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.
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.
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.
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:
Once you’ve decided to welcome a new pooch into your home, your work has just begun. While adopting a dog seems easy on paper, there is an abundance of preparatory work that has to be done to make sure you choose the right pup and create a dog-friendly home.
Sit down with your family members and have a thorough heart-to-heart discussion before heading to the shelter to pick out your pooch. Then, get to work preparing for your brand new family member.
There’s no beating around the bush: Beach volleyball is a sexy sport. The pure strength of the athletes combined with sun, sand, and barely-there uniforms make it a top draw at international competitions, such as the Olympics.
A big part of what makes the sport so sexy is the fact that the men and women who play volleyball have mastered those ever-coveted six-pack abs. How do they do it? On a recent trip to the AVP Professional Volleyball Invitational in Atlantic City, New Jersey, I had the chance to get the goods from the athletes themselves.
Parents of horse-lovers, beware. It’s only a matter of time before your child starts asking incessantly for a pony. I should know – I was that child. For every birthday, Christmas, Easter, or special occasion, all I asked for was a horse. I dreamed about horses. I played with nothing but toy horses. My favorite excursions were those to the local country store so I could imagine buying a saddle and bridle of my own.
To juice, or to blend – that is the question. If you’ve ever watched an early morning infomercial for a juicing machine, you’ve probably been tempted to make a purchase. Too bad the next infomercial for a smoothie-making blender confuses the situation.
When you want to increase your fruit and veggie intake in the form of a drink, which is better – a smoothie or a juice? The good news is that both options are healthy, but there are a few pros and cons of each that you should consider before diving in.
After watching the ASPCA’s tear-inducing commercial featuring shelter dogs huddling in cages to the tune of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” it can be tempting to immediately run to a shelter and adopt the first dog you see.
However, before you throw on your shoes and head out the door, it is important that you understand the cost and the process of adopting a dog. Furthermore, it is crucial to take the time to assess whether you are truly ready to accept what can be an expensive long-term commitment.
In today’s health-conscious world, practically every major hotel offers onsite fitness facilities, yoga classes, and even fit packages for vacationers. However, there’s a big difference between choosing to take advantage of a hotel’s fitness services and taking a vacation focused on nothing but fitness.
The great part about taking a fitness vacation is that instead of coming back from a week away feeling lethargic and puffy, you come back feeling svelte, energized, and better than ever. And, because the adventure travel industry is booming, it’s possible to find all-inclusive vacations centered on everything from running, to cycling, to surfing, to yoga.
Who has the time to make old-fashioned oatmeal for breakfast anymore? When you’re running around first thing in the morning, you’re lucky if you get breakfast at all, much less a home-cooked meal.
However, despite your crazy schedule, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. So don’t skip it – plan ahead and make overnight oats. Oats soften up overnight and take on the flavors of the ingredients you mix with them. While the possibilities are endless, one thing is for sure: The fiber and protein of an oat-packed breakfast can keep you full until lunch.
Juicing is a great way to make fresh, homemade fruit and vegetable drinks, but after extracting the juice from your produce, you end up with lots of leftover pulp. It seems a shame to toss that in the trash – but how in the world are you supposed to use it?
Luckily, it doesn’t have to go to waste. There are numerous ways to use that juice pulp and receive the health benefits and flavor it provides.
Skip the squat rack and leg press machine – you don’t need them. With just your own body weight and a few extra tools, there are a dozen leg exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. Just grab a set of dumbbells, a stability ball, and a bottle of water to get started.
Before starting a new workout program, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about any contraindications you may have that could prevent you from performing certain exercises. For instance, if you have bad knees, your doctor may suggest that you avoid plyometric jumping exercises. Also, if you have any known illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes, it’s important that you communicate with your doctor about your exercise program prior to getting started.
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