Movements – Lunges

Alternating-Lunge

Lunges are an awesome exercise; you can do them anywhere and the effects can be seen in no time, in the form of shapely, toned legs and backside (just in time for bikini season!). If you’re planning on incorporating lunges into your routine, however, make sure you’re not doing more harm than good. Find out how to do lunges correctly below.

The basics: It’s important to do lunges properly so you don’t put unwanted strain on your joints. Here’s how to perfect your form:

  • Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core.
  • Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Movements – Sit Ups

sit-up

Situps provide a convenient way to tone and develop your abdominal muscles, especially the transverse and rectus abdominus muscles. Defining the latter helps you achieve the much-coveted “six-pack abs.” Situps also target the hip flexors and a muscle called the rectus femoris of the quadriceps. While doing situps alone will not give you a “six pack,” they will improve your core strength without the necessity for any special equipment.

Working the Abs

Step 1

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or mat. Position your heels about 1 to 1 1/2 feet in front of your tailbone. Place your fingertips behind your head or cross your arms on your chest.

Step 2

Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale then tighten your abs and curl up toward your bent knees. Do not pull on your neck. Keep your head in line with your spine, tilting your chin forward slightly as you come up.

You can place a towel/yoga matt under you to support your back.

6 Reasons to Drink More Water

Water-Blog

Drinking the right about of water everyday is critical. How much should you drink? Take your body weight and divide it by 3. Drink AT LEAST that much ounces of pure water every day. For example if your weight is 150lbs, then drink at least 50 oz. of water.

Here are a few benefits of drinking water to encourage you:

 1. Increase Mental Clarity

Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert.

2. Promote Weight Loss

Reduces eating intake, reduces hunger, raises your metabolism and has zero calories!

 3. Flushes Out Toxins

Water is an excellent detoxifier as it helps flush toxins from your body and get rid of waste.

4. Improves Skin Complexion

Moisturizes your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Gets rid of wrinkles. It’s the best anti-aging treatment around

5. Boost Immune System

Drinking plenty of water helps fight against illness

6. Prevents Cramps and Sprains

Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.

Movements – Push Up

The Push Up is a classic body weight exercise for the upper body. There are many variations of the push up exercise – here is a general description of the push up, with a few other variations described below.

Basic Technique

  1. The starting position is facing down with weight distributed on the hands and feet. The body is rigid and straight, and the hands are usually placed approximately shoulder width apart (the plank position).
  2. Lower you body until your chest nears the floor at the bottom of the movement, and then return up to the starting position. This is one repetition.
  3. Remember to move in a nice fluid motion, keeping the core muscle groups activated. Breathe out on the way, and breathe in as you come back up.

Reducing Difficulty

  • The traditional way to reduce difficulty of a push up is to stay in the same position with the knees touching the ground.
  • Another alternative is a wall press. Do this by standing a couple feet from a wall, place hands on the wall shoulder width apart. Keep you torso and legs aligned. Bend your arms and lower your chest to the wall, then straighten your arms and return to the starting position.

Movements – Air Squat

Air-Squats

An air squat, also called a body weight squat, is an effective exercise for both the beginner and the advanced athlete. It uses just your body weight to tone and strengthen the muscles of your buttocks–gluteus minimus and maximus–and your thigh muscles, the hamstrings and quadriceps. Air squats also increase flexibility in the hamstrings and glutes. This exercise is great for women as it targets the problem areas of the butt and thighs. It’s also effective for people on the go who might not have access to a gym or weight-training equipment.

Step 1

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, your toes turned out slightly and your arms resting at your sides.

Step 2

Engage your abdominal muscles and broaden across your chest by gently pulling your shoulder blades in towards each other.

Step 3

Bend your knees slowly, pushing your butt and hips out and down behind you as if you are sitting down into a chair. Keep your head and shoulders aligned over your knees and your knees aligned over your ankles. Keep your weight balanced evenly between the front and back of your feet.

Train Your Appetite

Train Your Appetite

Everyday you come in the gym and train your body. Each session you gain strength and endurance allowing you to push yourself harder. A mile run might seem like a marathon your first time in the gym, but after a while, it could easily become a warm up.

We don’t think about training for nutrition goals the same way. When you begin changing your diet it is never easy. When you cut out sugar…you will crave sugar, but each day you focus on what you’re fueling your body with, it will become easier. It becomes a habit—an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

When we are young hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin, guide our hunger. Levels of Ghrelin rise when your body needs food, while leptin, the satiety hormone, are triggered when you’re full. As an adult, these hormones are not the only factors we rely on to decide when and how much we should eat. Other factors include: emotions, anxiety, stress, social events, boredom, etc.

So how do we train our appetite? Realize that hunger and satiety are ways that your body talks to you and the goal is to be able to listen. With a little training, it will become second nature. Here are your training tips this week:

1. Rate Your Hunger

Monitor your portions and be mindful of where your hunger falls on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being starving and 1 being STUFFED. Attempt to eat when you’re at a 7 or 8 and stop by 3 or 4, when you’re comfortably full.

2. Take Time to Eat

The brain takes 20 minutes to recognize that you’re full, so if you eat on the go or finish meals within five minutes, you can easily over eat. Learn to appreciate your food and slow down when eating. Think about the flavor and the texture of what you’re eating. This will give leptin time to work and help you feel satisfied.

3. Think Before You Snack

If you’re a snacker this tip is for you…Take a step back before reaching for the snack and ask if you’re really hungry. The feeling of hunger might be dehydration or you’re bored or stressed from work. Drink a glass of water or do something quick off your to-do list. If the feeling is still there, grab a healthy snack that you love.

4. REST

Sleep is another key component to being able to accurately assess hunger. Too little sleep causes the up-regulation of ghrelin, which makes you hungrier, while it lowers the production of leptin.

Rockwall County Named Among Healthiest Counties in Texas

Ryan-on-Wakeboard

The City of Rockwall Boasts Health Initiatives and Fitness Opportunities

Rockwall County was recently rated number six in Health Outcomes among the 232 counties throughout the state of Texas that were rated. The study was conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and results were released in early 2014. The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program based ratings on vital health factors, including such things as the quality of air and water, access to healthy foods, levels of obesity, rates of smoking, and education and economic factors.

Rockwall County Judge Jerry Hogan, who has been following this study closely, is very pleased with Rockwall County’s ranking, “We all knew we were living in a great place, and our judgment just continues to be reconfirmed as more and more quantitate indicators such as this are published. We do live in a great place in Rockwall County, Texas.”

The City of Rockwall is a top city in providing health and fitness opportunities to its citizens. Annual events such as the U.S. Open Triathlon and the Gladiator Rock’n Run, both held at Lake Ray Hubbard, establish a healthy culture in Rockwall. With groups such as the Rockwall Running Club (RRC) laying a foundation for fitness, over 8,000 residents participated in running events held in Rockwall last year, driving the Road Runners Club of America to designate Rockwall as a Runner Friendly Community in 2014. According to RRC member Rhonda Mishler, Coach Barrett Hopper keeps the Rockwall Running Club “motivated and on the move,” organizing events such as the Patriot Half Marathon and the 5K Race for Nate held annually on Memorial Day in Rockwall.

Mishler went on to say, “I can tell you that being a part of this club has enhanced my motivation to get healthy and stronger. The club has a huge membership and is comprised of a vast array of people from all walks of life. Whether you are a new runner, or a well-seasoned ‘elite’ runner, the club has a program to meet your needs. There are runners of every pace, so there is always someone there to pair up with when you come out at 5 a.m. to run the streets of Rockwall, or the track at Williams Stadium. There are also evening coordinated runs. We are blessed with a fantastic group of people who are always willing to mentor, to challenge and to help everyone meet their goals. Our motto is ‘No runner left behind.’ This group goes beyond the running part of gathering; we have developed treasured friendships and are there to help each other outside of just the running aspect.”

Clubs and Events are not the only factors that make Rockwall County Healthy. The city of Rockwall has numerous parks, walking trails, swimming pools and sports facilities to draw its residents. Even many of the city’s businesses have joined the ranks by adding health initiatives and opportunities for their employees. The Rockwall Economic Development Corporation encourages businesses and citizens to use its sidewalk loop in the Rockwall Technology Park for walking and jogging, and opens it up as a venue for the annual Rockwall Cycling Event.

“Corporate walking groups have become very popular among the businesses in the Rockwall Technology Park,” said Sheri Franza, President & CEO of the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation. “Every day, many business employees and Rockwall residents walk the Park, building friendships and collaborating on business opportunities. When individuals feel physically, socially and emotionally fit, they make greater contributions to their company and community.”

Other companies have built on that lead, as well. L-3 Communications ComCept has the Choose Good Health Program, which offers incentives to their employees to have health assessments and physical exams done regularly and also offers free services such as flu shots and preventative screenings. L-3 provides health and nutrition literature to its employees, a Wellness Fair and Fitness Programs at local gyms. Whitmore Manufacturing recently added a fitness room to their new building, which offers treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical machines and a universal system. Special Products & Manufacturing (SPM) offers the Wellness Challenge to their employees, educating their associates on their health coverage plan and taking advantage of preventive care. The Wellness Challenge consists of four steps, all geared toward healthy outcomes, and provides monetary incentives for meeting the challenge. SPM also offers free flu shots and reduced costs for memberships at 24 Hour Fitness.

The County Health Rankings study concluded that the opportunities provided by a community greatly affects the overall health of its citizens. As Rockwall continues to grow and advance, health is not being left behind but encouraged and nourished among its population, making Rockwall among the most elite of cities to live in.


About Rockwall Economic Development Corporation

The Rockwall EDC is committed to building Rockwall with quality and purpose while being the economic engine and gateway for premier business opportunity in the State of Texas. Since 1996, the REDC has broadened and diversified the Rockwall tax base through new business attraction, land acquisition and development, progressive infrastructure, corporate business expansion and job creation. With shovel ready sites available in the 400 acre Rockwall Technology Park, and access to major interstates, airports and railroad, Rockwall is a strategic business location. For more information about Rockwall EDC or the Rockwall Technology Park, (972) 772-0025 or visit rockwalledc.com.

The Best Fitness Trackers

The Best Fitness Trackers

Getting into shape, losing weight and moving more each day are all really tough to do. An activity tracker can help! Seeing how much exercise you get (or don’t get), day by day and week by week, can motivate you to start taking the stairs more or walking the dog an extra lap around the block. At the very least, it will make you more mindful of your present activity level, which is a huge first step to getting fit.

New devices turn up on online shopping sites every month. But not all of them track everything you’d expect, and not all are worth your money. If you’re shopping for your first activity tracker, I encourage you to find one that will be best for you and your needs. Here’s information on the top three:

  • Jawbone Up24

Are you in the market for a nearly weightless fitness tracker? Look no further than the Jawbone Up24. Ditching a built-in display makes it one of the lightest wearables available, weighing in at a scant 20 grams coupled with a comfortable soft exterior.

While the Up24 lacks a display of any kind, it syncs every step and your sleep data to a gorgeous smartphone app. All your biometric data is then displayed clearly with with bar graphs, line charts and all with so many colors. The Up24 will also periodically tug at you with reminders to get up, plus users can setup personalized challenges that go beyond burning more calories. For example, you can set goals to get more sleep or make sure to drink a healthy amount of water everyday.

A superior, though more expensive, follow-up dubbed the Jawbone Up3 is being readied with a brand new design and extra sensors, though it’s been quietly delayed.

  • Fitbit Charge

Welcome back to the best of list, Fitbit. Sure, the Fitbit Force was recalled due to causing skin irritation, but it was among the best step and calorie burning counters to wear on your wrist. It’s back sans all of the rashes as Fitbit Charge, and it has the same OLED display, metrics and form factor. There’s a some new stuff here too: a texturized rubber design, slightly easier-to-buckle clasp and caller ID functionality.

Alternatively, the Fitbit Charge HR adds a heart-rate monitor for a bumped up price, while the Fitbit Surge (which we mention later on among the best fitness trackers) is the company’s “Superwatch.” Those are tempting features, but most people will be satisfied with the Fitbit Charge’s basic metrics and syncing.

  • Nike FuelBand SE

It’s an oldie but a goodie. The Nike FuelBand SE was announced way back in November 2013 but it’s still one of the most stylish and effective fitness trackers to ever come out. Sporting a hard plastic band, the FuelBand SE is small and discreet as a regular – if a bit stiff – wristband. The dot matrix LED display makes for an easy to read digital clock and lights up with rainbow colors whenever you’ve accomplished your goals.

The FuelBand SE is also one of the most goal-oriented fitness trackers, gamifying the act getting fit with fuel points awarded for every little completed workout. At the end of the day you can see how close you came to your fuel point target as well as your total calories burned and steps taken. Beyond traditional exercises like running, you can also set the Fuel Band SE to quantify activities like yoga and bowling.

Have you tried any of these fitness trackers? What’s your favorite?

Quick & Healthy Lunches Employees Can Pack To Work

Many hard-working Americans lead insanely fast-paced lives, struggling to find the time to balance work, family and life in general. This tends to leave personal health goals on the back burner. With little time for meal planning and preparation, many reach for the most convenient food option, which is typically not the most nutritious option.

Below are a few time-saving techniques and quick, healthy lunch ideas. With just a little preparation and planning, anyone can be successful at staying on top of their nutrition and health goals without taking away too much time from daily life.

Time Saving Techniques:

  • Prepare lunch the night before or cook dinner in bulk and pack the leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • During the weekend, prepare healthy sides to pack in lunches to save time during the week. Pre-portion healthy sides into ziplock bags such as almonds, grapes and baby carrots.
  • Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy, grab-on-the-go items such as yogurt, apples, and lara bars.
  • Use reminder notes so that you don’t run out the door without your lunch! Many people aren’t in the habit of packing a lunch and often forget their lunch at home. Sometimes we need visual cues when we are forming new habits.

Quick, Easy, YUMMY Lunches

1.Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Grilled Chicken Breast

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. chicken breasts
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup black beans (optional)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 vine tomatoes
  • 2/3 bell pepper
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 zucchini
  • 5 tbsp mozzarella (optional)
  • Seasonings such as cayenne, paprika, sea salt, pepper, or Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 405 F.
  • Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake until firm but soft, about 45-50 minutes.
  • Season chicken with Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle, cayenne, paprika, and dash of sea salt, and cook in a nonstick skillet. Set aside.
  • Chop vegetables into small pieces.
  • Saute garlic and corn in a nonstick skillet using spray coconut oil. Once corn is seared, toss in vegetables and black beans.
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half and carve out part of the insides. Set carved-out portions aside to be used later.
  • Spray sweet potato halves with coconut oil, then place back in oven for 5 minutes.
  • Fill sweet potatoes with vegetable mixture, then top with 1 tbsp mozzarella.
  • Bake for another 8 minutes at 405 F.
  • Serve chicken breasts on the side with stuffed sweet potatoes.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving Size (1 potato and chicken breast)
Recipe yields 5
Amount per serving
Calories 405
Total Fat 2 g
Total Carbs 50 g
Protein 48 g

2. Breakfast Omelet Roll-Ups

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 oz lean ground turkey
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/3 cup bell pepper
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • Directions
  1. Season and cook a lean ground turkey in skillet, drain.
  2. In a separate skillet, cook the whole egg and egg whites.
  3. Add goat cheese, spinach, bell peppers, and ground turkey.
  4. Roll mixture and wrap in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate, and heat up when ready to eat.

NUTRITION FACTS
Serving Size (1 egg roll-up)
Recipe yields 3
Amount per serving
Calories 350
Total Fat 11 g
Total Carbs 1 g
Protein 50 g


Quick and Easy Side Options:

  • 1 cup grapes + 100 calorie almond pack
  • 1 cup berries + 6 oz. yogurt
  • 1 apple + 1 peanut butter to-go cup
  • 10 baby carrots + 2 tbsp. hummus
  • ½ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup pineapple chunks