The benefits of abdominal crunches

Strengthening the muscles in the abdominal cavity leads to better balance and helps to avoid pain in the lower back or back muscle injuries.

I’ve always wondered if all of those abdominal crunches I force myself to do are actually beneficial. I decided to do some research and make sure I was doing them correctly and that they are worthwhile. An abdominal crunch is done while lying on the floor on the back. The knees are bent and the hands placed behind the head to support the neck. It’s important to think about pulling the belly towards the spine with the back as flat as possible. Slowly, the shoulder blades are brought up several inches from the floor while the abdominal muscles are contracted. The neck needs to be kept straight with the chin up, and it’s recommended to exhale. The position is held for a few seconds before the body is lowered back down. The purpose of abdominal crunches is to tone the core muscles of the body. It is an exercise designed to strengthen these muscles while also improving posture and increasing mobility and flexibility of the muscles. This type of exercise isn’t overly effective at burning fat. However, the repetitive motion builds muscle mass and improves the body’s ability to more efficiently burn fat. Plus, a half hour of crunches can burn up to 300 calories. Physical therapists, doctors and fitness professionals agree that abdominal crunches provide unique health benefits. Strengthening the muscles in the abdominal cavity leads to better balance and helps to avoid pain in the lower back or back muscle injuries. After reading a whole bunch of fitness blogs, I’m convinced that I need to keep doing abdominal crunches. I’ve discovered that there’s lots of variations on this simply exercise. Simply by adjusting body position or motion, I can target different muscles and increase intensity.


Gym membership

Working from home leads to struggle with workouts

I love that I’m able to work entirely from home.

I don’t need to set an alarm in the morning or stick with a structured schedule.

I’m able to be flexible with my hours. I also have the option of working in sweatpants and listening to my favorite music. When I first started working from home, it was a big adjustment. I found that I was actually working much longer hours and taking on a bigger responsibility. This allowed me to earn more money but added a great deal of stress. So much time spent in an office chair, sitting at a desk and staring at a monitor was hard on my joints and muscles. I started suffering from headaches, tennis elbow and aches and pains in my back and hips. Along with this, I had very easy access to coffee and snacks. Instead of taking a dedicated break for a healthy meal, I frequently chose to grab a handful of pretzels or a donut. I gained weight, had trouble sleeping and dealt with depression. I tried to set aside a time to workout everyday, but I’d either put if off entirely or cut the workout short. I found it impossible to focus on the workout when my workload was right there waiting for me. I considered joining a gym but knew I’d quit showing up after a week or two. The ideal solution was to sign up with a personal trainer. These training sessions are rather expensive and the trainer is expecting me. Skipping them isn’t an option. The sessions get me out of the house and the personal trainer is wonderful at keeping me motivated. He pushes me to work harder and to strive for new goals. I’m more productive at work and feel so much healthier and better about myself.

Personal Training

Personal trainer helps me prepare for a new job

When I accepted a new job, across the country, I decided it was time for some major life-changes. I would be making a great deal more money and was determined to appear professional and worthy of this promotion. Plus, I was moving to a warm weather area. I could no longer hide under bulky sweaters. My body would be way more obvious in short sleeves. I was looking forward to spending some time at the beach, making new friends and possibly meeting a potential boyfriend. Hoping to put my best foot forward, I decided to embrace a healthier and more active lifestyle. I knew I needed to totally revamp my approach to fitness and meal plans, and I recognized that I needed help. With just a short amount of time to accomplish my goals, I’d never succeed on my own. I researched the different personal trainers in my area, found one that I liked and signed up. After we outlined my strengths, weaknesses and goals, we got to work. Getting weighed and measures was a bit embarrassing but simply motivated me further. The workouts were positively grueling. I met with the personal trainer five times per week for intense cardio, weight lifting, squats and stretching. Each time, I left the gym utterly exhausted and feeling good about myself. This feeling of success helped me to avoid unhealthy foods. Sticking to the diet plan wasn’t easy. I like sweets, fast foods and crunchy snacks. However, denying myself was definitely worth it. My hard work paid off and I headed to my job much thinner, stronger and healthier. As soon as I arrived at my new destination, I immediately signed up with another personal trainer.



Personal Physical Training

Personal trainer takes me to new levels

I signed up with a personal trainer nearly six years ago, and it totally changed my life.

At first, I was a bit skeptical.

The sessions are rather expensive. I doubted a personal trainer would provide anything beyond what I could do on my own. I figured I could easily look up different exercises online and achieve the same results. The only reason I contacted the personal trainer was because my sister got engaged to be married. She chose very fitted and strapless bridesmaids dresses. When I tried the dress on, I looked like a sausage. I refused to be photographed looking like that and feel self-conscious at the wedding. Needing to lose a great deal of weight in a short amount of time, I decided to get some professional assistance. The personal trainer didn’t just instruct me through a series of exercises. He introduced me to a whole new lifestyle. We discussed my eating habits, analyzing everything from the quality to the quantity of my food intake. He worked with me to create a much healthier and lower calorie meal plan that includes the nutrients I need to fuel my body. He stressed the importance of a regular sleep schedule and proper hydration. The exercise regiment was unbelievably challenging. I could never have pushed myself to such lengths. He motivated me to work harder and longer than I ever had before. Some of the workouts seemed impossible, and I was drenched with sweat and nearly ready to give up. The personal trainer held me accountable, charting my progress. As I reached my short-term goals, I became more determined. By the time of my sister’s wedding, I’d lost the targeted weight and was in better shape than ever. There was no way I wanted to return to my old habits. I have continued to workout with the personal trainer and see steady improvement.

Heath and Fitness Center

Working long hours and trying to stay fit

My job involves extremely long hours, and I spend them sitting at a desk and typing on a computer.

  • I’ve found that this sedentary lifestyle results in health concerns.

I started gaining weight and experiencing pain. Back problems, soreness in my neck and joints and headaches began to be a regular part of my life. Because of these issues, I had difficulty sleeping at night. Since I wasn’t getting proper rest, I struggled to get up in the morning and had less energy at work. A decrease in my productivity meant longer hours and made the situation worse. Plus, the negative impact on my appearance and being in pain all the time led to depression. I researched my situation and learned that I needed to start exercising and eating better. It wasn’t all that difficult to change my diet. I stopped eating fast food for lunch and packed myself a healthy meal. Instead of grabbing drive-thru for dinner, I stocked my refrigerator and cupboards with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins. I have found that I enjoy preparing a better tasting and nutritious meal in the evening. I had trouble setting aside time to exercise. I already get up super early in the mornings and work a very long day. At the end of it, I don’t want to head to the gym or go for a run. I’m exhausted and need to relax. I also still need to find time to do my laundry, grocery shop, pay bills and clean my house. I try to have a bit of a social life. The solution was a fit bike that is designed for low resistance activity while I’m working. The bike features a desk that accommodates my laptop and a cup holder. I can handle my workload while pedaling. It’s not a high intensity aerobic workout, but when I ride the fit bike for anywhere between four to six hours, I burn a ton of calories.

Workout classes

Making my workout a priority

I workout every morning for approximately 60 minutes.

I have set up an unused bedroom in the house as my personal gym.

I purchased a stationary bike and treadmill and added yoga mats, free weights, kettlebells, resistance bands and a jump rope. I like to workout right after I get up, before I’ve eaten anything. I find that an intense exercise program boosts my energy levels for the rest of the day. I’m definitely more productive at work. Maintaining a healthy weight, better appearance and strong muscles are all very important to me. I’m hoping to age gracefully and protect my health and quality of life. I make an effort to vary my fitness regimen and target all the different muscle groups. It can be discouraging when I hit a plateau and can’t seem to improve in anyway. However, I’ve noticed that if I miss a day or two of my workouts, I can definitely feel the difference. I don’t have the stamina and end up with sore muscles. When I’m not at home, it can be a challenge to find a place and time to workout. My husband and I like to take a motorcycle trip every year. We’ve already spent two months traveling across the country, from the east to the west coast and back, on the Harley. When we stay at hotels with a fitness center, I’m delighted. However, to save money, we sometimes camp or stay at cheaper hotels that lack amenities. I always pack my jump rope and resistance bands and will often go for a long run.


Workout program

Health concerns associated with obesity

Nearly forty percent of the US population is affected by obesity, and the numbers continue to grow.

  • These people have a much greater risk of developing serious medical issues.

These health problems threaten nearly every part of the body. Being overweight increases the risk of stroke and directly affects mental health, frequently leading to depression, poor self-esteem and issues with body image. Because of fat stored around the neck, the airway is diminished, making it hard to breathe at night. Plus, obesity forces the heart to work harder which often results in high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke. Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with the body’s cells becoming resistant to insulin. Type 2 diabetes, a condition where the blood sugar is too high, has been linked to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and blindness. Combining high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excess body fat frequently results in hardened arteries which raises the threat of heart attack and stroke. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, gallstones, liver disease, deteriorating bone density and difficulty getting pregnant are just a few of the many problems and concerns associated with obesity. It’s possible to treat obesity with a combination of diet and exercise. A lifestyle change, with a focus on better health and more physical activity, is necessary. Reducing weight by just 5 to 10% can decrease the risk of developing serious health problems. It’s a good idea to consult with a doctor about safe changes and achieving a better way of life. Nutritional counselling can be extremely helpful, both educating and establishing a nutritious meal plan. A personal trainer provides one-on-one fitness training for a regimen customized to better motivate and targeted at the individual’s goals.

Wellness and Recovery Programs

Targeting fat for healthier way of life

Most people don’t realize that there are two separate types of fat that affect the body.

These two types are called visceral and subcutaneous fat, and it’s impossible to completely get rid of either one.

A certain level of fat is essential to good health. It’s not only possible but common for people to collect more than they need. Subcutaneous fat is located right under the skin and often referred to as love handles or belly fat. It is the type of fat that jiggles, and you can pinch it. Visceral fat is stored deep in the midsection and cushions vital organs, including the pancreas. Someone with a bloated yet hard torso and a rounded silhouette typically has an excess of visceral fat. This is the result of taking in more calories than required to fuel the body. It’s often caused by a diet of too much sugar, high-fructose foods, sugary beverages and alcohol. We’ve all seen men with the swollen beer belly who appear pregnant. Although men tend to have more visceral fat than women, the likelihood increases for women after menopause. Visceral fat has been linked to health concerns such as insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure. It’s doesn’t just negatively affect appearance. A healthy meal plan and physical activity are effective in reducing visceral and subcutaneous fat. A low-carb diet and portion-controlled meals are helpful. High-intensity interval workouts have proven most effective at targeting fat. Join a gym, sign up with a personal trainer, go for a run or take up a sport. Following healthier patterns results in better quality of life.


Certified gym

Importance of early heater service

Catching them early is the key

It’s very important to service your heater before the winter actually rolls in. HVAC technicians get busy in the fall season, and their schedules fill up quickly. If your ductwork isn’t properly sealed the rooms in your house won’t easily reach the desired temperature, costing you dearly on your next electricity bill. Also, leaky air ducts allow that heated air to leave the house. Not only is it stressful on the heater, but it will raise your energy bills. You are paying for heated air to leave the house. The heater never turns off, and as a result, expect more heating bills. When ducts are properly sealed and connected to the air conditioner, the heater operates with better efficiency and can heat your house considerably faster. Whether it is hooked up to a gas line, or an old-fashioned wood burner you should also inspect your fireplace before the winter arrives to make sure it is still safe to use. Using a fireplace will take some of the weight of responsibility from the HVAC system and help save some money. While the initial cost of a certified HVAC technician may seem a bit high, the amount of money you would spend if something went wrong with your heater would be staggering. Simple maintenance plans can spot defects in your equipment. Catching them early is the key. Fall is the best time to pick up the phone and get a HVAC contractor to your house. Their schedules are not as busy and the furnace maintenance costs are significantly less.



HVAC supplier

New roof reduces cost of heating and cooling

When my husband and I first purchased our home, we knew there were some problems with the roof.

Because of the age of the house and many layers of shingles, we couldn’t get away with a patch.

The entire roof needed to be removed and replaced. We put off the project for as long as possible. After every storm, I would find stray shingles in the lawn. During particularly hard rain, we’d be forced to set up pots and pans to catch the many drips from the ceilings. Realizing we were going to end up with severe water damage, we finally hired a roofing company. The project was extremely disruptive and expensive. In the middle of July, when the outside temperature was in the high eighties, we were unable to run the air conditioning. Our house was overheated, sticky, dirty and overrun with bugs for nearly two weeks. When the job was finally complete, I figured it would take hours for the air conditioner to lower the indoor temperature to a comfortable level. I was surprised when the house cooled right down. Since replacing the roof, the air conditioner no longer needs to run as long or work as hard to meet demands. The same is true of the furnace in the winter. I hadn’t considered how much energy was being wasted due to the leaky roof. Replacing the roof significantly improved comfort, lessened wear and tear on the heating and cooling equipment and lowered our monthly utility bills. Plus, the house stays cleaner and we enjoy superior indoor air quality. I’m now looking around for other possible energy saving measures I can take.
Heating equipment