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Workouts for Couples to do Together

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
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?

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
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!

8 Healthy Foods that are Actually Bad For You

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8 Healthy Foods that are Actually Bad For You

Discerning healthy foods that are actually bad for you is easy — just stay away from high-fat, high-calorie, and highly processed foods, right?

If only it were that simple.

Even when you try to make smart choices, many so-called health foods are nothing more than a gimmick. Food manufacturers and marketers make it that way to earn your dollars.

Restaurants and grocery stores are chock full of foods claiming to be “healthy,” but that are actually bad for you. Sometimes just as bad as the junk foods you’ve given up!

Here are 8 “healthy” foods that aren’t actually healthy:

Fruit juices

Sure, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they’re also full of sugar. A store-bought fruit juice can contain more than 30 grams of sugar per serving! Something else to consider: One of the reasons fruit and vegetables are so good for you is that they’re full of fiber, which juicing strips out. 

Yogurt parfaits

It’s easy to see a yogurt parfait as the healthy option when you’re at the breakfast counter looking at rows of doughnuts and pastries. And yes, yogurt delivers friendly gut bacteria that are good for digestion. But, when you start adding sweetened fruit and granola it can turn into a sugar bomb. Stick to plain and lightly sweetened yogurt to get those healthy probiotics without all the extra calories! And it’s probably best to stay away from frozen yogurt altogether: it can contain as much sugar as ice cream, and doesn’t offer enough probiotics to be beneficial.

Acai bowls

What’s not to love about a snack that looks and tastes like dessert but is full of antioxidants and fiber? You’ve probably guessed it: the sugar. The acai bowls you get in restaurants pack more than 60 grams of sugar per serving — especially if they’re they’re drizzled with chocolate or other decadent toppings — and hundreds of calories. For an acai bowl that’s actually healthy, make it at home, where you have more control over the sugar content and portion size.  

Granola and trail mixes

Healthy foods that are actually bad for you

One cup of crunchy granola contains more than 400 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 20 grams of sugar (which is why you don’t want it topping your yogurt!), and many store-bought trail mixes include chocolate and other flavorings that boost their sugar and sodium content. For a healthy snack, make your own trail mix at home using your favorite nuts and seeds (try almonds, Brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds), unsweetened coconut flakes, and goji berries.

Veggie chips

A snack that tastes like potato chips but is actually made with healthy vegetables sounds too good to be true — because it is! Most veggie chips are really just potato chips with a little vegetable powder added in for coloring, with just as much fat as the original. When buying veggie chips, make sure vegetables are the first item listed in the ingredients, and while you’re there check the calorie, fat, and sodium contents. For veggie chips that are actually healthy, make them at home by thinly slicing sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, drizzling them with olive oil, and baking them for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

Whole grains

Healthy foods that are actually bad for you

Most foods that claim to be made from whole wheat really aren’t — the grain has been ground up into very fine flour, which can give it a similar glycemic index to white bread. But even true whole wheat can cause inflammation and increase cholesterol, studies have shown. When it comes to whole-grain, high-fiber cereals, you’ll often find they have as much sugar and calories as the sweet stuff you ate as a kid. Check the label to make sure your cereal has less than 10 grams of sugar and at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. And one more thing: Stay away from foods that are advertised as “multigrain.” That only means they contain multiple grains — it says nothing about how refined they are.

Deli meats

Think bread is the only thing unhealthy about a sandwich? Think again. Most deli meat — turkey, salami, roast beef — is often highly processed. It contains loads of nitrates, sodium, and saturated fat, which are bad for your cardiovascular health. Try to stick to organic animal proteins like chicken or turkey breast.

Pre-packaged salads

A salad may be healthier choice for lunch than a sandwich, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy. The salads that are premade in stores or on restaurant menus can contain more than 1,000 calories and tons of sodium, if they include cheese, meat, and croutons. Even low-fat dressing can be bad for you. The fat is often replaced with more sugar, salt, and high-fructose corn syrup. For a healthy salad, make it at home and dress it with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and fresh herbs.

As you can see, discerning healthy foods that are actually bad for you isn’t really simple at all. It requires vigilant checking of food labels and cooking at home as much as possible. It’s well worth the effort!

One way to make sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need — that actually is easy — is with the THRIVE Experience! The 8-week premium lifestyle system was designed to fill in nutritional gaps and help you experience peak physical and mental levels. Try it today!

The Best Tools to Track Your Fitness in 2019

by Le-Vel 0 Comments
The Best Tools to Track Your Fitness in 2019

Accountability is key in any fitness regimen, whether you’re counting reps in the gym or calories in the kitchen. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to track your fitness than ever.

Whether you’re looking to optimize your workouts or just drop a few pounds, there are a plethora of apps and tracking devices to help motivate you and keep you on track. The biggest challenge is choosing the right one!

Options (and price points) run the gamut, but to help you get started, here is a sampling of some of the most popular and best-reviewed activity monitors on the market right now.

Fitbit-Charge-3

Fitbit Charge 3

 The Fitbit Charge 3 tops several lists of the best fitness trackers for its accuracy, battery life, ease of use, and reasonable price tag ($150). It reliably tracks steps, heart rate, and even quality of sleep, and starts recording your workouts once it senses 10 minutes of continuous movement. The user-friendly Fitbit app enables you to connect with a large network of other Fitbit wearers, as well as choose which smartphone notifications to receive on your device.

Fitbit-Flex-2

Fitbit Flex 2

If you’re just dipping your toe in the activity-monitor pool, the Fitbit Flex 2 is a good way track your fitness with minimal investment ($60). It tracks your movements automatically and even reminds you to stand up if you’ve been sitting too long, but doesn’t monitor your heart rate (so while it can tell you how long you slept, it can’t tell you how well). The Fitbit Flex 2 has no display screen, so you’ll need to log in to the Fitbit app or website (which also allows you to connect with other Fitbit users) to access information about your activities.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

On the other end of the spectrum is the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. It’s geared toward experienced outdoor adventurers and will set you back $800 ($1,150 if you want all the bells and whistles). In addition to detailed topographic maps and a compass (which is great for hikers), the Fenix 5 Plus offers tons of analytics for runners, such as cadence and vertical oscillation, in addition to the traditional offerings (pace, distance, calories, etc.). It will also hold 500 songs, give you the weather report, and comes with Garmin Pay.

Apple-Watch-Series-4

Apple Watch Series 4

 More than just a way to track your fitness, of course, Apple’s newest smartwatch offers more features than almost any other tracking device, including an electrocardiogram (ECG) app that’s been certified by the Food & Drug Administration. It also has GPS tracking, an altimeter, Bluetooth connectivity and Siri support. Like most Apple products, it’s not cheap ($400), but has a large contingent of decidedly devoted fans.

Samsung-Gear-Fit2-Pro

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

 Popular among Android users, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro fitness tracker ($180) also comes with lots of smartwatch features, including the ability to store and stream music, sending text messages and making phone calls. It auto-tracks a wide range of activities, offers a nudging feature when you’ve been idle too long, and displays a map of your route when you log a run or bike ride with its built-in GPS.  

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are as almost as many fitness tracking devices on the market as there are workouts, so you may need to do more in-depth research before you find the right one for you.

If you’re more concerned with tracking calories in than calories out, there are plenty of affordable (and free) apps and websites available to you, such as MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, SparkPeople, FatSecret, and Cron-o-meter. You can even sync them with your fitness tracking device, if you’re using both.

Happy tracking!