Want Quick Happy tips? Head over to Marc and Angels Hack

Practical Tips for Productive Living - Wonderful Quick and effective reading articles around the wellbeing, happiness and positiveness in bullet points numbers. I personally use it for easy reference

Want quick inspiration? Inspiration Peak is the place to go!

Check out and subscribe to Inspiration Peak in my Fav Websites for everyday quotes. Works a charm every single day. You're more than welcome to suggest a quote too!

Mind, Body, Green - Ultimate Wellness articles

I love their articles for it is written by various authors coming from wellbeing, yoga, holistic nutrition background that brings you closer to nature and serenity...

Lifehacker - Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done

Slightly drawn towards IT tips but they do also have tips about anything and everything you need under the sun, including tips for baking and cleaning! Check them out

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kids in the Weight Room?

OOOOoooooo....Kids can start weight training as early as 7! Well, body weight training to me first :D

Thanks ISSA

Several years ago one of my clients brought her daughter to a training session.  At 12 years old, she was a tall girl, almost my height, but was slouched over, stared at the floor, and just looked miserable.
My client told me that her daughter was having a rough week. Her soccer coach kicked her off the team, and not for any disciplinary issues, but because he didn’t think she was any good.  
Think about that for a minute. A preteen girl, told she wasn’t good enough and that she couldn’t play soccer anymore. This just broke my heart.
I had to do something to help restore this young girl’s confidence and to show her that she could be an athlete. I worked with her throughout the summer and we discovered something important:

This 12-year-old girl LOVES to lift weights!

I taught her the basic barbell lifts and as she got stronger, I moved her on to the snatch and the clean and jerk. As she got stronger, her coordination and confidence grew such that within a year I took her to her first weightlifting meet.  Over the next three years she went on to compete twice at USAW Youth Nationals and became one of the most highly ranked high school pole vaulters in the state on her high school track and field team.
Ever since that experience, I have been a huge advocate of strength training for kids.I have trained my own three children to compete in powerlifting, and I designed a strength class that I teach at their elementary school.  
When I work with kids I see their attitudes change, self-confidence skyrocket, and their physical strength go from non-existent to impressive. This shift is especially great to see in those kids who are used to being inactive or who are overweight.

Teaching children to lift weight gives them an athletic skill, confidence, improved physical health, and it inspires them to be more active.

In spite of the positive experiences I have had with kids and strength training, the idea of giving kids weights to lift makes people nervous. Parents have some valid questions:
            “Is it safe for kids to do weightlifting?”
            “What if my kid gets hurt?”
            “Is strength really necessary for a kid?”
I think it is necessary. There are a lot of reasons to get your child into strength training, and even competitive weightlifting.

Why Children Can and Should Work on Strength

Most kids are simply not strong enough in this day and age. They are less physically active than ever before. You can see this lack of strength and activity in how kids slouch at their desks or over their mobile devices. Whenever you see poor posture, you are seeing a weak body.
A child that cannot support proper posture does not have adequate muscle strength, has poor balance, lacks coordination, and has overall bad muscle endurance.
“In the last 20 years of practice, the prevalence of forward head posture/anterior head carry in both youth and adults has exploded.  What used to be on occasional postural finding has now become sadly the norm.  Computer use, Video games, lap top computer use, smart phones, tablets and general inactivity have been the drivers of this postural distortion.  The head becomes flexed forward to view the screens, this creates a shortening of the anterior neck flexors and a weakening of the neck extensors.  For every inch the head moves off the midline it adds ten pounds of weight as far as the supportive muscles are concerned.  This increased muscle tension leads to all kinds of health ailments including: neck pain, upper back pain, spasms, headaches, TMJ pain, muscle weakness and decreased vital lung capacity to name a few”. –Dr. Allen Ashforth, D.C., C.C.W.P
Now, you may be asking, but can’t my child just get adequate strength from playing outside more?
It’s true that there is no substitute for both the joy and the health benefits of active play, but for some kids, taking the extra step to build strength can make a world of difference.  Strength training has tremendous benefits for children, the primary one being to build postural strength as well as trunk and joint stability. In other words, the ability to support the spine and joints under load and through movement. Strength training also improves coordination, helps prevent injuries, and contributes to improvements in power, speed, and endurance.
(its not just small and weak children, its all kids. I train big strong kids who are chronically injured from strength imbalances)
Strength training can reverse these negative effects and give a child the ability to sit, walk, and engage in all other kinds of movements correctly and in ways that prevent injury, pain, and future health problems.
More importantly than anything else, a youth training program can inspire a child to live an active and healthy lifestyle. This is the primary goal of any type of athletic or training program for kids, including weightlifting and strength training.

Here are just a few of the most important benefits of strength training for kids1:

Important benefits of strength training for kids
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness and body composition
  • Stimulate bone mineralization and improve bone mineral density
  • Strengthen connective tissue
  • Improve blood lipid profiles
  • Improve mental health and self-confidence
  • Recent studies have shown some benefit to increased strength, overall function, and mental well-being in children with cerebral palsy.
  • Rehabilitation can help prevent injuries, particularly the shoulders and knees.

Special Rules for Special Clients

Kids are not the same as adults. To teach children lifting, I follow special guidelines. The ultimate priority is to keep them safe while giving them all the benefits of strength training.

10 Special Rules for Young Clients

Don’t start too young

Because balance and postural control skills mature to adult levels by 7 to 8 years of age, it seems logical that strength programs need not start before achievement of those skills.” 1
Every child is different, but there is such a thing as too young to start weightlifting, no matter how carefully they are guided by a professional.

Teach good posture first

The most important part of correct, safe lifting is good posture. This is the first skill a child needs to learn. Once they get it, you can put proper posture into the context of a squat, a press, a pull, a pushup, or any other lifting maneuver. Teaching safe form is easier and more effective when exercises are all based on the same model of good posture.

Teach strength as a skill

Strength is a skill.
Teaching lifting and strength training should be approached as a skill that needs to be practiced. Size of weights, number of reps, these are all secondary to good form, a learned skill.
When I teach kids, I emphasize the beauty of the movement, not the number on the weights or the rep list.

Every child is an individual

Individuals have different limb lengths, trunk lengths, and come in different heights and weights. Ideal form for a particular exercise may be completely different for two different individuals.  
If a child is having a hard time performing an exercise, a stance, posture, or range of motion adjustment may be all that is needed.

Form before Weight

If a child cannot consistently use good form during a set of repetitions, the weight is too much, period. I reduce the weights until form is perfect and only then do we continue.

Perfect the Squat

After posture, a proper squat is the most important skill in lifting. It is a foundational move that builds a strong core and hips. Children know how to squat, but not correctly under load (This is the important part).  This needs to be taught early for good form, strength, and safe movements.
Keep it simple
Trying to introduce too many exercises is counterproductive.  Younger children, in particular, only have so much attention to devote to one activity. A squat, a pushup, and an assisted pullup or row is just enough for one session.  
As children get older, this doesn’t change much; good quality work on fewer exercises keeps them mentally engaged and focused on good form.

Have patience

Kids are in no rush and their trainer shouldn’t be either.  It takes a long time to develop the good form that becomes second nature to experienced lifters.
Sometimes, due to biomechanics, you may have a child who needs to do pushups from their knees, can’t squat below parallel, or can’t do a pull-up.  
And that’s fine. This is skill development, not a race to get to a certain number.

Supervise always, no exceptions

This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:  

Lack of proper supervision is the biggest cause of injuries in the weight room.

Eyeballs should be on kids weightlifting at all times. If this means a group class needs more than one trainer, then assistants should be brought in to help.

Strength is not enough

As with adults, strength isn’t everything. Children need cardiovascular exercise too. This is where natural play is perfect.
Running around with friends, riding bikes, or just going for a walk as a family, these are the fun, social activities that should accompany any kind of strength training.

Kids’ Strength Training Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Not all kids who try strength training need to get as into it as my children do. They don’t need to become powerlifters or compete. There are fun, easy ways to get kids involved in lifting, and they should always be led by experienced trainers.

Elementary School Strength Club

To get children involved in strength training I started a club at my children’s school. For the first meeting we do some basics as I introduce them to good posture, squat form, and give a little lesson on anatomy.
At each subsequent meeting I lead the kids in fun warm up, agility, and cardio moves. Then, we work on basic strength training moves, with an emphasis on form:
  • Squats
  • Push ups
  • Superman
  • Planks
  • Pullups
  • Light deadlifts
Each meeting ends with free play. We play games like dodgeball or capture the flag to emphasize that being active is fun.
The final class, we warm up and then I let the children deadlift with a rising bar until they pull a relatively heavy single with good form.  We’re not looking to max out here, just see how much weight they can pull with good form without the bar slowing down.  All the children in my program have been able to lift at least their own bodyweight.  If form changes or they look like they are straining, they are done.  

Basic Powerlifting for Kids

For a more focused group of children, I like to introduce powerlifting, as I did with my own kids. In kids’ powerlifting we still do some of the agility and basic resistance moves like plyo jumps, pushups, and core work, but we really focus on lifts. We spend more time on the three basics:
  • Squats
  • Bench presses
  • Deadlifts
Powerlifting with kids is all about working on form and the basic lifts. Just two sessions per week is fun, not too taxing, and provides great benefits.
From basic powerlifting, kids who love to do it can choose to train for competitions.
Whether you are a trainer or a parent, don’t be afraid of strength training and lifting for kids. They can do it, if guided by a trainer, and they can have fun and get stronger at the same time.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Monday Funny

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why You Don’t Go to the Gym as Much as You Should

That explains me so right now....gaaah winterrrrrrrrrr blueezzz. Thank goodness I have a child that keeps me on my feet (and sleepless nights)

Thanks myfitnesspal

In a survey I conducted for a newsletter, I asked potential and current personal training clients why they wished to hire a personal trainer. Far and away the top response was “lack of motivation.” In fact, that and “no time” are the top answers in most government surveys on physical activity as well.

But in 2011, three researchers in motivation science decided to dig deeper into what motivational factors led people to work out. It turns out that motivation level was not a predicting factor. The biggest predictor? How convenient people perceived where they worked out to be in relation to their daily routines.

Convenience is king. It trumps motivation. It trumps perceived value. It trumps guilt and shame (everything trumps guilt and shame over time). When it comes to long-term adherence, convenience trumps everything.
So if you are not feeling motivated to get to the gym, it’s time to look at ways to make things easier on yourself. Because signing up for a big, pretty, expensive gym clear across town is like starting a marathon dragging a sled.

If you are just starting out, start at home. Set an alarm so you wake up five minutes earlier, and just do five minutes of anything: squat, plank, hip bridge and carry something heavy (like a bag full of books) around your bedroom for five minutes. If you think that’s not enough, it was enough for some of my clients to lose significant amounts of weight before they moved on to other routines.

What matters is just getting started, which means setting that alarm (and actually getting out of bed).
If you have stalled out, ask yourself what was the most fun you ever had working out. Was it cardio? Was it camaraderie? Was it people watching? Now see if you can recreate that closer to home. Go to a park by your house and go for a brisk walk. Invite a friend or 10.
Put exercise equipment in your trunk. Face it, we spend a lot of time getting in and out of our cars. For a few months in graduate school, I kept 2 kettlebells in my car. Every time I got to campus, I got them out and just carried them as far as I could, then carried them back. It was more than enough to maintain my level of fitness, and when I got more time, I would do a little routine with all my favorite movements in them.
Invite people over to your house. Believe it or not, I don’t like working out all the time, either. I go through phases of motivation, too. And the best way I know to keep me going when I just don’t care is to invite anyone who wants to join me over to my house to work out at 9 a.m. every morning (except Sunday). I have the equipment, they bring the motivation! The most convenient workout club in the world is the one that knocks on your front door.
Ditch the hour; start thinking in minutes. Most people think they have to work out for at least an hour to be effective, but that’s just not true. Most of my clients have seen their biggest results from workouts that lasted less than an hour. Per week. That’s right, it’s not only possible, but in many cases it’s also more likely that you’ll see results working out in shorter bursts of dedicated training because you’re more likely to do it!
Here’s a whole routine that you can do in less than 10 minutes in whatever clothes you’re currently wearing, courtesy of Coach Stevo (via Dan John):
  1. Stand up.
  2. Lie on your stomach.
  3. Get back up.
  4. Lie on your back.
  5. Get back up.
  6. Lie on your left side.
  7. Get back up.
  8. Lie on your right side.
  9. Get back up.
  10. Rest.
  11. Repeat five more times.
The point is not whether this workout is “perfect” (hint: there’s no such thing), it just matters that you do it. So set that alarm and give it a shot!

Coach Stevo
Coach-Stevo-Logo.pngCoach Stevo is the nutrition and behavior change consultant at San Francisco CrossFit. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago and an MA in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. He teaches habit-based coaching to wellness professionals all over the world and he contributed to Intervention by Dan John in 2012. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

9 Practical Weight­ Management Tips Inspired by Japan

Courtesy of myfitnesspal

When it comes to living the longest, and the healthiest, the Japanese are Number 1 — quite literally. Children born in Japan today enjoy the best life expectancy of any country in the world: 84 years, according to the World Health Organization.

Think the U.S. is close behind? You’d be wrong: The average life expectancy stateside is 79 years. And you’d have to drop down the list by nearly three dozen places to find the U.S. even with nations like Cuba, Lebanon and Costa Rica.

Japan’s secret is, In large part, the diet. A recent study by Japan’s National Centre for Global Health and Medicine found that people who stick to the United Nations’ Japanese dietary guidelines have a lower risk of all-cause mortality, including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Here’s another comparison: Compared to 32 percent of Americans, only 3.6 percent of Japanese adults are obese. And Japanese adults are nearly three times less likely to be overweight than Americans, according to joint research from the University of Minnesota and Japan’s Masahiko Gemma Waseda University.
Here’s a look at the best-kept secrets of Japanese living, and how you can put them to use for better health and weight loss.

1. Start Eating Soy Japan’s reliance on plant-based protein, especially soy, pays off in terms of weight loss, according to Katie Ferraro, RD, MPH, an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of San Diego. Intake of soy protein — found in tofu, edamame, soybeans and tempeh — has beenlinked to weight loss, even when caloric intake doesn’t change. Researchers believe soy protein may influence hormonal levels and, thus, metabolic rate, to encourage weight loss.
2. Snack Smart The typical Japanese food pattern consists of three meals per day and an “oyatsu,” or afternoon snack. “Compare that to the U.S., where snacks make up about 25 percent of average calorie intake and are generally snack foods of low nutritive value,” adds Ferraro. In Japan, snacks can range from rice balls to candy, but they usually come in small portions so they don’t tip the caloric scales. Plus, when it comes to less-than-healthy foods, an “all things in moderation” approach prevent the food deprivation that leads to rebound binges.
3. Fill Up on Fish In Japan, beef, poultry and pork is extremely expensive — but the price tag translates into serious health benefits. People turn to fish for their primary source of animal protein, Ferrero says. In fact, most studies put Japan among the top three nations in the world in terms of fish consumption. “Fish is a great lean protein source that is low in saturated fat and also comes packed with vitamins and anti-inflammatory substances like omega-3 fatty acids,” says nutrition coach Amy Dix. Those compounds may promote healthy weight management, as vitamin deficiencies can compromise energy levels and metabolic rate while research The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionhas linked inflammation and weight gain.
4. Practice Hara Hachi Bunme The Japanese island of Okinawa stresses a cultural habit known as hara hachi bu, which suggests that people should eat until they are 80 percent full. Dix considers this a tried-and-true weight-loss tip she passes on to her clients. “By stopping eating before we’re completely stuffed, we give our brain time to catch up with our belly,” she says. Most experts believe it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register when your stomach is full. So by giving yourself this 80 percent buffer, you reduce the likelihood that you’ll overeat during any given meal. This also explains why research consistently shows that eating slowly promotes weight loss: it gives your brain time to register when you’re full — before you’re stuffed.
5. Move Regularly The Japanese diet doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In Japan, people don’t typically hit the gym like Americans do, but over all, they are still more active, according to Dix, who points out Japanese walk far more as a regular part of their lives due to the high costs of cars and the easy accessibility of public transportation. That simple extra daily movement impacts bone health, cardiovascular health, mental well being and body composition, among other health benefits.
6. Drink Tea Tea isn’t just a calorie-free alternative to the sugar-packed beverages consumed by many Americans, it’s also packed with antioxidants that can aid in weight loss and overall health management, says Dix. Green tea in particular is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (a.k.a. EGCG), which research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows can boost your workout performance by increasing how much oxygen your body can use as fuel per minute.
7. Eat Fermented Foods Along with fermented soy, pickled foods are also a big part of the Japanese diet, which impacts gut health, according to Dix. While the gut microbiome is still a relatively new area of study, a 2015 study published in the journal Cell suggests that healthy changes in gut bacteria are linked to the conversion of energy-storing white fat to energy-burning brown fat. The result: weight loss.
8. Start Your Meal with Soup Or, just make soup the focus of your meal as it often is in Japan, Ferraro says. Eating more soup (as long as it’s not cream-based) is a solid weight-loss strategy, as it’s not just lower in calories than most solid foods, but also incredibly filling. Research published in Appetite even shows that eating a bowl of low-cal soup as a pre-meal “appetizer” reduces people’s total caloric intake to promote weight loss.
9. Hitting Their Macros The Japanese might not count their macronutrient and caloric intake like Americans tend to do, but they still do a great job at balancing carbohydrates, protein and fat at every meal, says Dix. Rice is certainly common in most Japanese meals, but contrary to what we see in Japanese restaurants here in the States, the serving sizes are often very small. Plus, that rice comes coupled with slow-to-digest, satiating ingredients like fibrous veggies and protein- and fat-rich fish and seafood. That’s why, even though people in Japan tend to eat much more rice than the average American, they have far fewer problems with blood sugar control — and resulting weight gain.
Tags:  diet high protein Japanese diet Japanese foodnutrition nutrition tips protein
Aleisha Fetters
Aleisha Fetters
K. Aleisha Fetters is a health and fitness writer, contributing to online and print publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Time, USNews.com, MensFitness.com, and Shape.com. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she concentrated on health and science reporting. You can read more from Aleisha at kaleishafetters.com, or follow her on Twitter at @kafetters.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Are Sit Ups Bad for You? The U.S. Military Seems to Think So…

Hmmmm, something to ponder.

I think we need them though to remember how we feel when we do an ab crunch. That way we can apply this to our core when we workout...

Courtesy from ISSA

Are Sit Ups Bad for You?  The U.S. Military Seems to Think So…

I read an article recently in the Daily Mail about how the U.S. Army is phasing out sit-ups from the Army Physical Fitness Test as well as in their regular training programs. The Marines and Navy may soon be following suit.
So that got me wondering, what’s the deal? Why are these military institutions giving up on one of the long time staples of their physical fitness routines?
The Army is changing its fitness guidelines because it believes sit-ups can be harmful and that there are better ways to condition and strengthen the core.

The Sit-Up vs. The Crunch

The sit-up has had a long reign as the gold standard in assessing and improving abdominal strength, not to mention in achieving a slimmer waistline and the elusive “six pack.”
Then, we had the crunch, which began to unseat the sit-up as the best abdominal move. We trainers learned that the crunch gives more focused contraction potential to the rectus abdominis muscles, while the sit-up puts too much emphasis on the hip flexor muscles.
The transition from sit-up to crunch was positive, but was it enough? Why move at all when working out the core? Next came the static plank.

The Plank

The plank is the latest in improving not just abdominal, but total core strength. A plank is what we call an isometric exercise which means the muscle contracts without any actual movement of the body or lengthening of the muscle.
An isometric plank is used to strengthen and improve endurance and stability in the abdominal muscles, while also including the obliques, gluteus muscles, and the hamstrings. To some extent you even work the shoulders and arms.
There are some variations on the plank, but the most basic form is in a prone position with hands, forearms, and elbows on the floor, toes on the floor, and hips up and in a neutral position with the rest of the upper body. In other words, your body is straight like a plank.
Planks are typically held for a designated time period, such as 30 or 60 seconds at a time, or in shorter time periods with only a few seconds of rest in between, such as 20 second holds with 5 second rest periods.

Why Are Planks So Great?

The U.S. military is making a switch to planks because they have discovered what a lot of us trainers already knew:
Planks beat sit-ups every time, in every way.
Planks have been proven both in the gym as well as in the research laboratory to be the most effective way to:
  • incorporate and activate the abdominal and trunk muscles
  • support proper posture by helping to safeguard an erect spinal position
  • encourage proper alignment of the spine
According to Dr. Glenn Wright, associate professor of exercise science at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, planks target the abdominals in the manner in which they are intended to function…isometrically.  
He also states that:
“A lot of strength trainers realized that the main function of the abs is to stop, not start motion, and the plank came out of what the abs are asked to do, which is resist the spine from moving, such as when fighting off an opponent, and strengthening the lower back.”
I know what you’re thinking: Planks are SO boring and if you’ve never actually tried them, they might just look too easy to possibly be beneficial. But this exercise only looks deceptively simple.  
It may seem counterintuitive to switch from active movement of a muscle group to not moving at all, but planks work and if you try them you will feel it.
Staying still and as stiff as a board while on your elbows and toes is a lot more difficult than it looks.  

What about Using Sit-Ups and Planks?

Why can’t you include sit-ups and crunches along with planks for a complete workout?
Can’t they co-exist?  
The truth is that research is starting to show us that sit-ups are not only less beneficial than the isometric plank; sit-ups can actually be dangerous.
According to Harvard Health Publications, sit-ups can be very hard on the spine and potentially damaging. If you have ever felt lower back pain and strain during a sit-up, you know this already.
A sit-up pushes the curved spine against the floor, and as mentioned earlier, employs the hip flexor muscles. (These are the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar spine in the lower back.)
When the hip flexor muscles are too strong or too tight, they can ‘tug’ on the lower spine, which can create low back discomfort.  
With a sit-up, and to a lesser extent crunches, the position and movement of the body works against the natural curvature of the spine, and therefore can lead to low back discomfort, pain, and even injury.  
One study actually found that 56 percent of all soldiers’ injuries relating to the “old fitness test” administered by the Army, were directly due to sit-ups.  

The Takeaway

So what is the takeaway message for you as a trainer? What exercises should you be doing for your core and recommending to your clients? Is the answer as straightforward as totally eliminating sit-ups and crunches in favor of planks? Are sit-ups always bad?
Benefits and Drawbacks of Sit Ups, Plank and Crunches
  • Benefits of sit-ups:  
Sit-ups target your abdominal muscles, particularly the rectus abdominis, but also involve and incorporate some of the connecting stabilizer muscles, such as the hip flexors, thereby providing a more comprehensive and integrative movement.
  • Drawbacks of sit-ups:  
Sit-ups impose extremely large compression forces on the discs and vertebrae of the spine, especially in the lower back. The U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has set the action limit for low back compression at 3300 N and repetitive loading above this level is linked with higher injury rates in workers. Compression readings that surpass this limit are imposed on the spine with each sit up repetition.
  • Benefits of crunches:  
Crunches involve six primary core muscles of the abdomen as well as muscles in the leg.  Crunches can be modified for individual ability levels. They can also be intensified by using resistance, like with a medicine ball, in order to increase the contraction and strength potential.  Crunches do not require as great a range of motion as sit-ups, so they limit the involvement of the hip flexors, as well as the compression on the spine.
  • Drawbacks of crunches:  
Crunches target the abdominal muscles but do not adequately address the other core muscles, such as the obliques and particularly the muscles in the lower back (lumbar erectors).  Crunches still place some stress and compression on the spinal column, particularly if attempting to ‘flatten’ the low back throughout the movement.  Crunches have also been known to create strain and stress on the neck or cervical spine if the head is not kept in a neutral position throughout the movement.
  • Benefits of planks:  
Planks involve a more complete and comprehensive balance of the muscles of the abdominals, obliques, spinal erectors, and to some extent muscles in the glutes, shoulder, chest and arms. Planks use an isometric contraction to target the core musculature, and muscle activation has been shown to be almost twice as active as in a standard sit-up. Planks, if done correctly, are safe and put no unnecessary strain or compression on the spine.  Variations of the plank movement can be performed to increase or decrease difficulty and target different muscles.
  • Drawbacks of Planks:  
Joint limitations in the elbows, shoulders, or feet can potentially negatively affect your ability to correctly perform the exercise.  If you are very weak in the core musculature, you might find it difficult to maintain proper positioning in the movement for more than a few seconds, and therefore limited progress can be seen in the early stages of performing the exercise.  

With all the information presented to you, what is the final answer?  

In my opinion, there is still a place in the world of health, fitness, and wellness for the crunch. I think that there are enough benefits to the movement if done properly to justify it still being included as part of a comprehensive training program.  
With all the evidence from research, I also give the plank a big gold star for being the most effective, most efficient, and most importantly, the safest core strengthening and stabilizing exercise in the industry today.  
So if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to ditch the sit-up. Stick with planks and crunches for the best all-around core fitness and strength.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Things I'll never do as a mother

It's a lie~~ history sometimes repeats itself just because we are humans after all and we are wired the same way.

And it is okay :)

Sigh, if only we knew but we won't. And perhaps that could just be mother nature's way of providing.


We all start on our parenting journey with the best of intentions, but Madeleine Tobert finds out just how quickly reality steps up to greet us… 

How many times are you feeding a night?” “I don’t know,” I reply, “five or six.” There is an audible gasp from a couple of mums and the course leader. I know, I know – my seven-month-old should be sleeping much better than this by now. I know she shouldn’t be feeding every thirty seconds and yes, I know I shouldn’t feed her to sleep. I know. But sometimes in the dead of night when the choice is between a quick feed or hours of crying (her and me), I choose the feed. I noticed some mums didn’t react with quite as much shock. I’m guessing they’re not strangers to 3am either.
Before I had my daughter, I was the greatest mum. I had so many ideas about how I’d raise her; it was going to be perfect. I spent my pregnancy planning it all; what I would do and of course, what I wouldn’t. Feeding to sleep was on the second list. Fortunately, I’m not alone when it comes to bending to reality. I asked a few other first-time mums what they’d thought they would or wouldn’t do and how that has changed. The list was endless and ranged from bribery to sucking snot straight from baby’s nose. Here are some of the big hitters:

‘I’ll always put my baby down awake and I definitely won’t bed share.’

Sleep! What a loaded topic. Put new mums in a room together and we can riff about sleep, or lack thereof, for hours. Many of us had no idea that getting a baby to sleep would be so difficult. We envisioned putting the little ones into their cots and leaving them to self-settle easily while we went off to enjoy our evenings. “Well,” one mum confided, “I spent six months rocking to sleep.”
In fact, almost all the mums I spoke to had compromised their intended strategy in some way. I, for one, have tried everything I can think of from co-sleeping to changing bedtime and more.

‘I’ll never use a dummy.’

I’m a failed dummy user. Like a lot of mums, I had negative feelings towards them. I was concerned in a vague, uneducated way about speech development issues and did not like the idea of silencing my baby for my own convenience. My stance changed one night when baby had been suckling on me for hours and I felt like my nipples were about to fall off. I begged her to take a dummy that night, and the night after and the one after that, but she was having none of it.
Other mums have been more successful: “I vowed only to give it for naps and hideous nine hour car journeys and so far it’s worked a treat,” says one.

‘I’ll only give my baby homemade food.’

Never mind if we were terrible at cooking before we had a baby, never mind if we hated it, most of us soon-to-be mums envisioned the glorious smell of home puréed deliciousness wafting through our houses. Why would we use store-bought food? In the words of one mum, “How difficult is it to mash a potato?” The answer, it transpires, is: very!
Although we planned to steam and freeze, it turns out that life with a newborn is busy. “Now the best thing in the world is that packed food, especially the sachets that you can carry everywhere. You get nice, different flavours and honestly, I’m not cooking wild rice lamb risotto for dinner.”
So if you do cook for your baby, bravo, but if you don’t, you’re not alone.
‘I won’t let our baby rule the way we live our lives.’
I had this dream that maternity leave would involve me drinking coffee and writing while my baby slept or played in the corner. It was going to be a productive, creative time. Any change would be wholly positive.
And my friends and I all agreed that we wouldn’t become those women who only talk about their children. Not us. No way. We would be as we always were and the baby would slot into our lives. “That has changed!” one friend told me. “Now I’m like, ‘Whatever is best for the baby.’”
Now we’ve all found ourselves creeping around the house to avoid disturbing the little one, passing on opportunities to go out because staying home is so much easier and yes, talking about our babies – a lot.

‘I won’t stop taking pride in my appearance or start to dress all mumsy.’

I have to confess that, as a bad dresser, I quite like how being a first-time mum is a sneaky little excuse for a terrible wardrobe. My more fashion-friendly friends find it less enjoyable and lament their badly fitting clothes and the “…30 pairs of heels in the spare room
gathering dust”. But even I would never have imagined going out with clothes covered in baby sick and bogies. Now it’s a regular occurrence for me and many others. In fact, I’m writing this while wearing a blue top that is covered in banana, from when baby wanted a little cuddle after her lunch. Despite wiping her hands and face three million times a day, she and I are constantly covered in food. If any of you out there have worked out how to keep food off your child, what’s your secret?

‘My baby won’t have any screen time.’

They say that if your baby is interested in your phone, it’s because you spend too long on it. My baby loves my phone… and my computer. I fully intended for her never to see me use either, but it hasn’t quite worked out like that. I struggle not to check them every time they beep. My baby is my favourite being in the whole wide world, but sometimes her chat is a little lacking. I’ve read the entire internet while breastfeeding and I know I’m not alone.
Lots of mums plan, for example, not to let their babies watch television, but “… it’s sort of brilliant for letting you do other stuff,” one said “and sometimes an episode of Paw Patrol is what everyone needs!” For me, with family overseas, Skype draws my baby to screens regularly. Is there a way to avoid that? I’d love to meet a screen-free family and see how they manage it.

‘I won’t judge myself or others too harshly.’

There were so many things that the parents I spoke to thought they would or wouldn’t do when they pictured their child-rearing future, before a real baby came along and changed everything. Now, when I talk to pregnant women and hear all their plans for parenting, I want to add just one more to their list of wont’s: not to judge themselves too harshly when they fail to live up to their own ideals. And no matter what they may think of other people’s efforts, don’t gasp! ′