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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.

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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13 Best Online Workout Videos – Free & Paid Exercise Resources

By Laura Williams

exercise at homeGone 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.

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How to Adopt a Dog From an Animal Shelter or Rescue Organization

By Laura Williams

dog in a shelterTaking 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.

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How to Raise Chickens for Meat & Eggs at Home in the City

By Laura Williams

chickensBelieve 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.

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3 Easy Slow Cooker Bread Recipes You Can Prepare in a Crock-Pot

By Laura Williams

slow cookerBaking 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:

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8 Steps to Take When Adopting and Bringing a New Dog Home

By Laura Williams

adopting a dogOnce 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.

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8 Core Exercises to Get Six-Pack Abs Like Beach Volleyball Players

By Laura Williams

Emily Day servingThere’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.

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Annual Cost of Owning a Horse and 6 Alternatives to Buying

By Laura Williams

child wants a horseParents 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.

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