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30-Day Plank Challenge

We are 7 days into our 30-day squat challenge. Have you guys been keeping up?! We’ve just done our 80 squats for the day, and we had a thought, “Let’s incorporate another challenge to get a full body workout.”

In comes the 30-day plank challenge. The challenge pushes you to hold your plank a bit longer every few days as the month progresses. By the end of the month, the goal is to hold a 5-minute plank. Planks are not only a great exercise for your core, but the benefits of planking include a stronger back, and better balance and posture.

The best part about it is it’s quick and you can do it anywhere. So join us! Print out the schedule below (put it next to your 30-day squat challenge) and get ready to start incorporating planks into your everyday life!

30-day-plank-challenge-chart


Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and Instagram (@Lyfebulb) and show us your exercise tips and progress by tagging us and using the hashtag #ExerciseRegularly.

Keep Your Fitness Resolution All Year Long

Year in and year out, fitness and New Year’s resolutions seem to go hand in hand. Every year a promise of a livelier, healthier, fitter you comes to the front of your focus —at least for a few months, anyway. In order to keep your fitness resolution well into the new year and perhaps even carry it into the next year, you must build a momentum and stick with it! The only thing standing between you and your ideal of perfect health —is you.

Find Your Tribe

The good thing about having an extremely common resolution such as health and fitness is how easy it will be for you to find people to connect with. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are on the same quest as you will indeed keep you from slacking on your goal. A good support system will aide in assisting you with making sure your fitness stays a priority. If your support team isn’t in your immediate family or circle of friends, no worries, there are several other ways you can meet them.

One good resource for finding your tribe is a social media outlet such as Facebook. You could pose a question via status to your friends’ list asking if any of them have a new year’s resolution in fitness. If Facebook isn’t your thing you can always go the organic route and meet people by attending classes at your gym or workout facility. Once you’ve found your accountability partner(s) you can either workout together, or contact each other on a regular basis to make sure you are still focused on your resolution. You will be more likely to accomplish your goals when you feel like there is someone cheering on your progress!

Prep your meals ahead of time

One of the quickest ways to thwart your efforts in the gym is unhealthy eating. In a world where convenience is king, drive-throughs and processed foods have just about taken over healthy, planned, wholesome meals. If you are serious about sticking to your resolution, it will be wise to avoid the pitfalls of poor food choices. Heavy snacking and less than healthy meals will definitely put a monkey wrench in your progress.

In order to beat this, it’s best to plan and cook all of your meals at the beginning of the week. Also choose healthy, easy to grab snacks to ensure that you won’t reach for the nearest bag of chips when you get that midday urge. Poor dieting choices have the tendency to make you sluggish and unmotivated. Be sure to load up on foods that will give your body the fuel and energy it needs to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Your health journey is a marathon, not a sprint

A lot of times in all the hype surrounding the new year, people tend to set goals that may not be feasible or realistic to attain. A fast start almost always guarantees a burnout, so be mindful of that when setting your fitness resolutions. Give your mind and body time to adjust to your new fitness regimen —do not over do it. Start at a pace that feels natural to you, then work your way up from there. Track your progression and allow yourself the opportunity to feel good when you cross a milestone. The more you treat your fitness goal like a lifestyle, the more likely it will become integrated into your day to day routine. Let your new year’s resolution guide you into a lifestyle that you can look back on next year with pride and contentment!

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How to Stay Fit and Healthy in Later Life

Some people think that exercise is something for younger people. Yet, being sedentary is a big problem no matter what your age. About 60 percent of adult Americans don’t meet the recommended physical guidelines. Exercise is an essential lifelong activity that offers numerous health benefits.

Benefits of Staying Fit

Staying fit and healthy will improve your quality of life on several fronts as you age. A review published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that regular exercise is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and the global community. Other health benefits include:

Types of Exercise

The recommended guidelines for physical activity are 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise and two weekly sessions of strength training. Each type of exercise helps you in different ways.

  • Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing exercises like walking or running help you maintain bone mass. As you age, your bones become less dense, and thus, more prone to damage. Women and older individuals are at a greater risk. However, this can occur at any age. Even short walks can make a difference.

  • Balance Exercises

Balance exercises like yoga and Pilates offer gentle ways to stretch and strengthen your muscles, especially in your core. Strong abdominal muscles will assist with balance and can help reduce falls, a common occurrence in older adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of adults over 65 experience a fall each year.

These exercises can also help prevent back problems. Strong core muscles provide better support for your back. A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that back issues ranked third among the costliest health expenses at a yearly expense of nearly $90 billion. Fortunately, these exercises aren’t taxing, so you can do them every day.

  • Strength Training Exercises

Think you’re too old to lift weights? Think again! A study published in the journal, Age of the American Aging Association, considered the effects of strength training on individuals aged 90 and higher. Researchers found that after a 12-week training program, participants showed improvements in walking speed, muscle mass, and the ability to get up from a chair.

While you may not be thinking about little things like standing up, they can make a significant difference in elderly individuals. Remember that even for those living in assisted living facilities, the independence that comes from the ability to get around and take care of yourself is priceless. But it requires staying active.

  • Aerobic Workouts

Walking can suffice as an aerobic workout as you age. From a practical point of view, it’s easy and free. But it also offers additional benefits. Spending time in nature can improve your mental well-being. A review published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, found that exercising outdoors improved a person’s mental health more than working out indoors.

The benefits of staying fit and healthy make a good case for finding time to work out even as you age. However, it’s essential to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regime, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are on any medication.

After all, exercise, though beneficial, still places a strain on your system. Take the time to seek the advice of your doctor about an appropriate amount and type of exercise for you. Once you have obtained the green light to start exercising, you can take a significant step towards ensuring an active and independent life as you move into your golden years.

Meet Up Retired Wellbeing Pensioner Workout Concept

10 Benefits of Blueberries – Backed by Science (and 4 Delicious Blueberry Recipes)

Blueberries are an amazing fruit, both in terms of flavor and their incredible nutritional profile. They’re jam-packed with antioxidants – polyphenols, catechins, flavonols – along with lots of essential vitamins and nutrients.

Blueberries are actually rated at a 9,621 on the ORAC scale. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) measures the efficacy of a certain food or herb on preventing oxidation. This makes them one of the highest scoring foods in terms of antioxidants in the entire world.

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Here are 10 Benefits of Blueberries, as backed by science.

1. Blueberries can fight against aging
2. Blueberries protect you from neurodegenerative disease
3. Blueberries can help fight cancer!
4. Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other food
5. Blueberries can reverse DNA damage
6. Blueberries can help increase your body’s insulin sensitivity.
7. Blueberries are a vast source of cardiovascular benefits
8. Blueberries have been shown to make your brain function better
9. Blueberries have a significant impact on blood sugar
10. Blueberries can help your eyes function better

To read more in-depth about each of the listed benefits above, and to learn four delicious blueberry recipes, click here. 

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and use the hashtag #EatWell to show us your healthy recipes! 

To contribute a post to Lyfebulb please e-mail contact@lyfebulb.com

Equinox Cycling Classes – The Pursuit: Burn

I love to spin.  I used to be an avid Flywheel enthusiast, but since I joined Equinox I figured I should take advantage of my membership and give their classes a try.  The normal spin classes called “Studio Cycling” are not that exciting, but then I stumbled onto Equinox’s most recent spin addition – The Pursuit: Burn.

Equinox describes it as follows:

“THE PURSUIT by EQUINOX is an immersive studio cycling experience that uses groundbreaking in-studio gaming and data visualization to drive competition and inspire peak performance.

Precisely timed high-intensity intervals to maximize your performance, The Pursuit: Burn, is a hardcore cycling experience scientifically designed to push you to a new level of fitness.”

The experience is indeed hardcore and extremely competitive, at least for those of us who like that sort of thing.  The class is divided into games where you compete on behalf of yourself, and where you are sometimes split into teams that compete against each other.  It’s extremely motivating to see your name up on the leader board as you work to do the best that you can.  It even inspired me to purchase my own spin shoes, something I didn’t even do when I was going to Flywheel several times per week.

I tore a tendon in my knee last year and was extremely excited when I had healed well enough to spin again, and doubly excited when I found these classes that I love!  It took a week or two to get used to the format, and I am still working hard to improve, but I am always excited to get to class, do my best, and hopefully one day take that number 1 spot.  For now, I’ve had to be happy with second place, but hopefully not for long!

thepursuit

Check it out if you love intense cardio, and especially if you have a competitive nature.  You will not regret it!

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and use the hashtag #ExerciseRegularly so we can see and share your progress!

Rainy Day Lentil And Vegetable Soup

It’s rainy and cold today, which calls for a warm pot of soup and a glowing fire in the fireplace. I love lentil soup, but most canned lentil and vegetable soups contain potatoes which only adds to the carbohydrate count without adding much nutrition. For that reason, I like to make my own. This particular recipe is more like a stew because it is thick with delicious vegetables! I used the prepackaged cooked lentils that can sometimes be found in the produce section of the supermarket or at Trader Joe’s. Their convenience and excellent taste can’t be beat! Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or substitute another dark, leafy green (in place of the kale), if you desire. Then curl up with a good book and a steaming cup of soup — it will warm your heart!

soup

Rainy Day Lentil & Vegetable Soup
(Makes about ten 1¼-cup servings)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups celery, sliced
3 carrots, sliced into half rounds
1 cup green beans, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into quarter rounds
6-8 stalks asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
8 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2½ cups cooked lentils
4 cups kale, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or stew pot. Add onion, carrot, celery, green beans, zucchini, asparagus, garlic and dried herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Add lentils and kale and simmer for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft and kale has wilted. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Nutritional Information per serving: 111 calories, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 5.9 g fiber, 486 mg sodium, 8.5 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010.

Recipe by Diabetics Rejoice! Read her amazing blog here, find her on Facebook here, and check out her website here!

Your New Favorite Gym Routine

Raise your hand if you’ve gone to the gym and done the same exact workout day in and day out. (My hand is up!) It is quite common that we head to the gym with the right intentions, but get stuck in the same old routine. For me, it was 30 minutes on the treadmill, 50 squats, and a set of ab exercises. I’m not saying this is bad, but switching up your workouts every day ensures that you not only get a more even full-body workout but also targets new muscles that you may not even know you aren’t hitting (or even know existed)!

Courtesy of our trainer Ken Yu, we’ve got a new workout to incorporate into our weekly gym routine. Pick up those dumbells, because we are starting with a dumbbell routine and then heading over to the machines!

Young caucasian woman doing exercises on fitness machine in gym. Female using rowing machine at fitness club.
3 Rounds With Dumbbells:
15 DB Romanian Deadlift
15 DB Chest Press (Bench or Floor)
15 DB Squats
15 DB Bent-Over Rows
15-30s Plank Hold

Machines:
3×10 Chest Press
3×10 Cable Row
3×10 Single Leg Press
3×10 Hamstring Curl

Show us your progress and workouts on Instagram by tagging us (@Lyfebulb) and using the hashtag #Exercise Regularly!

Mother of Pearl, East Village

If you are planning a fun dinner out with friends, the options in Manhattan are endless. If you are planning a fun dinner out with vegan friends, your options become a little more limited. Luckily, we have found one of the best places in Manhattan for a great vegan and vegetarian meal. Mother of Pearl, located in the East Village, is a new Lyfebulb Favorite for its deliciously healthy vegetable-centric menu.

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The aesthetic in the restaurant is chic and fun. It is decorated like a tiki bar, and the drink menu boasts tropical drinks. Their most popular – deemed the most Instagrammable cocktail of 2016 – is the Shark Eye. It is a tasty mix of bourbon, rye, passion fruit, lemon, maraschino, dry curacao, and tiki bitters, and is served in a glass in the design of a shark. As the server presents you the drink, they splash a bit of red syrup at the top, replicating a bloody shark bite.

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The menu is Hawaiian-inspired and made for sharing. The servers do a fantastic job of spacing out the meal by bringing out two plates at a time. You absolutely must try the fried guacamole! I would argue it is the best thing on the menu! Other phenomenal dishes include the apple and sweet potato poke (a great vegetarian take on a tuna or salmon poke), the butternut squash dumplings, the glass noodles with wild mushroom and Romanesco, and the blistered shishito peppers.

Overall a great atmosphere to get a healthy yet delicious vegan or vegetarian meal! We hope you get a chance to check it out!

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Spirulina Bowl Recipe

I love using spirulina as an additional source of protein in my diet, not to mention it contains a multitude of benefits. According to draxe.com, just one 3-gram serving of spirulina contains:

  • 60% protein and an excellent source of vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium.
  • A rich source of health-giving phytonutrients such as carotenoids, GLA, SOD and phycocyanin.
  • 2800% more beta-carotene than carrots.
  • 3900% more iron than spinach!

The best part about this meal is that I have the versatility of making it in a smoothie or a bowl based on my preference for the morning!

spirulina

Ingredients:
1 banana
1 tsp spirulina
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 pineapple
6 oz of coconut or nut milk

Toppings:
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. hemp seeds
Handful of pineapple
Handful of Almonds

Directions:

  • Add the banana, pineapple, spirulina, unsweetened coconut or nut milk and hemp seeds, to a blender. Blend until smooth, adding extra milk as needed to create your preferred consistency.
  • Pour the spirulina mixture into a bowl and top with sliced fruit, chia and hemp seeds, or any toppings you prefer.
  • If you prefer to make a smoothie, pour the mixture into a to-go cup.

ENJOY!

Work Out In Your Hotel Room!

Whether you are traveling for a work conference or taking a vacation to escape the cold this winter, going away does not mean you have to sacrifice your workouts or your fitness goals. Our trainer, Ken Yu, has created an easy and effective workout you can do right in the convenience of your hotel room! These exercises won’t take long, and trust me, you’ll be happy you did them!

5 Rounds:
10 Jumping jacks
10 Squats
10 Elevated push-ups (on the bed, or a stable surface.)
10 Shoulder press with a water bottle (or any type of 5-10lb object)
10 Bent over row with a heavier object (15-20lbs, suitcase)
10 Mountain climbers
Young black woman sitting on the floor at home stretching
Share your workouts with us on Instagram with the hashtag: #ExerciseRegularly!

New Year, New You

Happy New Year! It is the third day of 2017- have you made your resolutions yet? We, presumably like many of you, have resolved to take better care of ourselves and improve our health. We want to work out more regularly, eat healthier meals, and drink more water.

We want to step out of our comfort zones and expand our horizons in all aspects of our lives: nutrition, fitness, work, and personal. We want to work harder, do better, and of course relax frivolously along the way.

With all of this in mind, let’s start the year with a new workout routine! This routine was put together by our trainer, Ken Yu, to strengthen our backs. It is a full-body workout, which is important when aiming for overall improvement in your health and body.

Gorgeous brunette warming up and doing some push ups a the gym

WORKOUT:

Start by stretching the hamstring muscles.  Lie on your back and straighten your leg upwards to target the muscle fibers nearest to the knee. You can also do the sitting hamstring stretch, which stretches the muscle fiber higher up the muscle nearer the buttocks.

Do 5 Rounds:
20 seconds plank hold
10 body weight squats
10 elevated pushups (kneeling pushups)
10 lunges
10 mountain climbers on elevated surface
20 seconds of arm circles

-Rest as necessary between rounds-

Also, our friends over at The Fit Blog have just begun their Fit With Diabetes New Year Challenge! Join them in a 4-week challenge filled with meal plans, workouts, and diabetes education.

Happy 2017!

 

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