FOODS THAT BOOST METABOLISM

9 Foods That Boost Metabolism Naturally

Turn up your body’s fat burn with these healthy foods

Your metabolism is partly ruled by genetics, but you can rev it up naturally by eating right. Fill up on the following nine foods to increase your body’s fat-burning power.

10 Ways To Quit Eating Junk Food

Eating junk food is a habit that you can’t quit using willpower. How do you quit eating junk food? Here are 10 ways.


1. Have a Reason. 
Why do you want to quit eating junk food?

  • Less fat?
  • More health?
  • Lower cholesterol?

Have a reason to quit. Write it on a piece of paper & look at it every day. This will act as a constant reminder of your goal.


2. Make a Plan. 
Quitting junk foods means a change of lifestyle:

  • What food will you eat?
  • What will you cook?
  • What will you eat at work?

Make a plan that has everything: diet, grocery list, schedule, …


3. Be Confident. 
Don’t believe the hype. Quitting junk food is easy. Your body doesn’t need it. If it could choose, it’d go for clean foods. As long as you’re giving your body what it needs, you’ll be OK. If not: it’s in your head.


4. Take Action. 
Don’t sit there waiting. If you want to change your eating habits do something about it.

  • Go to the grocery
  • Cook your food
  • Prepare meals for work

Common sense, but worth repeating. If the fridge is empty or if you don’t take food to work, you’ll end up eating junk food. Be ready, be prepared. Take action.


5. Get into Sports. 
Sport is healthy. When you get into sports, you’ll have the tendency to watch your nutrition too. Which sport? Up to you. I recommend Strength Training 😉


6. Choose your Environment. 
Your environment influences your habits. Choose one that helps you achieving your goal.

Remove the junk food from your house, stop buying it, say no to eating at McDonald’s daily. Read your goal. What’s more important for you? Win or lose, your choice.


7. Enjoy Food. 
Healthy food is not about eating steamed veggies. Healthy food is tasty, as tasty as junk food once you’ve adapted. The trick is to know how to cook. Cooking is a skill. You can learn it. Check Yahoo! Food for recipes & get Books on Cooking.


8. Eat Junk Food. You don’t need to ban junk food from your life. As long as you eat healthy 90% of the time you’ll be ok. One method is to eat clean during the whole week & then take a Sunday afternoon junk fest.

The longer you eat healthy, the more you’ll have adverse effects to junk food. Taste adapts. With time you’ll be glad to eat junk food, but you’ll also be glad to go back to clean food.


9. Watch Super Size Me. 
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, do it now. You know junk food is unhealthy. But how much? Meet Super Size Me: let’s eat McDonald’s 3 times a day & see what happens.


10. Control Yourself. 
Sometimes you’ll be tempted to eat junk food. Control yourself. Think. Why did you quit in the first place. What do you prefer? Eating junk food or achieving your goal? Don’t say you don’t care. You do, I know you do. You know what you should be doing.

Write this next to your goal: “I don’t need junk food“.

11 Ways to Stop Cravings for Unhealthy Foods and Sugar

Food cravings are the dieter’s worst enemy.

These are intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods, stronger than normal hunger.

The types of foods that people crave are highly variable, but these are often processed junk foods that are high in sugar.

Cravings are one of the biggest reasons why people have problems losing weight and keeping it off.

Here are 11 simple ways to prevent or stop unhealthy food and sugar cravings.

1. Drink Water

Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings.

If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty.

Furthermore, drinking plenty of water may have many health benefits. In middle-aged and older people, drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and help with weight loss.

BOTTOM LINE:Drinking water before meals may reduce cravings and appetite, as well as help with weight loss.

2. Eat More Protein

Eating more protein may reduce your appetite and keep you from overeating.

It also reduces cravings, and helps you feel full and satisfied for longer.

One study of overweight teenage girls showed that eating a high-protein breakfast reduced cravings significantly.

Another study in overweight men showed that increasing protein intake to 25% of calories reduced cravings by 60%. Additionally, the desire to snack at night was reduced by 50%.

BOTTOM LINE:Increasing protein intake may reduce cravings by up to 60% and cut the desire to snack at night by 50%.

3. Distance Yourself From the Craving

When you feel a craving, try to distance yourself from it.

For example, you can take a brisk walk or a shower to shift your mind onto something else. A change in thought and environment may help stop the craving.

Some studies have also shown that chewing gum can help reduce appetite and cravings.

BOTTOM LINE:Try to distance yourself from the craving by chewing gum, going on a walk or taking a shower.

4. Plan Your Meals

If possible, try to plan your meals for the day or upcoming week.

By already knowing what you’re going to eat, you eliminate the factor of spontaneity and uncertainty.

If you don’t have to think about what to eat at the following meal, you will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings.

BOTTOM LINE:Planning your meals for the day or upcoming week eliminates spontaneity and uncertainty, both of which can cause cravings.

Hunger is one of the biggest reasons why we experience cravings.

To avoid getting extremely hungry, it may be a good idea to eat regularly and have healthy snacks close at hand.

By being prepared, and avoiding long periods of hunger, you may be able to prevent the craving from showing up at all.

BOTTOM LINE:Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid extreme hunger by always having a healthy snack ready.

6. Fight Stress

Stress may induce food cravings and influence eating behaviors, especially for women.

Women under stress have been shown to eat significantly more calories and experience more cravings than non-stressed women.

Furthermore, stress raises your blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area.

Try to minimize stress in your environment by planning ahead, meditating and generally slowing down.

BOTTOM LINE:Being under stress may induce cravings, eating and weight gain, especially in women.

7. Take Spinach Extract

Spinach extract is a “new” supplement on the market, made from spinach leaves.

It helps delay fat digestion, which increases the levels of hormones that reduce appetite and hunger, such as GLP-1.

Studies show that taking 3.7–5 grams of spinach extract with a meal may reduce appetite and cravings for several hours.

One study in overweight women showed that 5 grams of spinach extract per day reduced cravings for chocolate and high-sugar foods by a whopping 87–95%.

BOTTOM LINE:Spinach extract delays the digestion of fat and increases the levels of hormones that can reduce appetite and cravings.

8. Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is about practicing mindfulness, a type of meditation, in relation to foods and eating.

It teaches you to develop awareness of your eating habits, emotions, hunger, cravings and physical sensations.

Mindful eating teaches you to distinguish between cravings and actual physical hunger. It helps you choose your response, instead of acting thoughtlessly or impulsively.

Eating mindfully involves being present while you eat, slowing down and chewing thoroughly. It is also important to avoid distractions, like the TV or your smartphone.

One 6-week study in binge eaters found that mindful eating reduced binge eating episodes from 4 to 1.5 per week. It also reduced the severity of each binge.

BOTTOM LINE:Mindful eating is about learning to recognize the difference between cravings and actual hunger, helping you choose your response.

9. Get Enough Sleep

Your appetite is largely affected by hormones that fluctuate throughout the day.

Sleep deprivation disrupts the fluctuations, and may lead to poor appetite regulation and strong cravings.

Studies support this, showing that sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to become obese, compared to people who get enough sleep.

For this reason, getting good sleep may be one of the most powerful ways to prevent cravings from showing up.

BOTTOM LINE:Sleep deprivation may disrupt normal fluctuations in appetite hormones, leading to cravings and poor appetite control.

10. Eat Proper Meals

Hunger and a lack of key nutrients can both cause certain cravings.

Therefore, it’s important to eat proper meals at mealtimes. This way, your body gets the nutrients it needs and you won’t get extremely hungry right after eating.

If you find yourself in need of a snack between meals, make sure it’s something healthy. Reach for whole foods, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables or seeds.

BOTTOM LINE:Eating proper meals helps prevent hunger and cravings, while also ensuring that your body gets the nutrients it needs.

11. Don’t Go to the Supermarket Hungry

Grocery stores are probably the worst places to be when you are hungry or have cravings.

First, they give you easy access to pretty much any food you could think of. Second, supermarkets usually place the unhealthiest foods at eye level.

The best way to prevent cravings from happening at the store is to shop only when you’ve recently eaten. Never — ever — go to the supermarket hungry.

BOTTOM LINE:Eating before you go to the supermarket helps reduce the risk of unwanted cravings and impulsive buying.

Take Home Message

Cravings are very common. In fact, more than 50% of people experience cravings on a regular basis.

They play a major role in weight gain, food addiction and binge eating.

Being aware of your cravings and their triggers makes them much easier to avoid. It also makes it a lot easier to eat healthy and lose weight.

11 Ways To Get That Glowing Skin From Within

Make-up can conceal even the worst of blemishes, but there is nothing like having a fantastic skin that is glowing from within. Here are 11 must-follow tips to make sure that you will get great-looking skin from within!



1. Detoxify your systemWhat’s happening inside your body is always reflected outside. When your body isn’t eliminating the toxins well, it is bound to show up on your skin. This usually occurs when other organs that are responsible for the toxin flush-out are also overloaded. But don’t worry; a healthcare professional will help you find a detox program that will be perfect for you. You can also take some burden off your system with the following tips:

Flush toxins from your body by drinking warm water with a squeeze of lemon.
· Give your body and skin a break by cutting down on alcohol and sugar for at least 5 days.
· Eat more fruits and fresh vegetables, so that you can boost the amount of skin-saving nutrients you are getting.
· Keep salty snacks at bay as this causes water retention and swelling.

2. Exfoliate your skin

Exfoliating your skin to get that healthy glow is absolutely necessary. Exfoliaters such as the glycolic acid, which contains alpha hydroxy acids, will be just great. Natural exfoliators like gram flour, coffee grounds, sugar, almond meal, and yogurt should be used as well.

3. Topical nutrition is essential

Grape seed extract and green tea are great antioxidant boosters. They are powerful bioflavonoids that allow your skin to reap more benefits by protecting the Vitamin C from oxidation. They protect your skin against elements such as stress, sun, and pollution, which can be damaging to the collagen in your delicate skin, and may also accelerate the visible signs of ageing.

4. Use coconut oil for restoration

Damaged skin can be rejuvenated and restored with regular application of virgin coconut oil. It is known to repair, heal, and leave your skin glowing, due to its rich antioxidant properties. Free radicals are also destroyed with the help of coconut oil. Your skin tone can also be evened out with a regular application of the oil, thus giving it a subtle glow and a healthy texture.

5. Use make-up that can boost your glow

There are many make-up tricks that you can use to make your skin appear to be glowing from within. These make-up tricks are very popular among celebs on the Red Carpet. For instance, you can apply a BB cream, which is a light foundation that covers blemishes, protects you from the sun, and gives your skin a natural glow, without looking cakey, like most foundations do. Using an illuminating cream under your make-up also helps your skin go from dull to bright in just a few minutes. Another trick is using bronzers in illuminating shades, rather than the matte ones, and using them where the sun hits your face – you nose, forehead, and cheeks.

6. Get adequate Vitamin C in your system

Your skin needs its daily dose of vitamins, especially Vitamin C, which is essential for an even, bright complexion. Vitamin C has skin brightening qualities, which make it great for people whose skin suffers from sun damage or age spots. According to studies, if Vitamin E and Vitamin C are taken together, they can increase your skin’s ability to shield itself from the damage caused by the sun. Well, it may even give your skin a natural sun protection, equivalent to SPF-2. That is no reason to throw out your sunscreen, but it is a great way to boost the natural sun-protection power of your skin. Choose the products that combine natural skin brighteners like peptides, mulberry, licorice or bearberry, gentle exfoliants, and Vitamin C.

7. Suck on ice cubes

This is a simple but effective trick to brighten your skin. When you suck on an ice cube, the millions of cells in your lips and cheeks are chilled, causing an increase in blood circulation. This results in plumper, rosier looking skin. For that peaches-and-cream complexion and also for a great quick-fix just before taking a selfie, grab an ice cube from the fridge and you will be ready to show off.

8. Juice it up

How you look mostly depends on what you eat. But thanks to our hectic lifestyles, our diets leave much to be desired. Juicing is a great way to ensure that all the fresh vegetables and fruits go into your system, especially when you have no time to sit down and eat those. Nutrient-rich super foods like broccoli, kale, rainbow chard, spinach, cucumber, celery, beets, and ginger are great options. These juices are especially good if you’re always on the go and don’t have time for a sit-down meal. Pop these in a carry cup and you’re good to go.

9. Vitamins B and D are essential

Vitamin B slows down the ageing process and is an integral factor in skin generation. It is also known to increase the blood flow in your cells. If you suffer from blotchiness, red patches or irritation on your skin, increase your Vitamin B intake and see the difference. Vitamin D is another important supplement that can make your skin healthy. Without adequate quantities of vitamin D, your skin can appear sallow and will be prone to breakouts and congestion.

10. Beauty sleep is necessary

There is nothing like a good night’s rest to leave your skin looking great. In fact, sleep will have a positive impact on your mental and physical well being. Your body undergoes a healing process when it is asleep. If you are suffering from sleep problems, try a glass of warm milk before bedtime. You can also use melatonin supplements that will help regulate your natural sleep cycles and get your body back on track. And this will surely result in glowing skin.

11. More tips

Here are some foods to include in your diet to get the vitamins that your skin needs for that special glow.

· Omega-3 fatty acids: Spinach, salmon, and walnuts.
· Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, chili peppers, broccoli, dark leafy greens.
· Vitamin E: Almonds, grape seed oil, squash.
· Zinc: Yogurt.
· Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes and yams.

How To Get Glowing Skin In 7 Days – With Instructions

Perfect skin. Find me one woman who does not want it. But why does it seem like flawless skin is too much to ask for? Trying to get your skin to cooperate with you almost always feels like a series of never-ending battles against zits, dark circles, pigmentation, patches of dry and lifeless skin, blackheads, and – oh, how I wish the list ended there! To top it all off, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have to deal with any of these issues right now. Chances are if you do not pay attention to your skin, one of them are bound to come knocking on your door with the others not too far behind. Pretty daunting, huh?

That being said, you’ll be glad to know that it’s not too late for you because we have put together a guide that’ll give you glowing skin within a week. From exfoliating to brightening, we’ve got it all covered in a simple week’s plan.

Here’s how to get started.

How To Get Glowing Skin In A Week?

Day 1

Starting today, CTM is your new religion. While most people are aware of the Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturizing routine, it still is majorly underrated. If you haven’t been doing it already, today is when you start, and once you do, you’ll not want to stop.

  • Your face is always collecting gunk from the pollution and dust it is exposed to, and the dead skin and natural oils that accumulate on it. Using a gentle cleanser to remove this buildup will unclog your pores, preventing issues like acne. The choice of cleanser depends on your skin type and what suits it best. Using a toner after proper cleansing will ensure that no residual oil or dust remains on the surface. Natural toners like rose water, green tea, and white vinegar work well to restore your skin’s pH balance while tightening your pores. End the routine with a good moisturizer. This is the base of any skin care routine.
  • Follow this up by applying a brightening face pack onto your face. You can whip up your own pack with ingredients like papaya, lemon, honey, milk, and tomatoes, which are readily available in most kitchens.
    • You need to remove any makeup you have on before you go to bed. Your skin needs to breathe at night, which is impossible with makeup on. A good way to remove makeup would be to apply a few drops of baby oil on your face and gently massage it for a couple of minutes. Once the makeup has come loose, you can dab it off with a cotton pad, towel, or tissue.
    • End your day by repeating the CTM method. Finish with your regular moisturizer and a good eye serum. If you have dry skin, it would be a good idea to switch up to satin pillow covers that will minimize moisture loss. Always try to sleep on your back with your face up and invest in a good humidifier to keep your face hydrated.
    • Day 2

      Your second day should focus on improving the health of your skin by controlling what you consume. Your skin can only work with what it has in terms of nutrition. While external care is crucial, internal care cannot be neglected. Eating right is a sure shot way to get skin that glows with health.

      • Follow up your morning cleanse-tone-moisturize routine with the application of a fruit mask. Fruit masks are easily prepared and applied. You can use ingredients suited to your skin type such as bananas for dry skin, and strawberries for oily skin. This is an excellent way to brighten up your face without using chemicals.
      • Keep yourself hydrated by consuming water and nutrition packed beverages throughout the day. This will help control the production of oil on your face and also tighten your pores.
      • Remove your makeup and end your day with the CTM method and your night-time skin care routine.

      Day 3

      On the third day you will be exfoliating to remove any dead skin. This will leave your skin feeling soft and looking radiant. It will also make your skin more receptive to the other treatments it will be receiving.

      • Cleanse your face with an exfoliating scrub or a face sponge. Scrub off the dead skin cells to reveal the healthy layer of skin underneath.
      • After the exfoliation, tone and moisturize your skin to keep this new layer protected from drying out. You can apply a face mask post exfoliation as your skin will be more receptive to nourishment.
      • Never forget to use sunscreen when you are about to step out into the sun. This will keep your skin protected from the harmful UV rays that can cause damage to your skin.

      • In the evening, modify your CTM ritual by applying a face pack after you cleanse your face. Once you wash the pack off, follow it up by toning and moisturizing.

      Day 4

      By the fourth day, you will notice visible results in the form of improved skin texture, and your face, on the whole, will radiate health. However, this doesn’t mean you get to ease up on the routine.

      • Wash your face with your regular cleanser and then steam it. This will help open up your pores and allow for some deep cleansing action. Once you have steamed your face for about 10 minutes, follow it up by applying a clay mask that will draw any dirt out. Optionally, you could use a combination of honey and oatmeal. Once this is done, rinse off the mask and tone your face by dabbing it with a cotton pad that is soaked in rose water. This will help re-seal your pores. Finish with your moisturizer.
      • Maintain the usual night care regimen to wake up with skin that is hydrated and nourished in the morning.

      Day 5

      • Massage your face with some aloe vera gel post-CTM. This will improve the blood circulation to your face and nourish your skin. It will also help flush out toxins. If there are dark circles under your eyes, always use an under eye serum. This will make them fade over time and also add radiance to your face.
      • After the massage, apply your regular moisturizer or day cream. One with a higher SPF is preferable so that you don’t have to use a separate sunscreen.
      • In the evening, incorporate a sandalwood face pack in your CTM routine to make your skin smooth and radiant.

      Day 6

      • It is time to exfoliate again. Ideally, you should be exfoliating your skin twice a week to keep it healthy and radiant. Follow the exfoliating steps from day 3, and follow it up by toning and moisturizing.
      • Regular intake of water and fluids like soups and juices is essential throughout the week as a hydrated body equals healthy skin.

      Day 7

      • It is time to indulge and give yourself another fruit facial. Follow the CTM method in the morning as well as in the evening.
      • Keep drinking water or healthy beverages throughout the day to maintain the elasticity of your skin.

      Following these instructions will have your skin glowing with health right from day 1. By day 7, your face will appear soft, radiant, clear, and you will be on top of your face-care game. This doesn’t mean that you stop caring for your skin. Following the CTM method every day, exfoliating your skin twice a week, and treating it with natural face masks a couple of times a week are essential for maintaining skin health. It might seem like a lot of work, but fret not!

25 fun and exciting ways to lose weight!

Many people who want to lose weight know that going to the gym and following a proper diet will help them reach their goals. Still, they do not do anything due to laziness, work pressure or lack of motivation. Even people who are determined and join a gym, often leave it after a few days citing tiredness, fatigue or distractions. In this mega guide, we give such people an overview of alternate methods they can use to shed those extra kilos.

Fun ways to exercise

The reason routines get boring is because, well they are routines! The moment you start feeling an obligation to do something, you don’t want to do it anymore. Same exercises, same music at the same time every day; exercising becomes an obligation that turns into a punishment. If you’ve tried gymming and failed, maybe it’s time to experiment with some fun workout routines. Here are a few options to get you started:

1. Hula Hoops

Would you believe that hula hooping can burn up to 600 calories an hour? Having said that, it’s difficult hula hooping for an hour but you get the idea – it’s fun, physically intensive and you can do it in the privacy of your room. Yes, it also helps you lose weight. If you are beginner, try a weighted hoop because it’s easier to rotate but as you get better switch to a lighter hoop which requires more effort from you to rotate and hence, helps burn more calories. And the elderly can try them too. Just put on some music and you are good to go.

2. Skating

Something we’ve all tried and enjoyed despite falling flat on our backsides or tripping over a bump. But here’s something you didn’t know – it can help you shed calories too. In fact, if you are over 70 kilos, you can possibly burn more than 500 calories an hour! Not only does it help muscles become stronger, it’s good for your heart as well. It’s cost-effective and has less impact than running. All you need is a smooth surface and an open area.

3. Frisbee

 Got a dog and a park nearby? Buy yourself a Frisbee and get cracking. You can get some friends along on a weekend and have a game too. Either way, all the throwing, catching and running helps your body. In fact, a 30 minute game can burn nearly 100 calories assuming you are 60 kilos. And it needn’t be a Frisbee – you could give volleyball a shot as well.

4. Badminton

One of the few games that you can play anywhere. And it’s seriously addictive. Although you can explore other options like tennis, cricket and even basketball – most of these need more space, more people or expensive equipment. For badminton, you don’t even need a net! Lots of energy, competition and running around – all of that does a ton of good to your stamina. In a nutshell, any form of sport is great.

5. Kickboxing

Most health centres or gyms also offer courses like boxing and kickboxing – both are great ways to blow off some steam after a hard day and a fun sport. An added benefit is that they sharpen your self-defence skills.

6. Trekking

This might sound too much hard work to be fun but it isn’t. Make a group of friends and take off for the hills every weekend for a few hours. You can climb your way up and have a picnic and play a few games. It’s not only a chance to exercise but to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Nowadays, there are many adventure groups who organize bi-weekly camping or trekking trips. Before you know it, you’ll be addicted.

7. Swimming

You’ve probably heard this before: swimming is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for you. And who doesn’t like to splash around in cold water? How can you make it even more fun? If you get bored, you can always play some water volleyball or a game of catch.

8. Twerking

Teen icon Miley Cyrus has 27 million Youtube views, all thanks to Twerking. Say, what? Twerking involves twisting and jerking movements of the hips that improves lower body flexibility. This seductive workout is meant to tone your core, glutes, hips and thigh muscles. 

9. Bokwa 

Robbie Williams is now into Bokwa, which requires using your feet to draw letters or numbers while doing their cardio to music. It combines elements of African dance, capoeira, kickboxing, light boxing, and fancy step footwork to strengthen the feet and ankles. You not only burn around 1,200 calories but also tone your lower body muscles. Age no bar!  

10. Pole Dance 

Want to power up the passion in your bedroom? Sign up for a pole dance workout. This strength-based training which involves spinning, swinging, twirling, climbing and more, targets the whole body. It improves posture and increases upper body definition. Pregnant women and people with histories of heart disease, joint, back and knee problems, and should steer clear. 

11. Batuka  

A dance form that originated in Brazil, Batuka is an aerobic activity combined with martial art moves. It is meant to increase endurance levels and emphasizes positive thinking. A fun, high intensity dance workout, Batuka offers choreographed routines to globally inspired music.

13. Belly dance

Wondering how Katrina got her moves right in Sheila Ki Jawani? Belly dancing is a sure-fire way to burn belly fat and strengthen your abs. Dance away stress, improve blood circulation and body posture. This is a good pre-natal workout! 

14. Zumba

Zumba Fitness is a Latin-Inspired, easy-to-follow, calorie-burning dance fitness party and it works for weight loss, weight management, fat loss and body toning. It takes the basic steps from Latin dance styles like the merengue, cumbia, salsa, latin-pop, reggaetton, bachhata, calypsio, samba and many more and merges a fitness formula to it.

Zumba Fitness allows you to feel like you’re in a night club instead of an exercise class. It uses great spicy Latin music and Latin dance styles fusing it with fitness. In Zumba you work out from head to toe using muscles you never would have in a normal gym class. Its tagline Party Yourself into Shape’ explains its reason for popularity. You come out of a Zumba Fitness class with a lot more energy, with a bag full of stress out of your system and most importantly with a smile. If fitness is fun, you would stick to it and this explains its committed following and popularity.

15. Power yoga

Power yoga is a more dynamic version of traditional yoga – it’s faster, more intense and the focus is more on building strength and less on meditation or chanting. And while in yoga there’s a fixed set of asanas, in power yoga teachers have more flexibility in terms of arranging postures according to their preferences.

It’s believed the new technique was created by Beryl Bender Birch of New York and Bryan Kest based in Los Angeles to make yoga more interesting for westerners.

16. YOGAqua 

YOGAqua is an ancient fitness method that’s been in practice since centuries. But of late, many new variants have emerged which aim to intensify its fitness benefits in a shorter span of time. While some of these have been welcome with open arms, others are just plain whacky and it takes guts to try them out. One such variant is YOGAqua – yoga merged with Stand-up Paddle-Boarding (SUP). The idea behind this method is that since the asanas (postures) are done on a moving surface, it engages muscles that we normally don’t in other exercises. The best part of this workout is – it is done outdoors in the sea on calm waters. Students first learn to balance themselves on the stand-up paddle board and then begin doing various yoga poses. Even if you lose your balance, you just fall in the water. Sounds like a fun way to exercise while making a splash.

17.  AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga

Imagine hanging from a hammock made of cloth in mid-air in a yoga pose. That’s AntiGravity® Aerial yoga for you. A workout created by a gymnast who is also a professional dancer, it promises to increase physical agility and overall health while also having fun and being a bit creative. The fabric hammock is good for upper body workout and to strengthen one’s core. Enter a class, and you may find a bunch of students in an upside down meditation position dangling in air from the hammock or completely snuck inside it with only their feet visible, practising what is known as the cocoon pose. If you want to practise yogawhile defying gravity, then this workout is perfect for you.

18.  Backward running

Backward or retro running is nothing but running backwards without looking behind. A daily exercise for many in Europe and Japan, the thought of it sounds absurd but it apparently has a number of benefits, even more than traditional running say many.  So what are its benefits? The first one is that you can do it even if you are injured. Now no more waiting for the ankle sprain to heal, you can still run backwards. It’s also been observed that 100 steps backwards is the same as 1000 steps forward so you burn more calories with this workout. Since you are running backwards, you need to be alert to help yourself navigate the way. This heightens your senses and you also have fun doing this workout. Not so common here but there are various sprints and even marathons organised for backward running in Europe. So start running backwards to get forward in your fitness regimen.

19.  Cycle karaoke

Love singing out loud your favourite songs? Now you have the chance to sing and also get fit while doing it. Say hello to cycle karaoke! The concept behind this is that your singing is an indicator of your heart rate. If you can sing a song with the perfect notes whilst working out on the cycle, you are not working hard enough but if you are out of breath during a rendition, you are closer to achieving your fitness goal. Another reason to sing at the top of your voice while cycling in a gym is that is boosts everyone’s energy and you have more motivation and stamina than before. Making this a group activity will yield better results. So rehearse the lines of your favourite song and start singing it aloud the next time you hit the gym.

20. Doga

This clearly takes the cake when it comes to weird workouts. Doga is practising yoga with your pet dog. Yes, you read it right! Through this workout, masters can bond better with their pets while getting fitter than before. Even the dogs perform yoga asanas likechaturanga where the dogs sit with their front paws in the air with the support of their human partners and sun salutations where the dogs are lifted on their hind legs by the owners.  The dogs are also used as props by their masters as they perform yoga poses. Like in the warrior pose, where the dog is balanced on the thigh or the forward bends where the dog is wrapped around the neck. It sounds completely bizarre but many dog owners in the West are thrilled by this workout and enjoy it more than the traditional exercise regimens. Looks like the dog pose is getting literal after all!

21. Masala Bhangra Workout

 A combination of traditional bhangramoves with Bollywood steps, this workout gained mass acceptance in the West and has now made its way to India as well. Fun, peppy but physically draining, this regime mixes cardiovascular exercises with dance. It is devised by Sarina Jain and is fit to b done by people of all ages.

22. Hip hop abs

This workout promises to get you six-pack abs without doing a single crunch or sit-up. Another regimen by Shaun T, it claims to get you abs with its tilt, tuck and tighten’ technique. The regimen involves various dance moves on fast-paced songs to burn calories and sweat it out. There are four routines and a nutrition guide to help you sculpt your abs faster. 

23.  Strip aerobics

Now that’s a workout that stirs up quite a few images in your head. Move over the tried and tested aerobics and try out its racier version, strip aerobics. The exercises differ slightly than traditional aerobics and involve floor workouts, sexy moves and lots of sweat and fun. The participants don’t really strip down to their basics. They wear layers on top of their gym wear and take them off to the music while they workout. The idea is to learn moves similar to a striptease and get fit while doing it but not strip completely in the class. There are special women-only classes conducted by a few gyms where you can learn this sensuous workout. Or else, order a DVD at home and try it alone if you are too reticent to do it in public. Don’t be fooled by its name, it is still an intense programme and you will break a sweat.

24. Fitness video games

These are similar to video games that kids play but instead of controlling what’s going on just with your fingers, these are meant to engage your whole body in the activity just as you would do if playing in real life. For example, a running competition in a motion game will require you to actually run (just on the spot) in order for your player to move ahead and win the race – you can’t just make him run by pressing buttons on a remote. This benefits the person playing the game as it is fun and involves physical exercise. Gaming consoles like Xbox 360 Kinect Fitness and Nintendo Wii Fit Plus offer several games which have very interactive games that help you lose weight.

25. Pilates

Pilates is a physical fitness regimen developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century that helps balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility and awareness. It builds endurance in the legs, abdomen, arms, hips and the back. The regimen of Pilates is based on six principles – concentration, control, centering, flow, breathing and precision. Concentration involves focussing on what you do thoroughly for smooth movement. The idea of pilates is based on muscle control so that you are in control of your body and not the other way round. Centering refers to the powerhouse of your body – the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks and inner thighs – all movements begin from here. Flow implies that the exercise movements are meant to flow into each other to build strength and stamina. Precision is of significance in pilates because one correct precise movement is better than many imprecise ones. And in breathing, pilates makes sure the person breathes out fully so as to inhale fully, thereby allowing maximum circulation of oxygen to the body.

10 tips for a happier, healthier life

1 Eat ‘primally’ Common sense dictates that the best diet is one based on foods we’ve been eating the longest in terms of our time on this planet. These are the foods that we’ve evolved to eat and are best adapted to. Studies show that a ‘primal’ diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as meat, fish and eggs, is best for weight control and improvement in risk markers for illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. This ‘go primal’ food philosophy will enable you to cut through the marketing hype and dietary misinformation, and allow you to make healthy food choices quickly and confidently.

2 Keep hydrated Water makes up two-thirds of the body and performs a plethora of functions, including acting as a solvent, carrier of nutrients, temperature regulator and body detoxifier. Maintaining hydration can have a profound influence on our vitality and energy levels, including mental alertness. Aim to drink enough water to keep your urine a pale yellow colour throughout the course of the day.

3 Eat mindfully In our fast-paced world, there can be a tendency to eat while distracted and shovel in more food than we need and, at the same time, miss out on culinary pleasure. Many of us will benefit from eating mindfully. Some things to think about here are avoiding eating when distracted, eating more slowly, and taking time to taste food properly. One particular thing to focus on is chewing your food thoroughly – not only does this help us savour food, it also assists the digestive process.

4 Get plenty of sunlight in the summer…Sunlight, and the vitamin D this can make in the skin, is associated with a wide spectrum of benefits for the body including a reduced risk of several forms of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis, as well as improved immune function. As a rule of thumb, vitamin D is made when our shadow is shorter than our body length, ie when the sun is high in the sky. While burning is to be avoided, get as much sunlight exposure as possible for optimal health.

5… and in the winter Low levels of sunlight in the winter can cause our mood to darken. Even when it’s cold outside, it pays to get some external light exposure in the winter, say during lunchtime. Another option is to invest in a sunlight-simulating device and use this daily from October through to March.

6 Get enough sleep Sleep has the ability to optimise mental and physical energy, and optimal levels of sleep (about eight hours a night) are linked with reduced risk of chronic disease and improved longevity. One simple strategy that can help ensure you get optimal amounts of sleep is to go to bed earlier. Getting into bed by 10pm or 10.30pm is a potentially useful investment in terms of your short- and long-term health and wellbeing. Shutting down the computer or turning off the TV early in the evening is often all it takes to create the time and space for earlier sleep.

7 Walk regularly Aerobic exercise, including something as uncomplicated and low-impact as walking, is associated with a variety of benefits for the body and the brain, including a reduced risk of chronic diseases, anti-anxiety and mood-enhancing effects. Aim for a total of about 30 minutes of brisk walking every day.

8 Engage in some resistance exerciseResistance exercise helps to maintain muscle mass and strengthens the body. This has particular relevance as we age, as it reduces the risk of disability and falls. Many highly useful exercises can be done at home, such as press-ups, sit-ups and squats. Invest in a Dyna-Band or dumbbells to extend your home routine to other exercises, too.

9 Practise random acts of kindnessRandom acts of kindness are good for givers and receivers alike. It could be a quick call or text to someone you care about or have lost touch with, or showing a fellow motorist some consideration, or giving up your seat on a train or bus, or buying someone lunch or giving a spontaneous bunch of flowers.

10 Practise the art of appreciationModern-day living tends to be aspirational and we can easily find ourselves chasing an ever-growing list of goals, many of which can be material. Some of us could do with spending more focusing not on what we don’t have, but on what we do. Our mood can be lifted by giving thanks for anything from our friends and family to a beautiful landscape or sunset. 

7 Health Tips & Precautions To Take During The MonsoonThe monsoons are a welcome change from the sweltering summer heat, but they bring some very unwelcome guests which must be avoided at all costs.

We’ve all heard this before – to stay healthy and happy in the monsoons, we must take precautions during rainy season. And we’re not just talking about staying away from water logged areas or eating street food. We’re talking about overall health tips for rainy season which can make the weather even more enjoyable.

7 Essential Monsoon Health Tips To Safeguard You This Monsoon

1. Follow a healthy diet.

  • This is the season where the body and especially the digestive system are most prone to infections.
  • Diseases in the rainy season are mostly water-borne so make sure you only drink water that is filtered or boiled.
  • It is also important to maintain a healthy diet in rainy season, which means that your favourite chaat, juices, golas, kulfis and other street food are off the menu.
  • Preferably avoid raw vegetables and salads unless they are consumed at home where you can wash and clean them thoroughly.

2. Drink enough water, regardless of your activity levels.

  • Do not compensate your liquid intake with carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks and beverages as the preservatives and sugars in them act as diuretics. 
  • Herbal teas with antibacterial properties are a good idea.

3. Avoid walking in the rain. 

  • As much as it is tempting, walking in rain water makes you prone to a host of viral diseases such as leptospirosis and can also cause numerous fungal infections at the feet and nails.
  • Also, if your feet get wet, dry them immediately and do not stay in wet socks or shoes.
  • Diabetics especially must take extra care and avoid walking barefoot as the ground is rife with all kinds of germs.
  • If your clothes get wet, do not sit in an AC environment or change them immediately.
  • Keeping an extra pair of clothes and footwear in the office is a good idea.


 4. Keep clear of damp indoors: 

  • Damp walls are home to fungus growth and an absolute no-no if you suffer from asthma or any other breathing problems.

    5. Don’t leave home without a mosquito repellent:

    • Accumulated water is a breeding ground for insects and the monsoons are party time for malaria.
    • Always wear or carry a mosquito repellent.
    • The over cautious can take a dose of anti-malaria drugs.

    6. Bathe twice a day.

    • A shower as soon as you reach home in the evening will insulate you against infections caused by the build-up of sweat and dirt due to humidity.
    • Take Vitamin C to boost your immunity.

    7. Avoid touching your eyes:

    • Eye infections like conjunctivitis, stye, dry eyes and corneal ulcers are common during the monsoons.
    • This can lead to blindness if ignored. Refrain from touching eyes especially with dirty hands. those who spend long hours in front of a screen – television or computer – may also experience redness, itching or irritation.
    • Consult a doctor immediately.

10 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Water

Top 10 Benefits of Drinking Water: Don’t Medicate, Hydrate!

1. Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue

Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!

2. Promotes Weight Loss

Removes by-products of fat, reduces eating intake (by filling up your tummy if consumed prior to meals), reduces hunger (hello natural appetite suppressant!), raises your metabolism and has zero calories!

3. Flushes Out Toxins

Gets rid of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s (urinary tract infections).

4. Improves Skin Complexion

Moisturizes your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Gets rid of wrinkles. It’s the best anti-aging treatment around!

5. Maintains Regularity

Aids in digestion as water is essential to digest your food and prevents constipation.

6. Boosts Immune System

A water guzzler is less likely to get sick. And who wouldn’t rather feel healthy the majority of the time? Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks.

7. Natural Headache Remedy

Helps relieve and prevent headaches (migraines & back pains too!) which are commonly caused by dehydration.

8. Prevents Cramps & Sprains

Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.

9. Puts You In A Good Mood

When the body is functioning at its best, you will feel great and be happy!

10. Save Money!

Water is FREE! Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s STILL cheaper than that high sugar and fat-filled latte!

Daily exercise to stay fit

Just like ill maintenance of your power tools or your equipment can result in it being rusty and not functioning properly, the human also functions in a similar way. There is no possible way for you to steer clear from health complications and a long and healthy life until and unless you choose to live a healthy life style and incorporate exercise in your daily routine. In order for you to keep your internal machinery working and kicking even in the old age, all you have to do is give your body 15-20 minutes of exercise every day. Listed below are some daily exercises for people that are too lazy to hit the gym and want exercises they can do anytime and anywhere.

Basic Crunches

Basic crunches are for the Ab area and are effective for tucking away that beer belly. Be mindful of your posture when you do crunches, especially if you have lower back or neck pain. Lay on your back with the knees bent, put your hands behind your head, Pull your stomach inwards and curl up forward. In the beginning you can start with just ten to fifteen reps. Two to three sets are enough then you can increase your sets and reps as time passes by and your muscles start getting stiff. These daily crunches will keep your stomach flat and will never ensure a good physique and posture.

Push Up

Pushups are one of the most common and effective exercise proposed by trainers around the world. Simply doing 10 pushups a day can enhance your upper body strength and set you right on the path of fitness. Pushups build and fix your whole upper body posture including chest, arms, shoulders and wings. To do a push up in the right way, keep your legs stretched, back straight, push yourself up with your hands.

Leg up Crunch

Leg up crunch is an exercise for your lower abdomen and hips. You have to lie down keeping your back straight and raise both your legs at a 90 degree angle. Don’t worry, if you can’t raise both of them at once, you can start with raising one leg at a time. Gradually your muscles will open up and you can then raise both your legs after a few sessions.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jack is called the queen of exercises – a basic exercise which is performed by almost everyone in their childhood. It is one of the most beneficial exercises which helps you increase your stamina and get a toned body. You can start with a two to three minute workout and work your way up to as many as you wish.

Squats

Squats are the most renowned basic exercise for keeping your whole body toned and in perfect shape. They are mostly used for shaping your lower body and hips. Stand straight, start bending your hips and knees, keep bending until your hips are below your knees and come back up in the same position. Be sure to keep your back straight at all times. Start out with ten to fifteen squats and then work your way up.

Planks

A fairly more difficult exercise, planks are for those that are already in the routine of exercising, it’s a bit demanding but also the most effective exercise of them all. Get into a press up position, bend your elbows in a way where your body forms a straight line and rest your body weight onto your forearms. Suck your belly inside and stay in the same position for a minute. Planks reduce your back pain, strengthen your core, reduce your belly fat, increase flexibility, and also help to increase your mental strength and wellbeing.

Chair Dips

For those of us who want add to the level of endurance our inner triceps can take, chair dips is the way to go. By making your body rest and then pump on your triceps, you provide them with the much needed impetus to grow in muscle and reduce flab.

Get a chair that is sturdy enough to support your weight and rest your palms on it while the rest of body leaning on the support of your triceps in a face forward orientation. Once set, take lunges by keeping your weight supported only by your hands. 10 reps per set is great for starters while you can up the ante as time progresses and your comfort level increases.

Lunges

Without exercise, one of the areas which weaken the most is the part around the knee and the thighs. They stop supporting weight or are not flexible enough, both of which allows unnecessary bulk to accumulate in the very area. Lunges are great for strengthening your knees and building strong thigh muscles.

What you need to do here is to stand upright, rest your arms on your hips and then put forward one foot while lowering your body on to it. At the start keep the bend to a 45 degree angle as the muscles are stiff at this point and once you get used to it, increase it to a 90 degree posture.

Chest and Leg raises

This one looks quite difficult but it sure works out great as it targets the whole area around the abs and strengthens the other core thigh and hip ligaments. Lying face down, raise your chest and legs in the air simultaneously without getting the support of your arms. Get the muscles involved pull up on them, these increases the propensity of the ligaments to develop strength and avoid straining.

The Abdominal Hold

Making your arm muscles able to sustain the weight of your body, not through bare strength but a balance created by a tough core, is one of the best exercises to cut down on visceral fat in the wrong places. Sitting on a chair, put your hands on the chair and raise your feet while slowly trying to upend your whole body on the arms. It will be difficult to maintain balance at first and the required posture wouldn’t last for more than 2-3 seconds, but daily practice will enable you to prolong those arm stays and get a great body that does not only look good but has the strength, endurance and core toughness to support and sustain it.

Before you move on the next level of exercise which might include aerobic yoga and probably weights, you need to make your body able to withstand the pressures it will encounter during those demanding physical routines. All great things require discipline which means sticking to one thing for period of time vigorously to prepare your body for the next level. Getting a great body is your goal, so you will have to work for it. An hour a day will make it around 350 hours of workout for the year, get going today to end up with that hourglass figure at the end of next year.