Research Shows Physical Activity Benefits Are Worth Your Time

We continually hear about the multitude of health benefits of various forms of physical activity. Do you ever ask yourself, what exactly are some of those benefits? Look know further. The following research studies demonstrates the benefits acquired from regular physical activity. The following research studies offers a brief synopsis regarding the benefits from these different segments.

Physical Activity and COVID Protection

A 2021 study published by Kaiser Permanente Southern California of 50,000 people who developed COVID had striking findings. People who exercised for 10 minutes or less a week ended up hospitalized because of COVID. This happened at twice the rate of people who exercised 150 minutes a week. And most importantly, they were 2.5 times more likely to die. The researchers noted that being sedentary was the greatest risk factor for severe COVID. This was even beyond being elderly or an organ recipient.

A Reduction in Anxiety & Stress with Exercise

Exercise is just as effective as mindfulness at reducing people’s anxiety, a 2021 Cambridge University study found. The scientists reviewed 136 randomized control trials with 11,000 adult participants from 29 countries. In most cases mindfulness positively impacted anxiety, stress and depression, but there was no evidence it works 0better than exercise.

A 2020 study from the University of Limerick found strength training only twice a week has its benefits. The subjects performing lunges, squats and crunches led to 20 percent better scores on tests for anxiety. The researchers noted that the effect was larger than expected.

Physical Activity Offsets the Impact of Sitting Too Much

An 2020 study from global researchers, looked at movement tracking data from tens of thousands of people worldwide. They determined that people who were the most sedentary were significantly more likely to die young. The good news: It doesn’t take a whole lot of movement to counteract that threat. Just 11 minutes of brisk walking or other mild exercise each day led to significant reductions in early death. The sweet spot: 35 minutes of moderate activity led to the most longevity gains – no matter how long people sat.

A study in JAMA Oncology (2020) suggests that very sedentary people are roughly 80 percent more likely to die of cancer than those who sit less. The study used epidemiological data and activity trackers on 7,000 middle-aged men and women. They found people who sat the most, were 82 percent more likely to die from cancer. There was a bright spot in all of this. For every 30-minutes of daily movement, the risk of dying from cancer fell by 31 percent. 

Physical Activity Impacts the Aging Process

A 2018 study from Ball State University, tested the cardiovascular health and muscles of people in their seventies. This group exercised steadily for decades. They found that the muscles of the men and women were indistinguishable in many ways from those of healthy 25-year-olds. And these active septuagenarians essentially had the cardiovascular health of people 30-years younger. 

A study from the Cooper Institute and University of Texas, looked at roughly 18,000 people. They found that men and women who are more physically fit at midlife have a much lower risk of depression and death from cardiovascular disease later in life. Compared with those in the lowest fitness category, people in the highest were 16 percent less likely to have depression. More than 60 percent were less likely to have cardiovascular illness without depression. Finally, 56 percent were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Continue to stay strong and active as you age. If you’re not currently active, remember, it’s never too late to start! Regular physical activity may be just what the doctor ordered.

Use Jefit App to Track Your Exercise Progress

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

5 Bodyweight Exercises When You Can’t Get to the Gym

bodyweight exercises

Sometimes you can’t get to the gym. It might be because of bad weather, bad traffic, or maybe you just aren’t feeling the travel there and back. Instead of skipping your workout for the day, here are some bodyweight exercises that you can easily do in the lounge or bedroom. This way, you can fit in the daily exercise you need—without the need for any extra gym equipment!

Before we lay out all the great ways to workout at home, we have put together a workout for those days where you can’t make it to the gym. It’ll load right into the app if you’ve signed up already!

20 Minute Bodyweight Home Workout

Some of the Best Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do

Lunges

Lunges can easily be done using just your bodyweight. Stand with your knees slightly bent, legs hip-width apart. Then take one leg in front of you into a split position and squat down until the front leg is parallel to the floor. Bring your leg back to its original position and change sides.

The great thing about lunges is that you can really add variety and mix it up. Here are some changes you can make:

  • Step backwards with your leg instead of forwards
  • Instead of stepping back from your lunge back into your starting position, remain in the split position and lunge from there. Then after you have completed your set, revert back to the start and swap legs.
  • Walking lunges – Instead of staying in the one spot, move forward with each new lunge, alternating legs. This will really work on your balance as well.

Squat

Bodyweight squats are a great workout. To do the squat, stand shoulder-width apart and bend at the hips until your knees are parallel to your glutes. Make sure you keep your chest up, then stand up to the original position. Just like lunges, you can also change things up with the squat.

Here are some squat variations:

  • Pulse at the bottom instead of standing up with each rep.
  • Only stand up halfway before squatting down again (half squats)
  • Hold the squat at the bottom position to really feel the burn.

Tricep Dips

You don’t need a specific gym bench to work on your arm strength. You can use your bed, chair, or bench at home.

Sit on the bench with your legs bent in front of you. Push off the bench until you are supporting your weight with your arms. Lower your body to the ground, bending at the elbows. Push yourself back up to starting position.

This will give your triceps a good workout. If you want more of a challenge, instead of putting your feet on the floor, grab another bench or chair and place your feet on it so your legs are suspended between the two. Then repeat the same instructions to do the dip.

Make sure that whatever you use, such as a chair, that is is stable and can provide good support.

Plank

We can’t forget core work! The plank is one of the best bodyweight exercises. Get on the floor on all fours, using your forearms as support. Slowly extend your legs until they are straight. Squeeze your core, making sure your hips aren’t too high or low. If your hips are too high, your body will make an upside-V. If it is too low, your hips will be sinking to the floor in the middle. Your body should be in a straight line. Now, hold for 1 minute. If you can’t then go for as long as you can, trying to increase your time with each rep.

Try a side plank as well. This is when you turn your body to face one side, for example, leaning on only your left forearm. Lift your hips off the floor, making sure that you body is once again in a straight line. Extend the other arm into the air above you. Repeat on the other side.

Calf Raises

People tend to neglect their calves but it is good to get some calf exercises in. Stand on a step or block, something to make you elevated. You should be resting on the balls of your feet. If necessary, hold onto something for support such as a wall or chair.

Then lift off your heels as far away from the ground as possible. It should be like your standing on your tippy-toes. Bring them back down in your starting position, then repeat.

Want a challenge? Try doing single leg standing calf raises, which is balancing on one leg at a time only. Then repeat on the other side.

Make a Circuit

Now that you know some great bodyweight exercises, you don’t have to skip your gym time. Use these workouts and make a circuit depending.  You can also change it up depending on different variables.

For example, one circuit might be to do 1-minute of each exercise with 30 seconds rest in between. During that 1-minute, do as many reps as you can do, while performing the move with the correct form for 5 rounds.

In another circuit, you can also set yourself a goal, e.g. 20 air squats, 15 calf raises on each leg, that you have to meet before moving onto the next exercise. Superset it (no rest between each set) until you have finished one round of the circuit. Then repeat for as many rounds as you want.

Bodyweight exercises may use no or minimal gym equipment but they still can give you a killer workout. Try these bodyweight workouts for when you can’t get to the gym, so you can fit in your daily exercise.

Workout with Jefit

Need more ideas for bodyweight exercises? Jefit has a ton of them in our exercise library! Combined with a workout log, customizable workout planner, you have everything you need to have a great workout session. We even offer a members-only Facebook group so you can chat with other Jefit members! Join here today!

bodyweight exercises

More Push-Ups Means Less Likely to Get Heart Disease

Did you know there is a direct relationship between push-ups and heart disease? As it turns out, the maximum number of push-ups you can do, in one attempt, can predict illness in men.

Many athletes and gym-goers alike are interested in how much weight they can lift. Especially, when it comes to exercises like deadlifts, bench press, squat and various Olympic lifts. You hear numbers like “1-RM” often used. This refers to one-repetition maximum or the most weight an individual can lift for one repetition.

There is a research study re-circulating on the Internet regarding the number of push-ups men can do and the impact it has on their health. The study reports that if someone can pump out 40 push-ups, in one attempt, they are less likely to develop heart disease. WOW!

A study was conducted by a group of researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The study tested and followed over 1,100 active male firefighters for a 10-year period. The average age of the men was 40 years old. The results found that men who could perform 40 push-ups were 96 percent less likely to develop heart disease a decade later compared to men who could do only 10 push-ups

JAMA Network Open, 2019

The Benefits of Push-Ups

Building up your capacity to perform more push-ups is beneficial to both a novice or an experienced gym-goer. The push-up exercise is a great compound movement that targets the chest, shoulders and arms. It can be used as part of a dynamic warm-up, used in a circuit, placed in a Tabata workout or added while traveling to maintain strength. Push-ups are also great for building strength or endurance depending on the experience of the person; this will depend on the speed or volume (sets x repetitions) of work performed.

Now that you know there are associated health benefits with doing more push-ups, you’re hopefully motivated to do more or get back into doing them. The number of push-ups is also an excellent indicator of your upper body fitness level.

Push-Up Test

First, test yourself to see how many push-ups you can perform in one-minute. You have basically two options, perform as many as you can and record the number. Option two, do a specific number of repetitions, recover, and continue until your minute is up. Note how well you did using the following guidelines. The key is to perform each repetition in a controlled manner, lowering your body until your chest is a few inches from the floor or the arms are bent at 90-degrees. Here are a few guidelines to see how you initially rate. Don’t worry if you do not score high first time out of the gates. Be more focused on your score following four-weeks when you’ll test yourself again using the scoring format below.

Below Average: less than 15 push-ups

Average: 20 push-ups

Good: 30 to 35 push-ups

Excellent: 40 to 50+ push-ups

4-Week Push-Up Plan

If you are looking to improve upon the number of push-ups you can do, try this 4-week plan.

Week 1: Perform 8 sets of 8 repetitions of pushups. Use strict form. Rest two to three minutes between sets. Perform 2-3 workouts during the week.

Week 2: Complete 6 sets of 10 repetitions with 1-2 minute of rest between sets. Perform 2 workouts.

Week 3: Do 4 sets of 15 repetitions with 1 minute of rest between sets. Focus on performing slow eccentric contractions (lowering phase) with each repetition. Think about lowering your body using a 3 count and “explode” up on a 1 count. Perform 2-3 workouts.

Week 4: Complete 4 sets of 20 repetitions using two minutes of rest between sets.

Week 5: Test Yourself Again

New 4-Week Push-Up Challenge on the Jefit App

Check out this new program on the Jefit app that will help you increase the number of push-ups you can do in 4-week. Jefit is very interested in finding out who can improve the most in this area. We are not interested in the number you can do initially. We are, however, very interested in your improvement after trying our 4-week plan. Let us know how many more push-ups you can do four weeks from now! Try our Jefit 4-Week Push-Up Challenge program – it’s for all fitness levels.

Record and Track Your Push-Ups Using Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout plannerschedule, and exercise routines. It also comes with like-minded people who can help you decide what to eat before and after a workout, share training tips, advice, and wins. Use the Jefit app to get on track with your fitness goals, and join our members-only Facebook page here!

Exercise Training Tips for Beginners

By now, you should already have a mindset for success and your fitness goals in mind—what you want to achieve and why. Now, it is time to implement a plan that will get you closer to these ambitions. This article will give you training tips, the different types of exercises you can do, and the benefits of each.

Why you should exercise

Alongside a nutritious diet, exercise is critical to being fit and healthy. Strictly speaking, if your goal is to lose weight, you can do this without spending hours in the gym. But not everyone’s goal is to lose weight, and it also means you will be missing out on multiple health benefits from exercising.

Most importantly, exercising contributes to your health. It can prevent a range of health problems, as well as help to manage some of them as well. This includes arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease, just to name a few.

And it isn’t only your physical health that will benefit but your mental health. Exercise assists in relieving stress and anxiety, improves your mood with the release of endorphins, and can help boost your confidence.

The difference between body fat and muscle mass

Most of the time, when people want to “lose weight”, they really mean that they want to lose fat but maintain muscle. Exercise can really assist with shaping your body composition so you have less fat and more muscle.

Does this really make a difference in how you look? The answer is yes.

A person who weighs 150 pounds with a high body fat percentage and lower muscle mass will look different to another person who also weighs 150 pounds but with a lower body fat percentage. The latter will look more toned and shapely.

So exercise is vital in working on that body composition.

Training Tips: Cardio vs. Weights

There are a plethora of workouts you can choose from, and the main two categories that are most talked about are cardio and weights.

Cardio?

Cardio refers to any exercise that elevates your heart rate for a period of time. It assists in improving your cardiovascular health and overall endurance.

Some examples of cardio include:

  • Running
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State cardio)
  • Treadmill
  • Elliptical machine
  • Spin (Peloton-type workouts)
  • Rowing (erg)

The American Heart Association recommends, for the average person, cardio training at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. So make sure that you do some cardio to get that heart rate up.

Strength Training

To build muscle and become stronger, you need to strength train. Strength training comes with an array of benefits. It:

  • Builds overall muscle and strength
  • Boosts metabolism – Compared to cardio, strength training has a higher level of excess post-oxygen consumption. This means that your body needs to do more work to return itself to its normal, original state, aka the state prior to your workout. So you will be working more, even after your training! Not to mention, it takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. So the more your strength train and the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn.
  • Increases bone density – This is especially great for older people and pregnant women, who may experience a decrease in bone density. Weight training will help counteract that.

Not only that, but it also helps heart health, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and improves your mood!

Should I do cardio or strength train?

One of our training tips is to try your best to do a mixture of both to get a well-rounded workout regime. You’ll be surprised by how helpful cross training can be. For example, runners may focus a lot on cardio but weight training can actually help them with their sport. Working on their muscles, particularly leg day, can assist in improving their speed, power, and endurance!

It also does depend on your fitness goals, so work accordingly. For example, if you want to get really strong, then you may have more strength training days than cardio and vice versa.

Can women lift weights?

The question isn’t really whether women can lift weights, but more, should they lift weights? In which the answers to these questions is yes, yes yes.

Ladies, adding strength training to your exercise regime is a great way to lose weight, maintain and build muscle and become stronger. And if you are afraid of getting too bulky, this will not happen. You will not get bulky by lifting weights in the gym. You will get lean and stronger.

Focus on compound movements

Try to make compound movements your main exercises for your training—isolation exercises can be used as accessory work. Compound movements are exercises that use 2 or more joints as opposed to isolation which uses just the one.

Beginners will greatly benefit from compound movements as it stimulates overall muscle growth rather than focusing only on one group. You can also work out more muscles in less time.

Examples of compound movements include the squat, deadlift, bench press, pull-ups, Olympic lifting (clean & jerk, snatch).

So how heavy should you lift?

Here are some training tips for you. It is good to go heavy with fewer reps. However, this doesn’t mean you should shun high volume work. High volume training can also help condition your body to lift heavier without fatiguing as early, while also using the correct form (very important!).

Training Tips: Stretching

Warming up and cooling down is vital regardless of whether you are doing cardio and strength training. However, stick to dynamic stretching before your session and leave the static stretching to afterwards.

Foam rolling is also a great way to help with recovery and loosen any tight muscles.

Build a routine

Don’t overthink it—go with what is best for your lifestyle. Some people advocate for morning workouts, whereas others only have time at night. The best routine is the one that you can stick to. Consistency is key in making progress so be realistic at the start of your journey. If you can only go 3 times a week, then do that. As you become more confident, then try to make time for 4 days a week.

Track your workouts

The best way to make sure that you are on track to your fitness goals is to track your progress. Use a notebook or a workout log app like Jefit to record your training.

Tracking your workouts will make it easier for you to see what you did the week before and what you need to do to improve on it. It’s also a really great motivational tool. You look back on your training and see just how far you have come.

Hopefully, these training tips will help you get started on your health and fitness journey. If you need additional help, then why not join the Jefit community? Jefit offers a members-only Facebook page where you can learn from others as well as share your own wins, advice, and stories. Come and join the community now!

Did You Know Exercise Offers These 12 Health Benefits?

Some pass judgement on their diet and exercise plan by what the bathroom scale reads. But that should not be the case. With regular exercise, we improve many aspects of our health and fitness. Sometimes the benefits are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of exercise that you receive from lifelong exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise (Strength & Cardio)

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Health Benefits of Strength Training

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. This in turn can rev up a sluggish metabolism and improve functional ability. All by performing strength training at least two to three times a week for the rest of your life.
  • Strength training slows or prevents sarcopenia – which literally means the “loss of flesh.” We all lose muscle mass as we age – and you can begin to lose muscle around 30 years old. You can also expect to lose muscle at a rate of 10 percent each decade starting at age 50.
  • It plays a role in disease prevention – like preventing or managing type 2 diabetes, as an example.
  • Helps improve the way you move your body resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • An additional health benefit of exercise is – it spares the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1 percent of their bone mass after age 35 and this can increase following menopause.
  • According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 8 pounds of muscle every ten years, with a by-product being a reduction in metabolism of about 50 calories a day.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Regular aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD.
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping, etc. will “load” your bones and in turn make them stronger.
  • Regular aerobic-type exercise improves heart function, lowers your resting heart rate, and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • Speaking of a lower heart rate, here is a health benefit of exercise many people don’t realize. Decreasing your resting heart rate a small amount can he beneficial. Lowering heart rate from 70 to 60 beats per minute, the heart beats 14,400 less times over the course of a day. by the end of a year, that equates to more than five million less beats!
  • The American College of Sports Medicine reports that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in disease risk.

Build Strength with the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong and recover well using Jefit.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

How to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

Working out can leave you feeling a little sore the next day. While a little soreness is nothing to be concerned about, it can also prevent you from really putting in 100% in your next session. If you are wondering help speed up the muscle recovery process so that you can fit and ready for the gym the next day, here are some tools that you can use and their benefits.

7 Tips to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

Cool Down & Stretching

You should never skip your cool down following a gym workout. There are many advantages to cooling down and stretching, and one of them is helping to reduce muscle fatigue.

During your workout, your heart rate would have increased, so your cool down gives it time for your heart to return to its normal state at a more regulated pace. This will reduce the release of lactic acid (which is released during exercise).

More oxygen is circulated around the body, relaxing the muscles. The time you take to cool down is hence so critical to helping speed up the muscle recovery process.

Foam Rolling

A common sight at the gym is people using foam rollers before and after a workout. A foam roller aids in myofascial release; it helps to loosen the muscles and joints while also increasing mobility.

With foam rolling, you release muscle tension, especially if this is done after a gym workout. This is an alternative to a massage, where you can do it yourself. One advantage of this is that you can really focus on areas that are sore for you and spend a bit more time foam rolling there.

If you feel a knot or sore area, try to hold the foam roller over it for a bit long, or even roll back and forth in that space.

Releasing this tension means that you are also promoting better blood and oxygen circulation around the body. This will ultimately help to speed up the muscle recovery process and decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Massages

Massages are a great muscle recovery tool. While once-off massages are useful, to really reap the benefits, it is best to receive regular massages. Long-term use helps to relieve muscle tension, preventing the risk of injuries.

Other advantages of massages include:
– Gets the blood flow moving around the body by dilating the blood vessels, bettering blood circulation
– Loosens muscles, hence increasing range of motion

Dry Needling

Another option to speed up the muscle recovery process is through dry needling. If you are scared of needles, however, maybe it is best to avoid this one.

Dry needling consists of a very thin needle penetrating through the skin to hit a specific trigger point such as a muscle knot. You know when you have hit a trigger point when you feel resistance or a twitch. Once the unhealthy muscle tissue is pinpointed, you use the needle to gently manipulate the area before removing it. This process is repeated several times.

So what is the benefit of dry needling?

Dry needling helps to speed up muscle and tissue recovery. With that twitch or resistance you feel, it sends a signal to the brain to start repairing that damaged area. This will help to restore normal tissue function.

Not only that but dry needling decreases inflammation while also increasing circulation around the body.

Sauna

The sauna is passive heat therapy. If your gym has a sauna, definitely take advantage of it so that you can speed up the muscle recovery process.

The sauna is a room that is heated, which helps the body emulate the effects of moderate exercise. You may feel your heart rate slightly increase and you will most definitely sweat. Not only that, you will also feel your muscles relax.

What the heat does in the sauna, is encourage the waste buildup from your muscles and joints (from exercise) to go to the surface of the skin. This then disappears as sweat.

Not only that, a sauna increases the flow of blood around your body. This means that your muscles are provided with more oxygen, helping in muscle recovery.

By heading to the sauna after a good workout, you will loosen your muscles, which will help to alleviate some of the soreness you may potentially experience.

Cryotherapy

A fitness trend gaining more traction the past few years is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is when you go into a chamber for approximately 3 minutes in sub-zero temperatures. The point of this is to provide a safer and healthier alternative to the typical ‘ice bath’ that athletes and gym goers use to speed up the muscle recovery process.

Compared to the ice bath that promotes muscle stiffness, cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to submit the body to cold temperatures without stiffening the muscles or damaging the skin.

The benefits of this post-workout recovery tool are to alleviate inflammation, pain and soreness. It aids in discharging toxins from the tissues and directs blood flow to your vital organs, improving circulation. This is a big reason why so many pro athletes, like Lebron James, are actually putting cryotherapy tanks in their own homes.

Eat, Sleep and Hydrate

Along with these tools, basic functions such as eating and sleeping well and making sure you stay hydrated can really aid in the muscle recovery process.

A post-workout meal that is protein-rich can promote faster muscle repair and growth. Sleeping well at night gives your body the proper time it needs to rest and recover while staying hydrated can ensure that your bodily functions and organs are all performing at its optimum level.

Hopefully, you would have found one or more ways to help speed up the muscle recovery process in this article. While some should be mandatory after a workout session, such as cooling down and stretching, others like cryotherapy may be new territory. Try out different options to see which ones give you the better muscle relief so that you can head back to the gym feeling 100%.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

What other tools or therapy do you use to help speed up the muscle recovery process? Which ones on this list have you found to be the most effective for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

5 Useful Health & Fitness Products Now and After the Pandemic

Hard to imagine but we’ll soon be ending a year of dealing with this tragic pandemic. One of the by-product of this is we’re more motivated to work at staying healthy and strong for 2021. The following list of health & fitness products will shed some light on a few additional ways to stay fit this year.

One of the more important areas where many need help is with nutrition. Healthy eating during stressful times has a tendency to go out the window. When the body gets stressed, a hormone known as cortisol is released. “Cortisol shunts sugar and fats into our bloodstream” and as a result, makes us crave sugar and fat-rich foods. Now you understand why you get cravings for sweets or junk food. Cortisol is important because it’s needed to regulate metabolism while helping the body to also manage stress.

This hormone, known as the stress hormone, “directs us to store visceral fat rather than subcutaneous fat” according to Professor Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University and author of the new book, “Exercised”. A little cortisol in the body is normal. Chronic low levels of it, however, “are damaging because they promote obesity and chronic inflammation”.

Give More Attention to Nutrition

Over the past year, eating poorly, less exercise, minimal sleep, and feeling stressed-out, have become the new norm. After almost a year of dealing with with the pandemic, and everything that comes with it, we are starting to witness changes in our body. Both physical and mental changes that are just a few of the many by-products via the pandemic.

One of the best ways to help yourself with all of this is to get your diet under control. You can do this by starting to record what you eat. Do this for 5-7 days and include a weekend. Be honest with your food tracking. Use one of the many nutrition apps on the market to help analyze your macronutrient intake. You may be surprised at what you’re actually eating. This can act as a first step to begin to get things under control. Make sure you take a look at your daily added sugar intake while you’re at it. Here are some suggestions to help get you started: Myfitnesspal, LoseIt, Lifesum, MyPlate and Fooducate. These are five of the better health & fitness products when it comes to nutrition apps.

In addition, think about moving to a plant-based diet or a better way of eating, like following a Mediterranean diet, can end up being good for overall health. They each come with a ton of research showing this type of eating can, among other things, bolster your immune system. Lastly, work on adding more fruit & vegetables to your diet, in case you’re not interested in the diets mentioned above. It is a great, inexpensive way, to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Specifically, more Vitamin A, B12, B9, Vitamin C, D, and zinc. A pill or a handful of vitamins will not have the same effect.

Some of the Best Health & Fitness Products – Meditation Apps

Find time to engage in this because it will undoubtedly help to manage your stress. Honestly, it’s one of the best health & fitness items on our list. Finding even a few minutes a day to shut things down to “reboot” and “reset” via meditation will do wonders for your overall health. There are many meditation apps you can download to your phone, two of the best ones are Headspace and Calm. They are both great as an introduction into the therapeutic world of meditation.

Another side avenue to explore is listening to a good podcast during your walk or run outside. Millions of people already know that a good podcast is a great way to create “headspace” not to mention, it keeps the listener informed on topics of interest. For me, listening to “The Daily” published by the New York Times, fits the bill.

Add Bouts of Weekly Recovery

Restoration or “recovery” is needed just as much as a vigorous workout, especially if you’re training hard or a bit older. Recovery can mean different things to different people, but basically the goal is to commit time each day to work on restoring your body. It may come in the form of foam rolling pre/post workout, a therapeutic massage, cryotherapy, or maybe a myofascial release session from a qualified physical therapist. Maybe it’s as simple as having a good old fashion foot soak with epsom salt for 30-minutes one evening to treat your neglected feet. When is the last time you did that? The body also benefits from a good stretch or mobility session. Try an online yoga class or something totally out of your realm to help restore your body. You get the idea. Now is the best time to work on self-betterment.

Exercise Outside: Solvitur Ambulando

We are probably all sitting a little too much these past few months. Make time to get out and exercise. “The total time Americans spend sitting has increased 43 percent between 1965 and 2009”. One of my favorite and most used apps on my phone is called All Trails. It shows the best spots to hike, bike or run – no matter where you’re located or traveling in the U. S. – check it out and find a great course or trail that you never tried in your area. It is also perfect to use when you’re not really familiar with the area while on vacation or away on a business trip. Remember, solvitur ambulando, meaning, it is cured with walking.

Use Jefit App to Track & Assess Your Workouts and More

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts to shake things up a bit. Stay strong with Jefit.

We hope by incorporating some of these options into your lifestyle, they in turn, end up helping you on multiple levels (i.e. improving mind/body/spirit). For the most part our list of health & fitness products are inexpensive ways to improve the way you look and feel.

Reference

Lieberman, D., Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. Pantheon Books: New York, 2020.

Don’t Miss Out on the Great Benefits of Leg Day

benefits of leg day

If there is one day that most people dread at the gym, it is leg day. Often, people tend to skip training their legs in favor of other parts such as the arms or chest. However, there are many benefits of leg day which means that you should absolutely not skip your leg training. To get you motivated to train legs, here are the reasons why leg training day is so important.

What Are the Benefits of Leg Day?

Work Out Your Entire Body

While the arms, chest and shoulders seem to reign supreme in the gym in terms of aesthetics and perceived strength, skipping leg day means that you can create a muscle imbalance in your body. Your upper body will be more toned and stronger than your lower body, which is not what you want.

You want an overall, proportionate figure that is in symmetry. Not only is that better for your body on the inside, it also makes for better aesthetics.

So don’t skimp out on the legs and make sure you evenly workout your entire body.

Reduce Injury Risk

The benefits of leg day also extend beyond appearance. It assists in reducing injury risk. This is because you are training and strengthening your lower body, which can help you across all other sports and activities, even just walking and running.

By incorporating functional leg strengthening exercises, you will be able to work on your hamstrings, quadriceps, and even hip flexors. These are all muscles that you use in your everyday life, so by working on them, you increase stability and endurance.

Leg training is especially important if you play other sports in minimizing injury. Runners, for example, can prevent runner’s knee by incorporating lower body strength training into their routine. So ensuring that you remain in optimal health is always a good reason to do something, like training your legs.

Burn More Calories

Your lower body holds the largest muscle in the body, which is your gluteus maximus. By training this area more, your body will work harder, meaning that you will be burning more calories.

Your metabolism will also increase. This is because the body will require more calories to repair the muscles in this area than it would for the smaller muscle groups.

Improve Your Lifts

Legs are such an important part of your body, especially in terms of lifting and sports. The benefits of leg day mean that you will be able to actually improve other areas of your workout, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

For example, the bench press uses your legs as well. Your legs play a vital role in the bench in providing support and stability, so by working on your lower body, you will be improving your other important lifts.

Help with Other Sports

Not only is training your legs beneficial for gym movements but it is also advantageous for other sports. You get your source of power from your legs and training them means you can increase explosive leg power and balance.

Just think about how much work your legs do when it comes to running and cycling. If you think about it – you really do use your legs a lot and by working on this area, you can really improve your athleticism, speed and endurance.

Work Other Parts of the Body Simultaneously

When we talk about the benefits of leg day, one thing to remember is that it is not just your legs that are going to benefit. In fact, when you work out your legs, you also train other parts of your body as secondary focuses.

Take the squat for example. When you squat, you should also be engaging your core, giving you a good ab workout. When you deadlift properly, you should be working your chest as well.

So if you are thinking about skipping leg day, just remember you will be missing out on more than just leg training.

What Leg Exercises Should You Do?

So now that you know what the benefits of leg day are, what exercises work best? Compound movements are those that engage more than one muscle group. By using two or more different joints, you really get a good workout that forces muscles to work together.

For leg day, focus on compound movements like the squat, deadlift and leg press. Lunges are also a great move that works the hamstrings, glutes and quads.

It is also a good idea to go heavier (but remember to do fewer reps) to really encourage muscle growth throughout the body.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library. It comes free workout routines to help mix up your training, with many lower body exercises so you can reap the benefits of leg day.

Do you agree with these benefits of leg day? What are some of your favorite leg exercises? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

benefits of leg day

Winter Motivation Tips to Get You Out of Bed and into the Gym

winter motivation

Winter is a great season filled with Christmas, the start of the New Year, warm cups of coffee and staying in bed. However, if you are trying to maintain your healthy lifestyle, the cold weather can also be a hindrance to your progress. To help get you out of your cosy bed and into the gym, here are some winter motivation tips.

8 Winter Motivation Tips You Need to Hear

1. Get a Personal Trainer/Workout Buddy

It can be easy to skip your workout time and time again if you have no one there to let down but yourself.

To help counteract this, get a personal trainer or workout buddy.

By having someone there, you hold yourself accountable to not let them down. After all, if they can spend their time making it to the gym for you, then you can do the same for them.

You don’t have to have just one workout buddy either. You can form a group. The more people that you have expected you to turn up to a session, the more motivation you will have to always go. Plus, the cold will be much more bearable if you have your friends there with you.

2. Find a Supportive Community

If you can’t find a workout buddy or trainer, or just want extra support, then find a community of like-minded people. There are many ways you can do this, such as finding group training classes, clubs or even online ones such as with Jefit.

By having people available there at the tips of your fingertips, you can keep up your winter motivation by sending and receiving encouraging messages to keep going. By staying in touch with people who want to remain fit and healthy, even throughout the winter months, you will be more inclined to get out of bed and into the gym.

3. Set a Goal

Waking up to head to the gym in the cold weather can be difficult. It is even more difficult if you have no goal to work towards. This is why one of our winter motivation tips is to set yourself a goal.

It could be to lose x amount of weight by summer or to be able to lift double what you can do now.

By setting yourself a goal, you can a specific motivating factor in mind that will help get you out of bed as opposed to just going to the gym to do whatever.

Whatever goal you set, just make sure that it is realistic otherwise it could have the opposite effect and de-motivate you.

4. Get New Winter Workout Gear

When in winter, wear winter workout gear! This can help alleviate the cold weather and make it easier to go to the gym. Winter workout clothes may be longer skins, thermal tops, tights or windbreakers. The key to remember when it comes to winter clothes is layers, so layer it up!

Don’t underestimate the value of new winter workout clothes. There is nothing like a new gym outfit or accessories that can really pump up your motivation and help you get to the gym. After all, if you look good, you feel good.

5. Change Your Alarm

If you are a morning gym goer, then one way to get your winter motivation going in the am is to set yourself a song that excites you.

Change your generic alarm tone to an upbeat song that really inspires you and gets your blood pumping. Stronger by Kayne West is always a good one to choose.

6. Reward Yourself

To help get you through a workout in the cold, focus on a reward you can have afterwards. A simple reward can be a nice hot cup of coffee or tea afterwards.

A simple drink is one that can really help motivate people because it tastes delicious and warms you up. It will also taste that much nicer knowing that you worked hard for it.

If you heed our first couple of tips and find yourself a workout buddy or community, then you can turn your coffee run into a group reward and use it to socialize with your friends. This will definitely make going to the gym in the cold worth it.

7. Think About Summer

Summer bodies are made in winter. By the time summer rolls around, people start to panic and try to get the beach bodies that they want. Unfortunately, by this time, it is often too late.

By remembering that summer bodies are made in winter, this will give you the encouragement you need to go to the gym.

It will also help to prevent any weight gain from creeping up on you during the colder months. With layers of clothing on, it is all too easy to miss it. By remaining active though, you can prevent this and stay fit and healthy.

8. Look at Your Progress

Nothing can help you with winter motivation than seeing how far you have come. While it takes time to make progress and get results, unfortunately, it takes far less time to lose it all. So look back at your workout log and see how far you have come. 

You’re not really going to let a bit of cold weather undo all your hard work and effort, are you?

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community. With Jefit on your phone, you will be able to share your grip training progress with your fellow gym goers!

What winter motivation tips do you have? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

winter motivation

How To Use Jefit App To Change The Way You Look

Out with the old and in with the new, a new body that is. Nothing like the start of the New Year to get someone excited about the possibilities of looking and feeling better than 2020. A strong body and a healthy immune system are at the top of everyones list for 2021. Especially with the pandemic still in full swing. This article takes a look at how to use Jefit app to improve the way you look and feel for the new year. A year that will be important, more than ever, to stay strong physically and mentally.

Another Success Story Using Jefit App

It takes a great deal of focus and dedication to actually change the way someone looks and feels. Many have been making this happen, though, with the help of the Jefit app, like Steven Duckwiler who was previously featured by Jefit, found here. Most recently, we have Kent Koehler, another Jefit member, who also has made significant strides in changing his body. Congratulation Kent!

What Members Like About Jefit?

Kent Koehler has been using the Jefit app to help him plan and track his workouts since 2014. Kent mentioned, that he used the Jefit app on and off for about 3 years. He never realized the full potential of the apps ability. By January 2017, he started “leaning on Jefit heavily” each day. “Haven’t stopped since. Used daily and is a powerful daily tool in this journey”. 

We asked Kent what he liked specifically about using the Jefit app. He stated that what he really loved was the “the versatility” of the app. He went on to say he liked: “Routines, logging, history and the ability to focus on a bulking, cutting, HIIT. History helps you see the change and realize the progress. The exercise log is wealthy. When an exercise is not there, it can easily be created. You can make an exercise, link to where you found it, and log notes to makes it as complete as it can get personally. 

Jefit Contests

“The contest are good. Motivation at every corner. The contests pushes you to earn and not skip. Consistently earning Jefit iron points benefits me by access and more importantly my goals. The social aspect is fun. The people on here have a common goal to improve their life. Earning better health and looks. So 99 percent are on here to learn, share, and ‘lift’ others up. Solid good motivation. Sometimes you get a comment that can make your day. Other times I am commenting to praise someone without the pressure of trying to creep or hook up. Good, solid support for one another with the right intentions. Feels good to compliment hard work and dedication. Sometimes a compliment is needed and reassurance for someone working hard”. 

What a Typical Week Looks Like for Kent

I stepped into the gym (in 2016) and have not stopped since. Nutrition, exercise, body building has been every day. Few misses, but it is rare and only when I’m exhausted that day.  I workout 7 days a week 99 percent of the time. Some times twice. I do separate body parts on various days and allow rest. Typically, I move between bulking, cutting, and other routines on the app. 

Usually I follow a program 4 to 6 weeks. My goal is to hit cardio, core, and strength each visit to the gym. For a long time I made myself earn my weights with cardio goals first to burn fat. I also focus on heavy training on core, every day. Makes all the difference. My goal is building a better body all together. I now take nothing other than a multivitamin, glucosamine for joint health, and fish oil. I am no longer taking any medications!

Thoughts on Nutrition

What is a typical diet like? Pretty controlled. I stick with my macro goals. Pretty strict through the week. Little relaxed on the weekend. Make sure I stay within range of daily calories. 

To date Kent has lost more than 95 pounds. Amazing job Kent and we here at Jefit wish you continued success and a healthy 2021.

Jefit is a workout app, for both home and the gym, that will keep you on track with your fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the community. With Jefit on your phone, you will be hitting your fitness goals in no time at all. Stay strong with Jefit!

Causes of Back Pain as Explained by Orthopedic Surgeon

Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. Back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the United States. While many of us think of slipped and herniated discs as the many causes of back pain, there are other lesser known causes of back pain. Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo is an NYC area spinal and orthopedic surgeon who explains how less obvious culprits can affect the back. He is the head of The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care and is Board-certified and fellowship-trained. Dr. Okubadejo specializes in the treatment of degenerative spinal disease, spinal deformity, and cervical, lumbar, and thoracic conditions. Here are eight causes of back pain that are not as well known according to Dr. Gbolahan, who is also the developer of 360CoreBoard.

Causes of Back Pain: Kidney Stones

Kidney conditions may cause back pain because the kidneys are located toward the back of your body at the level of your mid-back. Kidney stones are small pieces of calcium that form in the kidney. Many people have kidney stones and are never aware of them, as they are small enough to be passed with urination. However, larger kidney stones that grow in size over time can cause excruciating pain as the body tries to work the stone out of the narrow ureter
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to as “brittle bone disease,” in that increased bone weakness over time leaves bones more susceptible to breaking. You may think of osteoporosis as something that happens to older women. It is true that osteoporosis is most common in older women, but men may have osteoporosis as well. As the bones lose density, or mass, they become weak and more likely to break. The bones of your lower back might break even without any obvious injury, causing lower back pain.
Stress
When you’re stressed, your breathing patterns change and cause strain and tension in the mid-back. Your shoulders hunch up and cause pain throughout the upper and middle back. Low-back pain includes the tailbone and lower half of the back muscles. These muscles affect flexibility and posture.
Sedentary Lifestyles
Many of us spend a lot of our waking hours on our behinds thanks to jobs that have us in front of computers all day. But unfortunately, such a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of chronic low back pain. The answer is to stretch and get moving!

Additional Causes of Back Pain: Poor Posture

Poor posture can either cause lower back pain or make it worse. This doesn’t only mean slouching or slumping at your desk; poor posture could also include leaning on one leg while you stand, or walking with your bottom so far out you have an arch in your lower back. While these postures aren’t inherently “poor” for a moment in time, maintaining these positions for prolonged periods can increase the strain on the muscles and ligaments around the lumbar spine.
Excess Body Weight
Every extra pound adds strain to back muscles and ligaments. Over time, the spine can become tilted and develop an unnatural curvature. Research has shown that obesity poses more than a mechanical stressor on joints: excess body fat also produces chemicals that contribute to joint damage.
Lesser Known Causes of Back Pain: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome is that dull, persistent, crampy, achy pain in, under, and around your sacrum (the area of your back between your hips). PMS-related back pain is a visceral pain — one that comes from a body organ (your uterus) instead of from one of the structures of the back. As your uterus cramps, the pain is referred to your back, and you can have back cramps.
Pregnancy
Lower back pain is one of the many common discomforts of pregnancy. As the weight and size of your baby (and your belly) increase, there is a tendency to tilt the pelvis forward, exaggerating the curve of the lumbar spine. This posture, called lordosis, puts strain on the lower back muscles and may even cause impingement of the sciatic nerve (sciatica). Pregnancy-related back pain can be relieved by strengthening core muscles, maintaining proper posture, and wearing an abdominal support garment meant for use in pregnancy.

Back pain can show up in many different areas of the body. Hopefully these eight lesser known causes can lend a better understanding to those who are dealing with acute or chronic back pain. Stay strong with Jefit!

An Amazing Body Transformation Journey Using the Jefit App

It is a special feeling when all your hard work in the gym finally pays off. The ultimate goal for most people is to hopefully experience a body transformation when it’s all said and done. This change, however, requires months or even years of hard work and dedication to occur. It usually includes hours upon hours of exercise, plenty of sleep and a strict nutrition plan. Proper nutrition is required to get the most out of each exercise session. Eating healthy also plays a big role in keeping muscle and body fat ratios at respectable levels.

One Jefit member, Steven Duckwiler, has experienced this type of body transformation success, losing almost hundred pounds. His journey over the past four years has been nothing short of sensational. You can follow his personal journey on his personal YouTube page, Duck Fitness.

What actually needs to happen in order for your body to dramatically transform over time?

The Right Mindset is Needed to Experience a Body Transformation

Something usually “clicks” with regard to the way you think about yourself, your body or your relationship with food. For Steven it was a few things. One hobby ended (football) and he then decided to get totally immersed in his passion, fitness. With a shift in mindset, he adjusted his eating style. What he did differently on the nutrition side was he started recording and tracking his calories. He began paying more attention to the types of food he was consuming at each meal. He also started tracking his strength workouts, using the Jefit app.

Nutrition & Exercise Play a Critical Role in Successful Body Transformation

The driving force for Steven was to lose weight when he finished up his final season of high school football. During his last year, he served as the varsity offensive line Captain. Following graduation, he started monitoring his diet and became cognizant of his daily macronutrient intake. What he did differently, as previously mentioned, was recording his calories and macronutrients each day. He also tracked his workouts with the Jefit app. As Steven got deeper into his journey, he started learning more about nutrition and exercise. This allowed him to make healthier and smarter food choices along the way.

A typical week for Steven includes weight training 6 times per week (focused around heavy compound movements). He also likes to keep active with cardio, typically light cycling and outdoor activities such as golfing and hiking. As a result of of his dedication and training over the past four years, he has competed in a USAPL Powerlifting meet. He plans on doing a mock meet in December and would like to return to competing in 2021 and eventually bodybuilding as well. His YouTube channel currently has a video of his weight loss journey. He will be posting more videos including his mock meet in December!

Turning Your Passion into a Coaching Career

Steven is studying Kinesiology and will have his degree in 2021. His next goal is to become a sports strength and conditioning coach. He would also like to continue to grow his personal training business working with athletes and individual clients. Steven has been working as an NFPT certified personal trainer since 2018. He has worked with both NFL and collegiate athletes in addition to a wide range of other clients. You can follow Steven on Instagram @steven.duckwiler and his Youtube channel, Duck Fitness.

Since Steven began his body transformation four years ago, he has lost close to hundred pounds. He continues to build metabolically active lean muscle mass with his consistent training. Steven mentioned that he likes using the Jefit app for motivation and to track his strength and cardio workouts. He also plans to use the award-winning app for his training business as a tool for coaching his clients. Congratulations Steven! You are setting a great example for many others who are looking to experience a similar body transformation.

Steven Duckwiler Transformation

Image Credit: Steven Duckwiler

Use the Jefit App to Help With Your Own Personal Health Journey

Millions of members have had great success transforming their bodies using the Jefit app. The app is a customizable workout planner, training log, can track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.