13. Garlic

Why? “Garlic allows you to add flavor to your dishes quickly and easily without unhealthy fats or processed ingredients,” Norvet says.
How to use it: Norvet buys the already peeled variety for fast chopping to add to soups, stews, sautés, stir-frys, and marinades.

14. Mustard

Why? The condiment is packed with the immune-boosting mineral selenium and turmeric, a spice (that gives it its yellow pigment) with cancer-fighting properties.
How to use it: Keep a couple different varieties in your refrigerator, says Norvet. That includes Dijon for salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and in a coating for breading chicken and pork. Grain mustard is another favorite as a spread on sandwiches.

15. Flavored vinegar

Why? This specialty ingredient is actually really versatile, says Braddock, and it’s heart healthy: “Vinegar helps open up your blood vessels to improve blood flow,” she says.
How to use it: Flavors like blackberry or strawberry balsamic can be drizzled to brighten the flavor of salads for few calories (one teaspoon contains about five).

16. Oatmeal

Why? Known for helping to lower cholesterol numbers, research suggests oats may also help you control your appetite.
How to use it: A bowl of oatmeal is a stick-to-your-ribs, wont-be-full-until-lunch way to start your mornings. Homolka also makes oatmeal smoothies: cook the oatmeal in water with cinnamon sticks, let cool and then blend with milk, ice, and a little raw sugar.

17. Herbs de Provence

Why? This easy-to-find dried herb blend features thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, marjoram, and lavender that adds a nice herbaceous seasoning for any dish, which is why this is one ingredient Stevens always keeps on hand.
How to use it: Sprinkle on chicken, potatoes, grilled veggies. Also makes a great seasoning for eggs, combined with panko as a crust for fish, or on pizza.

18. Broth

Why? You can keep a carton in your pantry for a long time until you’re ready to use it. It’s low in calories (one cup contains 38) with 5 grams of protein.
How to use it: Whether chicken, beef or veggie, Stevens relies on these to make soups, stews, and chilies. It also makes a great substitute for oil when sautéing vegetables. Store leftover broth in ice cube trays in the freezer for quick access. When buying broth, Stevens recommends reading the ingredients list and avoiding those that contain added sugar and caramel coloring. Buy low-sodium whenever possible.

19. Ground chicken and turkey

Why? Buying lean ground turkey or chicken breast saves on saturated fat compared to ground beef.
How to use it: Stash in your freezer and thaw when ready to eat, recommends Wieczorek. It’s one meat that cooks in a zip and can be used in stir-fries, meat sauces, tacos, enchiladas, stuffed peppers, or rice bowls.

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Clear the air!

Smoke knows no boundaries.

World No Tobacco Day aims to draw global attention and raise awareness of harmful health effects of tobacco.

Letting Go of Tobacco. A Worldwide Epidemic.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking kills up to half of its users. In fact, over 6 million people worldwide are expected to die this year from tobacco-related health complications. It’s not just the smokers who suffer; exposure to secondhand smoke kills 600,000 people each year.

In the United States, 1 in 5 deaths are the result of tobacco use, and smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier, on average, than their non-smoking counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Secondhand smoke is a known cancer-causing agent. That is why 27 states and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive laws that prohibit smoking in almost all public places, workplaces, restaurants, and bars.

Tips to Help You Quit

Set up a quit date.

Get rid of your last cigarettes, and anything related to smoking—lighters, ashtrays, etc.

Set up a support system. This could be taking a group class, going to Nicotine Anonymous, or having a friend or family member who has successfully quit who is willing to help you.

Ask family and friends who smoke not to do so around you and to not leave cigarettes out where you can see them.

Set up a support system. This could be a group class, Nicotine Anonymous, or a friend or family member who has successfully quit and is willing to help you.

Don’t give up. The nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, and it may take several attempts to quit smoking.

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Bodyweight exercises

 

 

 

 

Some of these techniques and tricky so please take care! Bodyweight Exercises

 

 

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Amazing facts about Bananas

Facts about Banana

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