How Many Days Do You Work Out Every Week? by Leta Shy


A consistent workout routine is needed if you want to see results, but hectic Summer schedules can make it hard to stay on track. Top it off with long weekend barbecues, vacations, and after-work drinks, and you might not be surprised to see and feel the effects of your stalled exercise plan.

Experts say that it doesn’t matter how many days you work out, as long as you are able to hit the minimum amount of 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity to stay healthy; you can break up the amount into small chunks every day or carve out an hour or two a couple of days a week. If you want to lose weight, however, the amount is closer to 300 minutes a week.

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Making Time for Exercise by Ryan Healy


Every time I meet with a client, I ask them if they’ve exercised regularly before. To those who say yes but aren’t currently active, I follow up with, ‘What made you stop?’ Nine times out of ten the answer is ‘I didn’t have enough time’ or ‘I was too busy’.

The truth in this day and age is that most of us are juggling hectic schedules that can be stressful and overwhelming. However, stress management is one of the many benefits of exercise! Squeezing in a 20 minute workout 3x a week can leave you feeling better about yourself and ready to tackle your busy day.

Another key point to remember is that it’s not all or nothing. Get rid of the perfectionist mentality. Just because you can’t fit in 3 to 5 hours a week at the gym doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother trying at all. Something is better than nothing!

Here are a few of my tips on how to fit exercise into your weekly routine.

1. Write it on your calendar.

By putting exercise into your weekly schedule you’ll be more likely to commit to those workout sessions and build your days around them. If you don’t plan out your workouts, they tend to get put on the back burner or left until the end of the day when you’re tired and less motivated. Make them a priority by giving them specific days and time frames to ensure success!

2. Have a home and travel workout routine.

There are going to be days when it’s hard to get to the gym to exercise or times when you’re traveling without access to fitness equipment. Plan for them! Write out an exercise routine that utilizes bodyweight exercises or equipment you have in your home.

Resistance bands are great for these situations because they’re so lightweight and easy to store. Having a plan ahead of time will eliminate excuses later on.

3. Stay active with family and friends.

Instead of meeting your friends for coffee or a drink, try going for a walk, taking a group exercise class, or playing a sport together. Not only will you be able to catch up but you’ll have a chance to bond over a common activity and support one another.

The same goes for family. Plan weekly physical activities everyone can enjoy and you’ll be setting a great example for your kids while staying active.

The hot summer weather is here, why not try stand up paddle boarding, surfing, boogie boarding, tennis, volleyball, or kayaking. If you want to stay cool indoors, try squash, racquetball, rock climbing, and roller skating at a rink, or swimming at an indoor pool.

4. Walk or bike for transportation.

Walk or bike to your destination instead of drive and you’ll be sneaking in exercise and doing the environment a solid. Exercise time can really add up too when you park farther away from your destination and choose the stairs over the elevator.

5. Step away from the screens.

It’s no doubt that computers, phones, and televisions are now an integral part of our lives. However, time spent browsing social media sites or watching television can easily add up to hours each day. Cutting back a bit on daily screen time is another easy way to carve out time for exercise.

How do you make time to exercise?

Ryan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Practical Tips for Improving your Sleeping Habits


When was the last time that you had a good night’s sleep? How about the last time you felt light and comfortable as you woke up in the morning? Can’t remember having those feelings anymore? Well, you are not alone. More than a million of people on our planet suffer the same misery in sleeping.
An adult requires at least seven to eight hours of sleep per day. However, for older people, sleeping hours maybe shorter. If you consistently wake up feeling exhausted and still want to go back and lay on the bed, that’s a sign that you are having sleeping troubles.

Continuously living without enough sleep may put your health at risk. Your stamina will be lowered and your immune system will be down. In addition to that, you will experience frequent mood changes, memory loss and lack of concentration. Since you are always sleepy, even at work, you are also prone into any kind of accidents.

One of the good ways to combat sleeplessness is to make your bed comfortable for sleeping. It should be wide enough, the mattress and pillows should be soft enough, and you should have enough blankets and comforters with you. Such things matter in making a nice and comfy bed.

After setting-up your bed, you should check your sleeping environment as well. Your room’s ventilation should be adequate as well as the temperature should be on a right level. Not too cold, and not too hot. In addition, as much as possible, choose a room that is away from the streets to lessen the noise coming inside. In short, keep your room as quiet as possible. If this is unavoidable, better use a fan, white noise orsound recordings that are calming and relaxing. On top of that, keep your room dark during sleeping hours. Put enough curtains or shade to avoidoutside light sources, such as a street lamp, from coming inside your room. Turn off your computer monitor as well as your TV since those lights may confuse your body clock. You can also try using an eye mask for your eyes.

Now that you have a comfy bed and a nice room to sleep in, it is time that you adjust your activities before you sleep. Yes, there are certain activities that can help to prepare you in having an adequate night’s sleep. Even though you are stressed and tired, make an effort to relax yourself. Wind down and you’ll see that sleeping will come easier.

Consistently doing routines before bedtime that are relaxing will help in sending signals to your brain that it is time to fall asleep. Thus, have enough time to relax and have a quiet moment. You may listen to soft music, read light and entertaining materials or you may have a warm glass of milk or even a glass of wine.

The point is that you need to find what works for you and when you hit on something you need to make that your nightly ritual. Just as we do with our children, we may ask them to brush their take a bath, brush their teeth, then we read them a bedtime story before turning out the lights – and our children may have their special needs such as the bedroom door opened or closed or a night light, etc. We have to find our nighttime comfort zone and get in touch with it each night.

The Power of Habits


“This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future:”

“Over time, this loop—cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward—becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.”

“However, simply understanding how habits work—learning the structure of the habit loop—makes them easier to control. Once you break a habit into its components, you can fiddle with the gears.”

Excerpt From: Duhigg, Charles. “The Power of Habit.” Random House, 2012-02-28. iBooks.

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The Perfect Breakfast


by Brittany Risher

Maybe your parents’ families sat down together every morning for eggs, sausage, and homemade pancakes, but in today’s world, does anyone even eat breakfast at their kitchen table? Chances are you hit the snooze button multiple times before stumbling out of bed to rush through your morning routine. And that leaves little time to cook up much of anything.

If you have the luxury, by all means sit down for a nice, hearty breakfast. About three eggs, a piece of fruit, and a small bowl of oatmeal is a good mix of protein and carbohydrates, says Alan Aragon, M.S., a nutritionist in Westlake Village, California.

No time for that hassle? That’s no reason to skip breakfast—here are three reasons you need a morning meal. There are lots of fast and easy meals—most of which you can take with you—that deliver the nutrients you need in the morning. The only thing you need to consider is whether or not you’re an a.m. exerciser.

If You Work Out in the Morning

If you want to build muscle, you should eat protein and carbohydrates about 30 to 60 minutes before you work out. If you don’t feel hungry, you still need to eat this mix—even if you gulp down some fruit juice spiked with a scoop of whey-protein powder.

“One of the reasons you want protein and carbohydrate prior to training is because you’re trying to create an environment where your muscles are fed the nutrients they need during your workout,” Aragon says.

Exercise increases your blood flow, so if you eat properly beforehand (and therefore have those nutrients in your blood), you’ll have elevated nutrients levels at the same time your blood flow is elevated, maximizing the delivery of protein, carbs, and vitamins to your working muscles, Aragon says. And this prevents muscle breakdown and promotes muscle growth.

Don’t forget to eat right after your leave the locker room. Your muscles are most receptive to nutrients within a half hour of training, Aragon says. He recommends eating one-quarter of your goal body weight in protein and carbohydrate grams. So if you want to be 175 pounds, have about 40 to 45 grams of protein and carbohydrates. If you’re on the scrawny side and want to bulk up more, increase the carbs to half of your target weight goal.

Go ahead and have whatever tastes good to you—but avoid an overload of sugar. “Have rice or oatmeal or any grain rather than a bunch of sugar if you want a big hit of carbohydrates,” Aragon says. “There’s no good time to consume a crap-load of sugar.”

Good Pre-Workout Choices

– Fruit juice with a scoop of whey-protein powder mixed in
– A protein shake (add flaxseed or fiber to feel fuller longer)
– 1-2 cups of cooked oatmeal with a scoop of whey-protein powder mixed in or a glass of milk
– A container of sweetened yogurt
6 oz. of yogurt, 1-2 oz. of cheese, or a glass of milk with a piece of fruit
– A spoonful of natural peanut butter and a piece of fruit
– Eggs with salsa or a piece of fruit

If You Don’t Work Out in the Morning

There’s no set time you have to eat breakfast. If you’re not hungry before you leave the house, bring something with you (preferably not a Pop-Tart) and eat it at work. Just follow these two rules:

1. Include a fruit or vegetable in your breakfast. Most guys don’t eat enough produce, so this is an easy way to boost your intake. The small amount of carbohydrates will restore liver glycogen levels, providing your muscles—and your brain—the fuel they need to function at their peak.

2. Eat quality protein. It’s great for your muscles and it’s slow-digesting, so you’ll make it through the morning without feeling hungry.

Your meal doesn’t have to consist of traditional breakfast foods. “Anything that’s good at lunch or dinner makes a perfectly good breakfast—even leftovers,” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., a nutritionist in Los Angeles.

Good Choices for Fast Breakfasts:

– Eggs with salsa or a piece of fruit
– 6 oz. of yogurt, 1-2 oz. of cheese, or a glass of milk with a piece of fruit
– A spoonful of natural peanut butter and a piece of fruit
– A protein shake (add flaxseed or fiber to feel fuller longer)
– Fruit juice with a scoop of whey-protein powder mixed in

12 Steps to Make Exercise a Lasting Part of Your Life

By Chris Freytag

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.” — Jim Rohn

Sometimes a new thought or a new idea is all you need to make a lasting change. You can wake up one day and decide to make your entire life change. If you are new to exercise or you dropped it for a while and you want to get back to doing it, the best way to begin is with small steps.

You don’t have to become an athlete overnight to make exercise a part of your lifestyle. It’s actually better if you commit to making small changes in your daily routine instead of reinventing yourself overnight, because you are more likely to stick with it. Small changes in habits can lead to lasting, permanent change. So think baby steps and incorporate exercise into your life with these tips.

1. Develop a “move more” mindset.

Carving out a specific hour of a day for a workout is great (and we will get to that in a little bit) but first, start each day with the mindset to move more. By reminding your body to get more movement throughout the day, you will be more likely to do it. So sit less and stand more. Take more steps and stairs. Walk to talk with a coworker instead of emailing them.

Stretch in your chair, squat to pick something up, park far away from stores so you will walk more, stand up when you talk on the phone and do some exercises while you watch TV. There are numerous ways you can sneak more movement into your day. Begin each day with a move more mindset and you will find them.

2. Commit to regular activity.

You may not be the type of person who wants to train for a triathlon and that’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to become a fitness buff to benefit from exercise and movement. Start by committing to getting activity regularly. Schedule exercise like any other appointment on your calendar and treat it as a commitment rather than something you squeeze in if you have time. Even if you can only allot 15 minutes at a time, schedule it.

Take a short walk. Walk at a leisurely pace at first if exercise is new to you. You can build up to a power walk. If that’s not your thing, take a fitness class, swim laps or sign up for dance classes. Whatever exercise you start, build up slowly so you don’t overwhelm yourself and give up. If your body isn’t accustomed to regular exercise, build up slowly day by day so you don’t get too sore and throw in the towel altogether.

3. Find your favorite exercise.

I know people who commit to a form of exercise and hate it. How long do you think they will keep that up? We aren’t inclined to dive in or stick to things we despise. Out of all the forms of exercise out there, find one you just love. Get really specific. Don’t just say, “yoga” discover what form of yoga is your favorite. If swimming is your thing, do you prefer swimming laps or water aerobics? Or maybe you’d dread a step class but you can’t get enough of Pilates.

A good way to identify what type of exercise is right for you is to first figure out if you like to exercise alone, with a partner or in a group setting. You may have to experiment a little bit before you know. Try different forms of exercise until you find one that energizes you physically and mentally. Find your favorite exercise—one where excuses won’t even enter the equation when it’s time to exercise.

4. Focus on health and strength and what it means to you, and not on numbers on a scale.

Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Rather than an exclusive focus on weight loss, focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger or your new ability to able to exercise longer, even if it’s just in baby steps. Think about the great way your body feels after exercise and the exhilaration you feel. Taking the time to consider what really connects you to exercise on an emotional level, is powerful because you can use those thoughts to motivate you.

Most likely what motivates you runs much deeper than getting skinnier or being a specific set of three numbers on a scale. Identify what it is for you. Maybe you want to have more energy for your children or grandchildren or you want to be in more control of your health—whatever is your core motivation—connect to it.

5. Add strength training to your weekly routine.

Exercise isn’t just cardio alone. Strength training is critically important to retain muscle as you age, have a strong body and an effective metabolism. Even if you focus on just one muscle group a day and do three different exercises with three sets of 15 each for that muscle group you will benefit. You can divide strength training up throughout the week. Try two days a week to start and work up to three. Strength training will change how you feel, help you conquer your workouts with all that new muscle you are developing, and it’s the secret to a revved up metabolism.

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