Tag Archives: balance

Stress-Relieving Meditation

If after this election, you have bouts of panic or freak-out moments, this meditation is for you. If you feel stressed, on the verge of mental break, this meditation is for you. Even if your anxiety has nothing to do with the election, this meditation is for you. This will just take a few minutes and, trust me, it’s worth it. Deep breath.

img_7655
Continue reading

You DO Have Time to Meditate

When it comes to anything health-wise, people (including myself) find many excuses to avoid doing said activity. It could be a physical workout or, what I’m focusing on today, a mental workout. Yes, I’m talking about meditation: slowing down your life for a couple of minutes to find center and balance (though I’m sure that’s not the exact definition). Meditation has astounding effects on one’s day-to-day life; it can cheer you up, help you find perspective, give you new revelations, fine-tune your focus and so forth. Wow, sounds like great benefits, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, one big reason is that people don’t think they have time to meditate.

Not enough time to meditate?! Claiming that for a full-hour workout, but for a meditation that can be as short as two minutes long… try searching for another excuse. But, hey, I do it too. It’s funny, the thing that can help us most in life (exercising, meditating), we try to avoid with any excuse possible: it’s too cold out, it’s too hot out, that cloud looks ominous, I’m too tired, I don’t have time, yadda yadda yadda. Nobody is innocent to this. We all do it, though perhaps on different levels of severity. 

img_7284
Continue reading

Wellness in the Workplace

 Working at a desk for hours, let alone a full day, can be more exhausting than a hard training session. It’s mentally draining as feelings of stiffness and soreness creep through your body. Movement is life. You think of water and air, two of the most essential components for life and how they effortlessly move through the most difficult and dangerous locations. 

IMG_1759
Continue reading

Hungry Meets TRX

It might seem weird that after all these years in competitive sports and then the fitness industry, I haven’t really come across TRX before. None of my coaches, trainers, or sports medicine staff ever had me use it for my sports performance and I never felt the need to take a class or take a course to be an instructor. Well, that changed when we moved to LA and I found myself working at a new fitness facility where all three of the personal training staff were also TRX instructors. After some pressure was applied by my boss, I said… what the heck, why not?

In TRX, you don’t get certified; instead, you obtain qualifications for every course you take. With one TRX qualification, you are considered an Equipped TRX Instructor. (That’s me.) With three or more, you are Advanced and so forth. The system is based on the number of qualifications you have and the points that each is worth (Level 1s are worth 8000, Level 2s are worth 16000). The tiers also are color coded, like belts in Martial Arts.

All of this information is on the TRX database on their website, www.trxtraining.com. It’s a great system and free as a resource. If you want to pay a little bit every month, you can be a member of TRX Core, which gives you access to every TRX resource online, including a library of workouts, live chats with Master level trainers and Gurus, etc. 

Fitness training courses

Fitness training courses

As for the qualifications, I took the Group Suspension Training Course, an introductory course to teach group exercise classes. Now, I’m signed up for their RIP trainer course and their level 2 TRX TEAM. It’s something different and it’s effective. It’s more challenging than elite athletes think and less challenging than health-seekers feel it might be. They find the straps intimidating but it can be scaled to hit any fitness level.

I would recommend beginners and people recovering from injuries do a few TRX personal training sessions before jumping into a group class, but since you’re on your own straps, you can go on your own pace. If your instructor is pushy and tries to make you go at the class pace when you shouldn’t, get a new instructor. Once you grasp the fundamentals and trust the straps, it’s fun. And while you should still be doing strength training to get stronger or practicing your sport to increase your skill, this is a great addition to any exercise regiment. It keeps you humble, builds balance, increases stability, and eventually mobility.

It has a lot of benefits, just be mindful of your knees and shoulders. Make sure you warm up properly, even before your instructor starts class. And make sure you change your grips so that you aren’t constantly squeezing the handles like you’re going to fall off a cliff. You don’t want to stress those forearm muscles.

Image source

Stay in touch, I’ll keep you updated as I teach more classes and get a few more qualifications under my belt. Still, feel free to ask any questions about TRX and I’ll let you know if you should give it a shot! And as always, stay hungry and fit!

 BONUS PUPPY PIC

Little wet face

Little wet face

Core-Po-rate Fitness (Staying Fit in the Office)

You might be thinking… why is the title written in such a manner? Well, this article is being published because of a single man who I consider to be a brother. I am sure in time you will find out more about some of my closest friends but “Po” and “Pablo” (these names are used to protect identities) are almost definitely my oldest closest friends. I have known them for the longest time of the few friends I stay in touch with on the regular. Therefore, the core comes from what you will be doing, the Po is for his name and it somewhat misspells but spells out the word corporate.

"Po" with a delicious donut

“Po” with a delicious donut

So Po texted me this morning and said that I “should do a post on a sweat-free guide to corporate fitness” because he seems to “feel all fat and bloated sitting at my office desk.” As he pointed out, “sweating is crucial to a healthy workout… but not conducive to business attire.” Well, Po is obviously very accurate in what he is saying. I know that everyone watches Bond movies and says how does Sean Connery/Roger Moore/Timothy Dalton/George Lazenby/Pierce Brosnan/Daniel Craig manage to be in such good shape and chase criminals at full speed for miles while wearing a very tight tuxedo or suit? We all know that it’s a movie and it’s very challenging to workout in that business attire for a few reasons.

Up and coming James Bond

Up and coming James Bond

First, you don’t want to ruin expensive clothes. Second, you lose a whole lot of range of motion when wearing button down shirts or skirts. Third, when you have those tight-fitting clothes on, your body temperature raises faster… causing you to SWEAT MORE. So we have to figure out how to increase someone’s physical fitness in the corporate world without sweating? Well, let’s talk about sweat, baby.

If dogs could sweat, SHE WOULD!

If dogs could sweat, SHE WOULD!

Sweat, more properly known as perspiration, is the release of fluids in mammals from two different glands that are more or less distributed over the skin of your whole body. Sweating is the body’s way of regulating its temperature in hot weather. In tropical climates near the Equator, especially in Southeast Asia, spicy foods are staples in diets because they help stimulate a sweat response which leads to water on one’s skins evaporating causing a cooling effect. Depending on the individual and many factors, the secretion of fluids can range from not so much to a ton. I have never perspired a lot, however a high school friend who captained the football and wrestling teams perspired just by sitting still. That is why we should not compare ourselves to one another and deal with your body when figuring out what you need to do. Males can perspire anywhere from 2-4 liters in an hour… which is a large range. Finally, men start perspiring much quicker than females, even though both genders have the same perspiration when they are exercising at the same intensity.

Beautiful picture of Alana sweating after a Spartacus workout

Beautiful picture of Alana sweating after a Spartacus workout

Now that we know the basics about sweating, how can we avoid it? Obviously, we sweat more when we exert more force on our muscles because they heat up and this doesn’t help our problem. We need to figure out a way to not sweat but still exert force on our muscles. It seems impossible. The issue here isn’t being able to find a way to exercise intensely while wearing business attire. It is how can we change our overall lifestyle, while coping with our occupation, in order to feel good all the time. That can be challenging when sitting down at a desk for eight or nine hours, even with a lunch break in the middle. I know how that feels when I am tied to my desk on Fridays, some nights and some weekends. So let’s outfit a day that can make us feel better because not everyone can afford a treadmill desk or is allowed to use a stability ball instead of an office chair.

Aside: That’s right everyone… there is something called a treadmill desk and you can research it more to find out about it. Otherwise, if you are working at a place where they don’t mind swapping office chairs for a stability ball, then please make that purchase and switch. Sitting on a stability ball forces you to utilize your core muscles while sitting and typically that results in better posture and a workout that lasts all day long. You can also bounce up and down and get a leg workout when people aren’t watching you! Do that in moderation and you won’t even break a sweat.

This is going to come back to the three basics of a healthy lifestyle: Exercise, nutrition, and rest. Make sure you are getting an ample amount of sleep every night before you have to wake up to go to work. I say 6-8 hours, which makes 7 seem like the magic number. Some professional athletes sleep 10-12 hours but there are studies that show that can actually have negative effects.

Make sure you are eating healthy meals throughout the day. If you are trying to stay lean, it helps to keep your metabolism fired up by spacing out 6-8 small meals that meet your macronutrient goals. If you don’t want to measure macros, then just don’t eat garbage. Eat well! Ask away if you want recommendations for office snacks that can help fight cravings for junk food and help keep your metabolism fired up.

Salad

Salad

Finally, try to get some physical activity in every day. You don’t need to hit the gym if it doesn’t fit your schedule. Fifteen minutes are all you need. I recommend working out when you wake up if you have a corporate job because then you can be happy with what you did and not have to think about what you’re going to work out for the rest of the day. Mike Chang just did a YouTube video on the same topic so check it out. But here is what I recommend for physical activity in the office to keep you loose. These are exercises that will not make you sweat but will help keep your metabolism up, joints healthy, and muscles loose.

This can make the difference! Photo from FitSugar

FlexingI’m not joking. When you flex your muscles, you are contracting them and then releasing the contraction. It’s the same thing you do with a weight but there is less resistance. When I drive for more than 3 straight hours I will typically sit straight up with my back off the chair and start contracting my abs. All of them one at a time (upper, lower, obliques) in a circuit. You can do it without thinking.

Flex!

Flex!

Bring a resistance band to work. Tie it up under your chair and do some side deltoid (shoulder) raises or front deltoid raises. You can do some curls also. If you want to wrap it around your ankles then you can do some leg extensions. Just by using proper posture and some very light weight exercises you can FEEL better. That is what this is all about.

Po is an athletic guy that is in good shape but sitting around makes him and all of us feel LAZY and bad about ourselves. Just by doing these exercises, with a range of motion that fits your attire, you can feel so much better about yourself while you are sitting down because you are trying. And a lot of these don’t take much time or effort but they can keep you loose, strengthen your joints, help stretch, and keep your metabolic rate up throughout the day. If you want recommendations about resistance tubes and bands, just ask away in the comment section below. Some are better suited for certain people. Plus, they are very easy to transport unlike heavy weights. And like I said, you can do those exercises without even thinking. Low risk of injury when using that type of resistance.

I will try to make a video of me dressed in business attire sitting at a desk doing these exercises so you get the idea but remember that this is about feeling better so do what you need to do to stay happy, hungry and fit! (REMEMBER that we are here for YOU and are willing to do posts on just about anything that you want to know more about. We will answer all requests and questions to the best of our ability no matter what the topic is related to. Just put what you want us to write about in the comment section below or email it to hungryandfit@gmail.com)

You might also like…

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria being cute

Nymeria being cute

Nerds Unite and Stay in Shape!

Fit and I are considered “interesting” individuals because we are a mix of very physically active and extremely nerdy. Somehow, we find a way to balance everything and although we aren’t quite as fit and don’t have as much time to play video games as we want, we still get the best of both worlds. Sometimes it is difficult to balance busy lives, and sometimes there isn’t motivation to do something that you don’t want to do but we are always stressing to individuals to stay healthy and active.

You don’t need to be a professional athlete, bodybuilder, or martial artist to be healthy and active. You need to maintain a healthy ratio of lean muscle mass and body fat, eat nutritional and wholesome foods, stay hydrated and well-rested, maintain proper hygiene and be able to control your own body. Absolute strength is your total power output, but relative strength is your strength to weight ratio and your ability to handle your body. I am proposing that everyone, even those nerdy people that love to sit down for hours and play MMORPGs (we would love to do this when we have time), try to achieve what I consider a healthy and active lifestyle and here’s a few steps of how we can do that.

photo (5)

1. Eat healthier! I know that Red Bulls, Mega Monsters, and Mountain Dew are great ways to keep you awake through your dungeon raids but they are nutritional black holes! Consider other electrolyte heavy drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, Smart Water, Vitamin Water, or even some supplements to keep your energy levels more naturally high. I logged 72 straight hours of Final Fantasy XII the night that it was released and I didn’t have one energy drink or sip of soda the whole time. My good health helped me stay energized and if you can increase your endurance and conditioning it could help with long nights of playing.

Captain American: Master Chef

Captain American: Master Chef

2. Exercise! Working out helps us increase muscle mass, decrease body fat, create definition in our muscles, increase our metabolism and more. You don’t need to buy expensive clothes, equipment or memberships to work out. If you’re reading hundreds of issues of manga or comics at a time like I do, try to set goals. Every week when my new manga are released I blaze through them in minutes. After waiting a week and sometimes more! Make the volume last a little longer by doing 10 pushups and 20 crunches after every few pages. Set goals for yourself. Try to do body weight exercises such as pushups, variations of pushups, crunches, abdominal and core exercises, planks and more every few pages. If you’re playing a video game, set requirements for every time you level your character up or beat a major boss. These little things can make a big difference.

Leg press

Planking--keep it tight!

Planking–keep it tight!

3. Sleep enough! I am not asking you to sleep 10 hours a night. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep or quality rest every 24 hours. Really try to get 7 hours and push yourself to get 8 on the weekends if you can. Your body needs to rest and recover to continue operating at a functional level. If I tried playing a hard platform sequence in Ninja Gaiden while I was exhausted, then I would have no hope. If I’m playing Settlers of Catan and can’t think straight because my brain is trying to sleep, I won’t be able to compete against my opponents if they’re well-rested.

photo 1 (5)

Zzz

Zzz

I am speaking out of experience and trying to help my fellow nerds. And please do not take offense to the term nerd. You could be a console gamer, PC gamer, manga fan, anime fan, comic book fan, RPG fan or any other person who enjoys these types of fun activities. We enjoy all of them and are proud of it. So if any of this relates to you, if you think that you could better your diet, exercise, and sleep then please consider some of our suggestions. If you are really interested in turning your life around contact us for our help because that is what we love to do. We want everyone to stay nerdy while being hungry and fit!

Buff chicas

Fit and Nerdy

photo 1 (3)

Hungry and Fit! Our pose

Hungry and Fit! Our pose

You may also like…

6 Exercises You Should Be Doing Over 60

And even if you’re not over 60–these exercises help everyone. I work a lot with the older population and it’s never too early to make sure you age gracefully. Even as we get older, more stiff, and less agile, it’s still–no, MORE–important to exercise and keep active. The more we move, the better we feel.

The body strongly dislikes being inactive and has a way of turning on the body. Whether that means weight gain, arthritis, stiffness, and/or loss of flexibility. Just to name a few. Another big loss as we get older is balance. Falls are one of the biggest problems for seniors, and it’s never too early to start practicing. Try at least 3 of these each day:

1. Calf raises. Stand up straight. If you’re unsure of your balance, make sure you stand near something to hold onto (a chair, wall, anything sturdy). Rise forward onto your toes, leaving your heels off the ground. Slowly come down. Do 12 repetitions for 3 sets. 

2. Rotator cuff stretch. This one requires a resistance band or tube. As we get older, we notice our shoulders deteriorating faster and getting injuries easier. Use this exercise to make sure you don’t hurt your rotator cuff. Tie the resistance band around a pole or bed post. Stand a few feet away and grab the other end. Rotate your elbow like a door hinge towards you and slowly back out. Control is the key here. Nice and slow, really use those muscles. Switch on other side. 12 repetitions for 3 sets.

rotatorcuffImage Source

3. Single-leg balance. It’s as simple as it sounds. Make sure you have something nearby to hold onto and lift up one leg, so that you’re standing just on one. Hold it for 20 seconds. Switch. Do 2 sets.

4. Laying twists. This is a great stretch for flexibility and stretching out your muscles–especially in your back. Start by laying down and spreading your arms into a T. Now drape your right leg over your left and look towards the right. You want to make sure your hips are twisting. If both shoulder blades are not on the ground, you’re moving your leg a little too far for your body. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on other side. Do 2 sets.

5. Opposite lifts. This is a core-strengthener. Lay down flat on a mat, arms by your side. Lift up the right arm and left leg at the same time. Now, you only want to lift the leg about 6 inches maximum from the ground. This is the point where your tummy really has to work to keep it up. Contract your abdominals. Lower both extremities, and perform on the other side. 12 repetitions for 3 sets. 

6. Cat/cow rotation. This is taken from yoga. Go onto all fours. When you inhale, lift your head up and invert your spine. When you exhale, move your head down and arch your back. Do about 10 rotations, 2 sets. 

Again, these are good for ANYONE. But especially if you’re over 60, put this into your routine. Either when you get up in the morning, during a commercial on TV, or before bed–make time for it. After all, it is your health. If you’re having trouble coming up with a routine and sticking to it, a personal trainer will probably be able to help. And we can always answer questions here.

Cheers! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Starting a Balance Program: It’s Never Too Early!

Working at a YMCA, I work with an older population a lot of the time. This means lots of balance work. Using different exercises, different times, tempos, and so forth in order to prevent adaptation or plateauing. But the thing is, they seek me out because at their age, they have awful balance. However, if you start balance training earlier than later, you will be a happy camper. Proper balance training prevents falls and increases muscles endurance and strength in hips, buttocks, core, and small muscles of the feet. It’s time you started a balance routine today.

It doesn’t have to be a huge long thing. It could even be one balance exercise before your workout to start out. However, if you have the time, I would suggest doing a 20-minute balance routine 2-3x a week. At least!

Benefits of doing a Balance Training Program:

  • Better strength in smaller muscles
  • Stronger core
  • Reduced chance of falling and injury
  • Helps improve the connection between brain and muscles
  • Burns calories as your body struggles to stabilize

Yes, even my younger clients have complained of tiny muscles in the feet, or their hamstrings, or their hips being sore the next day due to efficient balance training. So now it’s time to start your own. Like I said earlier, at least do one balance exercise before your workouts, better to do more, if possible. Here is a list of great balance exercises to add to your routine:

  • Single-Leg Balance. This one is simple. Stand on one foot, posture straight, shoulders back. If you have poor balance or feel unsteady, have a wall nearby to hold onto when needed. 30 seconds each leg.
  • Single-Leg Balance, Eyes Closed. Same as above, but with the eyes closed. Closing the eyes throws the body off, makes it unsure of where it is. Thus, you get more wobbly. Working on this will improve your proprioception (aka, your body’s awareness of where you are even with eyes closed). 30 seconds each leg.
  • Airplane. Stand on one leg and lean your body forward, spreading your arms like wings of a plane. The goal is to get your body (torso) completely parallel to the ground, including the leg that is off the ground. This one is a killer for the glutes and hamstrings. 30 seconds each leg.

  • Heel to Toe [Drunk Walk]. Yes, it’s what you think it is. Imagine you get pulled over and a cop makes you walk in a straight line. I want your heel to touch your toe every time. Back and forth twice.

  • Windmill. Similar to the single-leg balance, but instead of keeping your arms still you are going to cycle them like a windmill. 30 seconds each leg.

  • Supine Leg Raise. For this one you need a foam roller. Place it along your spine, and far up enough that you can rest your head on it. You can touch your hands on the ground, but the goal is to do it with no hands. Slowly raise a leg up and lower it. Then alternate. 12 reps on either leg.

  • Single-Leg Rotation. Stand on one leg, raise the other so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. You can hold your arms out or put them on your hips. For me, it helps to hold them out. Now, slowly turn either to your left or right (depending what foot you’re on). Then come back. This is all on one leg. And you need to do it slowly. Control the muscles. 12 reps on both legs. 

  • Single-Leg Lift & Chop. Same position as the previous one. But this time I want you to lift your arms up and chop across the body, far down. Look at the picture, but without the medicine ball. It is important to not use your momentum. Use your muscles. Control. 12 reps on both legs. 

  • Seated to Standing. This one is simple. Without pushing your hands on your knees to get up, stand from a seated position. 12 reps. 

  • Stability Ball Leg Raise. Most gyms should have them. If you don’t have one, and don’t go to a gym, get one–it’s worth it. There are lots of exercises you can do with it. For this one, preferably with your hands up (you can hold your hips if you need extra stability), slowly raise your leg to full extension. Then slowly lower. Alternate. 12 reps on either side. 

  • Bosu Ball Stand. This one is simple, but there are many variations. Simply find a bosu ball, and stand upright. You may feel wobbly but attempt to stabilize yourself. If this is too easy, close your eyes. If this is still too easy, march your feet. 30 seconds. 

Remember, folks, you don’t have to do all of these. I’m giving you a big list so you can pick and choose, try new ones different days. And if you have poor balance or need more stability, do these with a wall, a rail, or a chair to hold on to. Safety first. Always. You are never to old to start balance training. There are so many benefits. It’s not a waste of time and it will save you big time in the future. Try it out.

Cheers!