Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Salt can be Just as Bad as Sugar

We all know the saying “Everything in moderation”, but do we really take it seriously? There are PSAs, health-conscious ads, and even restaurant menus that constantly remind us how bad many desserts are for us. Sugar is synonymous with ‘sin’ nowadays, but people don’t seem to be stressing how bad excessive salt can be for us.

Don’t get me wrong, snacking in itself is not necessarily bad, as long as we pick the right snacks. But when we frequently turn to things like chips, it can have a lasting effect on our bodies.

Let’s put this into a little perspective. The daily recommendation for sodium is about 2300mg or less. The amount of sodium in a table spoon of salt is, you guessed right, about 2300mg. So does that mean we should only be eating about a tablespoon of salt per day? Well, not exactly.

Black people, people over 51, and people with certain heart and kidney diseases are advised to eat even less sodium – about 1500mg per day. Now, someone did not just create this rule because he/she has a vendetta against black people or seniors. The reason we are advised to eat less sodium is because we are at a higher risk for diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.

But why, you may ask. Why is it so important to stay away from excessive salt? Well, it’s all part of the “Prevention is better than Cure” mantra. Yes, everyone’s reaction to salt intake is different, but it has been known to increase our risk for a certain number of diseases.

Fluid retention: When you take too much salt, your kidneys pass the excess out as urine. But the more you take, the harder it is to get rid of. If the sodium can’t be passed out, it will stay in your body. The more sodium stored in your body, the more your body retains fluids, causing your heart to stress more as it tries to pump blood. Sometimes, you may even feel the effect of salty food about 30 minutes after you eat it. You literally feel your heart working harder.
Blood pressure: When your heart has to work harder to pump blood, what happens? It increases the pressure in your arteries. It may not be a problem if this is not a common occurrence, but regular increased blood pressure can lead to a myriad of diseases.
Kidney disease: As I said above, the more sodium you take, the harder it is for the kidneys to get rid of the excess. Forcing your kidneys to consistently work this hard can have lasting negative effects on them.
Heart disease: Of course, if you have developed high blood pressure because of your sodium intake, your heart is working really hard. Overload on an organ is always a bad thing because it could lead to all sorts of failures. In this case, it can lead to a stroke, congestive heart failure, and other things.

There are so many other negatives of eating too much salt. A lot of processed foods have a high level of sodium because it is used as a preservative. But don’t think that only processed foods have salt; natural foods have salt too. So please pay attention to the sodium content when you buy anything. Below is a list of some foods and their sodium content:

These are just a few items, but you can find a whole list here: Sodium Content. This is not saying you should give up salt entirely, but that you should stayed informed and ask questions when necessary.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting Bored? New Exercises to Keep your Juices Flowing – For Women

I did promise that this week would be for the females. And so this week, we’ll go over some new modifications to old routines for women. As I said last week, if you realize that you have been doing the same things for about a month, then it’s about that time to put something new in.

If you tried any of the exercises from last week, I’d really love your feedback.

Plank Jack

This exercise incorporates the plank and the jumping jack, working on your arms, core, and legs. By now, we should all know how to do the two types of planks, either on your elbows or on your palms. Now, for the plank jack, start in the plank on your palms (also called the upper pushup position). Make sure your body is in a straight line, and your hips are not sagging towards the floor. Then start the motion of opening and closing your feet, like you would do in a jumping jack. Make sure you make the motion fast, and put some power into it so you actually feel your heart rate come up.

Jump Lunge

You do the lunge regularly? Awesome! Now, let’s incorporate some cardio into that lunge, so that you’re not only working your glutes and inner thighs, but you’re also working your whole body as you push off the floor. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your arms hanging by your sides. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your right knee is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee nearly touches the floor. Jump and switch the position of your legs, bringing your right leg back and your left leg forward. Continue switching from one leg to another. Be sure not to lift up like you would do with a regular lunge. Rather, jump up as you switch legs. You should definitely feel like you’re getting some cardio in.

Straight-leg Deadlift

This exercise really works your glutes. But in addition to that, it helps build your core and develop your balance. Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg in a straight line behind you as you lower your torso and arms, bringing your body (from torso to raised leg) into a straight line. Bring the leg and torso back to the center so you are in a standing position, but do not let the leg touch the floor. Lift the leg back again and repeat. When you are done with one side, switch legs. To make it even more difficult, hold one dumbbell in each hand and lift your arms forward as you lift your leg.

Six Inch and Hold

You’re used to sit-ups to work on your abs? Try adding in some hip lifts to target your core. Lie flat on the floor with your hands by your sides. Place your palms on the floor right under your butt for support. Make sure your palms are facing the floor. Keeping your legs straight, lift them up until they are about 6 inches off the floor. Keep your legs raised this way for as long as you can. Relax and repeat.

Side kick squat combo

If you’ve ever tried kickboxing or seen anyone do martial arts, you know the side kick. Make it more difficult by incorporating a squat between kicks. Start in the standing position with your arms beside you. Balance your weight on your right leg, and kick to the side with your left leg. The kick should be as high as your leg can go. Make sure your abs are tight, and your back is straight. As you bring the leg down, widen your stance and lower into a squat. Lift back into standing position, and repeat with the other leg.

It is not easy to change up your workout regularly because we all get really comfortable. But in order to tone up your muscles and reach your goals for your body this year, you need to go outside your comfort zone. You can do it ladies!

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Bored? New Exercises to Keep your Juices Flowing – For Men

It’s only January, but if you have been consistent with your work outs, then you have probably started getting bored with the same push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. But the good news is that new exercise moves are constantly being introduced. These moves might only be slight variations of the old exercises, but they work on additional muscles and allow you feel like you’re doing much more.

You should be frequently introducing different positions into your routine to keep it from getting monotonous. If you realize that you have been doing the same things for about a month, then it’s about that time to put something new in.

This week, we’ll go over some new modifications to old routines for men. It doesn’t mean women can’t try them; it’s just that this week is focused on the brothers (Insert manly grunt here). Next week, we’ll take a look at new exercises specifically for females.
Halfway down push-up: 

You’ve heard of push-ups, and you’ve heard of push-up planks. But have you tried lowering your body halfway down and staying there? You start in the upper push-up position with your palms right under your shoulders, a little more than shoulder-width apart. And then you lower down keeping your body in a straight line, until you’re halfway down to the floor. Stay there for about 30 seconds, and then lower all the way down. Yea, it hurts. By the way, if this gives you the arms and bum of the dude demonstrating in the photo, then... ummm... send me a photo... I need it for research...

Mixed Grip Chin-up:  

Not everyone can do a pull-up, but when you have successfully mastered the art, make it a little more difficult. Grab the bar with both hands about shoulder-width apart like you would normally do in a pull-up. Now, change the direction of one of your palms to face inwards like you would do with a chin-up. So one hand grabs the bar from the outside, while the other grabs in from the inside. Pull yourself up till your chin is just above the bar, and then lower down. Make sure your shoulders stay close to the body. More difficult, huh? 
One-legged wall squat: 

Squats are not easy, especially when done right. Now, let’s make the regular squat more difficult. Stand up straight against a wall with your upper body straight. Lower down into a squatting position, while still keeping your upper body straight against the wall. You can extend your arms straight in front of you or keep them by your sides. When you’re down there with your knees over your toes, extend one leg straight in front of you, and flex your foot so your toes are pointing upward. Stay here for about 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg. To make this exercise even more difficult, hold two dumbbells in front of you as you stay in the squat.
Spiderman crawl: 

You have watched one of the Spiderman movies, right? So you know how he looks like crawling up a building. Trust me, it is not as easy as it looks. It involves trying to keep your body up and your abs tight while you crawl forward. Start in the upper push-up position, and then bring your right foot forward to be almost in line with your right palm. Without raising your body, bring your left foot forward, but further in front of your left palm so that you’ve moved your body forward just a bit. Then continue the crawl, but as you go forward, move your right arm together with your right foot, and then your left together with your left foot. Tell me how you feel afterwards.

This is sometimes called “the bodybuilder”. Start in a standing position with your arms raised. Bend your knees and bring your fingers to the floor. And then keeping your fingers on the floor, jump back so you are now in the upper push-up position. Do one push-up. And then jump forward so you’re back in the squatting position with your fingers on the floor. Jump up into a standing position with your arms raised above your head. Repeat.

Well, hopefully you can try some of these and let me know how your body feels?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Side Plank with a Twist

Looking for a great exercise to work your abs, arms, butt, and thighs? Try the side plank with a twist. It's basically a rotating motion that works out most of your body, especially your thighs.

Also, subscribe to our Youtube channel to watch videos as we add them and provide comments.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Backslide-Free Year

Yes, you made your resolutions, checked them like a million times, cancelled them out, and made new ones. We all know how resolutions usually turn out. It is evident from the number of people at the gym on January 2nd, and the number that are still there by February 1st. Resolutions tend to fizzle.

But that doesn’t mean that if you plan to be fit this year, you are destined for failure. There are a few decisions you can make to help you stick to your plan:

Try something new: So you were on the treadmill last January and that failed? Keep it interesting this time! Try something you haven’t done before. Is it spinning, swimming, or yoga? Give it a go.

Mix it up: Everyone gets bored of exercise when we do the same things. While you’re trying new things, try a large variety of new things. Mix up what you do on different days to keep yourself from getting bored. Maybe run on Monday, do Zumba on Wednesday, and go to a spinning class on Friday. But whatever you do, keep it interesting.

Create accountability: You’ve heard that when you work out with a partner, you work harder. That’s because we’re all competitive. But you can do more. Attend fitness classes regularly so the instructors and other attendees know you. It’ll make you less likely to miss a class when you know you’ll be asked questions later. Plus, fitness classes are always super competitive.

Track your progress: Keep a consistent log of what you do, and if you’re doing better week after week. You could use one of these websites to keep a detailed log.

Stop making excuses: So you failed last year? What did you do wrong? Find your mistakes and fix them, rather than use them as a clutch! You cannot move forward if you keep finding a reason not to succeed. If you want to get fit, you have to put in the work.

Find diet choices that work for you: Because Weight Watchers worked for your friend does not always mean it is the best option for you. Nobody knows your weaknesses better than yourself. Do your research before you choose a diet, and make sure it is something you can stick with.

Pamper yourself: If you can afford some spa time, try to get some in this year. Our bodies need pampering after all the hard work we put them through. However, try to make your pampering time a reward for all the workouts you've done. Push yourself harder so you can get pampered after. That's my policy ;)

Good luck Eights & Weights! We're here to support you every step of the way.

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