Blast From The Past

Pro tip: any exercise you can do in heels probably isn't exercise.

Planning an exercise routine can seem pretty confusing. Do you lift weights or do cardio? Should you use machines or free weights?

If you think you have it rough with all the crazy looking machines and exercises out there, you might want to take a gander at these photos of oldtimey exercise machines, from Retronaut.

Some of them seem to just be really complicated ways to injure yourself. Others are simply so baffling I’m not sure I could figure out any way to use them, never mind the correct way.

For instance, this thing: Read More »

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Chocolate: Healthier Than You Think

There's no shame in buying one for yourself.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: chocolate. Along with overpriced roses and giant, heart-wielding bears, chocolate is a staple of the holiday.

Whether you’re getting a box of chocolates from your sweetheart, or you’re drowning your loneliness in a vat of Rocky Road, chocolate’s an unavoidable part of the holiday.

So what’s a hapless dieter faced with a solid pound of heart-shaped chocolate to do? Read More »

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Why Give a Crap about Fiber?

Trust me, this picture is better than the alternative.

Most people aren’t eating enough fiber. You know probably knew that, but do you know why it’s important?

Fiber is basically plant matter that your body can’t digest. It can be divided into two categories: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. It slows down digestion and makes you feel fuller, longer. That’s why high fiber foods are great when you’re restricting calories. It also helps regulate your blood sugar levels.

Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve and passes through your digestive tract largely intact. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and speeds up the elimination of wastes in your body. Basically it’s like pouring a bit of drain cleaner down your pipes to keep them nice and clean. Read More »

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Why Your Weight Fluctuates

Your scale is not very bright, so don't let it dictate your self-worth.

I have some bad news: your scale is lying to you.

Okay, it’s not precisely lying, but it’s answering a different question than the one you’re asking it.

When you step on the scale, you’re asking “have I made progress in my goals?” but your scale responds with “gravity is exerting this much force on your body right now.”

Your scale doesn’t have any idea how much fat you’re storing, (unless you have one of those fancy body fat measuring ones, but that’s a different story) it just knows how much you weigh. Read More »

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The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health

Please don't say giving up cheese.

Trying to be healthy is pretty confusing. From diet and exercise, to sleep and stress levels; it seems like there are a billion things you should be worrying about for your health.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew what the most effective thing you could for yourself was?

Good news! Dr. Mike Evans from the Health Design Lab at the University of Toronto has the answer. According to him, the single most efficient way to turn your health around is 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Read More »

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Can You Drink and Diet?

The real question is how anyone can diet without drinking?

You’ve heard a stomach paunch called a “beer gut” and it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that the first thing every diet book tells you to do is quit drinking.

Well, almost every diet book.

But there are plenty of slender beer-guzzlers out there and models and actors aren’t exactly known for their sobriety. Surely you can dip into the sauce a bit and still maintain a fantastic physique, right?

Of course you can. Alcohol no more has the magic power to make you instantly fat than acai berries can make you thin.

Like many things of questionable health benefit, alcohol just needs to be used with caution and moderation. Read More »

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Are You Eating Wood Pulp?

Who's hungry?

Yes. Yes you are.

How do I know? Because it’s so prevalent that unless you’ve gone out of your way to avoid it, you’ve eaten a mighty large pile of sawdust in your life.

As the price of real ingredients (like flour and oil) rise, food manufactures are turning to cheaper alternatives. Their current favorite is wood pulp.

You’ve probably seen it in the ingredients lists of tons of things, but never noticed. It’s called “cellulose” which is a generic name for all plant fiber. Read More »

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Free Weights vs. Machines

Fun Fact: neither option actually requires you to remove your shirt.

You know you should lift weights, but starting out can be confusing. One of the first choices you need to make is whether to use the weight machines or to stick with free weights.

A lot of people trying out weight training for the first time gravitate towards the machines. It’s pretty easy to see why: the machines have nice instructional pictures on them, they clearly inform you what muscle group they’re working, and it’s a lot less obvious how much weight you’re lifting when you’re safely hidden in a sea of similar devices.

The free weights section, on the other hand, can be pretty intimidating. It’s the domain of large, serious looking men who make odd grunting noises while hefting comically large piles of weights over their head.

That can make it pretty daunting for a beginner to waltz over there, grab the lightest weight on the rack and awkwardly swing it around for a bit.

Machines are a great way to ease into weight lifting gently, but they have some serious drawbacks. Once you’re comfortable with strength training, you might want to consider giving free weights a try.

Let’s look a bit at the pros and cons of each: Read More »

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