How to Maximize your Mid-day Workout

How to Maximize your Mid-day Workout

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FURTHER MORE BY EQUINOX.

This is the ideal lunchtime exercise routine.

 

 

For high performers, a lunch break can be the perfect window of time for a workout. Beyond its convenience, a midday sweat is a unique opportunity to optimize both body and brain.

Operating on a regular sleep schedule, we all typically experience a 3 or 4 p.m. slump in energy because our body’s wake signaling quiets but our sleep drive continues to increase, explains Alex Zimmerman, director of Equinox’s Tier X program.

If you can sneak in a workout before this period of tiredness, though, “you can potentially offset it and increase production and wakefulness,” Zimmerman says. “Exercise floods the body with hormones and excitatory neurotransmitters that allow us to power through this time.”

Of course, all lunch workouts aren’t created equal. And if your legs have been crammed under a desk since 9 a.m., you’ll have to account for that. Below, Zimmerman outlines an ideal 45-minute workout for middle-of-the-day movers. It will maximize the energy you have at this time of day, while also allowing you to transition safely from a morning of sitting to a session of sweating.

As for your actual lunch, make sure to get in a balanced meal (like these no-cook options) as soon as possible post-workout, Zimmerman suggests. Eating beforehand is optional and dependent on your goals. “The longer you are away from food before your workout, potentially the better if you’re hoping to lose fat,” he says. In other words, skip the snack. Alternatively: “If you’re trying to gain muscle, then some pre-workout nutrition (like a protein shake) is essential.”

Part I: Warm-Up (10 minutes): Foam roll. “You don’t want to go right into loading the joints and muscles, because they have become a bit stuck due to being sedentary,” says Zimmerman.

Part II: Movement Prep (15 minutes): “The below movements not only prepare your body for movement, they increase core temperature, reducing the likelihood for injury.”

(1) Crab Reach [How To]

Begin with hands and feet on the ground, feet about shoulder-width apart and fingers pointed away from you. Lift your hips about an inch off the ground. Raise one arm up in front of your face so you are balancing on one hand and both feet. Press your hips up by pushing through the heels and squeezing your glutes, then extend the raised arm behind you. In the full position, the reaching arm is relaxed, not locked out, and framing the head. Return to the start to complete one rep. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per arm, holding the stretch for three to five seconds per rep.

(2) Six-Point Hip Rock [How To]

Put hands, knees, and feet on the ground. Try to spread your knees as far as part as possible. Keeping your chest up, rock back and forth. Perform 12 reps.

(3) Step Back Lunge with Overhead Reach [How To]

Begin in standing position. Step back, keeping the leg relatively straight, and drop your back knee toward the ground. Reach up over the head, keeping the arms straight. Switch sides. Perform six reps per side.

(4) Lateral Lunge with Lateral Reach [How To]

Step out to the side, keeping the opposite leg straight. Drop down into a squat while reaching with both arms to the outside of the body of the bent leg side. Switch sides; perform six reps per side.

Part III. Full-Body Strength Exercises (20 minutes): “With 20 minutes, you can do four exercises and get all the benefits from loading your body, like increased muscle and decreased fat,” says Zimmerman. Perform 12 reps of each of the below exercises. Repeat sequence once for a total of two rounds.

(1) Landmine Front Squats [How To

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the free end of the bar with one hand positioned at your shoulder. Bend your hips and knees to lower into a squat. Drive out of the squat and push the barbell up and in front of your chest.

(2) Cable Chop [How To]

Begin half kneeling by a cable machine in a split stance with inside foot forward, back foot and knee just outside the front foot. Holding rope handle with both hands from high cable position, pull the outside arm across the body. Press the inside arm across the body and out. Return to the starting position by following the same movement plane.

(3) Lateral Lunge with Cable Row [How To]

Grab a low cable with the left hand, keep arm extended and feet together. Step to the right with your right foot, keeping your toes forward and your feet flat. Squat through your right hip while keeping your left leg straight. Push back to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side.

(4) Plank with Alternate Reach [How To]

Start in full or modified plank position, with palms or elbows directly under shoulders, abs engaged, legs extended behind you. Keeping shoulders down and body as still as possible, lift right arm straight in front of you up to shoulder level. Lower arm; repeat on left. Continue alternating sides while holding plank throughout.

Part IV. Intense Metabolic Activity (5 minutes): Perform Airdyne or rowing intervals. “Do two intervals (with one minute between each) of one minute at 90 percent and then one minute at 60 percent and then take a minute to cool down with some breathing exercises,” says Zimmerman.

 

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Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bites

Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bites

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON RAIA’S RECIPES.

These grain, dairy, and refined-sugar free Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bites are the perfect, easy treat!

 

Every now and again you just need a really simple, easy treat to snack. Am I right? Of course I am. Well, maybe if you’re like me, you kinda need that every day, but that’s besides the point.

My definition of simple and easy is things that I usually have on hand in my kitchen. Things like peanut butter, shredded coconut, honey, and cocoa powder. I could probably live off these four ingredients.

These Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bites are one of my family’s favorite treats, and they’re quick and easy to make. All I need are my four staple ingredients, and you’re good to go!

Since there’s no refined sugar in these treats, I don’t mind making them for a snack for my family. Though I might actually eat them all before my family finds out… Haha.

In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra, but I will earn a small percentage that will go to help support and maintain this site and its free content. Thanks! 😉

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1/4 c. peanut butter, or almond butter
  2. 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  3. 3 T. raw, local honey
  4. 1/4 c. cocoa powder

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In freezer safe bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until ball forms. Stick in the freezer for about 1/2 hour. Shape into teaspoon-sized balls and eat! Store leftovers (if there are any) in the fridge.

 

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21 (Not-Boring) Chicken Breast Recipes Made for Meal Prep

21 (Not-Boring) Chicken Breast Recipes Made for Meal Prep

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON GREATIST.

There are a lot of benefits to prepping chicken meals for the week on Sunday.

 

 

For one thing, you’re not dealing with raw meat more than once. Plus, who wants to think about what to pack for lunch or what to make for dinner once Monday rolls around and that to-do list explodes? Stay ahead of the game (at least where eats are concerned) by cooking chicken into pre-portioned, healthy dinners—or lunches—to enjoy throughout the week. And we’re not talking about unseasoned, blah-tasting stuff either. These 21 chicken breast recipes are simple, but they’re anything but boring.

1. Healthy Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Taste the rainbow—the healthier, non-Skittles way—with this super-straightforward recipe. The veggies and chicken are roasted at the same time in the same pan, so there’s minimal prep necessary. Add a cooked grain to round out the meal.

2. Chicken Shawarma and Sweet Potato Fry Bowls

Skip the Middle Eastern food truck and create your own version of shawarma at home, using spices such as paprika and cumin to coat your chicken. With couscous, olives, and a tahini yogurt sauce making this portable dish taste even more authentic, you’ll be the envy of your coworkers.

3. Healthy Greek Chicken Meal-Prep Bowls

Sectioned plastic containers are a must for meal-prep purposes, and this recipe is a perfect example of how useful they are. The yogurt sauce, chicken and veggies, and farro are best kept divided until it’s time to eat.

4. Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Chicken Meal-Prep Magic

It’s easy, it’s got fewer than five main ingredients, it makes eight servings, it’s well-balanced, and it’s delicious. Magic is a pretty perfect word for this meal-prep recipe.

5. Pesto Chicken Pita Pockets

You can always make your own pesto, but, like most meal-preppers, if time is a limited resource for you, a store-bought version works just fine. Stir it into a pile of roasted chicken and veggies, and pack the mixture into pita pockets.

 

 

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30 Flowers You Should Always Grow Side-by-Side

30 Flowers You Should Always Grow Side-by-Side

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON RODALE’S ORGANIC LIFE.

Beautify your garden with these companion planting combinations for any season.

 

 

Organic gardeners know that picking the right plants to grow together can make all the difference: many plants help each other thrive, and strategically partnering those plants in your garden bed is what’s known as companion planting (here are 26 plants you should always grow side by side). You can extend your companion-planting strategy to your flower beds, too.

(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale’s The Backyard Homesteadshows you how.)

“First, decide what you are looking for, what you want the plants to do for you in a specific location” advises Mary Bachert, B.S. Ornamental Horticulture & Environmental Design and B.S. Landscape Architecture, of Saylor’s Lawn & Landscape, in Macungie, Pennsylvania. “How tall do you want the plants to be (short for ground cover, tall for privacy screening), what color flowers appeal, when do you want them to bloom, is fragrance important?

“Then try to pair plants that serve overlapping purposes in your landscape. For example, plant shorter long-blooming annuals or perennials in front of an evergreen shrub for year-long greenery and color during the growing season” adds Bachert.

Tips for creating great flowering combinations

1. Pair plants that are suited to the soil and amount of sun available.

2. Choose reblooming or self-cleaning plants (the petals fall off on their own so you don’t have to cut off old flowers frequently to keep the plants pretty) whenever possible for lowest maintenance and highest impact.

3. If you want to create a block of color in your landscape, pair plants with similar shapes and colors.

4. If you prefer individual flowers or plants to stand out, select plants with very different colors, shapes, and textures.

5. Plants with flowers or leaves that are all very similar in color or all in one color family (silver, burgundy, and maroon; or cream, yellow, and white for two examples) create a calming, harmonious feeling in the landscape; while bright, contrasting colors of flowers and/or leaves add excitement and draw the eye.

And relax: if something doesn’t quite suit you don’t sweat it: take pictures and make notes and adjust your choices next year: annualsalways offer a fresh start in the spring and most perennials can be moved to better spots. Do remember that perennials may take a few years to fill out and give you the display you want, so don’t toss in the towel on them too soon.

Here are some favorite pairings to get you started (annuals and tender perennials that aren’t hardy in much of the U.S. are marked with an “a.” Perennials hardy in all or most of the U.S. are marked with a “p”):

 

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