Max Health And Fitness

If you can get fresh peas at the market, a great way to enjoy this summertime treat is in a simple five-minute salad. Simply add fresh peas to a large pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, chill in a bowl of ice water, then drain. To the cooked peas, add olives, feta cheese, green onions, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Enjoy this light, healthy salad with your family. It makes a great alternative to mayonnaise-rich potato or pasta salads at summer barbecues or picnics.

bodyweight exercises video

A total-body workout doesn't have to take an hour or more if you pick the right moves.

Home Workout FollowUP

If you're looking for a straight forward strength training routine that you can do at home without any special equipment, this workout is for you. Former commando Jon Stratford walks you through how to execute each move with correct form so you avoid injury. These moves aren't easy, but Jon patiently points out how to position every piece of your body so you get the maximum benefits from each move. In this video, you'll learn how to perform:

  • squats
  • planks
  • pressups
  • lunges
  • dips
Protein-Packed Pancakes
If you shy away from pancakes because they don’t have enough protein, these moist protein-packed pancakes were made for you! Greek yogurt is thick, creamy and a popular lean protein that gives this dish a tangy flavor. Each satisfying stack of pancakes is topped with fresh blueberries. You can also serve with a ripe banana or maple syrup if desired.
Protein-Packed Pancakes
  • 1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs (50 grams per egg)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (245 grams) 2% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) fresh blueberries (for garnish)
Add dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) to a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla extract and Greek yogurt) until well mixed.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until well combined.
Spray your pan or griddle with cooking spray and place onto stove on medium-low heat. Use a 1/4 cup to portion out pancakes that are about 4 inches in diameter.
Cook pancakes until the bottom side is brown (about 3-4 minutes), then flip the pancakes. You'll notice that these pancakes won't bubble up like traditional pancakes. Leave extra room in the pan because the pancakes may splatter when you flip them.
After flipping the pancake, cook until the other side is brown (about 2-3 minutes). Repeat with remaining batter.
Top pancakes with blueberries, and enjoy.
Nutrition Information
Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 4 (4" pancakes)
Per serving: Calories: 297; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 196mg; Sodium: 676mg; Carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 20g
Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 146mg; Iron: 12%; Vitamin A: 6%; Vitamin C: 8%; Calcium: 21%
Energizing Tips (optional)
  • Serve with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for more calories, fat and protein. (Per serving: Calories: 402; Total Fat: 17g; Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 24g)
  • Serve with 2 tablespoons maple syrup for more calories and sweetness. (Per serving: Calories: 401; Total Fat: 8g; Carbohydrate: 62g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 33g; Protein: 20g)
  • Serve with 1 ripe medium banana for more calories and natural sweetness. (Per serving: Calories: 402; Total Fat: 8g; Carbohydrate: 62g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 23g; Protein: 21g)

woman lifting weights

The weight room comes with all sorts of fun connotations and associations. For some, it's a musty place where people grunt as they throw down weights with their 20-inch biceps. For others, it's a place to do a few curls and leave without taking full advantage of what's available. And some manage to put on their blinders and get a really great workout.

Whether you're looking to refresh your current strength training routine or are starting from scratch in the weight room, we've got answers to many of the frequently asked questions.

Let's start at the beginning: What are all these black and metal things?

Well, there are a few different kinds:


Free weights: These guys can range anywhere from five pounds to 150 pounds. Lighter weights are usually used for single muscle exercises (think: bicep curls, tricep extensions) whereas heavier weights are better for compound exercises (think: shoulder presses, chest or reverse flyes, weighted squats). If you're not sure where to start, grab a lighter weight and work your way up. How do you know if you are using the right weight? You should be able to perform 8-12 repetitions of an exercise in a row and feel fatigued on that final repetition.

olympic bar

Olympic Bar: These all weigh 45 pounds and can be used for many different activities, including the bench press, squat rack, or functional movements like a clean and jerk. Note: You may also see bar weights, which are long bars with set weights on each end. These typically range from 20 to 100 pounds and can be used to perform weighted squats, lunges, shoulder presses, rows, curls and more.


Plates: These are weighted plates that you can add onto an Olympic bar.


Clips: These are used to hold in the plates on your bars. Make sure you secure your plates on or else they will slip off and cause some damage.

bench press

Bench press: This is a flat bench with a bar propped above the chest area. This is how you use it, but if it's your first time using this, seek a trainer to assist you for safety reasons.

squat rack

Squat rack: These machines often get hogged, but if you ever see it empty, grab a friend or trainer and take a turn at it. If it's your first time using this machine, it's really important to have someone nearby to spot you and/or check for good form. To properly prepare your squat rack, begin by clearing off the rack of any weights (but if the person before you had good etiquette, it should have already been cleared). Walk up to the bar and assess it for proper height — it should come right between your chin and mid-chest. If it's too high or too low, lift the bar off the rack and have your partner adjust the holsters where the weight rests.

To perform your first weighted squat, walk in front of the bar while it is still resting on its holsters. Bend your elbows and position your hands slightly behind your shoulders. Place your hands on the bar, positioning yourself directly in the middle. Let the bar rest on the meaty part of your shoulders. Once you feel completely comfortable, gently lift the bar off of its holsters and pause to gain balance. Your feet should be a little more than hip-width apart and you should be standing very tall. From here, keep your chest lifted as you sit into your squat, bending from your ankles, knees, and then hips. Keep your spine long and neutral as you come into your squat and then stand back up.

Again, if it's your first time, ask for someone to check your form.

smith machine

Smith Machine: You may see some of these machines hanging around the gym, too. They are very similar to a squat rack, but the bar is connected by a pulley system to the rack, making you feel a bit safer and supported. It's a good place to start if it's your first time doing weighted squats.


Kettlebells: These funky looking things are known for their combination of cardio and strength training benefits. You can start really basic with moves such as the kettlebell swing, squat press, or pull. Form is everything with kettlebells, so ask a trainer for some pointers before you get started.

Great. Now that I know what the equipment looks like, how do I understand the workouts?
Here's how to parse some of that confusing lingo

"Rep" or "Repetition": When someone says they've done "10 reps," they are saying that they performed one single move 10 times. It's basically a count.

"Set": Reps make up a set. For example, those "10 reps" are known as one set. You can determine the number of reps that make up a set, but it's usually a number in the double digits (or single digits if you're lifting really heavy).

Let's apply this:

"I just did 3 sets of 15 squats, lunges, and push-ups."

This means that one set = 15 reps of squats, 15 reps of lunges, and 15 reps of push-ups. They did that whole set three times.

What about etiquette? Where do I put my stuff? What if the weights get all sweaty?

Etiquette is everything in the gym. Some people are no good at it, but that doesn't mean you should be one of them. Follow these tips to make the most of your (and everyone's) time and experience.

1. Have an idea of what your workout will be so that you don't end up "hogging" equipment.

Sometimes the squat rack is on one end of the gym, while the bench press is on the other end. Instead of placing your towel on both pieces and attempting to "claim" them for 30 minutes, plan one workout (or a few sets) around the squat rack, then plan a separate workout (or another few sets) around the bench press. In peak times, this will be helpful to both you and your fellow gym-goers.

2. Carry a towel and wipe equipment down before and after use.

I like to have two towels with me — one for wiping equipment and another for wiping my own sweat. Many gyms also have a spray bottle or disinfecting wipes. Be kind and clean to yourself and others by wiping down your space.

3. Put weights back when you're done.

If you can lift it up to work out, you can definitely lift it up to put it back. Weights are heavy (crazy, right?), so don't let that job fall to someone else. Put all weights back when you're done using them, and clear off any bars that you have loaded. (If it's too heavy, bro, maybe cut a rep or two next time in the name of courtesy.)

4. It's OK to share.

Especially if it's peak hours, don't be shy about asking someone how many more sets they have on a piece of equipment you want to use (just don't be rude or annoying or ask them mid-squat!). And if you're the one with all the equipment other people want, be open to share requests. For example, if you're doing some movements that use free weights and some that use different equipment, consider letting another lifter use the free weights when you're not.

5. It's OK to ask.

Not sure what you're doing? Ask someone. It doesn't have to be a trainer — although it's preferred — but sometimes the regular gym junkie can at least get you set up. People would rather set you up in good form and with good knowledge than watch you get injured.

By Leo Babauta

real-time-design-1024.png (2730×2730)

One of the biggest frustrations many of us feel is having too much to do, and not feeling like we have enough time to do it. We are overwhelmed.

Of course, having “not enough time” is just a feeling — we all have the same amount of time, but we often fill up the container of our days with too much stuff.

The problem is having too much stuff to fit into a small container (24 hours). If we look at task management and time management as simply a container organization problem, it becomes simpler.

How do we fit all of the stuff we have to do into our small container?

By simplifying.

And letting go.

I promise, with this two-step process, you’ll be able to deal with the problem of “too much to do, not enough time.”

Simplifying Our Tasks

When we realize we’re trying to fit too much stuff (tasks, errands, obligations) into a small container (24 hours), it becomes obvious that we can’t get a bigger container … so we have to get rid of some stuff. It just won’t all fit.

We do that by simplifying what we have to do.

Mindfulness is a helpful too here: pay attention to all the things you do today and tomorrow, and try to notice all the things you’re fitting into the container of your day. What websites are you going to in the morning? In the evening? What games are you playing on your phone? What are you reading? What busy-work are you doing? How much time are you spending in email, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram? How much time on blogs, online shopping sites, Youtube? How much TV are you watching? How much time do you spend cleaning, maintaining your personal hygiene, taking care of other people? How much time driving around or commuting? What are you spending the valuable commodity of your attention on?

What you might realize is that you’re fitting a lot of junk into the container. Toss some of that out. Ban yourself from certain sites or apps until you’ve done a few really important tasks.

Notice also that you’re committed to a lot of things. Those commitments are filling up your life. Start getting out of some of them, and saying “no” to new ones.

Now look at your task list: how many of those things can you reasonably do today? I say three.

If you could only do three things today, which would be the most important? If you’ve ever played baseball, and swung a bat, you know that what matters is not so much how hard you swing, but hitting the ball with the sweet spot of the bat. What you need to do with your task list is hit it with the sweet spot of the bat — find the tasks that have the most impact, that matter most to your life. Choose carefully, because you only have so much room in your life.

Now ask yourself this: which task would you do if you could only do one task today? That should be what you put your focus on next. Just that one task. You can’t do your entire list today, and you can’t do your top three tasks right now. So just focus on one important task.

Clear everything else away, and focus on that.

By picking your tasks carefully, you’re taking care with the container of your time. You can pick important tasks or joyful ones, but you’re being conscious about the choices. You’re treating it like the precious gift that it is: limited, valuable, to be filled with the best things, and not overstuffed.

The Art of Letting Go

What about all the other stuff you want to do (or feel you need to do)? What if it doesn’t fit into the container?

This is where the joyful art of letting go becomes useful.

You have too many things to fit into your container, and you’ve decided to only put the important and beautiful things into the container. That means a bunch of things you think you “should” do are not going to fit.

You can get to those later. Or you can not do them. Either way, they won’t fit into today’s container.

This in itself is not a problem, but it only becomes a problem when you are frustrated that you can’t fit it all in. Your frustration comes from an ideal that you should be able to do it all, that you should be able to do everything on your list. Plus more: you want to travel, workout, meditate, learn a new skill, read more, be the perfect spouse (or find a spouse), be the perfect parent/friend/sibling, draw or create music, and so on.

Your ideals don’t match with reality — the reality is that you can’t do this all today, or even this week. You can choose to do some of them, but the others will have to wait, or not get done at all.

Since you can’t get a bigger container, you need to adjust your ideals. The ideal you choose to have can be this: that this moment be exactly as it is. The old ideal is one that you can toss into the ocean, as it was harming you (causing frustration). Let it go with joy and relief.

The new ideal is that this moment is perfect, and it deserves to be in your container.

Now cartoonists are producing their own interpretations of the revelations in the New York Times of Coca-Cola’s funding of scientists to argue that what you drink has far less to do with obesity than does how much you move.

In Sunday’s Times, Brian McFadden comes to this conclusion:

Here’s the entire strip


The Global Calorie Balance Network (GEBN) scientists say they will have a response to all the criticism (and now ridicule).

GEBN welcomes the opportunity to engage in a global debate and discussion on the science and application of energy balance to promote health and reduce chronic disease. GEBN also welcomes scrutiny and constructive criticism. We respect our critics and ask that they respect us in return. The recent media attention has raised important issues about the goal and mission of GEBN. We have taken these comments very seriously and are in the process of clarifying these issues here on our website. We will have that information available early this week.

I look forward to seeing it.

Beautiful girl is looking at unhealthy donut with appetite. It is situated on a table. Isolated on a white background

You had a hard day at work and feel like you need a reward. As soon as you get home, you reach for the cookies on your kitchen counter. You don't even think about it and just react. In the span of one minute, you inhale three cookies. You had an unpleasant experience and try to cope by reaching for a more pleasant experience.

In the past several years, I have consulted on research looking at the long-term benefits of mindfulness as it relates to weight loss, healthy nutrition, stress resiliency and greater well-being. One of the studies I consulted on observed the relationship between stress and eating. When we feel stressed, we often crave foods that are higher in fat and sugar because these foods reward us quickly with a release of dopamine or serotonin. These neurotransmitters promote relaxation to our stressed nervous systems. This is why we call them comfort foods.

Chronic stress—the kind that can come from a difficult interaction in a relationship or challenges on the job—can turn a switch that elevates cortisol secretion. This, unfortunately, promotes abdominal fat storage.

Want to learn how to be mindful of your stressors and cravings while losing belly fat? Of course you do! Mindfulness is simply paying attention in the present moment. When we slow down and pay attention to what is happening now, we cultivate greater awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body and needs. When we practice slowing down, our nervous system relaxes. We can more easily deal with all the ups and downs of life from a place of calm. This, in turn, diminishes cortisol secretion, leading to less abdominal fat. When we are mindful, we can tune into what we are craving and what is actually wise to feed in that moment. Here's how:

1. Learn to pause.

By learning how to be mindful of what we are hungry for, we can train the mind to notice but not automatically react, based on habitual patterns. In other words, we can notice we want the cookie but not eat it without thinking first.

2. Get enough sleep.

Research reveals that we aren't able to make the best choices about food when we are sleep deprived. I would also include that we are more irritable and have less ability to concentrate and focus, and our overall capacity to deal with life is diminished, when we have less sleep.

3. Learn to label your feelings.

Research has shown that labeling what we experience in the moment lessens our emotional reactivity to the stressor. All of our feelings have needs, so by tuning into your feeling, you can tune into what you need.

4. Surf the urge.

We have many different desires all day long, but if we acted on each one, we would be 2 year olds, not well-meaning, mature adults. If you really want something (sex, those new shoes, food, etc.), notice the desire and then ask, "Can I be with this desire for 20 minutes?" Yes, of course you can. Practice waiting, and if you still want it 20 minutes later, then go for it. What normally happens is the original desire isn't so captivating anymore, and it passes (then we want something else).

I teach about the relationship of mindfulness and cravings in the Blooming Lotus course; our August focus is mind/body health.  

5. Practice patience.

Much of our reaching for the pleasant is due to our impatience with the unpleasant. We can learn to build our patience muscle by slowing down and accepting what is.  I personally find impatience with traffic, so I have a little Post-it in my car that says, "Practice patience." This gentle reminder helps a lot when I do encounter traffic. We all know the saying, "Good things come to those who wait."

Listen to your desires, and see if you can practice surfing the urge. Let me know how it goes!

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