You don’t need machines at the gym to get fit. Your own body weight and gravity can do the job, and you’ll work them with these 15 moves. Not active now? Check in with your doctor first, and if something hurts, stop. You’re on your way to getting into your best shape!
Your whole upper body gets a muscle-ripping workout here, including the abs. Start with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Attach a band overhead and grab it over the shoulder, trunk angled toward the band. Pull down to the opposite hip, rotating slightly. Slowly return.
Standing Tubing Row
This move hits all the muscles used in a pull-up, as well as all your core muscles. Grasp the handles with straight arms and tubing taut. Pull the handles towards you and lean back a little. Focus on bringing your shoulder blades back and together. Pause and slowly straighten arms back to the starting position without bending forward.
For safety reasons, do not lean back. Should the band break or come loose, there is high risk of fall.
Circuit Train to Burn Fat
Want to burn fat quickly? Rapid-fire circuits turn strength moves into calorie-torching, cardio work. “If your goal is weight loss, use light weights and low reps,” says exercise physiologist Pete McCall, of the American Council on Exercise. A circuit may include push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches followed by a two-minute run. Repeat or alternate with another circuit of biceps curls, dips, and shoulder presses to target smaller muscles.
Pull-ups work arm and back muscles, giving you great bang for your buck. Having the palms facing you works not just the back, but also targets the biceps. Grasp the chin-up bar and cross your legs to keep the lower body stable. Slowly pull your body up, bending your elbows, until your chin is level with the bar. Pause, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat.
Wide Grip Push-up
A wide grip makes the chest muscles work a little harder. Place your hands outside the shoulders. You should engage your core, thigh, and glutes to get the most out of this or any push-up. As you lift, “Think about gripping the ground with your hands to engage the large muscles of the pectoralis major,” McCall says.
This challenging push-up can kick your shoulder strength up a couple notches. Get into a standard push-up: hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward, elbows slightly bent, and eyes on the floor. Then place feet behind you on a stair, chair, or bench. Keep your body in a straight line, engage the abs, bend your elbows, and lower your chest towards the floor. Push back to starting position.
Jump Train for Power
Pro athletes train with jumping jacks and other explosive moves to increase muscle power. It helps basketball players jump higher and tennis players get to the ball faster. Jump training is also called plyometrics, and it’s not for beginners or for those with joint issues. But if you have good strength and balance, it can ramp up your game. Try adding plyometric moves to your workout once or twice a week.
Shift your hips back and down until your heels start to lift off the floor. Explode up, swinging the arms overhead as you straighten your legs. Create a straight line from toes to fingers, with your back flat. Land softly on the middle of your foot and sink back into a squat to help absorb the impact.
Try this advanced move on grass or another soft surface. Sink into a lunge position with left leg forward, right leg back, and both knees bent to 90 degrees. Swing your arms behind you for greater power as you jump up, using your arms to assist as needed. Keep your back straight, eyes facing forward, and use your abs. Switch legs in the air and land softly, returning to the lunge position. Rest after each set.
How to Trim Belly Fat
To lose belly fat, you’ll want a full-body exercise routine that builds lean muscle all over. Muscle burns calories, even at rest. So having more muscle helps to melt fat all over, including the belly. The best plan is to make cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet part of your daily routine.
Split Squat With Biceps Curl
Rest your right foot on a step, stair or chair well behind you, with your weight on your bent left leg. Keep your head up, eyes forward, and weights at your side. Very important: Keep the front knee directly over the ankle. Now, slowly lower your hips by bending the front knee. Push back up and pull the weights up towards shoulders, but don’t twist the arms as you lift. Do all reps and switch legs.
One-legged Hamstring Blaster
Strong hamstrings help power your legs. To challenge these muscles, lie with knees bent at a 90-degree angle and both heels on a chair or stair. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh just above the knee. Now raise your hips as high as you can and keep your back straight — do not arch. Pause at the top and slowly lower hips back to the ground and repeat. Switch legs.
This simple move tones the backs of the arms. Sit on the edge of a step or chair, palms on each side, and knees bent to 90-degrees. Now, move your hips forward, off the step, until your hands are supporting your weight. Slowly lower your body, keeping your back very close to the step. Bend the elbows until you upper arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly push back up and repeat.
Double Chair Dip
To really challenge triceps, position two chairs facing each other. Sit on the edge of one, palms on each side of your hips. Straighten your legs and prop up your heels on the opposite chair. Scoot down until you’re supporting your weight on your hands. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows until upper arms are parallel to the floor — and keep your back close to the chair behind you. Slowly push back up and repeat.
Looking to trim your waist? Your best bet is to work on slimming down all over with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. You can work on strengthening your core muscles with moves such as wood chops or planks.
This move strengthens all the core muscles, helping to tone the mid-section. Lie on your stomach, elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down. Using your abs, slowly lift your torso off the floor, keeping your torso and legs steady. Don’t let your low back sag and don’t hike up your hips. Hold this position for 15 seconds or more — and don’t hold your breath!
Try this advanced move only after mastering the traditional plank. Support your weight with chest and forearms on top of a fitness ball. Keep legs straight and toes on the floor and contract the abdominals to help stay balanced. Shift your weight to your left leg as you bend your right knee and bring it up to meet the ball; slowly return it to starting position and repeat. Switch legs.
Two-Legged Hamstring Curl
A slightly easier hamstring challenge uses two legs. Lie on the floor with heels and ankles on a fitness ball. Dig your heels into the ball and raise your hips as high as you can, while keeping your back straight — do not arch. Now bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and roll the ball toward you. Pause at the top and slowly lower hips back to the ground and repeat.
Ball Plank With Shoulder Extension
Ready to work every muscle in your body? This move comes close, with a special challenge for the core. Put your chest, stomach, and hands (with weights) on a fitness ball, legs straight to the floor. Slowly raise one arm behind you, toward the ceiling. Contract your abs to keep from rolling off the ball, but don’t forget to breathe. Pause, slowly return your hand to the ball, and repeat with the other arm.
Protect Your Lower back
If you have low back pain, warm up by gently stretching your hips before working out. Kneel down on one knee with that foot trailing behind you. Keep your legs parallel to each other, hands on the bent knee, and let your hips sink forward to the floor. Don’t lean forward. Your knee can reach beyond your ankle to put less strain on it. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Got a desk job? Get up each hour and move a bit, even if you’re just walking around the office. Watch your posture — your ears, shoulders, and hips should be in line. Gentle stretching can also help you feel better after spending all that time at your desk.
How Many Reps Are Right for You?
For strength and power, aim for three sets of six reps. For general muscle growth and toning, try three sets of 6-12 reps. If you’re striving for muscle endurance, plan on two to three sets of 12 or more reps with 30-second rest periods. Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, stop and check with a fitness expert. Depending on your health and physical condition, some exercises may be better for you than others.
SUPPLEMENT VITAMIN B12
Health benefits of vitamin B12
B12 plays a crucial role in the body’s formation of red blood cells and neurological functioning. Therefore, it can boost overall health in a variety of ways and here are five of them:
1. Helps form red blood cells
Red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to tissues throughout our body. They also carry carbon dioxide — a toxic by-product of cell functioning — from those tissues back to the lungs where it’s then expelled.
“Vitamin B12 participates in the production of red blood cells,” says Vikram Tarugu, MD, a gastroenterologist and CEO of Detox of South Florida. “If the rates of vitamin B12 are too poor, red blood cell output is impaired, inducing megaloblastic anemia.”
Megaloblastic anemia refers to anemia — a lack of red blood cells — specifically caused by lack of B12. It “causes symptoms like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, clumsiness, and dry skin,” says Megan Wong, a registered dietitian at AlgaeCal, a company providing information on bone health.
While there are other reasons a person may develop anemia, such as excessive bleeding or low iron, maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B12 is one way to prevent it.
2. Might prevent dementia
Another benefit of vitamin B12 is that it can slow brain atrophy in the elderly. Brain atrophy means an overall shrinkage in brain volume and also a loss of neurons, which can cause diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s making it difficult to function independently in society.
A 2008 study published by the American Academy of Neurology with 107 participants over 61-years-old, found that the brain volume lost over five years was greater for people with lower B12 levels in the blood.
“Vitamin B12 is crucial for a well-functioning brain and nervous system. Its role in the brain is so important that research suggests vitamin B12 might play a role in preventing dementia,” says Wong.
However, there’s no evidence that B12 supplements improve memory loss in those who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
3. May improve mood and symptoms of depression
There is still debate over the extent of its impact, but research has shown a connection between vitamin B12 deficiency and neuropsychiatric manifestations. These include depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and mood swings.
“Vitamin B12 is required for serotonin development, which is a chemical that controls mood,” says Tarugu. This link has led researchers to encourage vitamin B12 supplements as part of treatment plans for those with depression.
For example, in a study of 199 depressed individuals, 100% of those treated with antidepressants as well as injected vitamin B12 improved by at least 20%. Only 69% of people treated with antidepressants and not B12 reported similar improvements.
4. May prevent birth defects
People who are pregnant have a higher recommended dose of vitamin B12. That’s because the compound may help prevent severe birth defects like partial paralysis and an undeveloped skull. “Adequate amounts of vitamin B12 are important for a successful pregnancy,” says Tarugu.
If someone with low levels of B12 becomes pregnant, they have a greater chance of giving birth to a child with neural tube defect. This class of birth defects includes anencephaly, a fatal condition where the baby’s brain and skull are severely underdeveloped. Along with maintaining proper vitamin B12 levels, taking folic acid before and after conception can decrease the chances of a baby having neural tube defects.
5. Supports healthy hair, skin, and nails
“However, if your [B12] levels are already adequate, consuming a supplement probably won’t boost your health in those regions,” he says.
If you do have a vitamin B12 deficiency, it may manifest as vitiligo — a condition in which the skin has discolored patches, slower hair growth, or skin hyperpigmentation. In this case, adding vitamin B12 to your diet or taking a supplement may improve the condition.
The amount of vitamin B12 a person needs steadily increases as they age.
“The best food sources [of B12] are meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, and fortified cereals,” says Wong.
B12 can be supplemented in four ways, says Taylor Graber, MD, physician and owner of ASAP IVs, a mobile IV hydration and wellness company:
- Orally, through eating foods rich in vitamin B12
- Taking a B12 supplement
- Injected into the muscle
- Through an IV drip
As vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal-based food products, vegetarians and vegans may not get enough of it in their diet and require supplements. Medical conditions may also require a person to seek out additional amounts of the vitamin.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms and causes
Between 1.5% and 15% of the general population is vitamin B12 deficient. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include megaloblastic anemia — in which abnormally sized or immature red blood cells are produced — weight loss, weakness, neurological changes like memory loss and depression, as well as fatigue.
Your small intestine helps absorb B12 with help from a substance secreted by the stomach known as intrinsic factor. This makes people with certain health conditions more susceptible to B12 deficiency.
“Without intrinsic factor, the free vitamin B12 in the digestive tract is unable to be absorbed,” says Graber. “Deficiencies of this glycoprotein, or a shortening of the small intestine where the B12 is absorbed, can lead to an inadequate amount of dietary vitamin B12.”
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin meaning that your body only absorbs necessary amounts of B12, with the rest flushing out through your urine. That said, there can still be side effects of excess intake. These symptoms include headaches, anxiety, and nausea.
Vitamin supplements, such as B12, have previously been reported to interact with medicines and supplements, like colchicine and vitamin C supplements. Therefore, always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement or diet
Udo’s Choice® Ultimate Oil Blend
Great performance and good recovery practices go hand-in-hand. Trevor Woods reveals his ultimate tips for performing at your best.
The key to optimising your training response is mastering your recovery. There are two critical practices that must not be neglected – sleep and nutrition. If an athlete is not optimising these two ‘recovery pillars’, other accessory techniques will have minimal benefit.
Studies show getting the right quality and quantity of sleep leads to increased performance and mental well-being in athletes. It is also known that chronic sleep debt impairs performance, bothphysical and mental. How many hours do we need, this varies, but common advice is to aim for 8–10 hours per night? In addition to sleep duration, sleep quality and sleep phase also affect the regenerative qualities of sleep. Exercising late in the day can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, and following up an intense evening session with inadequate sleep is far from ideal. Athletes losing sleep after these evening sessions are advised to switch their intense training to the morning and focus evening training time on lower intensity activities such as yoga, stretching, and massage.
For athletes training 2-3 times per week, following a healthy daily nutrition plan focused on whole foods is generally sufficient for optimal recovery before the next training session. But for those training once per day or more, refuelling promptly for the next session is critical.
Refuelling appropriately on a consistent basis after workouts will restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, replace fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat, promote muscle repair and bolster the immune system.
Immediately on finishing a workout, start replacing fluid and electrolyte losses with a sodium containing drink or water plus sodium containing food. To restore muscle glycogen and promoteprotein synthesis, consume 0.8g per kg of body weight of carbohydrate and 0.2g per kg of body weight of protein within 30 minutes of finishing exercise.
A homemade smoothie is a good option using fruit, milk, natural yogurt and/or water, and the addition of Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens will give an additional nutrient boost of B12, iron, calcium and protein from rich green foods.
Additionally, antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A, and microbiotics are good additions to a recovery drink or snack, so try adding some One Nutrition Spirulina, or Udo’s Choice Super 8. In the hours post-exercise continue your recovery by eating a healthy whole foods meal. This meal should contain a combination of carbohydrate, about 20g of protein and some healthy fat, a good source being Udo’s Choice Oil Blend. Use it as a dressing on salads or cooked vegetables. Athletes who optimise post exercise nutrition will perform better in training and accumulate more high qualitysessions than athletes skipping post-exercise recovery fuelling.
Trevor Woods is a qualifi ed exercise physiologist and experienced triathlete with multiple national titles along with World and European age-group medals in triathlon. He is also the current Masters M50 cyclocross national champion.
New Nordic™ Melissa Dream
New Nordic™ Melissa Dream – 20, 40 & 100 Tabs
> Helps to maintain a healthy sleep
> Wake up rested and full of energy
> Non drowsy and non addictive
Melissa Dream™ contains all natural ingredients including the herbs lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and chamomile in combination with selected B-vitamins, Magnesium and the amino acid L-theanine.
Take two tablets one hour before bedtime. Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet, and should not be a substitute for a varied diet or healthy lifestyle. Do not exceed the stated dose.
Caution: Seek professional advice before using if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffer from allergies. Do not take Melissa Dream™ in combination with any antidepressants or sleep medications.
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