One of the best ways to shape up and add muscle definition to your body is to start strength training. This doesn’t mean you need to head to the closest gym and start training for a body building competition – all this means is that you should use some form of weight, whether it’s your own body weight or an external source of added weight, during exercise at least two times per week.
As the days get shorter and the temperatures gets colder, home-based workouts are a great alternative to heading outside or driving to the gym. The only trick is making sure you have the equipment on hand to keep your workouts varied and fresh.
One of my favorite pieces of equipment is Lebert Fitness Equalizer Bars. The Equalizer Bars come as a set of two, and they look and function a lot like hurdles. The main difference is that these hurdles are weighted (eight pounds each) and are designed to independently support up to 400 pounds. The result is a multifunctional piece of equipment that can be used to perform hundreds of exercises targeting the entire body.
Resistance bands are quite possibly the most cost-effective home fitness equipment available for performing a full-body resistance training workout routine. Not only are they inexpensive, typically ranging from $5 to $20 per band, but they’re also lightweight and small, making them perfect for throwing in a work bag or suitcase when you’re on-the-go. Grab a few bands and put them to use when you’re tight on time, space, or money – here are 10 exercises to try for a full-body routine.
By Laura Williams
Dumbbells are a quintessential piece of fitness equipment. You can do just about any exercise with them, and they’re reasonably affordable.
Furthermore, used properly, they get results – and this is the reason why dumbbells have been an essential staple in the fitness industry for years. You can target muscles unilaterally or in tandem, and you can increase your strength without spending lots of cash on the latest fitness contraptions. So instead of buying into the late night infomercials, dust off that old set of dumbbells and put them to work with this full-body exercise routine.
Choosing the bicycle that’s right for you is a little like choosing the right college: It’s a big investment, and while every option gets you from point A to point B, they won’t all get you there the same way or at the same speed. Making the right decision hinges on knowing your own needs and goals, and matching them to the right bike.
A high quality bike can range in price from $500 to more than $20,000, but there’s absolutely no reason for the average cycling commuter to spend anywhere near the top of that range.
Is driving to the gym too much of a hassle? Do you hate braving the locker room, and spending upwards of $100 every month in membership dues?
Don’t sweat it. Instead, take your family to the park and work up a sweat. Using nothing but a park bench or a picnic table, you can do a full-body workout featuring cardio and strength-training moves. Jump start your routine by jogging around the park to warm up, then get to work performing the following 10 moves as a circuit routine. Just be certain that the surface and the soles of your shoes are completely dry.
By Laura Williams
Making over your diet isn’t easy – you’re up against a lifetime of eating habits that may be hard to shake. But just because eating healthier requires planning and discipline, that doesn’t mean there’ aren’t shortcuts to help you get there. Outfitting your kitchen with products and appliances that support a healthy lifestyle and make it easier to cook nutritious foods is a step worth taking. Consider it an investment in your health.
New products are always being released on the market, promising a slimmer, healthier you. Rather than laying out hundreds of dollars on the latest infomercial miracle, save up and put your money into tried-and-true items that make cooking, cleaning, and healthy eating ever easier.
When you introduce instability into your exercise routine, whether by working out with a stability ball, a BOSU ball, or any similar piece of equipment, your body has to engage more muscle groups in order to maintain balance. Ultimately, this helps improve joint stability and core strength, two factors that can enhance total body fitness and help prevent injury. Suspension training is a popular method of instability training that allows you to work in every plane of motion, using your body weight and gravity to improve strength and balance.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to get swept up in unhealthy overindulgence. Whether you enjoy a few too many glasses of wine, or you can’t seem to step away from the Christmas cookies, don’t view these missteps as your cue to keep walking down a path lined with refined sugar and saturated fat.
Instead, remind yourself that the actual holidays don’t last for a full month, but just a handful of days. Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite treats at your family Christmas dinner and your big New Year’s Eve party, but plan ahead for the rest of the season by preparing healthier holiday-inspired dishes.
The key to fast, effective workouts is to exert a maximum amount of energy in short, repeated bursts of effort. This type of high-intensity interval training blasts calories and increases metabolic burn for hours post-workout, turning your body into a fat-burning furnace.
It’s even better when the intervals incorporate a form a strength training to increase muscle mass and improve overall health. The battle rope, also known as a combat rope, is an incredibly simple piece of fitness equipment that can do just that.
By Laura Williams
Stability balls – lightweight air-filled fitness balls ranging in circumference from 55 to 75 centimeters – were first put into use as a rehabilitation tool for neuro-development treatment in the 1960s and ’70s, before making their way into mainstream fitness facilities in the late ’90s and early 2000s.
The concept behind stability ball training is simple: Balance and stability are important facets of sports-specific fitness, and performing exercises on an unstable surface requires the body to recruit more muscle groups to maintain balance. Over time, stability ball training can improve proprioception, balance, and coordination, while simultaneously improving strength, particularly in the core. And with a price range of $15 to $50 (depending on brand and size), a stability ball is an inexpensive piece of fitness equipment you can easily store at home.
Gone are the days of mega-gym proliferation – those 100,000-square-foot, all-amenities-included facilities that used to pop up on what seemed like every street corner in America. The Great Recession combined with the ever-developing Internet has made low-cost and free fitness solutions the thing of the future. Enterprising fitness professionals have taken their expertise online, offering tutorials, resources, and full-length workouts for a fraction of the cost of a standard gym membership.
Taking the plunge into dog adoption is a big decision – one that’s likely to both reward and challenge you for years to come. However, before you head to the local shelter to pick up your new pup, there are a few things you should know about the adoption process. Procedures vary based on the shelter or rescue group you choose, so investigating your local chapter’s rules and guidelines is important, but regardless of where you end up adopting your dog there are certain fundamentals to the process that you should familiarize yourself with.
By Laura Williams
Believe it or not, more and more chickens are popping up in the cities. Urban farming is booming as a means to live greener and leaner lives – not only do city chickens provide fresh eggs, they offer free fertilizer, bug and weed control, and – if you’re up for it – a tasty chicken dinner.
While not every municipality is supportive of chicken farming, many cities are passing laws to support small-scale coops. Check with your city to learn its rules, and read on to get the details on raising your own brood of hens.
Baking homemade bread sounds like a huge undertaking – one not for the faint of heart. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to make delicious, healthy bread with the help of a slow cooker, an inexpensive kitchen appliance commonly known as a Crock-Pot.
While typically it’s more difficult to bake whole wheat bread in an oven and have it come out well, using the slow cooker method keeps the inside of the bread moist, while the crust develops a nice, crisp consistency. Try these three recipes, and experiment with a few ideas of your own: