Crunches got you down? We’ll certainly admit that doing the same crunches over and over again gets pretty boring. While we love the thought of working our core, laying on the ground and doing planks or crunches all the time starts to feel like a chore.
But working your core is quite worth it, even if the typical exercises do get boring. Your core literally anchors all your muscles, helping you perform throughout the day as you walk, bend over, and even sit. It also helps you in a wide variety of fitness activities, from tennis to running to swimming. Good core strength promotes proper posture, which not only helps your back, but can help you feel and look more confident. It also betters your balance and stability, while minimizing injury.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to work your core that doesn’t require getting down on the mat and doing 50: working it during your favorite exercises.
It’s easy to incorporate ab work directly into your favorite spinning class, your long runs, bootcamps, yoga classes, and more. With a little extra effort and consciousness, you can get a multi-muscle workout in no time. But how?
It’s easy to engage your core while you’re out for a jog. Add hills or sprints to your workout to really take the abdominal work up a notch. Adding this intensity to your run also adds strength to your core. Another tip: keeping your upper body loose (shoulders, neck, arms, and back) allows you to rely mostly on your core for balance and stability, strengthening the muscles simultaneously.
If you’re looking to engage your core throughout your regular lifting routine, you’ll need to lift heavier weight. Going for 3 reps of a heavier weight instead of 10 reps of a lower weight leads to ab engagement. It’s also important to keep your spine neutral – whether you’re performing bicep curls or squats – to focus all the power in your abdominals. Doing balance lifts, like one-legged squats, also ensures you rely on your core.
While in Yoga Class
Holding yoga positions requires serious core strength. As with lifting, focus on keeping your spine straight throughout class to keep the core engaged. During yoga, you’re already focusing on your breathing, so add one more ab-strengthening step: with each exhale, consciously pull your stomach towards your spine.
While in Spin Class
Being on the bike doesn’t mean you can let your abs rest. Avoid swinging or bouncing regardless of your position on the bike (seated or standing) to give your abs some extra oomph. Focus on pulling your belly into your spine throughout class. It’s also possible to do fun standing crunches to the beat of the music on your bike – ask your spin instructor to incorporate those moves into your next sweat session.
How do you engage your core throughout all your workouts? Let us know in the comments.
We’ve heard the old advice for ages – load up on carbs before a big game, race, or competition to perform your best. Eat a pasta dinner the night prior to the big day to win in ways you never thought possible! It turns out that this advice may be a little too simple.
If you’re a runner, you know the feeling of having a tough run day. While last week you were able to sail past your mileage and time goals, today you feel like you can’t even make it a mile. These runs feel ineffective, particularly if you end up with cramps, digestive issues, or burnout.
When these rare days happen, it could be attributed to what you ate or drank that day or the day prior. Not surprisingly, the effort you bring into a run can be highly determined by what you eat or drink before it – what you put into your body truly matters!
Determining when and what you eat before you run is a science, and it’s one that tends to be individual and different for each person. However, there are a few tried-and-true tips you can follow to absolutely maximize your time on the trail.
Firstly, the time has come to question the carbo-loading technique. If you’re heading out on an average-length run, you probably don’t need to load up on carbs beforehand. In fact, your body stores calories and carbs just for this reason – so when you need the energy (like at the end of a run), your body has stores of energy to zap from. Of course, if you are in the mood for a snack before you set out, eat something easily digestible – like oatmeal, a banana, avocados, or mangos – to ensure your stomach doesn’t sour on you while you’re out there.
If you’re heading into a marathon or half marathon, however, you may want to eat a little heavier than you would normally. But it’s a mistake to think that the only meal that matters prior to a run is the one you eat right before you head out. What you eat all day – and even the day before – matters, too. The day before a longer run, fuel with average-sized servings of fruits, veggies, and complex grains to help you the next day. A few hours prior to your run, limit fried, spicy, or high-fiber foods to ensure a comfortable ride.
Of course, hydration is absolutely key to a successful run. It’s amazing the difference some quality hydration can make in getting you the extra mile. Oftentimes, ineffective, frustrating runs are a result of low hydration levels. So drink up, particularly in the hours prior to your workout.
Balancing food, exercise, and hydration can be a challenge. At the end of the day, it’s all about listening to your body, understanding what feels right, and putting yourself up to the challenge. You’re getting out there and taking care of the body that nourishes you – and that’s an amazing accomplishment in itself!
What actions do you take to go green? You may cut down on your plastic usage, try to drive less, or focus on turning the lights off when you leave a room. But did you know that it’s easy to take small steps each day – literally – while greening your world?
Wearing eco-friendly shoes helps you do just that. And Earth Shoes is a prime example.
This comfort-driven, stylish brand infuses each step of its manufacturing process with eco-friendly techniques that make you both look and feel great. Earth Shoes uses only water-based adhesives, which are far less toxic to the air and the workers who create them than traditional adhesives. They’re also constructed with vegetable-tanned leathers. Rather than tanning the leather with harmful chemicals like some brands do, Earth Shoes uses natural acids that stem from tree barks, leaves, and fruits to get the gorgeous leather shades we adore.
They don’t just stop there – Earth Shoes has taken strides to ensure that even their shoeboxes are as eco-friendly as possible. They’ve gone through each step of the box-making process to reduce cardboard throughout; their unique foldable construction allows for no harmful glues to be used, and less cardboard to be incorporated into each box. They’re also made from all recyclable materials and can therefore be made into something new once you’re done with them.
Perhaps our favorite green practice Earth Shoes has committed to focuses on what they do out in the forests: for every pair of Earth Shoes purchased, Earth plants a tree. As of this writing, Earth had planted over 81,000 trees. That’s a whole lot of new forest!
Even Earth Shoes’ warehouse is super green. They find creative ways to reduce energy that have decreased Earth’s carbon footprint in their manufacturing process by 14%. The company has a 60% recycling rate (double the national average) and continues to find ways to improve recycling in their facilities.
Overall, shopping Earth Shoes means shopping consciously and wearing that eco-friendly feel on your feet day in and day out. Whether you’re stepping through the beautiful woods or busy city streets this summer, Earth helps you get there in green, comfortable style.
Summer is the best time to adventure out and stumble upon all the world has to offer. Cities and neighborhoods alike certainly seem to open up in the summer, with added festivals, barbeques, craft fairs, concerts, plays, and more. It seems that, no matter where you’re walking to or from, it’s easy to stumble into a great event that peaks your interest. Culture is everywhere, and in the summer, it explodes.
Enjoy all the season has to offer by employing your spontaneity and discovering new events. Live music and performances may be just a short walk away.
If you’ve stumbled upon any outdoor music thus far this summer, you recognize the energy in the air, the harmony in the sounds, and the beauty of sharing something so gorgeous with friends and strangers alike. This atmosphere breeds creativity, passion, and enjoyment for the performers and audience simultaneously.
These festivals and shows bring out the creativity in all of us – so much so, that you’ll notice some intriguing and forward style grace those in your presence. Concerts are a place where expressing your unique self is encouraged, and many people choose to do so through their fashion choices.
Seen above: Cordani Zoran T-Strap Wedge
No matter your sense of style, a unique pair of shoes can truly make you stand out as one of the most creative of the bunch. Accent your creativity with a wonderful pair of modern folk shoes, helping you to fit right into the mood of the season. Summery, funky, and fun, this genre of shoes finds itself adorned in metals, laser-cut details, and gorgeous tan hues that are one-of-a-kind.
From wedges to sandals, modern folk shoes give you the unique vibe you seek from the summer months. So get creative, enjoy the music, and spontaneously make your way to an energy-filled outdoor festival this weekend. You won’t regret it!
So you’ve decided to clean out your closet and get rid of some old clothes. Why?
- Because I dislike many of them, or they no longer fit.
- Many of my pieces are torn, broken, or ripped.
- I want to minimalize my life and clear out clutter.
No matter your reason, making a little more space in the closet can make you feel a little freer. After all, you probably spend the beginning of each day enveloped in this space, deciding what to wear. Your closet therefore sets the tone for your day.
As you begin to clear out your closet, keep this in mind: 85% of clothing and textiles ends up in landfills. 85%! At the same time, 95% of all clothing and textiles can be reused or recycled. Most of the stuff in your closet can therefore be repurposed… and it’s easy to do!
Firstly, always remember that textiles in any condition (worn, torn, or stained) can be donated to be recycled if they’re clean. One popular mantra when it comes to clothing donation is “Don’t Judge, Just Donate”. Chances are nearly 100% of the clothing in your closet can be donated.
The easiest way to do so is to bring it to a collection bin in your town, to a thrift store, or to a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. Some towns will do curbside pickups for clothing (if it’s separated from other recyclables), and some clothing stores will also collect used garments. These places seek out the maximum value for each item, meaning they 1) put it up for sale first if it’s in good condition, and then 2) send the item to be recycled into something new. Old clothing can be recycled into new clothing, insulation, carpet padding, wiping rags, cushioning for car seats, rubberized playgrounds, and a whole lot more!
Why recycle? Yes, these items therefore don’t end up in landfills, but there are so many more benefits. Donations can provide used clothing to low income households around the world. From the environmental standpoint, donating and recycling clothing decreases the resources needed to create new clothes, and believe us – creating clothing uses a lot of resources. Cotton, found in most pieces, is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world, infusing our soil with chemicals. Polyester, another fiber used in a lot of clothing, is made from petroleum using a high-energy process that emits harmful gases into the air. Creating clothing also uses gallons upon gallons of precious water.
Benefit the planet, others, and even yourself by cleaning out your closet and successfully donating used clothing. Remember that even damaged clothing can be recycled – so there’s hardly ever a case when items should be thrown in the trash.
How often do you clean out your closet? Do you donate used clothing?
Farmers Garden Stuffed Pimiento Cheese Veggie Burger
We’ve said it before, but we believe it’s essential to spend as much time outdoors in the summer as possible. Being from New England, we know too well how long the winters can be, and therefore how important it is to take advantage of the warm temperatures and outdoor sunshine summer can bring.
What does that mean? Bringing our workouts to the great outdoors. Spending cool nights reading on the porch rather than the couch. Heading out to a restaurant with an outdoor patio. Going on long walks on Sunday mornings. And of course, enjoying delicious meals with friends and family in the backyard.
One of our favorite ways to spend the summer is eating our meals outside. There’s something unique and measurable in bringing your dinner outdoors to bask in the sunlight while you eat a delicious, healthy meal. It somehow seems to connect you to the nature that brought you the food you’re eating, solidifying the connection between your food and where it came from. There’s solace and wonder in connecting with the earth that provides you with so much life.
In that vein, summer is also a great time to grab some fresh, delicious veggies from the farmers’ market or your very own garden. The season is ripe with freshly picked zucchinis, summer squash, corn, berries, and greens galore. Head to a farmers’ market this weekend and you’ll see nearly all the stands teeming with colorful produce. Go into the backyard to your very own garden and watch as the fruits of your labor come to life.
How can you take advantage of these fresh, perfect veggies? Throw them all together into a nutritious veggie burger! With a wide variety of techniques, ingredients, and recipes, there’s a veggie burger for every taste and cooking style. Whether you adore beans or hate them, love grilling your burgers, or crave some tangy flavor, there’s a veggie burger to fit your tastes.
We’ve put together some amazing recipes from around the blogosphere to get you started. From saucy concoctions to grillable masterpieces, we can nearly guarantee there’s a veggie burger here for everyone – even the most avid meat eater!
Try one of these this weekend and let us know how it goes.