Surfing vs Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Better Body Workout?

surfing alpaca

It seems no study has yet been published to compare surfing and stand up paddle boarding in terms of muscles worked out and calories burnt. Either way, training for these activities can be strenuous. So let’s look at the muscles that they work out.

Surfing 

Surfing is more like an arm activity. It demands a huge deal of work from your biceps, triceps, and deltoids–the major muscles involved. This is true especially when you’re lying on the board, in which case you don’t put a lot of action on your torso and legs. However, muscular dynamics change when you’re standing on the board. In this case, almost your entire body is doing work. Take note that standing on a surf board requires a great deal of balance. This puts a great deal of work on your core muscles–not just the abs but the entire group of muscles surrounding your midsection. That includes your back and lateral muscles as well.

The gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quads, and calves are also doing a lot of work when you’re balancing yourself on an unstable short board atop the waves. Turning the board again recruits the abs and the obliques as well as the arms and the deltoids. At the same time, your heart is working hard to keep you up. Eventually, this makes surfing an ideal fat burning and muscle toning exercise.

Stand up paddle boarding

SUP can be a barely demanding recreational activity or a strenuous physical exercise depending on the conditions of the water. So it seems it doesn’t make sense to compare surfing to SUP, because either can be just relaxing or physically demanding depending on what you’re doing. However, there are instances wherein stand up paddling requires a great deal of muscular work.

SUP board are bigger than surfboards, but you can actually use an iSUP for surfing. That means two things. If you’re paddling quietly on a calm lake, then it’s just a but core workout for balance and a bit of arm work. The bigger board affords you of greater buoyancy. However, the size is also a detriment when it comes to maneuvering on rough waters. It’s easy to move a surfboard through the waves than to maneuver a SUP board on rough waves. It requires a greater deal of effort and muscular work. This means that you have to be really more robust when you’re SUP than when you’re surfing on waves.

Then again, you’re basically just training the same muscles–core, arms, thighs, and legs. How does SUP train your muscles. It works out your lats when you bring your arms closer to your body when you’re paddling. It works the deltoids when you raise your arms. The arm motions you do when paddling also trains your triceps and pecs. Not to mention, balancing your body on the board recruits the core, thigh, and leg muscles. However, the latter two do far greater work at maneuvering the board over the water.

Stand up paddle boarding seems the winner in this case, but you have to be physically built for this. Untrained SUP boarders have caused accidents on surfers because they could poorly control their boards. So if you decide that SUP is the way to go for you, check out some of the reviews before buying your board.

The Most Nutrient Dense Foods For Your Diet Journey

nutrient dense foodsRevving up your diet means including the best foods to the menu. The best foods are those that pack so much of so many nutrients in relation to their calorie content. In other words, these foods give you enough nutrients without filling you up with too much calories. And since I have been on this weight loss and workout journey, I have been looking for foods that will fill me up after a long session on my awesome home treadmill, cause running on it makes me super hungry! Well, here are the foods that I’ve found meet this criteria so far:

1. Salmon

Fish is generally nutritious, but some types are more nutritious than others. Salmon is probably the perfect example. Among fishes, salmon has the most omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has been hailed as one of the best types of fat. It fights bad fat and lowers the risk of heart disease. On top of that, salmon is rich in protein, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, and magnesium. Eating fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, or sardines, once or twice a week gives you a good dose of omega-3.

2. Kale

Kale is probably the king of all green leafy vegetables. It is a superfood that is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. One hundred grams of kale has twice the daily needed amount of Vitamin C, thrice the daily needed amount of Vitamin A, and ten times the daily needed amount of Vitamin K. It is a good source of B6, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Kale also contains a lot of bioactive compounds like isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol. According to research, these substances help fight cancer in animals.

3. Seaweed

Did you know that the seaweed contains more nutrients than vegetables? And did you know there are thousands of different types of seaweed? Seaweed is rich in minerals, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. It is also rich in bioactive compounds, like carotenoids, phycocyanins, and antioxidants. Seaweed is also rich in iodine, which is necessary for proper thyroid functioning.

4. Shellfish

Different types of shellfish are incredibly nutritious. Clams, for instance, are a great source of vitamin B12. Did you know that 100 grams of clams can supply 16 times the amount of B12 you need in a day? Aside from that, they are also rich in other B vitamins as well as vitamin C, iron, and potassium.

Then you have oysters, which are a very good source of iron. A hundred grams yield 6 times the daily requirement for iron and twice the daily requirement for copper. That’s on top of oysters being rich in B12 and vitamin D.

5. Blueberries

These are the best fruits you can help yourself to. Like most fruits, they contain vitamins and minerals, but that’s not where blueberries are best at. The best thing about them is their antioxidant content. Anthocyanins and phytochemicals make blueberries a superfood. These antioxidants are known to keep the brain healthy and protect adult brains from cognitive decline. Blueberries also lower blood pressure and keep bad cholesterol at bay. Another important thing that antioxidants in blueberries do is they fight cancer.

6. Egg Yolks

You might have read that egg yolks are bad because of their cholesterol content. That’s all myth, unsupported by research. What recent research says is that you shouldn’t worry about cholesterol in eggs, because it doesn’t necessarily raise your blood cholesterol levels. Moreover, skipping on egg yolks means skipping on a lot of nutrients in them. Each yolk is high in B vitamins, antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthine), choline, and protein. Take note that lutein and zeaxanthine are antioxidants that keep your eyes healthy and prevent macular degeneration. Choline is a nutrient necessary for proper brain functioning.

7. Dark Chocolate

Not all chocolates are created the same. If you must bite a piece of chocolate, bite dark chocolate. One of the best things about dark chocolate is the amount of antioxidants it has. It contains more antioxidants than blueberries. These antioxidants are the ones responsible for regulating blood pressure, keeping bad cholesterol at bay, and improving brain function. Aside from antioxidants, dark chocolate is also rich in iron, copper, manganese, and magnesium.

These are just the top ones that I have tried so far, but I have read about others. So, keep looking for more on your own as well!

Check Out These 6 Benefits of Tai Chi

tai chi benefitsTai Chi is one of the most popular ways to get fit. It focuses mainly on martial arts movements, meditation, and complete body awareness. Unlike conventional strength training, tai chi is much gentler. While it’s not as exhausting as weight lifting, it has a number of similar benefits.

1. Muscle Strength

There is a Japanese study that compared muscular strength in older adults. One group was assigned to tai chi. Another group was assigned to brisk walking activity. The third group was assigned to resistance training. The study revealed that the tai chi group saw 30% improvement in lower body strength and 25% in arm strength than those in the brisk walking and strength training group.

2. Enhanced Balance and Flexibility

The nature of tai chi allows it to train your balance and flexibility. Some studies have looked into this. As tai chi increases muscular strength, it also improves balance and flexibility. For this reason, tai chi is one of the best fitness programs for middle-aged people and seniors. Our balance and coordination decline with age, but we can slow down this decline, even reverse it, with proper training.

3. Cardiovascular Fitness

While cardio workout is still superior in this department, tai chi does have its cardiovascular benefits. Because it’s not as intense and physically demanding as cardio or high-intensity interval training, it carries low risk of injuries. A study done in Taiwan found that tai chi does not only increase physical fitness but also improve blood pressure and lower triglycerides and cholesterol. These things are responsible for the development of heart disease. Another study conducted at Harvard Medical School showed that 12 weeks of tai chi can reduce the levels of a certain type of protein that determines one’s risk of heart failure.

4. Arthritis Relief

One study presented at an American College of Rheumatology in 2008 showed that tai chi improved the physical functioning and lessened discomfort in people with severe knee osteoarthritis. Moreover, it showed that the improvement was more than the improvement experienced by people doing standard stretching only.

Another Korean study published in 2008 also showed that tai chi improved flexibility and slowed down the progress of a type of arthritis that affects the spine.

5. Osteoporosis Prevention

Tai chi stimulates bones and muscles. The body’s reaction to this is make them stronger by either keeping or adding tissue mass. This is why people who exercise, regardless of the type of exercise, tend to have stronger bones than people who don’t. Those who like low-impact exercise should try tai chi.

6. Improves Sleep

Tai chi helps people with sleep problems get a better quality of sleep at night. This is according to study done in the University of California and published in Sleep journal’s 2008 issue.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using A Fitness Tracker Device

You might have heard of people talking about fitness trackers. These devices are becoming popular especially in fitness circles. Fitness buffs and clever marketing agents talk a lot about them. What exactly are they? Do you need one?

What is a fitness tracker?

As the name goes, it’s a device that tracks your activity and records your heart rate and breathing. Many fitness tracking devices monitor your sleep as well. Many versions monitor the number of steps you’ve done walking or running. They also determine the amount of calories you have consumed. These cleverly made devices come in different forms. Some can be worn like a wristwatch. Others can be attached to your shoe. They are programmable with options to sync data to your smartphone or laptop. You can check the input data from time to time and make a daily comparison on your fitness activity.

Advantages

Fitness trackers increase your fitness awareness for the very simple reason that you are wearing them. It sounds silly, but it’s quite simple to understand. When you know you’re wearing a fitness tracker, it somehow reminds you constantly about getting and staying fit.

You can adjust your workout volume and intensity. Fitness and activity trackers tell you how much effort you have exerted. This is useful for runners, even for those running on a treadmill. They tell you exactly how long you have run and measure your heart rate, allowing you to determine how much you’re working yourself out at the moment.

You can track your activity level and make daily or weekly comparisons. Consistency is important in fitness routines. Sometimes people mistake long hours in the gym for working out hard. But the truth is, some of us spend much of our workout time updating our Facebook or chatting with other people in the gym. Your tracker will tell you if you are slacking off.

Some fitness trackers monitor sleep. Sleep duration and quality affects your workout recovery and fitness. Some people report sleeping for 8 hours but still waking up groggy. The problem may have to do with the quality of your sleep, and devices that monitor your sleep can give you hints to whether you’re sleeping just fine.

Disadvantages

Many fitness trackers are faulty. For instance, some of these devices mistake insignificant activities and mannerisms for an activity. Sometimes the device says you have worked out a lot, but you have spent much of your time just shaking your legs underneath your office desk.

Fitness trackers can be expensive. For some people, buying one is just impractical when you can track your own fitness activity using conventional methods. A cheap activity tracker may be around a hundred dollars. Of course, the cheaper the product, the fewer features it has.

Anyway, when shopping for fitness and activity trackers, look at specifications and read customer reviews.

Should I Give Up Coffee?

should i quit coffee

As I have been reading articles on how to make changes for a healthier lifestyle, I keep coming up against conflicting information on coffee drinking. I used to think that coffee was some sort of super food cause it seemed like every week I was hearing something on TV about it being good for cancer or other ailments. Well, now that I have been doing this research, it seems like the opinion on it is split.

Some people say that coffee is good for you and to drink it every day. Other people say that coffee is not good for you and that you should stop drinking it period.

So, how do you know what to think, right?

I have been really giving this a lot of thought because I really want to make the best possible decisions when it comes to things like this. I mean, I do think that is really the only way to be sure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success. So, this has really been messing with my mind this week. I mean, I’d hate to give up coffee only to learn on down the line that it truly is a super food. And on the flip side, I’d hate to keep drinking it and find out that it is worse for you than expected.

Since I cannot seem to find any real consensus on this either way, I have decided to come up with a compromise that lets me kind of straddle the fence here. I will continue to drink coffee for the health benefits. BUT – I will do so only in moderation due to the possible negative health consequences of drinking coffee. And based on some of what I read, I need to switch to only organic coffee to make sure that I am not getting any pesticide residue in my java.

Hopefully, this is the smart decision for me and I will not harm my health in any way.

My Current Fave Healthy Soup

sweet potato cauliflower soupSince it is still deep in the heart of winter here, I have been making a lot of soups to keep my warm and healthy this season. Plus, soups are usually pretty easy to make and I like that you only make it once and you end up with all these meals from it. Love me some time saving in the kitchen cause man, some meals take forever to make from scratch, right?

Well this soup that I like a lot right now is a Sweet Potato Cauliflower soup and man is it tasty. I first came across it on Pinterest here. It is a bit healthier than your standard potato soup since you get extra vitamins and stuff (like carotene) from the orange in the sweet potatoes.

The ingredient list is simple and making it is a breeze. And it tastes oh so yummy!

You can find the recipe that I used here, but I did leave out the garam masala from it. Let me know if you give it a try cause I haven’t found anyone else who has made it. And I just love it!

Progress – Pounds vs Inches

goals progressNow that I am a week into the new year, it is time for me to check my progress and make sure that things are progressing along in the correct fashion. I do think that regularly checking your progress is the only way to ensure that you meet your goals. I mean, if you are veering off track, then it is best to catch that misstep as soon as humanly possible. Otherwise, you could stray too far from your target before you realize what it is happening. And no one wants that, right?

So, that leaves me at a bit of a crossroads.

When I started this site a week ago, my target was to go from 250 pounds down maybe 100 or so pounds to a healthier weight. But sometimes (often) inches are a better indicator of progress than pounds when it comes to getting to a fit and healthy body weight.

That leaves the question – should my progress be focused on dropping pounds or dropping inches? Or maybe even a combo of both of them? Actually, I think that might be the best option for me since it will give me a view of both of them. Plus, if I fail to lose pounds but lose inches one week (or the other way around) then it will prevent me from getting down in the dumps about a lack of progress.

And unlike a lot of other weight loss bloggers out there, I am not so sure that I want to be sharing these numbers here on my blog. I mean, yeah, this thing is about my progress and keeping me accountable. But I do not need to share these embarrassing numbers out there for the whole freaking world to see. I know what my numbers are and that is really all that matters at this point.

So, you will not see any numbers in regards to my progress on here. At least not any time soon! But I will keep you posted in regards to if things are going well or going poorly.

And since this is my first progress update, I am actually still where I started. Of course,  I have no idea about my inches cause I didn’t measure when I started. So, my measurements starting point will actually come from today. So, here’s hoping that future progress checks see my showing a loss in one or both of the numbers that I will be tracking.

Hey, it can only get better from here on out, right? Plus, just acknowledging that I need to make this change is a win if you ask me. I mean, I know that I have only been doing it a week, so big deal, but I swear that I am sticking with it. You will see me succeed, just a matter of when that will happen since I’m on the slow and steady plan.

Good Yoga Videos On YouTube

After my last post, I spent a little time digging around on YouTube looking for some of those great beginner yoga videos that I had read about on an online forum. Well, it took me a little wide to weed through all the results and find ones that I thought were actually perfect for a beginner like me.

So, I thought that anyone reading this might find themselves in the same place as me. With that in mind, I want to share some of those videos that I came across. Maybe they are just what you have been looking for too? So, I will post them below and you can give them a watch and see what you think. But if you find something that is better, then please let me know about it in the comments!

Easing Into Exercise As A Noob

One of the things that I want to start making a habit out of is working out. In the past, I have just done the dieting thing and not really done much exercising. Sure, I might have done a few afternoon or evening walks around the neighborhood, but nothing that really gets the heart pumping and sweat flowing. And honestly, that is what I really need to be doing, not only for weight loss but for my health.

But, since I am kind of a total noob when it comes to exercise and working out, I am not really sure where I should start this new habit. I mean, I guess I could sign up for some classes at a local gym, but this is something that I would rather do on my own at home. If that is at all possible.

Now do not laugh, but I actually looked up how to get started exercising as a beginner. I know, I know, that makes me sound really pathetic. Add to it the fact that I am almost 40 years old and it sounds even worse, right? Well, apparently I am not the only loser getting started exercising for the first time cause there are loads of results on the internet about it! There is a pretty good resource on WebMD for exercise beginners that I liked.

What I learned is that there are basically no rules to getting started. In fact, the most important thing about exercise seems to be that you just need to do it. Of course, you do not want to get injured or anything crazy like that. So you have to avoid jumping on machines at the gym that you have no idea how to use or doing anything else crazy like that. Instead you have to start with some stuff that is low impact and kind of take things slowly until you get comfortable with the movements and such before working up to more intense forms of exercise. No need to be aggressive with it right out of the gate.

Something like walking on a treadmill or doing a home yoga dvd for beginners seems to be a pretty decent way to get things going on the exercise front. Since I do not have any type of gym equipment in my home yet, I have decided to look for some beginner fitness DVDs at my local library. And I read on a weight loss forum that you can find some pretty good beginner yoga workouts online on YouTube, so I might see what I can find on there as well.

Here’s hoping that I don’t get an embarrassing injury when I start working out for the first time in decades!

 

Dealing With Food At Work

I think pretty much anyone who is trying to lose weight and works in an office knows what I am talking about when I say that you have to deal with a lot of food temptation at the office. If it isn’t a holiday party then it’s a birthday or other “special event” that requires people bringing in some type of food.

For me, this week, it was cupcakes. One of my co-workers has a birthday this weekend, so there was a little mini office party for her in the break room. It was not so much as party as a break for everyone to gather and enjoy the sweet treats that were brought in to celebrate. Well, not only did I not want to eat a cupcake because I am trying to lose weight, but I am also wanting to focus on eating organic foods and these came from the local Kroger bakery, which means that there is no freaking way that they have anything organic in them.

But here is the real problem with people bring food to work for everyone to eat – they do not like it when you tell them that you’re not interested in eating it with them. It is almost like they do not want to take no for an answer and I have no idea why. They even try to make you feel bad about joining them! I think maybe me not eating the cupcakes with the rest of them maybe makes them feel guilty about the indulgence, but that is not really my problem. However, they still kind of take it out on me, which is totally not fair. Cause I really do not care if they want to eat cupcakes after lunch. Heck, they can even have my share if they want it, that is how much I do not care about it!

I am really not sure what to do about this type of situation cause there will be many more just like it. I mean, I guess I could stay at my cubicle instead of going in the break room with them. But I think that might be a worse idea because it will end up making me look like a snob, which is definitely not what I want them to think. I just do not know why I cannot celebrate with them without eating the cupcakes or other food that they have brought in. Guess I will be dealing with that a lot this year.