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The Smoothie Diet – Smoothies For Weight Loss And Incredible Health

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Toned Legs …we all have the potential to be what we want…

Toned Legs …we all have the potential to be what we want Source by weightlossquad2

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7 Ways to Stop Being So Clumsy

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You knock over a glass of wine. You tumble trying to put on leggings. You trip up the stairs. Sound familiar? You probably have a clumsy streak. (Jennifer Lawrence, we’re looking at you.) But the good news is you don’t have to resign yourself to a life full of of bruises and stains.

Clumsiness is related to a few different factors, including your reaction time, processing speed, and level of concentration, explains Charles “Buz” Swanik, PhD, director of biomechanics and movement science at the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences. When life gets in the way of those functions—think too little sleep and too much stress, for starters—it can throw you off balance, literally. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make yourself less prone to mishaps: “We have enough evidence within psychology, neuroscience, and biomechanics research to know that people can definitely make changes and prevent accidents before they happen,” Swanik says. Below, he suggests seven ways control your inner klutz.

Know when to take a breather

A little bit of stress can be a good thing, Swanik says. “It does help you concentrate, and focus, and increase your situational awareness.” But excessive amounts of stress can slow down your processing, and even affect your peripheral vision. “You don’t know where to look, or what to attend to that may be unsafe,” he says. “You may over-focus on whatever is stressing you out and avoid seeing potential danger.”

The catch-22? Your favorite way to clear your mind may actually set you up for an accident, Swanik says. If you de-stress by going for a run, for example, consider doing a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing first—so by the time you hit the pavement you're more alert, and don't risk getting hurt.

"It's funny, because the tradition is to get athletes all psyched up before a big game, but that's actually probably the last thing we should be doing," Swanik says. "We should be trying to keep them calm and anxiety-free. They probably would think much better and be smarter on their feet."

RELATED: 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Train your brain

Swanik's research has suggested that people with not-so-great memories, and slower reaction times and processing speeds tend to have more coordination problems than folks with more efficient cognitive functioning. Fortunately, there are apps for that: Swanik recommends doing a Google or app search for "brain games." You'll find many options designed to improve memory and reaction time, he says. "[These apps] can help people foster some change."

Build up your core

Several studies on collegiate athletes have found that having less core control may increase the risk of lower extremity strains and sprains, says Swanik. And research on older adults suggests core strength can help prevent injuries: “When you put senior citizens on a core strengthening program, they usually have fewer falls," he says. "Your core is the center of everything." Try adding plank variations and moves like superman and bird-dog to your regular exercise routine.

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Think ahead

“YouTube is full of videos of people who have really not weighed the consequences and the risks of a situation before attempting to do something,” Swanik says. “Thinking ahead about what’s about to happen next, as basic as it sounds, is probably the best advice we can give people.”

That’s because accidents happen fast. Like, really fast. “We probably only have a quarter or a tenth of a second where a person makes a mental mistake and has some kind of injury,” he explains.

If you're feeling especially clumsy, make an effort to be extra-aware of your actions: Standing up from your seat? Check to see if there's anything you might knock over on your way up. About to climb stairs in high heels? Slow your pace and watch your footing. “Even if it’s just crossing the street, you should be actively thinking, Is this a good time to send a text message?” Swanik says.

Monotask

Do one thing at a time, simple as that. "Once you start to multitask, you get into a more dynamic and complex environment," he explains, "and it’s increasingly difficult to be deliberate [over] any one thing that you’re doing."

RELATED: 7 Exercises to Fix Muscle Imbalances

Be patient when you're trying something new

You know those stories about amazing athletes who join a game of beach volleyball, or start fooling around on a skateboard, and end up blowing out an ankle or knee? Clumsiness is often the result of diving into a brand new activity too quickly, Swanik says. "From a motor control standpoint, if you plan to try something that requires a new set of skills, you really need to be extremely patient," he says. "Think of it as a novel environment, an unfamiliar situation where you need to really slow down and assess how your skills parallel whatever it is you're doing.”

Swanik has seen this in research on collegiate athletes who are starting a cross-training regimen. "Some athletes will be unable to negotiate the new task physically and mentally, and they have coordination problems, and boom, injury."

The takeaway: If you're a a die-hard runner about to hop on a spin bike for the first time, ease your way into the new workout, and recognize that the movements may not be what your body is used to.

Get more sleep

Though never easy, clocking more shut-eye is a no-brainer: “We know that even losing a few hours of sleep is almost like drinking alcohol," Swanik says. "The effects are so profound and fast and deleterious that I would really caution people to make sure they’re getting enough sleep to avoid any sort of accident, whether it’s just being groggy while sipping coffee and spilling it, or something much worse.”

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This Was the Top-Searched Diet of 2016 (and Chances Are You've Never Heard of It)

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Have you heard of the GOLO diet? To be frank — none of us at POPSUGAR Fitness had heard this term until Google shared their top diet searches for 2016 . . . and “GOLO Diet” was at the top of said list. We had a collective “wait, what?” moment, before frantically researching to see what this was about.

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First stop: find the experts (aka, chat with our dietitian friends). They must know something about it, right? Well, RD and MPH Lisa Eberly had “No idea . . . I work with 70 RDs who chit chat all day long about new diets and research, and I’ve never heard it come up.” Interesting. We found that “insulin resistance” was a term that came up often with “GOLO diet,” so we asked Lori Zanini, RD and certified diabetes expert. “Honestly, I have never heard of it until right now . . . I have never had any clients that have tried it.” Lori also mentioned she was with another RD when we called her, who had also never heard of the GOLO diet. WHAT IS GOING ON?

So we opted for our own internet research. We were off to a suspicious start, but wanted to give this the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it’s really helping people! After all, enough people searched this diet to make it the #1 search on Google in 2016 . . .

Here’s what we know:

What Is the GOLO Diet?

According to GOLO.com, a “scientific breakthrough reveals the real cause of weight loss and how to reverse it.” Sounds promising! The cause in question? Insulin, said Jen Books, GOLO’s VP of marketing. “GOLO was developed by a team of doctors and pharmacists over the course of five years,” Brooks told POPSUGAR, via email. “Their research led them to develop a natural solution for weight gain based on managing insulin, the main hormone that controls weight loss, weight gain, metabolism.”

Brief overview: no counting calories, just managing insulin. They say this is the key to sustainable weight loss and maintenance.

The diet was created by psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow — who has a specialty in anxiety and depression — and a team of (unnamed) doctors and pharmacists, according to the website. The site describes the diet as a “natural, healthy solution that specifically targets weight gain.” Dr. Albow is a New York Times best-selling author, so that offers some promise as to the legitimacy of the program.

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But . . . what is it? From what we’ve gathered, it’s a diet intended to optimize your insulin levels — the program is entirely rooted in insulin regulation as a means of weight loss. You start a “30 Day Rescue Plan” for $39.95, which includes literature and a GOLO supplement intended to kickstart your program for “adopting the GOLO lifestyle.”

How Does it Work?

Here’s how they describe it: “GOLO works to optimize your body’s insulin levels, keeping them steady all day so you burn fat, maintain energy, and eliminate the crashes that cause hunger and cravings.” The site also reports an average weight loss of 48.6 pounds in a year. So is it a matter of just monitoring your blood sugar levels and eating foods that have a low glycemic index?

“Its effects almost entirely depend on your genetics — So if you don’t know your DNA it’s a crap shoot.”

There are three “tiers” to the program: “Intervention” (plant-based supplements), Meal Plan (“Metabolic Fuel Matrix”), and “GOLO For Life (Roadmap).”

The plant-based supplements contain magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, chromium, and a proprietary blend of roots and fruit extracts. GOLO’s site calls it “a weight-loss supplement that actually works.” Could the promise of a “diet pill” actually be real? It’s hard for us to tell. Consumerscompare.org noted that they also have not been able to find customers outside of company-controlled websites to ask. Brooks told us that the “Release” supplement helps to “optimize insulin performance” and “provide metabolic support.”

Our registered dietitian Lisa saw the ingredients list and told us “it’s like a low-key laxative.” She noted that this is effective for those with diabetes, or prediabetes. “Magnesium can have effects on insulin resistance, but only in people who actually have prediabetes or diabetes. The only major effects in people with healthy insulin are diarrhea and potentially a calming and relaxing effect. It can lower blood pressure in certain circumstances, too. Its effects almost entirely depend on your genetics — So if you don’t know your DNA it’s a crap shoot.”

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As for the meal plan, the site guarantees results, saying “You will see amazing results in the first seven days and realize that there is a smarter, healthier solution.” It’s described as “the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fat to promote weight loss.” We haven’t seen any recipes to verify this, but from from what we’ve seen on Pinterest, they seem to be in line with the low-glycemic index diets — something that Harvard has actually verified as an effective way to lose weight. The site itself refers to the recipes as simple, with insulin-friendly foods. “Meals are based on our patented Fuel index which measures the metabolic effect of food so they are balanced to have the exact amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates that maximize energy without spiking insulin or storing fat,” said Brooks.

The “Roadmap” is a “FREE membership” to myGOLO. GOLO guarantees that “Whether you need motivation to get fit, guidance on changing eating habits, want to take charge of your health, or need to reduce stress or overcome emotional eating, we give you the tools to help you reach your goals.”

In Sum

A diet that says you can eat bread, pasta, and butter — with no calorie counting — and a pill that boosts weight loss sounds very enticing. Especially one that was created by a doctor, that guarantees results within the first seven days.

The thing is, we just can’t find anyone who has tried this — or even knows what it is. We found a few YouTube user reviews on their personal success with the program, yet still, we can’t find enough substantial information outside the company’s own website to give you the real go-ahead.

If you’ve got an extra 40 bucks a month to experiment, it doesn’t seem like there are any adverse side-effects to this program.

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Hot or Cold: What's the Best Way to Shower After a Workout?

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Have you heard of recovery showers? Apparently there’s a better way to rinse off after an intense workout — one that boosts recovery. Best part? It’s not an ice bath.

The concept of a “recovery shower” is alternating temperatures from hot to cold. Is this an effective way to stimulate circulation and aid in muscular recovery? “There is no yes or no answer to this question,” said Dr. Kristin Maynes, PT, DPT. “We all have to remember that every person’s body is different and may react to certain therapies differently.” That said, she totally recommends recovery showers.

“Yes, it can be an effective aid to muscle or injury recovery; however only for someone without an acute injury,” she told POPSUGAR. So as this is a great general method for recovery, keep in mind that if you’re dealing with an injury, you’ll need to discuss this with your own physical therapist. “If there is no injury, it [can] speed up the recovery process, keep the body mobile, and prevent stiffness.” Here’s how the recovery shower works:

First, Cold

“After a workout, you want to start off with cold — an ice bath or cold shower — to aid in the decrease in inflammation of muscles, joints, and tendons,” said Dr. Maynes. Exercise inflames these parts of your body, and as she put it, “it’s unhealthy to be in an inflamed state for prolonged periods of time.”

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The cold water locally decreases blood flow, reducing inflammation, stiffening the muscles and joints — thus decreasing pain (just like icing an injury). This is “very important for immediate recovery and works well in the acute stages of injury or right after a workout,” she said. “It is like a ‘pause’ button in the healing process to decrease the body’s quick response to injury, which can be very painful at times.”

Then Hot

Then switch to hot. “This will improve muscle and joint recovery to flush out all the build up of inflammatory cells, dead cells, scar tissue build up, etc. to improve the health of the bones.” Going from cold to hot also helps with potential stiffness. You know how you sometimes can’t walk after leg day? Try a cold-to-hot shower. “This can also aid in improvement of mobility of body structures so stiffness does not set in,” she said. “This is very good to use in the subacute and chronic stages of an injury.”

That said, if you’re injured, she stressed that this is not the way to recover. “You do not want to use heat in the first few days up to a week of an injury,” so avoid this kind of recovery shower.

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The Best Workout Recovery?

Post-workout recovery is essential, and it varies for everyone. “If you are active in aiding your recovery after an intense workout [with] stretching, foam rolling, yoga, etc., then adding an alternating hot shower or an ice bath is going to help,” said Dr. Maynes. “Find out what works best for your body whether it be hot shower, ice bath, or both; stick to it and it will help you.”

But be patient! “Nothing works in a day; you have to do it more than once to see an effect.”

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Sugary Drinks and 'Bad' Carbs May Increase Risk of These Types of Cancer

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By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — People who consume a lot of processed carbohydrates—think snack foods and sweets—and sugary drinks may face heightened risks of breast and prostate cancers, a new study suggests.

Researchers said the study, reported Tuesday at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in San Diego, does not prove that “bad” carbs cause cancer.

But given that breast and prostate cancers are two of the most common cancers in the United States, the connection gives more reason for people to cut processed foods from their diets, said lead researcher Nour Makarem.

“The carbohydrate quality of your diet matters for a number of reasons,” said Makarem, a Ph.D. candidate in nutrition at New York University.

In general, health experts already recommend limiting sugary drinks and processed carbohydrates, and eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, fiber-rich whole grains, and “good” unsaturated fats.

So the new findings—considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal—add more weight to that advice, Makarem said.

She pointed, in particular, to the link her team found between sugar-sweetened drinks (both soda and fruit juice) and prostate cancer risk. Compared with men who never drank sugary beverages, those who had them a few times a week showed more than triple the risk of developing prostate cancer.

And that was with other factors—including obesity, smoking, and other diet habits—taken into account, Makarem said.

Still, it is difficult to weed out the effects of particular diet habits on cancer risk, said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society.

“Few dietary factors apart from alcohol and/or obesity have been consistently related to postmenopausal breast cancer and prostate cancer,” McCullough said.

The question of whether carbohydrate quality affects cancer risk—independent of obesity—is important, according to McCullough. But it’s also a “challenging” one to answer, she said.

The new findings are based on nearly 3,200 U.S. adults whose diet habits and cancer rates were tracked for more than 20 years. During that time, 565 people were diagnosed with cancer.

At first glance, higher carb intake was tied to a lower risk of breast cancer. But the picture changed when carb quality was considered, Makarem noted.

She said that women whose diets emphasized healthy carbs—vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes—were 67 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared to women who favored refined carbs. Refined carbs include many baked goods, white bread and white potatoes.

When it came to prostate cancer risk, men who regularly drank sugary juices or soda were more than three times as likely to develop disease versus men who steered clear of those drinks, the findings showed.

That does not prove sweet drinks directly contribute to prostate cancer, Makarem acknowledged. Still, she said, many studies have implicated the beverages in the risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes—so there are other reasons to cut back.

“Plus,” Makarem said, “it’s an easy change to make in your diet.”

The American Beverage Association took issue with the findings.

“The authors of this study abstract acknowledge their findings do not show that beverages cause any disease,” the group said in a statement. “Moreover, the study was limited to one demographic group that is not reflective of the population of the United States.” (Most study participants were white.)

The beverage association also said that the American Cancer Society cites multiple potential risk factors for breast, prostate and colon cancer, so singling out diet is difficult. The group also said that because the study hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, “very few study details are available” and it’s therefore tough to draw firm conclusions.

Sugary drinks weren’t the only diet factor that mattered, though, according to the researchers. Prostate cancer risk was also heightened among men whose diets were generally high in “glycemic load”—which, Makarem said, basically means they ate a lot of refined carbs.

The study also implicated “processed lunch foods,” including pizza, deli meats, and burgers. Men who ate those foods four or more times a week were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to men who had them no more than once a week, the researchers found.

According to McCullough, it’s hard to know whether certain foods, per se, contribute to breast or prostate cancers—or whether, for example, it’s overall calorie intake and weight gain that are the true culprits.

But the bottom line, Makarem said, is that whole, “high-quality” foods are a generally healthier choice than processed ones.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on diet and cancer risk.


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Even Optimists Tend to Expect the Worst

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Even if you consider yourself to be pretty upbeat, it’s easy to get caught up in feelings of dread as you wait to hear about uncertain news. As the moment of truth draws nearer, people often find themselves increasingly convinced that bad results are ahead.

These emotions may feel stressful and unhealthy, but a new study suggests they’re totally normal. In fact, this instinct to brace for the worst can actually be protective and serve as a buffer against potentially bad news, say researchers from the University of California Riverside.

In previous studies, it’s been recognized that, as individuals wait for their respective results, students become increasingly convinced they’ve failed an exam, patients become increasingly convinced they have a terrible disease, and voters become increasingly convinced that their candidate will lose an election.

RELATED: Optimism Can Help You Live Longer

Kate Sweeny, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Riverside, wanted to see if this was true of optimists and pessimists alike. “Intuition might suggest that some people are more likely to brace than others,” Sweeny said in a press release. “In particular, happy-go-lucky optimists would seem immune to the anxiety and second-guessing that typically arise as the decisive moment draws near.”

So she and her co-author performed nine different experiments in their lab and in real-life settings. Some involved college students anticipating rankings of their attractiveness from peers, for example, while others involved law-school graduates awaiting the results of their bar exams. All participants answered questions beforehand to determine their natural disposition.

The researchers’ findings, published in the Journal of Personality, were “counter to intuition,” Sweeny said. “Optimists were not immune to feeling a rise in pessimism at the moment of truth. In fact, not a single study showed a difference between optimists and pessimists in their tendency to brace for the worst.”

RELATED: Happy People Make Their Spouses Happier

There was a difference, unsurprisingly, in overall predictions: Optimists started out with more positive expectations than pessimists. But everyone in the study tended to shift those expectations downward over time.

This may be because not getting one’s hopes up can be a natural defense. “If you expect the worst, you can lessen feelings of shock and disappointment if things don’t go as you hoped,” Sweeny told RealSimple.com, “and you’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do.”

So if you feel down right before a big announcement, Sweeny says you shouldn’t necessarily fight those feelings. Rather, she says, we should all try to be more like the optimists in this study, and save our pessimism for these strategic moments.

“It’s generally good to be optimistic about the future,” she says. “Optimists are happier and healthier in lots of different ways, and it’s true that worrying too much or for too long can lead to anxiety and rumination. But in these final moments before you get big news, optimism can be really treacherous.”

In other words, she says, making sure you’ve done everything you can to ensure your chances of success—and then putting off your worries until those final moments—may be the best balance you can strike. And if you do feel like the world’s about to end while you wait, take heart in knowing that that’s normal, too.

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

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Newsweek Writer Says Tweet Caused Epileptic Seizure

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There's no question certain tweets can throw you for a loop. But can a tweet actually cause a seizure?

Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald—who has publicly revealed that he has epilepsy—says a troll sent him a malicious tweet meant to do exactly that, and it worked.

After Eichenwald appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight last Thursday, he wrote a series of tweets referencing his acrimonious interview with the Fox News anchor. Apparently the seizure occurred later that night: Newsweek reports that another user sent Eichenwald an image of a strobe light with the message, "You deserve a seizure for your postings." 

On Friday, Eichenwald announced that he would be taking a break from the social media platform: "I will be spending that time with my lawyers &  law enforcement going after 1 of u…" 

"This not going to happen again," he wrote in another tweet. "My wife is terrified. I am … disgusted."

According to Newsweek, Eichenwald's lawyer has filed a criminal assault complaint with the Dallas Police Department, and plans to file a similar complaint in the jurisdiction of the user once that person is identified.

RELATED: 6 Things That Can Trigger a Seizure Even If You Don't Have Epilepsy

So how could a tweet trigger an epileptic seizure? We asked Derek Chong, MD, director of the epilepsy program and vice chair of neurology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, to explain: "There are some people who are very susceptible to strobes and flashing lights. If you open the message and it automatically plays and you’re really susceptible to it, you could potentially have a seizure." (Dr. Chong is not familiar with the specifics of Eichenwald's experience.)

This would fall into the category of photosensitive epilepsy, one of several reflex epilepsies—epiliepsies where an outside stimulus brings on seizures, Dr. Chong explains. The stimulus can be something in the environment, like a certain smell or noise, or can involve more complex behaviors such as reading, bathing, eating, doing math, or even thinking about certain topics. (Sometimes, a specific type of music can trigger seizures—one woman on Long Island had seizures whenever she heard Sean Hall on the radio, says Dr. Chong.) Reflex epilepsies account for about 5% of all cases of epilepsy; photosensitive epilepsy comprises 3% of total cases. Flashing lights are "a well-known trigger," says Dr. Chong. 

RELATED: 9 Foods That May Help Save Your Memory

Other factors besides an outside stimulus can trigger a seizure. If Eichenwald had already had a stressful day, for instance, and the level of excitability in his brain was already pushed very high, then "this could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Dr. Chong explains. 

Fortunately, Eichenwald seems to be okay. Earlier today, he reiterated his outrage on Twitter, and tried to put the seriousness of the attack in context: "Folks, if a blind man says things you don't like politically, it is not okay to direct him toward the edge of a cliff. Find some humanity."

The writer's metaphor is no exaggeration. Each year, some 50,000 people in the United States die as a result of seizures. In general, people with seizures have up to triple the risk of dying than someone without.

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This Is the Year I'm Actually Going to Run a Marathon

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This is the year I’m actually going to run a marathon. There. I said it! In fact, it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions. It was last year’s, too . . . but I chickened out. Now, before all you millions and billions of strangers (hey, guys!), I’m claiming it: I WILL run a marathon in 2017.

And now that I’ve said it, I can admit that I’m completely terrified. Though I ran my first five half marathons in less than two years, this is a big, lofty, scary goal for me. Instead of leaving one huge, daunting goal looming in the distance of 2017, I decided to give myself more actionable objectives to better structure my year for success (hello, I’m an A-type, nice to meet you).

And I know it might seem like I’m a fitness editor, and that this is no big deal since I work out literally every day, but please keep in mind that in 2014, I couldn’t run a mile in under 15 minutes without stopping to take several breaks. I’ve proven myself wrong before, broken down walls internally, and surprised myself in ways I never could’ve dreamed of — and if I can do it, anyone can do it!

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Are you thinking of taking on this big challenge in 2017? Let’s do it together! Here are some benchmarks I’m giving myself to set myself up for my first big 26.2 . . . and all the miles leading up to it.

Buy the damn bib. Step one of making sure I don’t back out of something: spend a lot of money. How else do you think I get up at 6 a.m. for SoulCycle? I can’t lose $32! Once you commit financially, you’ll be less likely to back out. I have my sights set on the Big Apple, so I’ll most likely be signing up for a Team in Training to get myself a spot in the race.
Get a second opinion . . . on shoes. Earlier this year I went on a run with Nike running coach Blue Benadum (he’s run almost 60 marathons!). And although I’ve done some shoe fittings that indicated I need more of a stability shoe, he analyzed my mid- to forefoot strike and told me I was wearing too much cushion in the heel. Apparently it’s time for a reevaluation! Ultramarathoner and coach Robin Arzon also emphasized to me the importance of choosing the right shoe, so I’ll be going through several fittings. Checking this off my list will help me feel more prepared and secure in my decision.
Schedule out other races this year. One way to make this race less scary is to schedule a handful of longer races and half marathons before the date of my full marathon. I’m already registered for a 10.6 miler at the Big Sur International Marathon (yay for checking things off my list of goals!), and I’m hoping to do a Disney half marathon at some point, too. Although these will still be HUGE victories and major goals for me (it’s still a lot of miles!), compared to the big race, they’ll be my mini victories along the way — or as Robin Arzon calls them, “micro successes.
Commit to cross-training. This race isn’t just about running — I want to make sure my body is strong enough and my endurance is *all the way up* so that I don’t feel destroyed at the end of this thing. I especially need to focus on my leg strength, as I have some run-induced patella inflammation that could potentially sideline me. Physical therapy, leg day, and foam rolling will be of the utmost importance this year.
Don’t wait for a certain date to start training. I talked with 11-time Ironman finisher and coach Marni Sumbal about this new adventure I’m embarking on, and this was her advice: don’t wait, start now. “Think of every day between now and your future half marathon as available time to get stronger and improve your endurance.” It made so much sense — waiting to start training is like procrastinating on a project you’re afraid of. I’ve already started running a little bit more than usual to get 2017 off on the right foot.
Choose the right training program. Although I plan on starting my training nearly a year in advance of my marathon, you can bet I’ll be following a strict beginner marathon training program about five months out. Commitment to this program is a goal within a goal.
Make mental health a priority. I may or may not have an emotional breakdown during training — knowing that ahead of time and preparing for “the worst” in a sense will remind me to cut myself some slack when things don’t go according to plan. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a run, or you don’t make a certain time, or you don’t feel your best on one of your training days; this is a marathon, not a sprint! Literally! Your commitment to this huge physical and mental goal is a gift to yourself; you’re celebrating your health and your body, so don’t get hung up on missteps or bumps in the road, and cherish every step on your journey to 26.2.

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Not Really Feelin' Yourself? Here's How to Fix That

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Last week I attended an inspiring fitness panel hosted by Nike and Lead Like Her, a platform of empowerment for creative and independent women. Among the panel were some familiar faces from the fitness world — coach and trainer Alyssa Chang, graphic designer and fitness influencer Mickey Roxas, and health coach, fitness blogger, and creative Joanne Encarnacion. These women broke down barriers with more than the typical, canned inspirational answers — they opened up about eating disorders, depression, and unhealthy relationships with weight and with themselves. It got REAL.

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Seeing these fabulous, successful, healthy women show their vulnerable sides was inspiring in and of itself. But, it also made me wonder how they push through those tougher times when they sense negative thoughts and feelings creeping back in — not just to keep appearances on social media, but for their sanity. So, naturally, I was not shy about asking.

Joanne answered so candidly, it was like she was waiting for this question to be asked. And her response made so much sense: in sum, we don’t get enough compliments, and as adults and powerful independent women, we don’t need to wait for those compliments — we can give them to ourselves!

“I always think about how I talk to my kids,” she told us. “I tell them every day, ‘you’re so beautiful,’ or ‘you’re so smart.’ So as children, we receive and are showered with these compliments and these affirmations all the time,” she said. But that stops happening as much when you’re an adult. So what does she do to balance it out, and ward off the potential onset of depression? She has five daily affirmations, and they change from day to day.

“We don’t compliment ourselves enough, and we are trained to not accept compliments,” she said. “I tell myself something every day, even if it’s small like ‘my muffin tops are extra cushy today!’ or ‘my hair looks fabulous right now!'”

Here are a few big ones that she relies on often:

I am a powerhouse, I am indestructible.
I am courageous.
I am at peace with all that is happened in my life, all that is happening, and will happen.
I am the designer of my life, I build its foundation and choose its contents.
I am blessed with an incredible family and amazing friends.

Hitting a rut? Not feeling strong? Affirm yourself. You don’t have to wait for a man, a boss, a family member, a friend, or ANYONE to tell you how amazing you are. It’s OK to be modest and humble, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love on yourself.

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