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Laura Williams
Laura Williams holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science and enjoys breaking up her day by running her dogs, hitting the gym, and watching TV. Having been in charge of her own finances since the early age of 12, she knows how to save and when to spend, and she loves sharing these tips with others. Laura ditched her career as a fitness center manager for the relative freedom of home-based writing and editing work. She stays busy by working on her own website, GirlsGoneSporty, a website designed to help the sporty woman live the sporty life.

OptOutPrescreen Review – Stop Credit Card Offers in the Mail

By Laura Williams

credit card offers mailJunk mail – that ubiquitous nuisance that shows up everyday, usually boasting pre-approved offers for credit cards and insurance rates – poses a very real problem. These offers can be scooped from your mailbox, opened without your knowledge, and used fraudulently under your name without permission. While this may not be the most popular form of identity theft out there, it does happen and it’s a real risk. Add to that the fact that junk mail usually just ends up in the trash, representing a huge waste of paper and resources, and there’s simply no reason you need to continue receiving it.

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Mvelopes Review – Envelope Budgeting Software

By Laura Williams

mvelopes logoThe envelope budgeting system has been around for a long time, and because it works, it remains popular, despite its “old school” methodology. If you’re not familiar, the concept is simple: Separate your budget into different categories, such as entertainment, groceries, rent, and gasoline. Create an envelope for each category, label it, and withdraw cash from your account to place in each envelope representing the total amount you’ll spend in that category for the month. Use the cash from your envelopes to make your purchases, and when the money’s gone, stop spending in that category until the next month.

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5 Health Benefits of Swimming & Water Exercise – How to Get Started

By Laura Williams

water exerciseAccording to SwimToday, 80% of parents never consider enrolling their kids in swim team after they’ve completed swim lessons. And yet swimming is one of the most amazing lifetime sports a person can get involved in, as people of all ages – from 4 to 94 – can take advantage of the incredible fitness benefits it imparts. Clearly not everyone is familiar with why swimming workouts are so fabulous and how to get started.

I spent 13 years of my professional life working in and around swimming pools. That included years of lifeguarding, teaching swim lessons, organizing fitness classes, managing facilities, and working with community members to expand programs and meet needs. I can personally attest to the life-changing health benefits of water exercise.

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5 Health Benefits of Walking Every Day for Exercise

By Laura Williams

walkingWith what seems like thousands of fitness opportunities constantly vying for your attention, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the most basic and effective of them. Walking – a movement that’s as natural as breathing – is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.

While you might find yourself asking, “What’s the trick? How can walking be so effective?” the honest answer is that it’s as simple as putting on your shoes and heading outside.

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10 Weighted Body Bar Exercises You Can Do at Home

By Laura Williams

body bar exercisesOne 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.

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10 Exercises With Lebert Equalizer Bars

By Laura Williams

lebert equalizer barsAs 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.

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10 Training Exercises for a Complete Resistance Band Workout

By Laura Williams

resistance bandResistance 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.

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10 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Men & Women to Get in Shape

By Laura Williams

dumbbellsDumbbells 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.

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How to Choose the Right Bicycle – 4 Different Types of Bikes

By Laura Williams

bikingChoosing 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.

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10 Exercises You Can Do on a Park Bench or Picnic Table

By Laura Williams

park benchIs 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.

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8 Best Kitchen Gadgets and Tools to Prepare Healthy Meals on a Budget

By Laura Williams

healthy cookingMaking 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.

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10 Essential Suspension Training Exercises for a Total Body Workout

By Laura Williams

stabilityWhen 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.

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How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays – 6 Meal Ideas & Tips

By Laura Williams

holiday mealWith 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.

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10 Battle Rope Exercises and Workouts to Add to Your Training Regimen

By Laura Williams

muscleThe 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.

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10 Best Stability Ball Exercises & Workouts

By Laura Williams

exercise ballStability 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.

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