Wondering how to get in shape fast? It is often difficult to work out time for a workout in the gym and this pushes our fitness to the bottom of our priority list. I was also one of them until I discovered some really simple and useful exercises that can be done without going to the gym.
You can perform them anywhere, but the best suited places include home and gym and get in shape fast. The best thing about this exercise is that it is simple, builds muscles and is great for attaining long-lasting well being.
The exercise we were talking about is PLANKS…
You may be surprised after reading it but whether you believe it or not, there is nothing better than using your own body weight to gain strength as well as stamina. You don’t need big fancy equipments. Just a mat or even a flat surface would do. You can do it within the comfort of your home or if you like open spaces then do it in the park. This would also expose your lungs to fresh air. Good, isn’t it? Don’t miss the opportunity whenever you get it.
For a beginner, following are the plank exercises they should start with…
The first and the most basic is the standard plank. It is done facing the floor while keeping the body horizontal to the floor.
Here is how you can do it:
- Face the floor, keep your hands below the shoulders (a little wider) just like you would if you were to do a push up
- Tighten up your glute muscles and touch the ground with the toes. Do not lock your knees.
- With the head aligned straight with the body, your eyes should look straight down
- Remain in this position for at least 20 seconds
After some time you will be able to do this exercise for a longer duration and gain more benefit.
The second pose in this set of exercises is done making use of the forearm. It is easy and great for building muscles in the body.
Here is how you can do it:
- With forearms on the floor, align your elbows below the shoulders
- The toes should again be in touch with the floor
- The arms should be parallel to the body and the distance should be no more than your shoulder width
- Do it for a minimum of 1 minute
It is important to practice these two poses as most of the other involve these two.
This is much easier than the standard plank. It makes easier for the beginners to balance their bodies.
Here is how you can do it:
- Rest your knees on the ground
- Again the hands should be placed just below the shoulders (a slightly wider)
- Hold on to this position for 20 seconds which should be increased over time
The body weight in this falls on just one arm. This improves balance.
Here is how you can do it:
- Starting with the standard plank, move on to one side.
- Keep your legs one above the other and glutes tight
- Then balance your body on one hand with the other arm in the air
- If you find it difficult then you can also do it on your forearm
- Come back to the standard pose and now do it on the other arm/forearm
- Do it for 30 seconds
Leg Raised Plank
This stretches leg muscles empowering them with strength and stamina.
Here is how you can do it:
- Keep your glute muscles tight.
- With forearms on the ground or mat and toes firmly touching the ground, raise one leg up Raise only to the point where it doesn’t strain the spinal cord.
- Do it for 30 seconds
- Bring the leg down and do it with the other leg
Once the body can perform these simple exercises easily, you can move on to more complex forms that involve one or more variations. These variations challenge the body and help it grow even fitter and stronger.
All these exercises don’t take more than 5-10 minutes but the benefits you get by doing them are seriously worth taking time out.
Here are the benefits of planks:
- Planks strengthen core muscle groups making you stronger enough to lift weights and this improves balance too.
- The chances of getting back injuries reduce. Planks build muscles thus empowering the back with strength and agility. This is what prevents injuries.
- Planks boost up the metabolism. They can burn more calories than any of the traditional exercises thus helping your body maintain metabolic rate high all day long
- Planks improve balance. With strong abdominal muscles, you can stand erect for a longer time than you could before preforming these exercises every day
- Planks improve overall posture. Postural deformities can be rectified as the abdominal muscles are being exercised. These muscles have a profound effect on the posture.
- Your body becomes more flexible. It helps stretch posterior muscle groups thus adding flexibility to your body.
- Other benefits include controlling anxiety, depression. Planks help release tension and stress form the muscle groups.
Though planks are simple but you must not do the following if you want to keep yourself safe and sound and gain only health and not disaster.
- Planks is not yoga. So don’t raise your bums into the sky.
- Don’t drop your head, keep it in a neutral position
- Breathe normal
- Stop exercising if it hurts. Don’t keep doing it just because two more second are left. 2 seconds can cost you two months on the bed.
Can you boost up the muscle building routine with planks?
You can supplement your simple routine with supplements. They contain all the ingredients which would help you gain more from your efforts. Both planks and supplements can help you attain total health and fitness. This is a wonderful alternative for those who are not able to see their efforts paying off quickly.
So tell me isn’t it simple? Do you still have reasons or excuses to stay away from the planks? I don’t think so. Stealing just 5 or 10 minutes isn’t hard. Do it now.
5 of the Best Exercises You Can Ever Do, Bar None!
Virtually all these regimens are growing by the second, and if you’re not following, you could easily be drowned in all that shame, and at times, that consequential pressure.
But when it comes to exercises, the young are almost always the ones who fall into that familiar trap: The notion that getting them all performed at once is king. If you must know, these exercises don’t have to be all that complex and demanding.
As it is, most fitness professionals nowadays would swear on something that is quite unheard off, especially in a world that insists on getting busier: Keep them simple!
Here are five of the best exercises that you can ever do, starting today:
But of course walking has to be placed at the very top of this list.
A good, old walking is perhaps the simplest exercise that you can ever do, for the rest of your life, that is. But don’t be fooled with the uncomplicated straightforwardness of walking. Walking, as you might have already gleaned from the hint I’m trying to intimate, is also vastly powerful. It helps you stay trimmed, or even trimmer than your best friend!
Walking is also noted for its array of physical and mental benefits. Chief of these is its capacity to improve your cholesterol levels, make your bones even more robust, keep your blood pressure at bay, lower your risks for diseases you don’t want to be experiencing at your youthful age like diabetes and those heart-related illnesses your father has told you about.
Numerous studies have also revealed that walking, alongside activities that wake the very physical of you, can not only lift your mood or improve your memory. Ultimately, it resists the effects of ageing.
To make walking more fun and beneficial, ensure that you are equipped with a well-fitted and supportive pair of shoes. You don’t have to walk like Cheryl Strayed during your first outing. You can jumpstart this exercise by just walking for about 10 to 15 minutes. Until then, you can start adding some more when you get the hang of it.
If walking is the simplest one, swimming should have to be the perfect exercise. And who are we to argue with perfection?
So, if you’re now in the mood, break out those age-old goggles and start splashing those gawking waves!
Essentially, swimming is not only vital as a cardiovascular workout. There is more to the water which provides resistance to beef up your muscles and protect your joints in the process. Swimming can also improve your mental states and better your mood down the line. Ultimately, this exercise is a workout that does all those much-needed workouts you’d usually perform in separate regimens. As what they said, keep them simple.
Getting started in swimming, on the contrary, is just easy. Just make certain that you own a pair of swimmers. Some goggles would serve you really good, too! Oh, and yes, you must know how to swim first, before ever engaging yourself into such foray.
Apart from that, make sure that you don’t overdo it as you’re just starting out.
3. Tai Chi
I know, but don’t be intimidated by the language!
Tai Chi has generated a significant amount of buzz for years. The reason behind its popularity isn’t rocket science!
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that expertly amalgamates movement and relaxation that benefit the body and the mind. Sounds a bit oxymoronic, don’t you think?
But fear not, this famed exercise is well-loved for its series of graceful movements, one that transitions ever so smoothly right to the next.
Dubbed as the “meditation in motion,” Tai Chi is also renowned for its array of benefits. The exercise can reportedly improve your lower-body strength. Think of those best hack squat alternative exercises, only less demanding. And when done regularly, this could also be akin to performing resistance training and brisk walking.
The mention of Tai Chi could not have been more complete without mentioning balance. As it is, this exercise reduces falls. This should come in handy when you grow older in which proprioception or the ability to detect the position of your body in space, deteriorates in age.
A Tai Chi session can include a warm-up, an instruction and practice of tai chi forms, and the Qigong or the “breath or energy work.”
Best of all, Tai Chi is very safe and would not require you to own or use fancy equipment.
Pushups, like swimming, is also a whole body exercise. Just don’t get distracted with how your arms seem to be getting the whole attention during this entire affair!
Similar with planking, pushups can be a little too easy when you’re the watcher, but without the proper form and discipline, this one too will just go straight out of the window!
But the most perennial question most starters would often ask themselves in terms of performing pushups: Are pushups really worth with all the trouble?
As it goes, the response is in the affirmative!
Pushups essentially aid you to build that much-needed strength while burning your calories and increasing your mental fortitude all at the same time. More importantly, this exercise works every muscle in your body right from your neck all the way to your toes. Considering all these, it’s not that difficult to comprehend as to why pushups are now called as the ultimate barometer of fitness.
When engaging yourself with pushups, it’s always important to note that you don’t rush. In the same vein, it’s crucial that you focus on doing them with the right motion. Ensure, too, that your legs, hips, neck, and head are all falling under one straight line.
By now, you must have already been impressed upon with the idea that the best exercises don’t really require fancy equipment that some of those fitness nerds you’ve encountered have told you about.
These shamelessly uncomplicated exercises can certainly do wonders not only to your physique but to your overall well-being as well. They should keep your weight under control, bring your balance to a whole new level, strengthen your bones, prevent diseases, and lift your mood like a pro!
And whether you’re just literally sprung into the fitness world or are looking into managing your oftentimes demanding list of workouts, these exercises are not only the best of the bunch but are also the most effective ones, at that.
8 Powerful Foods To Speed-Up Post Workout Recovery
Whether you’re a seasoned lifter or completely new to the gym, one important point you’ll need to keep in mind is that going to the gym is only half the battle. When you’re working out, you’re creating microtears in your muscles. These microtears lead your body to rebuild your muscles, meaning you get bigger and stronger over time. This repairing process takes place while you are recovering, not while you’re exercising.
Recovery allows the body to repair damaged tissue as well as replenish energy stores. Though the validity of “overtraining” is still being debated, you sure as heck can be under recovered.
For proper recovery, you’ll need to get the adequate sleep and eat the right food. With so many fad diets around today, you’re bound to get confused about what to eat, and what to avoid. In this article, I’m cutting through all that noise, tell you what macros to focus on, and give you the 8 best foods to speed up your post-workout recovery so you can get back to the gym in no time!
If you have any medical conditions that limit what foods you can eat, do consult your medical professional before pursuing.
Also, this list will depend on the type of diet you follow. For example, if it’s keto, you should limit yourself to these foods. There is even a vegetarian version of the keto diet! However, in this article, I’ll share a list of foods that’s suitable for a “regular” eating habits.
The Balanced Macros
Many people think that all you need to focus on after a good workout is protein, which is understandable since we’re so used to seeing fitness gurus and the muscle heads at the gym gulping down a protein shake after their intense workouts. However, other macros, especially carbohydrates play vital roles in your post-workout recovery.
During strenuous exercise, your body uses glucose as fuel. Glucose is stored as glycogen in the tissue. The rate at which your glycogen stores run out very much depends on the kind of exercise, as endurance sports such as swimming and cycling will require more glycogen than resistance training.
Consuming carbohydrates replenish these glycogen stores. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that proper glycogen resynthesis can be achieved by consuming 0.5-0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after training. Glycogen synthesis is also known to help stimulate muscle tissue repair and adaptation.
Strenuous exercise will trigger the breakdown of muscle protein. Post-workout is definitely not the time for a Big Mac! To repair and recover these broken-down muscle tissue, you’ll need to supply yourself with adequate protein. Protein will be broken down into amino acids, giving you the building blocks for building new tissue.
A study in the American Journal of Physiology has indicated that protein intake right after a workout may be more anabolic when compared to protein consumption at a much later time.
The Top 10 Foods
Before I start, here’s a disclaimer: The list of food is not sorted according to any criteria.
I believe that low-fat Greek yogurt is one of the best food you can eat after a workout. Greek yogurt contains twice as much protein compared to regular yogurt. According to Prevention, a 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt packs the same amount of protein as in 3 ounces of lean meat. It’s convenient on-the-go.
Before you run out and buy yogurt, you should know that those sold in grocery stores aren’t always the best quality. Manufacturing yogurt requires high cost, and companies are always trying to use unnecessary additives and fillers in their products. Read these tips on how to find the best yogurt. Considering Greek yogurt has low carbs, I would highly suggest adding a couple spoons of oatmeal for a complete post-workout meal.
Sweet Potato/ White Potato
Potatoes are a great post-workout meal because they’re easy to cook and go well with whatever you’re eating them with. The two popular kinds of potatoes are sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Which potato you opt for depends on your fitness goals, though the differences are minute. Here, I’ve listed some of the differences between the two for your convenience!
|Sweet Potato (200g)
|White Potato (200g)
Source: United States Department of Agriculture, USDA
Salmon can be slightly expensive depending on where you live, but there is no doubt it is one of the best foods for recovery. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that contain anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, omega-3 may minimize post-workout soreness and facilitate training in individuals.
Aside from keeping the soreness at bay, salmon is super rich in protein. A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon contains around 22-25 grams of protein, which is almost half of the daily recommended protein requirements at around 56 grams for men, and 46 grams for women.
Unlike most plant-based foods, this grain from Peru is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids. This is especially great for those who don’t eat animal products.
A cup of cooked quinoa contains approximately 8 grams of protein, which is high compared to other grains such as brown rice at 5 grams and barley and 3.5 grams. A cup of quinoa also sports 40 grams of carbohydrates, which makes it an excellent post-workout recovery meal.
If you’re always on the run and need a quick, cheap, and tasty post-workout meal, bananas fit that criterion. Bananas offer the good kind of carbs we need to replenish our glycogen levels. A medium banana contains up to 30 grams of carbohydrates and is rich with potassium and magnesium to replenish lost salts.
A recent study found that bananas have metabolites that could reduce cyclooxygenase-2, COX-2 enzyme, which is an enzyme that promotes pain and inflammation after exercise. According to David Nieman, head author of the study, this is the same gene Ibuprofen and aspirin (anti-inflammatory drugs) work on. He also added that they were surprised to see these properties in bananas which acted like painkillers, but “without the risks”.
If you’re one to blend a shake before hitting the gym, I highly recommend incorporating banana to your protein shake. It adds a wonderful sweet aftertaste and definitely completes your post-workout shake with the added carbs.
There’s plenty of protein powder to choose from the market. If you’re not lactose intolerant, I highly recommend your classic whey protein. Do note that whey protein comes from milk, and is a byproduct of the cheese-making process, and is a no-go for vegans. If you’re a vegan, plant proteins are becoming very popular in the fitness world. A serving of whey protein powder provides you around 24 grams of protein, and up to 30 grams of protein if it’s a whey isolate. That’s half as much protein a chicken breast gives.
Protein powders may not give you the most protein, but they do offer you a whole lot of convenience! Sometimes we just don’t have the money or time for a full meal, and having an on-the-go shake definitely makes watching our diet more bearable.
There’s no way we’re leaving this breakfast favorite off the list! Eggs are a great source of affordable protein. One egg has roughly 6 grams of protein and is packed with vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy body. The egg whites contain only protein, and most of the nutrients are found in the yolk. Prior to contrary belief, the cholesterol in eggs does not raise blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the “bad” or saturated fats in eggs is only a tiny amount- at 1.6 grams.
Whether you’re having it scrambled or sunny-side up, you’ll never get bored of this healthy delicacy because you can pair it with so many food choices and it will still taste great.
Notice how I specifically listed chicken breast instead of just chicken. I’m not saying that the mouth-watering drumstick isn’t good for building muscle, but chicken breast, in particular, is popular amongst bodybuilders because of it’s the healthiest part of the chicken. It’s low in fat, and a very lean protein source. Chicken breast is also rich in selenium, vitamin B6, niacin, and phosphorus.
Served skinless, you’ll be getting 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, and 19 grams of protein for a serving (3 ounces)! This is especially great if you’re a bodybuilder that’s cutting down fat.
What you eat is a key part of your recovery process, and something that is often overlooked. Making sure you get the right foods post workout will help you speed-up your post-workout recovery so you can keep on being productive in the gym, as well as your professional and personal life.