Yoga Styles With a Local Twist

It is not uncommon to see yoga as a top ranking activity on many people’s to-do lists. Yoga is something that people say they will do, “eventually,” “another day,” or “when they are back in shape.” What these very capable individuals do not realize is that now is the time to do yoga. Waiting only decreases your chances of being physically able to participate in the future. People make many excuses to do yoga, but “the best excuse not to go to yoga is that you just got back” (lululemon athletica).

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Workouts for the Trail for Hikers of All Levels

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, there is no question as to why hiking is a beneficial workout. Hiking is a breath of fresh air from crowded gyms, intense and busy work days, and the overall fast-paced lifestyle in which most of us live today. From the fresh air, the trees, and great views, hiking presents new challenges and experiences and exposes you to your local environment. Hiking can also improve physical and mental health, and can be a fun social activity for you and our friends or workout buddies. 

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Inspiration of the Week

Today is the day to inspire and be inspired.

Inspiration. It’s the motivation that drives us and the little push that convinces us to make that leap. We are always in need of a little inspiration, whether that is through words that speak to your soul, a transfromational story, or an image that speaks for itself. At Santa Barbara Fitness Magazine we want you to be inspired so that you may also be the inspiration to others. We are dedicated to bringing you new things that inspire us and you each week. Go further to find this week’s inspiration.

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Channel Islands Insight

“Lean back and stow your paddles,” I bark out as our kayaks approach the narrow sea cave entrance. Sunlight reflected in the water, lights the cave from below and creates a majestic emerald glow that glistens off of the volcanic rock ceiling. We’re in the “Green Room.”

Our kayaks enter the main chamber where more than 20,000 years of winter waves have beaten the more erosive rock away. This is one of over 200 sea caves at the Channel Islands National Park, one of the best places in the world to explore these types of rock formations. “Oooohs” and “Ahhhhs,” are all I hear as the kayakers glide through the chamber and back to the exit.

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The Struggle of Self-Control

Food cravings – we all get them. But why are some so hard to control? While the answer to this question may seemingly be that we crave the foods we love most and cannot get enough of them simply because they taste so great, the science behind cravings is actually much more complicated. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), published a study in 2002 that investigated the neurological connections between food-addiction and dopamine, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters that help to control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. She found that when people were presented with their favorite foods, but not allowed to eat them, they experienced dopamine surges through the part of their brains involved with wanting and craving called the striatum area. In addition, the dopamine traveled through the areas of their brain that is involved in habit and addiction.

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Breakfast: The First and Best Meal of the Day

Eating breakfast everyday is one of the top diet tips recommended by scientists and nutritionists. Eating a balanced meal every day, within the first hour of getting out of bed poses a huge challenge to many Americans. Unfortunately, the nation’s failure to attend to the importance of breakfast has led to the overwhelming amount of obese people, heart attack patients, and diabetics. By putting a spotlight on breakfast as the most important meal of the day, we may one day see a more healthy, youthful, and energized population. There are three tips that are predominantly important when considering how to start your day off right. Buying healthy and easy foods, consuming nutrient-packed foods, and keeping this pattern consistent every day will energize you throughout your day and will help you to achieve your long-term health goals.

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Why Women Should Lift Weights

Alright ladies, we know when you hear the term weightlifting you think of bulging biceps or thunderous thighs that make you look freakishly ripped. But unless you are consuming pounds of protein or large doses of hormones on a daily basis, this will not be the case. Weightlifting has a lot of benefits for women that often go unnoticed. Instead of thinking of it as weight training, think of it as strength training. Research shows that completing two strength-training sessions a week can help you burn more fat overall and sculpt those lean muscles that you are striving for. So take a break from your usual cardio routines and opt for a strength-training exercise a few times a week. Here are some reasons why you should start today!

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Lightened Liquids

It seems that the mindfulness we use when considering the caloric value of the foods we eat is completely forgotten when it comes to consuming liquids. Despite their seemingly harmless nature and the tendency to feel as though drinks “don’t really count” in your daily calorie count, liquid calories can add up dangerously fast if you are not aware of exactly what they contain. The surplus of calories from liquid intake sneaks up on you and can derail your health and fitness efforts packing unnecessary calories, sugars and carbs into your diet. The good news is small changes can yield a great deal of health benefits and even the most indulgent of drinks can be traded for a lighter alternative. The key to smart sipping is to be knowledgeable of what you are putting in your body. Knowledge is power and when armed with the proper knowledge, you have the power to make wiser decisions that will benefit your body inside and out. We will examine some great low calorie drink options as well as some unhealthy but popular picks and easy ways to lighten them up!

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The Bitter Truth About Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

You’re midway through your workday, and you start to crash. Water won’t cut it, so you reach for a soda at the nearest vending machine. The sugary drink will put the pep back in your step, but do you know how it will affect your body in the long-term? Studies show that these drinks can lead to increased risk of obesity and other serious health issues.

There have been countless studies on the topic of sugary drinks, and lately with the addition of the new My Plate food pyramid, awareness has increased about the health risks of sugar consumption, resulting in a push for the avoidance of sugary beverages.  This issue is so prevalent that the first tip on My Plate’s “Tips For Healthy Eating When Eating Out” page reads: “As a beverage choice, ask for water…or other drinks without added sugars.”  With diagnoses of diabetes and obesity increasing exponentially–especially in children–the war on sugar seems to be stronger than ever.

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Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Whether it is the media, doctors, friends or family, it seems we are continually bombarded with “new and improved” ways to get fit or new nutrition fads to follow. These latest and greatest fads tend to come and go, yet even as other nutritional trends are abandoned the importance of eating a well-balanced breakfast is a nutritional encouragement that has consistently maintained its status as an essential eating habit over the years. While many often assume that forgoing breakfast may be an easy way to cut out calories, multiple studies have shown that skipping breakfast is linked to the development of obesity and can actually make controlling your weight more difficult. Those who consume a vitamin-filled breakfast are less likely to over-indulge throughout the rest of the day and are more likely to fulfill their daily-recommended value of fruits and vegetables.

One of the most common excuses alleged by those who tend to skip their morning meal is that they don’t have time in the morning to prepare anything and because of this lack of time end up skipping the meal altogether. A nutritious breakfast fuels your body and brain and sets you up for success for the day ahead. Even if you find yourself pressed for time in the morning, it is crucial that you set aside a few extra minutes to whip up a quick meal, or think ahead and make something in advance that you can take to go and just grab on your way out the door. Read on for four delicious breakfast recipes that are packed with essential vitamins and can be made in minutes!

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