Fitness & Nutrition Blog

Incredible Results You'll Get From Walking

1. Your mood will improve.

You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy with the same benefits. Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you'll experience a decrease in anger and hostility. What's more, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbor, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, which boosts mood. Finally, walking outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—making it a potential antidote for the winter blues. 

2. Your creative juices will start flowing.

Whether you're feeling stuck at work or you've been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it's a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters.

3. Your jeans will get a little looser.

This one may seem obvious, but it's certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly. As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn't moving much. That's because regular walking can help improve your body's response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat. Walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to mobilize fat and positively alter body composition.  Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older. 

4. You'll slash your risk of chronic disease.

The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly. The physical benefits of walking are well documented. With impressive results like these, there's a good chance you'll get a pat on the back from your doc at your next checkup. 

5. You'll keep your legs looking great.

As we age, our risk of unsightly varicose veins increases—it's just not fair. However, walking is a proven way to prevent those unsightly lines from developing.  The venous system includes a circulatory section known as 'the second heart,' which is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot. This system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs—and walking strengthens this secondary circulatory system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts healthy blood flow. If you already suffer from varicose veins, walking daily can help ease related swelling and restlessness in your legs, says Navarro.  Also, if you are genetically predisposed to have varicose and/or spider veins, walking daily can help delay the onset.

6. You'll start to get more "regular."

If you currently praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That's because a regular walking routine can greatly improve gastric mobility. One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system.

7. Your other goals will start to seem more reachable.

When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine—and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviors. We firmly believe that walking regularly can help you to accomplish other goals you set your mind to!

Secrets to Self Control

When it comes to self-control, it is so easy to focus on our failures that our successes tend to pale in comparison. And why shouldn’t they? Self-control is an effort that’s intended to help achieve a goal. Failing to control yourself is just that — a failure. If you’re trying to avoid digging into that bag of chips after dinner because you want to lose a few pounds and you succeed Monday and Tuesday nights only to succumb to temptation on Wednesday by eating four servings’ worth of the empty calories, your failure outweighs your success. You’ve taken two steps forward and four steps back.
With this success/failure dichotomy in mind, I give you six strategies for self-control that come straight from new research conducted at Florida State University. Some are obvious, others counter intuitive, but all will help you eliminate those pesky failures and ensure your efforts to boost your willpower are successful enough to keep you headed in the right direction for achieving your goals.

Self-Control Secret #1 – Meditate

Meditation actually trains your brain to become a self-control machine (and it improves your emotional intelligence). Even simple techniques like mindfulness, which involves taking as little as five minutes a day to focus on nothing more than your breathing and your senses, improves your self-awareness and your brain’s ability to resist destructive impulses. Buddhist monks appear calm and in control for a reason.

Self-Control Secret #2 – Eat

File this one in the counter intuitive category, especially if you’re having trouble controlling your eating. Your brain burns heavily into your stores of glucose when attempting to exert self-control. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses. Sugary foods spike your sugar levels quickly and leave you drained and vulnerable shortly thereafter. Eating something that provides a slow burn for your body, such as whole grain rice or meat, will give you a longer window of self-control. So, if you’re having trouble keeping yourself out of the company candy bin when you’re hungry, make sure you eat something else if you want to have a fighting chance.

Self-Control Secret #3 – Exercise

Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. If you’re having trouble resisting the impulse to walk over to the office next door to let somebody have it, just keep on walking. You should have the impulse under control by the time you get back.

Self-Control Secret #4 – Sleep

When you are tired, your brain cells’ ability to absorb glucose is highly diminished. As I explained in Secret #1, your brain’s ability to control impulses is nil without glucose. What’s worse, without enough sleep you are more likely to crave sugary snacks to compensate for low glucose levels. So, if you’re trying to exert self-control over your eating, getting a good night’s sleep—every night—is one of the best moves you can make.

Self-Control Secret #5 – Ride the Wave

Desire has a strong tendency to ebb and flow like the tide. When the impulse you need to control is strong, waiting out this wave of desire is usually enough to keep yourself in control. The rule of thumb here is to wait at least 10 minutes before succumbing to temptation. You’ll often find that the great wave of desire is now little more than a ripple that you have the power to step right over.

Self-Control Secret #6 – Forgive Yourself

A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in attempts at self-control. These emotions typically lead to over-indulging in the offending behavior. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Don’t ignore how the mistake makes you feel; just don’t wallow in it. Instead, shift your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

Putting These Strategies to Work

The important thing to remember is you have to give these strategies the opportunity to work. This means recognizing the moments where you are struggling with self-control and, rather than giving in to impulse, taking a look at the Six Secrets and giving them a go before you give in. It takes time to increase your emotional intelligence, but the new habits you form with effort can last a lifetime.

Benefits of Infrared Saunas

As you might know, sweating is a great way to burn calories and rid your body of unwanted toxins. But how do you sweat when you’re injured, or unable to exercise?

Infrared saunas are a great way to sweat! Infrared saunas help your body release a number of toxins, including heavy metals like mercury and lead, and environmental chemicals. The benefits don’t stop there. With infrared sauna technology, you can also lose weight relax, relieve unwanted pain, increase your circulation, and purify your skin.

6 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

1. Detoxification

Sweating is one of the body’s most natural ways to eliminate toxins, making it a crucial part of detoxification. When compared to traditional Swedish saunas, infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.

2. Relaxation

Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.

3. Pain Relief

If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.

4. Weight Loss

The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate — the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss. An article, titled Effect of Sweating, in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.

5. Improved Circulation

As the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, your circulation will increase along with it. Consistent infrared sauna sessions, especially in the middle-infrared level, can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and decrease pain and inflammation after intense exercise.

6. Skin Purification

Infrared sauna technology can help purify your skin by eliminating toxins from your pores and increasing circulation, resulting in clearer, softer, and healthier-looking skin.

Infrared Levels

Infrared sauna treatments may be available at different levels: near, middle, and far.
These different levels represent the different sizes in infrared wavelengths and refer to the intensity of the treatment. Most people find that:

near-infrared levels are best for wound healing and increased immune function
middle-infrared levels are ideal for increasing circulation and promoting muscle relaxation
far-infrared levels are used primarily for detoxification purposes


If you’re new to infrared saunas, we would recommend starting out with 4-minute sessions at 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly working your way up to 15- to 30-minute sessions.

If an infrared sauna is not available, but you have access to a regular sauna, you can still achieve some degree of detoxification with 10- to 20-minute sessions at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our downtown Fitness With A View location has a sauna in both the men's and women's locker rooms!!!

Morton's Foot - Easy Detection

Morton’s Foot vs Morton’s Neuroma

Two conditions originating in the feet, but very different. Also, they were named after different doctors, yes, with the same last name. Both born in the 1800’s. Morton’s foot was named after an American orthopedic surgeon Dudley Joy Morton (1884-1960) while Morton’s Neuroma was named after US surgeon Thomas George Morton (1835-1903). 
This article explains Morton’s Foot and how to detect it.

What is Morton’s Foot?

The condition where a major supporting bone in the foot is shorter than it should be. There is a tripod structure in feet that provides even balance. The tripod consists of the top of a bone that lines up with the big toe, the top of a bone that lines up with the little toe, and the heel.  In the picture, these bones are yellow. They are called the metatarsals. The foot skeleton labeled with a number 1 has Morton’s Foot and the tripod is anchored off balance by shifting the support to the metatarsal head below the second toe. The number 2 skeleton has a balanced tripod. Morton’s Foot is a condition that one out of every four people are born with. 

Detecting Morton’s Foot

Morton’s Foot is easy to detect.  First, support the ball of your foot with your hand or another object the size of your fist that you can use to press the ball of your foot up and against your metatarsal heads (tops of the metatarsal bones). Second, curl your toes down. The metatarsal heals will show like your knuckles do when you make a fist.    
Now, look at the bones and see if they are in line with each other or if the metatarsal bone below the big toe is short. If it is, you have Morton’s Foot.

Correcting Morton’s Foot

Morton’s Foot is easy to correct.  The way to correct it is by slightly lifting the head of the short metatarsal bone underneath the big toe. One DIY method is to purchase Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Padding and cut out a quarter to a half dollar (depending on the size of the head of the metarsal) size piece of moleskin. Purchase Dr. Scholl’s Work Insoles or something similar and attach the moleskin to the underside of the insert right where the metatarsal head presses down. Be careful to not overlap the metatarsal head next to it. Don’t forget to use inserts with your sandals (Target has some inserts that are clear) and slippers, too.

Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure is one area of heart health that needs to be regularly checked and regulated. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be affected by your overall weight, especially once you reach a body mass index score of 30 or higher. This score is classified as obese. Excess fat increases the work your heart has to perform to pump blood throughout your body. The harder your heart works, the more pressure is placed on the walls of your arteries, which can increase your risk for blood vessel damage. Lowering your body weight by even as little as 5 to 10 percent can lower your blood pressure and increase your heart health.

Cholesterol Levels

Controlling your cholesterol also plays an important role in heart health; it decreases your risks for heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The two main kinds of cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein -- LDL or the "bad" cholesterol -- and high-density lipoprotein -- HDL or the "good" cholesterol. The LDL cholesterol is found in foods high in saturated fat, especially animal proteins. When consumed in high levels, LDL cholesterol can build up in the bloodstream and calcify into hard plaque. This plaque makes it difficult for blood to circulate through the affected arteries, increasing your risk for cardiovascular damage.


Taking care of your heart also affects your circulation. Good circulation is needed to transport oxygen and nutrients to the many different cells in your body. Without proper circulation, tissues begin to die, which can result in amputations or even death, depending on what tissues are not getting enough oxygen. High blood pressure, cholesterol plaque and other heart diseases can all affect your body's ability to transport blood efficiently throughout your body.

Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

To keep your heart healthy, your body needs adequate amounts of exercise accompanied by a heart-healthy diet. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. A heart-healthy diet consists of the majority of your calories coming from vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods like legumes and whole grains. These foods are accompanied in moderation by lean proteins, especially fish, as well as low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds.

Fitness Benefits of the BOSU Ball

Balance training
When the BOSU ball is positioned with the domed side facing the floor, it becomes an unstable surface, perfect for balance training. Using gym equipment during workouts usually means that you are constantly pushing or pulling on handles. Using the BOSU ball however will force you to stabilize your muscles as you go through the routine. This will improve balance while working the core muscles throughout the entire routine. This is a great way to make workouts more challenging.
Many people find it hard to stand up while balancing on the ball. This is one of the reasons why the BOSU ball is also used during rehabilitation treatment. The ball is a great piece of rehab equipment to help those with ankle injuries, post-op hip surgery, and back pain.
Flexibility training
When used dome side up, the BOSU ball can help improve flexibility. It’s a great way to perform stretching exercises. Laying face-up or face-down on the dome will allow the user to relax and stretch at the same time. Turn the ball dome-side down and use this slanting position to stretch your calves. Using the ball while kneeling or standing will provide a more challenging routine along with enabling a range of motion to standard stretching exercises.
Strength training
Because the BOSU ball is unstable when it is used dome-side down, users are forced to use more muscles, thereby improving overall strength. The use of this unstable platform works muscles that are usually unused during typical workouts. Routine exercises such as lunges, squats, lifts, and push ups can also be more intense when the ball is used. This result is more challenging workouts. along with more effective strength training.
The challenges and added intensity to workouts while using the BOSU ball will make your body adapt to new stimuli and keep workouts from being repetitive. So, if you are looking to strengthen your muscles while adding a little variety to your workout, give the BOSU ball a try today, or contact us to learn more about how we use it in our classes.

Benefits of Resistance Bands During Exercise

1.Incredibly Cost-Effective
Resistance bands are inexpensive and can be purchased for under $10. Even more extensive kits, which may include DVDs and other exercise equipment, can be found for under $40.

2.Adaptable for Multiple Fitness Levels
Whether you're a beginner or an expert, resistance bands are for you. They come in a variety of resistances, including light, medium and heavy, and you can further adjust the intensity of your resistance-band workouts by giving the band more or less slack. You can even use multiple bands at once to increase the challenge.

3.Used with Familiar Exercises
You can often use familiar strength training moves with resistance bands, which means you don't need to learn a complicated new routine. For instance, resistance bands can replace the weights you use for biceps curls, or can increase the intensity of your push-ups. 

4.Whole-Body Exercises
Resistance bands can be used for a comprehensive, full-body workout that challenges virtually every major muscle group in your body.

5.Save on Storage Space
Resistance bands take up virtually no space to store them, which means you can use them at home even if you have very little extra space. When your workout is done, simply stash them in a drawer until your next session.

6.Excellent for Traveling
Resistance bands are lightweight and easily portable. You can stash them in your suitcase when traveling and use them to get a good workout right in your hotel room.

7.Add Variety
Your muscles quickly adapt to movements you do often, which is why adding variety to your workouts is key for challenging your muscles. Resistance bands can be alternated with free weights and exercise machines for ongoing variety.

8.Easy to Use Alone
It's not a good idea to lift heavy weights without an exercise buddy, but resistance bands can be safely used on your own. They're ideal for exercising any time, at home or on the road.

9.Can Be Combined with Other Equipment
Resistance bands are so versatile that you can even use them along with weights, allowing you to get the benefits of two types of exercises at once.

10.An Effective Workout

Resistance bands are incredibly simple, but they're also extremely effective at working your muscles. Additionally, resistance-band training can help you boost stamina, flexibility, range of motion and more.

6 Causes of Fatigue

1. Diet
A balanced diet of real, whole foods plays a huge role in maintaining proper energy levels. The most common dietary issues that cause fatigue are:
Food sensitivities
Histamine reactions
Caffeine and sugar 

To optimize your diet and identify the foods that are triggering your fatigue, I recommend completing an elimination diet to determine which ones you are sensitive to.

2. Nutritional Deficiencies
Iron-deficiency and B-12 deficiency are fairly common causes of fatigue.
You can combat these nutritional deficiencies with a diet high in quality animal protein and colorful vegetables. I also recommend adding in iron or  B-12 supplements.
Furthermore, if you have one or more MTHFR mutation, your ability to convert B12 to its active form is reduced, I recommend a Methylation Support supplement. 

3. Infections
Gut infections such as Candida, parasites, and SIBO can all be underlying causes of fatigue. Other systemic infections, including reactivated Epstein-Barr or Lyme disease, can suppress the immune system and interfere with energy levels. If you have or suspect that you have one of these infections, you should treat them as soon as possible. 

4. Hashimoto's or Thyroid Dysfunction
Your thyroid powers every cell in your body through the hormones it produces and plays a huge role in your energy levels, body temperature, and metabolism.
So, as you can imagine, if you are low in these all-important thyroid hormones, you’ll experience fatigue and low energy.
The most common form of thyroid disease is Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid, causing it to underproduce its hormones.
If you know or suspect Hashimoto’s may be causing your fatigue, check out the 4 Secrets to Beat Hashimoto's Symptoms that Your Doctor Will Never Tell You. 

5. Stress
In stressful situations, your body releases cortisol and a cascade of other hormones in order to help you overcome the stressor.
However, if you experience chronic stress you can deplete your stores of these hormones, putting you in a state of adrenal fatigue. And a side effect of adrenal fatigue, is actual physical fatigue.
To combat the effects of stress and adrenal fatigue I recommend practicing daily stress relief techniques, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or simply going on a walk or taking a relaxing bath. I also recommend taking an adrenal support supplement to relieve your symptoms while you restore healthy adrenal function.

6. Toxins
Having a high toxic burden is a strain on your body period, which can cause fatigue.
Here are four steps you can take to minimize your exposure to toxins on a daily basis:
Filter your air
Filter your water
Buy clean food
Buy clean body products (or make your own!)

Hit A Training Plateau? Try Negative Training

What Is Negative Training?
Negative rep training focuses on the negative, or eccentric, part of an exercise. It's the phase of the move where you are lowering the weight, not pressing it. An example is the stage of a squat when you're bending your knees and coming down to the bottom of the move or after you've pressed the barbell up in a bench press and are lowering it to your chest. This phase of the exercise should be slower and more controlled as you should being supporting and resisting the weight and not pushing it.

Build Mass
Negative rep training is useful for those who want to increase their muscle mass.  The technique overloads the muscles, helping to achieve hypertrophy. By overloading a muscle, you create small tears in its fibers and they rebuild larger each time, building up bigger and bigger muscles every time you challenge them.

Build Strength
When you use negative training at the beginning of your workout, you take advantage of your existing strength and rested muscles by pushing them to lift more. In his book on muscle and strength, James Stoppani notes that a lifter can resist 130 percent of his 1RM (the maximum amount of weight he can lift in one rep) when using negative rep training. By challenging your muscles in this way, you'll call upon more fast twitch muscle fibers to work through the lift. Your muscles will respond by rebuilding more and stronger fast twitch muscle fibers so that it can meet the challenge next time, building up your strength overall -- including the positive and concentric phase, not just in the negative portion of your exercises.

How to Negative Rep Train
If you want to give negative training a try, do it on the days when you have a lifting partner, someone who can help out during the positive phase of your exercises and be there to spot you during the negative phases. Typically negative training is accomplished by 1) adding manual resistance on the lowering phase of any lift 2) adjusting the weight lifted and lowered when using a selectorized plate machine (lighter when lifting and change to heavier when lowering), or 3) assisting your lifting partner through the concentric (lifting) phase with an amount of weight they could not lift on their own, and allowing them to lower the weight during the eccentric phase without assistance.  
You should do three or four sets that include negative reps, then perform two more sets of the same exercise reducing the weight to 75 percent of your 1RM while completing 10 to 12 reps.


Negative rep training is extreme, providing an intensity that you'll enjoy but also one that you'll feel in the days following your training. Give your body the rest it needs both between sets and between negative training days. Between sets, allow yourself about three minutes of rest before hitting the weights again. Rest periods between negative training workouts should be a full week -- that's right, an entire seven days. Be prepared for the muscle soreness you'll experience from negative training to be just as intense as the workouts are. You will eventually get used to them and the severity of the discomfort will decrease, Also, don't push yourself to train if you're not feeling 100 percent. Negative training after a viral infection can compromise your health, too.

Benefits of Superset Workouts

What is a Superset?
A superset is simply the action of performing two exercises back to back with no rest period in between. This increases the intensity of your workout since you’re going from one move to another without resting first. You might choose to do two exercises that work opposing muscle groups (biceps/triceps, hams/quads) or exercises that target the same muscle group. There are also “giant sets” which typically involves doing 3 exercises back to back. 

The Benefits

1. Speed up workout time. While not the most important benefit, it is nice to be able to speed up a workout, particularly when you’re crunched for time. Supersets allow you to get through your workout very quickly without skipping exercises.

2. Burn more calories. When doing supersets, you’re essentially doing double the work in the same amount of time that it would take you to do a straight set but you’re working through the usual rest period. With supersets you rest only after the superset is completed (not in between 2 straight sets). The intensity of your workout is increased which will help you burn more calories.

3. Raise growth hormone levels. Women do not carry as much testosterone in their bodies as men. This is the biggest reason why men typically have more muscle mass and why women tend to have more body fat. Men and women rely on growth hormones for muscle growth and recovery though women rely on them much more heavily. Increasing muscle mass is what will help your body to burn more fat and get lean. The GH levels increase following a weight training workout and actually increase even further following superset workouts. GH will trigger the release of fat cells which then travel to the muscles to be burned and used as energy. The perfect recipe for fat loss.

4. Great for cardiovascular health. While supersetting during strength training workouts shouldn’t be a replacement for cardio, it definitely brings the cardio into weightlifting!

Tips for Successful Superset Workouts

To get even more from your superset workouts there are some important things to know. These tips will help you get the most from your supersets.

You may need to drop the weight. If you’re used to lifting heavier, you might need to decrease the weight used if you’re doing supersets. Your muscles are going to tire more quickly and may not be able to lift as much as when you do straight sets.

Increase rest period. Although you aren’t going to rest until a superset is completed, you’ll need to rest a bit longer than you normally would. This will give your muscles the time they need to replenish the energy required to perform the supersets successfully. Aim for no more than 1 to 2 minutes of rest.

Change the order. It’s important to change the order in which you do the superset exercises. For example, if you’re doing a superset with opposing muscle groups (say, the hams and quads), don’t always do the hamstring exercise first.  Alternate and do the quadriceps exercise first from time to time to balance things out a bit.

Minimize time. When you’re performing a superset you should move from one exercise to the next with no rest. The only “rest” time you’ll experience is the time it takes you to go from one exercise to the next. After you’ve completed the superset, then it’s time to take a little rest. The faster you’re able to switch from one exercise to the other, the more benefit you’ll get from utilizing the superset training technique.

Adding supersets into your workout not only gets you out of the gym faster (saving you time) but you’re also upping the intensity and benefits to your cardiovascular health at the same time.

That’s a win-win!

13 Non Toxic Ways To Keep Mosquitos Away

Homemade Citronella Candles
Citronella essential oil is one of the most effective natural mosquito repellents in the world and one of the best ways to take advantage of this wonderful oil is in citronella candles. These candles are easy to make, all natural and will release an aroma that keeps mosquitoes away. Place a few candles around your patio or garden and create a mosquito proof barrier!
Find out how to make these citronella candles here at

A Few Drops Of Lavender
Lavender is loved by humans all over the world, but mosquitoes hate it! To keep mosquitoes out of your home, add a drop of lavender to ribbon and place around open windows. The mosquitoes will certainly think twice about entering!

Simple Lavender Body Oil
Add 30 drops of lavender essential oil to two tablespoons of vegetable oil – such as olive oil – and rub onto exposed skin. Not only will you smell beautiful, but it will stop mosquitoes from landing on you!

Four Thieves Mosquito Repellent Spray
Four Thieve Bug Repellent works great to keep mosquitoes (and other flying bugs) away from you are your family. Best of all it has no harmful chemicals (like DEET), it’s so easy to make and uses ingredients you probably already have in your home or garden already. Spray this on your skin before heading outside.

Bug Repellent Sunscreen
This sunscreen is multi-purpose – it protects from harmful UV sun rays like any good sunscreen, but it also repels bugs, including mosquitoes.
On top of that it’s all natural and contains none of the toxic chemicals found in many over-priced store-bought sunscreens.

Throw Rosemary On The Barbecue
Mosquitoes often strike while we are barbecuing, but this simple trick will turn your barbecue into a natural mosquito repellent, while also adding delicious flavor to your food!
Throw a few stalks of rosemary on the hot coals to give off a mosquito repelling aroma.

Plant Mosquito Repellent Plants
There are a number of plants that have mosquito repellent properties -  for example feverfew, citronella, catnip and lavender are four of the most effective. Plant these in flower beds or containers placed around your garden and keep mosquitoes away.

Eat More Garlic
Note: While this may repel mosquitoes, it may also repel fellow humans!
After eating lots of garlic, garlic oil is gently released from your pores. This garlic oil acts almost like a barrier between your skin and the mosquitoes.

Apply Neem Oil
Neem oil is a vegetable extracted from the Neem tree native to the Indian sub-continent – it is sometimes referred to as “the tree of life”.
Neem oil is a natural insecticide used on plants to keep harmful insects away, and it works the same way on humans. Apply neem oil to the skin and keep mosquitoes away.

Neem oil is available to buy from this page on Amazon.

Mosquito Repellent Drink
I’ve read a number of anecdotes which suggest that drinking apple cider vinegar is an effective mosquito repellent. Add one or two tablespoons of ACV to 16oz of water and consume. Sweeten with one tablespoon of honey to counteract the bitterness if you wish.

Attract Bats
Bats can reportedly eat 1,000 mosquitoes per night. Attracting bats to your garden can help to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes and reduce your chances of being bitten.

Eliminate Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water. Getting rid of standing water will cut down the number of mosquitoes in the immediate vicinity. Standing water can include bird baths, puddles and pet water bowls. Make sure gutters are draining well and empty any garden items that collect water.

Make A Mosquito Trap
A homemade mosquito trap is another way to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area. This trap uses CO2 to attract mosquitoes into a soda bottle from which they can’t escape.

BONUS IDEA: Homemade Mosquito Repelling Incense
Make your own mosquito repelling incense. It’s a beautiful smelling incense without the toxic chemicals associated with regular mosquito incense coils. Did you know 12 hours of burning regular mosquito repelling coils is equivalent to filling a room with the smoke of 75-100 cigarettes? Instead make your own!

There we have thirteen natural ways to keep mosquitoes away from your home, your garden, and from you this summer – and most importantly, we’ve done it without the use of any harmful chemicals!

Meet Nancy, Our New Massage Therapist!

Nancy M. Heath grew up in Virginia Beach, VA where her laid back 
coastal vibe has followed her out to the upstate, when she and her 
husband moved here in 2007. She lives out in the countryside with her 
family, consisting of her parents, husband and two dogs Luna-Ives and 
Sadie (as well as numerous other farm animals). 

Nancy has been a Board Certified LMT since 2010. She is also a NCSF 
Certified Personal Trainer, and a Holistic Wellness Professional.  
She has a deep passion for women and children's health.  
Massaging for close to nine years has allowed her to build her massage 
specialties to include; Deep Tissue/NMT, relaxing Swedish, Thai Yoga, 
anxiety & hormonal balance, fertility, prenatal, labor, postpartum, infant 
and pediatric massage. She also helps demonstrate proper stretching techniques. 
With a strong desire to help people reclaim their health and wellness, Nancy 
continues to actively seek out the most up to date resources and classes 
to educate herself to better help her clients.  

You can book with her online at or call 757-615-5576

8 Little Known Facts About Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be just one tool in your arsenal. These eight little-known facts about sunscreens will help you spot problem products and avoid getting burned.

1. There’s no proof that sunscreens prevent most skin cancer.
Rates of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the Food and Drug Administration itself – have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer. 

2. Don’t be fooled by high SPF.
High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, calling higher SPF values “inherently misleading,” but it has not yet issued a regulation that carries the force of law. Ten percent of sunscreens we evaluated this year advertised SPF values greater than 50+.

3. The common sunscreen additive vitamin A may speed development of skin cancer.
The sunscreen industry adds a form of vitamin A to 14 percent of beach and sport sunscreens, 15 percent of moisturizers with SPF, and 6 percent of lip products with SPF in this year’s database.
Retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant that combats skin aging. But studies by federal government scientists indicate that it may trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight. Other governments warn that cosmetics may contribute to unsafe amounts of vitamin A, and recommend against using vitamin A-laden cosmetics on the lips and over large portions of the body. We recommend that consumers avoid sunscreens, lip products and skin lotions that contain vitamin A or retinyl palmitate, which is also called retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol. 

4. European sunscreens provide better UVA protection.
Nearly every sunscreen sold in the U.S. claims to offer “broad spectrum” protection, which suggests they shield against harmful UVA rays. But many products are too weak to be sold in Europe, where standards are higher. In Europe, sunscreen makers can formulate their products with four chemicals that offer stronger protection from UVA rays. American manufacturers have been waiting for years for FDA approval to use these sunscreen ingredients. The FDA has asked for more safety data, but until the FDA approves these ingredients and lifts restrictions on combining certain active ingredients, Americans will not be able to buy sunscreens with the strongest UVA protection.  

5. Sunscreen doesn’t protect skin from all types of sun damage.
SPF measures protection from sunburn, but not other types of skin damage. The sun’s ultraviolet rays also generate free radicals that damage DNA and skin cells, accelerate skin aging and may cause skin cancer. American sunscreens can reduce these damages, but not as effectively as they prevent sunburn. People can run into problems if they pick a sunscreen with poor UVA protection, apply too little or reapply it infrequently. Sunscreen companies commonly add SPF boosters that inhibit sunburn but may not protect from other damages. The FDA should strengthen its regulations to ensure that sunscreens offer the best possible skin protection. 

6. Some sunscreen ingredients disrupt hormones and cause skin allergies.
Sunscreen is designed to be applied to large portions of the body, several times per day. Sunscreen ingredients soak through skin and can be detected in people’s blood, urine and even mothers’ breast milk. Several commonly used ingredients appear to block or mimic hormones, and others cause allergic reactions on sensitive skin. The FDA’s sunscreen rules grandfathered in sunscreen active ingredients that were already on the market. The agency has never reviewed evidence of ill effects of sunscreen ingredients. 

7. Mineral sunscreens contain nanoparticles.
Most zinc oxide and titanium dioxide-based sunscreens contain nanoparticles one-twentieth the width of a human hair, to reduce or eliminate the chalky white tint that larger particles leave on the skin. Based on the available information, We give a favorable rating to mineral ingredients in sunscreens, but the FDA should restrict the use of unstable or UV-reactive forms of minerals that would lessen skin protection.  

8. If you avoid sun, check your vitamin D levels.
Sunshine causes the body to produce vitamin D, a critical function that sunscreen appears to inhibit. Vitamin D, technically a hormone, strengthens bones and the immune system and reduces risks of breast, colon, kidney and ovarian cancers, and perhaps other disorders.

About 25 percent of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D, and 8 percent have a serious deficiency. Breast-fed infants, people with darker skin and people who have limited sun exposure are at greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency. Many people can’t or shouldn’t rely on the sun for vitamin D. Check with your doctor to find out whether you should be tested for deficiency, or should take seasonal or year-round supplements. 

Lifelong Tips For Weight Management

1. Eat to fuel your body.
Eating less is a good thing when you’re trying to lose weight, but restricting your calories too low may lead to binges and send you into the evil cycle of yo-yo dieting.
However, if you’re eating to the point of starving your body of necessary calories, your body adjusts by going into protection mode (it wants to preserve stored fuel) and slows down. In most cases, this means muscle loss. If you’re having trouble losing weight, try keeping a food journal and take a close look to see if you’re skimping on fuel.

2. Listen to your body.
This step may take a little time to learn. But I urge you to be patient with yourself, because becoming comfortable understanding your hunger quotient will definitely pay off. Getting used to eating to the point of contentedness, and not fullness, is crucial to long-term weight loss. When you conquer this tool, regardless of what you’re eating, you will never dramatically over consume.

3. Don’t count calories.
Meticulously counting calories will end up being more frustrating than useful. Calories in versus calories out is an old way of thinking. There is much more involved with losing weight (hormones and hydration to name a couple) than calories.
Focus on nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods such as vegetables to bulk up your meals. Also, lean protein (such as fish, poultry or plant protein) and a little bit of healthy fat at every meal.

4. Drink up.
Sip H2O throughout the day. Staying hydrated is majorly important whether you’re looking to lose 5, 10, 20 or 50 pounds. Heard this before? Bet you have. But are you doing it? No better time to start than now. Drinking water is important for all cellular functions, and hydration aids in weight loss. Not only that, the brain easily confuses thirst for hunger.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
One meal will not change your body. It will take a consistent effort of many changes over time. Again, one meal will not change your body. So, don’t get stressed and obsess over every meal or snack gone wrong.
Being in the correct emotional state while trying to lose weight is just as important as what you eat. Throw out the “throw in the towel” mindset and believe that you can and you will lose weight. Even if you slip up and have a chocolate chip cookie.

6. Take control of your environment.
Are there certain snacks you keep around your house that you can’t help but nibble on? Is your desk at work so messy that you have a hard time focusing on a simple task? Cleaning, clearing out and decluttering what you can control will make a big difference in making improvements in your diet. Re-doing your morning routine is also a way to take control of your environment and routine.

7. Indulge consciously.
Losing weight does not mean you have to swear off raw cookie dough forever. You’re working on instilling new practices and habits into your everyday life, and that also means relearning how to indulge. When you indulge you’re actually more likely to stay on track with your new eating plan.

Choose your absolute favorite indulgence when the time is right, and skip the rest. Be conscious about what you’re eating in the moment and take time to enjoy the indulgence. This is different from reaching your hand over and over into a bag of M&Ms until the moment you’re surprised they’re gone. If you’re at your best friend's birthday party, and someone brought cookie dough, have a scoop. And enjoy the indulgence as part of the event and move right back onto your kale salad.

FWAV Is Now Offering Reflexology!

Reflexology is the ancient art of foot massage which originated in China and which was also known to the Ancient Egyptians. It is believed that energy runs through the body in channels known as meridians and that massage of the feet stimulates these energy channels, promoting healing and relaxation. Every part of the foot corresponds to an area of the body, and massage of the feet stimulates the corresponding part of the body so that receiving a reflexology massage is regarded as the equivalent of a full body massage.

Reduction of Stress
The most obvious effect of reflexology massage is that of stress reduction. The techniques of reflexology include finger or thumb walking--where the reflexologist walks the finger or thumb over different areas of the feet in a set sequence--and massage and kneading of the foot using the whole hand. The experience is generally firm, but gentle, and should never cause discomfort or pain. According to “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology,” people of any age or sex--the elderly, women, men, teenagers, children and babies--can derive positive benefits from reflexology.”

Although results vary from individual to individual, the soothing action of reflexology generally leaves the recipient feeling deeply relaxed and peaceful afterwards.

Pain Reduction
Reflexologists believe that that illness is caused by blockages in the meridians or energy channels. These blockages inhibit the flow of life enhancing energy, also known as ‘chi,’ causing the accumulation of negative energy, resulting in pain or disease. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet, and these are connected to the whole body through the central nervous system, to the whole body. Massage of the feet, and therefore these nerve endings, stimulates the body, promoting self-healing. The massage is designed to restore the delicate balance between the different body systems and functions, and when this happens harmony is restored. As a consequence of this, and because reflexology is so relaxing, it is also very effective in pain relief, as tension is taken out of the body and stress reduced, so pain is also reduced.

Effects of Reflexology
Reflexology increases the flow of energy, increases the circulation and stimulates the digestive system. It is so effective at this that most people feel a need to pee after a session, and are nearly always thirsty, as toxins are eliminated from the body. It is also recommended that you do not drink alcohol in the 24 hours before or after a session, as the effects of the alcohol can be multiplied. It is also inadvisable to have reflexology if you have a pacemaker fitted, or if you have diabetes.

Movement Improves Brain Function at Any Age

By Cynthia Horner

We have a brain because we move. A sea squirt attaches itself to a rock so it no longer needs to move, then it does an extraordinary thing; it eats its brain, all other body functions continue without its brain. If we have a brain because we move, could movement enhance and improve the function of our brain? You betch ya.

Many animals survived by becoming faster, bigger or meaner but humans have survived by becoming smarter. When the food supply diminished, humans were forced to walk to find food. Before we learned to ride animals and long before the invention of automobiles people walked on average 12 miles a day. The human brain developed, not by sitting around but through movement. Humans grew up moving or they did not grow up at all.

Today with our high tech scanning devises we now understand why. What all this movement did for us was to increase out heart rate and changed our brains to function at its best for the entire time we were alive. Movement that increases heart rate, triggers the brain to make BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor), which acts like a brain cell fertilizer and helps brain cells stay healthy. A healthy brain cell has a good cell membrane surrounding it. A good cell membrane allows charged particles in and out at just the right time, in turn causing the brain cell to fire on cue, not too early, not to late but right on cue. When a brain cell fires it wires or connects to other brain cells. The more firing and wiring in the brain the healthier and better functioning it is. We all want to think well and remember well even after we have been on earth six, seven or eight decades. Decreased brain function or neurodegeneration does not have to happen as we age.

Just how exercise changes brain function was what they found out at Central High School in Naperville Illinois, where they decided to teach kids how to monitor and maintain their health and fitness and as a direct result improved each participant’s academic performance. Each student was required to run a mile, three times a week, keeping at their target heart rate. What they saw in the first year was those who participated were more alert, their senses heightened, their focus and mood improved and they were less fidgety. The most impressive result was an increase in working memory and processing speed and an increase in their GPA. They then extended the fitness program to the middle school students. Naperville’s eighth graders were among 230,000 students from around the world to take the T.I.M.S.S. (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) a test that evaluates knowledge in math and science. In the past China, Japan and Singapore have outdone Americans in these subjects, but in 1999 one year after the new fitness program began; Naperville’s students finished sixth in math and first in science.

Can anyone, at any age improve brain function through movement? The answer is an astounding yes. Any kind of movement is good; dancing, walking, running, martial arts, swimming, rowing, biking or anyn other movement you may enjoy. How soon can you expect results? Some improvement happens immediately. A truly sharp brain can be described as improving cognitive flexibility and creativity; this is coming up with new ideas and thinking out of the box, not simply remembering past facts. To accomplish this several areas of the brain need to change; to best do this it is recommended to increase heart rate into your target zone for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week, for 12 weeks. Mixing coordination exercises with aerobic activity will bring about improvement in many more areas of the brain including those involved with speech and balance which are complementary to thinking, creativity, memory and problem solving.  Decreased brain function does not have to happen simply because you are getting older. Movement is life, so make it a part of your life; all your life.

References:   Spark, the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain; by John J. Ratey, MD
                        Brain Rules; by John Medina

Cynthia Horner is a chiropractor in Greenville SC with advanced study in the field of movement and brain function. She uses various forms of movement to improve brain and spinal function in her practice. She has been involved in a fitness program with Jamie Blair at Fitness with a View for the past 11 years. 

10 Amazing Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity, or how well your cells respond to insulin, has a big impact on how well you tolerate carbohydrates, and whether those carbohydrates will affect your ability to mobilize fatty acids. Reduced insulin sensitivity means you need more and more insulin to do the same job. And since insulin is a storage hormone, when it’s high, it’s more difficult to lose fat.
Following just 2 weeks of HIIT, in which there was a total of only 15 minutes of exercise, insulin sensitivity was improved by 23% 

Produces the Afterburn Effect
Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), is the increased oxygen your body uses after an intense workout to erase its oxygen debt. It uses this oxygen to return the body to homeostasis.
That means it uses additional calories to perform tasks such as muscle repair and replenishment of fuel stores. EPOC is better known as the afterburn effect, which is the process of burning extra calories long after your workout is over.
When comparing HIIT to low-intensity exercise, your exercise intensity positively affects both the magnitude and duration of EPOC. In other words, the greater your intensity, the greater the afterburn effect.

Specifically Targets Stomach Fat
Yes, we all know that you can’t target fat loss per se. However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Doing sit-ups isn’t going to target belly fat.
However, there are things you can do that will change the way you store and mobilize fat. The way you store fat is determined by many factors – genetics and hormones being two big ones. And the type of exercise you do affects your hormone profile.
Doing HIIT can create a metabolic environment that stimulates a higher proportional release of abdominal fat. You still lose fat all over, but a higher proportion comes off in the midsection.
High-intensity interval exercise three times per week for 15 weeks was compared to the same frequency of steady-state exercise, and only HIIT produced significant reductions in total body fat, subcutaneous leg and trunk fat, and insulin resistance.

Improved Vo2 Max
VO2 max is your body’s max capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It is a great measure of physical fitness. Generally speaking, the higher your VO2 max, the better your fitness level. A higher VO2 max also means that you can exercise at greater intensities for longer periods of time.
The good news is that doing HIIT will result in significant improvements in VO2 max. This improvement can be achieved whether you are a beginner exerciser or an advanced athlete.

Creation of New Mitochondria
Mitochondria are little cell powerhouses that produce energy (ATP). In simple terms, they take the fat and carbohydrates you either eat or store and convert them to usable energy. The more mitochondria you have, the more efficiently your body utilizes the calories you consume.
The number of mitochondria you have can be increased by creating a demand for more energy production. In fact, HIIT is a potent stimulus for the creation of new mitochondria.

Boost Favorable Hormones
High-intensity interval training does more than just burn calories. It primes your body for fat loss by creating a favorable metabolic environment.
Internally, your body undergoes many hormonal changes in response to intense training. Specifically, HIIT boosts growth hormone and testosterone levels after just 10 minutes, and the amount secreted is correlated to your exercise intensity.
Growth hormone and testosterone are a potent combo for both fat loss and muscle growth. Engaging in HIIT will provide you with this amazing benefit.

Burns More Total Fat Compared to Endurance Training
Did you know you can burn more fat doing HIIT than your typical steady-state endurance training, even when burning a fraction of the calories? It’s true.
A study comparing a 15 week HIIT program to a 20 week endurance-training (ET) program showed that despite its lower energy cost, the HIIT program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous fat compared with the ET program.
When the scientists adjusted the numbers so the calorie burn was equal, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the ET program.

Builds Muscle While Losing Fat
Many people say you can’t build muscle and burn fat at the same time. While it can be difficult to put on a large amount of muscle mass while in a calorie deficit, you can certainly accomplish both goals concurrently.
In fact, a 12 week HIIT program has been shown to increase lean body mass, while at the same time reducing total body fat, abdominal and trunk fat, and visceral fat.
The additional muscle will pay dividends by increasing your resting metabolic rate so that you’re burning extra calories at all times of the day. Build muscle and lose fat, all while exercising for less time. Seems too good to be true, but it is.

Increased Capacity for Fat Oxidation
During exercise our bodies undergo all kinds of chemical reactions and stress adaptations. Our bodies literally change from the inside out. During HIIT specifically, we make changes to our physiology that enable us to burn more fat.
Just seven sessions of HIIT over 2 weeks induced marked increases in whole body and skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation during exercise in moderately active women. HIIT causes changes to your body that increases its ability to burn fat.

The Intangibles 
We've listed out the science behind the benefits of HIIT, but that’s really just scratching the surface. High-intensity interval training also:
Adds variety – there really is an endless combination of fitness activities that can be incorporated into a HIIT workout.
Creates time efficiencies – you no longer have to slave away on the treadmill for an hour or more. The same benefits or more can be accomplished in under 20 minutes.
No equipment necessary – no gym membership? No problem. All you need is your body to get a great workout.

How To Care For Your Workout Clothes

First things first
Try to avoid leaving sweaty clothes in your gym bag, crumpled up in your laundry basket or on the bathroom floor. Leaving sweaty items stashed somewhere can become a breeding ground for bacteria (and even mold) if they are left too long. Bacteria build-up is one of the main causes of smelly workout gear!

To soak or not to soak
Soaking in a solution of vinegar and water can help kill bacteria and sweaty odors on your clothing. It can also help break down any build-up from detergents, deodorant and skin cells (ewww!). Be careful when you pre-soak clothes though — especially if soaking clothes with bright colors and prints. It’s probably best not to leave your clothes to soak for longer than 30 minutes to an hour, to avoid causing any damage. Once they’ve had a soak, pop them in the wash as normal.

Setting your washing machine
Check the labels for specific washing information before you start! Lots of workout fabrics are best washed in cold water, as it helps to maintain their shape. Hot water might seem like the right idea to kill off bacteria, but it may be damaging to the fibers.
Detergents and softeners
There are specialty laundry products for sportswear, but you can use any standard laundry powder or detergent. Use the recommended amount of laundry powder for your load (or even a little less) so it rinses out properly.

Don’t use fabric softener on your activewear. At all. Softeners can actually lock in odors in the fabric. Most softeners work by coating fibers, which might stop those fancy moisture wicking fabrics from doing their job properly.

After the wash
Fresh air and sunny weather is a best friend to your activewear. Sunshine makes it hard for bacteria to grow, so your clothes shouldn’t take on any strange odors. Hanging everything inside out helps against fading. —  You'd hate having to throw away your favorite shorts because they are all faded!

Top tips for washing activewear:
•  Turn your workout clothes inside out before stuffing them into the machine (the gross stuff can collect on the inside!).
•  Wash really sweaty clothes as soon as you can to stop the smell getting trapped in the fibers.
•  Hand wash sports bras or use a lingerie bag for washing them in the machine (you can buy the bags at most bra shops). 
•  Don’t wash your activewear with clothing that has zips, velcro or any other item that might catch on the fabric and damage it. 
•  Don’t use the clothes dryer (even if you’re in a hurry) and skip the iron as well. It’s not good for workout clothes, and can even burn them! (Trust me, I know this first hand - hello holes in tops!)

Okay, so it might take a little effort to keep your activewear smelling fresh. But no one wants to worry about strange smells when trying to focus on your workout! Take care of your workout clothes and you should get more wear out of them as well. 

Everything You Need To Know About Sodium

No. Salt is a compound called Sodium Chloride while Sodium is a chemical element (Na) found in the Earth’s crust.

Sodium is an essential nutrient for human beings because it regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium and pH levels in our bodies. Sodium is also needed for your muscles and nerves to work properly. In fact, each of us needs a minimum of 500 milligrams of sodium a day. This is where salt, or Sodium Chloride, enters the picture. It’s the principal source of sodium in the human diet and one of our most ancient and ubiquitous food seasonings – in fact, for thousands of years, salting has been an important method of food preservation.

Sodium occurs naturally in most foods such as celery, beets, milk and even our drinking water (although the amount varies depending on the source). These days, unfortunately, most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods: Monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrite, sodium saccharin, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and sodium benzoate can be found in items such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion salt, garlic salt, potato chips and bouillon cubes. Processed meats like ham, sausage and bacon and canned soups and vegetables are all examples of foods that contain a lot of sodium. And of course, a drive-thru at McDonalds, or any other fast food restaurant, will leave you filled with food that’s extremely high in sodium.

Every person is unique and recommended sodium intakes will vary based on age, metabolism, amount of exercise/sweat, medications, etc. However, Health Canada sets the adequate intake of sodium for women at 1500 mg daily, and a tolerable upper intake level of 2300 mg/day. How much exactly is that? Well, 2300 mg is the amount of sodium that’s found in one teaspoon of salt. And recent research shows we’re consuming a lot more than that. The average North American man consumes about 3500 mg of sodium every day and women consume 2500 mg. There large amounts promote hypertension, an ailment that causes 7.6 million premature deaths worldwide. If you’re chronically eating a diet that’s high in salt you are at risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. There are also some studies that suggest too much salt consumption can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.

When you perspire, your body loses sodium, potassium and other essential minerals and nutrients. If you’re hiking, jogging, kayaking or doing any athletic activity over long distances, and you don’t rehydrate properly, you could be contributing to a decreased blood/sodium concentration. And the result might be ringing in your ears or mild heart palpitations. (In extreme instances you could succumb to hyponatremia, a condition similar to dehydration in which nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion may occur.) Does that mean you should drink Gatorade every time you exercise? Absolutely not! Gatorade is full of sugar and it’s not an effective electrolyte replenishment tool.

There are five easy ways to lower your daily salt consumption.
1. Avoid processed foods as one small meal could have twice the recommended daily intake of sodium. Stick to whole foods, vegetables and fruit.
2. Cook with less salt
3. Drink lots of water to flush excess salt
4. Sauna or steam to sweat out excess salts
5. If you’re experiencing a craving for salty foods, try these seasoning alternatives:
Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
Roasted garlic
Granulated sea kelp or sesame seeds
Onion powder (not onion salt)
Lime or lemon juice
Veggie Salt

Nutritional Yeast

Spicy End to Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are generally associated with, you know, exercise. A runner's calf goes into an excruciating clench, a tennis star's thigh becomes unusable right before the match. The thing is, muscle cramps don't just happen when muscles are tired or overworked.

As a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and a Harvard neurobiologist noticed, cramps happen while lying in bed, after stretching, and before a workout. But maybe the culprit is not the muscles, themselves. Maybe, a malfunction in the nervous system could trigger a cramp instead. So, according to The Wall Street Journal, the two began to study the neurological origins of muscular cramps.

The pair wanted to find a way to numb the nerves, and one way to do that was by ingesting "pungent tasting foods," which stimulated receptors in the mouth and esophagus, overloading the nervous system and causing a numbing effect. In short, they found that spicy concoctions made their muscles less susceptible to cramps. The results became official last year.

So, instead of staying hydrated or eating bananas for potassium, a shot of spicy sports drink Hotshot—pun definitely intended—might work. The shot, the only one on the market made from cinnamon, ginger, and spicy pepper, keeps the nervous system running smoothly. That, or down a handful of habanero peppers.

10 Benefits of Bone Broth

1. It heals a leaky gut. 
The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients.

2. Fights infections such as colds and flu.  
A study published in the journal Chest shows eating chicken soup during a respiratory infection reduces the number of white blood cells, which are the cells that cause flu and cold symptoms.

3. Reduces joint pain and inflammation.  
The glucosamine in bone broth can actually stimulate the growth of new collagen, repair damaged joints and reduce pain and inflammation. 

4. Produces gorgeous skin, hair and nails.  
The collagen and gelatin in bone broth supports hair growth and helps to keep your nails strong.

5. Helps with bone formation, growth and repair.  
The calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps our bones to grow and repair.

6. Saves you money.  
Homemade bone broth is cheaper and healthier than store bought.

7. Super easy to make.  
All you need is a crockpot. Throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot and it cooks while you sleep.

8. Healthier than buying supplements.  
Homemade bone broth contains all nutrients and minerals found in bones and tendons rather than just one or two found in pills. Slow cooking preserves the nutrients better than the high heat extraction used to make supplements.

9. Fights inflammation.  
Bone broth is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline.  

10. Promotes sleep and calms the mind.  
The amino acid glycine found in bone broth can be very calming.
Gut-Healing Chicken Broth Recipe

1 organic whole chicken
8 c of water
4 -6 stalks of celery, finely chopped
½ white or yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 inch ginger root, finely chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

Place all of the above ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low heat for 8 -10 hours.
I like to cook mine until the meat is falling away from the bones.
I make this just before bed and it’s ready and hot for breakfast.
You can store any excess broth in the freezer and defrost for a later time. 

Different Types of Stretching

Static Stretching
Static stretching, the kind a fitness instructor leads at the end of a class, involves stretching a body part to its farthest position and then holding it for 30 seconds or more. It does not involve bouncing or rapid movements, just a mild, painless pulling sensation. You feel the stretch through the entire length and center of the muscle and not in the joints.

Passive Stretching
Passive stretching is similar to static stretching, except that an apparatus or partner provides the force to stretch the muscle. For example, you may stand with your back against a wall while your exercise partner lifts your leg to stretch the hamstring. Passive stretching relieves muscle spasms and helps reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after a workout.

Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic stretching involves controlled swinging of the arms and legs that gently takes them to the limits of their range of motion. Here, parts of the body are moved with gradually increasing speed, reach or both.

Ballistic Stretching
Ballistic stretching forces a body part to go beyond its normal range of motion by making it bounce to a stretched position. It increases range of motion and triggers the muscle’s stretch reflex. Performing ballistic stretching can make you more susceptible to injury. Only highly conditioned and competent athletes preparing for strenuous activity should employ it.

Active Isolated Stretching
Active isolated stretching is most commonly used by professionals: athletes, trainers, massage therapists and others. To complete at active isolated stretch, you reach a certain position and hold it steady without any assistance other than the strength of your own muscles. Kick a leg up high, for example, and hold it up in that extended posture. Active isolated stretching works with natural physiological processes to increase muscle and fascia elasticity and improve circulation.

Isometric Stretching
In isometric stretching, as a muscle is stretched into position, you resist the stretch. For example, have a partner hold your leg up high while you attempt to force back your leg in the opposite direction. Isometric stretching is the safest and most effective method for increasing the joints’ range of motion, and it strengthens tendons and ligaments while retaining their flexibility.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation combines isometric, static and passive stretching to foster a high level of flexibility. Perform it by passively stretching a muscle; isometrically contracting it against resistance in the stretched position; and passively stretching it through the resulting increased range of motion. It is an advanced form of flexibility training that also helps improve strength.

Natural Remedies For Allergy Relief

Diet and overall health can make a big difference when it comes to allergies!

1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age old remedy that is often recommended for a variety of health conditions. I’ve personally used it for allergy relief (and heartburn relief) with great success. The theory is that its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system makes it useful for allergies. It is also said to help digestion, weight loss and more so it is worth a try!
What I did: When allergies hit, I mixed a teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with “The Mother” (that part is important) into a glass of water and drank this three times a day. “The Mother” is simply a colony of beneficial bacteria present in some organic and unfiltered ACV brands. Check the label, it should list if it contains it.

2. Neti Pot and Saline Rinse
I haven’t personally tried the Neti pot because I’m a big scaredy cat about pouring things in my nose, but I have friends who swear by it, and I’ve used saline nasal spray before. (If you use one, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments!) The basic theory is that you use a Neti Pot filled with a sterile saline solution to flush out the sinuses of allergens and irritations.
Surprisingly, I’ve heard this recommended by conventional and alternative doctors, and it seems that it doesn’t really have a downside.
To use: Either use a pre-made saline rinse or make your own by dissolving 1 teaspoon of himalayan or sea salt in a quart of boiled distilled water. Cool completely and put in the Neti Pot. Pour through one nostril and let it drain out the other.

3. Quercetin
Quercetin is a natural bioflavonoid that is said to help stabilize mast cells to keep them from releasing histamine. It is also a potent antioxidant that is said to help reduce inflammation. It is best used as a long term remedy and many people start taking it about 4-6 weeks before allergy season to help prevent allergy symptoms.
As with any herb, you should check with your doctor before using, especially if you have a liver problem, are pregnant, or are on hormonal contraceptives.
To Use: Though Quercetin is naturally found in foods like citrus and broccoli, it is very difficult to get the amount needed to relive allergies from food alone. A supplemental dose can be helpful for preventing allergies or helping acute symptoms. Not recommend during pregnancy or and while nursing.

4. Nettle Leaf
Nettle leaf is another natural antihistamine that can be very effective as it naturally blocks the body’s ability to produce histamine. It grows in many places and can be made in to a tincture or tea, but for allergy relief, capsules made from dried nettle leaves are the easiest and most effective option.
Nettle leaf can also be used in combination with other herbs to make a soothing herbal tea for allergy relief. It is often mixed with peppermint leaf and sometimes red raspberry leaf to make a refreshing allergy relief tea.
What I do: I often include nettle in homemade herbal tea during allergy season and use capsules for acute relief of allergy symptoms.

5. Probiotics
Allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli.  New research links the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut with reduced incidence of allergies.  
Evidence is even emerging that a mother's gut bacteria during pregnancy and nursing can impact a child's likelihood of getting allergies throughout life.
While we can’t do much about our mothers’ diets while they were pregnant, balancing gut bacteria now and consuming enough beneficial bacteria can have a positive effect on allergies now.
What I do: I make sure we consume a varied diet that includes fermented foods and drinks like Kombucha or Kefir, which can hep boost gut bacteria. We also take a hight quality probiotic capsule.

6. Local Honey
There isn’t much scientific evidence to back this one, but there seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who have tried it. The theory is that consuming local honey from where you live will help your body adapt to the allergens in the environment there. This is supposed to work like a natural allergy “shot” and doesn’t seem to have a downside.
What I do: Consume a teaspoon or more of raw, unprocessed local honey from as close to where you actually live as possible. Do this one or more times a day to help relieve symptoms. It is often suggested to start this a month or so before allergy season.

7. Essential Oils
Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can oftentimes immediately unclog the sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and provides relief for allergies, as well as colds, coughs, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis. It has the power to discharge phlegm and reduce inflammation — a leading cause of allergic reactions.

Eucalyptus oil opens up the lungs and sinuses, thereby improving circulation and reducing symptoms of allergies. Studies have shown that it produces a cold sensation in the nose that helps to improve airflow. 

Basil essential oil reduces the inflammatory response of allergens. It also supports the adrenal glands, which are involved in producing over 50 hormones that drive almost every bodily function. Essentially, basil essential oil is helping your body to react appropriately to a threat by rushing blood to your brain, heart and muscles.

Basil oil also helps to detoxify the body of bacteria and viruses, while fighting inflammation, pain and fatigue. Studies prove that basil oil shows antimicrobial activity and can kill bacteria, yeast and mold that can lead to asthma and respiratory damage.

Can Super Foods Equal Super Performance?

“Superfood” has been a buzzword for years, but it’s really more of a marketing term than an official food-industry classification. Still, superfoods generally have one thing in common: They pack a significant nutrient punch. They may be high in one nutrient in particular, or they might contain several phytonutrients, antioxidants, other vitamins, and/or minerals. And since these perks come in a small volume of mostly low-calorie food options, they have an even greater appeal in our weight-obsessed culture. Some superfood all-stars of the recent past include blueberries, dark chocolate, oats, pistachios and dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach.  .
Superfoods can carry many health benefits. They may play a role in preventing serious conditions (like cancer and high blood pressure), decreasing inflammation (common in heart disease and stroke patients), increasing energy, reducing joint pain, and maintaining a healthy weight, to name just a few. (8) In this article, we’ll be shining some light on three superfoods that may play a role in enhancing athletic performance and recovery, while providing additional health benefits. First, though, a few words of caution.

Superfoods are great to add to an overall balanced diet. However, if all you consumed were the latest and greatest superfoods, you would be at risk for nutrient deficiencies, as well as potential toxicity from the large amounts of certain nutrients (particularly vitamins K and A) found in some of these foods. People most at risk for toxicity are those with health conditions such as thyroid disorders. A few more pointers about adding superfoods to your diet.
Vary your selections. With some things, more is better. But with most foods, even “super” ones, more is just more. Excluding, limiting, or avoiding specific foods may decrease your nutrient variety and intake. Aim for a variety of produce, and you will take in a wider array of nutrients, not to mention flavors.What’s a healthy approach to incorporating superfoods? Figure out how you can add them to your rotation of wonderful foods. For example, when having salads you do not need to “all hail to kale” and shun other leafy greens. Instead, try mixed greens that include kale, arugula, and (a personal favorite) bibb lettuce for salads.
Rethink supplements. As a general rule, try to consume the majority of your nutrients from food, and use supplementation to fill in gaps where increased need is indicated due to deficiency, health complications, or a desire for improved performance. Always know where your supplements come from; make sure you purchase them from certified and regulated companies. Look for those whose label indicates “USP Verified” or NSF/ANSI 173 certification. Supplements taken by athletes may also be labeled “NSF Certified for Sport,” which assures that they do not contain any ingredients that have been banned by major athletic organizations. (9)
Do some research. We advise caution when any food—or diet, type of exercise, etc.—touts itself as the cure-all for your weight, health, or performance concerns. Look at study results on reliable websites (ending in .gov, .edu, or .org, for instance), or talk to a registered dietitian or healthcare professional before you buy (or buy into) a particular claim, especially if it sounds too good to be true.
Açai berries, beetroot juice, and curcumin are the focus of this blog. Let’s look at what the research says about these three superfoods and what benefits they may offer to athletes.

Açai berries, which come from the açai palm (typically found in South America), are a reddish-purple grapelike berry. These fruits may have more antioxidants (particularly anthocyanins) than other berries such as blueberries and cranberries. Antioxidants are important in fighting free radicals—harmful compounds that damage healthy cells and may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2) states that consuming the berries does have a beneficial impact on performance, as well as on health and prevention of disease. However, more research is needed to determine to what extent the impact directly relates to the açai berry.
According to the Mayo Clinic, açai berries are associated with many health claims such as weight loss, an improved cholesterol profile, increased immunity, decreased joint pain, and even improved skin appearance. Research findings regarding these claims however, are inconsistent, so further investigation is needed.
The great thing is that when açai berries are consumed as a food and not in supplement form, there is very minimal risk and possibly many potential health benefits. To incorporate them into your diet, try adding a handful of açai berries into your smoothie for a tasty and a nutritious treat.

The red beet, more specifically the beetroot juice made from it, shows promise for increasing performance and reducing blood pressure. The juice specifically has been used in many studies to determine its health and performance benefits. Beetroot juice has been studied for potential benefits in improved performance by lowering the muscles’ oxygen demand and increasing muscle efficiency, specifically in endurance exercise. Also, beets are naturally high in nitrates, and increased nitrates in the body have been shown to reduce blood pressure. This has many potential benefits for overall heart health.
Beets are high in fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals such as folate and potassium. The rich coloring of beets comes from betalains, pigments with powerful antioxidant potential.
There are some potential safety concerns regarding the amount of nitrates consumed, however. Nitrates may combine with other dietary nutrients to form nitrosamines that may be carcinogenic. More research is needed for this to be definitive. The World Health Organization recommends an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 3.65 mg/kg/day.
Dosing concerns reinforce consuming this superfood in food form first (over supplements). Approximately ½ cup of beetroot juice or 15-ounce can of beets, or 1½ cups of roasted beets. Add some roasted beets to your mixed greens for a start to a delicious and nutritious salad.

Curcumin is a bright yellow compound found in the spice turmeric, as well as in ginger. This substance has been touted for its anti-inflammatory benefits for exercise recovery, as well as its ability to decrease joint pain and prevent some types of chronic disease.
In particular, curcumin is being studied for its benefits on decreased post-exercise muscle soreness, improving recovery between training sessions. Research is also being conducted regarding curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties, which may play a role in cancer prevention, heart health, autoimmune diseases, and digestive disorders. Curcumin is believed to inhibit inflammatory enzymes and therefore mediate the inflammatory response. 

To add curcumin to your diet, try a South Asian dish made with turmeric, such as curry. If you are not a fan of curry, you can use the spice in smoothies, sprinkle it over eggs in an omelet, or mix it into hummus. . Research has found that 1½ teaspoons of turmeric is safe for consumption for anti-inflammatory properties. 

How To Adjust To Daylight Saving Time

Time change dangers
In some cases, the time shift can be dangerous. If your sleep cycle is out of whack, driving can be a bad idea. A 2001 National Institutes of Health study showed fatal traffic accidents increase the Monday after both time changes.
“According to some studies, by the time you recognize you’re tired, you might’ve already had a micro-sleep,” Dr. Waters says. “And, if you’re going 60 miles an hour on the highway, that’s unsafe. Or on a side street, a child or a ball could dart in front of you. It’s much more serious than feeling tired at your desk.”
A 2012 study also reported a 10 percent increase in heart attacks following time shifts, particularly the spring time change Sundays and Mondays.
For your health and safety, Dr. Waters offers these four tips for dealing with the time change:

1. Make gradual shifts as needed
In autumn, Dr. Waters says, changing your sleep schedule isn’t necessary. Fall asleep at your normal time, and your body will feel the same when you wake. Roughly two weeks before springing forward, though, go to bed and wake up 10 minutes to 15 minutes earlier daily. This helps your body slowly adjust.

2. Keep your schedule
Whether it’s fall or spring, try to manage your schedule accordingly, she says. In autumn, keep things as close to normal as possible. If you usually wake at 8 a.m., do it the morning of the time change, if you can (although the clock says 9 a.m.).
“Yes, it’ll be an hour later, but you’ll gain that hour of sleep,” she says. “That’s beneficial for most people.”
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Be consistent with eating, social, bed and exercise times, too. Raising your body’s core temperature can make it harder to fall asleep, so avoid heavy workouts within four hours of bedtime.

3. Have a nighttime ritual
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids. You don’t need to do things in a certain order, but you should make a habit of slowing your body down. Dim your lights, Dr. Waters says. Take a warm – not hot – shower. Put your phone, computer or tablet away. Turn off the television and pick up a non-suspenseful book.
Also, avoid screen time close to bedtime. Electronics’ high-intensity light hinders melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. It stimulates your brain and makes sleep difficult the same way sunlight does.

4. No long naps
Shutting your eyes mid-day is tempting, especially if you’re feeling sluggish. But it could backfire, Dr. Waters says. Longer daytime naps could make it harder for you to get a full night’s sleep.
“One sleep model drives us to want to sleep and another keeps our sleep cycle coordinated. We want them in alignment so we can actually fall asleep,” she says. “Napping re-cues the body’s drive to sleep, so you won’t be as tired at night as you need to be if you’ve taken that nap.”
Instead, step into the sun to stimulate your body and help retrain your inner clock.

No matter what, Dr. Waters says, work the hour change into your schedule. The closer you stick to your normal routine, the faster your body will adjust to the clock.