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What’s a HIIT Workout and Does it Really Work?

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What’s a HIIT Workout and Does it Really Work?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could reap the same benefits of spending 60 minutes on the treadmill in half the time?

If your answer is yes, then you’ll understand why HIIT workouts have become so popular. HIIT workouts help you improve your endurance, heart health, and muscle tone in less time than traditional cardio exercises.

The catch? It’s intense.

Read on to learn all about HIIT and why it has spread like wildfire through gyms across the country.

What’s a HIIT workout

What’s a HIIT Workout?

HIIT — which stands for high-intensity interval training — is a cardio workout that alternates between short bursts of very hard work and even shorter periods of rest. It can be done with almost any exercise or a combination of different exercises: running, cycling, burpees, squats, pushups, you name it. What defines a HIIT workout is the pacing.

In HIIT, the bursts of activity typically last between 20 and 90 seconds, during which you should push yourself to your limit, working at at least 90% of your capacity. You should not be able to hold a conversation or say more than a few words at a time.

The level of intensity can take some getting used to! But because they are so intense, HIIT workouts tend to be short, lasting no more than 30-45 minutes.

Rest is just as important as the activity bursts in a HIIT workout. If you’re not resting, you’re not doing it right! HIIT forces your body to acclimate between two different states repeatedly, which provides great cardio conditioning. Rest isn’t just a feature of the workout — it’s the point!

The most common HIIT ratio of work to rest is 2:1. For example, you would work for 60 seconds, rest for 30, then repeat. The Tabata Protocol is probably the most well-known kind of HIIT workout. To do Tabata, you work for 20 seconds and rest for 10 for a total of 8 rounds (4 minutes).

HIIT beginners can start with a 1:2 exercise-to-rest ratio. As your aerobic capacity improves, switch to a 1:1 ratio, then 2:1.

What’s a HIIT workout

What are the benefits of HIIT?

HIIT is an awesome way to optimize the time you spend working out.

Research has shown that with 15 minutes of HIIT, you can achieve more progress than in an hour on the treadmill. According to one study, two weeks of regular HIIT workouts can improve your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.

Some of the other benefits of HIIT:

HIIT burns fat and boosts metabolism. High-intensity workouts create an oxygen shortage, which causes your body to consume more oxygen during recovery. This “afterburn effect” is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which helps burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic exercise. It also boosts your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you’ve completed the workout.

You can do it anywhere. Because you can do HIIT with almost any type of activity, you can do it anywhere — at home, on the road, or in the gym. No equipment needed!

It can help you get shredded. Whether you’re doing bodyweight exercises or adding dumbbells, kettlebells, or medicine balls to your workout, HIIT tones your muscles while spiking your heart rate.

HIIT is scalable. HIIT workouts can be done at any fitness level! Push yourself to your personal limit during the bursts of activity. It’s not a competition.

Want to get a feel for HIIT? You can do it in 4 minutes! Try doing Tabata with your exercise of choice: Work at 90% capacity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10, for 8 rounds.

The Benefits of Eating Leafy Greens

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The Benefits of Eating Leafy Greens

Green is good. We associate the color green with all sorts of good things — nature, health, and prosperity, for example.

It’s also good when it comes to the color of the food you eat!

Leafy green vegetables are the ultimate health food: They are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients.

Some of the benefits of eating leafy greens are:

    • Healthy skin and bones
    • Improved brain function
    • Lower blood sugar

Greens are also excellent detoxifiers: The chlorophyll in greens binds to heavy metals and toxins in your blood and carries them out of your body.  

What’s more, they’re high in magnesium, which can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and the antioxidants and polyphenols in greens can reduce inflammation, which helps lower your cancer risk.

Read on to learn which greens are the most beneficial and suggestions for how to eat them!

Arugula

A green with small leaves and a slightly peppery taste, arugula is full of pro-vitamin A carotenoids as well as vitamins B9 and K. It’s great to include in salads or to use as dressing (in place of iceberg lettuce, which has fewer nutrients) on your favorite sandwich.

Beet greens

 Beets are nutritious, and so are their leaves! Beet greens are rich in calcium, fiber, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamins A and K. Throw them in a salad or soup, or saute and serve them as a side dish.

Collard greens

 Packed with calcium, folate, and vitamins A and C, collard greens are often simmered with ham or bacon and served as a side dish. You can also toss them into a soup or casserole to give it a healthy boost.

Endive

Delicious raw or cooked, endive is full of folate and vitamins A and K. Eat it on sandwiches or toss it into stir frys, pastas, soups, and casseroles.

Kale

 Nutrient-dense kale has become the poster vegetable for healthy eating. Just one cup of raw kale provides more than 600% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, 200% of vitamin A and 130% of vitamin C! Roast it to make kale chips, or add it to soups or a smoothie.

Microgreens

Typically measuring 1-3 inches, microgreens are immature greens produced from the seeds of herbs and vegetables and can contain 40 times more nutrients as their mature counterparts! Toss them into salads or a smoothie, or add them to sandwiches or wraps for a healthy crunch.

Spinach

One cup of spinach delivers 180% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K and more than half the recommended daily value of vitamin A. Eat it in salads, pastas, soups, casseroles, or add some to a smoothie.

benefits of eating leafy greens

Swiss chard

Packed with potassium and vitamins A, C, and K, Swiss chard is a great addition to soups and casseroles. It’s also tasty as a side dish sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

Turnip greens

The leaves of the turnip plant are even more nutritious than the vegetable itself! Turnip greens are rich in calcium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. Try substituting it for kale or spinach in casserole and pasta recipes.

Thrive Boost

While it is always best to get vitamins and minerals from whole foods, it’s not always convenient — or even possible — to do so.

You can still reap the benefits of eating leafy greens even when they’re not in season, you’re traveling, or simply don’t have time to cook. Just toss a packet of THRIVE BOOST into a smoothie or simply mix it with water. THRIVE BOOST is a premium beverage that delivers the same phytonutrients you find in leafy greens in a delicious berry-flavored drink — and it’s available year-round!

Stalled on Your Goals? New Year’s Resolution Help is On the Way!

Stalled on Your Goals? New Year’s Resolution Help is On the Way!

Do you need a little new year’s resolution help? How are you doing?

Studies show that more than half of all new year’s resolutions fail. One third of them don’t even make it to February! So if you’ve slipped back into old habits, be assured that you are not alone.

Don’t throw in the towel yet! You can still salvage those goals. Here are some tips to get you back on track.

Stick to one goal

When it comes to new year’s resolutions, help yourself by keeping it to just one. Trying to modify too many behaviors at once is overwhelming — and a good way to succeed at none of them, especially if you’re making major lifestyle changes.

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that it’s most effective to focus on one goal at a time, so choose the one that matters the most to you.

resolution help

Make your resolution SMART

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but what does that mean? SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Specific – Instead of saying “I want to lose weight,” say “I want to lose 20 pounds by December.”

Measurable – If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you’ll want to get on the scale regularly. But what if your resolution isn’t easily measured? Log your progress in a journal or take photos of yourself following your new routine. This will help you track your behavior and tie it to concrete results.

Achievable – Challenge yourself, by all means. But don’t be unreasonable. Unattainable goals only set up you for disappointment and failure.

Relevant – Make sure you’re pursuing your goal for the right reasons. Are you doing it because your spouse (or mother, or friends, or society) think you should, or because it’s important to you?

Time-bound – Set a timeline for your resolution, including incremental goals that you can measure along the way. If you’re making a lifelong change (say, quitting smoking), recognize and reward yourself for your hard work in the shorter term.

Be flexible

Things don’t always work out as planned. Being open to tweaking your schedule or even your goals will help you keep your new year’s resolution.

For example, say you resolved to run 3 days a week, and you start waking up an hour early to go for a run in the morning before work. But say you oversleep one morning and miss your run. Do you say “Well, I blew it!” and throw up your hands? Of course not! Go for that run after dinner — or the next morning — instead!

Or maybe after a few weeks of running in the morning you find that you’re rushing through your shower and commute and ending up a sweaty mess at your desk. That doesn’t mean you have to stop running — maybe running in the morning is the problem. Try running at night!

Plan for roadblocks

You will inevitably encounter obstacles on the road to self-improvement. Be prepared!

Say your resolution is to cut back on sweets, but you know that your coworkers always bring doughnuts into the office on Fridays. How will you handle it? Pack yourself a tasty but healthy snack that will satisfy your cravings without derailing your progress.

resolution help

Be kind to yourself

Mistakes happen — it’s not the end of the world! A lapse doesn’t have to turn into a relapse.

If you slip up once, pretend it never happened and just move on.

But if you keep slipping, take a step back and try to figure out where the breakdown is happening. Are you failing to plan? Are you giving in to moments of weakness? Learn from each of your hiccups and devise a plan for preventing the next one.

If your resolution was to quit drinking soda but you find yourself reaching for a Diet Coke every afternoon at 3, try to figure out why. Are you looking for a caffeine fix? Maybe a cup of hot tea or a piece of dark chocolate would do the trick!

Whatever you do, don’t give up! You have more than three quarters left of 2019 — plenty of time to turn your resolutions into reality. Keep going!

Workouts for Couples to do Together

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Workouts for Couples to do Together

Workouts for couples might not sound like an effective way get a good sweat in, but in fact, they are a great option.

If you ever feel like you have to choose between prioritizing your fitness and spending time with the people you love, consider this win-win scenario! Workouts for couples benefit both sides!

Working out as a couple increases intimacy and strengthens your bond, giving you the opportunity to support and rely on each other in new ways. Plus, the encouragement from your partner can push you to new levels of fitness, not to mention make exercise a lot more fun.

You don’t have to be at the same fitness level! Just driving to the gym together — even if you split up when you get there — boosts the accountability factor and shows your partner you’re committed to both of your fitness goals.  

Of course, you don’t need a gym membership to reap the benefits of joint exercises. There are plenty of workouts for couples to do together at home (or anywhere), whether you’re running, biking, doing sit-ups or push-ups.

But to pump up the fun factor, try some of these couple workouts with your significant other or best pal:

Workouts for couples

Bodyweight squats

One person holds the bottom of the squat position while the other does jump squats (or regular squats) for 10-20 seconds, then switch.

Backward-forward lunges

Stand arms’ length apart, facing each other. Step into a forward lunge as your partner steps backward into a lunge. Alternate for 2 sets of 20 reps.

Seated twists

Sit facing each other with your knees slightly bent and your heels planted firmly on the floor. Lean back on your tailbone, keeping your back straight. Pick up a weight or medicine ball and move it back and forth, touching the ground on either side of your hips for 10 reps while your partner holds the position, then switch.

Passing sit-ups

Sit opposite each other with legs locked and take turns doing sit-ups, either slapping hands in the middle or passing a weight or medicine ball back and forth for 30 reps.

Wheelbarrow push-ups

Assume the push-up position, then have your partner lift your legs by the ankles and hold them while in the bottom-of-the-squat position as you do 10 push-ups. Switch.

Plank hold and lateral jumps

Have your partner hold a plank position while you jump from side to side over him or her 10 times, then switch.

Facing planks

Face each other in the plank position with your arms straight (like the top of a pushup). From here you can alternate hand-slaps, or take turns doing 10 pushups while the other holds a steady plank.

Alternating burpees

From standing, touch your chest to the floor, then pop up onto your feet and jump with your hands overhead. Then your partner’s turn. Do 30 reps each.

Alternating box step-ups

Stand facing each other on either side of a sturdy box or step. Take turns stepping up onto and off of the box for 30 reps. For a challenge, jump on the box with both feet, then step down.

Leg adduction

Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides with your legs straight up in an L position, then allow them to fall open into a V shape. Try to pull your feet back together as your partner provides resistance by pushing your legs down toward the floor for 20 reps, then switch.

Wall sits

Stand back-to-back and sink down into a wall-sit position, using each other for balance. Hold as long as you can.

If you want to optimize your couple workouts, make sure both you and your soul mate fuel up with THRIVEFIT to help increase lean muscle mass and facilitate a faster recovery. And have fun!

How Many Carbs Do You Need Per Day?

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How Many Carbs Do You Need Per Day?

Great! You’re thinking about cutting carbs, but need the answer to the question, “How many carbs do you need per day?”

Dozens of studies have shown that following a low-carb diet is an effective way to lose weight. Low-carb diets have also been shown to improve other health markers like blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

But how low can you — or should you — go?

In this post, we’ll talk about what carbs are, why you need them, and how many you can cut from your diet. Read on!

How Many Carbs Do You Need Per Day

What are Carbohydrates?

Found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products, carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. They’re called carbohydrates because they contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into their simplest form, glucose. The  glucose then goes to your muscles and tissues to use for energy, and some gets stored in your liver (like a reserve tank). The excess is stored as fat.

Carbs are one of the three macronutrients (protein and fat are the others) which your body needs in large amounts to work properly. They provide fuel for your muscles and nervous system.

In order to do anything — think, breathe, digest food, exercise — you need carbs.

“Good Carbs” and “Bad Carbs”

There are two kinds of carbohydrates: Simple (the “bad” kind of carb) and complex (the “good” kind). The difference between them lies in their chemical structure and, consequently, how quickly the sugar is absorbed by your body.

Simple carbs, which contain just one or two sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides), are easier for your body to break down, so they go directly into your bloodstream. This creates a quick burst of energy — and causes your blood sugar to spike.

Simple carbs are what you find in things like snack foods, white bread, rice, pasta, cake, candy, and soda; they are devoid of nutritional value. They’re also easy to overeat since they don’t help you feel full!

Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) are found in fruits, starchy vegetables, and whole grains. These carbs contain three or more sugars and take longer for your body to digest, so they provide more sustained energy.

So don’t worry about cutting out all carbs — just the bad ones!

How Many Carbs Do You Need Per Day

How Many Carbohydrates Should You Eat a Day?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbs should make up 45 to 65 percent of your daily caloric intake. That means if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, you would shoot for 225-325 grams of carbohydrates each day.

These are just guidelines, of course, as everyone has different nutritional needs. People with type 1 diabetes, for example, are advised to eat fewer than 200 grams of carbs per day.

If your goal is losing weight, you should aim for 50-150 grams per day.

For reference, a slice of pizza contains more than 30 grams of carbohydrates, but little in terms of vitamins and minerals. An orange contains about 11 grams, but also delivers healthy fiber, vitamin C, thiamin, folate and antioxidants.

Carbohydrates and the Keto Diet

When your body runs out of glucose, it starts burning fat. As the fat is broken down, your body produces ketones, which becomes your primary source of energy. This metabolic state is called ketosis.

In ketosis, your body runs almost entirely on fat, which can result in rapid weight loss — hence the popular “keto” diet. You can cause ketosis through dramatically cutting your carb intake (or fasting).

For most people (although, again, everyone is different) to get into ketosis, they should eat no more than 35 grams of carbs per day. Some keto dieters try to eat less than 20 grams per day. The fewer carbohydrates you eat, the faster you’ll reach ketosis.

If you enjoy carbs too much to limit them to less than 35 grams per day (or if you are diabetic), the keto diet may not be right for you. Fortunately, simply decreasing your intake of carbs to less than 150 grams per day can create similar results.

Whether you’re eating a low-carb diet to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, or simply feel your best, make sure the ones you do eat pack a nutritional punch!