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May 2014

Factors to Think About When Shopping for the Best Moisturizer

Factors to Think About When Shopping for the Best Moisturizer

Submitted by: Valerie Rosenbaum

If you want the best moisturizer, there are many factors to consider. The factors concern the ingredients or combination of ingredients included in the product. They should be safe for people and the environment. They should also be effective.

Most moisturizers contain some petrolatum and mineral oil. They are basically cheap fillers. They are included to make the lotion feel like you think it should; a little slick, a little greasy.

Petrolatum, mineral oil and other petroleum derivatives may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals, because of the factories in which they are created. The use of petrochemicals of all kinds may be accompanied by an increased risk of cancer. Many popular fragrance ingredients are derived from petrochemicals.

So, if you want the safest product, you want one that is free of added fragrances. You also want one that is free of artificial preservatives.

Parabens and other artificial preservatives may also increase a person’s risk of cancer. Many researchers believe that is the case. Whether or not they cause cancer is still unknown, but they are known allergens. Fragrance ingredients and artificial preservatives are the most common causes of allergic reactions to cosmetics.

Today’s best moisturizer is preserved using natural vitamin E, which is also good for your skin’s health. It reduces your risk of age spots, helps to prevent free radical damage and works to reduce fine lines or wrinkles.

It contains no added fragrances. Even naturally occurring plant fragrances can cause reactions when they are concentrated. Sometimes, you are unaware that a reaction is occurring. We become so accustomed to smelling perfumes; we are often unaware that they are making our sinuses ache and our throats itch.

Petrochemicals are not a good choice from an environmental perspective, since they are derived from crude oil, a fossil fuel partly responsible for global warming. Today’s best moisturizer contains no petrochemicals, no mineral oil and no petrolatum.

The most moisturizing ingredients are plant oils combined with a protein extracted from sheep’s wool. Years ago, squalene was commonly recommended for improving the skin’s moisture content without causing problems, because it is similar to sebum, the skin’s natural oils.

But squalene is whale oil. From an environmental perspective, whaling should be stopped. Some species have been hunted to near extinction.

Then there is animal testing. Testing cosmetics on animals was commonplace until animal rights groups went to work. Now, it is about to be banned in the European Union.

Today’s best moisturizer was not tested on animals. The company responsible for it was confident enough in the safety to invite human volunteers to give the product a try before it was released. Testing for safety and effectiveness are not required, but the better companies work hard to ensure the performance of their products.

When it comes to effectiveness, today’s big push is for anti-aging ingredients. There are some excellent formulas on the market, but most are not so good. The best moisturizer is one that contains the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 in a special form designed to penetrate the skin. Learn more about it and you’ll understand why.

About the Author: Valerie Rosenbaum is an expert author on the subject of natural skincare products. Through years of research she discovered a skin firming cream that she can confidently recommend. They use a proprietary blend of plant derived ingredients like Wakame. To learn more visit her blog about anti aging skin care.

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Healthy Eating Shopping List

Healthy Eating Shopping List

Submitted by: Kirsten Whittaker

Healthy eating starts with careful planning and organization. Since fresh produce has a very limited shelf life, regular grocery shopping is a must. Creating a menu for the week and writing out a shopping list will save you time and money; while helping you stick to healthy recipes. Local health food stores and farmer markets are very money-wise solutions. Plus, frequent visits will allow you expand your culinary horizons as well as mingle with other health-concerned people.

Healthy eating means using fresh ingredients and gentle cooking methods without adding any artificial ingredients and fats. Healthy eating requires a lot of cooking, since take-out food often contains too many refined fats and artificial seasonings. However, with modern appliances you will discover that cooking is no longer an annoying chore reserved for special occasions, but an exciting part of everyday life.

So which products should we buy when we actually decide to begin eating healthy food? Here’s what your weekly shopping list should include.

Vegetables. All vegetables should be eaten young, when they are tender and not coarse. Vegetables are best bought from fresh food markets or seasonal, when they are sold in boxes or baskets. Supermarket vegetables are often genetically modified or have been picked green and ripened in boxes when traveling long distances. Sprouts and brightly colored vegetables contain the most vitamins and antioxidants.

Fruits. Again, the trick is to buy seasonal fruit, since exotic fruits have often traveled long distances and ripened in their boxes, not on trees. Local, naturally ripened or, better yet, organic fruit are the best choice for the health-conscious cook.

Herbs. Aromatic herbs and spices can be used fresh or dried. The best idea is to plant the aromatic herbs in pots on your window and use them fresh whenever you need them. To preserve flavor, you can buy spices whole and use them freshly ground.

Cheese. Although cheese is quite rich in fats, cheese is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Buy only fresh cheeses in small quantities and try to eat them at once, since gourmet cheeses don’t have a lengthy shelf life.

Eggs. Buy only organic or free-range eggs, and shake them before buying to ensure freshness.

Fish and shellfish. The best way to buy fish is fresh and unfrozen. Again, most of the fish in supermarkets comes from fish farms where it is fed with artificial substances, and this fish cannot be used in healthy recipes. Pink salmon and other popular kinds of fish will most likely come from a fish farm. Shellfish is a more healthy choice, since shrimp, for example, does not live in chemically polluted water. When you boil mussels, discard those that do not open.

Meat. For truly healthy eating purposes it’s better to skip meat entirely, since it’s almost impossible to find meat that comes from an environmentally and health conscious farmer. Most of the meat in supermarkets has enormous quantities of growth hormones and antibiotics. The best meat for use in healthy recipes comes from small farming communities or organic farms.

Grains. Whole wheat and whole grains should become a staple of your healthy eating routine, because many healthy ingredients are contained in the grain shell. Rice is the only exclusion from the rule, because, even though the rice grain shell is removed, many nutritional elements still remain in the rice grain.

What we eat become a part of us. So make your kitchen a starting point for your new healthy eating habits, and enjoy preparing healthy meals.

About the Author: For more information on what constitutes a healthly shopping list and to sign up for a free health newsletter please visit Discover Natural Health.

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Transform Your Abdominal Muscles With the Sit-Ups With Balance Disk Exercise

Transform Your Abdominal Muscles With the Sit-Ups With Balance Disk Exercise

Transform Your Abdominal Muscles With the Sit-Ups With Balance Disk Exercise
By Guy Long

Resistance training makes a great way to reduce body fat. Not only does it increase energy expenditure, but it also increases basal metabolic rate. Moreover, it helps reduce increases in intra-abdominal fat and percentage body fat. A regular resistance training routine helps strengthen muscles, which in turn help you sit and stand straighter and more comfortably. Resistance training helps increase bone density and reduces knee and back pain by strengthening muscles around these areas.

The benefits of resistance training are not just limited to fat loss and mass gain. When performed on a regular basis, resistance training helps reduce risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. It helps decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease by lowering low density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels in the blood. Middle-aged adults who engage in resistance training are less likely to experience loss in body strength and muscle mass typically associated with normal aging. It also confers many benefits on the health of women. It helps lower risk for breast cancer by reducing high estrogen levels linked to the disease. Studies show that resistance training also helps reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in women.

You can choose from a wide variety of exercises to improve your postural stability, reduce body weight and improve functional capacity. Sit-Ups with Balance Disk makes an effective resistance training exercise to strengthen your abdominal muscles. It is an advanced version of the traditional Sit-Ups. This exercise targets abs much better than traditional abdominal workouts due to the less involvement of the hip flexor muscle in the movement. The balance disk adds comfort to the lower back and provides assistance during the sit-up.

Begin this exercise by placing the balance disk in the center of an exercise mat and positioning your back on the balance disk. Your knees should be bent. You should place your hands behind the head or across the chest. Contract your abs by sitting up. Be sure to keep your head and chin up and exhale. Next step is to lower the body back to the starting position to complete one repetition. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Sit-Ups with Balance Disk is a medium difficulty exercise and should be performed in the supervision of an expert fitness trainer. Hiring a certified gym trainer offers the safest and fastest path to achieving your fitness goals. Not only does he coach you on proper equipment use and correct exercise form to ensure your safety, but he also offers the motivation you need to continue your resistance training sessions.

There are some dietary tips for fast weight loss. Your breakfast should be comprised of � cup non-fat yogurt, � cup strawberries and a cup of green tea. At lunch, you should consume 3-4 ounces of grilled chicken and a cup of black coffee. Your mid-afternoon snack should be comprised of a boiled egg and a glass of milk shake. At dinner, you should eat salad, � cup half- baked potato and a cup of green tea.

Guy Long runs Health Clubs in Melbourne and is a Fitness Trainer in Balaclava where he specializes in resistance training, body transformation, weight control, and overall muscular strength for local residents.

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Three Benefits of Weight Lifting You Never Knew

Three Benefits of Weight Lifting You Never Knew

Submitted by: Kya Grace

Are the beginners contemplating the idea of hitting gym and shape those muscles? Or are you hoping to enhance your body strength by performing a dutiful round of strength training? They are all perfectly good ideas, and can only do you good, but you certainly will be all the more motivated if you comprehended the bigger incentives ahead of you. Weight lifting, which the un-initiated often mistake to be just goofing around with the weights, has a lot more to offer than just sturdy muscles. Here is what you probably gained, but never knew about them, if you’ve been lifting weights for some time now:

Cholesterol dwindles

Your have just steered yourself clear out of the way of high cholesterol levels. Redundancy or plain joblessness is the root cause of high cholesterol level. Aggravated cholesterol levels turn big time villains if not taken care of, and a heart attack is just around the corner, if you choose to ignore it. Weight lifting and strength training are routines so strenuous that your body will be forced to utilize a major portion of your body fat, to muster the strength for the work-out.

Bring it on

You have been lifting weights, and that is no laughable matter. What a lot of people consider impossible to do is what you have accomplished. This should give you every reason to be proud of yourself, for you’ve proved your ability to perform beyond the average standards of performance. This should boost your morale, and will help you to showcase yourself in a better light. You will have earned the respect of a lot of people, who probably look up to you now. Your precedence will now be to perform better, to help maintain your reputation, which will motivate you further, to keep the practice going.

Arm-slings are history

You probably began with a 5 Kg dumb bell, and moved on to 10, 15 and further. If you are hoping to make it to the Olympics, you’ve almost certainly lifted 75 Kg and more, so heavy lifting is pretty much your thing right now. You don’t really need Calcium tablets to keep your bones healthy and strong; weight lifting prepares your bones for the worst. Next time you hit your arm against the table or the door; do not stare in disbelief if you don’t feel a thing.

Plenty of advantages, which you never thought of, follow. Some of them benefit your physical fitness; others are about improving your mental strength and endurance. It enhances your metabolism levels, regulates your blood pressure level, and ‘hardens’ the heart, giving it the ability to perform better. Your hard bones will never meet up with osteoporosis. You have left your anemic days well behind you, since your hemoglobin levels are just perfect now, and equally normal are your red blood cell counts

On the emotional side, your discipline at your work out sessions will reflect everywhere. Weight lifting is a frustrating process, and it takes everybody a bit of time to achieve the impossible. The patience exhibited will proliferate, and will prove to be of great use.

If you haven’t being lifting weights yet, there you go, you have plenty of reasons to engage in that now!

About the Author: To book a Personal Trainer Centennial Park for a free Boot Camp consultation, visit Sydney Boot Camp.

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Benefits of Weight Training

Benefits of Weight Training   by Jhay Kal


Weight training is about improving muscle strength and muscle tone. Now, there's a big difference between weight training and body building. So what do you get if you do weight training? Stronger muscles can improve your posture and balance. It also helps prevent injuries. Both men and women can do weight training. It helps to tone, lift, firm and shape your body. With the daily activities that you do such as carrying shopping bags, lifting kids, moving furniture, it wouldn't be that hard if you have stronger muscles. If you want to reshape your sagging arms and some parts of your body, you need to do weight training. With the combination of a healthy diet and cardiovascular activities, it will burn fat all over your body. Build more strength and you'll lose more weight plus you'll tighten those problem spots. Whether you want to play a sport better, burn fat, or have a physique that people admire (including yourself, when you look in a mirror), you simply have to add weight training to your exercise regimen.

Dumbbells can be used for weight training as well as full-body fitness. Weight lifting has several safety and proper use techniques that should be practiced and kept in mind during every dumbbell workout routine. If you have not previously done weight training, you need to select a set of dumbbells that will meet your needs as a beginner. Use a set that has a wide range of dumbbell weights. Because weights strain your muscles and require stabilization, slow and deliberate movements are essential to avoid injury. Slow movements also help build more muscle and give you a better workout. Try performing in front of a mirror at first as it may help ensure that your form is appropriate for dumbbell routines.

Arm workouts are the most popular dumbbell routines. You can perform bicep curls, practice triceps extensions, kickbacks, shoulder presses and shoulder raises. Dumbbells can help you exercise more than just your arms and shoulders. You can also work out your entire core with dumbbells such as your chest, back and abdominals. You can your use the dumbbells for bench presses and fly exercises. Consult a health professional before beginning a workout routine with dumbbells.

Although the process of building muscles is long and slow but the benefits of it are immediate. There is the sense of confidence you get. You are building muscle and creating shape. You are taking charge of your destiny and building the future you want. You stand straighter and walk taller. And that may be the best reason of all to start weight training!

Jhay is a fitness enthusiast and a motivator. His passion for fitness
and wellness stems from being athletically inclined. He does his best
to inspire others in leading by example with his dedication in blogging and writing articles.

His ultimate goal is for everyone to be confident,having have greater self image, weight management and turning fitness and wellness into a lifestyle.

Bust Through the Weight Loss Plateau!

Bust Through the Weight Loss Plateau!

Dieters dread the plateau. You're on a roll, losing weight steadily and happily for weeks. Your confidence is high and your goal is in sight. Then suddenly your scale freezes. No matter how hard you try, those extra pounds just refuse to budge. You've hit a wall and you know the frustration of seeing no progress could easily lead you to gain back what you've lost. So how do you break through the plateau?

It's perfectly normal for a dieter to reach a plateau. The trick is to use it as an opportunity to double up your efforts and get really clear on your strategy to carry you through to the finish line. Below you'll find suggestions that can help you recommit to your program and re-ignite the weight-loss process when you feel challenged.

1. Get clear on your ultimate weight-loss goal.

Be sure that your weight-loss goal is realistic and that your expected rate of weight loss is reasonable. If you are on a heath enhancing, nutritionally rich weight loss program you can expect to loss one to two pounds a week. Each body has its own ideal weight and size. Don't compare yourself to anyone else, but listen to your body and notice what feels best for you. A simple way to approximate your ideal weight is by referring to a Body Mass Index chart.

2. Go high-protein, low carbs.

Unless you are eating enough protein to maintain your lean muscle mass, you are likely to have lost weight already from both your fat stores and muscle. Women need to eat approximately 100grams of protein a day and men 150 grams in order to preserve their muscle tissue during a weight loss program. If you have lost some muscle during your weight loss program so far you will need to focus on protein so your body can build muscle, which requires more calories to sustain, which will in turn, kick start your weight loss again. Needless to say, any weight loss program you choose should be one that preserves your body's muscle and this does not happen!

3. Add resistance training to your program.

A wonderful way to boost your metabolism and break through to the next level of weight loss is by incorporating aerobic exercise into your program, such as 30 minutes of walking three to four times a week. (If you are 35 years or older, or haven't exercised regularly, begin with 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a week.) In addition, weight training with free weights or machines several times a week can help increase muscle mass, which in turn allows you to burn more calories faster. Studies show that weight training can increase your metabolism overnight by five to 10 percent. Working out can increase your metabolism for up to 21 hours after an intense workout.

4. Look out for hidden carbohydrates.

If your weight loss progress seems slow, look out for carbohydrates that might be sneaking their way unnoticed into your diet. Sugar can lurk in the most unexpected places such as ketchup, salad dressings, teriyaki and barbecue sauces. Watch out too for cornstarch, sugar or milk solids in many processed foods such as gravies, or sauces on frozen vegetables. Be especially careful about "low-fat" foods where flavor is enhanced by sugar and other carbohydrates. Try keeping a diet journal for a couple of days of EVERYTHING you eat and drink. You may quickly discover the hidden carbs that are keeping your weight-loss progress stuck and be able to eliminate them and move past your plateau.

5. Take the "refinement" out of your diet.

Try eliminating all refined sugar and refined grains from your diet. This includes white bread, pastries, pasta, white rice, white flour crackers, sugar-coated breakfast cereals, cookies and cake. This simple step can encourage a huge weight-loss breakthrough and leave you feeling more healthy and energized in the process.

6. Don't go hungry.

Cutting back on how often you eat can have a negative impact on your diet plateau. Many studies show that small, frequent meals are more satisfying and produce better weight-loss results than the same number of calories consumed in three large meals. Take advantage of healthy snacking and crunch on fresh slices of raw vegetables like celery, peppers, cucumber and jicama when you're hungry.

7. Drink to burn up.

It's vitally important to replenish your fluids by drinking plenty of water on your weight loss program. An inadequate supply of water in itself can slow down your weight-loss. Carry water with you wherever you go throughout the day. For additional weight-management benefits, add a high quality aloe concentrate to your water to help keep your digestion in top shape. Also, a probiotic supplement can help us maintain a healthy intestinal flora. Keeping well hydrated not only helps you burn fat efficiently, it also helps control hunger.

8. Keep your incentive strong.

Remember the determination you felt when you first began your weight-loss program? Remember the excitement of watching the pounds drop one by one? Go back to whatever your initial motivation was and see whether it still works for you. It may have been the desire to lose weight for a particular event or to regain your figure after pregnancy. You may have been motivated by poor health or by the shock of just how much weight you had gained. See whether the same motivation still has juice for you. If not, choose a new one. Keep a picture of yourself looking great (or bad!) on your refrigerator as a daily reminder of where you are heading.

(c) Kim Beardsmore

-- One of the best popular site that is provideing tips for sam weight loss blog and losing weight tips for more detail contact us. Source:

Georgia Firm Recalls Chicken Breasts Due To Misbranding



Prime Pak Foods, an establishment in Gainesville, Georgia is recalling approximately 23,250 pounds of fully cooked breaded chicken breast and tender products due to undeclared allergens and misbranding, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced. The agency has declared this a Class I Recall of High Health Risk.

The products subject to recall include:

  • Two 5-lb. bags in a 10-lb. box of “Wegmans Fully Cooked Breaded Chicken Breast Strips” - product code “77064” is printed on the box
  • Two 5-lb. bags in a 10-lb. box of “Wegmans Fully Cooked Breaded Chicken Breast Strips” - product code “77065” is printed on the box
  • Two 5-lb. bags in a 10-lb. box of “Sugar Lake Farms Fully Cooked Breaded Chicken Tender” - product code “77409” is printed on the box
  • Two 5-lb. bags in a 10-lb. box of “Wegmans Fully Cooked Breaded Chicken Breast Fillets” - product code “77425” printed on the box

The company is recalling the above food products because they were formulated with milk, eggs and wheat - known allergens that were not delared on the product label.

The USDA says that Prime Pak Foods discovered the problem "during the product recovery phase of recall 023-2014 when misbranded product not from the previous recall was observed."

The agency goes on to say the recalled products bear the establishment number “P-9165” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were produced from 5 June 2013 through 21 March 2014.

According to the USDA, neither the FSIS nor Prime Pak Foods have received reports of any adverse reactions from eating the recalled foods. The agency advises that anyone who has concerns about a reaction should contact their health care provider.

The FSIS says Prime Pak Foods mislabeled the food products which were distributed to restaurants, hotels and institutions nationwide.

Consumers who have questions about the recall are advised to contact John Appling at (770) 536-8708, ext. 1105, or


None will be excluded from God’s covenant because their sin was too great (1 Tim. 1:15-16).

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I'm living fit, healthy and happy(SM). Are you?


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FSIS Press Release



"Georgia Firm Recalls Chicken Breasts Due To Misbranding" copyright © 2014 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.



Kettlebell Equipment

Kettlebell Equipment

Useful Kettlebell Equipment

The great thing about Kettlebell Workouts is that you need very little equipment so they are something that you can very easily conduct at home. There are a few basic pieces of equipment that you may need in order to do this.

The obvious piece of equipment that you will need is a set of kettlebells. Depending on your ability and the range of exercise that you wish to complete you may require different weights also, for example it is likely that you will be able to use a kettlebell that is a lot heavier for the kettlebell front squat compared to that of the kettlebell windmill.

When choosing your kettlebells there are a number of options available. You could choose to invest in a single set of kettlebells. This could be the cheapest option but could limit you to certain exercises and could also limit your progress because as you become stronger you will ideally need to be adjusting your workouts to take this into account and should be moving to heavier kettlebells.

A solution to this could be the adjustable kettlebell, although generally more expensive than a single set of kettlebells you will have a great number of weight variations so you can match the weight you are using to the exercise that you are performing and also adjust the weights as you become stronger.

If you feel it is inconvenient to be adjusting and building the kettlebell to the correct weight during your exercise regime you could opt for the full kettlebell rack. This is obviously going to be more expensive than the first two options as the rack alone can cost in excess of £300 however if you have the space and the funds available, having a full kettlebell rack to use during your kettlebell workouts may be the most convenient option for you. It eliminates the time required to build the adjustable kettlebell and you can choose the weights you wish to store on the kettlebell rack.

Another handy piece of Kettlebell Equipment to have for your kettlebell workouts is a pair of weightlifting gloves. Lifting kettlebells can cause calluses and blisters as most weightlifting sessions do and they can be uncomfortable and unattractive. Weightlifting gloves are reasonably cheap to buy and will eliminate this issue. They can also improve your grip on the kettlebells which could improve your performance.

Much of the above is optional and if you wish to start your kettlebell workouts on a low budget all you will really need is a pair of suitably weighted kettlebells so what is stopping you from getting started?

-- Kettlebell Workouts can be a great addition to any workout and there are a wide variety of exercises to choose from, all you need to get you started is a few basic pieces of kettlebell equipment. Source:

Choosing the Right Gym - 8 Steps to Guide Your Selection

Choosing the Right Gym - 8 Steps to Guide Your Selection

Choosing the Right Gym - 8 Steps to Guide Your Selection
By Josh Stone

Lose 10kgs in 10 weeks! Open from 6 - 12 midnight! As low as RM6 per day! Join for RM28 and February is FREE!

Sounds familiar to you? There are just too many offers and promos out there when it comes to joining a gym, and I've heard enough. It's upsetting when some of them are misleading and only make it tougher for you to decide... so here are some pointers to help you choose a perfect gym you can call home. :)

Choosing the right gym has a huge impact on how well you adhere to your fitness program - for example, if it's really out of the way but cheap, what are the odds you'll be going regularly? A health club membership isn't something you buy and don't use - instead, the more you use it, the more you will get back, and the better value you get out of it.

So before you decide to sign on that membership contract, it only makes sense that you also 'shop around' first. Attractive prices and promotions can be tempting, but COST and the HOT female salesperson or front desk girl IS NOT everything when it comes to choosing the right gym for you.

FIRST, narrow down your selection to a few potential health clubs that you like, and then take the following suggestions into consideration (in no particular order) to guide you in making the right choice:


For you to adhere to your fitness routine and not find it a hassle to workout - going to the gym needs to be convenient for you. You're more likely to use a club if it's close to your home or workplace. You won't go if it's far away, or if you have to constantly endure traffic jams just to get to workout. If you join a club that isn't convenient for you, you'll eventually find an excuse to stop going. When I first joined Fitness First back in 2003, it was less than a 5 minute drive from my workplace, and it still is - but the nearest one from my home was 20 km away. But now that there's a new Fitness First in Bukit Tinggi, Klang - the gym is 5 minutes away from home too. I've now got the best of both worlds. Lucky me.


Make sure you 'test drive' the gym BEFORE you sign up. Sales people / Membership Consultants / Sweet Young thing, or whatever you call them - are well trained to hype up the benefits of the gym, so it is essential that you yourself actually try out some of the equipment and get a feel of the actual atmosphere BEFORE you sign up. You'll need at least a day pass to try out the gym and decide for yourself before you sign up.

Check the gym's website for a day pass - almost always given out for free. Come at the same time you plan to come in the future, get changed, work out, maybe try a class, have a shower, relax, and then go home. Then, you decide.


When you tour the club, pay attention to details. How clean is the facility? Is the music too loud? Are all the equipment in working order? Too many ''out of order'' signs may indicate poor maintenance. Are new members provided with a club orientation and instruction on how to use equipment? Make sure the club is a place where you would enjoy spending time, cos if you don't - once again, it's only a matter of time before you start making excuses not to go.


This is depends on one's personal preference - if group classes are what gets you going and motivated, then find a gym that offers a good mix at a time that suits your schedule. Some fitness centres have classes as early as 7AM - so there's always something for someone out there. Personally for me, even if the group studio comes crashing down, it wouldn't really affect me because it's just not my thing, but it may be for you.


A decent gym must have CERTIFIED Instructors/Personal Trainers. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recently recommended that gym owners only hire personal trainers with certifications from agencies accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or an equivalent accrediting organization. These include: the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM); American Council on Exercise (ACE); The Cooper Institute; National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM); National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF); National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT); and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Credible certification will ensure you get a trainer that meets the guidelines to provide a safe and effective workout. For something us Malaysians can relate to - it is like comparing a Kancil with a Volvo which comes fully equipped with side impact safety bars, airbags, etc.

According to the American Heart Association, almost one-third of sudden cardiac arrests outside homes and hospitals occur in fitness clubs or sports facilities. So, it is better if the gym you choose is fully prepared for such an incident at all times with staff that are trained to perform CPR, and also the gym needs to be equipped with AEDs (automated external defibrillators). Also.. are they friendly and helpful? Or do they only smile when you sign on the dotted line?


Most of the gyms open early and stay open late, so this shouldn't be much of a problem. Before you join, though, make sure your club is open when you plan to go. Then visit the club at those exact times you intend to work out. Check whether the club is too crowded or if there are long lines for equipment at that time. In a recent survey of 1,500 website visitors by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), 46% of respondents indicated that overcrowded gyms are the number one reason that keeps them from going to the gym. Believe me - it can be very frustrating and time consuming if the gym is overly crowded when you workout - you end up wasting a lot of time.


Many clubs have a variety of payment options (monthly cash payment, credit card auto-billing, bank direct debits, etc). Find a payment schedule that meets your needs. Find out exactly what the membership fee is and what it includes - ask around and check how much your friends are paying. Will you have to pay extra for towels? Don't forget to take into consideration admin/joining fees, and deposits that may be required.


Before you join, talk to current members about their experiences with the club. Additionally, it helps if the gym is a member of IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association), as member clubs must oblige by a code of ethics that protects the health and safety of their members and also protects you from falling prey to unscrupulous business practices.

With a little research and patience, you really can find a gym you can call home - hopefully, for many years to come.

Do not feel pressured to sign a contract right away, but take time to review it carefully and ask questions if something is unclear. You have the right to make the salesperson wait - even if it's for another week. Once you sign up, give yourself a good pat on the back - cos you've made a worthwhile investment in your health.

Josh Stone, also known as DM, is a certified Personal Trainer with the American Council on Exercise, and the author behind the site which offers the author's personal views on real-life fitness, bodybuilding, sports nutrition, cardio, fat loss, training information, and on all things that surrounds fitness.

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Top Eight Strength Movements For Fat Loss

Top Eight Strength Movements For Fat Loss

Top Eight Strength Movements For Fat Loss
By Callie Durbrow

In order to effectively lose fat, and keep it off, people need to change their body composition. This does not happen overnight or with a quick fix diet. As a Boston personal trainer I have seen many people struggle and become frustrated with their fitness programs. Losing fat is a difficult task but it can be broken down into a few simple equations.

Lose Fat + Gain Lean Muscle = Change in overall Body Composition
Strength Training + Solid Nutrition Plan = Lean Muscle Gain
Lean Muscle Gain + Consistent Progressions to Exercise Plan = Fat Loss and Overall Change in Metabolism

Many people rely too much on cardio and calorie restriction when trying to lose body fat, lose weight, and ultimately change their "shape." The most effective way to do this however, is quite the opposite. You need to develop a solid strength training program, eat 5-6 small meals and snacks each day, and engage in higher intensity conditioning exercises (interval training) in order to achieve the lean, strong, and fat burning body.

Here are my Top Eight Strength Exercises for Ultimate Fat Loss:

1. Squats (dumbbell, barbell, sandbag, kettle bell)
2. Lunges (dumbbell, barbell, sandbag, kettle bell- various directions including lateral, walking, reverse, forward)
3. Chin Ups (assisted, body weight, or weighted)
4. Push Ups (modified, body weight, on bench or ball, explosive using med ball)
5. Overhead Press (barbell, dumbbell, unilateral or bilateral)
6. Turkish Get-Ups (using dumbbell or kettle bell)
7. Kettle Bell Swings (for reps or time)
8. Weighted Trunk Exercises (medicine ball sit ups, twists, back extensions)

All of these exercises recruit large muscle groups, tax the nervous system, increase the heart rate and challenge the cardiovascular system, and develop real world strength (not machine based). These movements can all be modified with variations depending on strength levels, training experience, and goals of the individual. Performing these movements as a circuit or a superset will elevate the heart rate and challenge all areas of your body.

Regardless of the design; these exercises give you more bang for your buck and you will see results much faster than smaller, isolated movements that do not tax your system nearly as much.

Integrate some or all of these exercises into your training program 2-3 days per week, along with 2-3 days per week of higher intensity conditioning for a maximum of 30 minutes, and a clean nutrition plan and you will be well on your way to a consistent change in your metabolism, an increase in lean muscle tissue, and overall fat loss.

Callie Durbrow is a strength coach and personal trainer in Boston, Massachusetts. She currently trains clients to lose body fat, gain strength, and challenge their bodies with each session. Her training style is a combination of conventional strength work, modified strongman training, and overall conditioning. Visit her at to find out more about personal training and small group training.

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