The Do’s & Don’ts of Stretching for a Workout

The Do’s & Don’ts of Stretching for a Workout

The rules and warnings about stretching are all over the map. Here’s what you need to know…

One of the most crucial parts of your workout is the cool-down stretch. Stretching keeps your connective tissues elastic. It also helps your body flush out the lactic acid that accumulates in your muscles after exercise—the same lactic acid that contributes to aches and pain. Finally, stretching improves the range of motion in your joints and muscles and helps relieve stress and prevent injury.

Stretching is especially important as you get older. Our joints tend to lose some of their flexibility, but this tendency can be combated by regular stretching. The younger you are when you start stretching, the move flexible you’ll be as you get older. Static stretches are a classic way to enhance flexibility. These stretches are a slow, gradual, and controlled elongation that brings muscles through the full range of motion. Hold them for fifteen to thirty seconds in the furthest comfortable position, without pain.

Proper Stretching Tips

  • Stretch your muscles when they are warm, not cold. After cardio activity is a good idea because your large muscles are warm and flexible.
  • Focus on the muscle you’re stretching.
  • Breathe deeply while you stretch. If you inhale as you begin your stretch,  you’ll find that your muscles extend comfortably even further. For stretches that require you to bend forward, exhale as you bend forward and inhale slowly as you hold the stretch.
  • Move into the stretch until you feel a slight tension, but no pain. The stretch should feel good, even if your muscle feels slightly achy.
  • Hold the stretch for ten to thirty seconds. If you are a beginner or have rarely stretched before, start with ten seconds and gradually increase to thirty seconds.
  • Release the stretch slowly. Never bounce or jerk out of the stretch- that can trigger the stretch reflex, which causes the muscle to tighten, rather than relax, to protect itself from injury.

Adapted from The Fat Flush Fitness Plan

Naturally Slimming Spices & Seasonings

Naturally Slimming Spices & Seasonings

Here are some tidbits about common spices and seasonings to arm yourself with when fighting the battle of the bulge! They are easy to get, easy to use, and—best of all—bring your recipes to life!

Garlic stimulates metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and eliminates toxins from the body.

‘s heat comes from a high concentration of capsicum, a substance that gives cayenne the power to fire up circulation, stimulate the body’s metabolic rate, and help clean fat out of the arteries.

raises body temperature and assists the body to burn 20 percent more calories, according to a study published in the Journal of Obesity.

are high in vitamin C, supplying four times more than oranges. Lemon juice can help liquefy fat so that it can be flushed out of your system faster.

Apple Cider Vinegar
‘s main ingredient is acetic acid—a powerful nutrient that has been proven to stimulate metabolism. Look for brands of ACV that are certified organic, unfiltered,  unpasteurized.

packs a punch when it comes to both flavor and healthy benefits! Slightly bitter and peppery with a hint of citrus, cumin is a powerful liver detox enhancer.

consumption can boost metabolism, keep blood sugar levels in check, and derail Candida (the microorganism that causes yeast overgrowth in the body).

has been used as a blood purifier and natural diuretic. Its ability to rid the body of excess water and toxins makes it an ideal tool for weight loss.

Take advantage of these nature-given secret weapons!

Vegetables: What Do Their Colors Mean?

Vegetables: What Do Their Colors Mean?

The colors of your favorite veggie don’t just make them visually appealing. Their hue is a clue to their vitamins and nutritional value!

The more vibrant the pigment, the more packed with health-promoting antioxidants. Here are some of the basics:

Dark, leafy greens (spinach and kale): These calcium-rich greens are also a good source of folic acid which can prevent birth defects, and lutein which aids and protects vision. They are also a rich source of potassium!

Yellow-green (peas and corn): These little nibbles also contain lutein, as well as zeaxanthin which is another plant-based antioxidant which helps to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration (the most common cause of blindness in the elderly).

Yellow-orange (acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots): Orange veggies are bursting with beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is a powerful ally with anti-aging, healthy skin, good vision and strong immune system.

Red (tomatoes): Raw, cooked,  or in a tomato sauce are all tasty sources of lycopene. This red compound is a powerful aid in supporting prostate and breast health.

White-green (onions, garlic, mushrooms, endive, celery): These are ideal sources of allicin and flavonoids which are cell protectors and immunity strengtheners.

Quick tip: The best way to store your veggies is  loose or in a perforated plastic bag (so they can breathe). It’s also best to store them in a separate bin from fresh fruits. Many fruits like pears and apples, for instance, produce a ripening gas called ethylene which can alter the taste of vegetables!


Cat and Camel Pose

Cat and Camel Pose

Begin on your hands and knees. Round your back by contracting your abdominal muscles and tucking your pelvis. 

Then allow your back to sag toward the floor as you lift your chest forward. Hold briefly. Repeat three to five times.

This is a stability exercise that trains your entire core, including your abdominal, lower-back, and hip muscles.

The Eggs-act Facts

The Eggs-act Facts

Despite recent controversy, we are fans of the incredible, edible egg!

It’s healthy, it’s rich in protein, and it contains beautifying sulfur-based amino acids essential for luxurious hair, healthy nails, and radiant skin. It’s the EGG!

Here are some fun facts and tips to help you get the most out of these simple treasures:

  • Eggs should be cooked so whites are firm and yolks are just starting to firm up.
  • Egg-white (ropelike) strands are safe to eat and indicate a fresh egg.
  • Eggs should be refrigerated in their original carton and used within three weeks of purchase.
  • Eggs with blood spots are safe to eat: Simply remove the spot with a knife tip.
  • An egg yolk has up to 45% of the egg’s protein as well as most of its vitamins and minerals.
  • Mix it up! Try adding salsa, garlic, different herbs and spices, or your favorite veggies to your morning scramble!

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