FAQs On Waist Beads

On Your Mark, Get WAISTED! ❤️✨

Q: What is the purpose of waist beads?

A: History

You may have grown up around women that decorated their waists with beads made from seeds, glass beads, or crystals; perhaps you’ve seen one of your favorite influencers decoratively wearing beads around their waist too. From giving you awareness of how much weight you have lost to being a representation of a certain virtue, they are collectively a beautiful aspect of the feminine proclamation of self in several African cultures. They also serve as a form of stylistic expression as you can customize what colors you want to display, how many waist beads you want to stack, and what types of beads you want to use. These pieces stem from various areas of the Diaspora, ranging from Ghana’s Dipo ceremonies to Nigeria’s Yoruba tribe and those in between. Although trendy, African women have traditionally worn these beads as a symbol of femininity and prosperity for centuries. The history of waist beads can be traced back as early as the 15th century.

According to the Africa Facts Organization, “Jewelry in Africa is seldom just ornamental; rituals, religion and ceremonies play a large part.” With that said, there is such a large amount of influence that stems from cultural aspects and is concentrated in the colors of the beads. 

Waist beads can even be traced back to ancient Egypt, as shown in Figure 1. Hieroglyphs depict dancers adorned with braids and waist beads.

Many people question when an appropriate time for waist beads is or if they should wear them at all. The decision to wear them is up to the individual and what occasion they choose. From going on a beach trip with your girls to walking into an interview and having them be a subtle reminder under your business wear. Angela Hill from the Bay Area News Group states, “They’re for you. It’s personal. The meaning of the colors varies with every tribe — it’s kind of like visual dialects. And here in America it’s certainly a form of personal expression and individual interpretation. They’re for all women — any body type, any race, any background.” The beads are customary for promoting fertility, womanhood, and power. Often, they can be associated with the country you choose to represent depending on the colors chosen (i.e. Nigeria – green and white). Whether you want to show them off or have them under your clothes as a less obvious reminder, they are unique to you. Culturally, African waist beads can have a sensual significance as well, for potential male suitors.

West Africa

One of the most beautiful aspects of waist beads is the prominence of individuality when choosing the colors and materials of the beads. For example, Ghanaian girls may be presented with waist beads as a token of their “coming-of-age” into womanhood. They can also represent what class a woman is in, her economic status, and fertility.  Traditionally unmarried women of the Yoruba tribe wear an ileke, also known as waist beads or waist chains. Waist beads are romantic, fashionable and attract attention to the waist by making the waist appear slimmer and bringing out the curves of the hips. Modern-day wear includes decorative adornment and waist and weight management.

East Africa

According to Google Arts & Culture, “Glass beads were introduced on the east coast of Africa by Arab and (from the 16th to 18th centuries) Portuguese traders, and reached southern Africa in small quantities through internal trade.” Wearing waist beads is largely popular across East African countries as well; women can add essential oils to their bead strings in order to promote healing properties and utilize them in similar ways as the Diaspora (i.e. promoting fertility, puberty, or class.

South Africa

The influence of waist beads spans across several countries and spreads to the Caribbean as well. Southern parts of Africa utilize waist beads in unique ways as well. Notably, women in Zambia and Malawi use their beads while pregnant or in order to seduce their husbands

Adorn your waist this summer! The beads will be sure to add a stylish yet meaningful addition to your outfits and swimsuits this season. We have given you a list of different waist bead colors along with their respective meanings below. Additionally, we have linked examples of our very own waist bead collection!

Q: What does different color beads mean?

A: Black – Power and protection

Blue – Loyalty and truth

Brown – Earth and stability

Gold – Good health, power and wealth

Purple – Royalty, spirituality and wisdom

Green – Abundance, fertility, nature and prosperity

White – Light, truth and purity

Orange – Courage, self confidence and vitality

Yellow – Energy, joy and happiness

Pink – Care, beauty, love and kindness

Red – Confidence and vitality

Turquoise – Communication and self awareness

Sources

African waist beads: Age-old tradition makes modern-day statement. (2012, July 31). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from The Mercury News website: https://www.mercurynews.com/2012/07/31/african-waist-beads-age-old-tradition-makes-modern-day-statement/

Beads, E. B. (n.d.). Waist Beads: Color Meaning. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from Exotic Body Beads website: https://www.exoticbodybeads.com/beads-color-meaning/

Blog — MY AFRICAN WAIST BEADS. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2019, from MY AFRICAN WAIST  BEADS website: http://www.myafricanwaistbeads.com/blog

Chest, T. B. (n.d.). Ghana Waist Beads: Meaning & Culture. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from The Bead Chest website: https://www.thebeadchest.com/pages/beads-in-ghanaian-culture

Uju. (2016, April 2). African Waist Beads, Meaning, Significance, And Uses. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from Answers Africa website: https://answersafrica.com/the-african-waist-beads-significance-and-uses.html

Q: How do they relate to waist training or weight loss?

A: As far a waist training, waist beads are being used more and more in North America as a way to control weight gain and shrink your waist. Naturally, as the beads get tighter, you know you’re gaining a few pounds. So you can nip that weight gain in the bud before you’re struggling to button your jeans.

Q: Where do I place them?

A: Traditionally waist beads are worn along the hips semi-permanently, which means they are worn while bathing, sleeping, swimming, etc. until they break or they are cut off.

Q: How do I tie them on?

A: To tie them on, you simply place them around your waist, decide where you want them to sit, remove the excess beads and tie 3-4 knots.

Q: Can I wear waist beads all the time?

A: You can wear your waist beads all day, everyday. They may dull after time from showering, if that happens just polish them with a cloth. If you do want to take them off from time to time you‘ll want to tie them loosely from the beginning and then just pull them up and off like a shirt.

Q: How tight should my waist beads be?

A: Depending on how you want to wear your waistbeads, you can measure yourself above your navel, just at your navel, or right above your hips. Use a tape measure and measure against your bare skin without sucking in your stomach. You shouldn’t hold the tape loose nor too snug. Think about where you want to wear the beads.

Q: How many waist beads should I wear?

A: You can wear as few or as many waist beads as you feel comfortable in. Most women wear about 3 strands.


What you see is what you get! 🤷🏽‍♀️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Your Quick and Easy 1-Week Core Workout Guide

BY SHANA VERSTEGEN

Your “core” is much more complex than the infamous “six-pack abs” which refer to the muscle group known as the rectus abdominis. Dozens of muscles make up the core musculature, which has three-dimensional depth and creates or resists movement in all planes of motion.

Proper core strength and function can contribute to:

This quick and easy workout targets the essential stability from your deeper core muscles and the necessary mobility that the core can produce. Days 1, 2 and 3 repeat with higher volume during the second half of the week. If you experience back pain during any part of these exercises, please stop. This signifies that either the core is fatigued and no longer able to stabilize your spine in proper alignment or the form may not be spot on.

Your Quick and Easy 1-Week Core Workout Guide

THE EXERCISES

MCGILL CURLUP

The move: The McGill curlup differs from a crunch in that there should be no movement from the lumbar spine to protect the discs and promote proper posture. Begin by lying flat on your back with only one knee bent. Place your hands under the small of your back to monitor movement, ensuring your back does not touch the floor. Brace the core muscles and lift your head and tops of your shoulders, keeping the spine in neutral. For an added challenge, lift your elbows off of the floor.

SIDE PLANK

The move: Line your elbow up with your shoulder and your shoulder with your hip and heel. With a very tight and braced core, push the ground away from you, staying active in the shoulder joint. Feet can be stacked or the top foot in front of the bottom, pressing the blades of the feet into the floor.

Option: To reduce the intensity, perform this exercise as a side bridge from the knees instead of the feet.

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BIrd Dog

The move: The bird dog is a co-contraction of one leg and the opposite arm in the quadruped position. Begin by posturing the spine in neutral, with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and the knees directly underneath your hips. Find a neutral spine and gently brace your core. Sweep the floor with your hand and knee after each 10-second hold.

STIR THE POT

The move: Find a strong-and-straight plank position on a stability ball. Ensure your shoulders are directly over your elbows and away from the ears. While keeping the rest of the body completely stable, rotate your forearms in a clockwise motion, stop and unwind in a counterclockwise pattern.

Option: To decrease the intensity, this exercise can be done with your knees placed on the floor.

STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCKS

The move: Place the stability ball at your shins, hands on the floor, and press up into a strong-and-straight plank position. Ensure the hips never sag, as this can lead to back pain. Simultaneously press into the floor with your hands and onto the ball with your shins, tuck both knees into your chest and return to the plank position. Your hips should elevate slightly during this movement.

Options: The closer the ball is to your feet, the harder the exercise is. For an even greater challenge, this move can be done with only one leg.

STABILITY BALL OPPOSITE ARM/LEG RAISES

The move: Begin with your midsection on the stability ball and your weight equally distributed between your hands and feet with your gaze slightly out in front of your hands. Squeezing your backside, simultaneously raise the right arm and left leg. Lower both back to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Option: For a greater challenge, a full superman (both arms and legs raised at the same time) can be completed, but this is a tricky move!

SINGLE-ARM FARMER CARRY

The move: Grab a heavy dumbbell (or any weighted object) in one hand. While bracing the core and resisting side or forward bending, walk slow and controlled during the entire 30-second set. Repeat on the other side.

Option: If forearm strength is an issue, a weightlifting strap can be used on the working side.

BICYCLE CRUNCHES

The move: Begin by lying on your back with your head gently resting in your hands and feet about 4 inches off of the floor to create a strong abdominal brace. Lift your shoulders slightly off the floor and rotate your right shoulder toward your left knee. Without lowering back down to the ground, repeat on the other side.

Option: To reduce the intensity, place your feet flat on the floor and march your alternating knee toward the rotating shoulder.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

The move: Start in a strong hand plank position, keeping the ears, hips, knees and heels in straight alignment. While maintaining this plank, bend one knee into your chest, followed by the other.

Option: This movement can be done in slow motion with a strong focus on abdominal contraction, or it can be sped up. However, as speed is added, the strong plank should be maintained.

PLANK WALKDOWN

The move: Begin in a high-plank position with the core and backside tight and in alignment. With minimal movement or rotation, drop down to the right forearm, followed by the left. Again, with a tight midsection, return to the high plank, one arm at a time.

Option: This move can also be performed from the knees.



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Recover Time

By: Ethan Bowman

The holidays are OVER! Your body is puffy and bloated. Your joints are achy. Your clothes feel tight. 

Let’s quickly get you back on the fitness fast track. 

1) It’s Over. Draw a line in the sand. The bad eating stops now.

2) Hydrate. The only way to restore balance is to get hydrated with lots of water.

3) Eat Whole. For the next few weeks stick with only whole, real foods like fruits, vegetables and some lean meat. 

4) Drink Greens. Either powdered or fresh, greens will help restore balance. If you’re drinking fresh green juice avoid adding lots of fruit. (try the low carb green smoothie recipe below)

5) Hit the Gym. Time to sweat it out. 

I have just the exercise plan for you – one that will not only help you recover from your holiday indulgences but will also help keep you motivated and going strong in the future.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

5 Ways to Overcome Food Guilt

BY BRITTANY RISHER

5 Ways to Overcome Food Guilt

Our relationship with food can be very complex, especially if we struggle with body image issues. Guilt and shame are two emotions sometimes linked to food that can result in negative eating habits. Although the two are similar, there are distinctions between them that are important to understand to develop a healthier relationship with food. 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUILT AND SHAME

“Food guilt is a negative emotion where you feel bad for something you did or didn’t do related to a decision or behavior around food,” explains Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, author ofBody Kindness. “The emphasis is on the thing — ‘I did a bad thing,’” she adds.

For example, maybe you made a batch of cookies and then ate too many before bed while standing up in the kitchen instead of sitting down and savoring them. Perhaps you wished you had made a cup of tea, put two cookies on your plate and slowly eaten them at the table. That’s food guilt.

Food shame would be thinking: I suck. I shouldn’t have eaten cookies right before bed. I didn’t even sit down to enjoy them. I’m never going to reach my goals. “You feel an intense amount of guilt that’s a judgment about you as a ‘person’ because of something related to food,” Scritchfield explains.

Many of us experience food shame because of our appearance-driven diet culture. “We think we need rigidity to pursue this ideal appearance we have in our mind,” Scritchfield says. When we break the “rules” of a diet or other eating advice, we feel guilty and, in turn, criticize our worthiness.

WAYS TO DEVELOP A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH FOODnull

Here are five ways to overcome food guilt and shame to cultivate a better relationship with food once and for all: 

Because food is a huge part of our social lives, it’s not realistic to skip happy hours, birthdays, weddings and almost every event. If you catch yourself feeling guilt or shame, Scritchfield says to first come up with a compassionate response: “It’s OK that I ate in front of the TV after dinner.” Then reaffirm your commitment to your goals: “Tomorrow, it’s really important for me to not eat in front of the TV. After dinner, I’ll brush my teeth and go to bed.”

We have certain beliefs about food, but our beliefs aren’t always facts. Nurse practitioner Robyn Nohling, RD, suggests writing a list of your beliefs about food, your body and exercise, such as “pizza makes you fat” or “white carbs are bad.” Then dismantle all those beliefs. 

“Where is that belief rooted — in fact or is it some arbitrary belief made up by diet culture?” Nohling asks. Take your thoughts to paper in this way and discover what is and isn’t true, working with a therapist or dietitian if you need help.


READ MORE > 5 WAYS MINDFUL EATING CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT


“If you are truly healthy, you’re not stressing about what you are eating,” Nohling says. She recommends writing down the things that, at your core, you want to live by. Then when you second-guess your food choices and guilt or shame starts to creep in, recall your values. If ordering chicken parm because it’s what you want, then own it, even if your friend orders a salad because he’s “trying to be healthy.”

“Dieting isn’t helpful. Those external rules are what grows shame the most,” Scritchfield says. But she understands that going on your own is scary. Because of this, intuitive eatingcan be a powerful tool.

Scritchfield suggests three things to start this practice: 1. Most of the time, eat when you’re hungry. 2. Balance your plate. You can still have pizza night, but consider adding a salad for more veggies or making sure you have a protein. 3. Savor your meal. Eat off of a plate or bowl and notice the texture and tastes of each bite. (Hint: Turning off the TV helps.)

Try to shift your perspective when food guilt attempts to rob you of living your fullest life. “What are you going to remember a year, three years, five years, 10 years down the road?” Nohling asks. “You will never remember the food you didn’t eat or the number of calories you consumed or the run you did. But you will remember the experiences you had and the people you engaged with.”



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

BY LAUREN KROUSE

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

While the potential health benefits of coffee are well-known — sharper cognition, lower risk of developing chronic conditions like dementia, and Type 2 diabetes, even a longer lifespan — exactly how coffee might affect your weight-loss plan is a little more complicated. As it turns out, scientists are still sorting out the pros and cons of upping your coffee intake to slim down.

Here’s a quick guide to how your coffee habit might benefit or harm your weight-loss efforts.

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

Weight loss requires a small calorie deficit (or fewer calories than you burn through day-to-day activities and exercise), and coffee might help tip the scales in your favor. “The caffeine in coffee is an appetite suppressant, so it could curb your hunger between meals,” explains Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD. In fact, drinking coffee half an hour to four hours before a meal may help you eat less than you would otherwise (so your morning coffee has you covered for lunch), according to a review published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and NutritionEven better, another small study shows this appetite-reducing effect may even extend to the next day for people who are overweight or living with obesity when they drink a moderate amount of coffee (200ml or 6.7 ounces a day).

If you regularly find yourself ordering a donut or pastry to go with your coffee, it may be because caffeine triggers cravings for sweets by tweaking your perception of sweetness, per a study in the Journal of Food ScienceAnother problem: Many of us add cream, sugar and flavored syrups to our coffee to offset the bitterness, and that boost in taste can make for a major calorie bomb if you overdo it. That said, coffee is a low-calorie beverage on its own, so healthier options like drinking it black or with just a touch of mix-ins could make it a useful addition to your diet for weight loss, says Kostro Miller.

Upping your physical activity along with a healthy diet can help support weight loss, but if you’re struggling to stick with your exercise plan, consider adding coffee to your pre-workout routine. “Caffeine in coffee has also been shown to boost energy, especially if taken before a workout, allowing you to feel more energized and go harder at the gym,” says Kostro Miller. This is thanks to the stimulating effects of caffeine, which can get your blood pumping, increase muscle strength, endurance and power, and even lower your perception of how hard you’re working. All in all, coffee makes for great fuel for sweat sessions. Still, it’s also important to hydrate with water, says Kostro Miller, and electrolytes are important if you’re exercising for longer than 60 minutes.


READ MORE > THE CONFUSING LINK BETWEEN CAFFEINE AND WEIGHT LOSS


The Pros and Cons of Drinking Coffee For Weight Loss

You’ve likely already experienced this firsthand: Coffee can affect you radically different compared to someone else — and that’s thanks to certain genes that determine how your body processes caffeine. While “fast metabolizers” can enjoy as much coffee as they’d like and reap the benefits, “slow metabolizers” may experience the exact opposite: A decrease in athletic performance along with a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and prediabetes. If coffee tends to make you jittery, you might be a slow metabolizer.

THE BOTTOM LINE

“Coffee is fine to consume when you’re trying to lose weight. It can give you energy, it tastes good, and it can be a low-calorie beverage,” says Kostro Miller. Although the effect of caffeine is highly individualized, in general, it’s safe to drink about four cups of coffee per day (or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine). However, make sure to drink plenty of water and never use coffee as a meal replacement, notes Kostro Miller.

While some promising studies suggest caffeine could boost weight loss, it’s important to understand coffee is not a magic bullet. To lose weight, it’s best to lean on tried-and-true weight-loss tactics like creating a slight calorie deficit, eating nutritious whole foods, and engaging in regular movement.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

The Best Workouts For Your 30s, 40s, 50s and Beyond

By: Kevin Gray

As we age, our bodies change, so our training and nutritional plans should change, too. When we’re younger, we’re more resilient and better able to compensate for muscle imbalances and for skipping warmups and cooldowns. As we age, smart training becomes more important — not just for feeling good, but also for health and longevity.

During your 20s, you can get away with more because your body is better able to adapt and recover, says Nate Feliciano, owner and head of training at Studio 16 in New York City. But continuing to work out without fixing those imbalances only makes them worse, and possibly leads to injury. “As we age, our goals for training change. They go from specifically training for appearance, to training for performance and then training for health,” he says.

“In our early 30s, most people are strong enough and recover fast enough to do anything they want to do,” says Feliciano. “With the proper training, and especially if you’ve been training correctly in your 20s, you should be able to do all types of different training methods.”

So, don’t hold back. Lifting weights, HIIT, team sports, running, swimming and cycling are all fair game. But Feliciano stresses that it’s very important to focus on strength training and building muscle in your 30s to stave off sarcopenia, which is age-related muscle loss. It happens to everyone, but you can delay the onset with healthy living and plenty of resistance training.

By the time you reach your 40s, you’ll notice your body takes longer to recover, and you may experience more aches and pains, says Feliciano. “If you haven’t already worked on your muscle imbalances yet, then it’s mandatory to start working on them in your 40s.” He suggests performing stability exercises and tailoring your workouts toward weight training, cardiovascular endurance, recovery and mobility. “Your older self will thank you the sooner you start balancing out your training routines,” he adds.

During your 50s, consistency is key. Follow a steady workout schedule, and get annual physicals to stay on top of your health. “Focus your training on whatever your doctor recommends,” says Feliciano. “If you have high blood pressure, then adding a bit more aerobic training to your routine will help. At this age, you want to make sure everything you’re doing at the gym has a purpose.”

Feliciano notes that following a regular weight training program is vital when you’re in your 50s. This is when sarcopenia becomes more noticeable, and you’ll lose more bone density than you gain. “Less dense bones are more susceptible to fractures and other injuries,” he says. “While weight training, make sure to stay away from exercises that put unneeded stress on your joints. I would stay away from pulling or pushing from behind the neck, really heavy back squats and burpees.” But that still leaves you with plenty of strength-honing exercises at your disposal.

Once you’re in your 60s, there will be more variability from person to person. Again, it’s important to consult a doctor and ensure you’re training for optimal health. While many people can still be very active and perform their favorite activities, doing the wrong movement or moving at the wrong tempo can cause injury, says Feliciano. “At this age, one of the main causes of injury is falling down due to a decline in proprioception and neuromuscular control, so part of your training routine should have exercises that focus on improving balance.”

There are countless options for working out, whether you’re at home, outside or at the gym. But if you’re able to, try working out with a trainer. They’ll be able to create an exercise routine that targets your body’s needs and ensures you’re getting the most out of your workouts, no matter your age.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Your Go-To Cleansing Guide for That Post-Halloween Candy Binge

By LiveWell Labs

Everyone has been there at least once in their lives. You’ve overindulged, and now you feel miserable. While you wish you could take it back, you’re stuck with a yucky feeling from too many treats. The day-after-Halloween candy-hangover is a force to be reckoned with.

While you can’t undo your choices, you can take steps to help your body detox and get back on the right track. And once you are back on track, maintain the routine with tips you can always find on our Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs.

Get Hydrated

Start your morning off with a glass of water. This is a great habit to have for every morning, but especially when you’ve overindulged the night before. A morning glass of water helps jump-start your digestion, rehydrate your body, and boosts your metabolism.

Eat Breakfast

You’re probably doing some calorie math and are a little shocked and upset with yourself for all those fun-sized calorie bombs you consumed. Skipping breakfast sounds like a good way to get back on track and make up for it, but it’s one of the worst things you can do.

Overindulging in sweets is about more than just calories. Too much sugar gives you a sugar rush, which inevitably leads to a huge sugar crash. It’s not just draining on you, but it takes its toll on your body. 

To fight the sugar crash, aim to eat a low-sugar, high protein, and good fat breakfast. Avocado multigrain toast with a poached egg is a perfect way to keep your energy up and get your body back on track.

High Fiber Day

Moving all that junk through your body requires digestion. Your body will take care of that on its own, but you can help it along by focusing on foods that are high in healthy fiber

While whole grains are obviously good fibers, you don’t have to only eat them to have a high fiber day. Bananas, raspberries, pears, avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and many other delicious fruits and vegetables are high in fiber too.

Another option, which might be easier for those who find it hard to diversify their diets, is LiveWell’s DigestWell. Formulated with 10 broad-spectrum, plant-based digestive enzymes, DigestWell acts fast to support digestion while also helping you absorb nutrients more effectively. You don’t have to worry about toxins, as key plant-based enzymes such as bromelain from pineapple and papain from papaya are just a couple of the many naturally-sourced ingredients you’ll find in each serving. 

Skip the Carbs

Carbohydrates are not the enemy that they’ve been made out to be, but after a day of sugar binging, they’re not your friend either. Cut out any unnecessary carbs for the day, and focus on more nutrient-dense foods instead.

Drink More Water

You drank your glass in the morning, but it’s time to drink more. While the rough guideline is to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, on this day it’s a good idea to have even more. 

Make Protein Your Go-To Snack

One of the strange things about a sugar overload is that while you may feel sick to your stomach in the morning, by late afternoon you’ll be craving the sweets again. Your body is still recovering from having a very high blood sugar level and the subsequent crash. 

Fight this by planning ahead and keeping protein-based snacks at the ready. Think meat and cheese sticks and nuts.

Exercise

Sweating out those toxins is a great way to kickstart your recovery. But it’s more than that. Exercise gets the blood pumping in your body. Once your circulation is revved up, it flushes nutrients throughout your systems to fuel them. 

Now that you’ve had a healthy breakfast and you’ve focused on eating good foods packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, it’s time to take advantage of those good choices.

Stick With It

Resetting your body after a huge sugar binge may take more than a day. This probably isn’t great news because there’s still a lot of candy left, but your body will thank you if you hold off for a couple of days. 

After you’ve recovered and set things back on track, allow yourself a moderate amount of treats. Only one serving of candy per day, and if you’re doing that, skip any other desserts you would normally have.

Be Reasonable

Yes, all that sugar was a mistake, but it probably wasn’t as much of a mistake as you think it was. A pound roughly amounts to 3500 calories. If you consider that a fun-sized candy bar has an average of 70 calories, that means you’d have to eat 50 of them to have gained a pound. 

While you want to recover and not cause your body to have any hyperglycemic effects in the future, you also need to accept the fact that people aren’t perfect, and a little binge here and there isn’t the end of the world.

Do You Have Other Health Issues?

If you binge on sugar one night, it’s not going to give you diabetes. It’s also not going to cause other health issues except for perhaps a stomach ache, some lethargy the next day, and maybe a headache. But if you have an underlying health concern that you were unaware of, a massive sugar binge could be more of a problem.

If you’re experiencing other symptoms, or your sugar crash symptoms seem very severe, you might want to schedule a visit with your primary healthcare provider to do some routine blood work.

This is the perfect time to look at your normal eating habits and how much sugar you’re consuming. If you’re routinely eating a lot of sugar, you might be putting yourself at risk for some very serious health problems, including liver disease, cancer, high cholesterol, obesity, chronic inflammation, and more. 

Cutting back on the sugar you regularly consume will help you avoid binges or make them less impactful, so you don’t have this problem again next Halloween.

Living Well

If it feels like you’re battling a hangover, it’s because you are in a way, but it’s more like a sugar hangover. While there aren’t the toxic effects of alcohol in sugar, sugar still takes a toll on your body. Any type of overindulging can leave your body struggling to find homeostasis again, so these tips can be transferred to other situations.

The key is to support the healthy functions of your body, get rehydrated and appropriately fueled, and prompt your digestion with the help of naturally-derived support such as DigestWell.  Then, while your body is recovering, give it time to refresh and revive by finishing your day with plenty of quality sleep. 

And remember — sometimes giving in to your cravings is good for the soul, and that’s A-OK too! Everything in moderation!



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

It’s A Snack Attack

By: Yours Truly

You know one of the best ways to prevent from grabbing your favorite snacks late at night? The answer is very simple……

STOP BUYING THEM AND BRINGING THEM HOME! It’s harder to access food that you don’t have.

If you are anything like me, I’m not leaving the house late night for anything. This is such a big hassle to get dressed, drive, get out to purchase, get back in your car to drive back home, then get undressed again. I’ve just used up my late night energy to even eat the snack I’ve done so much for. 😩 It’s just not worth it to me. Let this happen a few times and you will be over that favorite snack too.

It takes 21 days to obtain a habit so try it and see what happens. 😊 Living a healthy life is not bad at all. And unlearn what you have heard about food. No food should be labeled good or bad. Yes, it’s true enough that some foods provide different nutrients to our bodies. That’s where researching the questionable things you have thoughts about come from. Of course many of us don’t like to research either. Social media has made some things a bit easier for us by just looking up the hash tags. Most times you can put hash tags in to find helpful information.

One of my main habits are SNACKS! I love them so. I don’t necessarily cut them all out of my diet, I just eat them in moderations. Some days are better than other days but still make it through. 😊 Long as you are not making a habit out of consuming the unhealthy foods daily, I think you will be ok. ☺️ But there is a thin line between love & hate for food! 😆


Junk foods!!!

My goal is to make healthy versions of foods I already love. And to know me, you know I love SWEETS! ❤️ Here are two examples pictured.


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

5 Diets and 5 Recipes For 35-Minute Dinners

BY DANIELLE OMAR, RD

Cooking healthy homemade meals that comply with various diets — from low-carb to vegan — doesn’t have to be time consuming. That’s where focusing on just a few ingredients — think lean proteinsfiber-rich veggies and satiating fats — coupled with easy cooking methods such as one-pan roasts and stir-frys comes in handy.

These five meals clock in under 360 calories and don’t require a ton of prep time so you can get dinner on the table in 35 minutes — all while honoring a range of diets.

LOW-CARB

PESCATARIAN

MEDITERRANEAN

DASH

VEGAN

Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.


Mid-day snack! 😋

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Walking, Running or Biking: Which Is Best For Weight Loss?

BY KEVIN GRAY

If you’re trying to lose weight, there are many options that can help you accomplish your goal. But all of them include the tried-and-true combination of diet and exercise. For the former, it’s important to eat a varied diet that’s high in nutrients and tailored to your caloric needs. For the latter, you can choose your favorite activity, whether that’s walking around your block or playing your favorite sport.

But walking, running and cycling continue to be three of the best and most popular choices among exercisers. Below, we’re breaking down how each activity can impact weight loss.

WALKING FOR WEIGHT LOSS

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim for 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. To meet that goal, you’ll need to ensure you’re walking at a brisk pace that reaches the moderate-intensity level, which is measured at 50–70% of your maximum heart rate.

The pros: It’s easy to get started. Whether you choose to walk on a treadmill, on a path or on neighborhood streets, all you need to walk is a decent pair of walking shoesWalking is also joint-friendly, which makes it a great option for people who are unable to participate in higher-impact activities.

The cons: Walking is not the most efficient way to burn calories. Given its relatively modest calorie expenditure, you’ll need to walk at a brisk pace for a longer period of time to meet the equivalent calorie burn of other activities, like running. It can take a while to see weight-loss benefits from walking, but if you stick with it, you can set yourself up for meaningful results.

RUNNING FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Running continues to be one of the most popular sports in America. This is good news, as science shows jogging is a great way to fight obesity. But it may not be right for everyone.

The pros: Running is efficient. It burns about 2.5 times more calories per minute than walking, which makes it a great option if you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, one study found runners were leaner and lighter than people who did equivalent amounts of any other type of exercise. It’s also easy to keep things fresh by adding a sprint or interval day into your regimen of longer, slower runs.

The cons: Running is a high-impact sport. And though science finds that running actually helps bone strength and lowers inflammation in the knees, it can be hard on one’s body, especially if you’re new to exercise. More than half of all runners get hurt each year, sometimes from spraining an ankle or falling, but usually from overuse. So, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes, find an efficient stride and cadence for your body, supplement running with other activities like strength training, and rest when needed.

CYCLING FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Biking is a versatile sport. It can be performed indoors on basic stationary bikes or at boutique spin studios, while outdoor biking includes the option to traverse mountain trailsspeed along paved roadsride gravel or meander at a casual pace. For many, it’s also a primary mode of transportation.

The pros: Cycling is a low-impact activity, and it’s a great calorie burner. A 150-pound person can burn more than 500 calories per hour at a moderate pace of 12–14 miles per hour and nearly 700 calories per hour at a more vigorous pace of 14–16 miles per hour. It can also be a fun way to get out into nature, either for a peaceful solo ride or with friends.

The cons: A good bike is expensive. Same with shoes, padded shorts, helmets and other biking essentials. Even indoor options like spin studios and Peloton require a significant investment, so the steep price often disqualifies cycling as a viable activity for many people.

SO, WHICH IS BEST?

Well, it depends. For sheer calorie burn, running and moderate-to-vigorous cycling beats walking every time. But walking is still associated with many great health benefits — including a reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure — and it can be an effective weight-loss tool, especially when performed consistently and for longer durations. There’s not one right answer for everyone, and some people benefit more from one exercise than another.

Losing weight isn’t about crash diets or quick fixes. Instead, the best and healthiest weight-loss strategies involve habits you can stick with for the long term. When it comes to exercising, it’s smart to mix up your activities. But when choosing one exercise over another, it’s helpful to balance benefits like calorie burn with enjoyment. Find something you like, and you’re more likely to keep doing it.


With this new Ignite app along with guidance from https://www.tischtoschtraining.com, these are my 1 month results. I can’t wait to see the results at the end of month 2. ☺️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Get Fit Newsletter

By: Ethan Bowman with Rockwall Fit Body Boot Camp

Your Reason

Your number one reason for exercise is unique to you. Maybe you want to fit into a smaller pant size or lower your cholesterol. Or maybe you just love how a good workout makes you feel. 

Whatever your reason is, remind yourself of it often. Write it down and place it where you will see it everyday. It may be just the motivation that you needed.


Protein Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Enjoy these tasty pumpkin pancakes without guilt. Made with almond meal and packed with protein from eggs, these pancakes are sure to satisfy without shortchanging your results.

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

What you need
Servings: 5

4 large eggs
¾ cup egg whites
1 (15oz) can of pumpkin
1 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
cooking spray

Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. 

2. Heat pancake griddle to medium heat and coat with cooking spray. 

3. Cook each side about 3 minutes until brown, then flip and cook remaining side. Enjoy!

Nutrition
One serving equals: 255 calories, 15g fat, 112mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 19g protein.


Singing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Hitting a Serious Fitness Plateau? These Might be the Reasons Why

By: FitOn

It can be incredibly frustrating to dedicate hours to your fitness routine but still not see toned muscles or a dip in the scale like you’d been hoping for. Or, sometimes, we can start a new workout regimen and see results really fast, only to see them slow down drastically or come to a complete standstill. So annoying!

When we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, despite all the effort, it can lead to a loss of motivation and confidence. This, of course, can lead to giving up altogether.

Don’t worry, though. It turns out that there are some common reasons why people hit fitness plateaus in their progress. The first thing to keep in mind is that it can take months or years to see changes in muscle size or body fat percentage. So, don’t be discouraged if it’s only been a month or two and you don’t have your “dream body” yet. Another important thing to remember is that your goals need to be realistic and attainable. Sometimes, lofty goals might not be possible to attain simply because of genetics or your schedule and responsibilities. Be real with yourself, but also kind to yourself.

With all of this said, it can be draining and discouraging to spend hours dedicated to something and see no visible results. Here are some reasons why you might have hit a fitness plateau and might not be seeing the results you want from your workouts.

#1 You haven’t been totally honest with yourself

You can’t see results in the gym without being a conscious eater in the kitchen. It’s all too common that we think we know what a portion size is – but we really don’t. Or, you might think you ate healthy all day long, but grabbing handfuls of trail mix all day can add up way quicker than you think. Sit down and ask yourself, “what and how much am I actually eating? How often are you reallymoving throughout the day? Sometimes when we take a hard, honest look at things, we can see that there is a lot of room for improvement. 

#2 You’re not switching up your workouts enough

Your body and your muscles are a lot smarter than you might give them credit for. They are very quick at adapting to new things, so when you perform the same workout over and over, your muscles become used to doing these motions or lifting that amount of weight, and soon, you’re no longer reaping the benefits that you once were and that’s when you reach a fitness plateau. Be sure to switch up your movements and routine and keep gradually adding weights to challenge your muscles.

#3 You’re thinking about extremes instead of balance

Humans are drawn to quick fixes. We are always looking for the magical product, routine, diet, or fad to help fix all of our problems in a short amount of time. This just isn’t reality, folks. To see change and maintain results, you need to make fitness and nutrition a lifestyle. By going to extremes, you might see results from the get-go, but soon, maintenance becomes exhausting, so, it’s unrealistic for the long-term. Instead of cutting out all carbs or food groups, or going to the gym two hours at a time, focus on moderation instead of deprivation.

#4 You’re not sleeping enough

A hectic, go-go-go lifestyle is all too common these days. But getting only three or four hours of sleep at night because you had too much on your plate isn’t something to be proud of. In fact, this can be extremely taxing on your entire system. When we sleep, this is when our brain and body get the time they need to regenerate and recover. When you’re not sleeping enough, your body doesn’t have time to focus on muscle-building because it’s too busy trying to keep everything else working on overtime. Knock unimportant items off your to-do list and make it a point to get a good night’s rest. Sleep is a super essential part of self-care. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re working out like crazy, but just don’t seem to be getting the results you are looking for, there’s a good chance you have hit a fitness plateau. As you can see, this can be due to a number of reasons-not sleeping enough, not being totally upfront with how much you are actually working out, or maybe you just aren’t adding enough variety and balance to your workout routine.

To help switch things up and kick your body into high gear, try downloading the FitOn app where we offer tons of fun classes taught by celebrity trainers that you can do right from the comfort of your own home. FitOn workouts will help add some balance to your fitness routine while also giving you a new style of workout to do every time you need a bit of a change. It may be exactly what your body needs to start seeing some results again.



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Intermittent Fasting Accident…Oops!

Factual statements according to the Medical News Today is provided. Please read before listening to my shenanigans. 😬

What is intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) refers to a diet schedule that cycles between not eating and eating. Cycles of intermittent fasting can be hourly or daily.

Types of intermittent fasting

There are a number of different types of intermittent fasting. These include:

  • 16:8: During 16:8 fasting, a person will not eat anything for 16 hours and then have an 8-hour window in which they consume food. During the 16 hours of fasting, people can consume noncalorie beverages, such as black coffee, black tea, and water.
  • 5:2: The 5:2 diet is a type of fast where a person eats normally for 5 days and allocate 2 days to fasting.
  • Nightly: A nightly fast involves having a prolonged period, lasting from the evening to the following morning, without food. A 2016 study found that a prolonged fast of 13 hours overnight can potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer in females.
  • Up-to-the-ninth-hour: During this fast, a person will not consume food for the first 8 hours of their waking day. From the 9th hour, the person can then eat.
  • One meal a day (OMAD): OMAD fasting involves picking one meal a day to eat and spending the rest of the day fasting.
  • Alternate Day: As the name suggests, alternate day fasting is when a person eats food as normal one day and fasts on the following day.

If people want to change their usual eating habits, it is worth discussing this with a doctor or nutritionist, especially for a change such as fasting.

Why it might not be effective

Research has also identified some potentially negative side effects to exercise while fasting. These can include

  • Poorer performance: Research suggests that IF may impair exercise performance, particularly in athletes that are highly trained.
  • Struggle to build muscle: A 2018 randomized controlled trial found that males who were IF put on less muscle in comparison to those who ate meals as usual. However, IF did not negatively affect their muscle retention. Another study supports this, highlighting IF may be effective at maintaining muscle mass
  • Lightheadedness: Both IF and exercising can lower blood pressure. By combining the two, a person may experience lightheadedness because of the drop in blood pressure.
  • Blood Sugar Levels: IF and exercising may cause blood sugar levels to drop. If sugar levels drop too low, this can cause a person to faint.

The research examining fasting and exercise seems to have conflicting information. Depending on a person’s exercise goals, they may want to try IF for fat loss. However, if someone wants to build muscle, they may wish to use alternative diets.

My experience of IF

Ok so let me start off by saying, I didn’t do it on purpose….but I’ve been intermittent fasting since pandemic started (since March). It’s just now clicking in my mind why I’m not gaining more muscle. 😆🙈 I’ve been so busy sticking to my productive schedule that I didn’t realize this is one reason why I was unable to gain more muscle tone. 🥺

My daily schedule was/is as follows:

Wake up per alarm between 5a-6a (time depends on what I have planned for the next day)

Workout starts between 6:30a-7a for a minimum of 45 mins (usually longer , and I try to plan what I will work on the night before)

– Drink my recovery / protein shake to fuel my body immediately after the pounding 💪🏾

Go into my office and complete all my work tasks that are due no later than noon (some days are longer than others)

Go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, which is usually brunch or lunch by the time it’s completed🙈

Afterwards, I spend time trying to eat more of my snacks and meals because I’ve missed breakfast time to hit my macros. Eating more is such a struggle to me because my mind is programmed to focus on my weight loss journey. It’s so hard to start trying to modify things on my own. 🧐 Speaking with fitness professionals, they always give me the advice to add more protein in my diet…..geeeezzz! I know and I am, it’s just a bit overwhelming to consume more. I never thought I would say that because back in the day, I worked out just to eat whatever I wanted (or so I thought). 🙈 Well we see that food relationship didn’t work for the better, I still faced major health problems.

On this journey, it’s all about what is working for your body and yet keeping you healthy. I would love to see more definition but we shall see what the future holds for me. Ha! This is a never ending journey and you learn so much along the way. One day, I feel like Popeye, and the very next day Olive Oyl. 😄 I’ll keep you posted….to be continued.


Georgia has so many beautiful trees ❤️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

5 Signs You’re Eating Too Little For Weight Loss

BY KELLY HOGAN, MS, RD

If you’re trying to lose weight, it seems to make sense to cut as many calories from your diet as possible. Unfortunately, it’s possible to eat too little, which not only makes it harder for you to achieve a healthy weight, but it can also cause other health problems. In other words, eating below your needs can backfire big time.

Everyone has a set amount of calories, or energy, they need to simply be alive. Consistently eating less than this can cause your metabolism to slow down and your body to begin preserving what it can to survive. Hunger and feeling full aren’t the only indicators of whether you’re fueling your body appropriately. Indeed, short and long-term dietary restrictions on weight and the traditional weight-loss methods of calorie cutting and deprivation may actually be a hindrance to many health goals.

Beyond calories, I’ve had countless clients come to me after trying fad weight loss diets, none of which “worked” in that any weight lost was regained once they stopped the diet. Diet culture, in general, does a good job of making people feel like failures if they don’t have long-lasting success from a diet when it’s the diet that fails us. There is little to no research showing any fad diet results in sustained long-term weight loss. This is the first thing I explain to clients so they don’t feel defeated or ashamed because they did nothing wrong.

Here are some common signs you’re eating too little to support your body. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult a registered dietitian or health care professional.


YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT FOOD ALL THE TIME

Consistently not eating enough food often results in a preoccupation with food and persistent thoughts about food and your next meal or snack. This could manifest in behaviors like perusing restaurant menus online, obsessing over food social media accounts or watching cooking shows incessantly. The association of dietary deprivation and food preoccupation was first discovered by Ancel Keys in his landmark Minnesota Starvation Experiment during World War II. Many of the participants in the study admitted to obsessively collecting recipes and recipe books, and as the study went on, food became one of the only things they thought about. While this is an extreme example, the chronic dieting and food deprivation so prevalent in today’s culture can absolutely have a similar effect.


YOU’RE TIRED AND CRANKY

Hanger” is one of my favorite terms for feeling so hungry, you are borderline angry. I’m sure this is relatable to many people, and there is some science to explain it. When you go long periods without eating, blood sugar tends to drop. If you don’t eat something to raise blood sugar, and it remains low, your ability to concentrate, be patient with others and mentally focus diminishes. Enter crankiness, which can easily be reversed by eating something. Tiredness and fatiguealso go hand in hand with not eating enough, because you’re simply not providing the body with enough energy. These cues are often our body’s way of innately telling us what we really need.


YOU CAN’T SLEEP

There is nothing worse than feeling tired but being unable to sleep. This is another common result of dietary deprivation, with research roots dating back to the starvation experiment mentioned above. More recent research from eating disorders and sleep to malnourished infants and sleep further emphasizes the profound effect diet may have on our sleep cycles. What’s more, it has been consistently found that diet restoration and maintaining adequate energy intake may also restore normal sleep-wake patterns.


YOU’RE CONSTIPATED

When your body is consistently not getting enough calories to meet your needs, the digestive tract may move food through your system more slowly to preserve energy. As a result, this can cause constipation. Similarly, not eating enough fiber — which is common when you restrict calories below your needs — can cause constipation.


YOUR WEIGHT PLATEAUS OR INCREASES

When the scale won’t budge or if you start to gain weight while on a diet, the answer is not to eat even less. Instead of providing the body with less energy, perpetuating the metabolic response that fights against weight loss, the solution is often to eat more. Start by adding a snack or two between meals and make sure to include all of the macronutrientsprotein, fat and carbs. Once you’re fueling the body correctly, your weight ends up where it should be.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Chronically undereating won’t help you lose weight, and can often yield the opposite effect as well as lead to nutritional deficiencies. In my experience as a dietitian, having a targeted number on the scale isn’t the best way to achieve weight loss or overall health.

Too often weight-loss goals stem from the desire to look like the extremely narrow version of what society deems as an ideal or acceptable body. In this day and age, we are slowly but surely recognizing the uniqueness of every body and that we are not all supposed to look the same.

What’s more, we know now weight alone is not a reliable indicator of health. With that being said, I’ve had much success reframing clients’ goals around health-promoting behavior changes. This could be eating more vegetablescooking more at homegoing for daily walksprioritizing sleep, etc.

Instead of weighing yourself to measure progress, try using non-scale goals like reaching for 2–3 servings of vegetables per day or checking in with how you feel — are you more energized and able to play with your children or keep up in that tough workout class? Focusing on this type of progress is much more positive, long-lasting and health-promoting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kelly Hogan, MS, RD is an NYC-based registered dietitian specializing in women’s health, sports nutrition and plant-based eating. She is passionate about helping people develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies, and uses a non-diet approach in her practice. When she’s not talking or writing all things nutrition, Kelly can be found running in Central Park – she’s run 11 marathons and counting! – cooking recipes new and old, handstanding at the yoga studio or hanging with friends and/or her rescue dog, Peanut.


My stretch pants are actually too big. 🙈 #onamission

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Say Bye-Bye To That Belly Fat

By: Ethan Bowman (Body Fit Boot Camp)

Want to make your belly fat vanish before your eyes? 

Uncomfortable fat around the stomach is one of the most common body frustrations that my new clients complain about. 

What’s tough is that losing body fat is a slow and steady process, rather than an instantaneous fix. 

However…after years of working at it, I have an extremely effective method for losing belly fat faster than ever, and I’d like to share it with you today…

Simple 2-Step Fat Loss. This deadly, fat-incinerating method fights fat simultaneously on two separate fronts for maximum effectiveness: your sugar intake and your high intensity workouts.

Fat Loss Step 1: This is the step that requires zero extra effort on your part! In fact all you have to do is NOT do something that you’re currently doing! You stop consuming refined sugar, in all its forms. This means no sodas, no desserts, no packaged snacks, no candy, no mocha lattes, NO SUGAR AT ALL! 

When you stop to evaluate your diet, it may be shocking to find out how much refined sugar has crept in. Nothing will contribute to fat gains as swiftly as consuming sugar, so it makes sense that cutting sugar out is the top must-do for shedding those unwanted pounds. 

It’s not necessary, or beneficial, to starve yourself during this time of rapid fat loss – you should fill in your diet with lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds as you cut out the refined sugar. Keep your metabolism high by fueling up on high protein, high fiber, low carb, and zero sugar foods whenever hunger strikes. 

Fat Loss Step 2: Here’s the step that requires some effort, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. You crank up the intensity of your workouts to a whole new level. 

Most people take exercise on with the slow and steady mentality – moving, pushing and pulling as little as possible while still “getting the job done”. I’ve got some news for you…if you still have belly fat to lose then the job wasn’t getting done.

If you can comfortably hold a conversation, hardly break a sweat or feel the same when it’s over as you did when it began, then you’re simply not pushing yourself hard enough while you exercise. 

Increasing the intensity of your workouts requires focused intent. You must go into the session with the goal of pushing your body to the limit. Remember, it’s a contained timeframe that will be over shortly, so bear down and deal with the discomfort. With practice you will learn to embrace the burn. 

Disclaimer: The safest and most effective way to crank up the intensity and effectiveness of your exercise time is to work with a qualified fitness professional.



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

4 Common Lunge Mistakes to Avoid

BY LAUREN BEDOSKY

Lunges are a great lower-body exercise; they strengthen the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings, though different variations emphasize certain muscle groups over others.

Unlike lower-body exercises like squats and deadlifts, where the stronger of the two legs can easily compensate for the weaker limb, lunges force each leg to take turns doing the brunt of the work. Working your legs separately can expose and correct any strength and stability imbalances between the left and right side, says Carol Mack, DPT, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy.

However, to see any benefits from lunges, your exercise form has to be on-point. Here are the most common lunge mistakes Mack sees — and how to fix them.

It’s common for people to lunge with their feet too close to their centerline. “A lot of times, people will step too narrow and start to crossover, almost like they’re walking on a tightrope,” Mack says. But lunging on an imaginary tightrope not only makes it hard to balance, it also makes it hard to get the right muscles firing, while adding extra stress to the hips and knees, she adds.

The fix: Begin every lunge with your feet hip-width apart. As you step into a lunge, step the working foot in line with that hip — not in line with the other foot. “The feet should be hip-width apart at all times,” Mack says.

According to Mack, many people mindlessly step in and out of lunges. As a result, they don’t activate the right muscle groups (i.e., glutes, quads and hamstrings) — or even know what it feels like to engage these muscles. But, if you’re going to go through the trouble of doing lunges in the first place, you may as well score quality reps. “It’s quality over quantity,” Mack says. “If you can get sets of eight really good repetitions, that’s going to go a lot farther than lunging 20 times each leg and just going through the motions.”

The fix: Step into a lunge slowly and with control. Then, pause for 1or 2 counts before pushing back to the start. You should feel your glute and quadricep or hamstring (depending on which lunge variation you’re doing) firing throughout the movement.

Allowing your front knee to collapse inward when you lunge not only limits the effectiveness of the exercise, it also increases your chances of developing knee pain down the road (if you don’t have knee pain already).

The fix: As you lunge, make sure your front knee aligns with your shoelaces, Mack says. However, if you can’t lunge without your front knee falling out of alignment, weak glutes may be to blame. When you lunge, your glutes push your hips forward and rotate your working leg outward. But if your glutes are too weak to do their job, your upper leg and knee will likely collapse inward, according to Eliza Nelson, ACE-certified personal trainer and orthopedic exercise specialist. Your best approach to fixing this collapse is to incorporate more glute-focused exercises — like glute bridges, squats and banded lateral walks — into your exercise routine.

Another common lunge mistake is to let your front knee creep past your front toes. Doing so adds stress to your knee joint, which can cause knee discomfort or pain over time.

The fix: If your knee goes over your toes, your lunge stance may be too narrow, according to Nelson. Try widening your stance to ease the pressure, but take care not to shift too much weight onto the back leg in the process. If you let your front knee drift too far backward, you’ll increase the strain on your back knee, which can also lead to pain. “You should always be able to see the toes on your front foot,” Mack says, but if you start feeling a strain on the back knee, let your front knee drift forward just a touch.

Jump, squat and lunge your way to your lower-body strength goals with a variety of workouts available in “Workout Routines” in the app.


Beach workout 🏖

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

The answer for most of us is probably no. But the good news is that drinking more water can have a number of positive health benefits, and it’s a great New Year’s resolution that you can easily stick to.

Before you hit the road to better hydration, here are a few water consumption facts that we’ve put together with the help of our friends at “A Healthier Michigan.”

How much water should I be drinking?

While this is a matter of some medical debate, a good goal for improving your daily water intake is to aim for eight, 8-ounce glasses per day. Other medical experts recommend drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day (that’s approximately four and a half 16.9 oz. Absopure water bottles).

Maintaining proper hydration is especially important around this time of the year, as the winter months also tend to be peak cold and flu season. Getting your daily-recommended amount of water every day can help keep your immune system running in tip-top shape.

How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough water?

When you start to feel thirsty, dehydration has already started. Dehydration can also cause fatigue, headaches, sleepiness and lack of concentration. Don’t wait for the symptoms to set in before you grab a glass of water. Instead, drink a glass during every meal (and a few more in between).

Be sure to keep tabs on your consumption too! For simplicity, use some of these water and food tracking apps.

What are some other ways to increase your water consumption?

Increasing your water intake isn’t just about how much you drink, it also includes what you eat. In fact, there are a number of healthy fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamins and antioxidants and also contain a lot of water.

Cucumbers, pears, celery, strawberries, tomatoes and grapefruit, among other fruits and vegetables, contain a high water content that can help you reach your goals.

There are plenty of good reasons to drink more water, and getting started is as easy as filling up a glass.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨


I purchased this water bottle so I can up my water intake more. In the bottom, you are able to add fruit or veggies to your water.