What separates the women from the girls during athletic competitions?

It’s their attitude towards what they are doing that spells the difference. Our bodies can do amazing things when we are driven by a clarity of purpose.

Have you ever heard of people incredibly lifting heavy objects during fires and disasters?

This is made possible because of an adrenalin rush which is induced by your mind commanding your body what to do in such a situation. The same goes for preparing for or engaging in physical activity.woman focusing during workout

Unlike having a mindset such as that which athletes use in competition, where they psyche themselves up using an end-goal of winning the crown, you have to keep tabs on small successes by focusing on one training session at a time.

Before you even started with your program, you knew the reasons why you decided to work out – it may be because you’re looking at a particular target weight, you’re preparing for a strenuous activity, or you simply want to improve your heart rate for better health.

To help you stay focused on your goals, you can try various techniques such as Imagenics (the creation of mental pictures of what you want to be) or Centering (helping an athlete “stay in the moment” and not worry about future thoughts and worries).

You can also study focusing techniques using the concept of intrinsic motivation.

When this type of motivation is applied to any physical activity, a person could derive fun and enjoyment from the said activity rather than drudgery and fatigue. This then makes the experience worthwhile and entices the person to “keep coming back for more.”

There are four psychological concepts that can help an individual become more “intrinsic” with her physical activity, making it more enjoyable and easier to adopt as a routine:

  1. Vision This is the first step and it helps people “reach into the future.” One should have the ability to visualize herself as an exerciser by first imagining her future physical self. A person should be able to first see herself exercising before actually doing it – doing so would make exercise personally meaningful.
  2. Mastery This focuses individuals on the exercise experience itself.As one develops mastery, she can then bring in her natural longing to improve and grow. With mastery, people can base their successes based on their own criteria and not on checklists provided by others. This also helps them achieve a mindset that enables them to exercise under any condition – whether good or bad.
  3. Flow This is the third secret to becoming an intrinsic exerciser. It is defined as an optimal psychological state that involves total connection to an activity.When you get into the flow of exercising, you will acquire a sense of self-expression and consequently achieve self-satisfaction. Flow is important to keep you from being distracted. All there is and all that’s important is the task at hand.
  4. Inergy This refers to the energy that emanates from the inside. It is based on the philosophy of well-being, which extols what is natural in each person.Once inergy is established, the body-mind-spirit connection is roused. This works on the principle that “a life without movement is not really worth living.”

When these 4 key concepts are learned, exercising becomes a welcome activity, and adherence to a program is easily achieved.

M. Jamal

P.S. For me personally, ‘Vision’ and ‘Flow’ can make a big difference when it comes to mental focus throughout my workout. It’s like those few minutes I spend while warming up… imagining how good of a workout I’ll have, how easy it’ll be to perform each repetition, each set with great form.

Have you experienced the difference this makes or do you simply overlook it and jump straight into your workout? Or maybe you’ve got little mental tricks that take you back in focus during a workout? (Let us know, hit ‘comment’)

High-heeled footwear, for the last 250 years or so, has been blamed for all sorts of medical complaints – corns, sprained ankles, shortened calf muscles, sore backs, ingrown toenails, and bunions.woman high-heels and fitness

This is a medical fact that perhaps millions of women would hesitate to accept, and that even more men would find difficult to imagine. That’s because men find women in heels really attractive, but have never known the pain associated with wearing them!

A study made by the American Podiatric Medical Association found that 37% of women would insist on wearing high heels despite the discomfort.

This says a lot about ladies going to great lengths for the sake of beauty, doesn’t it?
Several researchers have actually gone as far as measuring the “knee torque” of women wearing high heels, and by doing so, those at Harvard Medical School positively linked the fashion preference to knee arthritis.

An expert from the Medical College of Georgia found that 12% of the time, older women who wore high heels lost their balance. Yet another podiatric association found wearing killer heels to be orthopedically and biomechanically unsound.

What happens to your body as you’re wearing high heels?

First of all, heels alter your natural posture as majority of your body weight falls on the ball of your foot – which can lead to back problems.

Frequent wearing of high heels – say, regularly for six months – also shortens your calf muscles and the Achilles tendon, which makes walking with flat shoes extremely painful.

Another downside to wearing heels is a condition called “visceroptosis.”

This happens when the abdominal contents spill forward due to the forward tilting of the pelvis, giving you that pouch which many often mistake as a fat belly. When visceroptosis happens, the internal organs are compressed.
Apart from these, you could also experience neck, shoulder, and back pain – even headaches and jaw pain – as all our muscles are interconnected.

When the center of your body is pushed forward as a result of wearing high heels, your spine tends to bend backward to compensate.

According to podiatrist Barry Radivan, the talocalcaneal joint – the important joint between the ankle and the heel, on which the foot rocks during various movements – is also not properly supported by high-heeled shoes.

The link to fertility problems

One of the more disturbing findings on the wearing of heels for prolonged periods is its link to infertility. When visceroptosis occurs, the internal organs are adversely affected, and this can lead to dysmenorrheal and menstrual dysfunction.

As for women who are already pregnant, don’t go for the totally flat footwear – wear something with low and wide heels for support.

The other side of the coinwoman high-heels and health

When done in moderation, you can still look glamorous and stay healthy at the

Experts recommend shoes with no more than 4-cm heels, and rest your feet whenever possible.

One New Yorker claims that shopping everyday on her heels has given her a much-needed workout. Walking rapidly in heels of moderate heights, carrying shopping bags, can effectively take off more than 150 calories.

It’s best if you take the stairs instead of the escalator to avoid stopping at fastfood bars as well.

A study done at Oxford, this time of 111 British women aged 50-70 years old, revealed a reduced risk of osteoarthritis of the knee despite their having worn heels with heights ranging from 1 to 3 inches.

Play it safe

There are definitely certain advantages to wearing high heels. One of them may be improved posture as we tend to consciously straighten our backs when we wear clothes that make us feel more glamorous.

Another is that walking in them also tones certain leg muscles and burns calories, as mentioned above.
But to play it safe, wear only medium-heeled shoes and good support pantyhose. This will keep your calf muscles from becoming painful after an entire day of wearing heels.

You could also try the Scholl Party Feet gel cushions which help prevent the pain felt on the balls of your feet after wearing high-heeled shoes for extended periods.

These are soft, transparent insoles which provide a cushion for your feet in addition to preventing your feet from slipping off your shoes. They are washable and reusable and can be bought at popular stores or on eBay for as little as ten dollars.

M. Jamal

P.S. What’s your take on this: is it necessary to wear high-heels to look glamorous? If you knew you’ll be on your feet, walking around for long… would you still pick high-heels?

Charlize Theron is Esquire magazine’s “Sexiest Woman Alive”… stunning Jessica Alba got voted “Sexiest Woman In The World” (by FHM)… gorgeous Beyonce topped People magazine’s “Best-dressed Celebrities” list… while lovely Jennifer Aniston tops Forbe.com’s “Top-selling Famous Faces”

We all secretly have some kind of fascination with celebrities…woman workout motivation

…Their good looks… their toned figures and youthful appearance… yet… are we using this as motivation to pull us towards our desired, toned body or is it pushing us further away?

There’s no doubt setting an image, a goal of the kind of body and look you’d like to get close to, can be a powerful motivator when used in a positive way.

(I’m talking about a motivation tool rather than an obsession that causes some women to overshoot their weight loss goals or develop some kind of eating disorder because they want to look like catwalk models)

This is a very interesting topic because on the one hand it can motivate you to take action, move, eat better and see your body shaping up… while, on the other hand, it can cause some to be put off thinking “it’s too hard, only celebrities and models can look so good”!

Personally, I try to select an image that inspires me… something realistic rather than perfect… and get moving, eating better and monitoring my progress.

How about you?

Where does this whole issue fit into your ‘fitness mindest’? Do you have any favorite celebrities or atheletes you consider as role models?

M. Jamal

Posted in How-to Factor at 2:33 am | (No comments)

Need a quick fix for your flab? You don’t have to think “long-range.” Here are three simple tips for busy people wanting to fit into their old jeans:

1. Burn the flab with exercise.
lady flat tummy
The classic bicycle exercise remains to be one of the most effective and easy-to-do exercises aimed at toning the abs. Here’s how it’s done:

a. Lace fingers behind head and lie in a supine

b. Lift shoulder blades (without putting pressure on the neck) and bring knees in towards your chest.

c. While turning the upper body to the right to bring the left elbow to the right knee, straighten out your left leg to a 45-degree angle.

d. Switch to the other side.

e. Repeat these steps for 12 to 16 times using a vigorous pedaling motion,
alternating sides.

You can also engage in several reps of side leg lifts and oblique twists which all help to tone your abs. Another discreet way of toning your ab muscles is tightening them while you’re standing in a checkout line or at the bank. No one will suspect you’re doing a quick workout!

2. Have fun while you’re at it.

If you’re not into the exercise routine but still want to look great in time for a special event, you can engage in an activity which you actually enjoy.

Britney Spears, for instance, has been taking dance classes at the Millennium Dance Studio in North Hollywood to regain the body she once had.

Aside from these lessons, she has also been seen playing tennis, which can effectively burn around 450 calories per hour.

3. You are what you have eaten.

Most women over the age of 35 have gained weight not because of excesses in their diet but because their lives are less active and they are thus are unable to burn calories as much.

You can combat a not-so-taut tummy with a well-thought out diet – something that won’t leave you starving but would instead give you a youthful glow.

Here’s some trivia on how what we ingest affect the way our tummies look:

  • Drink tea. Herbal teas are best for countering gas and flattening your tummy. They are also known to work as toxin flushers. After dining, brew some peppermint tea and add a dash of dill or fennel to make it more effective.
  • OJ your way to fitness. Extra sodium in our bodies gives us unwanted bloating. A great solution to this drinking a glass of fresh orange juice each day.
  • Don’t forget to hydrate. Your target should be to take at least six glasses of water every day. The more water you drink, the flatter your tummy will be.
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks are packed with calories – beer is at 250 per pint – and its gases leave you feeling bloated. In addition, drinking alcohol also makes you crave sweets, so it’s best to just stay way from them while you’re aiming for a flat tummy.
  • Turn to yogurt. They are rich in protein and are full of beneficial bacteria which help in proper digestion of food. They also help eliminate bloating or wind caused by bacterial imbalance in the stomach. The same things can be said for fruits such as kiwi, papaya, and pineapple.
  • There’s truth to the principle of eating smaller meals several times each day. Go for foods with slow-releasing carbs such as wholemeal bread and porridge. These likewise provide energy but make you feel fuller longer.

Now you’ve got more than a handful of tips to put to the test and notice results. Have you tried any of these? Do you have a favorite exercise to help you get that flat tummy? (let us know – hit ‘comment’)

M. Jamal

P.S. Here’s an interesting video with some more ab workout ideas you can try right away.