3 Reasons Better Sleep Can Improve Your Fitness

Working to achieve peak fitness is an effort that never ends. As soon as you reach your goals, there is always going to be the question of either maintaining them, or setting new ones to hit. In among all of that, there are the marginal improvements you can make when it comes to getting the most out of your potential. For example: while we all know about the importance of diet and exercise when it comes to reaching your peak, how much attention do you pay to the – arguably equally important – issue of sleep?

Sleep isn’t just a way to recuperate energy at the end of a long day; the quality and the quantity of rest you get at this crucial time has major implications for your health, both physically and mentally. Also, when it comes to your improvements in the gym, you’d be surprised just how influential a decent night’s sleep can be in the mix.

If You’re Not Sleeping, You’re Not Gaining Muscle

The physical process of building muscle is, in its simplest form, actually kind of brutal. To achieve this goal, you are literally breaking down the muscle (micro tears), then letting it heal, forming stronger fibrous bonds. This healing does not happen immediately, but actually takes place overnight, particularly while you are sleeping. In other words, if you’re not sleeping, you won’t get the most of your muscle building workout. You’ll also find that the next time you hit the gym, you won’t be able to do quite as much as before.

Sleep and exercise exist in a tandem, in which each benefits the other and gives the best results for both. Not only that, when you get a good night’s sleep, your body will produce the optimum amount of growth hormone, which is essential in delivering the benefits you want.

Quality of Sleep Matters as Much as Quantity

You’ll surely know how it feels to wake up in the morning, having bedded down at a perfectly reasonable hour but then been assaulted by insomnia, snatching an hour of sleep here and a few minutes there in between tossing and turning and occasionally looking helplessly at the ceiling. Nothing feels quite right in the light of day after a night like that – you’ll be grouchy, your energy won’t be there, and even a gym session will not shake that weird feeling.

There are no sure-fire cures for insomnia, but there are a few things you can do to make it less likely. Leave your phone alone for at least an hour before bed; for that matter eliminate all TV and other screen time. In addition, meditation, has been shown to have a positive affect on insomnia. There are other things that you can do as well, but those are a few highly beneficial ones.

Exercise Can Help You Sleep: So That’s Good

While a good night’s sleep is beneficial for getting the most from your workout, there is a bit of good news to be had here. The reverse is also true – if you have a regular exercise routine, it should benefit the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting. As long as your diet regime is well-judged (so lots of clean proteins and as little caffeine as possible), your workout should burn plenty of excess energy, leaving you feeling pleasantly spent at the end of a day and ready for a night of uninterrupted sleep.

It’s great if your workout makes you feel pumped and full of fire, but that hyped-up feeling should be left in the gym. If you’re still experiencing the side effects of adrenaline while you’re getting ready to hit the hay, then there is a problem. A regime of light stretches at the end of every routine should allow you to get some equilibrium before you get in the shower.

Sleep is of vital importance to any fitness regime, and to all aspects of your physical and mental health. If you find that you are struggling for that essential restful sleep when you go to bed at night, then take every effort to find a way of improving things; including speaking to a doctor if it becomes chronic. Sleeping well is a foundational building block to everything else in life, and is the most important thing in any wellness routine. By following the above advice and working as hard as you can to establish that routine, you’ll see the best results both in the gym and beyond.

Use the Jefit App to Track Your Workouts

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. In addition, the app 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.

Five Tips to Keep You Healthy Inside and Out

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There’s so much more to looking good and feeling fit than building up muscles. Fitness starts within the body and is a combination of fitness of the mind and body. The western culture has lost the connection between the mind and body, so we embark on the latest fitness craze and fad diet, only to fail a few weeks down the line. Reconnecting the mind with your fitness goals will help you to achieve a lifelong regiment of good health.

To really focus on fitness goals you need to feel fit on the inside. You also need to feel good about yourself. If there is anything you can change do it! For example, perhaps you’re feeling stressed at work, which is causing you to choose unhealthy foods or alcohol as a quick fix?

Here are five tips to help you develop a healthy mindset in order to meet your fitness goals and most importantly, stick to them!

Regular Health Checkups

Make sure to attend all of your regular health checkups to check on your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. This will ensure you have a clean bill of health for starting any exercise regime and will flag any potential health concerns. Make sure you raise any concerns that you have with your physician.

Eat Healthy

The old adage of “you are what you eat” is true and not just an old wives tale. If you eat foods that are considered healthy, you will automatically feel healthier. Try to avoid processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and unhealthy fats. Include in your diet fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain foods, protein and keep hydrated with plenty of water.

Sleep

Sleep is our bodies opportunity to regenerate. Getting too little or too much sleep can affect our physical and mental health massively. A lack of sleep can affect the whole body, causing lack of concentration, reduced motor skills, impaired immune system and even our cardiovascular health. Feeling exhausted will tempt you to eat unhealthy foods as your body will crave carbohydrates and sugar to give you energy.

Try to get into natural daylight during the day. Artificial lights and darkness doesn’t provide us with a clear definition between night and day. Avoid looking at your smartphone before bed and don’t drink any caffeine after 2 pm. If all else fails visit your medical practitioner.

Exercise

The combination of exercise and a healthy diet are what ultimately enables you to reach optimal health. Have clear goals and start gradually. Mix up your routines, for variety so that you don’t become bored. Seek expert advice from personal trainers as to how to develop the best routine for you. Most importantly, use Jefit app to help track and stick to your goals.

Be consistent and make small changes to your life. Once you have formed the habit of keeping yourself healthy – you are on your way. Exercise helps decrease stress in your life, in addition to keeping you healthier, both mentally and physically.

Work on Your Mobility

Mobility refers to the ability to move freely around a specific joint. When you have healthy range of motion (ROM) in all the joints, your body is free to move and adjust to its position in the most efficient way. As a result, activities and movement are more natural and less restrictive. When you have sufficient joint mobility you also get more out of your workouts at the gym. As a result of inactivity, chronic stress, and aging, your ROM and mobility begin to decrease. It is important that a regular mobility routine is incorporated into your exercise program. Specific areas should be addressed to improve joint mobility such as the hips, shoulders and lumbar and thoracic spine as a start.

Use the Jefit App to Keep You Healthy

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep track of their fitness goals. Not only does it give you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Losing Body Fat Short Term Improves Life Long Term

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Today, much of the population struggles with being overweight. The mortality rate of the population worldwide is higher for obesity-related conditions than for anorexia-related issues or starvation. Our obesity rates result from a variety of factors, such as excess consumption of fast food, food manufacturers bombarding their products with harmful ingredients, and our excessive sedentary lifestyles. The result is an eventual increase in body fat over time.

If you’re currently overweight or obese, losing body fat can reduce your risk of developing many health complications that could potentially be serious. Even a slight weight loss (and maintenance) of 5 percent of your current total body weight can offer health benefits. Shedding those extra pounds can be akin to pulling teeth, though! And as we get older, our metabolisms tend to slow down, compounding the problem even further. Therefore, we must make the distinction of approaching weight loss as a healthy, sustainable lifestyle involving balanced nutrition and exercise instead of a diet or, worse yet – a dreaded crash diet!

Let’s take a look at some reasons why staying lean and getting into shape will help you and your life in the long run.

Reduced Risk of Developing Diabetes

Being overweight increases your chances of developing type-2 diabetes. One’s BMI plays a strong relationship in diabetes and insulin resistance. The more excess weight your body carries, the more resistant your tissue and muscle cells become to the insulin hormone. People who have type 1 diabetes also need to keep their weight under control. An abundance of fatty tissue can make it difficult for insulin to work correctly, leading to raised insulin levels and trouble controlling blood sugar.

Lower Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure can pose chronic health problems—the risk of developing high blood pressure triples for adults with excess weight issues. On the positive side, each pound of weight loss can lead to a drop of one point in both the upper (systolic) and lower (diastolic) number readings in your blood pressure measurements.

Less Joint and Knee Pain

Did you know that around four pounds of extra stress get placed on the knee joints for each additional pound you carry? So, for example, A 150-pound person who is 10-pounds overweight will add 40 more pounds of pressure to every step. But that same person would experience a 30-pound pressure relief if they achieved a total body weight loss of 5 percent.

Reduced Heartburn

The bad news is extra body fat places excess pressure on your stomach, which can force a reflex action of stomach acid up into the esophagus, resulting in that fiery heartburn discomfort. The good news is dropping weight relieves some of this pressure and eases the effects of heartburn.

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Extra Energy!

By losing some weight, you’ll feel more energized! The more body fat you accumulate, the harder your body has to work to carry out essential functions and movement, resulting in that sluggish and lethargic feeling. The body needs more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that powers every cell, which is why you feel tired. However, when you manage to shift the body fat, you use up less ATP resulting in higher energy levels for all the tasks you wish to carry out! Overall, you feel better and healthier.

Improved Sleep

Overweight individuals are more susceptible to having poor quality of sleep and possibly even experiencing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a troubling condition characterized by multiple pauses in breathing occurring throughout the night. Reducing weight can often minimize sleep apnea episodes, letting the person finally catch a good night’s sleep!

Increased Self-Esteem

In short, losing body fat and getting in shape makes you feel good about yourself on all levels – body, mind, and soul! You look better, which in turn boosts your self-esteem. You have more confidence to tackle daily interactions and feel more positive about life in general.

Following a healthy and balanced diet that includes all your macro and micronutrients is key to shedding body fat. Your daily meal plan should involve each of the major food groups, as well as vitamins and minerals. The primary food groups include proteins, complex carbs, healthy fats and oils, dairy or non-dairy alternatives, fruit and veg, and vitamins and minerals. Be sure to practice sensible portion control as well. A good rule of thumb for the portion size of protein and starches is the size of the palm of your hand. The rest of the meal should be constituted of plenty of fresh veggies, fruits, and salads. In addition, be sure to integrate exercise and movement into your life routine.

We can take some inspiration from the way the French maintain their diets. They tend to remain in shape naturally. But, how do they do it, you ask? In general, they don’t indulge in overeating, and avoid processed foods and instead opt for fresh, natural ingredients. They will typically enjoy a small healthy breakfast, including cereal, yogurt with fruit, or muesli or bread. Lunch and dinner will include conservative portions of meat, veggies, and carbs, and some cheese and coffee to round off the meal.

More Apt to Exercise

Ensure exercise, movement, and activity are a part of your daily routine and that you enjoy them. It could take many forms, such as the gym or home training and doing cardio, weight training, strength, or resistance training. Or you might be someone who likes sports or activities like tennis, swimming, yoga, and other outside or indoor activities. Focus on building your lean muscle up, as muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, thus speeding up your resting metabolic rate.

The ultimate goal of fat loss is to improve your overall health and well-being, so you can lead a long and prosperous life and experience a good quality of life right into your old age. If you feel stumped and overwhelmed about tackling weight loss on your own, you might find it helpful to consult the following wellness services.

Use Jefit App

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.

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4 Things to Watch with Your Body Post Workout

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When you’re working out, you can push yourself, at times, well beyond your comfort zone. After all, who ever got fit by feeling a little bit of discomfort, and then throwing in the towel, right? There are a few things, however, your body may be trying to tell either during or after a work out. It is important to always pay attention to how you feel during and after a given workout. If you don’t, you may not catch the early warning signs of a potential injury. If you want to know what your body may be telling you post workout, read on!

Persistent Pain

A common misconception about working out is that pain is just a sign that you’re overloading your muscles. You may be thinking you’re pushing your body adequately in order to make it stronger. Most people don’t believe that there is anything wrong with this. Some think the “no pain, no gain” adage is the correct mentality. Meaning, an overwhelming sense of pain in your body, will ultimately produce gains in strength and size.

The issue, though, could be you’re doing harm to your body, and you should never ignore these signs. A bit of aching and muscle fatigue is pretty normal after exercise. A stabbing pain, however, is certainly not, so don’t underestimate how important this may be. Even if the pain passes after a while, it is a good idea to get it checked out by your physician before it becomes persistent.

This is also important if you have any underlying health issues, such as heart problems. If you start to experience pain in your chest, don’t just keep it to yourself, and know what the heart attack symptoms in men and women are. You’ll be glad that you educated yourself on what could go wrong, in case anything ever actually arise post workout.

You Feel Dizzy When Working Out

Another warning sign of a potential issue when you are working out is dizziness. If you’re feeling light-headed and dazed when you’re exercising, this may not a good sign. There are many things that could be causing your dizziness, such as hypoglycemia, but it’s also important to know when you actually need to take the plunge, and go and see a doctor.

Sometimes, you may be dizzy just because you’ve been moving around a lot, and it has thrown you off balance a bit. You’ll know if this is the case, because this will usually pass pretty quickly. It can also be caused by holding your breath for prolonged periods of time, as the lack of oxygen to your brain can also throw you off a little.

However, you can experience light-headedness and dizziness because you’re pushing yourself too hard in a workout, and your body just can’t cope with it. Your brain may not be able to get oxygen fast enough, and whilst this isn’t a health issue in small doses, it can present some risks. Know when to stop, and don’t ignore dizziness especially during or post workout.

You’re Not Sleeping Well

While this is not something that may not present itself as an issue when you’re actually working out, you may want to ask yourself whether your sleeping patterns have changed since you started hitting the gym. Insomnia is one of your body’s ways of telling you that something is up, so don’t ignore it if it’s happens.

Your insomnia could be caused by an increase in cortisol, which is a direct result of exercising. While the hormone cortisol can be a good thing, it’s also associated with other issues, too. When cortisol levels start to rise at night, they can increase the chances of you waking up more, or not sleeping at all.

One way to avoid these issues is to ensure that you don’t work out too late at night, but the main thing to avoid is workouts where you’re doing too much, for too long. If you’re exercising at a level that is simply too intense, your sleeping may be affected. Know when to stop, for the sake of catching those important zzz’s.

Nervous System on Overload

This is worth reading into if you’re a science lover, but basically, too much intense exercise, and/or stress, can negatively effect your sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your body that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response. Keeping this in balance is key, so don’t push yourself harder than you need to, and always keep an eye on your mental and physical health.

If you’re unsure about anything that your body is telling you post workout, go and see a healthcare professional, sooner rather than later, and you’ll be glad you did this, if for nothing else, it will put your mind at rest!

Use Jefit to Monitor Your Body & Workouts

Jefit app, named best app for 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The 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 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.

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How to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

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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!

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8 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Fitness Progress

Fitness Progress

There are many common mistakes that both gym goers, and at home exercisers, make that ultimately could hinder their fitness progress. It can occur while in the gym or involve external factors such as eating and sleeping.

If you are not seeing the results that you want, then take heed of these common mistakes that prevent your fitness progress from really taking off, and make the necessary changes to solve them.

Are You Making One of These 8 Mistakes That Are Hindering Your Fitness Progress?

1. You’re Not Eating Properly

This is probably the biggest mistake oversight that gym goers make.

You may be not eating the correct foods, eating too much or in some cases, not enough.

  • Not eating the correct foods

Do you workout hard at every gym session and then go home to reward yourself with junk food? What you eat makes a significant difference to your fitness progress.

Most people make the mistake that because they are training that it means they can consume lots of junk and sugary foods as a reward.

In fact, it can be so detrimental to your progress and can be one of the main reasons why you are not hitting your fitness goals.

While you shouldn’t become too overly obsessed with what you eat, try to eat healthily most of the time, and don’t forget to give yourself the occasional treat as well.

  • Eating too much

On the other hand, you may be eating healthy foods most of the time but be overdoing it. Even though the foods that you are consuming are considered healthy, it can still hinder your progress if you eat too much. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are trying to lose weight.

Try to cut down on portion sizes and see the difference that it makes. Just be careful of the next point, which is:

  • Not eating enough

Not eating enough isn’t just about what you consume but the quantity. Some people tend to overeat while others may not be eating enough.

If you are starving your body of the essential nutrients that it needs, it may cause it to hold onto that stubborn fat you are trying to lose, or minimize your ability to build size.

You need food to fuel your body.

Depending on your fitness goal – whether it is to lose fat, maintain your weight or build muscle and size – your dietary needs will differ. Make sure you are eating accordingly and you will be able to see what a difference it will make to your fitness progress.

2. You’re Overtraining

Training consistently is important but so are rest days. If you are constantly training and not giving your body sufficient time to rest, you can be potentially minimizing your performance.

Your body needs to have time out so that it can recover properly and be ready for the next workout. Make sure you incorporate rest days into your workout routine so that you are not overtraining.

3. You’re Not Sleeping at Night

One important aspect of overtraining and resting properly is not having enough sleep at night. If you are finding it difficult to get enough hours of shut-eye at night, you will find that this can affect your performance, hence slowing down your progress.

It can be difficult to get enough sleep, especially in this on-the-go lifestyle. Try to set a sleeping schedule where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time.

Doing this consistently will help it become a habit and your natural body clock will become accustomed to it.

4. Your Workouts Aren’t Consistent

On the other hand, some people may not be working out enough to see the results they expect. Skipping the gym for a couple of weeks before smashing out an intense two-hour gym session one day will not compensate for the missed time.

You need to make sure that you are heading to the gym on a regular basis. And what “regular basis” means does depend on your routine and preferences.

You may prefer one-hour sessions five times a week focusing on specific body parts. Alternatively, you may choose to only do 2-3 full body workouts a week.

As long as you are going consistently, you will see results.

5. You’re Not Doing the Right Exercises

There are so many exercises that you use in your workout but depending on your fitness goals, you have to find the best workouts for you.

It can be daunting knowing which ones are best, so investing in a fitness trainer or app that helps to simplify this process is a great way to help you in this area.

6. You Train Without a Plan

One way to help make sure that you are doing the right exercises is by using a training plan. Heading into the gym with no plan except to use whatever machines happen to take your fancy will not get you results and your sessions will not be effective.

Taking the time to plan means you can maximize not only each individual session but all your sessions as a whole.

A way to assist with this is to keep track of training logs using a gym workout tracker. This will help you determine what workouts are getting you the results and which ones are not. Then you can really curate a training plan that gets you to your fitness goals faster.

7. You’re Not Using the Right Technique

Not only will this mean that you are not getting the most out of your exercises but it can also be very dangerous.

Before even picking up any equipment, make sure that you know how to use it with the correct technique.

This will help to minimize time wasted on inefficient exercises so that you can get the results you want. More importantly as well, it will decrease the risk of injury.

8. You’re Not Giving It Enough Time

Sorry for the bad news but results take time. You need to regularly work out efficiently to see progress and unfortunately, this will not happen overnight.

Putting in the effort to go to the gym for one week straight and expecting to see drastic changes will only set you up to be disappointed and lose motivation.

Remain consistent, be patient and trust that what you are doing will get you the results that you want.

How to Speed Up Your Fitness Progress

There can be many potential ways that you are sabotaging your progress, hindering your ability to hit your fitness goals and this post covers the most common ones. If any of them resonated with you, try to incorporate some solutions accordingly into your workout and see if it helps your fitness progress.

To help keep you from self-sabotaging your own fitness progress, invest in a gym workout tracker like Jefit. This way, you can keep track of training logs and make every workout an efficient one. It also comes with an extensive exercise library so you can choose the best workouts for you.

Have you made any of these fitness mistakes and if so, how did you solve them? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to know! Stay strong with Jefit.

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5 Useful Health & Fitness Products Now and After the Pandemic

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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.

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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.

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All You Need To Know For Effective Fat Loss

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If you want to lose body fat, you’re not alone. However, effective fat loss can seem impossible at times, especially if you try to overcomplicate things. Many magazines, articles, Instagram “experts” and YouTubers like to share their opinions on the matter, and this can make it seem even more complicated. Below, you’ll find four simple things that you need to remember for effective fat loss. Stick to them, and it’ll work for you too.

Find a Type Of Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is important but not the most important aspect of fat loss, believe it or not. However, it can help, and a ton of additional benefits come with it, too. Finding a type of exercise you enjoy will make it so much easier. Switch it up and just have fun. 

Get Your NEAT Up 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is the energy your body uses for movement other than exercise. Len Kravitz, PhD, defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of daily activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and talking – all activities that are not considered planned physical activity of a person’s daily life.” It is basically the “micro” exercise you do each day while going about your daily activities. By walking more and aiming to be more active day to day, it will, collectively, make a big difference.

In one research study it was determined that lean subjects (higher NEAT level) expend approximately 350 more calories a day (i.e. walking and standing) when compared to obese subjects (lower NEAT level). That amount of calories over the course of one year (with all other factors being equal) would equate to a weight-loss of 36.5 pounds!

Control Sleep and Stress 

Sleep and stress play a huge role in fat loss. Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 8 hours a night, and keep your stress levels under control. Look after yourself and get into a routine with it. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that individuals who got less than 5.5 hours of sleep each night lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep.

Eat a Balanced Diet 

The most important aspect of fat loss is how you eat. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistent. Fad diets should be avoided, and instead, a balanced, healthy eating approach should be taken.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Seven Benefits of Waking Up Early Based on Science

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You often hear that athletes are made in the weight room. You could take that a step further saying they’re made in the kitchen. The first two items though work better when you add sleep to the equation. There are also many health benefits to waking up early to start your day.

Some of us are early birds, and some of us are night owls. We should just live and let live, right? While that is true there are so many proven benefits of waking up early. We should all take them into account if we want to stay healthy and full of energy. This particularly goes for fitness buffs who need to maintain a certain tempo and strength level to finish their routine. Getting up early correlates with many other health benefits, including dietary choices, mental health, sleep quality, and more.

If you are still not feeling convinced, let’s take a look at what science has to say about the issue, and who knows maybe you’ll transform into an early bird by choice by the end of this article.

Benefits of Waking Up Early: You Make Healthier Food Choices

I completely understand the appeal of pressing the snooze button dozens of times to squeeze in some extra sleep, but before you know it, that can take away hours from your morning. This means you will probably skip breakfast and have brunch or lunch instead. However, your body needs to be given a chance to absorb as many healthy nutrients as it can first thing in the morning. In fact, several studies have proven that breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

You Improve Your Mental Health

Talking about health only in terms of physical shape is a huge misconception that needs to change. Being mentally and emotionally stable is the prerequisite for having good overall health. Well, waking up early can help you with that. A study conducted in a London found that morning people are healthier and happier.

Another study suggested that getting up early improves your problem-solving skills and helps you deal with negative thoughts better. All of this leads to less stress, and therefore, minimizes the chances of developing some of the stress-related health problems.

Mornings Are Perfect Time To Exercise

All of us have our own preferred time to get our daily dose of workout, but what if I told you that you will get the most perks out of morning training session? For a start, exercising in the morning lowers the risk of low blood sugar, when compared to afternoon workout.

It also boosts your strength and performance for the rest of your day. Other things that might attract you to break some sweat early one are enhancing your metabolism, helping the cultivating consistency of your workout, improving your physical and mental strength, and provides you with better sleep quality.

Health Benefits Of Waking Up Early: People Who Rise Early Sleep Better

Night owls usually finish their day by binge-watching Netflix, worrying or doing some activity that makes their falling asleep more difficult and their sleep patterns interrupted. Unlike them, most early risers stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

The good news is that you can train your brain to become an early bird. First, you can try to establish a consistent sleeping routine, which will include relaxing pre-bed activities, like taking a warm bath or reading a book. Another useful thing to have is a sleep mask. The evidence we have so far supports the thesis that wearing sleep mask increases the length of the REM cycle and prevents disruption in sleep patterns.

You’ll Be More Likely To Develop Good Habits

A team of researchers observed the link between the time of waking up and substance use. It turned out that early risers are less prone to use drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. While the research was done on adolescent girls, it is relevant for everyone, because one good habit encourages another one – think of it as a line of dominos where one is leaning onto another. The absence of substance abuse will naturally affect your health in a good way.

You’re More Motivated

Motivation is vital for everything you do, ranging from exercising to your career. An experiment conducted at Harvard University showed that early risers are more proactive than late risers. This affects your success at everything you do, creates positive thinking patterns, and helps you be more confident. Consequently, getting up at the similar time early every morning minimizes stress and negative thoughts which can be harmful to your health.

It Gives You Time To Actually Wake Up

Do you ever get the feeling that you are still sleeping when you arrive at your office? You need hours to be really prepared to do the work you are paid to do and to even talk with your coworkers. This is sleep inertia – a period between sleep and full wakefulness. According to research, it can last up to four hours. During this time many cognitive tasks, such as memory, reaction speed, attention, and alertness, are impaired. So, when you get up earlier, you have enough time to overcome the sleep inertia, and to be at your best when it is needed. Personally, I think this is one of the best health benefits of waking up early.

These are just a few of the health benefits of being an early bird, and I have not even scratched the surface of the other perks which impact your overall life quality, such as having more time, enjoying the first sip of coffee, avoiding heavy commuting on your way to work, and much more. Now you see that it’s worth it to at least try to change your sleeping habits, and enjoy a healthy and happy life to the fullest.

Workout With Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Quality Sleep is Important But Never More Than Now

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“Sleep is the best meditation.” 

~ Dalai Lama

When you end up not getting quality sleep during the night, you typically feel “off” throughout the next day. Not only can your mood and energy level be low, your workout usually suffers too. This seems to happen when you’re clocking less than 6 hours of sleep a night on a consistent basis. In addition to that, you may also notice, you crave unhealthy foods following a sub-optimal amount of sleep the previous night.

Quality of Sleep

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What’s the Definition of Good, Quality Sleep

Sleep quality, as opposed to sleep quantity, refers to how well you sleep. It also includes falling asleep within 30-minutes or less, and sleeping through the night without having the need to get up. The one final piece you could add to the mix is when you’re awaken, for whatever reason, you’re able to fall back to sleep within 20-minutes.

The most valuable assets you have are your mind and body and they require a certain amount of sleep each night to function optimally. With that said, more than 60 percent of the population does not sleep well throughout the night. Research shows people getting less than six hours of sleep have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who sleep more than six hours. This is important because inflammation is linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and premature aging. This data was published in the Centers for Disease and Control and Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The Association Between Quality Sleep and Exercise

You work hard in the gym and try to eat healthy to give yourself the best chance for success. The last thing you want to do is ruin those odds by getting minimal sleep. Research from University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin show people who slept more carried less body fat. Subjects who monitored caloric intake and averaged 5.5 hours of sleep, had more body fat compared to subjects consistently getting 8.5 hours of sleep.

Finally, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study looked at more than 1,000 subjects regarding their sleep patterns. They found those who slept less than 8 hours a night had an increase in BMI proportional to decreased sleep.

National Sleep Foundation’s recommends 7-9 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep for adults (ages 18-64). For older adults (age 65+), they suggest 7-8 hours of sleep a night. These recommendations were updated in 2015 and published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

Final Thought on Sleep

One final comment on the importance of sleep that’s explained nicely in the book, Biological Rhythms and Exercise. “Weight-training exercises may be unaffected by partial sleep loss early on in a training session, but the performance suffers due to lack of drive and concentration as the (exercise) session continues.”

We are currently living in unprecedented times during this past year, and stress has affected us in some way or another. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to how we’re living our life. Use both regular exercise and aim for quality sleep each night to help reduce the amount of stress in your life. Stay strong with Jefit app.

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Amazing Health Benefits of Exercise During This Unprecedented Time

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What can you do to keep you and your family safe during this extremely stressful time? We now know wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing improves our chances of staying healthy. The health benefits of exercise coupled with the above advice may be just the answer. We have been looking to put a dent in this pandemic as a CV-19 resurgence is brewing. This might be just the one two punch needed to knock this pandemic out for good.

The following is a look at just a few of the many health benefits of exercise. Many of us are sadly experiencing more stress since March 11, 2020. The cumulative effect of all this stress is obviously not healthy for the body. A recent study showed younger people are not exercising at a rate as pre-pandemic. One group, however, that is not part of this inactive group, are individuals sixty-five and older. They are finding time to exercise in record number. How about the rest of us?

Take Advantage of the Many Health Benefits of Exercise

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Exercise Improves Mood and Mental Health

During each exercise session, the body releases chemicals like endorphins and dopamine that improve our mood and make us feel more relaxed. Another chemical you may not have heard much about is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts not only as a growth factor, it also promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells. As a result, regular exercise helps you manage stress better and reduce your risk of depression.

“People suffering from depression are 2.5 times more likely to have experienced stressful life events. Exercise appears to help buffer these negative life events,” according to the authors of the book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety.

Regular Exercise Will Improve Sleep

As I’m sure any physician or exercise expert will tell you, sleep is a critical component for mind and body restoration. With an inadequate amount of sleep, the body will eventually have issues with the recovery and building processes from that days workout. It has a lot to do with your central nervous system (CNS). When the body goes away from getting optimal amount of sleep – no matter what the reasons – the CNS does not get time to fully “recharge” or recover. Why is this even important? Because your CNS is responsible for reaction time and initiating muscle contractions and much more. As a result, the body becomes slower and will feel weaker in workouts.

Health Benefits of Exercise: Studies Demonstrate if You “Do It” You Live Longer

Author Dan Beuttner of the Blue Zones has spent most of his career studying populations that live longer. The different “blue zones” that he studies are areas from around the world where people were 3 times more likely to reach 100 years old who followed a series of strategies. Two of the more important were the types of food someone ate on a regular basis and daily activity.

Walking more is associated with longer life. Adults who walked 8,000 steps per day had a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, compared to those who walked 4,000 steps a day as reported by researchers in a JAMA study. Not into walking but you like to run? A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported any amount of running, even once a week, was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Regular Strength Training Keeps You Healthy

One of the first things you think of when strength training comes to mind is muscle. When done correctly, strength training builds additional muscle mass. This in turn keeps someone healthier and more functional, especially as they age. The health benefits of exercise – especially strength training – include increased bone strength as well. Remember, that tendons connect muscle to bone. As we lift weights, the resistance creates a “pulling” effect on the tendon that consequently pulls on the bones making them stronger over time.

Data from a 2017 study looking at more than 28,000 women from the Women’s Health Study showed “a moderate amount (≈1–145 minutes/week) of strength training was associated with lower risk of all‐cause mortality compared with 0 minutes/week, independent of aerobic activity.” In a second systematic review study of 1430 studies, showed resistance training was associated with a 21 percent lower all-cause mortality and that number more than doubles when aerobic exercise is added. According to the authors, “resistance training is associated with lower mortality and appears to have an additive effect when combined with aerobic exercise.”

There probably has not been a more important time to either start or maintain your exercise routine. The benefit of reducing stress alone should be enough to make you exercise most days of the week. Try using the Jefit app to help make your life a bit easier as well. The award-winning app will help you plan, record and track your strength training sessions. Stay strong especially during these stressful times!

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Five Powerful Ways to Improve Performance

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It seems everyone is looking for ways to improve performance. You can be a high school, college or professional athlete, it doesn’t matter, we’re all looking to get better. The same holds true when it comes to our diet and working out. There are many ways to optimize performance such as fueling your body with high octane fuel. If nutrition is not your goal, it may come in the form of recovery aids like an ice bath after a workout, mobility work before a workout or simply getting more uninterrupted sleep. The following five methods may lend some insight into this topic.

Improve Performance with Caffeine

A simple yet effective way to elevate performance is having caffeine prior to exercise. A good recommendation is between 3 to 13 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight. For a deeper look at the benefits of caffeine on exercise performance, check out the International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand on caffeine and performance.

Enhanced Mobility is Key

Mobility refers to a joint moving through its full range of motion, unrestricted and without pain. When you’re unable to do this, its dysfunctional movement. The end result is inefficient range of motion which prevents optimal performance. Moreover, the body does not work to its full potential because of this restricted movement. Simply put, improving mobility will make you stronger, run faster and jump higher.

Try Nasal Breathing Over Mouth Breathing

Something top athletes have known when trying to improve their performance, that it’s better to breath through the nose versus the mouth. This may sound trivial but trust me it’s not. There are many scientific research papers and books published on the topic. The book, Breath by James Nestor, talks at length about the importance of nasal breathing. Check it out to learn about the history and additional information on the benefits of nasal breathing.

Nasal breathing, as opposed to mouth breathing, offers a wide range of advantages, especially when it comes to more efficient exercise. It basically allows more oxygen to get to your active tissues when you exercise. Exercise stimulates nitric oxide production just like nasal breathing does. Nitric oxide is also involved in bodily processes like widening blood vessels, known as vasodilation. This, in turn, increases delivery of oxygen to working muscles during exercise. The by-product of all this is enhanced exercise performance.

Avoid Stretching Prior to Exercise. Do a Dynamic Warm-up Instead

Stretching prior to exercise is not beneficial unless you’re looking to decrease power output. Rather, perform a brief (5-10 minute) dynamic warm-up before any running or strength training session. Dynamic warm-up exercises are usually bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, hops, inchworm, shoulder rolls or leg swings, to name a few examples. The research all points to using dynamic warm-up over static-type stretching before athletic competition or exercise in general.

Recovery (More Sleep) Improves Performance

When adequate recovery between workouts, does not occur, the body will invariably have trouble adapting to the demands of training. Shifting mindset, making sleep a top priority, will go well beyond just lifting more weight in the next workout. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed individuals getting less than 5.5 hours of sleep a night, lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep. Additional research from the University of Chicago showed subjects who monitored their caloric intake and averaged 5.5 hours of sleep had more body fat compared to subjects who were consistently getting 8.5 hours of sleep.

We know losing lean muscle and gaining body fat is never a good mix, especially if you’re looking to improve the way you do things. The book, Biological Rhythms and Exercise, looks at the relationship between performance and sleep. The author, Thomas Reilly, states, “weight-training exercises may be unaffected by partial sleep loss early on in a training session, but the performance suffers due to lack of drive and concentration as the (exercise) session continues.”

There are many healthy ways that someone can improve performance. Hopefully, one of the ways mentioned will do just that.

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