Top 12 Best Salt Substitutes for Limited Salt Diets

by Michael Brown on September 13, 2019

Salt with alcohol background

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A low salt diet is recommended for people who have high blood pressure or who are at risk of developing heart disease. Sodium is a chemical contained in salt that our body’s needs, however we don’t need as much of it as many people think.

This post will look at the best salt substitutes that are currently available.

Comparison Table

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What Is A Low Salt Diet?

salt with grapes

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If your Doctor has recommended you begin a low salt diet, you may be restricted to having 2,300mg of salt per day. If your condition is severe, this may be lowered to 1,500mg.


Beginning any new diet or eating regime is often difficult, however your body knows best what it needs, and it will adapt quickly.


The easiest way to begin reducing your sodium intake is by eating a well-balanced diet and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Fresh chicken, fish, and turkey are also good options.


Reducing Your Processed Food Intake


Processed food is often loaded with salt and other chemicals and preservatives. For some people, just switching to an all-natural food diet is enough to improve their health.


For people who find a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables too limiting, you should learn how to read the labels on food so that you can judge how much sodium you will be getting with each meal. Also, how many other unnecessary chemicals you will be consuming.


Look for labels that include the words low-salt, salt-reduced, unsalted, sodium-free, or sodium-reduced. You should look for products that contain less than 100mg of salt.


What Exactly Are Salt Substitutes?


Lemon, pepper, garlic, and other herbs are natural salt substitutes. We recommend you avoid using herb mixes however, as they often contain salt. Oil and vinegar can also be used to give flavor.


Created salt substitutes are a better option than salt for people who need to eat a low-sodium diet. Most salt substitutes swap potassium chloride for sodium chloride. The taste of each chemical is similar, but potassium won’t raise your blood pressure as sodium will.


Too much potassium can be a problem for some people though, so you should check with your Doctor that it is safe for you to take in medium to large doses.


Potassium can exacerbate chronic kidney disease and can adversely affect the efficiency of some hypertension medications such as lisinopril, captopril, and benazepril. However, if taken in moderation, you shouldn’t experience any problems.

How We Chose Our Ratings

​When choosing items for our top 12 best salt substitute list we thought it was important to take consumer reviews into account, where they were available.

We also looked at what ingredients were in the substitutes, and what, if any, added benefits came with using the product.

Finally, we looked at the packaging for the substitutes and if they could be bought in bulk.

Price was a small consideration.

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Top 12 Best Salt Substitutes


Below are some of the best salt substitutes on the market for you to try on your meals. There are many options and flavors for every taste.

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We even recommend that you try several of these top 12 to mak e sure that you find something you love and can stick to.

1. Dak’s Spices

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5/5 stars

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Most of the items on this list include only one product however, we’ve given this package of six products the top spot as it gives good value for money and a wide variety of choices. All of these options area salt-free.

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The six items contained in the package are:


Original Red – this is a mix of pepper and other spices. It’s a good all-purpose seasoning.


Green Zest – this is a blend of zest of citrus and herbs which produces a lot of flavor but doesn’t contain any of the hotter spices.


Steakhouse – for the meat lovers, this one is full of black peppercorns and other herbs.


Blackened – created after the unique flavor of New Orleans cooking, this is another one for the meat lovers.


Super Greek – If you love Greek food, this is the one for you.


Taco Knight - this blend is perfect for easily adding flavoring to tacos and other food.


Dak’s add a warning to their product label that states they are produced in a facility where they use tree nut, fish, dairy, egg, soy, and wheat.


Reviewers have commented that all of these shakers are full of flavor and are perfect for people who miss the taste of salt in their food.


The price of this package is on Amazon, so it’s a great way to try most of the range before deciding which one is your favorite. After your taste test, you can buy them individually.

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2. Nu-Salt Salt Substitute

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4/5 stars

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Amazon.com is currently selling a 12-pack of these 3-ounce containers. If you go through a lot of salt substitute per week, this is probably a good way to buy it.


Some reviewers have commented that this product rarely leaves an after taste as some other salt substitute’s do.

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3. Jones’s Organic Mock Salt

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4/5 stars

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Many people are conscious of what they put into their bodies nowadays and if a product has the word organic on it’s label, you know it’s of a high quality.


This product is gluten-free and contains no MSG. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is often used in Chinese restaurants. If you have a bad reaction when you eat Chinese, it’s probably because of the MSG.


Although this comes in a relatively small container of 1.6 ounces it also comes with a small price. 

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4. Mrs Dash Salt-free Seasoning

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4/5 stars

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This is Mrs. Dash’s original blend that includes spices, onions, garlic, carrot, citric acid and more.  


Some reviewers have commented that there is not enough pepper in this product, but you can always add pepper to your meal yourself.


We reviewed the 2-pack of this substitute which included two, 2.5-ounce containers, but these can be bought in bulk packs or individually.

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5. Bragg Organic Sprinkle Seasoning

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4/5 stars

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Apart from having the best name on our list, this product gives good value for money for a 1.5-ounce counter.


It contains 24 herbs and spices, including red bell pepper, tomato, oregano, apple cider vinegar, and extra Virgin Olive Oil.


Customer reviews state that it doesn’t give a sour taste but is too strong to add to popcorn.

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6. Flavor God Dynamite Seasonings

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4/5 stars

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This salt substitute is a little more expensive than some of the others on our list but is still a reasonable price. 


The manufacturer states that their seasonings are kosher, paleo certified, gluten free and contain zero calories.


Ingredients include ghost chili pepper, coriander, cumin, parsley, sea salt and more.


Flavor God seasonings can also be bought as a multi-flavor 7-pack which will help you decide on your favorite.

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7. Goodsalt

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4/5 stars

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Manufactured in Finland and invented by Dr Heikki Karppanen, this salt claims to have 43% less sodium in it than regular salt.


Goodsalt contains added magnesium which helps to regulate blood pressure, potassium and iodine.


This salt substitute comes in a packet rather than a shaker and the manufacturer recommends that you drop a few grains of salt in the box, to absorb any moisture that may develop.

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8. Katarina Naturals All-Natural Sodium Free Salt Substitute- 3.5oz.

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4/5 stars

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This all-natural salt is made in the U.S, from plants and plat products. It reduces your sodium intake ad adds potassium and L-lysine.


L-lysine is an amino acid that helps build protein for growth and speeds up calcium absorption, so is especially good for women.


Some reviewers have commented that it doesn’t taste good. However, they don’t mention how much they used or how they used it. It may be tasteless when it’s used for cooking but perhaps leaves an aftertaste if just sprinkled over food.

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9 . Sodium Free Salt Substitute

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4/5 stars

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Made by Larissa Veronica this salt substitute comes in at 16-ounce container and is sodium free.


A note on the label states that this product doesn’t contain iodine, but you can get that from other foods.


At its current price this is a good bargain, although we were unable to find any customer reviews.

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10. Saltney’s Salt Alternative

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4/5 stars

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Saltney’s claim that this salt alternative is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and is kosher. It contains 0.2% sodium which is 99.5% less than packaged salt.


Saltney’s salt alternative is loaded with potassium and they warn that if you have a heart or kidney disorder, you should consult your Doctor before using.


This alternative is also suitable for people who suffer from nut allergies.


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11. Sea Shakes

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4/5 stars

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This product will be an acquired taste for some, but one reviewer stated that she loved this from the first taste.


It’s made from organic seaweeds such as kelp, nori, dulse, and Portugese sea salts.


It’s high in iodine and low in sodium and is gluten free. It can even be used on popcorn.


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12. Jada Spices Chicken Salt

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3.5/5 stars

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We had to include at least one brand of chicken salt on our list of salt substitutes. Chicken salt has become more popular in recent years due to its delicious flavor. Contrary to popular belief it is not made with chickens.


Jada Spices state that their product is gluten-free, MSG-free and Paleo friendly. It doesn’t contain soy or additives and they have only used Non-GMO ingredients.


Non-GMO stands for non-genetically modified, so you know the ingredients in this salt substitute have not been tampered with.


Jada’s chicken salt comes in a variety of flavors including Lime, barbecue, reduced sodium, red pepper, and original.

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Buyer’s Guide to Salt Substitutes

Many of us use more salt than we need to, so regardless of whether you have a medical condition or not, it’s always good to keep your salt intake to a minimum.

When choosing a salt substitute, it pays to keep in mind how you will use it. Some of the substitutes have been known to leave an aftertaste which may not be obvious if you only use it to salt water while you’re cooking.

It’s also a good idea to check the label for other minerals and nutrients that may be in your substitute.

The Best Salt Substitute on the Market

There are many good salt substitutes on the market and choosing the best one will be a matter of taste for most people.

As we mentioned earlier, Dak’s salt substitute pack allows you to try out a few different seasonings so we’ve put that in the number one spot.

However, if you’re looking for a substitute that tastes as close to table salt as possible, we recommend you use Jones’s Organic Mock Salt.

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Top 10 Best Cross Training Shoes

by Michael Brown on September 12, 2019

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Keeping fit is a goal for many of us in today’s world, particularly as we now seem to spend most of our time sitting in front of a screen.

But, to keep fit, you need a good, strong, pair of shoes that are able to support you in all your activities. In this post, we take a look at the top 10 best cross training shoes.

Comparison Table

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What Exactly Is Cross Training?

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Cross training is the term that’s used to describe a regular routine that doesn’t focus on just one form of exercise.


Cross training typically includes an exercise regime that alternates between Pilate, boot-camp classes, resistance work, cycling, walking, and many more. There are no limits on which exercise you choose.


What Are the Benefits of Cross Training?

Some of the benefits of cross training include:


  • You’re more likely to stick to your schedule. One of the reasons that people often cite for giving up exercise regimes is boredom. If you alternate your activity, you’re more likely to stay interested and focused.
  • Weight Loss. We all know that we need to exercise to lose weight. Particularly if you’re new to exercise alternating between activities will ensure that you’re not putting too much strain on the same muscles over and over again.
  • Lowers your risk of injury. As we mentioned above, using different muscles to perform different activities lessens the strain on your muscles. Alternating activities also means that if you have a previous strain, on your leg for example, you can still exercise it gently.
  • Increased general fitness. Because you’re alternating between exercise types, you’re able to improve your muscular fitness and your aerobic conditioning. Strength training can also be easily added to your routine.

How We Chose Our Ratings

Choosing the right pair of shoes to support you with your cross training is extremely important and we wanted to ensure we gave you the best possible information.

The items on our list have received positive customer reviews and are made by reputable brands. We covered all budgets on our list as we believe a good pair of shoes doesn’t have to cost a small fortune.

Style was also considered when we chose the shoes but wasn’t the main consideration as it has little to do with performance.

Top 10 Best Cross Training Shoes

There are many brands and styles of cross trainer shoes on the market. We did a lot of research to find and bring you the best. And, there are enough options for everyone to be able to find a selection.

Below, we’ve listed our 10 favorites:

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1. Ryker Women’s Deliberate Cross Trainer

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4.5/5 stars

Color: navy/pink, black/mint

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This attractive looking shoe features a rubber sole and a removable insole. It uses mono mesh on the heel and the midfoot with gives added foot support but keeps the shoe lightweight.


Most reviews are positive with people mentioning how light they feel when wearing and how they support the arch of the foot.


Some reviews have mentioned that these shoes are narrow, so you may want to purchase a size up to compensate for that or avoid if you have a wide foot.

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2. Mizuno Men’s Wave Unite 2

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4.5/5 stars

Color: black/white, white/black, royal/white, black/red, gray/white, navy/white, blue/white

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These synthetic shoes feature a rubber sole and a shaft that measure approximately 1.3 inches from the arch.


They also have a mesh upper and a combination of solid and blown rubber for the forefoot. The placement of the rubber means they should take longer to wear in the high impact areas.


The customer reviews state that these shoes run true to size, are comfortable and lightweight to wear while running.

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3. Puma Women’s Tazon 6

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4.5/5 stars

Color: Puma black/puma silver/beetroot purple, periscope/puma silver/pink glow, puma white/fuchsia purple/puma silver.

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Puma have been around for a long time now, so you would expect them to know what they’re doing. With these shoes they’ve produced a good quality product in a wider range of colors for women than the usual white and pink.


These are made from synthetic leather and have a rubber sole with a shaft that measures approximately 3 inches from the arch.


These also feature the breathable, EcoOrthoLite sock liners for extra comfort and a good fit.


Most of the customer reviews mention how comfortable these are but a couple state that they’re just a little on the narrow side.

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4. Under Armor Men’s Commit Cross Trainer

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4.5/5 stars

Color: black/steel, black/white, black/red, charcoal/white, glacier gray/gray wolf, midnight navy/smash yellow, white/rhino gray/, black, black/black iron, blue drift/phoenix fire, rhino gray/red/metallic silver, white/marathon red/black, rhino gray/red, midnight navy/metallic gold/white.

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This shoe comes in a wide variety of colors and prices, so make sure you shop around to get the best deal.


These feature a rubber sole and a lightweight, breathable, mesh upper. The leather saddle adds to the forefoot stability and support.


The Commit shoe also features a full length 4D foam sock liner to give you a custom fit and extra support. It also has rubber traction features that cover the high impact zones, so they should last for quite some time.


Customer reviews are mostly positive however, it was mentioned that these are a narrow fit.

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5. New Balance Women’s Training Shoe

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4.5/5 stars

Color: white/pink

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New Balance appear twice on this list of the best cross training shoes, but they seem to have done a better job off creating these women’s shoes than the men.


These shoes are made from leather, but at this stage, only come in one color range. There also seems to be a wide range of prices, so we suggest you do your research before you decide who you will purchase from.


Customer reviews are mostly positive with one reviewer commenting that these are the only women’s shoe she has found that are comfortable for wide feet.

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6. Reebok Men’s R CROSSFIT Speed

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4.5/5 stars

Color: vital blue/black/white/ash grey/silver, black/white/primal red, primal red/white/black, black/black reflective/white/gum/ash grey, electric flash/white/black/silver.

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Reebok is another well-known brand that we expect good things from and these shoes don’t disappoint.


These are made from textile and synthetic materials and feature a rubber sole. They have a mesh upper, a contrast heel color, and the logo clearly displayed in colors that match the shoes.


The sole has a traction pattern for extra grip when running.

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7. New Balance Women’s Komen Cross Trainer

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4/5 stars

Color: black/alpha pink

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These are the newest shoe from New Balance but are perhaps not the best of their range. They feature foam on the tongue and heel and have an upgraded sock insert inside.


The upper shoe features a combination of meshes although they are only available in one color combination at this stage. The extra Cush midsole feature gives you more cushion under your arches.


The customer reviews are again, mostly positive, but some have mentioned that these are a narrow fit, and you should buy half a size larger than you would usually wear.

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8. Asics Men’s Fuzex Tr Cross Trainer

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4/5 stars

Color: Aluminum/green gecko/black, blue jewel/silver/hot orange

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These textile and synthetic shoes are seamless, so you don’t have to worry about seams irritating your feet.


The midsole material is a lighter weight that other Asics shoes and they feature added cushioning for comfort and durability.


Gel cushioning systems on the rearfoot and forefoot minimize shock impact and toe-off phases. Comfordry sock liners add anti-microbial properties to keep your feet healthy and dry.


The fit of these shoes run to narrow, according to the customer reviews. However, most reviewers added that these are comfortable to wear and lightweight.

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9. Asics Women’s Gel-fit Sana 3

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4/5 stars

Color: black/white/silver, white/begonia pink/glacier grey, porcelain blue/silver/white, diva pink/white/melon, bay/black/carbon, mid grey/white/glacier grey.

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These cross-training shoes feature a rubber sole and seamless textile construction.


They feature the mono-sock fit system which is an internal elastic sleeve instead of a traditional tongue for a more comfortable fit.


These also use a rearfoot Gel cushioning system that reduces impact shock.


The customer reviews for these shoes mention that although comfortable, they don’t have as much arch support as some people would like. However, one reviewer stated that these were great for every day shoes after surgery for a tendon transfer.

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10. Adidas Men’s Freak X Carbon

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4/5 stars

Color: black/metallic silver/white, black/iron/collegiate orange, black/iron/collegiate gold, black/iron/power red, core black/iron met./power red.

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These trainers are made from synthetic materials with a rubber sole and a removable insole.


They also feature a mesh upper sole and plenty of traction on the sole.


The customer reviews are mainly positive, but like so many of the others on this list, they seem to be a narrow fit. Many reviewers are wearing these as their every day shoes or to play baseball, as well as cross training.

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Buyer’s Guide to Cross Training Shoes










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Choosing the right cross training shoes is easier when you can try them on in-store. However, if you are going to buy online, there’s a few things you should look out for.

Firstly, shop around. As prices online can vary, you can often get a better deal if you spend some time researching who you are buying from. Particularly if you’re hoping to buy a big brand name. You want to make sure you aren’t buying fakes.

Another consideration when buying cross training shoes online is the fit. Customer reviews indicate that the trend is for trainers to be half a size smaller than what your every day shoe is.

The color of the shoe can be important if you intend to train at night. In this case, you’ll want to go for one of the reflective colors due to safety. Interestingly, men’s shoes seem to provide more color choices than women.

Other Factors to Consider

If you’re going to pay a substantial amount for your cross trainers, you want them to last you a while. Some people recommend you replace your shoes every 6 months if you’re training with them for 30 minutes a day. Other’s believe that buying new ones every 12 months should be sufficient.

Before you decide on your purchase, consider how long your workouts are and how many workouts a week you intend to do. You should take a good look at the sole and make sure that it is thick enough to cope with your exercise regime.

At the same time, you don’t want your shoe uppers to wear out either, so ask questions and make sure you know exactly what the shoes are made from and where.  

The Best Cross Training Shoes

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As shoppers, we know that price isn’t always a good indication of quality, but brand name usually is. In our opinion, Puma’s Tazon 6 shoes are the best shoes for women, particularly due to the low price.

For men, we recommend the Reebok’s Men’s R CROSSFIT Speed cross training shoes for durability and price.

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What are Motivational Quotes?

by Michael Brown on September 9, 2019

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fitness motivational quotes

Let's face it. Sometimes we need a little pep talk to get off of the couch and start getting in shape. Fitness motivational quotes can spur us to get active, eat right, or just feel good about being healthy.
 
If you've skimmed social media or the greeting card section of the grocery store, you've probably seen motivational quotes. Whether you want to be a leader, an artist, happy, rich, or healthy, motivating thoughts can help. They are wise, sometimes clever, or tear-invoking, words that cause you to have an emotional reaction. Many times, they are said by famous people and have become part of our culture.

Do Motivational Quotes Help People With Fitness?

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Motivational quotes help people with all kinds of goals, even fitness. Let's say you want to run a 5K, but you are a class A couch potato. In order to achieve your goal, you are going to have to achieve mini-goals. Motivational quotes can help you change your habits and meet your mini-goals. We'll get to specific quotes in a moment, but good fitness motivational quotes should be:

  • Memorable
  • Powerful
  • Inspire you to push yourself
  • Be from someone you like and admire

30 Fitness Motivational Quotes to Get You Moving

Success

  1. “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” — Henry David Thoreau, poet
  2. “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” — Michael John Bobak, digital artist
  3. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.” — Henry Ford
  4. “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee, martial artist
  5. “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” — Michael Jordan, basketball player
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Take Action

  1. “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”—Abraham Lincoln, 16th President
  2. “Well done is better than well said.” — Benjamin Franklin, inventor
  3. “A champion is someone who gets up when they can't.” — Jack Dempsey, pro boxer
  4. “If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied.” — Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson, actor
  5. “If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done.” — Thomas Jefferson, Third President

Work Hard

  1. “No pain, no gain. Shut up and train.”
  2. “Train insane or remain the same.”
  3. “Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.”
  4. “Suck it up. And one day you won't have to suck it in.”
  5. “What seems impossible today will one day become your warm-up.”
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Fitness Is the Reward

  1. "Becoming healthy is the best decision I have ever made."
  2. "Sweat like a pig to look like a fox."
  3. “The hardest lift of all is lifting your butt off the couch.”
  4. “Making excuses burns zero calories per hour.”
  5. "Nothing tastes as good as fit feels."

Don't Quit

  1. "That voice in your head that says you can't do this is a liar."
  2. "Some quit because of slow progress. Slow progress is still progress."
  3. "If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up."
  4. “It comes down to one simple thing: how bad do you want it?”
  5. “When you feel like quitting think about why you started.”
woman smiling while doing a plank

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Conclusion

So, the next time you want to lay on the couch, shovel potato chips in your face, and watch Netflix all day, think of a few of these fitness motivational quotes. Keep them handy when you are working out to give you that nudge to lift heavier, run faster, or reach further. Your health will thank you for it.

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Top 5 Running Belts to Keep Your Stuff Safe and Secure

by Michael Brown on August 12, 2019

woman smiling and running

Chances are the most obnoxious thing about running is that you can’t keep your valuables with you easily. Most high-quality running gear won’t have the sort of secure pockets you’re looking for to keep your phone and wallet with you safely. When it comes down to it, you’re going to need a specific accessory to the most important stuff on you at all times.

It’s Time to Get a Running Belt Running belts are a piece of gear designed to both be comfortable to wear and hold all your important items for frequent jogs. Phones, wallets, keys, passports, even various paraphernalia to help with your run can be easily stashed in a non-intrusive way. The longer your run, the more you may want to prepare for, especially if you’re not planning to be anywhere close to civilization.

Comparison Table

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How We Choose the Best Running Belts

We want to be sure that we’re picking out the best running belts that suit your sense of style and function. Each running belt needs to top the list when it comes to a few important qualities.

  • Quality: Anyone can make a belt out of cheap materials. You need something better than just cheap, though, don’t you? You need something that you can run for hours with and still feel comfortable in. Something durable, well-made, and knit together with your body’s comfort in mind. Whether it be heat, rain, or snow, the running belt needs to weather or at least designed for the environment you plan to be in.
  • Storage: You’ll need plenty of options and space to hold everything. Large packs, small packs, packs designed for cards, phones, and the like – a running belt is nothing without plenty of space for everything you need for a run. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t go for marathon jogs, then a minimal design should do you just fine. But maybe you don’t want to be out in the world with only a few bucks and no wallet to help. However long your runs tend to be, you should have the storage to compensate.
  • Accessories: You may be looking for something that has a few more bells and whistles than your basic variety of running belt. You might be interested in one that can hold a water bottle or two for rehydration, or a specific slot for your phone to listen to music. The more function a running belt has, the merrier.
  • Reviews: We’re going to be cross-referencing every item on this list, checking to see how their customers respond to the product. We’ll see what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how the reviews in total stand for the reliability of the running belt.
  • Pricing: The best running belts are going to be a mix of good quality and an affordable price tag.

Top 5 Running Belts to Keep Your Stuff Safe and Secure

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Whatever ends up striking your fancy, what’s most important is that the running belt will keep everything you take with you secured.

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The FlipBelt is one of the best aesthetically sound, minimalistic entries that’ll come on this list. Most running belts will feature a sizeable fanny pack of some design, which can be hit-or-miss with how they make you look on the run. The FlipBelt breaks from that tradition with a seamless, Spandex-Lycra material tube design.

The FlipBelt has no clasps or velcro to secure it around your waist, instead of being a single elastic band that comes in a variety of sizes for a variety of bodies. With four separate entry points, you can slide in whatever you want to take with you: phones, keys, wallets, money, cards, whatever. Once they’re secure, you then flip the belt inside out, securing the belt against your body and preventing anything from falling out. Its smooth, yoga strap-like structure allows it to blend in easily with your clothing.

The elastic, fitted design prevents it from sliding down, jostling, or riding up while on the move. The lack of bouncing or shaking, combined with a non-chafing material, makes it one of the most comfortable running belts on the market. While it may not come with the bells and whistles of attachable water bottles and the like, the FlipBelt provides the security, comfort, and look you’re looking for. And, if you’re not comfortable with the openings being so open, the FlipBelt also has a zipper version for extra security.

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Chances are, most of the running belts you find on the market are going to look like a high-spec fanny pack. They may not be the same that your parents would wear when they took you to Disneyland when you were ten, but it might feel like it if you choose the wrong belt. The Runtasty Running Fuel Belt distinguishes itself from the crowd by subverting the fanny pack look. To do this, they turned the front of the belt into a sweat-proof, touchscreen-enabled phone carrier, allowing you to access your phone without removing it from storage.

This allows you to readily change your music, podcast, or fitness app with ease. Even with the front taken up by your phone, the running belt also comes with two large pockets for storage, allowing easy organization of your gear. Two water bottles come attached to the side of the belt, 8.5 ounces each, to keep you hydrated for your run. The belt itself is designed with gel-based, anti-slip technology on the interior, enforcing a snug fit and negating any bouncing, shaking, or loosening you might otherwise experience.

The neoprene material that makes up the rest of the belt is waterproof, ensuring full protection of whatever you bring with you from sweat or other water hazards you may encounter. The Runtasty Running Fuel Belt only comes in one size, and unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. Ideal for waist sizes, both men and women between 27” and 46”, this running belt offers the convenience, protection, and comfort that you’re looking for. You might not want to use it for any races, though. Sometimes the water bottle holders are a little too effective at their job.

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While this running belt doesn’t scream high-spec, technologically innovative, or unique design, it does the one thing it intends to do: secure your belongings. Not every running belt needs to be the next evolution of the brand. The Aqua Quest KONA Running Belt does not claim to surpass its competition in every category. It doesn’t need to. What it offers is the comfort of you knowing for full certainty that whatever you store in it will be kept safe.

The KONA running belt is extremely lightweight, allowing it to be worn and hardly noticed as you take your regular jog. It has a seamless design, which enhances its overall comfort and durability, and presents a water-resistant package to be used in any sort of weather or environment safely. Due to its lightweight design and lack of extraneous appliances, it’s easy to conceal beneath your clothes. Chances are you won’t find a more water-resistant product on the market. Due to its water-resistant zipper, seamless design, and carefully chosen materials, its guaranteed to keep your belongings in pristine condition – as long as you don’t jump in a lake.

Even if you do notice you’re wearing it, at 2.6 ounces it’ll be easy to miss. It’s designed to be soft, flexible, and conform to your body to reduce and negate chafing and discomfort. The straps are adjustable and can fit to waists between 27” to 52”. To call it basic would usually be an insult, but the KONA running belt doesn’t aim to be the most eccentric running belt on the market. It’s straightforward, attractive, and single-mindedly designed with your valuables in mind. Customers by and large appreciate this running belt, but every now and then, you might have a little bit of trouble with it loosening itself.

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So we’re going to dip into the “concealed zipper” of running belts here. As a product designed for any sex, this running belt prides itself on being a comfortable, roomy option for jogging storage. Let’s expand on the “concealed zipper” comment. The Stashbandz Running Belt has four total pockets: two in the front, two in the back.

They make use of the entire sizeable fabric to give you the most storage space possible for all your needs. Whether they be for phones, wallets, keys, snacks, or anything else portable you may need, this running belt will comfortably keep them secure. All of these pockets have an overlapping flap to hide the zipper, ensuring your items’ safety. Jumping off of comfort, chances are you’ll forget you’re even wearing these while out jogging.

Designed using a high-quality fabric to enhance the comfort, durability, and movement of the running belt, you’ll be able to use this belt and forget you’re even wearing it. The fabric soaks up moisture, cools your body, and fends off bacteria from dirtying your valuables. The Stashbandz brand values its quality and performance, and it shows with their customer response.

By and large, the majority of those who have purchased this product have discovered it provides an ideal running experience. It isn’t quite for everyone, however. Make sure to check with their sizes first on their website before purchasing to ensure you have one that will fit you. If it doesn’t, it may ride up or bounce on your run.

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Want to go for a jog but don't want to juggle your phone and keys? Tired of trying to manage all of your items while on the run? The Original SPIbelt is perfect for carrying all of your necessities so you can concentrate on running hands-free and carefree. This running pack is made to hold and protect your phone, keys, earbuds, wallet, cash, credit cards, gels, or other essentials, and can be used while running, working out, jamming out at a music festival, or traveling the world! You'll no longer have to choose between leaving your things behind when you go running or feeling weighed down by your stuff. The Original SPIbelt will keep everything safe and secure within arm's reach.

The Original SPIbelt is a dedicated runner's dream, and it's also great for a variety of other workout routines. It is with you every step of the way and eliminates pocket-less problems that most exercise gear has. Use it while running, walking, hiking, at the gym, during everyday errand runs, at workout classes, or during ab routines.


Buyer’s Guide: Always Research Before You Buy

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The important thing before any purchase is to ensure that what you’re buying is right for you. Whether it’s for function or for size, double-checking the product listing or their website to ensure everything is as you’re expecting should be your first step. Remember, always look out to understand what the product offers.

  • Quality
  • Storage
  • Accessories

Read the customer reviews, see how much it costs, and then you’ll be confident in your final decision.

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How Many Calories? Big Mac’s Calories Visualized

by Michael Brown on July 31, 2019

The Big Mac is one of the most famous burgers in the world.

This burger was first introduced by McDonalds in 1967 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By 1968, it had been released nationwide, quickly earning a name for itself as one of the most delicious burgers in the history of fast food.

In this article, we discuss how many calories are in this legendary burger, using vivid descriptions to convey the Big Mac’s various components. Towards the end of the article, we offer some tips for how make the Big Mac healthy, including a vegan recipe that will have your mouth watering.

The Big Mac Calories ​And Ingredients

The Big Mac has 540 calories.

About 260 of these calories are from fat, as there is about 28 grams of total fat in the burger.

The Big Mac is composed of three sesame seed buns, two beef patties, shredded lettuce, Big Mac sauce, American cheese, pickles, and onions.

The sesame seed buns are primarily made from wheat flour, barley flour, water, sugar, yeast, soybean oil, salt, wheat gluten, sesame seeds, potato flour and vinegar.

The two beef patties are made from 100% pure USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) inspected beef. This beef does not have fillers or extenders. There is also some salt and black pepper on the beef.

The Big Mac sauce was a secret for a while, but McDonalds recently released the ingredients. In particular, the sauce is composed primarily of soybean oil, sweet relish, egg yolks, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, various corn syrups, turmeric, paprika, and water.

It’s important to note that these are not all the ingredients, as there are several other substances that are used in the bun and sauce. These include things like xanthan gum, various vitamins and minerals, various colorings, enzymes, and dough conditioners. Many of these ingredients are preservatives intended to extend the lifespan of the food.

While these ingredients have very minimal calories, this doesn’t mean that they are healthy in any way.

More Information ​On ​The Big Mac’s Nutritional Profile

burger and flames

Image via Pexels


If you are trying to analyze the nutritional profile of the Big Mac, it’s also important to understand its various micronutrients and macronutrients.

In terms of micronutrients, the Big Mac has 950mg of sodium, which is a whopping 40% of the daily value recommended by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).  

The Big Mac also has 530IU of Vitamin A, which is about 10% of your daily value. It also has 120mg of calcium, which is about 10% of your daily value. Lastly, it has 4.5mg of iron, which is about 25% of your daily value.

In terms of macronutrients, the Big Mac has 3 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 45 grams of total carbs. It also has 25 grams of protein.

Analyzing the Health of the Big Mac

When considered in abstraction, the Big Mac doesn’t seem that unhealthy.

However, the Big Mac’s calories stem mainly from beef, cheese, flour, soybean oil, and refined sugars. While the beef, cheese and flour might be considered healthy by some, the soybean oil and refined sugars are certainly not healthy.

Refined sugars are often considered empty calories since they provide minimal micronutrients. These sugars are usually extracted from sugarcane or sugar beets. This means that they lack the fiber, vitamins and minerals of these foods, which are absolutely critical for digestion.

Soybean oil is a very fatty food that is considered one of the more affordable oils. This is likely why McDonald’s utilizes the oil, as it allows them to maximize their profit. McDonald’s doesn’t provide information about the exact quantity of the oil used or the particular nature of it.

Yet, one of the reasons that McDonald’s uses three buns is to soak up some of the Big Mac sauce. Thus, the amount of soybean oil used on this burger is certainly not a negligible amount.

It’s also well known that the more unrefined an oil is, the healthier it is. Cold-pressed has become the gold standard for oils, yet this is an expensive process that makes the resultant oil quite expensive. Thus, it’s very likely that this soybean oil has been heated under high temperatures, which denatures many of its various nutrients.

Ultimately, all of this means that the Big Mac is quite an unhealthy burger despite its relatively low number of calories.

The main redeeming factor of the burger is the shredded lettuce, onions, cheese, and beef. Very little preservatives are used in these ingredients, making them relatively healthy.

It should be noted that the pickles also contain salt, natural flavors, extractives, and preservatives. Thus, they are not as pure or healthy as you might expect.

Tips ​For Making ​The Big Mac Healthy

big mac in paper container

Image via Flickr


Eating a Big Mac doesn’t have to be an unhealthy indulgence, as its components can be modified to the customers liking.

We recommend asking only for the burger, cheese, lettuce, onions, and pickles. If you must have the bread, then we recommend making your own.

While it might be socially awkward to make your own bread for a fast food meal, remember that it’s your health that’s at stake. A slight bit of awkwardness is a fair exchange for more optimal health.

Alternatively, you can ask for extra lettuce, onions and pickles and turn this Big Mac into a salad. Then, you can just cut up the beef patty into bite sized pieces. If you are craving a dressing, you can also make one at home utilizing only healthy ingredients.  

A Vegan Alternative ​To ​The Big Mac

big mac close up

Image via Flickr


Some people scoff at the Big Mac’s calories because they come partially from animal products like beef and cheese.

For these people, it wouldn’t matter if the burger only had 100 calories and no preservatives. These customers consider their digestion to also be a function of their vegan ethics, which means that beef and cheese are off limits.

Yet, if you follow a vegan lifestyle, then there is need to worry, as the textures and tastes of the classic Big Mac can be replicated using only plant-based ingredients.

In particular, if you want to keep it simple, you can just use three steamed portabella mushrooms for the buns. Or, you could make your own buns from scratch using buckwheat flour, coconut flour, yeast, water and salt. This kind of bun would avoid the usage of various oils, preservatives, and unhealthy flours. Buckwheat has also been lauded in recent years for its many health benefits, and these benefits extend into the flour.

To replace the beef patty, you can use pureed beets and beans as your base. As a binder, you can use flaxseed powder or chia seed powder.

To replace the cheese, you can make your own cashew cheese. There are many recipes online that walk you through how to do this.

Lastly, the Big Mac sauce that is typically used usually has egg yolks in it, which are not considered vegan. This is likely used as a binder and can be replaced with any kind of plant-based powder, like flax seed powder, chia seed powder or even hemp seed powder.

A Raw, Vegan Alternative ​To ​The Big Mac

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On another level, you could use mainly raw foods in order to assemble a vegan version of the Big Mac. In order to do this, we recommend using coconut meat as your buns. Then, we recommend using a combination of avocado, tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and your favorite fresh herbs to form the sauce.

You could also use raw onions and cucumbers on this raw vegan Big Mac. To replace the cheese, you could just make a raw cashew-based cheese that is adapted from an online recipe.

Our Final Thoughts ​On ​The Big Mac’s Calories

big mac

Image via Flickr


We think the Big Mac is a legendary sandwich that is quickly going out of style.

We think the world is moving towards a vegan lifestyle which excludes the use of animal products. Yet, this doesn’t mean that the textures and flavors of the classic Big Mac will be lost. Rather, it means that the bulk of the Big Mac’s calories will come from nuts, seeds, roots, and legumes in the future.

These are some of the most digestible foods in the world, which means that McDonald’s might actually be considered a healthy establishment in the future.

When you think about it, plants and fruits are some of the fastest foods on the planet. We think McDonald’s might feature more meals in the future that are simpler than the classic Big Mac burger.

For example, this might entail a romaine lettuce wrap filled with mangoes, sprouts, avocado, and bell peppers. As long as these ingredients are of high quality, they should be able to be eaten and enjoyed on their own, without concocting some complex patty, bread, or sauce.

At the end of the day, as long as you stay aware of what you are eating, your health will be optimized and you will experience new levels of health and happiness.

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When and Why to Take Calcium Phosphate

by Michael Brown on June 26, 2019

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When you think about calcium, you probably first think about the overall health of your bones and teeth.

In fact, your body contains anywhere from 1.5 – 2.5 lbs. of calcium and 99% of that makes up, specifically, the dental and skeletal systems.  

What doesn’t make up your bones and teeth is instead used in the membranes that hold your cells together, including those that make up your skin, blood, and other fluids of the body.

Did you know, though, that your body actually contains a special type of calcium called calcium phosphate? The calcium that makes up the harder parts of your body is actually a compound of pure calcium and phosphorous.

How Much Calcium Is Needed?

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Generally speaking, the average adult needs about 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day until they reach what is considered an advanced age for their gender. Women should typically bump their intake to 1,200 milligrams a day when they hit their 50th year. Men can usually hold off on this bump in calcium intake until their 70th year.


Of course, pregnant women, children, and infants need calcium more than adult men or non-pregnant women do. This is because calcium is needed for healthy bone formation and growth, including that of fetuses. The National Institute of Health outlines necessary calcium intake for every stage of life.

What Does Calcium Do for Us?

As we have already touched on, calcium has many different functions within the body. Aside from just making our bones and teeth stronger, calcium also helps blood vessels regulate the flow of the blood throughout your body. This keeps your blood pressure at a manageable level for your heart to keep up.


Calcium also helps your muscle movements. When your muscles need to contract, calcium makes this an easy transition. If you find that you are often cramping, you likely are short on calcium in your diet.


Your nerve cells use calcium in communication. This helps your body better recognize pain sensors and other stimuli.


Finally, calcium helps to clot the blood. Without calcium, our blood would be very thin. We would bleed easily and our wounds would not heal properly.

There are Different Types of Calcium

There is no such thing as “pure” calcium. Calcium always combines with other elements in nature, depending on the purpose that the calcium must serve.


When we digest calcium, our body picks the calcium apart from the other elements, which allows it to benefit from the calcium in our diet. Calcium phosphate- or tricalcium phosphate, as it is sometimes called- contains about 40% elemental calcium. This means that, when you take in a supplement of calcium phosphate you are getting a significant dose of the calcium your body needs.


Calcium found in bone meal or oyster shells is not recommended for human consumption because it is often laced with lead or other toxins. This calcium is what you will sometimes see referred to as carbon calcium.


If you want your body to better absorb the calcium you take in from your diet, make sure that you are getting plenty of Vitamin D. Be careful, though, when taking supplements. Most calcium supplements already contain Vitamin D and you can get too much of a good thing.

Sources of Calcium in Food

Before reaching for a calcium phosphate supplement, you might want to take a look at your diet to see if there are any ways you can enhance your calcium intake naturally.

Below, we have outlined some of our favorite calcium-rich food sources.

Some Leafy Greens

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The darker the greenery, the more calcium it is going to contain. One cup of cooked collard greens, for example, can deliver 266 mg (25%) of your daily calcium requirement. There are exceptions, however.


Spinach is very dark green and contains a ton of calcium, but because the calcium is bound to the greens as an oxalate, it won’t digest as well as other options like kale or mustard greens. This means you won’t get as much calcium absorption from spinach.


When considering leafy vegetables, don’t overlook rhubarb, however. Rhubarb is rich in calcium. From one cup of cooked rhubarb, you’ll absorb about 100 mg of calcium.

Figs

Image Source: Pexels

Dried figs are exceptionally rich in calcium. One ounce of the dried fruit delivers 5% of your daily calcium requirement. They are also rich in potassium, vitamin K, antioxidants, and fiber- all of which will aid in digestion. This ensures that your body gets the very best out of your diet.

Whey Protein

Image Source: Pexels

Little Miss Muffet was on the right track with her curds and whey. Whey protein, which is found in milk, is an excellent source of protein as well as amino acids. We already know thanks to extensive studies that introducing whey protein into your diet can increase weight loss and improve your control of your blood sugar.


Lost in the  sea of other benefits, we tend to overlook the calcium content of whey protein. One ounce of whey protein powder contains 1/5 of your daily calcium requirement.

Almonds

Image Source: Pexels

Almonds are the highest in calcium when it comes to nuts. A single ounce of almonds (20 nuts, give or take) delivers about 8% of your daily calcium requirement.

Seeds & Beans

Image Source: Pexels

Believe it or not, seeds contain tons of nutritional elements including calcium phosphate. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, celery seeds, and chia seeds are especially beneficial in this regard. In just one tablespoon of poppy seeds, you’ll find 126 milligrams of calcium.


We already know that beans are a great source of protein, but they are also very rich in calcium, fiber, and other micronutrients including magnesium and potassium. A single cup of winged beans has 244 mg of calcium.

Dairy

Image Source: ​Pexels​

We already know that dairy products contain tons of calcium. A single ounce of parmesan cheese, for example, contains about 331 milligrams of calcium. A cup of yogurt has nearly 1/3rd of your daily calcium needs.


There are a few things to remember with dairy, however. The softer the cheese, the lower the calcium (but higher the protein) content. Aged, hard cheeses are more calcium-rich and actually easier to digest.


Low fat yogurt and Greek yogurt, also, will have more calcium than higher fat options.


When we get our calcium from dairy products, our body tends to absorb it easier. This is a good reason to introduce a little more dairy into your daily life!

Why Add Phosphorous to Calcium Supplements?

Our bodies need both calcium and phosphate to function well. Because they bind together well, it is a good idea to take a supplement that offers both.

Calcium phosphate has been found to be the most effective calcium compound in terms of providing the best overall bone and dental health as well as a steady release of calcium into the body without overloading the body with calcium all at one time.

An overabundance of calcium can result in a number of complications ranging from heart failure to memory loss and even stroke. You need to ensure that you are not overdoing the calcium, hence, the added phosphorous in calcium phosphate supplements will help provide a steadier release of the nutrient.

Now that you are aware of the benefits and risks of calcium phosphate supplements, as well as a few good leads on how to add calcium into your diet naturally, we want to wish you luck on this step to better health.

Congratulations – You’re on Your Way to Better Health!Enter your text here...

You will soon find that you are feeling stronger, that your teeth are less sensitive, and possibly even that your fingernails and hair are stronger and shinier than ever before. Keep up the good work and feel free to check back in the future for more articles about enhancing your personal healthcare regimen.

As always, if you have any questions it is a good idea to consult your physician before making any major changes. They will know more about your personal health situation and be able to provide structured and directed advice that tailored specifically for you.

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The Ultimate Guide To Food Substitutes

by Michael Brown on June 23, 2019

 

Proper nutrition and healthy eating are the top ways to keep your mind and body happy.

You need to take care of your body to perform at your highest possible level, and that starts with giving your body the right kind of food.

Fitness means nothing if you aren’t eating well to back it up

So, need a little help avoiding “unhealthy” ingredients?

You’ve come to the right place.

Looking For Ways To Make Your Meals Healthier?

healthy meal

image via: pixabay

Swapping out ingredients for healthier substitutes is a great way to start.

There’s even an app (for iOS) that can help you out: SubUllator.


If you’re out of or avoiding a specific ingredient, the app will list out suitable replacements in metric, imperial, and U.S. Cup measurements. You can also set it for gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, low-sugar, and vegan.


The app is particularly good for when you don’t have an ingredient a recipe asks for or when you need alternatives for a food allergy, but for everyday healthy food option swaps check out the list below.

21 Foods You Can Swap Out For Their Healthier Alternatives

broccoli

image via: pixabay

Mixing up your ingredients for a healthier diet can turn into an adventure with your own food creativity too.


Try new foods and flavors – you’ll probably find something you’ll fall in love with.

You might end up tweaking your favorite recipes to the exact point you’re looking for with food substitutes – and your body will thank you too.

1

Swap Sugar For Stevia

Stevia isn’t another artificial sweetener – it’s a natural sweetener 200 to 300 times sweeter than regular sugar and is nearly calorie-free.


It comes from a plant and you can use it to sweeten anything you’d typically put everyday granulated sugar in. Just be wary of the amount you use, since it’s way sweeter than sugar.

You can get stevia in liquid or powder form.


Other ingredients work great as sugar substitutes too: unsweetened applesauce, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg will give your food a punch of sweet without the added sugar.

2

Try Whole-Wheat Or Coconut Flour Instead Of Regular Flour

Whole-wheat flour is a healthier option than your typical flour because it has more fiber and has gone through less processing, Gluten-free flour options let everyone enjoy your baked goods regardless of gluten intolerance.


One gluten-free option is coconut flour, which is made from dried and finely ground coconut meat, has fewer carbs than other nut flours, 11 times the fiber of wheat flours, and more protein.


Watch out when using gluten-free flour though, as you won’t get the same kind of stickiness (it comes from gluten) to bind your baked goods together – you’ll need to add xanthan gum.

3

Don’t Open Those Potato Chips And Go Pop Some Popcorn

Dodge the greasy and super-salty potato chips and go for natural popcorn without pre-seasonings for an option lower in fat with a touch of fiber.


Plus, when you start with a basic air-popped popcorn base, you can have some fun with your spice cabinet and add your own flavor to movie night. Try cinnamon, chili powder, or parmesan.

4

Ditch The Croutons And Sprinkle On Pistachios Or Almonds Instead

Need to add a little extra crunch to your salad? Forget the croutons – they don’t add any nutritional value to your meal.


Instead, try adding something that’ll taste great, satisfy your crunchy texture itch, and check off boxes on your daily nutritional to-do list at the same time. Pistachios, almonds, pecans, and walnuts are all great examples of extra-healthy alternatives.


Nuts are also great for yogurt. Add nuts instead of granola – it’s packed with excess sugar (you could always make your own granola, though).

5

Instead Of Breadcrumbs Try Chia Seeds Or Flaxseeds

Need a crust for your meatloaf?


Leave the breadcrumbs at the bottom of the bag and grab some chia seeds, flaxseeds, or oats instead.


It’s an easy way to add bonus nutrition to your meals where you previously had none. Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and a little protein, and flaxseeds have similar nutritional benefits.

6

Swap Chocolate Chips For Cocoa Nibs

Sure, cocoa nib cookies doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way as chocolate chip, but they sure are healthier.


For the deep and irresistible flavor of chocolate in its purest form, reach for the cocoa nibs instead of the processed, sugary chocolate chips. You can toss them in to any of your favorite baked goods in place of chocolate chips or you can just snack on them right out of the bag.


Cocoa nibs are full of antioxidants, fiber, iron, and magnesium.

Speaking of chocolate, opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has more flavanols, a healthy, plant-based nutrient that helps to lower blood sugar and decrease body fat. Just remember, even with dark chocolate, eat everything in moderation.

7

If You’re Going Green, Make Sure It’s Dark Green

Set aside the iceberg lettuce and switch up your salad with some of the dark leafy greens (spinach, arugula, kale, red leaf) – they’re more nutritious than the predominantly water-filled light greens.


Iceberg lettuce is 96% water – there’s not much to it. Spinach, on the other hand, has oodles of nutrients: vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, and iron.


If you’re not ready to let go of your old friend the iceberg, romaine lettuce is quite similar but packs more of a nutritious punch.

8

Instead Of Spaghetti, Go For Spaghetti Squash

Unlike the sea cucumber, spaghetti squash is an adequate substitute for its typical food counterpart. Spaghetti squash even looks like spaghetti pasta – crack it open and scrape to find tangles perfectly suitable to wrap around your fork.


The healthy part? There are way fewer carbs in spaghetti squash than spaghetti.

9

Need To Cut Down On The Salt?

Say hello to the rest of your spice cabinet.


You can make your food taste just as great or even better by subbing in other herbs, spices, or salt-free seasonings for salt. Try citrus (lemon, lime, orange) juices, rice vinegar, or garlic powder.

10

Applesauce Is More Useful than You Think

You can swap sugar with unsweetened applesauce at a 1 to 1 ratio when baking cakes, brownies, cookies, and more (although you might have to adjust the measurements of other liquids in your recipe).


In addition to sugar, applesauce also works as a substitute for shortening.

11

Increase The Hummus Among Us (And Hold The Mayo)

Hummus is a great swap for more unhealthy dips and spreads.

You can use hummus instead of ketchup for burgers and mayonnaise for sandwiches.

Other replacements for mayo?


Try smashed avocado, Greek yogurt (with or without a little lemon and lime), or mustard.

You can also swap olive oil and vinegar for ranch dressing, plain Greek yogurt for sour cream, and nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese.


Also try going for unprocessed almond butter rather than processed peanut butter.

12

Swap Flour Tortillas For Lettuce Leaves

Yes, you’ll have to be gentle with your delicate tacos, but lettuce wraps are light and healthy.

You could also go with corn tortillas over flour tortillas for your gluten-free friends.


Another interesting sandwich swap? Grilled portobello mushroom caps for hamburger buns. You’ll get fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and a cool-looking burger.

13

Don’t Knock The Vegetable Party Tray

Skip the chips and slice up some veggies.


Sure, it’ll take a little more effort to prep bite-sized vegetable bits instead of popping open a chip bag, but your body will thank you for the sliced cucumbers and baby carrots you’ll subsequently smother in (hopefully healthy) dip.

14

Swap White Rice For Quinoa

Quinoa will give you more fiber, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, fewer calories, and fewer carbs than white rice.


Other white rice alternatives include brown rice and cauliflower.

15

Don’t Leave The Yolks Out – Eat The Whole Egg

Eating the whole egg versus just the egg whites is actually healthier because of the extra protein, vitamins, mineral, carotenoids, and healthy fats from the whole egg. The eggs whites alone are just mainly protein.


Also go for pasture-raised eggs instead of conventional eggs. They have more omega-3s and beta-carotene (a pigment with antioxidant properties that protects you from free radicals).

16

Not Bananas In Ice Cream, But Banana Ice Cream

Yes, really. Mash and blend some bananas into a creamy consistency, freeze ‘em, and you’ve got a treat.


You can add peanut butter, cinnamon, sea salt – really, anything you’d like. Easy peasy.

17

You Say Potato, I Say…

If you want to go healthier or if you just need a change, try a turnip mash or cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes.


You can also cook up some sweet potato fries instead of traditional potato fries.

18

Swap Cheese For Extra Veggies

If you want to trade cheese in your dishes for something healthier, try adding extra vegetables.


Fixing up an omelet, sandwich, or casserole? Throw in some spinach, tomatoes, onions, and whatever else you like.


Just can’t give up the cheese? Opt for goat cheese or feta over low-fat cheeses – low-fat cheeses are less filling and might not leave you satisfied, while goat cheese and feta have conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that reduces heart disease, cancer risk, and may help burn fat.

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Butter, Vegetable Oil, Lard, And More To Substitute For Shortening

Shortening is a flavorless, semisolid fat used in cooking and baking. The goal in finding substitutes for vegetable shortening in recipes is to use an ingredient with little to no trans fats – that’s what makes shortening unhealthy in the first place. Trans fats are linked to numerous health conditions like high cholesterol and heart disease, so it’s generally a good idea to avoid them whenever you can in your diet.


The problem with substituting shortening for similar ingredients is that it’ll make the outcome of your baked goods taste differently, so some shortening substitutes are better than others depending on what it is you’re making.


The most common substitute is butter or margarine. Butter is usually used as an alternate when shortening just isn’t available, but it’s also a healthier option. Yes, butter is filled with saturated fats, but the trans fats in shortening are even worse for your body.

If you’re feeling particularly health-conscious about using butter you can snag the low-fat tub but be aware that it won’t melt as easily and may not melt as easily.


Make sure that the flavor of your butter (or margarine) blends well with your baking recipe so your pastries don’t come out tasting funky.

butter oil

image via: pixabay


Need a replacement for that can of Crisco you use to deep-fry your tater tots? Then the substitute for shortening you want is vegetable oil. Because it’s a liquid, it doesn’t pose the kind of health risk fatty solids like shortenings do to your arteries.

Vegetable oil won’t work that well as an alternative for sweet baked goods – you’ll want to use one of the other options for baking.


Olive oil is considered the best general cooking replacement for shortening, and peanut oil is ideal for deep-frying.


Lard, surprisingly, is also a healthier alternative to shortening. Hydrogenated vegetable shortenings are considered worse because of the trans fats. Lard, in the same way as butter, isn’t necessarily healthy with all of its saturated fats, but it’s healthier than shortening.

Lard is made from pig fat, and it does have a taste – just be aware of the flavor when considering lard for your recipes.


The most creative substitutes for shortening are definitely the various fruit purées. Unsweetened applesauce is the most popular alternative – best for use in any sweet baked goods. It’ll add sweetness and density to your recipes.


After applesauce, prune purée is one of the top recommendations – it works best in dark baked goods like brownies. Avocado purée is another popular option for chocolate and dark baked goods. The consistencies of butter and avocado purée are similar at room temperature and they’re both fats, so the swap works out. Following that same idea, mashed bananas can also replace shortening in baking.

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Swapping Meats

Trying to eat healthy but can’t give up meat? No problem, you don’t need to cut it out altogether if you practice moderation and make healthy choices.

Try going for white meats instead of dark or red meats.

Skinless, white meat poultry is lower in fat and higher in protein and iron than dark meat poultry.


Ground turkey is a great alternative for ground beef if you want to cut down on saturated fats. If the turkey is a little too dry for your tastes, add some chicken stock.


If you can find it, try bison instead of beef – it’s higher in B vitamins and lower in fat.


Everybody loves bacon, but if you shell out for prosciutto or pancetta instead you’ll be getting a higher-quality meat without sacrificing the savory deliciousness.

Trying to avoid meat as a main dinner ingredient altogether? Use three times as many vegetables instead in dishes like soup, casserole, and lasagna.

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Several Solid Drink Exchanges

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but we should all be drinking more water.

Water affects our physical health way more than we think – staying hydrated helps with weight loss, exercise, happiness, productivity, getting rid of acne and toxins, headaches, joint pain, and more.


Water is always a great drink substitute, especially since we don’t drink enough of it. Water beats coffee, soda, and fruit juice.


Speaking of fruit juice, fruit-infused water or just the physical fruit is healthier than the sugar-packed grocery store juice cartons.


Coconut water is a better option than sports drinks – you’ll get all the electrolytes with way less sugar.


Try tea instead of coffee. If you need your coffee to function, go for an iced coffee instead of a super-sugary frozen Starbucks drink.


Consider almond milk as an alternative for regular milk.


For those among us over 21, try going for a Bloody Mary instead of a Mimosa to give you your morning buzz. Mimosas will have sugary juice while the tomato juice and other ingredients in a Bloody Mary will give you less sugar, more vitamins, and will usually come with a skewer of vegetables for bonus points.

Don’t forget to pick red wine over white wine for the antioxidants and heart health benefits.

Got Your Grocery List Ready?

people in the grocery

image via: pixabay

Sounds like it’s time for you to go shopping.


Hopefully, running through this list has you excited to try some new healthy food substitutions in your diet. It’s like a personal problem-solving challenge to see how much you can improve what you decide to put into your body.


If you’re up for another challenge, making your own sauces and salad dressings will bypass commercial processing and give your food a more personalized touch, so why not try that out?

You can tweak your ingredients and make your sauces and dressings exactly how you like them. Not to mention, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating because you’re the one who made it.

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51 Running Quotes For Your Cute Instagram Photo

by Michael Brown on June 13, 2019

persian poems hafez persian poet

image via pixabay

Does running run your life?

Have you recently experienced the revelation of the runner’s high and are now desperate to drag your friends to the fun?

Need a sweet picture to hang on your mirror to remind yourself why you’re waking yourself up at 5 in the morning?

We’ve got some great running quotes to keep your Instagram feed full of fast-paced inspiration.

Why The Motivational Mantras?

full love motivational

image via pixabay

Running is hard, and running is exhausting – but it’s also rewarding, and that’s why we keep running.

It’s a lot easier to hype yourself up for a run than it is to actually get out there and keep your feet moving and your lungs breathing.

It doesn’t hurt to have a few words or a sentence or two to keep in mind when you’re at the hard point in your run where you feel like you’re dying.

Anyone can start running – it’s an accessible and beginner-friendly sport and exercise activity. You can take it as far and as fast as your legs can take you.

Plenty of people who run offer great words of encouragement or thoughtful truths about the activity, often relating to life as a whole.

These running quotes can offer wisdom to runners and non-runners alike.

51 Killer Quotes To Feed Your Runner's High

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Some running quotes give advice on the act itself while some offer lessons about not giving up. Some of the best running quotes are personal introspections on the connections running has with other aspects of our lives.

Not much of a runner? Teetering on the edge of a decision to seek out that marathon rush? Maybe you’ll find some words here that’ll shift your perspective on running and get you started on your cardiovascular journey.

Quotes To Get You Up And Running

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These running quotes are great for a morning (afternoon, or evening) boost to get your legs moving. Put your head in the right space with little reminders of your personal health and running goals or the general benefit of getting up and running.

1. “I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” -Jesse Owens

2. “Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think of what it might be.” -Joyce Carol Oates

3. “You are truly your own hero in running. It is up to you to have the responsibility and self-discipline to get the job done.” -Adam Goucher

4. “I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.” -Ronald Rook

5. “I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.” -Dean Karnazes

6. “It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.” -John Bingham

7. "Run in places you love with people you like. Enjoying your surroundings and training partners will strengthen your commitment to running and bring out the best in you." -Deena Kastor

8. “Every run is a work of art, a drawing on each day’s canvas. Some runs are shouts and some runs are whispers. Some runs are eulogies and others celebrations.” -Dagny Scott Barrio

9. "We runners are all a little nutty, but we're good people who just want to enjoy our healthy, primitive challenge. Others may not understand running, but we do, and we cherish it. That's our only message." -John J. Kelley

10. “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” -Christopher McDougall

11. “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” -John Bingham

12. "I'm not telling you it’s going to be easy… I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it." -Art Williams

13. “Try jogging when following your heart, it’s healthier.” -Benny Bellamacina

14. “Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.” -Julie Isphording

15. “If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now.  Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.” -Priscialla Welch

Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running

passion led us here quote on the floor

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Finding Nemo’s Dory is iconic in telling us to “just keep swimming,” an easily adaptable mantra for us as two-legged land-runners.

This next cluster of running quotes are heralds of resilience, persistence, and pushing through the hard times. They have loads of wisdom on the merits of never giving up – when the going gets tough, the tough get running.

16. "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” -Dean Karnazes

17. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” -Will Rogers

18. “What I’ve learned from running is that the time to push hard is when you’re hurting like crazy and you want to give up. Success is often just around the corner.” -James Dyson

19. “Just because your muscles start to protest doesn’t mean you have to listen.” -from the "Runner's High" Day-to-Day Calendar

20. “The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.” -Haruki Murakami

21. “Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.” -Tim Noakes

22. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” -William Arthur Ward

23. “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.” -Gatorade

24. “A lot of people run a race to see who’s the fastest.  I run to see who has the most guts.”  -Steve Prefontaine

25. "Don't fear moving slowly forward...fear standing still." -Kathleen Harris

26. “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.” -Haruki Murakami

27. “I think I get addicted to the feelings associated with the end of a long run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, and sweat-purged. I love that good ache of the muscles that have done me proud.” -Kristin Armstrong

28. “Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don’t think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made.” -Patti Sue Plumer

29. “Never underestimate the power that one good workout can have on your mind. Keeping the dream alive is half the battle.” -Kara Goucher

30. “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.” -Lynn Jennings

31. “Yes, I am round. Yes, I am slow. Yes, I run as though my legs are tied together at the knees. But I am running. And that is all that matters.” -John Bingham

32. "When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening anymore." -Florence Griffith Joyner

Running Quotes For Your Peace Of Mind

motivational quote

image via unsplash

Running relieves stress and tension, and it actually makes you happier.

Ever heard of a runner’s high? That blissful period that you desperately hope will shine down upon you during a workout right when you need it most is real, and you have endorphins and endocannabinoids to thank for it.

When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins – aka chemicals that make us feel good by lessening pain. Endorphins work in our muscles to reduce the physical discomfort created by running or exercising in general.

Even more than endorphins, endocannabinoids have increasingly been spotlighted as the cause of the runner’s high. Endocannabinoids induce a sense of calm within us. They’re triggered more by stress rather than pain

Long workouts at moderate intensity are ideal to achieve the sweet spot of exercise – a nice 2 hour run at a jogging pace would do just the trick. We’re all different though, so listen to your body. You want to be challenged, not broken.

There are benefits to keeping up your running routine too – regular exercise gives long-term benefits. Some of these benefits are mental: better moods, higher self-esteem, less depression and anxiety, and of course, others are physical: lower cholesterol, reduced body fat, and improved circulation.

Many turn to running for its ability to spirit them away to another plane of their personal existence – in the same way that some people read books to venture off into different worlds, others will run.

Running can bring a certain clarity of mind – when you’re left with your thoughts on a nature trail, a treadmill, or a track, you have time for personal reflection.

Plenty of these running quotes talk about how running allows them some transcendence of spirit. Their running takes them to a new level in their mindset, a kind of happiness and balance in feeling alive. They love that they get into a certain flow, a meditative state, or achieve the mystical runner’s high.

33. “Getting more exercise isn’t only good for your waistline. It’s a natural anti-depressant, that leaves you in a great mood.” -Auliq Ice

34. “Runners don’t do drugs, they make their own … naturally.” -E. Neil Culbertson

35. “The pain of running relieves the pain of living.” -Jacqueline Simon Gunn

36. “My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.” -John Bryant

37. “We are designed to run and we increase our chance of daily happiness when we do so.” -Jeff Galloway

38. "There’s not a better feeling than when you have found that moment of balance and harmony when both running and life come together. Then you know why you run and that you couldn’t live without it." -Joan Benoit Samuelson

39. “Running is my meditation, mind flush, cosmic telephone, mood elevator and spiritual communion.” -Lorraine Moller

40. “Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion.” -Gail W. Kislevitz

41. “Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.” -Dean Karnazes

42. "Those long runs cleanse my system, physically and mentally." -Joan Benoit Samuelson

43. “If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” -Christopher McDougall

44. “There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.” -Kristin Armstrong

45. “Jogging is very beneficial. It’s good for your legs and your feet. It’s also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed.” -Charles M. Schulz

46. “The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” -George Sheehan

47. “If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” -Hippocrates

48. “I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” -Arthur Blank

49. “Running is alone time that lets my brain unspool the tangles that build up over days.” -Rob Haneisen

50. “Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived.” -Dean Karnazes

51. “If you want to run, then run a mile.  If you want to experience another life, run a marathon.” -Emil Zatopek

Pics Or It Didn't Happen

motivational quote

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No matter your reason for running, be it for health, companionship, enjoyment, personal challenge, or meditation in constant movement, you can find quotes from runners-past to keep your spirits up.

Show the world the aesthetics of what running means to you.

Don’t worry about whether or not you look like a sweaty mess – you got out there and you ran, and that’s what matters.

On the hunt for more quotes? Check out these other quote lists.

Now go on and share your experience and words of inspiration with your friends and followers!

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green apple juice with simple sugars

Source: pxhere.com

 Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are three macronutrients that are necessary in order to support life.

In this article, we will be focusing on a particular kind of carbohydrate, namely simple sugars.

After giving a brief overview of simple sugars, we discuss some tips that people can use to optimize their intake of simple sugars. Then, we emphasize the importance of fruit when consuming simple sugars. Finally, we end with some thoughts on how to execute a balanced diet.

A Brief Overview Of Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are called monosaccharides. They are made up of a single sugar molecule, earning them the name, “simple”.


Some examples of simple sugars include fructose, glucose, and galactose.

Fruits are high in fructose. Dairy products are high in galactose. Glucose is in many different types of foods, though the body converts carbohydrates into glucose, so it’s not necessary to consume these simple sugars directly. Still, fruits, grains, many vegetables and honey are high in glucose.

Since simple sugars have very few nutrients, they are very quickly broken down by the body.

Simple sugars can form bonds with other simple sugars to create disaccharides and polysaccharides. Disaccharides contain two simple sugar compounds while polysaccharides contain more than two simple sugars.

Tips For How To Optimize Intake Of Simple Sugars

white sugars

Source: pxhere.com

When eating a balanced diet, it’s inevitable that you will consume simple sugars. The key is not to avoid these compounds but rather to optimize how you consume them.

When consuming simple sugars, we recommend choosing foods that are high in fiber, protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins.

Foods that are high in fat will help slow down the digestion and assimilation of simple sugars, preventing drastic spikes in blood sugar levels. When eating fatty foods, simple sugars will take longer to break down, providing stable energy for many hours.

When you consume excess simple sugars, insulin is needed to balance your blood sugar levels. This can result in insulin resistance over a long period of time, which can lead to sugars being stored as fat. This can ultimately result in diabetes and obesity.

In this sense, we also recommend engaging in moderation when consuming foods that are high in simple sugars. When it comes to extremely processed simple sugars like white or brown sugar, this might mean only 2-3 servings a day.

Some people eat entire meals of fruit. Some people even eat entire meals of a single fruit. This is called mono-mealing. This approach to dieting can have a profound impact on your state of health, though it should only be adopted if high quality fruit can be acquired.

Consuming low-quality fruit amounts to consuming low quality simple sugars, which is ultimately bad for your health.

The Critical Importance Of Fruit

berries blackberries blueberries

Source:pexels.com

Fruit is one of the most important sources of simple sugars. This is because it’s high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are critical to good health.

Yet, not all fruit is of high quality. When eating fruit, there are several important factors to consider.

First, make sure the fruit is ripe before eating it. This allows the simple sugars sufficient time to develop, providing a more complex taste that will satisfy you for longer. This will prevent you from reaching for unhealthy sources of simple sugars like junk foods and overly processed foods. These kinds of foods can compromise your health and can even be addicting.

Each fruit has different signs indicating its ripeness. The best way to determine the ripeness of a fruit is to use your senses. If the fruit seems appealing, then it’s probably ripe.

Unripe fruit doesn’t want to be eaten and will likely not be appealing to you. Since the main purpose of fruit is to perpetuate itself through its seeds, ripe fruit will truly seduce you. Some fruits like bananas will even open themselves, indicating that they are ready to be eaten.

In addition to ripeness, you should select fruit that is in season. This kind of fruit tastes the best and also has a high sugar content. This means that you can eat less of them and still be satisfied, preventing you from consuming excess simple sugars.

We also recommend consuming local fruit if possible. This might not be possible during some parts of the year depending on where you live. At the very least, you should try to buy fruit that has traveled the least number of miles. When fruit travels many miles, its quality is compromised, making us less satisfied after we eat it. This can lead to binging later on or reaching for quick sources of energies like processed foods.

It’s also critical that you consume organic fruits, as these foods lack the harmful pesticides that are used on some non-organic foods. These toxic chemicals can damage some of the simple sugars present in fruit, making them harder to digest.

The Importance Of Making Your Own Food

person cooking

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Making your own food is also vital when trying to optimize your intake of simple sugars.

When you make your food from scratch, you’re able to control the ingredients, which allows you to avoid many unhealthy simple sugars.

Many processed foods contain additives like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup which lack the nutrients of whole foods like fruit. Thus, these additives are often considered to be “empty calories”.

When baking, you can always substitute white sugar or brown sugar for fruit. For example, if you are making a cake, you could always use mashed bananas. Furthermore, there are many sweet ingredients you can use that are actually healthy, like maple syrup or honey.

On another level, making your own food can be a highly rewarding experience that allows you to connect on a deeper level with the food you are about to consume. This actually optimizes your digestion, allowing you to feel fuller for longer. This will also prevent you from sneaking into the pantry late at night to binge on unhealthy sources of simple sugars like cookies, ice cream, and various candies.

Furthermore, when you make your own food, you are less likely to eat out at restaurants. This allows you to avoid many of the overly processed foods that can be encountered at restaurants. These foods often contain simple sugars yet lack the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fat needed to break them down. This can result in feeling full, yet dissatisfied, which is a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder that many people end their restaurant meals with dessert. Restaurant desserts allow people to feel satisfied even though they didn’t receive proper nutrition over the course of the meal.

When you make your own food, you don’t have to worry about consuming desert at the end of the meal, as your craving for sugar will be satiated by the healthy simple sugars in foods like fruit.

Foods To Avoid When Optimizing Simple Sugars

group of people having meal

Source: pexels.com

Lastly, there are several foods that you should avoid at all costs if you want to optimize your intake of simple sugars.

Alcoholic beverages are a no-no, as these drinks often contain refined sugars, flavored syrups, sodas, and mixers. These admixtures are extracts rather than whole foods, meaning they lack sufficient nutrition for digestion.

We also recommend limiting condiments, as these also have many ingredients with an excessive amount of simple sugars. Additionally, condiments can obscure the taste of the food you are eating, which is an important part of digestion. When each bite is flavored by a particular condiment, you might feel dissatisfied at the end of the meal, which could lead to you eating unhealthy desserts.

If you do decide to have dessert after your meal, we recommend splitting it with someone else. This will allow you to eat less while still indulging your sweet tooth.

Our Final Thoughts On Simple Sugars

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Source: pexels.com

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We think simple sugars are necessary for any healthy diet. Yet, too much of these compounds can also be bad, making moderation critical.

It’s also important to remember the role that stress plays in digestion. If you are stressed about the foods you are eating, then that could compromise your health, as stress can negatively impact how nutrients are assimilated.

Thus, you should care about the foods you eat, obviously, but you shouldn’t become obsessed with this. Diet is only one component of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, happiness, relationships, and creative fulfilment are arguably just as important.

At the end of the day, the best way to optimize your diet is to prioritize whole foods over refined foods. This doesn’t mean that you can’t consume refined foods. Rather, it means that you should try to minimize your consumption of these foods.

Get Your Simple Sugars and Trust Your Intuition

It’s also important to note that simple sugars are just a concept invented by science. When selecting foods to eat, we recommend relying on intuition rather than abstraction, as this draws upon the body’s innate wisdom.

As long as you follow the tips we presented throughout this article, you should experience vibrant health and digestion, which will of course lead to a profound sense of happiness.

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Get Ready to Sculpt, Tone, or Build a Whole New You with Weight Lifting!

So you're thinking about starting a weight lifting program, but you're not quite sure where to begin.

Well, I've got you covered noobies.

I have given you a complete guide with everything that you need to know before you hit the gym.

Stick around until the end because I am going to give you two killer workouts that will teach you exactly what to do on week one.

Now you might notice that these beginner workouts use both machines and dumbbells.

The machines are an excellent place to start because they sort of force you to use correct form. Adding dumbbells can be challenging when you're first starting, so don't be afraid to ask a trainer if you're doing the exercise correctly.

What I can promise you is that doing your weight lifting exercises will make you look better naked.

Yes, I said that. It's true. And it's awesome.

But it's about so much more than that.

You won't just look better. You will also feel a lot better, both mentally and physically.

Know what's even better than that? You will also be healthier and stronger.

Pretty great, right?

So what are you waiting for my friends? Let's get after it!

Let's Start with Your Goals

So you're ready to get in shape, and you want to start a weight lifting program. Awesome!

Now let's talk about what it is that you're hoping to achieve.

Weight lifting can do many things for your body.

Ask yourself:

Are you hoping to add mass? Do you want to get stronger? Maybe you want to lose weight. Or perhaps you want to tone up and get healthier. Do you want to train your muscles to get better at a particular sport? Do you want stronger bones?

Well, good news!

Weight lifting can do all of those things.

But it's important to state your goals because you will train differently depending on what you're trying to accomplish.

woman lifting a pole

Image: by Ichigo121212 via Pixabay

The general rule is:

if you want to build bigger muscles, then you use heavy weights and low reps. On the flip side, if you're hoping to lose size and tone and tighten up, then you will use lighter weights and higher reps.

"Focus on form, not weight. Align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains. When learning a strength training routine, many experts suggest starting with no weight, or very light weight. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group." -Harvard Medical School

Overall fitness and toning

Weight lifting is essential for overall fitness and toning.

Now, I just told you that for toning you should use lighter weight and higher reps.

However, that does not mean that your workout is going to be wimpy. You still have to use enough weight that you challenge your muscles. If you go too light, you won't notice much change in your body.

Let's say that you're on the leg press machine, for example, if you can easily do 20 reps without much effort, then you're going way too light. On the other hand, if you can't get through at least 12 reps with correct form, then you've gone too heavy.

What you're looking for is the sweet spot.

It should take a real effort to complete the reps, and by the last couple, it should be very challenging.

For beginners at weight lifting, you will be starting with one set of each exercise. As you get stronger, you will work up to three sets.

If you're looking for overall fitness and toning then you're aiming for 12 to 15 reps of every exercise, be sure that you do at least 12.

an athlete attempting  to lift a barbell

Image: by Victor Freitas via Pexels

Building muscle and strength

Many men do weight lifting because they want to create more muscle mass. As we've been discussing, that means training with heavier weight and lower reps.

You are looking for the same feeling that I just talked about with toning. That is, by the last couple of reps, the movement should be very tough.

But you will only be doing six to eight reps for most exercises. That means that your weight has to be heavy enough that you couldn't do 10 or more reps.

Another thing that is essential to building mass:

Your diet. But not like you may be thinking: Make sure that you are consuming enough calories every day, especially lean protein.

Now, let me speak to the women for a minute.

One thing I hear all the time from my female clients is that they are scared to do weight lifting because they don't want to build big bulky muscles.

Hear me on this ladies.

You do not need to be afraid to lift heavy weight. It is extremely tough for women to build bulk like men can because they simply don't have enough testosterone.

You can sculpt your body with heavy weights, but you will never look like a man. You have my word on that.

What is Muscular Balance?

Have you ever seen one of those guys at the gym who kills himself pumping heavy weights for his upper body but never works his legs? They end up with massive upper bodies and skinny little chicken legs.

We've all seen people like that.

It's a look, but it's not a good look.

Or maybe you've seen one of those women in the gym who works like crazy on her legs and butt, but never works her upper body. It's an imbalance that you can see right away.

Those are both examples of what not to do.

Muscular balance is what you want. That means that if you work the upper body, you also work the lower body. If you work on the right side, you also work on the left side. When you work the front of your arm, you must also work the back of your arm.

Make sense?

One of the ways that I like to train people is by following each exercise with another one for balance. For example, after a chest exercise, I do one for the back. Or I follow bicep curls with tricep pushdowns.

Here's why:

Not only does training for balance make you stronger and healthier. It also gives you an ideal symmetrical shape.

The Bennies

"Inactive adults experience a 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade, accompanied by resting metabolic rate reduction and fat accumulation. Ten weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg." -National Institutes of Health

Check this out!

  • 1
    Lean muscle burns more calories, even at rest
  • 2
    Weight loss
  • 3
    Loss of body fat
  • 4
    Makes you look and feel better
  • 5
    Enhances performance in endurance sports
  • 6
    Improves coordination
  • 7
    Makes you stronger
  • 8
    Increases bone density
  • 9
    Creates additional nervous system connections
  • 10
    Increased brain activity
  • 11
    Prevents diseases like diabetes
  • 12
    Burns fat
  • 13
    Boosts VO2 max
  • 14
    Greatly beneficial to the elderly
  • 15
    Helps to avoid the loss of joint flexibility
  • 16
    Improves focus, stability, and balance
  • 17
    Relieves stress
  • 18
    Injury prevention
  • 19
    Healthier heart

How often do I need to work out?

For overall health and fitness, you should do some weight-bearing exercise for every muscle in your body at least once a week.

That's the bare minimum.

Here's what I've found:

If you want to change your body, whether it's with toning or bodybuilding, you have to work on each muscle group twice a week.

If you're doing full body workouts, then you can bump it up to three times per week. But it is essential that you give your muscles at least 48 hours before you work them again.

The thing I love about a split routine, meaning that you work upper body one day and lower body on a separate day, is that you can do them back to back. While you're working your upper body, your lower body gets a rest day.

man doing a bench press

Image: by Bruce Mars via Pexels

When you can start, and when you're too old to weight lift

"Lean muscle mass naturally decreases with age. If you don't do anything to replace the muscle loss, it'll be replaced with fat. But weight training can help you reverse the trend — at any age.

As your muscle mass increases, you'll be able to lift weights more easily and for longer periods of time. You'll also help to maintain your bone density, better manage your weight and improve your body's metabolism. So don't wait. Get started today." -Mayo Clinic

It's never too late to start a weight lifting program.

The fact is, the older that you get, the more critical resistance training becomes.

But it's not just for seniors.

In fact, weight lifting is appropriate starting at around age 16.

Children under the age of 16 should still be doing muscle strengthening exercises, but they should only use their body weight for resistance.

So, now you know it's time for you to start lifting, let's answer your next question:

So How Do You Put It All Together?

Beginner's Weight Lifting Schedule for Building and Strengthening

Day 1:

Upper Body Training

Day 2:

Lower Body Training

Day 3:

Cardio, 20-45 minutes

Day 4:

Upper Body Training

Day 5:

Lower Body Training

Day 6:

Cardio, 30-60 minutes

Day 7:

Rest

*Repeat this schedule for 3-6 weeks, then slowly increase your weight and sets for each exercise.

Beginner's Weight Lifting Schedule for Toning and Weight Loss

Day 1:

Upper Body Training, followed by 15-30 minutes of cardio

Day 2:

Lower Body Training, followed by 20-40 minutes of cardio

Day 3:

Rest

Day 4:

Upper Body Training, followed by 15-30 minutes of cardio

Day 5:

Lower Body Training, followed by 20-40 minutes of cardio

Day 6:

Rest

Day 7:

Rest or 20-30 minutes of light cardio

*Repeat this schedule for 5-6 weeks, and then gradually increase the weight and sets that you do for each exercise.

Manners, People!

    Weight Lifting Etiquette 101

  • Always bring a small towel! Be sure to wipe your sweat off each machine and bench when you finish. I'm happy to share a workout with you, but I don't want to lay in your sweat, dude.
  • Be sure always to rerack your weights when you finish with them. Your mama's not here to pick up after you.
  • Don't sit and rest for long periods on a machine that someone else is waiting to use. Most people will be happy to work in between sets with you. So while you're catching your breath, hop off the machine and let others work in with you.
  • Leave your cell phone in your car or locker. Nothing is worse than some rude guy hanging out on the machines yapping on the phone.

Don't Forget About Cardio!

By now you're starting to understand the importance of weight lifting.

But here's something else you need to know.

You can do your weight lifting workout religiously, but you will never see definition in your muscles if you have a layer of body fat covering it up.

It sucks, but it's true.

So how do you get rid of that body fat?

Well, for one thing, you need to keep doing your weight lifting routine because the more lean muscle you have, the more efficiently your body will burn fat. But if you want to get rid of fat, you also have to burn it off with cardio.

The not so secret trick to that:

For overall health and fitness, you should do at least 20 minutes of cardio at least three times per week.

But if you want to change your body, you will need to do a bit more.

Can Weight Lifting Make Me Gain Weight?

Yes, weight lifting can make you weigh more, especially when you're first starting.

Okay, everybody take a deep breath before you freak out.

Let me explain.

The fact is, muscle weighs more than fat.

As you replace fat with lean muscle, it is very likely that you will see the scale going up.

Don't panic.

I know this is difficult for people who regularly monitor their weight on the scale. But while you're starting, I want you to ignore it.

Yes, you heard me right. Ignore the scale.

Instead, I want you to pay attention to how your clothes fit. Weight lifting is going to tighten your body up and sculpt your shape. And you will see that your clothes are fitting looser, even if the scale goes up a bit.

You Want Tips? Oh, We've Got Tips!

"Do supersets and hybrids. A superset involves doing two or more exercises that target the same muscle group, back to back with minimal rest in between. For example, doing a set of 12 heavy squats followed by a set of 12 heavy lunges is a superset. A hybrid involves combining two or more movements into one movement. Combining a squat with a shoulder press or a lunge with a squat followed by a lunge are examples of hybrid exercises. Incorporating these into your weight-training workouts can increase the intensity of your training, which is ideal for losing weight." -American Council on Exercise

Water! Water! Water!

Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. When I say plenty, I mean at least 8 to 10 glasses every day.

On days that you workout you should drink more, including while you're weight lifting.

You are what you eat

If you want to change your body, you have to do more than weight lifting. You also have to eat healthily.

I recommend eating a small balanced meal 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

Balanced means eating equal portions of lean protein and complex carbohydrates.

Then you should eat again after your workout. If you can eat within 45 minutes of finishing your weight lifting, you can take advantage of your sped up metabolism from your workout. Everything that you eat right after you work out will burn off almost immediately.

How great is that?

The best time to do cardio

The best time to do cardio is after your weight lifting, not before.

You can also do your cardio workouts on a different day than your weight training.

Track your progress

Keep track of your workouts. And keep track of your progress.

The best way to do that is to take pictures.

As we've already discussed, you can't depend on the scale to show you your muscle gains. How your clothes fit is a better indication.

And pictures don't lie.

So go ahead and take that selfie before you start weight lifting. Take another one after six weeks, and another after 12 weeks. You won't believe the difference.

muscle woman doing an exercise on a gym

Image: by Sabel Blanco via Pexels

Start with the Compound Exercises

A compound exercise in weight lifting is a movement that works on several muscle groups at the same time.

You don't want to have to spend hours in the gym every day, do you?

Of course, you don't. Nobody does.

As I always tell my clients, it's not about working longer; it's about working smarter.

Compound exercises give you the same workout in a fraction of the time. That's what I'd call smart!

Here's the tradeoff:

Because they work on many muscle groups at once, they are more difficult. So we always do them first in the workout.

Now let's get to the workouts!

Beginner Weight Lifting Workout for Upper Body

Beginner Weight Lifting Workout for Upper Body

  • 1
    10-minute cardio warm-up
  • 2
    1 to 2 sets of push-ups, 12-15 reps per set
  • 3
    1 set of lat pulldowns 8-15 reps
  • 4
    1 set of dumbbell flys, 8-15 reps
  • 5
    1 set of standing bicep curls with dumbbells, 8-12 reps
  • 6
    1 set of tricep pushdowns with the rope, 8 to 12 reps
  • 7
    1 set of lateral raises with dumbbells, 8-12 reps
  • 8
    1 set on the ab crunch machine, 15-25 reps

*Beginners should repeat this workout 1-2 times per week for 3-6 weeks. Then increase to 2 sets of each exercise for 3-4 weeks. After that you should increase to 3 sets of each exercise.*

1. Warm-up

Before you start any weight lifting, it is essential that you warm up.

The goal is to get your heart rate up and warm up the muscles before you add weights.

It may be tempting to skip the warm up, but stop yourself right there. If you want an effective workout and if you're going to avoid injury, you must warm up. Period.

Do this first, every time:

Start with 10 minutes of cardio for your warm up, that can be anything that gets your blood pumping.

One of my favorite ways to warm up the entire body is with the rowing machine. If you've never tried it, you really should.

Other things you can do before you start weight lifting include walking, jogging, riding the bike, the elliptical machine, jumping rope, shadow boxing, or even jumping on the trampoline.

2. Push-ups

Hands down, the best exercise that you can do for your entire upper body is push-ups. I like to start with them on upper body day. They get your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and core ready for weight lifting.

Don't forget this:

Be sure that you do them with perfect form, even if that means you can only do a few. The video below will show you the proper technique.

You may not love doing push-ups, most people don't. But if you want to tone, sculpt, or build your upper body, you need to do them.

There's no whining in weight lifting!

You only have to do one set. They'll be over before you know it.

I want you to try to do 12 to 15 push-ups. If you can't quite do them all, that's okay. Do as many as you can. And rest assured that as you get stronger, you will be able to do more of them.

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3. Wide-grip Lat Pulldown

Just like the push-ups, the wide-grip lat pulldown is a compound exercise, which means that it works on more than one muscle group at the same time. They are excellent for your back. And they also work your shoulders and arms.

There's more:

You can do a variation of this weight lifting exercise with a narrower underhanded grip. Regardless of which grip you use you should focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull the bar down.

I want you to keep this movement slow and controlled. Be careful not to use momentum to do the motion. If you're using momentum, you're not using your muscles. It's cheating, and you won't get any benefit from it.

Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat. 

4. Dumbbell Flys on the Flat Bench

Remember what I said about muscle balance?

We just finished working your back, so now we will follow with working the chest.

Dumbbell flys are also a compound exercise because they not only work your chest muscles, they also work your shoulders and arms.

If you're brand new to weight lifting, it can be a bit tricky to use dumbbells. The video below will teach you the proper form.

Don't worry if you aren't getting it right away:

If you find using the dumbbells makes it difficult for you to control the movement, then you can switch to using the butterfly machine for this exercise.

The machine will assure that you're in the right position. If you feel unsure, use it first, then go to the weights.

Here's another way:

To vary this weight lifting exercise, do it on an inclined bench. The incline will put more of the workload into your upper chest. The flat bench works more of your middle chest.

Fun fact:

Working your chest with exercises like push-ups and flys is the best way for women to get a natural boob lift. Now, how great is that?

5. Standing Bicep Curls

Okay, now that we've done the compound exercises it's time to zone in on the individual smaller arm muscles.

First, you're going to work the biceps or the front of your arms.

Because we've already worked the biceps in the previous exercises, they should be starting to get fatigued. You may have to lower your weight a little if you can't do at least six reps.

But don't wimp out on me.

Keep challenging your muscles.

If you're trying to build bigger arms, you should do six to eight reps, barely able to finish the last one. If you're trying to tone your arms, then you will do 12 to 15. Still, be sure that your weight is heavy enough that you struggle with the last rep.

6. Tricep Pushdowns with the Rope

We just worked the front of the arm. You know what that means.

Yep. It's time to work the back of the arms or your triceps.

Do the undersides of your arms jiggle when you wave goodbye? Don't fret. We can fix that!

This weight lifting exercise will tighten that jiggle right up.

We already did the compound exercises, so it's essential that you isolate your tricep with this movement.

Precaution:

Be careful that you keep your elbows glued to your sides so that you don't allow your shoulders to take over and cheat your triceps.

If you find it difficult to use the rope, you can also do this exercise with a straight bar. Just change the attachment on the cable. The movement is the same whether you use the rope or bar.

7. Lateral Raises

Now it's time to work those shoulders.

You're doing great. We're almost there.

The video below will walk you through the correct form. If you have any trouble using the dumbbells, you can also do this exercise on a machine.

Just like I said with the bicep curls and the tricep pushdowns, we want to isolate the shoulder muscles. Be careful not to let momentum take over.

Slow and controlled is the name of the game, my friends.

Now finish strong and use a full range of motion.

Fun Fact:

Developing and strengthening your shoulders not only makes your arms look better. It also makes your waist look smaller. Pretty great, right?

8. Ab Crunch Machine

Look at you! You just did an upper body weight lifting workout.

But you're not quite done yet.

At the end of every workout, you need to finish with your abs.

You can do regular crunches on the floor. Or you can use the ab crunch machine, which is more intense.

Whether you're doing weight lifting to add mass or you're just toning, you will do high reps for your abs.

If you're using the machine, I want you to do at least 15 reps. Bonus points if you can do 25.

A Beginner Weight Lifting Workout for Lower Body

  • 1
    10-minute cardio warm-up
  • 2
    1 set of squats with weights, 8-15 reps
  • 3
    1 set of deadlifts with a barbell, 8-15 reps
  • 4
    1 set of leg press, 8-15 reps
  • 5
    1 set of lying leg curls, 8-12 reps
  • 6
    1 set of leg extensions, 8-12 reps
  • 7
    1 set of calf raises on leg sled, 12-20 reps
  • 8
    1 set of 3 planks, holding each one for 20-30 seconds

*Beginners should do this leg workout 1-2 times per week for 3-6 weeks. Then increase to 2 sets per exercise for 3-4 weeks. After that increase to 3 sets for all exercises.*

woman stretching

Image: by skeeze via Pixabay

1. Warm-up

Just like with your upper body workout, before you start weight lifting on leg day, you must warm up.

Remember, the idea is to get your heart rate up and prepare your body for weight lifting.

You can do any cardio that you like. And you need to do it for 10 minutes.

I like to put my clients on the stationary bike for their warm-up on leg days. It not only gets your blood pumping. The bike also does an excellent job of warming up your leg muscles. Another great choice on leg day is the rowing machine.

squat shadow character

Image: by kropekk_pl via Pixabay

2. Squats

Remember what I said about push-ups being the best compound exercise for your entire upper body? Well, what push-ups are for your upper body, squats are for your lower body.

It's a practical exercise that works your core, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

It is essential that you do squats with the correct form. The video below will walk you through it.

As a beginner, I want you to start without additional weight on this exercise. Just using your body weight for resistance is enough. As you get stronger, you can add dumbbells.

One of the things that I love about squats for any fitness level is that they give you great shape to your butt.

Basically, with this movement, you want to allow your hips to go back as you sit down in an imaginary chair.

Here's a tip for you:

As you stand up from the squat position, push through your heels and squeeze your butt. Pretend that you had a penny between your butt cheeks.

You have to squeeze that booty so that you don't lose that penny.

It's silly, I know. But trust me on this, the tighter you squeeze that penny, the more amazing your butt is going to look.

If you don't squeeze your butt, nobody else will either.

3. Dead Lifts

Now that you're nice and warmed up, we're going to move on to the next compound weight lifting exercise:

deadlifts!

Deadlifts are going to work your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. The video below will walk you through the correct technique.

I want you to use light weights with this exercise. But if you feel any pain in your lower back, drop the weights and use just your body weight for resistance.

It's essential that you keep your core strong with this movement. You should also be careful not to hunch your back. Instead, I want you to keep your spine nice and long and straight.

When you bend down, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. As you stand back up you should again squeeze that penny between your butt cheeks.

4. Leg Press

The next weight lifting exercise we're going to do on leg day is the seated leg press.

When you're first starting, use this machine without any additional weight plates.

The machine itself is weighted enough for beginners. As you get stronger, you will add weight.

The seated leg press is another compound exercise that works your entire lower body.

To protect your knees place your feet toward the top of the sled. You never want to let your knees bend beyond 90 degrees or go forward of your toes.

Keep this in mind:

If you want to target your butt, concentrate on pushing through your heels.

The video below will walk you through the correct form. But I also recommend that you ask a trainer at the gym to help you with your first set if you feel unsure of the movement.

I want you to get accustomed to this machine. We're going to come back to it in a minute.

5. Lying Leg Curls

Okay, now that we finished the compound weight lifting exercises we're going to target just your hamstrings.

The leg curl machine is excellent for the back of your thighs, but make sure that you watch the video below to learn the proper form.

Precaution:

One mistake that I often see on this exercise is people lifting their hips off the pad to assist the hamstrings with the full range of motion. Usually, that means that the weight is too heavy.

I want you to use a weight that is heavy enough that you feel a good burn by the last few reps. But don't make it so heavy that you can't complete your set or sacrifice your form.

6. Leg extensions

So we just worked the back of the thigh. For muscle balance, you know what that means.

Yep. Now we work the front of the thighs.

Leg extensions not only define and sculpt your quads, but they also strengthen all of the muscles around your knees. That will make you a lot less likely to injure them.

However, it's also possible to hurt your knees on this equipment. So it is essential that use the correct form and that you set the machine to the right position before you begin.

Set the machine properly, great for the knees. Set it up wrong, and all bets are off.

The video below will walk you through it. But it's also a good idea to check with a trainer to make sure that you set the machine up correctly.

Stop the exercise immediately if you feel pain in your knees because you are doing something wrong.

On the other hand, if you feel a significant burning in the front of your thighs, you're doing something oh so right!

7. Calf Raises on Leg Sled

I told you we would be coming back to the leg press machine. And here we are.

But this time we are only going to work your calves.

Now your calves are a little different than the other muscles in your lower body.

Here's why:

Your calves are an endurance muscle. That means that you can do more reps on your calves. Incidentally, another endurance muscle in your body is your abs. That's also why we work abs in every workout. If you wanted to, you could do the same for your calves.

I want you to aim for 20 reps. Bonus points if you can get to 25.

You don't need to add weight plates for this weight lifting exercise. The machine itself is heavy enough.

8. Planks

You're doing great, just one more thing.

It's time to finish strong and burn those abs.

Planks are one of the best exercises that you can do for your core.

Unlike the other weight lifting exercises that we just did, we don't do planks for reps; we do them for time.

The most important thing is that you have the form correct. After that, I want you to try to hold your plank for 10 seconds. Take a rest. Do your second plank for 20 seconds. Then try to maintain the final plank for 30 seconds.

If that is too difficult, hold it for as long as you can.

Guidelines for Your Weight Lifting Workouts

  • Use heavy enough weight that you can barely complete a full set.
  • Don't sacrifice your form! If you can't complete a set using the correct technique, then you need to lower your weight. It's better to do fewer reps with perfect form than doing all of them with sloppy technique.
  • Rest for 30 to 60 seconds in between sets. Don't rest for longer than 90 seconds.
  • Do both of these workouts twice a week.
  • Rest one to two minutes in between exercises.

One Last Thing

Well, there you have it noobies. I think you're ready to hit the gym now.

But just one word of caution.

When you're first starting with any new workout program, you should consult your doctor. You should also know that you will likely be sore after your workout.

That's perfectly normal.

It's also possible that you could get sore a couple of days after your weight lifting. That's called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. One thing that you can do to relieve some of the soreness is to do cardio. That will help flush out some of the lactic acid buildups.

One question that I frequently get from my clients is should they lift weights if they are still sore from their last workout.

man and a woman doing a 1 hand push up

Image: 5132824 via Pixabay

The answer is: it depends on how sore you are.

If you are super sore, then you should give yourself at least a full day of rest. If you find that you're still in a lot of pain the next day, then that means that you need to take another day off.

Now, if you're just a little sore, or moderately sore, then you have no excuses.

Weight lifting when you're a little sore will help alleviate the pain.

So get after it!

We'd love to hear from you about your experience with weight lifting. Let us know in the comments section below how you're doing. And tell us what you think about our beginner's workout.

And don't forget to squeeze that penny!

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