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For Men

The Daily Upgrade Tuesday 25/Oct/2016

MEN

Bulk Up

Whether you're a newbie to the gym, anxious to start putting on some size with simple moves, or a grizzled veteran after a fresh way to add muscle mass quickly, our bulk up plans range from beautifully simple and easy to cutting-edge and hardcore. Our readers have put on hundreds of pounds of muscle over the years using scientifically-calibrated plans created exclusively for Men's Health.

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MEN

Seiko

In Brief

Were it Swiss, Seiko’s reputation on these shores would be even higher than it already is. In its native Japan, where it was founded in 1881, it’s revered, seen as one of the great historic brands and recognised for high quality production standards that cover every aspect of watchmaking. Its slightly muddied rep over here is partly down to its role at the heart of the quartz revolution that swept the world in the 1970s, all but crushing its traditional Swiss watchmaking equivalent with its cheap timekeepers. But Seiko’s list of firsts is deeply impressive, as is its contemporary collection, which is full of intriguing innovations. Forget the past, Seiko is a fine company.

Did You Know?

Seiko’s 1980s watches paved the way for the smartwatches of today. In 1983 it made the world’s first TV watch and the first watch with a sound recorder, and in 1985 it made the UC-2000, a watch that came with a keyboard accessory that turned it into a computer.

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MUSCLE

A Beginner’s Guide to Handstands

It demonstrates balance and control over your body, something we happen to put great importance upon here at Nerd Fitness. It’s also one HELL of a party trick, something you can work on without a single piece of equipment, builds functional strength and muscular endurance, and it’s a skill you can work on in just a few minutes every single day.

How do I know this? Because I’m typing this while in a handstand RIGHT NOW. Okay, I can’t do that. But Jim, Master of the NF Fitness Universe can:

jim typing

I love working with gymnastic rings, because they have such a great tutorial level. Handstands are exactly the same way: it’s a great skill to work on as a beginner, but also is infinitely challenging depending on your skill level.

Plus, in addition to Jim, Luke Skywalker does them. It’s time to stop looking at other people doing cool things and start today saying “hey, I can do that too!”


Why handstands are awesome

Jim-Bathurst

Team Nerd Fitness member Jim Bathurst has been training and working on handstands for years. From humble beginnings, he taught himself a standard handstand and eventually worked his way up to one-handed tricks like the photo above.

Now, you won’t be doing this anytime soon, but it doesn’t mean you can’t start today learning how to go inverted.

Fun fact: I can’t say the word inverted without thinking of Top Gun’s line “because we were inverted,” but that’s only because I used to watch that movie with my brother every day from ages 3 to 5.

I’ve fallen in love with handstands for a few reasons:

Like other bodyweight training, there’s no excuse. If you have room to stand up, you have room to practice handstands.

It recruits DOZENS of muscles in your body. From arm strength to wrist mobility to core strength to shoulder mobility and muscular endurance, handstands do it all. When you are trying to balance, it makes your body work as one complete unit.

It scares you – yes, that’s a positive. We grow outside our comfort zone and for many people, just the thought of a handstand is enough to make their palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Vomi… nevermind. The point is that the handstand is just as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. How scared do you think this guy gets on a regular basis?

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MUSCLE

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

Do you train hard and see little in the way of muscle gain? How about an endless toil in the gym, struggling to lose fat? The chances are, you're going about it all wrong. The real way to hit your training goals is adapting your plan to your body type.

Men can generally be classed as one of three body types.

Ectomorphs: skinny guys that struggle to gain weight. They're your classic “hard-gainers”.
Endomorphs: large-bodied and generally soft, these bodies gain bulk easily but also store fat along the way.
Mesomorphs: the ones everybody envy because they're naturally lean and athletic. They can put on muscle comparatively easily and they don't require huge amounts of maintenance.

Read More

FITNESS

The Exercise That Torches Belly Fat

The hot potato squat may sound like a kid’s recess activity, but don’t be fooled—it’s also a cutting-edge fat-loss exercise that will get your heartpumping and your muscles burning in almost no time, says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., owner of StreamFit.com. It starts with one of the most effective exercises invented: the squat. When done correctly, a squat trains a lot of muscles, particularly big ones like your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. In fact, it burns more calories per rep than almost any other exercise.

But why stop there? Gaddour throws an airborne dumbbell into the mix to make this classic move even more challenging and beneficial. “Holding the weight on just one side of your body increases the demand placed on your core to keep your body stable,” he says. “As the weight changes from side to side, your core muscles are worked from every angle.”

Read More

FITNESS

The 10-Minute Workout That Will Fry Your Abs

The plank strengthens the dozens of muscles between your shoulders and hips.

But if you jack your feet in and out as you do it, the plank suddenly becomes so much more than just a core builder.


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The quick movement of your feet provides a great dynamic stability challenge that makes your abs scream, and ramps up your heart and metabolic rate.

And you can make it even more difficult by changing up your arm positioning. This creates an unbalanced foundation, so you have to work harder to perform the same exercise.

Put it all together using the plank jack complex below. Do each of the following four plank variations for 15 seconds each without resting. Once you’ve completed the fourth exercise, rest one minute. That’s one round. Perform up to five total rounds.

Read More

NUTRITION

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

Do you train hard and see little in the way of muscle gain? How about an endless toil in the gym, struggling to lose fat? The chances are, you're going about it all wrong. The real way to hit your training goals is adapting your plan to your body type.

Men can generally be classed as one of three body types.

Ectomorphs: skinny guys that struggle to gain weight. They're your classic “hard-gainers”.
Endomorphs: large-bodied and generally soft, these bodies gain bulk easily but also store fat along the way.
Mesomorphs: the ones everybody envy because they're naturally lean and athletic. They can put on muscle comparatively easily and they don't require huge amounts of maintenance.

Read More

NUTRITION

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

You think you know leg-day pain? PT igh-volume supersets will leave you duck-waddling down the stairs for days. It'll also build you pins that look like they're carved by Rodin. Complete each superset twice, then move on to the next bit of kit. 

Read More

WEIGHT LOSS

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE YOU WANT TO EXERCISE MORE

Nearly two thirds of gym memberships go unused. Don’t let yours be one of them. Make sticking to your fitness plan effortless with these five easy ways to boost motivation. And if you don’t have a plan yet, use ours: sign up to our free Men’s Health #5in5 workout programme to lose 5kg fat and gain 5kg of muscle in just five weeks!

1. Optimally primed

Pepper your day with casual clues – trainers by the front door at home, gym bag ready-packed in your car, protein shake on your desk at work – as reminders of your intention to train, and take time to recall how great you felt after your last workout. Positive memories of your last session send motivation levels soaring, found researchers at the University of New Hampshire. Just be sure to focus on how great you felt after squeezing out that squat, rather than how difficult it was to walk down the stairs to the changing room afterwards.

2. Log your sessions

People who report their progress to others are more likely to carry on with a training plan. But that reporting doesn’t have to be face-to-face, according to research in the Journal of American College Health. The study authors found that logging fitness activity online for others to see inspired as much motivation as regularly working out with a group. But remember: you are notJen Selter. Spare your followers an endless stream of #fitspiration by signing up for the Men’s Health Personal Trainer tool and get access to training and nutrition plans personalised for your unique strength, stats and training goals.

3. Fine yourself

Would you be more likely to go to the gym if you had to fork out a fiver for skipping it? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone, according to a handful of studies and the creators of Pact, a clever smartphone app that has users check in at their gyms via GPS and charges them for missed workouts. Each week, money is pooled from the non-exercisers and distributed among Pact users who have managed to hit their workout goals. Sign up and never skip a workout to earn money and muscle.

4. Get a training partner

If you work out with a buddy, make sure he’s in similar shape, suggests a study in the journal Science. Researchers found participants who exercised with partners similar in BMI, age, and fitness level were more than three times as likely to stick with their fitness plans as those with less compatible partners. Whatever you do, don’t work out with someone much fitter, say scientists. That sets unrealistic goals and undermines motivation.

5. Think smaller

Large goals can seem unattainable. Instead, focusing on incremental victories brings better results, report scientists in the Journal of Consumer Research. So rather than dwelling on the 15 pounds you want to lose, think about doubling your current 3-pound loss.

Read More

WEIGHT LOSS

THE BIG READ: OBESITY SHOULD BE A NATIONAL PRIORITY

Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer today stated in her annual report that tackling obesity should be a national priority to avert a “growing health catastrophe”.

While the report looked specifically at women, England’s top doc said obesity was so serious that is should be a priority for the whole population. She also warned that the food industry needed to pull its socks up or face a sugar tax (do we need a sugar tax? Join the debate). 

Obesity throughout the country is an epidemic, and we need to act fast before it overwhelms our body, the NHS and the economy. It’s causing a fatal class divide and thousands of deaths. If something isn’t done, our nation could collapse under its own weight.

Men’s Health investigates what can be done…

(Lunch)time bomb

You don’t need a time machine to glimpse this fatter future. A trip to Coatbridge, Lanarkshire will do. According to market researchers CACI, this Scottish town has the UK’s fattest residents. One in five has a BMI above 30 and cabbies limit loads to two passengers. It’s no coincidence that Britain’s fat capital is also one of its most deprived areas. A map of the UK drawn by the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) shows a stark class and geographical divide. The fattest areas include the North East, where unemployment rates are among the highest at 9.6%. Earning power seems directly linked to your girth, with only 21.6% of top-earning households seriously over weight, compared with 29.3 % of households where cash is tight.

If we don’t act, our ‘fatocalypse’ will become reality. The Foresight report predicts that by 2050 we’ll have an economic and health crisis if current trends continue. If you’re one of those making up the far-too-round number, the personal consequences will be dire. The British Dietetic Association warns that risk of fatal disease increases by 1% for every pound you’re overweight. Obesity ups your risk of heart disease by 82%, your risk of type 2 diabetes doubles if your BMI hits 25 and University of Aberdeen research found a 20lb (9kg) weight increase cuts your chances of fatherhood by 10%. Harvard Medical School has even coined a new term for patients suffering from obesity-related diabetes: ‘diabesity.’

Looking at the big picture, the cost to society will be crippling. NHS spending will increase from £104 to £114bn by 2015, but in real terms it will be static, thanks to rising costs and patient numbers. Health charity The King’s Fund and economic think tank The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimate this leaves a £20bn funding gap. “There’s a gap between what we’d like to spend and what we have, and obesity comes into that,” says King’s Fund health economist John Appleby. “NHS funding is flat in real terms and the cash just won’t be there.”

While the NHS budget flatlines, obesity costs are soaring. Over 5.5m over-16s are on obesity registers, a rise of 250,000 in the past year. Research by Diabetes UK shows the impact of this in a 5.5% rise in type 2 diabetes cases in a single year. Treating diabetes costs the NHS an annual £8bn, the cost of prescription weight-loss drugs is up 13% to £47m, and obesity operations 40% to £32m. Perhaps the most shocking figure is that each NHS hospital spends an average of £60,000 annually on ‘supersizing’ beds, wheelchairs and equipment for heavier patients. All this while cancer drugs are being rationed.

Related: Are you sleepwalking your way towards type 2 diabetes? 

The predicted cost to the nation also includes the amount taxpayers will be funding in incapacity benefit for those whose obesity-related health problems mean they can barely walk, let alone travel to an office. “The consequences are so wide-ranging that no country, however wealthy, will be able to afford the fallout – whether it’s pervasive diabetes affecting 30-50% of adults or heart disease, ar thritis, cancers or respiratory problems,” says Professor Philip James, chair of the International Obesity Task Force. He points out that the fat epidemic is already responsible for half of all the increasing costs of the US health sector.

Slim chance

So far, the government’s response has been to ‘nudge’ the public into slimming down, with initiatives like cinema tickets for children who walk to school. The Department of Health says it is ‘concerned’ about the prevalence of obesity and its ‘serious implications’. A spokesman told MH that ministers were ‘working hard’ on new measures but ‘nannying’ people to lose weight is not on the agenda. “The Government’s role is not to lecture people, not to nanny them, not constantly to be legislating or taxing them,” says the DoH spokesman. Many experts argue that more drastic action is needed.

Some German politicians have already suggested fat people should pay higher taxes because of the burden they place on the health system. Or there should at least be a tax on fatty food. “A junk food tax is sound in principle,” says Paul Sacher, specialist dietician at Great Ormond Street Hospital.“ But it will only work if it’s high enough to stop people buying high-fat, sugar and salt foods. Otherwise it just becomes a tax on the poor.” And, he argues, cash raised through a tax on unhealthy foods should be used to subsidise more nutritious foods. Sacher also supports limiting advertising unhealthy foods to children to ‘minimise’ the ‘pester power effect.’

Pay as you gorge

The influential health journalist Ian Marber takes a more radical stance, calling on the Government to bring in National Insurance pay bands which reflect our individual lifestyles. Those who don’t exercise, or have a high body fat, should pay the top band. “Those who don’t drink or smoke and eat healthily should pay the lowest amount,” says Marber. “It’s like any other type of insurance. You pay according to your risk.”

How we stop the next generation from supersizing is one of the most vital issues. Children are feeding their ‘fat future’ before the age of five and parents are often to blame, argues Terry Wilkin, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth. His long-term research found sons of obese fathers are six times more likely to be obese, and he stresses that we need to tackle parents to stop this ‘conveyor belt’. “Obese parents are ‘recycling’ their obesity through inappropriate feeding,” says Wilkin. The demise of family mealtimes has an impact, he argues, because we no longer understand the impact of portion sizes. It’s a theory backed by University of Wales research, which showed children who don’t have set mealtimes don’t learn appropriate eating habits. “It’s vital that we educate children at an early age, but it has to be a whole family approach – the parents buying the food need the knowledge and understanding, too,” says Sacher. Wilkin’s solution is controversial: “We should target obese couples pre-conception.”

Related: Obesity is gentic but it can be fought! 

Obviously blame doesn’t rest solely at the (partially obscured) feet of overweight individuals. Many stress that the food industry’s role in the global obesity crisis needs to be tackled. No one force-feeds us quarter pounders, but are they playing with our minds? Dr David Kessler, former commissioner of the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), warns that food chains – including supermarkets – are manipulating us so that we consume more. His book, the New York Times bestseller The End of Overeating, highlights the use of salt, sugar and fat as the most commonly used ingredients, in terms of dietary manipulation. His investigations revealed that some restaurant chains deliberately increase these ‘killer’ ingredients in starters, so we eat more throughout the meal and are more likely to develop addictive eating behaviour.

Related: 11 of the best exercises to lose weight

A matter of course?

A first step in controlling the food industry could – and many say should – be to ban the use of trans fats. These chemically-altered vegetable oils are public enemy number one, according to Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health. They’re in many of processed foods because they’re cheap, bulk ingredients, which prolong shelf lives. But they have no nutritional value, Davies points out, and cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen, upping your bodyweight, even when you’re controlling calorie intake. Their link to obesity has been confirmed in research by Wake Forest University in the US. “Thousands are dying from them,” says Davies. “And we get hysterical about E. coli, which may kill a handful of people. Trans fats are contaminating food.”

If our weighty issue isn’t tackled now, we could be facing a bleak nutritional future. Wilkin believes there will come a time when there will be draconian measures, just as society came round to a public smoking ban. The Future Foundation goes further, predicting a Christmas Future where sugary foods are banned and chocolate is rationed. It’s not so improbable. In the US, education chiefs in Pennsylvania have drafted regulations limiting classroom birthday parties to one a month.

In the meantime, maybe it’s better to give that burger a miss.

Read More

HEALTH

The 10-Minute Workout That Will Fry Your Abs

The plank strengthens the dozens of muscles between your shoulders and hips.

But if you jack your feet in and out as you do it, the plank suddenly becomes so much more than just a core builder.


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YOU MAY UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS | ABOUT US
The quick movement of your feet provides a great dynamic stability challenge that makes your abs scream, and ramps up your heart and metabolic rate.

And you can make it even more difficult by changing up your arm positioning. This creates an unbalanced foundation, so you have to work harder to perform the same exercise.

Put it all together using the plank jack complex below. Do each of the following four plank variations for 15 seconds each without resting. Once you’ve completed the fourth exercise, rest one minute. That’s one round. Perform up to five total rounds.

Read More

HEALTH

Does It Matter How Fast You Lift?

In life, each of us tends to move at our own pace. Some of us walk, talk, and eat faster or slower than others.

Research tells us that different speeds come with different costs and benefits. Walking faster, for example, burns more calories than walking slowly. Those who talk faster are more persuasive. And those who eat fast tend to eat more.


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So someone struggling to lose weight might be advised to eat slower and walk faster, and to beware of fast-talking salesmen trying to push the latest supplement miracle. 

It’s no surprise that in the gym, we also lift at different speeds. The open 

Read More

Style

STYLE

6 WAYS TO GET BETTER TEETH

As if you’d need telling, DIY and your pearly whites don’t mix. However, home teeth-whitening kits containing dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide are on the rise, according to the Local Government Association. But what’s the worse they can do? Cause mouth infections, blistering and burns to your gums. Basically, it’s like washing your mouth with bleach.

Fortunately, there's a way to a better smile without the equivalent of scrubbing your teeth with Cilit Bang. You just need to follow some basic tips, which have been provided by Dr Richard Marques of Wimpole Street Dental

Do double time

Brushing is still the simplest and best way to beat tooth decay and bad breath. Twice a day after food remains the gold standard but, if you’re using the wrong tools, not all cleans are created equal. “Using an electric toothbrush removes 80% more plaque than a manual,” explains Dr Marques. Splashing out on some high-end bristles could save you far more in dentist’s bills further down the line. Marques recommends the Philips Diamondclean (£98; johnlewis.com) but admits even a battery-powered manual is better than nothing.

Wash your mouth out

Used as a supplement to – not instead of – brushing, mouthwash is an effective way to further improve oral health. There are specialist options on sale to tackle particular problems; Corsodyl (£5; boots.com) – the one with nasty ‘blood when you brush’ adverts – is great for improving gum health, while Colgate FluoriGard (£4.50; boots.com) saves your teeth by preventing cavities. “For general use I recommend a non-alcohol mouthwash like Listerine Total-Zero, which freshens breath and prevents any gum problems or cavities,” says Marques. There’s also been research suggesting a link between alcohol in mouthwash and an increased risk of mouth cancer. Put down the bottle.

Mind the gaps

It’s the fiddly bit of dental hygiene and therefore the first part of your morning routine to be scrapped when you’re in a rush. But don’t; brushes don’t touch between the teeth and decay will start to fester, eventually developing in your gums and even resulting in teeth falling out. Choose standard floss over interdental brushes (you have more control) and draw the floss up and down over the triangle of gum between your teeth for the most effective technique. “There is also a new method of using an air-flosser (£60; johnlewis.com),” says Marques. “Which targets between teeth and can be filled with mouthwash for an anti-bacterial boost.” The future is here, use it.

Get the pro's in

If you’re guilty of letting things slip between your lips then book in a session with you hygienist. Spend 15mins in their care every six months and you’ll have a clean slate to work with. “A full clean with polish removes all stains and improves the colour of your teeth,” says Marques. Good news if you’re a slave to morning coffee, or enjoy a crafty fag with that glass of wine.

All white on the night

Don’t believe the adverts, whitening toothpaste alone isn’t enough to undo the damage completely. It’s packed with sodium bicarbonate and lifts lighter stains but won’t achieve the pearly whites you truly covet. Stay away from the off-the-shelf kits too, Ross Geller. Avoid comedy choppers with in-clinic laser whitening. “It involves the application of a hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth, which is then activated by a laser to lift stains,” says Marques. “And because enamel is porous it can reach inside the teeth and clean all the way through.”

Brace yourself

Train tracks are fine when you’re a teenager; you’ve got acne and a cracking voice box to contend with, who cares about a bit of dental bling? But walking into a boardroom doing your best impression of a Bond villain is tough to pull off. Luckily for you, crooked teeth today can be sorted without you being railroaded. “There are two options,” says Marques. “Invisaline retainers (like a clear gumshield) or a new system called Incognita, which works like train tracks but are attached behind the teeth.” Your move, brace face.

Read More

STYLE

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT FRAGRANCE FOR YOUR AGE

Citrus fragrances tend to be fresher and more immediate. With lemon, neroli and pink pepper, this is as punchy as ambassador Chris Evans’ superhero alter-ego. £46.50 for 50ml boots.com

Bleu de Chanel

Scents get richer and more complex as they get “older” – like you, hopefully. The eau de parfum version of this warm, spicy modern classic has even more depth. £57.50 for 50ml boots.com

Habit Rouge by Guerlain


This has been around since 1965 and spans the ages in both senses thanks to its versatile combination of youthful citrus with more grown-up spices and leather. £48 for 50ml debenhams.com

Tom Ford Oud Wood

Just like dark colours add gravitas, so wood and incense convey sophistication. It helps that this contains smoky oud – one of perfume’s priciest ingredients. £142 for 50ml harrods.com

Kilian Light My Fire

 

Tobacco is another note that suggests age. Redolent of power, influence and Monte Cristo cigars, this is more appropriate for a gentleman’s club than a night one. £175 for 50ml lessenteurs.com

Read More

FITNESS

The Exercise That Torches Belly Fat

The hot potato squat may sound like a kid’s recess activity, but don’t be fooled—it’s also a cutting-edge fat-loss exercise that will get your heartpumping and your muscles burning in almost no time, says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., owner of StreamFit.com. It starts with one of the most effective exercises invented: the squat. When done correctly, a squat trains a lot of muscles, particularly big ones like your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. In fact, it burns more calories per rep than almost any other exercise.

But why stop there? Gaddour throws an airborne dumbbell into the mix to make this classic move even more challenging and beneficial. “Holding the weight on just one side of your body increases the demand placed on your core to keep your body stable,” he says. “As the weight changes from side to side, your core muscles are worked from every angle.”

Read More

MEN

The 10-Minute Workout That Will Fry Your Abs

The plank strengthens the dozens of muscles between your shoulders and hips.

But if you jack your feet in and out as you do it, the plank suddenly becomes so much more than just a core builder.


ADVERTISEMENT
 
MEN'S HEALTH RECOMMENDS
 
Million Dollar Luxury Homes You Have to See to Believe
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MEN'S HEALTH
 
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FOR MEN
 
2 Pushup Workouts That Hit Every Muscle in Your Core
MEN'S HEALTH
 
Knowing is half the battle" So when it comes to education, what's the other…
QLIK
 
The Spartacus Workout
MEN'S HEALTH
Recommended by
DAILY DOSE

your email address
 SIGN UP
YOU MAY UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
YOUR PRIVACY RIGHTS | ABOUT US
The quick movement of your feet provides a great dynamic stability challenge that makes your abs scream, and ramps up your heart and metabolic rate.

And you can make it even more difficult by changing up your arm positioning. This creates an unbalanced foundation, so you have to work harder to perform the same exercise.

Put it all together using the plank jack complex below. Do each of the following four plank variations for 15 seconds each without resting. Once you’ve completed the fourth exercise, rest one minute. That’s one round. Perform up to five total rounds.

Read More

MUSCLE

Time And Tide Wait For None

David Lee, Vice President of Certified Pre-Owned at Tourneau, offers an easy-to-understand guide to the fundamentals of horology. It’s always a good time for a primer on setting and winding a watch—whether the timepiece is powered by a battery, requires near-daily winding, or winds itself when worn on the wrist.

Read More

STYLE

YOUR NEW HOLIDAY STYLE ESSENTIALS

Luggage charge

This neat tablet case boasts a battery pack to top up in transit and a unique ID number for when you inevitably leave it in the back of the seat in front.
£119 knomobags.com

Overseas calling

The Galaxy S6 Edge, well, edges it with a battery that lasts three hours from just 10 minutes’ charge, plus the planet’s most powerful mobile camera.
£600 samsung.com/uk

Super sonics

Like Pacman, these headphones are light but pack a punch. Unlike him, they fold flat and block noise (crying babies, duty-free announcements).
£150 philips.co.uk

Right idea

‘If it ain’t broke…’ doesn’t always apply: take aircraft maintenance. Or Ray-Ban, which uses plane tech to make its new Liteforce Wayfarers harder and lighter.
£120 Ray-Ban at Sunglass Hut†

Multiple carrier

Inspired by the iconic (and ontrend) MA-1 flight jacket, this orange-lined carry-on can be a messenger bag or a rucksack.
£375 mrporter.com

Flight suit

Scrunch up this blazer if needs be – its crease-resistant cloth means you’ll still land looking a million units of local currency.
£515 (trousers £200) paulsmith.co.uk

Throw away

Folding to matchbox size, this travel blanket can be deployed when the cabin temperature dips over Greenland, and on the beach (unless you land in Greenland).
£18 matadorup.com

Time flies

Crossing time zones like a Gallifreyan? Citizen’s Satellite Wave F900 can display two at once and auto-updates to local time within three seconds.
£1495 citizenwatch.com

Scent packing

What’s worse than a confiscated fragrance bottle? A smashed one. This 30ml spray comes in a leather case with snap-opening for a quick refresh on landing.
£74 uk.acquadiparma.com

Quality filter

Skip the overpriced airport coffee and in-flight ‘java’: this all-in-one portable maker lets you grind and brew your own beans anywhere with hot water.
£65 cafflano.com

Read More

MEN

Bulk Up

Whether you're a newbie to the gym, anxious to start putting on some size with simple moves, or a grizzled veteran after a fresh way to add muscle mass quickly, our bulk up plans range from beautifully simple and easy to cutting-edge and hardcore. Our readers have put on hundreds of pounds of muscle over the years using scientifically-calibrated plans created exclusively for Men's Health.

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Editor's Pick

01

MUSCLE

A Beginner’s Guide to Handstands

It demonstrates balance and control over your body, something we happen to put great importance upon here at Nerd Fitness. It’s also one HELL of a party trick, something you can work on without a single piece of equipment, builds functional strength and muscular endurance, and it’s a skill you can work on in just a few minutes every single day.

How do I know this? Because I’m typing this while in a handstand RIGHT NOW. Okay, I can’t do that. But Jim, Master of the NF Fitness Universe can:

jim typing

I love working with gymnastic rings, because they have such a great tutorial level. Handstands are exactly the same way: it’s a great skill to work on as a beginner, but also is infinitely challenging depending on your skill level.

Plus, in addition to Jim, Luke Skywalker does them. It’s time to stop looking at other people doing cool things and start today saying “hey, I can do that too!”


Why handstands are awesome

Jim-Bathurst

Team Nerd Fitness member Jim Bathurst has been training and working on handstands for years. From humble beginnings, he taught himself a standard handstand and eventually worked his way up to one-handed tricks like the photo above.

Now, you won’t be doing this anytime soon, but it doesn’t mean you can’t start today learning how to go inverted.

Fun fact: I can’t say the word inverted without thinking of Top Gun’s line “because we were inverted,” but that’s only because I used to watch that movie with my brother every day from ages 3 to 5.

I’ve fallen in love with handstands for a few reasons:

Like other bodyweight training, there’s no excuse. If you have room to stand up, you have room to practice handstands.

It recruits DOZENS of muscles in your body. From arm strength to wrist mobility to core strength to shoulder mobility and muscular endurance, handstands do it all. When you are trying to balance, it makes your body work as one complete unit.

It scares you – yes, that’s a positive. We grow outside our comfort zone and for many people, just the thought of a handstand is enough to make their palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. Vomi… nevermind. The point is that the handstand is just as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. How scared do you think this guy gets on a regular basis?

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02

MUSCLE

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

Do you train hard and see little in the way of muscle gain? How about an endless toil in the gym, struggling to lose fat? The chances are, you're going about it all wrong. The real way to hit your training goals is adapting your plan to your body type.

Men can generally be classed as one of three body types.

Ectomorphs: skinny guys that struggle to gain weight. They're your classic “hard-gainers”.
Endomorphs: large-bodied and generally soft, these bodies gain bulk easily but also store fat along the way.
Mesomorphs: the ones everybody envy because they're naturally lean and athletic. They can put on muscle comparatively easily and they don't require huge amounts of maintenance.

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03

NUTRITION

THE KILLER AFTERBURN LOWER-BODY WORKOUT

You think you know leg-day pain? PT igh-volume supersets will leave you duck-waddling down the stairs for days. It'll also build you pins that look like they're carved by Rodin. Complete each superset twice, then move on to the next bit of kit. 

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04

STYLE

LINKS OF LONDON: FOR THE MODERN MAN

It all started with some fish-shaped cufflinks in 1990. Since then, Links of London have gone from strength to strength: opening over 100 stores across the world, from Hong Kong and Shanghai to New York and Athens.

Their men's collection is constantly evolving to suit the needs of the modern man, and this year, as the innovative brand celebrate their 21st birthday, they've made some seriously stylish additions to their men's collection

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05

STYLE

YOUR NEW HOLIDAY STYLE ESSENTIALS

Luggage charge

This neat tablet case boasts a battery pack to top up in transit and a unique ID number for when you inevitably leave it in the back of the seat in front.
£119 knomobags.com

Overseas calling

The Galaxy S6 Edge, well, edges it with a battery that lasts three hours from just 10 minutes’ charge, plus the planet’s most powerful mobile camera.
£600 samsung.com/uk

Super sonics

Like Pacman, these headphones are light but pack a punch. Unlike him, they fold flat and block noise (crying babies, duty-free announcements).
£150 philips.co.uk

Right idea

‘If it ain’t broke…’ doesn’t always apply: take aircraft maintenance. Or Ray-Ban, which uses plane tech to make its new Liteforce Wayfarers harder and lighter.
£120 Ray-Ban at Sunglass Hut†

Multiple carrier

Inspired by the iconic (and ontrend) MA-1 flight jacket, this orange-lined carry-on can be a messenger bag or a rucksack.
£375 mrporter.com

Flight suit

Scrunch up this blazer if needs be – its crease-resistant cloth means you’ll still land looking a million units of local currency.
£515 (trousers £200) paulsmith.co.uk

Throw away

Folding to matchbox size, this travel blanket can be deployed when the cabin temperature dips over Greenland, and on the beach (unless you land in Greenland).
£18 matadorup.com

Time flies

Crossing time zones like a Gallifreyan? Citizen’s Satellite Wave F900 can display two at once and auto-updates to local time within three seconds.
£1495 citizenwatch.com

Scent packing

What’s worse than a confiscated fragrance bottle? A smashed one. This 30ml spray comes in a leather case with snap-opening for a quick refresh on landing.
£74 uk.acquadiparma.com

Quality filter

Skip the overpriced airport coffee and in-flight ‘java’: this all-in-one portable maker lets you grind and brew your own beans anywhere with hot water.
£65 cafflano.com

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06

WEIGHT LOSS

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE YOU WANT TO EXERCISE MORE

Nearly two thirds of gym memberships go unused. Don’t let yours be one of them. Make sticking to your fitness plan effortless with these five easy ways to boost motivation. And if you don’t have a plan yet, use ours: sign up to our free Men’s Health #5in5 workout programme to lose 5kg fat and gain 5kg of muscle in just five weeks!

1. Optimally primed

Pepper your day with casual clues – trainers by the front door at home, gym bag ready-packed in your car, protein shake on your desk at work – as reminders of your intention to train, and take time to recall how great you felt after your last workout. Positive memories of your last session send motivation levels soaring, found researchers at the University of New Hampshire. Just be sure to focus on how great you felt after squeezing out that squat, rather than how difficult it was to walk down the stairs to the changing room afterwards.

2. Log your sessions

People who report their progress to others are more likely to carry on with a training plan. But that reporting doesn’t have to be face-to-face, according to research in the Journal of American College Health. The study authors found that logging fitness activity online for others to see inspired as much motivation as regularly working out with a group. But remember: you are notJen Selter. Spare your followers an endless stream of #fitspiration by signing up for the Men’s Health Personal Trainer tool and get access to training and nutrition plans personalised for your unique strength, stats and training goals.

3. Fine yourself

Would you be more likely to go to the gym if you had to fork out a fiver for skipping it? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone, according to a handful of studies and the creators of Pact, a clever smartphone app that has users check in at their gyms via GPS and charges them for missed workouts. Each week, money is pooled from the non-exercisers and distributed among Pact users who have managed to hit their workout goals. Sign up and never skip a workout to earn money and muscle.

4. Get a training partner

If you work out with a buddy, make sure he’s in similar shape, suggests a study in the journal Science. Researchers found participants who exercised with partners similar in BMI, age, and fitness level were more than three times as likely to stick with their fitness plans as those with less compatible partners. Whatever you do, don’t work out with someone much fitter, say scientists. That sets unrealistic goals and undermines motivation.

5. Think smaller

Large goals can seem unattainable. Instead, focusing on incremental victories brings better results, report scientists in the Journal of Consumer Research. So rather than dwelling on the 15 pounds you want to lose, think about doubling your current 3-pound loss.

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07

WEIGHT LOSS

THE BIG READ: OBESITY SHOULD BE A NATIONAL PRIORITY

Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer today stated in her annual report that tackling obesity should be a national priority to avert a “growing health catastrophe”.

While the report looked specifically at women, England’s top doc said obesity was so serious that is should be a priority for the whole population. She also warned that the food industry needed to pull its socks up or face a sugar tax (do we need a sugar tax? Join the debate). 

Obesity throughout the country is an epidemic, and we need to act fast before it overwhelms our body, the NHS and the economy. It’s causing a fatal class divide and thousands of deaths. If something isn’t done, our nation could collapse under its own weight.

Men’s Health investigates what can be done…

(Lunch)time bomb

You don’t need a time machine to glimpse this fatter future. A trip to Coatbridge, Lanarkshire will do. According to market researchers CACI, this Scottish town has the UK’s fattest residents. One in five has a BMI above 30 and cabbies limit loads to two passengers. It’s no coincidence that Britain’s fat capital is also one of its most deprived areas. A map of the UK drawn by the National Obesity Observatory (NOO) shows a stark class and geographical divide. The fattest areas include the North East, where unemployment rates are among the highest at 9.6%. Earning power seems directly linked to your girth, with only 21.6% of top-earning households seriously over weight, compared with 29.3 % of households where cash is tight.

If we don’t act, our ‘fatocalypse’ will become reality. The Foresight report predicts that by 2050 we’ll have an economic and health crisis if current trends continue. If you’re one of those making up the far-too-round number, the personal consequences will be dire. The British Dietetic Association warns that risk of fatal disease increases by 1% for every pound you’re overweight. Obesity ups your risk of heart disease by 82%, your risk of type 2 diabetes doubles if your BMI hits 25 and University of Aberdeen research found a 20lb (9kg) weight increase cuts your chances of fatherhood by 10%. Harvard Medical School has even coined a new term for patients suffering from obesity-related diabetes: ‘diabesity.’

Looking at the big picture, the cost to society will be crippling. NHS spending will increase from £104 to £114bn by 2015, but in real terms it will be static, thanks to rising costs and patient numbers. Health charity The King’s Fund and economic think tank The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimate this leaves a £20bn funding gap. “There’s a gap between what we’d like to spend and what we have, and obesity comes into that,” says King’s Fund health economist John Appleby. “NHS funding is flat in real terms and the cash just won’t be there.”

While the NHS budget flatlines, obesity costs are soaring. Over 5.5m over-16s are on obesity registers, a rise of 250,000 in the past year. Research by Diabetes UK shows the impact of this in a 5.5% rise in type 2 diabetes cases in a single year. Treating diabetes costs the NHS an annual £8bn, the cost of prescription weight-loss drugs is up 13% to £47m, and obesity operations 40% to £32m. Perhaps the most shocking figure is that each NHS hospital spends an average of £60,000 annually on ‘supersizing’ beds, wheelchairs and equipment for heavier patients. All this while cancer drugs are being rationed.

Related: Are you sleepwalking your way towards type 2 diabetes? 

The predicted cost to the nation also includes the amount taxpayers will be funding in incapacity benefit for those whose obesity-related health problems mean they can barely walk, let alone travel to an office. “The consequences are so wide-ranging that no country, however wealthy, will be able to afford the fallout – whether it’s pervasive diabetes affecting 30-50% of adults or heart disease, ar thritis, cancers or respiratory problems,” says Professor Philip James, chair of the International Obesity Task Force. He points out that the fat epidemic is already responsible for half of all the increasing costs of the US health sector.

Slim chance

So far, the government’s response has been to ‘nudge’ the public into slimming down, with initiatives like cinema tickets for children who walk to school. The Department of Health says it is ‘concerned’ about the prevalence of obesity and its ‘serious implications’. A spokesman told MH that ministers were ‘working hard’ on new measures but ‘nannying’ people to lose weight is not on the agenda. “The Government’s role is not to lecture people, not to nanny them, not constantly to be legislating or taxing them,” says the DoH spokesman. Many experts argue that more drastic action is needed.

Some German politicians have already suggested fat people should pay higher taxes because of the burden they place on the health system. Or there should at least be a tax on fatty food. “A junk food tax is sound in principle,” says Paul Sacher, specialist dietician at Great Ormond Street Hospital.“ But it will only work if it’s high enough to stop people buying high-fat, sugar and salt foods. Otherwise it just becomes a tax on the poor.” And, he argues, cash raised through a tax on unhealthy foods should be used to subsidise more nutritious foods. Sacher also supports limiting advertising unhealthy foods to children to ‘minimise’ the ‘pester power effect.’

Pay as you gorge

The influential health journalist Ian Marber takes a more radical stance, calling on the Government to bring in National Insurance pay bands which reflect our individual lifestyles. Those who don’t exercise, or have a high body fat, should pay the top band. “Those who don’t drink or smoke and eat healthily should pay the lowest amount,” says Marber. “It’s like any other type of insurance. You pay according to your risk.”

How we stop the next generation from supersizing is one of the most vital issues. Children are feeding their ‘fat future’ before the age of five and parents are often to blame, argues Terry Wilkin, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth. His long-term research found sons of obese fathers are six times more likely to be obese, and he stresses that we need to tackle parents to stop this ‘conveyor belt’. “Obese parents are ‘recycling’ their obesity through inappropriate feeding,” says Wilkin. The demise of family mealtimes has an impact, he argues, because we no longer understand the impact of portion sizes. It’s a theory backed by University of Wales research, which showed children who don’t have set mealtimes don’t learn appropriate eating habits. “It’s vital that we educate children at an early age, but it has to be a whole family approach – the parents buying the food need the knowledge and understanding, too,” says Sacher. Wilkin’s solution is controversial: “We should target obese couples pre-conception.”

Related: Obesity is gentic but it can be fought! 

Obviously blame doesn’t rest solely at the (partially obscured) feet of overweight individuals. Many stress that the food industry’s role in the global obesity crisis needs to be tackled. No one force-feeds us quarter pounders, but are they playing with our minds? Dr David Kessler, former commissioner of the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), warns that food chains – including supermarkets – are manipulating us so that we consume more. His book, the New York Times bestseller The End of Overeating, highlights the use of salt, sugar and fat as the most commonly used ingredients, in terms of dietary manipulation. His investigations revealed that some restaurant chains deliberately increase these ‘killer’ ingredients in starters, so we eat more throughout the meal and are more likely to develop addictive eating behaviour.

Related: 11 of the best exercises to lose weight

A matter of course?

A first step in controlling the food industry could – and many say should – be to ban the use of trans fats. These chemically-altered vegetable oils are public enemy number one, according to Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health. They’re in many of processed foods because they’re cheap, bulk ingredients, which prolong shelf lives. But they have no nutritional value, Davies points out, and cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen, upping your bodyweight, even when you’re controlling calorie intake. Their link to obesity has been confirmed in research by Wake Forest University in the US. “Thousands are dying from them,” says Davies. “And we get hysterical about E. coli, which may kill a handful of people. Trans fats are contaminating food.”

If our weighty issue isn’t tackled now, we could be facing a bleak nutritional future. Wilkin believes there will come a time when there will be draconian measures, just as society came round to a public smoking ban. The Future Foundation goes further, predicting a Christmas Future where sugary foods are banned and chocolate is rationed. It’s not so improbable. In the US, education chiefs in Pennsylvania have drafted regulations limiting classroom birthday parties to one a month.

In the meantime, maybe it’s better to give that burger a miss.

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08

WEIGHT LOSS

3 BEST DIY SHAKES FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Looking for a delicious stop-gap that'll keep your hand out the biscuit tin? Or a post-workout pint that's more interesting than a shaker full of protein powder?MH has got you covered with three DIY weight loss shakes, created by online personal trainer Scott Baptie, designed to help you burn fat, beat hunger and breeze through your workout programme. Blitz the ingredients in a blender and down for a downsized waistline.

Berries, honey and chilli fat-burner

1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 very small pinch of chilli powder
400 ml milk
200 ml cold green tea
1 tbsp honey

Researchers at the University of California found the chemical capsaicin, which is found in chilli peppers, increases fat loss by raising your body temperature and energy expenditure. Other studies have shown that it can help suppress appetite too. Berries are an ideal addition to a low calorie, fat burning shake; they are rich in vitamins, high in fibre and some research has shown they can also improve blood sugar control, staving off diabetes. Rememeber, weight loss should also be about improving your health, not just restricting calories. 

(Related: 7 ways to avoid diabetes)

Kale, apple and yoghurt hunger-beater

1 handful of kale
1 apple, core removed
1 pink grapefruit, peeled
1 cup of water
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 tbsp. honey

Green juices are synonymous with foul-tasting health drinks you have to pinch your nose and suffer through, but this kale smoothie tastes as good as it makes you feel. Dark leafy greens are a great source of calcium, which research shows plays a key role in helping regulate body fat levels. However, it's the protein packed into a 1/2 cup of low-fat natural yoghurt that'll keep you trim. The protein increases satiety, helping you avoid snacks between meals, and minimises the loss of muscle most men suffer when dieting for fat loss.

(Related: How to feel fuller for longer)

Orange, ginger and green tea recovery shake

1 orange
1 scoop of whey protein
Pinch of ginger
400 ml cold green tea
Handful of ice cubes

Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which helps combat the oxidative stress that causes DOMS, and researchers at the University of Georgia also found the anti-inflammatory properties in ginger help reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Green tea, as well as giving you a much-needed caffeine boost post-gym, contains the antioxidant ECGC, which has the power to boost fat oxidisation. Recovery is an undervalued part of every weight loss programme, but with the correct nutrtion you can keep your muscles fresh and maintain the motivation to burn maximum calories every time you hit the gym.

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09

WEIGHT LOSS

HOW TO AVOID HOLIDAY BELLY

Pass: Fried breakfast
Plate: Scrambled eggs

If your days usually start with grapefruit and coffee, don’t shift too far as diet overhauls can cause constipation. “It’s better to have scrambled eggs,” says dietitian Dr Sarah Schenker. The fat and protein will nullify hunger pangs – and the cysteine will dull the pain of yesterday’s G&Ts.

Pass: Soft cheese
Plate: Hard cheese

Your body produces enough lactase to suit your regular diet, says Schenker. Treble your dose with a holiday brie and you’re understocked, which means bloating by the pool. Opt instead for hard and aged cheeses, which are lower in lactose, and goat’s cheese, which has shorter milk proteins that are easier for your body to digest.

Pass: Sex on the Beach
Plate: Bloody Mary

At Club Tropicana drinks may be free, but dodge anything with a paper brolly. Sugar masks even strong booze, says Schenker, so you won’t realise you’re eight shots in before lunch. Opting for tomato juice cuts the sugar – and your waist, according to Chinese research.

Pass: Pad Thai
Plate: Thai green curry

Starchy noodles lead to pool-side bloating tomorrow morning, hiding whatever number of abs you’ve teased out. Swap for Thai green curry’s bloat-shrinker turmeric, which comes with a side of appetite-crushing coconut milk fats to curb your dessert cravings.

Pass: Sorbet
Plate: Gelato

You might be happy to swerve ice cream, but don’t think the fruity alternative’s
 a healthy choice. Sorbet is higher in sugar, “and it’s not satiating so you’re likely to overindulge,” says Schenker. The fats in gelato might mean more calories, but they also slow glucose absorption to avoid sugar spikes. Just set yourself a one-scoop limit.

Pass: Fish and chips
Plate: Calamari

“Don’t eat the ‘British’ food,” says Schenker. Not only does it display cultural clumsiness, it’s also stodge that spikes your blood-glucose levels. Battered squid is lower in carbs and the veg-heavy local tapas will pack more fibre and water, filling you up for fewer calories.

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010

MUSCLE

Time And Tide Wait For None

David Lee, Vice President of Certified Pre-Owned at Tourneau, offers an easy-to-understand guide to the fundamentals of horology. It’s always a good time for a primer on setting and winding a watch—whether the timepiece is powered by a battery, requires near-daily winding, or winds itself when worn on the wrist.

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For women fitness

Follow these easy Bum Exercises #GluteGains

Buns of steel aren’t the only benefits of this workout from Insta-star Zanna van Dijk. Expect to radiate confidence, too

Looking at Zanna van Dijk’s Instagram feed, you’d think that she’s lived and breathed fitness her whole life. 

But what makes the health and fitness blogger, Instagrammer and all-round ‘influencer’ so relatable is that she really is just like the rest of us. ‘I actually hated exercise at school and would find any excuse to avoid PE,’ she reveals to WF in an exclusive interview. ‘I only started getting into it at university. I heard about the benefits of eating well and training and decided to give it a shot.’ And if you thought she took to it like a duck to water, think again. Like the rest of us, Zanna made mistakes along the way. Now? She’s a full-time fitness professional working as a personal trainer – not to mention one of the most popular health and fitness bloggers and Instagrammers out there, with 115,000 followers and counting. She puts her success down to passion, consistency and realness: ‘I have a no-nonsense approach to social media, fitness and life,’ she says. ‘There’s no smoke and mirrors and I’m very honest about my lifestyle.’

For anyone who’s kept their ear to the ground with fitness trends for a while now, it’s impossible not to have noticed the fast pace at which the industry has changed since the rise of social media. Trends come and go – but it seems that bloggers and influencers are definitely having their time. Zanna is riding the wave better than any of them, proven by the launch of #GirlGains – an online community she co-founded with fellow social media influencers Tally Rye and Victoria Spence. ‘It’s for women who are interested in bettering themselves in all areas of their lives, not just fitness,’ explains Zanna. ‘We educate, empower and inspire women to be healthy, happy and confident, to look after themselves and to love themselves.’ And judging by the turnout at their events, the number of followers they have on Instagram and the use of their hashtag #GirlGains, they’re doing just that. For someone as driven as Zanna, though, that’s still not enough. ‘We’d like to see #GirlGains spread across the world, to reach as many women as possible and to be able to have a positive impact on their self-worth, ambition and happiness.’

Having just launched an activewear collection in collaboration with Sports Philosophy as well as preparing to launch her book Strong (set to hit
the shelves in December), it looks as if Zanna is right on track.Inspired? Try Zanna’s workout, which focuses on combining weights to strengthen and tone your legs and butt with HIIT to make you sweat. Just what the doctor ordered.

Goblet squat with pulse

Areas trained: glutes, quads, hamstrings, core

Technique

Holding a weight at your chest, step your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and point your toes ever so slightly outwards.

Sit back and down into a squat and do a small pulse at the bottom of the movement.

Push up through your heels and squeeze your glutes. Repeat.

10 REPS

How to do it

Perform the allotted reps, back to back. Rest for 60 seconds then repeat for the next set. Do three sets in total. Once all sets are complete, Increase weights in accordance with experience level.

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Eight reasons to run!

From blitzing fat to boosting defences, it ticks all the boxes

As much as we love hardcore gym sessions, the change of seasons provides the chance to challenge ourselves with a whole array of performance goals. There’s nothing like a workout revamp to help rev up fitness levels, and this spring we’re all about stepping up the intensity of our regular workout with an outdoor running routine. 

Getting out on the road to brush up on your running technique offers a completely different experience to pounding the treadmill at the gym – and we guarantee you’ll soon be bitten by the running bug. Read our guide to find out what could be in it for you. 

1 Feel refreshed

A change of scenery and a varied workout – what’s not to get excited about? There are plenty of things to look forward to when you take your runs from the treadmill to the great outdoors, whether you’re running down winding country lanes or sprinting around the city streets.’ Due to the rhythmic nature of the activity, it’s easy to zone out, switch off from the outside world and let your mind wander. It could even turn out to be your most creative time of the day,’ says Energie Fitness Clubs and Ragdale Hall fitness consultant Dean Hodgkin. Now the mornings are becoming lighter, heading out for a run first thing offers the perfect start to your day. 

2 Better your body

There’s no denying that taking your workout to the pavements is more taxing on your body, but thankfully the payoffs are plentiful. Without the natural momentum of the treadmill your muscles have to work harder, and so you naturally will reap some awesome rewards, like a more toned lower body and a slimmer middle. ‘Running is a great way to achieve below-the-belt toning – creating thighs and buttocks you can bounce coins off,’ adds Dean. 

3 Boost levels of vitamin d

What’s running got to do with immunity? Well, quite a lot actually. Because the body can’t manufacture vitamin D (a nutrient that’s essential for fending off illness) on its own, we require exposure to sunshine to keep levels continuously topped up. If you feel like you’re constantly battling the sniffles you may be low in vitamin D, and thankfully, picking up the pace outside can help to restore levels and reduce your risk of getting sick. If you’re worried you may have a deficiency, consult your GP and ask to have your levels checked. 

4 Burn more calories

Running is an effective and efficient way of burning calories, and as you’re working your body harder when pounding the pavements you’ll experience a higher calorie burn. ‘Even just a comfortable pace of around 6mph will burn around 300 calories in just 30 minutes, so it’s incredibly effective in all kinds of weight-loss programmes,’ says Dean. Not bad!

5 Challenge yourself 

Whether you’re new to the running scene or already a running pro, setting yourself a challenge is a fantastic way to make sure you’re constantly making progress. ‘Most weight-loss and fitness programmes fall on stony ground because clearly defined goals were not put in place. Setting yourself a long-term target of running a half or even full marathon can be the ideal stimulus to keep you on track – and don’t forget how awesome you’ll feel when you cross the finish line,’ says Dean. 

6 Improve joint health 

The transition from the treadmill to the outdoors can be harsh on your joints, but if you take your running workout to softer surfaces like grass or a running track, you can help to safeguard your body while making your legs stronger and keeping your bones healthy. 

‘Osteoporosis is a very real health risk for women and a key preventative measure is to increase bone density by doing more bone-loading exercises – running being one of the most beneficial,’ explains Dean. Just don’t forget to warm up your muscles and cool down following your sessions.

7 De-stress the natural way

Need to take a break from everyday life? When you’re feeling wound up and in desperate need of a breather, simply pick a picturesque trail, grab your heart rate monitor and let your mind shift focus
as you get into your stride. ‘There are great mood-lifting, stress-busting gains to be made from exercising outdoors, as your senses will be far more stimulated compared with a gym environment,’ says Dean. 

8 Slash your risk of disease

Running not only helps to improve your physical appearance and make you feel more energised, it could also lower your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes type 2 by reducing levels of blood glucose after eating. Win, win! 

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Strike a balance with this Inner thigh exercise

Want to boost gym performance? It’s time to balance out your intense workouts with a good old dance-inspired stretch

Blocking out the time to really delve into a stretching session can seem hard to justify if your busy schedule already makes squeezing workouts in difficult.

But if you’ve found yourself hitting a wall when it comes to results, or you’re constantly plagued by niggling injuries, it might just be what the doctor ordered. US-based Lastics has taken inspo from the long, lean and limber bodies of dancers to come up with classes and online videos to help regular gym-goers get the most out of their workouts. ‘Dancers epitomise the balance between strength and flexibility to the extreme,’ says Lastics founder Donna Flagg. ‘Their bodies are graceful, sculpted and powerful.’

Rather than overhauling your entire workout routine to emulate that of a ballerina, Lastics instead allows you to simply take a leaf out of their book, providing stretching-focused classes to help you develop an improved range of motion. This is essential to anyone who’s looking to prevent injuries, boost conditioning and balance out strength training – as well as achieve a slender silhouette. ‘Lastics enhances all other activities, improves posture and circulation and gives you more freedom to move in your body,’ Donna adds. So if you’re intrigued by the slenderness and strength of a dancer but don’t necessarily have any goals to make it as one (bar the occasional tear-up on the dance floor on a Friday night), this is the perfect middle ground.

If you’re interested in subscribing to Lastics, trying out the DVD or even just having a taster of what it might be like, give this workout a go. Donna has devised it especially to supplement WF’s workouts, but it’s a wise and healthy addition to any active woman’s weekly routine. It can even be added to the end of a workout if you don’t want to dedicate an entire session to it.

How to do it

Breathe into the stretch and release when the body starts to resist. Then take a few breaths and release deeper into the stretch on each exhale. Repeat as desired. 

Technique

Sit in a straddle and let your head hang between your legs, rounding your back. Release any tension you may be holding.

After you’ve been hanging there totally relaxed, reach your nose a little closer to the floor. Hold your upper body where it is and press the backs of your knees down into the floor.

Hold your body and knees in place and flex your feet, making sure your knees don’t pop back up.

Finally, hold all of that and lift your chin to flatten your back. Hold for a few seconds.

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Train and gain! with this dumbbell workout

Here’s how strength training can get you a better bikini body...

More and more women are strength training when they hit the gym, but if you’re still not convinced, then you could be missing out on some serious benefits.

Whether you’re using the TRX, doing a kettlebell class or using a pair of dumbbells in your HIIT circuit – you are strength training! It’s not all about weightlifting belts, clouds of chalk and groaning as loud as you can – though, that’s all welcome, too! It is, however, about using weights that truly challenge you, promoting muscle growth that in turn elevates your fat burn. The result is a leaner you, with a higher metabolic rate throughout the day. 

‘It’s estimated that for every half a kilo of lean muscle you gain, your body will burn 35-50 extra calories each day just to maintain it,’ explains John Shepherd, author of new book Strength Training for Women. ‘Regular cardio exercisers may lose weight but end up with a body that lacks tone and holds fat around key “problem” areas, such as the abdomen and hips.’ But those aren’t the only benefits you’ll experience – that’s just the beginning.

‘Resistance training will also boost your hormones,’ explains John. Basically, the more you pick up the weights, the more your levels of growth hormone are elevated. Why is this desirable? Well, along with playing a vital role in shedding fat, growth hormone also helps to slow the effects of ageing, according to John. Who wouldn’t want that? As we age we also experience a higher risk of osteoporosis, and strength training is an effective way of combating this. Not only do weights build muscle but they strengthen your bones, too, which is ideal for overall health as well as preventing injury.

Strength training also challenges your body in all different planes of motion, boosting its ability to master complex moves – especially ones that’ll help you in everyday life. We’re talking lifting, carrying, picking things up – that’s why it’s considered functional fitness. 

Don’t know where to start? John’s book is a great place, but if you want a taster, check out this workout he put together. It’s suitable for all levels, targeting the whole body using compound exercises. ‘These moves work numerous joints,’ explains John, ‘making them more functional and calorie-burning.’ Always use weights that prove difficult in the final reps of each set without compromising form – but if you’re new to weights, start out light and focus on building strength and technique. Everyone should add weights each month to encourage progress.

HOW TO DO IT

Always warm up before and cool down after this workout. Do each of the two workouts once a week, leaving at least 48 hours between each.

Workout 1: Metabolic and hormonal booster

Perform 3 x 10 reps of each move. Take enough recovery to allow for each set to be completed optimally.

Workout 2: Pyramid with body shaping fast-twitch fibre emphasis

Perform 8 reps using a light weight, 6 using a medium weight, then 2 x 4 reps using a heavy weight.

Workout 1

 Rear foot elevated split squat

Areas trained: glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves

Technique

  1. Holding dumbbells by each side, stand in front of a bench and place the toes of your rear foot on it. Hop your standing leg forward and place your foot flat on the floor. This is your starting position.
  2. Keeping your trunk upright and looking straight ahead, bend your front leg to lower your body to the ground. Lower until your thigh is approximately  parallel to the ground. 
  3. Push back up strongly and repeat. Perform the allotted reps on one side, and then the other to complete a full set.

Seated shoulder press

Areas trained: shoulders, triceps

Technique

  1. Sit on a bench holding dumbbells in front of your shoulders.
  2. Press the dumbbells up to the ceiling, bringing them close together at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower under control and repeat.

Single-arm kettlebell swing

Areas trained: quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, back, shoulders

Technique

  1. Take hold of the kettlebell in one hand with your knuckles facing away from you. Stand with your feet just beyond shoulder-width apart. Let the kettlebell hang down at arm-length in front of your body and let it drop down and through your legs.
  2. Move with the fall of the kettlebell and let your bottom move backwards and torso incline forwards with knees soft. As the momentum of the weight begins to stall and go in the other direction, ‘snap’ your hips to impart more momentum onto the kettlebell to drive it up again.
  3. Let the weight fall back down and repeat. Perform the allotted reps on both sides to complete a set.

Plié squat

Areas trained: glutes, hips, hamstrings, quads, calves

Technique 

  1. Holding the dumbbells with your knuckles facing away from you in front of your hips, stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width and turned out, making sure that your feet and knees are similarly angled.
  2. Bend your legs to plié and then extend them to stand back up and repeat.

 

Workout 2

Clean

Areas trained: back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves

Technique

  1. Take hold of a barbell from the floor with your knuckles facing forwards and hands just further than shoulder-width apart. Keep your heels on the floor, arms extended and head up.
  2. Drive up to lift the bar from the floor, keeping your shoulders over it and your knees bent.
  3. As the bar approaches hip-level, drive your hips forwards and now pull on the bar with your arms. As you do this, switch your grip from overhand to underhand and ‘catch’ the bar in a racked position on the front of your shoulders.
  4. Keeping your back flat, control the bar down to the floor, bending your knees and folding forwards, first to your thighs and then to the floor.

Squat

Areas trained: glutes, quads, hamstrings, back

Technique

  1. Support a barbell across the fleshy rear part of your shoulders (avoiding contact with your top vertebrae). Pull the bar down onto your shoulders to 
  2. fix it in place. Keep your head up and maintain the natural curve of your spine.
  3. Bend your knees to lower the weight as far as your flexibility allows. Keep your knees behind your toes as you go.
  4. Push through your heels to stand up and repeat.

Deadlift

Areas trained: glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back

Technique

  • Squat down slightly with your feet under the barbell and take hold of it with both hands.
  • Straighten your legs to start to move the bar upwards, keeping your arms long and the bar close to your shins (don’t pull with your arms).
  • Extend your hips to stand upright with the bar across the front of your thighs.
  • Return to the start and repeat.

Bent-over row

Areas trained: upper back, biceps, lower back, glutes, hamstrings

Technique

  • Keeping a bend in your knees, hinge at your hips so your upper body is almost parallel to the floor, holding a barbell with arms extended towards the floor.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you row the barbell up towards your hips.
  • Slowly lower and repeat.
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5 Easy Prenatal Bodyweight Exercises, for When You Want to Lie on the Couch and Eat Saltines

If you're expecting, then you probably already know pregnancy isn't exactly like the glossy photos you see in magazines or the picture-perfect scenes on TV. Sure, it can be amazing and joyful. But there are also times you're stuck in bed, feel sick to your stomach, or are just plain uncomfortable. During those moments, the last thing on your mind is exercise.

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But hear us out. Studies show moderate exercise during pregnancy can improve sleep; maintain your physical fitness; and reduce your risk of diabetes, excessive weight gain, depression, and an unplanned C-section. Regular exercise also helps prepare your body for labor and can even make it shorter.

If that's not enough, it's good for your babe too. Children of women who exercise during pregnancy have healthier birth weights, are less likely to be obese later on in life, and are smarter to boot.

As long as you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. That's 5 days of 30-minute workouts, or two to three 10-minute workouts spread throughout each day. Of course, always consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.

Doctors say it's okay to do most of the same activities you did before pregnancy, but listen to your body. "I couldn't even get off the couch!" says Joselynne Boschen, a Nike master trainer who struggled to stay active during her first trimester. "Everyone is different. You might be able to do one of these workouts one day, but the next day, you need to sleep. And that's OK."

We worked with Boschen to create three different workouts that will help you stay active no matter how you're feeling.

For Days You Feel Like Sh*t

Try not to be hard on yourself. "Stretching to help circulation and relieve unwanted stress is a step in the right direction," says Boschen. "Know these feelings are temporary."

How to use this list: Perform each exercise for 1 minute in order. Complete 3 sets for a full 15-minute workout. You can pair this with a 15-minute walk or use these moves as a warm-up for other workouts when you're feeling energetic and strong. All you need is a yoga mat and a wall.

1. Standing Leg Swing

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Stand with feet hip-width apart. Shift weight onto left leg to free up right leg. Swing right leg forward as high as possible (try to get it about parallel to the ground) and then swing it backward behind you. You can use a nearby wall or chair for support if you need. Continue for 1 minute then switch to opposite leg for 1 minute. This move will open up your hips, and having flexible hips during delivery is obviously a good thing!

2. Hip Flexor Stretch

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Start by kneeling then take a big step forward with left foot so that left knee is directly over left ankle and you feel a stretch in right hip. Raise right arm and squeeze right glute to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on opposite side. This will help take the pressure off your lower back, especially if you typically sit for long periods (like at work or in the car).

3. Child's Pose

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Start by kneeling on all fours. Touch toes together and open knees just wider than hips (enough room to fit your belly). Exhale then sit back, sending butt to heels and stretching arms out in front of you, palms down. Rest forehead to mat and release shoulders to floor. Stay here for 30 seconds to 1 minute to feel a release in lower back. To come up, inhale and slowly return to all fours for a few seconds before standing up.

4. Legs up the Wall

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*Only perform this move during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. After 16 weeks, experts suggest staying off your back due to the weight of your uterus. If it isn't comfortable during the first trimester, don't do it.

Lie on back facing a wall. Lift legs up onto wall and scoot forward until butt is as close to the wall as is comfortable. Keep arms at side or spread out, whatever feels right. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and lightness in your legs. Hang out here for anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes. By reversing the effects of gravity, you'll relieve tired feet and legs, reduce swelling, and regulate circulation.

5. Hip Stretch

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*Only perform this move on your back during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. After 16 weeks, you can do it standing, using a wall or chair for balance. If neither option feels comfortable, simply use a foam roller to relieve hips, glutes, and legs.

Start by lying faceup with knees bent and feet flat on mat. Cross left ankle over right thigh just above bent knee, keeping left foot flexed. Thread left arm through space created by legs and interlace fingers behind right thigh. Using arms, gently pull right leg closer to chest while keeping hips square. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute then repeat on opposite leg.


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For Days You Lack Energy

If you feel like you're dragging, there's a good reason: Your body is working overtime. But a little bit of movement can reenergize you. "Listen to your body and focus on doing things that make you feel good," Boschen says.

How to use this list: Do a short warm-up. Perform each exercise for 1 minute in order. If it is a single-sided movement, do 1 minute on each side. Rest for 1 minute between each set. Complete 3 sets for a 25-minute workout. All you need is an exercise mat. Be sure to cool down afterward and remember that your blood pressure drops during pregnancy, so be careful getting up and down while working out.

1. Squat


Start by standing with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping back straight, send hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat while simultaneously bringing arms up in front of chest for balance. Make sure shoulders and chest stay upright. Lift back to standing and repeat for 1 minute. For more details on how to properly squat, check out this article.

2. Dip With Leg Reach


Sit with knees bent, feet on floor. Lean back, place hands behind butt, and lift hips off ground. Wrists should be over shoulders, knees over ankles, fingertips facing butt. Using just arms, bend elbows to dip hips down to mat. As you press back up to starting position, extend right leg straight up while reaching left fingers to right toes. Return to starting position then repeat with other leg. Continue for 1 minute.

3. Windshield Wipers

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Start in a forearm plank with feet hip-width apart. Engage core then step right foot to just outside of right side of mat. Step left foot to meet it. Then step left foot to just outside left side of mat. Step right foot to meet it. Continue alternating for 1 minute.

4. Hip Bridge With Stretch


Lie faceup with knees bent, feet on mat, arms at sides. Cross right ankle over left knee. Exhale as you press heels into floor to lift hips up. Lift just high enough that you don't arch your low back. Inhale as you lower back down to starting position. Repeat for 1 minute then switch to other leg.

5. Side Push-Up


Performing a push-up on your side (rather than in plank position) is more comfortable for your back and belly. Start by lying on right side, left leg bent in a 90-degree angle, right leg resting on top. Place right hand on left side to keep that arm out of the way. Place left hand on mat in front of you between right shoulder and elbow. Engage core and press left hand into mat to lift shoulders and torso off mat. Slowly lower back down to starting position. Continue for 1 minute then repeat on opposite side.

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30 Convincing Reasons to Start Running Now

What promises a healthier body, a sunnier outlook, and the perfect opportunity to catch up? This is no infomercial. Running is one of the best butt-kicking, calorie-blasting workouts around. Still not convinced? Here are 30 reasons to hit the ground running.


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1. Do it anywhere.
Run, that is. Whether on the treadmill or in the park, it’s easy to rack up miles. Even better: Lace up your sneakers on your next vacation to explore a new place.

2. Make new friends.
Tired of meeting duds at the bar? Check out local running groups or websites like Meetup and hit the road with other health-minded folks. Twenty questions is just as good during a run (boozy brunches afterward are optional).

3. Save some cash.
Forget fancy equipment or a pricey gym membership. When it comes to running, all you need is the right footwear.

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4. Visit the doctor less.
Apples aren't the only things that keep the doctor away. Active people are less likely to develop colon cancer. And ladies, women who regularly engage in intense workouts like running can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 30 percent.

5. Eat more carbs.
Here's an excuse to slurp up more spaghetti: During intense training (like preparing for a race), increasing carb intake can help your performance and boost your mood during harder runs. 

6. Keep it interesting.
Forget boring laps around a track. Interval training helps boost metabolism and rev cardiovascular fitness. Bonus: Research shows people who do intervals have more fun while running (really!) and might be more likely to keep it up. 

7. Live longer.
Not only do runners have fewer disabilities and remain active longer than their sedentary counterparts, but they actually live longer too. And even as weekly running times decrease with age, the healthy benefits keep on ticking. 

8. Get primal.
Turns out Bruce Springsteen was right: We were born to run. Running turned us from apes to humans and was used by our ancestors to elude prey.

9. Feel the burn.
For a 160-pound person, running can burn more than 850 calories an hour.


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10. Bring sexy back.
Not only does having a rockin’ runner’s bod boost confidence in bed, but regular exercise can also help flexibility between the sheets—and get you in the mood more often.

11. Boost memory.
Exercise has been shown to help keep the mind sharp. Hitting the track might also reduce symptoms of dementia and protect the brain against Alzheimer’s, even for those with a family history of it.

12. See the sunny side.
Active folks see the glass as half full, even after they're done sweating. 

13. Get a natural glow.
Believe it or not, working up a sweat can rid your pores of the gunk that clogs them and leads to breakouts.  A solid sweat session can also boost natural oils, keeping things fresh and healthy. (Just remember to remove makeup preworkout and wash gently afterward to avoid breakouts.)

14. Improve self-esteem.
Need another excuse to go green? Runners who ran outside and snagged a good view of nature showed increased self-esteem post-workout than those who had only unpleasant scenes to gaze at. Ahem, dreadmill.

15. Stay steady.
Older runners keep their balance better than nonrunners, protecting their knees and tendons in the process. Be careful not to overdo it, though: Too much exercise can lead to stress injuries and bone loss.

16. Turn down the pressure.
Running is a natural way to keep high blood pressure at bay—and fast. Amping up workouts can help lower blood pressure in just a few weeks. 

17. Build stronger bones.
Resistance training is awesome, but word on the street is running might help produce even stronger bones than cranking out reps. Running helps build the muscle that lower-impact workouts ignore, keeping bones healthier even as they age.

18. Get an energy boost.
Feeling sluggish? Try going for a jog instead of lounging on the couch. Just one run can increase energy and decrease fatigue. 

19. Take your furry friends.
Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, and they can be man’s best workout buddy too. Grab a leash and give your pet a new kind of treat.


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20. Strengthen that core.
A strong core improves posture, strengthens limbs, and helps make everyday activities a breeze. And whether you feel it or not, running engages your midsection, strengthening those all-important muscles. Bonus: A solid core can improve performance. 

21. Sleep better.
Runners tend to adapt to set sleeping routines in order to keep performance high. Even better: Running encourages higher quality sleep, which translates into better zzzs all night long. 

22. Do it year-round.
You can rack up the miles no matter what the weatherman says (just dress appropriately!). Temperatures still not just right? Jazz up the ol’ treadmill run to get the same health benefits indoors.

23. Jam out to speed up.
Pop in headphones when running to increase speed and get a little energy boost. We won’t even judge your playlist.

24. Check off those goals
Studies suggest people who set and meet (or exceed) long-term fitness goals (like signing up for a half-marathon!) are more committed and satisfied with their exercise routines than those who trudge along aimlessly.  Who doesn’t feel good about crossing items off their bucket list?

25. Show your heart some loving.
People who run for just an hour a week can reduce their risk of heart disease by almost half compared to nonrunners.  And for those already hitting the recommended physical activity guidelines (that's 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week), an extra spurt of exercise can lower your risk of heart disease even more. (Just be mindful not to overdo it and cause more damage than good.)

26. Run stress away.
Ready to pull your hair out? Instead of tuning in to a brainless reality TV marathon, try running an actual marathon. Not only does running boost the brain’s serotonin levels, regular exercise might actually remodel the brain, making it calmer and more stress resistant. 

27. Be one with nature.
Want to feel the grass tickle your toes? Try minimalist sneakers or nothing at all. Just be sure to ease into this type of running to avoid injuries.

28. Increase stamina.
Running regularly will improve stamina, making workouts more enjoyable and productive. And let’s not forget that lasting longer isn’t restricted to the track—it’s useful in, uh, other areas as well.

29. Get there faster.
Instead of a leisurely evening stroll, try a jog around the neighborhood instead. It’ll burn more calories in the same amount of time.

30. Sound like a pro.
Get in the know with our list of running lingo. Ready, set, run!

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Eat to control cravings and boost energy

  • Eat breakfast. Get your metabolism going in the morning by eating a healthy breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who skip it. A solid breakfast provides energy for the day.
  • Eat regularly. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours. Support your body’s natural cycle of energy by eating a substantial breakfast, a nutritious lunch, a snack around 2 pm (to compensate for the body’s natural low point that occurs around 3 each afternoon), and a light early dinner.
  • Cut the junk. The ups and downs that come with eating sugary snacks and simple carbohydrates cause extreme swings in energy level and mood. Cutting out these foods can be tough, but if you can resist for several days, your cravings will subside.
  • Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas boost your “feel-good” serotonin levels without a crash. They also provide plenty of fiber, so you feel full much longer.
  • Boost energy with quality protein. Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet, but it’s important to vary your diet with fish, chicken and turkey, dairy, and plant-based protein sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, and non-GMO soy products. If you eat red meat, opt for organic, grass-fed rather than processed meats, such as hotdogs, bacon, and salami, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
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Nutrition for women of all ages

  • Focus on whole, plant-based foods. Diets such as the Mediterranean diet that emphasize fruits and vegetables, seafood, and healthy fats can help control your weight and reduce your risk for certain diseases. Carotenoid-rich fruits and veggies, such as tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, melons, and peppers, may even reduce your risk for breast cancer. Add leafy green vegetables and a variety of whole grains, beans, and other legumes to give you filling fiber and keep you going throughout the day. Try to find organic, minimally processed, or locally grown foods whenever possible and make these foods the mainstay of your diet.
  • Bone up on calcium. Women are at a greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis, so it’s important to get plenty of calcium to support your bone health. Dairy products are high in calcium and recent evidence suggests that consuming whole-fat dairy can also have beneficial effects on weight control. Consider plant-based sources of calcium like beans, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens as well.
  • Make sure you get enough iron. Many women don’t get enough iron in their diet. On top of that, women lose a lot of this important mineral during menstruation. Boost your intake by eating iron-rich foods such as red meat, dark poultry, lentils, spinach, almonds, and iron-fortified cereals.
  • Cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Women who have more than two alcoholic drinks a day are at higher risk of osteoporosis and postmenopausal breast cancer. Caffeine consumption interferes with hormone levels and also increases the loss of calcium. Both alcohol and caffeine can also worsen PMS and menopause symptoms and adversely affect fertility. Try to limit alcohol consumption to one glass a day and caffeine to one cup a day.
  • Cut down on sugar. Sugars that are not found naturally in foods contribute zero nutrients but lots of calories to your diet. Naturally occurring sugars are found in products containing milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose), while added sugars can be found in the most unexpected foods, often hidden in the ingredients list as agave nectar, cane crystals, corn sweetener, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, and more.
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Latest


WHAT IS BERGAMOT?

The fragrance world has never been given to informality: adverts often sound as if they’ve been scripted by Byron and their descriptions can require a dictionary to decode. But learn to speak their language and you’ll be less likely to walk out of Duty Free smelling like a bordello doorman. In this case, bergamot is a small yellowy-green fruit that gives your fragrances – and Earl Grey tea – their citrus note. "It’s used in scores of scents to add freshness," says James Craven of independent perfumery Les Senteurs. That’s because bergamot is more ‘rounded’ (translated, less bitter) than lemon and grapefruit, while not as tangy as orange. So if you favour a spritely aroma but don’t want to smell like a teenager, check for bergamot on the label. It’s like comparing cheap plonk with something richer. Oh, and on that note, bergamot is pronounced with a hard ‘T’ – like Moet.

Acqua Di Parma – Blu Mediterraneo “The finest bergamot comes from Calabria in Italy,”says Craven. Which is where the oil for this fresh but spicy cologne originates. £52 for 75ml

Ermenegildo Zegna – – Italian Bergamot This summer scent isn’t just fresh and zingy: it’s warm and herbaceous too, ideal for work and play. £145 for 125ml

Maison Francis Kurkdjian – - Aqua Universalis “Bergamot is present in the full composition, not just the top note,” says Craven. If that’s your cup of Earl Grey. £110 for 70ml


LINKS OF LONDON: FOR THE MODERN MAN

Deciphering fragrance parlance is easier said than done. Wading through references to myriad notes and fougere can leave your head swimming and have you reaching for the wrong kind of bottle. However, with the expertise of WIll Andrews (what’s his title?), MH has identified the only four words you need to remember and finally make sense of scents. Forget talk of Bergamot or sorting your vetiver from your vanilla, deploy these terms in any fragrance shop and you’ll find your new favourite scent in no time.

Citrus

What does it mean: Made from notes of fresh fruit. Expect these to feel and smell fresher, lighter and cleaner. This family has become increasingly popular with the rise of sports fragrances.
When to use it: This aura of clean is perfect post-gym, helping to reinvigorate you after a hard session. Pack a bottle in your gym bag and carry with you at all times.
Buy it: Boss Bottled Unlimited

Aromatic

What does it mean: This family is created from Mediterranean herbs. Whilst still fresh and energising they also feel more masculine.
When to use it: This should be your go-to office fragrance. It’s a serious scent and the masculine edge is a perfect partner to your power suit. Keep one in your top drawer to reapply after lunch.
Buy it: Lacoste Blue

Woody

What does it mean: Made from sandal and cedarwood, just like cigar boxes, these fragrances have a more old-school manly feel. They’re deeper, smoother and more soulful.
When to use it: Once the initial smell subsides and you’re left with the woody dry down, these scents last much longer and are great for all day use. Keep this one in your bathroom and spray at the weekend before a day out with mates.
Buy it: Boss Bottled Night

Oriental

What does it mean: The warmest collection of fragrances made from edible notes like vanilla and chocolate. They smell rich, sweet and are guaranteed crowd pleasers.
When to use it: This family is the most seasonal and work best in winter, but suit evenings just as well. Plus, they also last the longest and are therefore perfect for a night out. Spritz just before you leave for the restaurant and come home smelling just as good.
Buy it: James Bond Seven


LINKS OF LONDON: FOR THE MODERN MAN

It all started with some fish-shaped cufflinks in 1990. Since then, Links of London have gone from strength to strength: opening over 100 stores across the world, from Hong Kong and Shanghai to New York and Athens.

Their men's collection is constantly evolving to suit the needs of the modern man, and this year, as the innovative brand celebrate their 21st birthday, they've made some seriously stylish additions to their men's collection


THIS SEASON’S BEST WALLETS

ou need a wallet that shows you’re serious about money. In your student days you might have got away with one of those plastic ‘travel’ numbers for your NUS card. But in the big leagues of work, and with gold cards and £20s to accommodate, it has to be leather or mock-croc. Whipping out one of these shows you’re clever with wedge – and that gives you an edge.


THE ULTIMATE LUXURY LEATHER BRIEFCASE

Description

A ringleader of the Mulberry family, streetname: 'Heathcliffe'. Seen here in oak-brown vintage leather, but may also appear in chocolate and black leather guises. Soft structured but well built, it serves as a portable office with padded laptop sleeve, penholders and various zipped pockets for documents. Optional shoulder strap for hands-free mobility.

Reward

If there is one bag that will last you the rest of your days, this is it. It gets better with age: as the leather wears, the natural oils burnish to produce a smooth dark patina. It's more refined than the standard-issue nylon and Velcro laptop case and it won't ruin the shoulder of your suit like a courier satchel would. Plus it's smarter (and more masculine) than a tote.

Known associates

This version goes well with grey and navy tailoring, camel coats, brown leather shoes, belts and gloves.

Exercise caution

Arm yourself with a leather protector (Liberon Leather Cream, £9.95 fromtooled-up.com) to prevent tide stains if you get caught in the rain. And remember tan leathers will clash with black leather accessories or a black suit – even in Italy where they try to get away with this kind of caper.


THE BEST SUMMER BRACELETS FOR MEN 2014

Double wrap
Chunky bracelets work best as standalones – especially if, like this bracelet-within-a-bracelet, it’s effectively two-in-one anyway. £80 Miansai at oki-ni.com

Stone rises
Forget 50-baht traveller beads: this is made with genuine ‘tiger’s eye’ gems interspersed with silver beads, so you look like you have a job. £120tateossian.com

Head candy
This Italian-made leather double- wrap with a gold and crystal skull is practically a wrist cuff. So go easy on stacking it with other bands. £65 Alexander McQueen at selfridges.com

Adult move
If you want something you can wear on the weekend and your company’s black-tie dinner, this sterling silver band has smart-casual wrapped. £150linksoflondon.com

Primary rule
When stacking bracelets, all your normal material-matching rules go out the window. In this instance, blue and red make perfect partners. £75 miansai.com

Hair metal
Made from plaited black calfskin with silver caps, this band is a little bit rock’n’roll yet refined: the wristwear equivalent of Bryan Ferry. £89thomassabo.com


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