Sweat, Baby Sweat

Pic for Blog- Sweat, Baby Sweat

Now that the weather is changing, our bodies begin to embrace the warm weather. Although, some people’s bodies embrace it more than others with a little thing called sweat. Personally, I am a hot box. I am always warm, uncomfortable, and 99% of the time I am sweating. My friends always laugh at me because my closet consists of every style of shirt you could imagine, in one color…. black. I am sure some of you can relate, sweat doesn’t show when you wear black!

Sweating was something that I always use to be embarrassed of. I purposely never use to raise my hand in class, wore tanks in the middle of winter, and even tried some of those deodorants that would help you “not” sweat. I forked over the money and bought a dose and thought it was great, until it was 2am and my armpits were on fire and nothing other than sleeping with cold washcloths in my armpits helped soothe the pain. So instead of continuing to torture myself, I decided to embrace it. Everyone sweats, so I decided to spread the word. Here is information, facts, and reasons why sweating is perfectly normal and nothing to be embarrassed of.

What is a pore? A pore is a small opening on the skin where sweat is released. We have millions of pores all over our body; even in areas we wouldn’t think we would. This is why we sweat in all areas of our body, not just under our arms. Pores can become clogged with dirt if you have poor hygiene, which can cause infections. Looking for another reason to take 2 showers a day? There it is! (What is a Sweat Pore?)

What is the purpose? When our body sweats, it means that it is heating up. By releasing sweat through your pores, the body is cooling down. The reason that some people’s sweat stinks is because it mixes with bacteria in the air.  After awhile, it creates that pungent body odor the kid next to you in the gym has (because you never smell, right?). You also might notice that your cheeks become rosy red whenever you start to perspire. This is because when sweat is moving towards the surface of the skin, blood is able to move closer to the skin, which is where the red appearance comes from (Health Benefits of Perspiration).

So after understanding the science of why it is good to sweat, now do you realize that it is a positive thing? Everyone has different reasons for sweating, whether it is exercise, stress, embarrassment, excitement, etc.

Here are some other great facts about sweating:

  • Sweating helps cleanse the body of toxins.
  • Yellow underarm stains are caused when proteins and fatty acids leave the body in your apocrine glands, which makes thick and milkier sweat.
  • Men sweat 40% more than women (except me!)
  • Cows sweat from their noses.
  • Hippos have red sweat.
  • During intense exercise in the heat, athletes have the ability to sweat off 2-6% of their body weight (it’s called water weight).
  • One of the most important: You don’t need to sweat in order to lose weight! (Raising your heart rate helps you lose weight and sometimes people just don’t ever sweat when they raise their heart rate!)

Sweat is a great thing, and if we all start to embrace it and not be embarrassed, life will be MUCH easier. So the next time you see someone with large dark circles under their armpits, don’t laugh at them. Walk over to that individual and give them a HUGE high-five because sweating is normal and I feel bad for those that don’t have water fountain underarm pores like me! (Maybe not)

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going.”

~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: What is a Sweat Pore?, Health Benefits of Perspiration, Cool Facts on Sweat, Sweats Facts

From Jessica to Daisy (Dukes of Hazzard Workout)

Pic for Blog- Dukes of Hazzard

The phrase ‘hard work pays off’ has to be one of the most spot on phrases when it comes to the fitness world. Working hard, eating right and getting enough sleep every day does the body wonders. Go ahead and listen to all of the success stories around the world, but the one that can truly put the phrase into perspective is Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazzard. Now we may not all have the motivation of your body being shown on 50-ft Cinema movie screens around the world, but it is a prime example of how with the correct mindset, anything is possible.

Jessica Simpson spent weeks and weeks in the gym working hard and eating right for the role. “When I found out I got the role, I went straight to the gym,” says Jessica. Jessica also had the luxury of a personal trainer working with her every single day. She went on a workout regimen from her trainer, Mike Alexander, which consisted of squats, running, and other weight-resistance exercises to overall lean Jessica out and tone her up. She worked out for nearly two hours every single day to get in the best shape of her adult life.

She strayed away from carb-loaded foods like bread and her favorite sweet, banana pudding. Her trainer called the diet she went on a ‘don’t eat crap diet’ which pretty much was a lower carb, higher protein diet consisting of a lot of grilled chicken, fish and fresh, green vegetables. When Jessica cheated in her diet she found herself immediately resenting that she did and made herself work twice as hard the next day in the gym and added new exercises, extra sets, or extra running. “I watched my diet and was in the gym to walk proud,” she says. “My body is definitely an accomplishment.”

The trainer she had practically lived with her during the close to three months she trained for her part in the movie. He ate with her during ever meal she ate, told her what was okay to order, and told her what to stay away from. He also released the exercises on a website I found, including why he had her do each exercise.

Getting Simpson into Daisy Duke shape “was never about fat loss,” says her trainer Michael Alexander. “She never once stepped on a scale. It was about taking on a different shape.” Simpson would start her 2-hour sessions with a 5-minute jogging warm-up, then weight-resistance exercises and 30 minutes “booking it” on the treadmill, says Alexander. He describes key moves for her legs, rear and upper body:

• BODY-WEIGHT SQUATS: Stand with hands clasped in front of you. Do 25 reps for 2 or 3 sets. These will firm your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

• FORWARD LUNGES: Step forward and back, alternating feet, to tone your quads and glutes. Do 8 to 10 reps for 2 to 3 sets.

• REVERSE LUNGES: For a glutes and hamstrings workout, step back off a short box or step 14 times on each leg. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

• TRAVELING LUNGES: Walk across a room doing lunges with a straight back leg. (You should be leaning forward slightly so your head is in line with your back leg.) This works out every muscle from your waist down.

• PRONE-KNEELING LEG EXTENSION: Get on your hands and knees and have your spine straight, hands below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Bring one leg up, creating a straight line from head to toe (do not point toe). Alternate legs for 10 reps for 3 sets for a firm behind.

• BICEP CURLS FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Stand in a lunge position so that your back leg is on the ball of your foot. Holding dumbbells in each hand, do 18 bicep curls for 3 sets. This position also works out your abs.

• LATERAL RAISE FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Immediately after the bicep curls, switch legs in the lunge position and raise your arms straight out to either side while holding dumbbells. Do 18 reps for 3 sets. This tones your deltoids.

When people see movies like The Dukes of Hazzard, they see movie stars like Jessica Simpson and see how perfect she looks on and off screen during this time. It was literally her job to look as good as she possibly could for the time that she was recorded. She put in hours on top of hours with a personal trainer/nutritionist following her every move to make sure she was going to be able to look the way she wanted, and would punish herself for ever mistake she would make with eating or drinking. Once the movie was over, she took a break from working out too because of how hard she worked herself! Remember this when you try and compare yourself to someone like her or any movie star you see. You can always put in the work, but you just have to remember what they went through as well. Let them be your motivation and remember…

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Have Your Ice Cream, and Your Diet Too

Pic for Blog- Have Your Ice Cream, and Your Diet TooDo you love ice cream? Do you spend your time daydreaming about its creamy texture and rich flavor? Is your mouth currently watering thinking about that very first bite of deliciousness? Even in the coldest of winter months will you drive to the store to buy some ice cream, because you just can’t resist? If this sounds like you, listen up; there may just be hope for us ice cream lovers to have our ice cream…and our diet too.

The number one down fall to loving ice cream, besides being potentially dairy sensitive, is that it may seem hard to eat it without ruining your diet. Well if you simply can’t go on without ice cream in your life (me), you may find these tips helpful for at least managing your love.

First, lets start off with the obvious, portion control. Going to the grocery store and buying a gallon of ice cream may seem like a fantastic idea, but it’s a diet killer. Ideally you’d bring that bad boy home and eat a small bowl then put it in the freezer, but we all know seconds are only a spoonful away. Save yourself from the temptation and pass on the large buckets. Buying a pint size of ice cream isn’t a whole lot better. Although it may seem tiny, it can actually pack 4 servings of ice cream into that container. Eating a pint of ice cream in one sitting isn’t that hard to do either, so your best option is going to an ice cream place or restaurant and buying a single scoop. Not only will this allow you to have a proper portion of ice cream, but also once you leave the store half the temptation leaves with you. Out of site, out of mind.

My next tip is being wise about your toppings. If you find yourself in a situation where a bowl of ice cream is the only option, try adding some fruit to that bowl and give your body some vitamins! Blueberries are a super fruit and can offer tons of health benefits. For more info on that check out this article. If you’re not into eating fruit with your ice cream, sprinkle some dark chocolate shavings for a sweet taste and extra boost of antioxidants.

Next up, be aware of what you are putting into your body. Some store bought ice creams are loaded with tons of ingredients that you may not even be able to pronounce. Try sticking with the ice creams that have simple ingredients like milk, eggs, and sugar. Hagen Das 5 would be a great example of this, they offer ice creams made up of five ingredients found in the typical fridge. The more aware you are with what you are putting in your body, the better.

My last tip is to try an alternative. I know this kind of defeats the purpose of eating real ice cream but hear me out! Last year I bought a Yonana maker, and absolutely love it! It makes ice cream out of frozen bananas. You can add other ingredients such as chocolate or frozen fruits, but all you truly need are frozen bananas. It tastes slightly different than real ice cream, but if you’re serious about sticking to your diet, this option will trick that sweet craving into thinking you’re eating sweets! For more info on where to purchase a Yonana maker click here!

I hope this helped you realize there may be hope for us ice cream lovers after all!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

Let’s Talk Choc!

Pic for Blog- Let's Talk ChocIt’s the 16th hour of Day 26. 14 Days remaining. Life lacks meaning and joy and is instead a cold harsh expedition. This is the log of my days without the one thing that I lose all willpower when it comes to its magnificent and monumental presence. This is a log of my days without…chocolate.

Wait! Before you double check the website url, this is still a fitness blog site. You did not accidentally click a journal of a food addict. This is me admitting to you that as someone who tries to maintain a healthy diet, has its faults when it comes to sweets, especially chocolate. I chose to give up chocolate until Easter and let me tell you it’s been a long 26 days so far. With that being said, I am going to use this experience to talk about chocolate and how to curb chocolate cravings by making tasty and healthy alternatives!

  • Cocoa nibs: Cocoa nibs are also referred to as “nature’s chocolate chips”. They are peeled and crumbled from whole cocoa beans and obtain a rich and yet pure chocolate flavor. They have plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. If you want to make a clean desert or just want to satisfy your sweet tooth try sprinkling these on yogurt, mix them with trail mix, or just eat them out of the bag like I do!
  • Carob: This alternative contrasts from regular processed and sugary chocolate and has less chemicals. The cocoa bean naturally has a bitter flavor that is deluded with sugar, more so for milk chocolate than for dark chocolate. In addition to all of the sugar added to chocolate is complimented with oils, milk or cream. All of these added ingredients result in the product being hard to digest. Carob is a favorable alternative because it originally does not have a bitter flavor or grainy texture so it does not need sweetening or smoothers (oils and milk products).
  • Date Bars: Dates are naturally sweet and rich tasting, therefore they pair with the bitter taste of raw cocoa nicely. This recipe for Chocolate-Coffee Date Bars uses dates as the sweetener to overpower the bitter raw cocoa instead of sugar. This treat includes baking chocolate (100% cocoa) almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, dates, raw cocoa or unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and teaspoon of expresso powder.

Although giving up a guilty pleasure such as chocolate can be difficult, I am always up for a way to apply creativity to my diet and these a few ways that you can too. A lot of us may think that finding a tasty alternative for chocolate is impossible, but you may be surprised as to all of the clean desserts that are possible. One of my favorite recipe sites My Clean Treats has plenty of recipes for delicious healthy desserts. Get creative and try whipping up a sweet concoction that’ll prove that you can have your cake (or date chocolate bar) and eat it too!

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero