Tag: healthy

‘I had this time-bomb inside me’ – BBC News

Image copyright Helga MacFarlane
Image caption Helga Macfarlane was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, (HCM)

Helga Macfarlane says she is “horrified” to think that she was unknowingly living with a faulty gene that put her at high risk of coronary heart disease or sudden death.

The 52-year-old, from Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, seemed to be fit and healthy all her life and took part in numerous sports, including squash and running.

Ms Macfarlane was diagnosed last year with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, (HCM), which is an inherited condition.

Her diagnosis came almost 20 years after a brief episode of irregular heart rhythm in her 30s, the cause of which was not found.

“In hindsight it absolutely frightened me that I had run and played squash and I had this time-bomb inside me,” she told BBC Scotland.



Image copyright Helga Macfarlane
Image caption Helga’s son Murray was tested for the faulty gene


According to new research from the British Heart Foundation, more than 50,000 Scots are thought to be carrying a faulty gene that puts them at high risk of heart disease.

The majority of those affected are undiagnosed and unaware that they may be at risk of a sudden heart attack.

Each week in the UK about 12 seemingly healthy people aged 35 or under are victims of sudden cardiac death with no explanation.

Ms Macfarlane says she had first noticed irregular heart beats and palpitations when she was in her 30s but nothing was found.

“Then in my mid-40s I started getting more severe palpitations, light-headedness and I passed out a couple of times,” she says.

“I was referred back to the cardiology department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who did various tests and echo scans, ultrasounds, a treadmill test and they could not find anything at all.

“There was certainly nothing lifestyle related like blocked arteries or anything so it was a bit of a mystery.”

Ms Macfarlane says she was “starting to feel like I was some kind of hypochondriac” but doctors persevered with their tests.

Cardiac defibrillator

Eventually she was fitted with a reveal monitor, which was implanted into her body for two years.

“For 18 months it didn’t pick up anything,” she says.

“Then in the last six months it picked up what’s called tachycardia, which is a very fast heart beat.

“They were able to analyse this and see that it was something a bit sinister.”

Another episode of fainting last June led to an MRI scan which showed that the wall of her left ventricle, which is the lower chamber of the heart, was thickened.

That suggested the possibility of an inherited heart condition.

She was sent for a gene test which gave the positive result.

Ms Macfarlane says that her father had died of a heart condition but doctors could not tell from his notes whether he had carried the faulty gene.

They also tested Ms MacFarlane’s son and her brother to see if they had the gene. Both tested negative.

As a result of her diagnosis, Ms Macfarlane was fitted with a cardiac defibrillator.

She says: “That gave me a complete new lease of life because I had lost all my confidence, knowing that I had the condition that could possibly lead to sudden cardiac death.

“The cardiac defibrillator constantly monitors my heart and if the rhythm goes off or my heart stops for any reason it will kick in and I am extremely lucky to have that.”

Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean a salad for every meal and these products prove it

Image: pexels

Heads up: All products featured here are selected by Mashable’s commerce team and meet our rigorous standards for awesomeness. If you buy something, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Getting healthy is consistently one of the top resolutions for Americans every year and a big part of that is taking stock of what’s going in our mouths.

If you’ve resolved to start eating healthier, don’t get overwhelmed. These products can make eating healthy a delicious endeavor.

Let’s start off with one of the most helpful healthy eating tools out there: PlateJoy is a super user-friendly meal app (with optional grocery delivery service) that offers personalized nutrition plans based on your likes, dislikes, and lifestyle. Choose from tons of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options by selecting the cuisine and preparation time — you’ll never run out of ideas again.

Take healthy cooking to the next level with this meal prep lunch bag. Keep the unnecessary calories away with three portion-control food containers that stack perfectly inside, with easily rearrangeable compartments for other containers, cups, or utensils — there’s even space for two protein shaker cups. According to the reviews, the insulated walls are able to keep food cold for 12-14 hours.

If you’re trying to get into meal prep but don’t have a clue where to start, the highly rated Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook offers recipes, shopping tips, and storage solutions to put you on your way to becoming a meal prep pro — and show you how meal prep can be just as easy as opting for a frozen meal.



Image: toby amidor




Breakfast foods are important, and we’re here to tell you that beloved foods like scrambled eggs, omelettes, or sandwiches don’t have to be kicked out of your diet. This egg white yolk separator can help lighten the fat and calorie load, while still providing the same amount of protein.


Image: sefone





Get excited to get out of bed in the morning with the Oster My Blend This 250-watt blender is an Amazon Choice product that blends your smoothies right in a grab-n-go sport bottle, so you don’t have to waste time with multiple parts. 

Cutting french fries out of a diet is simply inhumane. Go greaseless with this digital air fryer that can help you cook your favorite foods with little-to-no oil. The fryer is equipped with seven presets for fries, meat, shrimp, cake, chicken, steak, and fish, and comes with a cookbook full of healthy recipes. 

Speaking of potatoes, if you’re on a health kick but can’t force yourself to say goodbye to deep fried snacks, this microwave potato chip maker can make healthy potato chips possible. The slicer cuts potatoes into thin, chip shaped strips, while the microwave creates the crunch you love, minus the oil.

Though we want to cut out oil as much as we can, sometimes it’s necessary for the cooking process. This anti-grease olive oil mister is a healthier alternative to store-bought sprays, and since it’s refillable, it could save money, too. You could even put salad dressing in it to avoid accidentally pouring too much dressing on your veggies.

Hey, pasta addicts: This Amazon’s Choice veggie spiralizer can make oodles of noodles out of zucchinis, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and your other favorite vegetables. You’re welcome.

After a long day, the last thing you want to do is spend hours prepping food you don’t even like. Cut back on time with 7-liter, 2-tier steamer that allows for multiple dishes to cook at once, so dinner can be ready faster.


Image: bella

This Is What Kourtney Kardashian Eats To Stay Healthy

I’ll be totally honest that I don’t exactly Keep Up with the Kardashians, but like, I hate-stalk Kylie with every fiber of my being, so that’s got to count for something. But in terms of the OG Kardashian sisters, I don’t know a whole lot about them, other than what I gather from other Betches articles. Like, Kim is the vain one (I am the Kim of my family), Khloé is the funny one, and Kourtney is the healthy one who like, cares a lot about eating organic and gluten-free shit. Right? I think I’ve got the bases covered. And given that Kourtney is also the hottest one (don’t fight me on this; her face has changed the least over the years compared to her sisters), it’s understandable why people would want to know what Kourtney Kardashian eats. How does she look better at age 38 with three kids than I do after a good week where I stick to my diet and fitness regimen? I mean, probably because she has a very expensive plastic surgeon personal trainer and her livelihood literally depends on her having a desirable physique. But other than that, her diet probably plays a role. So what does Kourtney Kardashian eat to stay skinny? Let’s investigate. Diet-Banners-250x250

On Kourtney’s members-only website (who is paying for this?), she revealed some key ingredients she swears by. As we all know, Kourtney went gluten- and dairy-free last spring, but she also has a serious sweet tooth, because LOL! She’s just so relatable. Kourtney previously told that she uses gluten-free flours like almond and sweet rice flour. Groundbreaking stuff. She also uses lots of coconut products like coconut oil and coconut flour. Apparently, behind the paywall on Kourtney’s website, you can find recipes for some of her fave coconut recipes, like coconut macaroons and pudding. And that’s how she sticks to her diet while still “indulging” in bootleg desserts that sound gross. IDK, I feel like if you’re about to go bake a cake out of coconut flour, you should either just make a regular fucking cake or eat some fruit. It’s like Ron Swanson says: Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

If there are people out there who are really paying to see Kourtney Kardashian’s coconut macaroon recipe, please comment below because I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Diet banner set 300 x 250 style 4

Is Alzheimer’s disease preventable?

Atlanta (CNN)There is no test doctors can use to conclusively determine whether someone will get Alzheimer’s disease. “If you are in your 20s or 30s and want to know if you will get the disease, we don’t have information to determine that now,” said Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Programming note: Join CNN anchors and correspondents for “Champions for Change,” as they get involved in important causes, ask questions and share what they’ve discovered, Saturday, June 23 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. This story was first published in 2015.
One thing everyone agrees on: There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. “We don’t know the exact cause of Alzheimer’s, we have hints and some pieces of information,” Snyder said. One thing that is known, if you have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with the disease, you are at an increased risk. “But that is by no means definitive that you will get the disease,” she said.
Snyder also points out that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and, she said, “the only one in the top 10 that we don’t have a way to stop or slow or prevent.”

For more about inspiring people and causes, including how CNN anchors and correspondents are getting involved, go to CNN.com/Champions.

That could be on the verge of changing. Doctors at three U.S. medical centers are gathering as much information as they can about patients and using it to give them an early intervention plan to slow or prevent the disease, even though it’s not known whether the patient will actually get it.

Personal and professional

Dr. Richard Isaacson’s interest in Alzheimer’s disease is personal and professional.
When he was a child, his great Uncle, known as a crotchety, old, senile man, had Alzheimer’s, although they didn’t know it then. When he was in high school his Uncle Bob was diagnosed. As a neurologist specializing in the field, he has been involved in the care of two family members and describes it as “intense.”
He hears the same from family members in his practice, which was part of his motivation to start the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. The clinic offers care to patients who want to reduce their risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
“My perfect patient is someone like me,” he said, meaning a person with a family history of Alzheimer’s but no symptoms, although he notes he’s not a patient just yet. The treatment is based on the premise that Alzheimer’s starts 20 to 30 years before there are signs or symptoms. Research shows that one in three cases of Alzheimer’s is preventable.
Isaacson’s youngest patient is 27, with parents who have Alzheimer’s, and his oldest is 91, with siblings who have the disease. Most of the patients are children of someone with the disease. But everyone is at risk and age is the biggest factor. That could explain the eight-month waiting list to get an appointment.
“I’m not a magician. I’m doing the best I can based on science now,” Isaacson said.
He said he spends hours, not minutes, with each patient, assessing cognitive performance (on paper and on a computer). Lab work is done to check cholesterol, inflammation and metabolic markers, as well as others. A physical assessment is also done for body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio. All are factors that could increase a patient’s risk.
Patients leave with recommendations for stress reduction, sleep management, exercise and sometimes medication, both prescription and over the counter (such as vitamins). Education is also a big part of the process, including an online program called Alzheimer’s Universe, which offers short courses on Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. Patients return for follow-up every six months.
“We basically suggest risk factor modification and follow them over time to see if their risk factors improve. The Holy Grail is to look if their cognitive function stabilizes or declines,” Isaacson said.

    Alzheimer’s researcher talks about his life’s work

In Los Angeles, Dr. Dean Sherzai is also personally invested in the disease. His aunt died earlier this month from Alzheimer’s and he has lost three grandparents to the disease. This propelled him to the helm of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Cedars Sinai.
Patients are assessed by genetic factors, blood tests and imaging (using a retinal scanner to look for amyloid protein accumulation in the eye). The focus is on lifestyle (i.e. music exposure, word games), nutrition, physical activity and socialization. These measures have shown that they can delay the progression of the disease.
Sherzai is also doing research treating patients early with a diabetes drug to target insulin resistance in the brain, and an inflammatory drug used to treat multiple sclerosis. Early intervention is key. “I think we fail good studies because we are doing it too late,” he said.

Risk assessment

At the University of Alabama at Birmingham Alzheimer’s Risk Assessment and Intervention Program, if you are between 45 and 65 you can get an assessment and walk away with a numerical estimate of your chances for developing dementia within the next 20 years. Patients over age 65 can get that estimate narrowed down to a six-year window.
Neurologist Dr. David Geldmacher, the program’s director, said he is not misleading patients. He gives estimates based on published studies. “I am careful to say I can’t make a specific calculation for any one individual but I can say people with this profile have this risk, you may vary but this is where you would fit in if you were part of these studies,” he said he tells patients.
That’s why he doesn’t see younger patients. “Fourty-five is just too far away to get quantifiable risk measurements,” he said.
The assessment starts with an initial screening over the phone. Then he takes a detailed clinical history focusing on risk factors that could be indicators of dementia, including education, history of anesthesia and brain injury. Those who have had none or very little memory change over the past five years are invited to join. Those with more memory change are referred elsewhere. He conducts an assessment of thinking and function. Patients then undergo an MRI to measure the degree of brain atrophy and ischemic change, both of which are predictors for memory loss within the next five to six years.
He gives patients a plan with targets that include weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and exercise: the modifiable behaviors that researchers believe can lower risk. “We can’t change our genes and we can’t change our birthday but we can modify some factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight (obesity), alcohol intake, and those are primary factors that people can change themselves,” Geldmacher said.
That difference can be significant. Geldmacher has a hypothetical model patient made up of two women in their early 50s that he uses for an example. Based on her profile, he explained, she has a 4% risk of developing dementia in the next 20 years, but if she modifies just one behavior, that risk drops to 2% and if she improves three risk factors she would have just a 1% chance, he said, noting that she can theoretically drop her dementia risk by 75% just by changing preventable behaviors.
Patients walk away with a plan and no follow-up. If symptoms begin, they can return. The program has been open for a year. So far, no patient has returned, but Geldmacher said if they do, the plan can be modified and goals can be reset.

Good for your health

These programs are designed around scientific evidence, offering patients a possible chance to change the course of their future by delaying the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s no guarantee, which is why Isaacson pointed out that some people do everything right and still get the disease. “It’s all about winning the tug of war against your genes,” he said.
That is why the Alzheimer’s Association created a list of 10 things that are good for your brain and good for your health. It’s possible these are also beneficial at slowing or preventing Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Tips include getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising a few times a week and not smoking. They also encourage enrollment in a clinical trial. The association website can help direct and connect people with research going on in their area.
So, while there is no treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s, it’s possible an ounce of prevention could go a long way. “Taking care of yourself when you are 50 can make a big difference when you are 70, not just for heart attack and stroke but for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well,” Geldmacher said.

Here’s What The Ingredients In Energy Drinks Actually Do To Your Body

The energy drink industry pulls inroughly 9 billion dollars annually, so its obvious that many of us turn to these sugary drinks when we need a jolt of energy. But what exactly is in those shiny cans that gives us wings?

Were here to explain.

There are a few common ingredients found in the most popular energy drinks, and were going to break down for you what they are and how or if they work to boost your energy.


We all know what caffeine is. Its the reason were so obsessed with coffee, and its the sole reason many of us get out of bed. It also happens to be the main source of energy in many energy drinks.

An 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, and NOS Energy Drink reportedly used to contain 260 mg, butthey lowered their caffeine by 100mg per canto around 160 mg.For comparisons sake,an 8-ounce Dunkin Donuts coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine, and an 8-ounce Starbucks coffee will rank closer to 160 mg of caffeine. The Mayo Clinic advises not drinking more than 400 mg of caffeine a day.

Which major brands use caffeine:Pretty much all of them specifically Red Bull, Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy Drink and NOS Energy Drink.


Taurine is an organic amino acid found in animal tissuethat scientists discovered in ox bile in the 1820s. Our bodies can make taurine, and you can get it from eating things like meat and fish. (Its also found naturally in human breast milk.) While taurine is thought to be vital in some body development, there is no actual evidence that taurine provides energy at all.

Which major brands use taurine: Pretty much all of them notably Red Bull, Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy Drink and NOS Energy Drink.

A handful of guarana berries, which many people have noted look a lot like eyes.


Guarana is a plant that grows in the Amazon and produces berries that contain caffeine, even more so per serving than coffee. Its this high caffeine contentthat makes this tropical berry a natural addition in energy drinks. So when you see guarana listed on energy drinks, you can read that as even more caffeine.

Which major brands use gaurana:Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy Drink.


There are some rumors going around the internet about potential dangers linked to glucoruonolactone, but these are unsubstantiated claims. Glucuronolactone is actually a naturally-occurring chemical produced by the body (and found in plant gums). Even though glucuronolactone is a common ingredient in energy drinks, its actual energy effects remain unknown.

Which major brands use glucuronolactone: Red Bull andMonster Energy.

B vitamins

B vitamins show up in many different forms in energy drinks, such as niacin, folic acid, riboflavin and cyanocobalamin. B vitamins are commonly called upon for energy boosting, but the problem is that unless you have a B vitamin deficiency, they dont really do much.

Which major brands use B vitamins:Red Bull,Monster Energy and Rockstar Energy Drink.


This naturally-occurring amino acid made by the liver and kidneys does affect energy levels, which is why so many energy drink companies call upon it. Unfortunately, the amount of L-carnitine found in most energy drinks is not high enough to have any real effect. Also, it is unclear as of yet if any additional L-carnitine than what the body already produces makes a difference in energy.

Which major brands use L-carnitine:Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy Drink and NOS Energy Drink.

The high sugar contentin these drinks also plays a role in boosting energy levels, since glucose is a major energy source for most cells in the body. But with sugar comes sugar crashes, and since some of these energy drinks were talking a 16-ounce Monster Energy contain the sugar equivalent of two Snickers bars, the crash can be pretty hard. And then there are thepossible links to adverse health effectsthat some studies have revealed.

So, you might want to consider brewing a pot of coffee instead. Youll get all the caffeine, and you get to decide how much sugar goes into it.

7 healthy desserts you’ll want to Instagram immediately

Image: Thrive Market

No matter how many times I look through my Instagram feed and salivate over beautifully curated pictures of rainbow sprinkled banana splits, dense chocolate cakes, glistening glazed donuts, and stacks of ooey-gooey brownies, I fail to go the extra step in actually copying the recipe and making them. Not because I dont think I can, but because these desserts contain hundreds of calories and artificial ingredients that Id rather not consume and later regret.

Luckily, there are always healthy alternatives to these favorite treats made with nutritious ingredient swapsand they can be just as picturesque while still remaining gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, low-cal, and/or sugar-free.

Here is just one gallery of mouthwatering, healthy dessertsand you might not even be able to see or taste the difference! Thats because all of these dishes are made with rich, wholesome ingredients that you can actually pronounce rather than containing artificial sugars and flavorings. If youre going to enjoy dessert, why not make it good for your body and leave you feeling guilt-free, too?

Image: Thrive Market

Chocolate avocado mousse

Spoiler alert: This beautiful mousse didnt come from Martha Stewarts cookbook. In fact, it was developed right in Thrive Markets own kitchen. While most chocolate whips are filled with empty calories and sugar, this unconventional dish spins that notion on its head. Believe it or not, this rich, chocolatey treat is made with only four ingredients: avocado, raw cacao, pure maple syrup, and mixed berries.

For the full Insta effect, serve in small ramekins with blackberries on top (this extra step also makes it prime for a decadent dinner party). Whatever the occasion may be, though, this sweet treat always does the trick without any added sugar. Even better, this chocolate avocado mousse can be made in five minutes, which is great if youre in a time crunch or looking for a quick fix.

Image: Thrive Market

Double Chocolate Brownie Bites

Brownies are a dessert staple with unlimited variations from double chocolate to cream cheese, even pumpkin-spiced, theres no shortage of creative ideas for this chocolatey mini-cake.

Whats different about this recipe, though, is that its totally Paleo and grain-free; instead, these bites are made with ground flaxseeds, raw cacao powder, Medjool dates, vanilla extract, and of course dark chocolate. While they taste good on their own, you can also create a brownie sundae a la mode (with dairy-free ice cream) for the picture perfect finishing touch.

Image: Thrive Market

Gluten-free vegan chocolate strawberry truffles

Next time you need an unforgettable gift, whip up a batch of these healthy homemade truffles that will leave your friends and family speechless (especially since they will be trying to get in every last bite). These rich little treats look picturesque when wrapped up together (see some of our tips for eco-friendly packing) but the real joy comes in devouring the full-bodied fruity flavors: each truffle is made with ripe Medjool dates, juicy strawberries, and unsweetened coconut flakes and then covered in crushed walnuts, cacao powder, and ground cinnamon, which helps to hold them together and provide a slightly firm texture. Since these tasty bites are made with all-natural ingredients (including no added sugar), and require no baking, they also qualify as a scrumptious raw dessert, too.

Image: Thrive Market

Coconut creme brulee

Creme brulee has been around since the late 1600s, allowing ample time for it to be perfected and recreated over the yearsincluding Thrive Markets own exotic coconut variety. Though its made from only five ingredients (vanilla beans, coconut cream, egg yolks, coconut sugar, and a pinch of salt), this dish tastes like it came from a five-star kitchen.

The custard itself is Paleo-friendly and gluten-free and still includes the classic hardened top, made from a pinch of the coconut sugar and a handheld pastry torch. Serve at your next gathering, but be prepared for a round of pictures before you can actually dig in.

Image: Thrive Market

Rosemary orange polenta cake

Moist and hearty texture meets bright citrus flavor in these European-inspired cakes that are ready for their photo shoot right out of the oven. Because each is miniature in size, theyre great for anyone watching portion control and can also be easily taken on-the-go for a quick pick-me-up. In Italy, where the recipe hails from, these desserts are known as tea cakes and are served in the afternoon with a side of fresh berries and a hot cup of Earl Grey.

Because these desserts are made with polenta rather than wheat flour, they also qualify as a great dessert option for anyone with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. But that doesnt mean people without food allergies cant still enjoy them, too!

Image: Thrive Market

Almond Butter Cups

Skip the candy aisle and make a handful of these dark chocolate almond butter cups at home. If you dont have a chocolate factory waiting for you there, its okay, since this creative recipe uses only a mini cupcake tin and simple ingredients such as almond butter, maple syrup, raw honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and sea saltand thats it!

The creaminess from the almond butter goes perfectly with the hard chocolate shell, while the pinch of sea salt sprinkled on top becomes a great contrast to the sweet, nutty flavor. Make them ahead of time (each batch creates two dozen treats) and wrap up for sweet bites on-the-go or an incredibly generous gift. Just dont forget to capture a picture for Instagram so everyone can like your hard work.

Image: Thrive Market

Triple ginger cookies with pomegranate molasses

If youre looking for basic cookies, youve come to the wrong place. This batch has double the pleasure bite into this scrumptious dessert and first youll experience a kick of hot ginger that tingles the tongue before the dense pomegranate molasses cools things off. The result is a a great contrast of flavors in one small treat that looks just as good as it tastes.

For even more photo-ready presentation, stack a few of them high on a plate and serve alongside a helping of candied ginger or blackberries. Another option is warming them up and serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, which adds an additional perfect combination of hot meets cold. See for yourself how this unique fusion delights a crowd, especially as it racks up all those Instagram likes.

This article originally published at Thrive Market here

Read too : High cholesterol drops in U.S.

Here’s A Week’s Worth Of Belly-Fat-Busting Workouts

Since theres no such thing as spot reduction, simply planking like your life depends on it wont help you lose belly fat. Combining cardio and strength work in the form of high-intensity interval training, however, will, says Elyse Miller, the certified personal trainer who created these routines. (Miller is all about quick, no-equipment fitnessaka our kind of trainer.) Research shows that when your exercise sessions include bursts of all-out work, you lose more belly fat (in addition to all-over body fat) than if youd worked at a lower but steadier intensity. And did we mention that these workouts take about 10 minutes each? Youre welcome, time-crunched women of the world!

Doing HIIT every single day isnt recommended (your muscles need some R&R so they can properly rebuild, and doing intense exercise every day can increase your risk of overuse injuries), so Miller suggests capping your HIIT sessions at four per week, plus two steady-state cardio sessions and a rest day.

Heres your schedule:

Monday/Day 1: Workout 1
Tuesday/Day 2: Workout 2
Wednesday/Day 3: 20- to 30-minute jog, or speed-walk
Thursday/Day 4: Workout 3
Friday/Day 5: Workout 5
Saturday/Day 6: 20- to 30-minute jog, or speed-walk
Sunday/Day 7: Rest!

For the Workouts
Do each exercise for 20 to 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds then move on to the next exercise. (When youre doing a single-leg, or single-side, move, do 20 to 30 seconds on each side before moving on to the next exercise.) Repeat the entire circuit two times. You can bump up the intensity by moving faster, while still maintaining good form, of course.


High Knees

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Run in place, bringing your knees up high and pumping your arms.

Mountain Climbers

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Get in a plank position, with your feet hip-distance apart. Pull one knee in toward your chest and continue to quickly alternate knees while keeping your upper body in a steady plank positiondont let your lower back sag toward the ground.

Make it harder: Do a cross-body mountain climber, bringing your knees across your body as though youre trying to touch your opposite elbow.

Lunge with a Twist

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Lunge forward, bending your front leg to 45 degrees and keeping your back leg straight and your back flat. Your hands should be in front of your chest in prayer position. Twist from your core and reach your hands toward the outside of your front foot. Rise back to starting position and repeat.

Front/Back Frog Hops

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart; squat down, pushing your butt out behind you, and touch the ground between your legs. Then hop up and forward, repeat the squat-floor touch, hop up and back and repeat. As youre going through the move, dont let your back arch or round when you try to touch the floor in the squat. Hinge forward from your hips instead.

Make it easier: If this is too hard on your knees, take the hop out and simply squat, touch the floor and repeat.

Bicycle Crunches

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Lay on your back with your legs straight and your hands behind your head. Raise your legs so your feet hover just above the floor. Bring one knee up and in toward your chest, lifting your shoulders off the floor and twisting your torso so your opposite elbow and knee meet. Alternate side-to-side. Your lower back should feel glued to the floor. If you feel it starting to arch, lift your legs higher off the floor.


Squat Jacks

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Jump your feet out wide and squat down, pressing your butt and hips back out behind you. Jump your feet back together and straighten your legs, then repeat.

V-Up Abs

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Lay on your back with your arms over your head. Engage your core to raise your legs and upper body simultaneously, reaching your hands toward your toes so your body forms a V. Lower your legs and upper body back to the floor and repeat. You want to keep your lower back in contact with the floor throughout the movekeep your legs raised a little higher off the floor if you need to.

Make it easier: Keep your feet on the floor with your knees bent and perform a standard crunch while reaching your hands toward your heels. Make sure your abs are doing the work (not your neck) by lifting your chest up to the ceiling as you crunch.

Tuck Jumps

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet together. Hop straight up into the air while swinging your arms up to add momentum. Tuck your knees into your body in the air (let them naturally separate to hip-width-distance apart as you jump), then land back on the ground with knees slightly bent and feet together. Repeat.
Make it easier: If the tuck is too much, just do the jump, as if youre jumping rope.

Curtsy Lunges

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips. Take one large step forward so your legs are crossed as though youre about to do a curtsy. Lunge down in that position, rise back up to starting position and repeat.

Side-to-Side Wood Choppers

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet together and hands directly overhead, palms together. Hop to the right with feet together, lowering your hands and reaching to touch the outside of your right foot. Hop to the left, reaching your hands overhead, then lowering your hands to touch the outside of your left foot.


ABCs (Abs, Buns, Chest)

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Lay on your back and do two crunches, lifting your chest to the ceiling to avoid straining your neck. Roll forward and up a to standing position with your feet wide and do two squats. Place your hands on the ground and pop your feet back into a plank. Do two pushups (lower to your knees if you need to). Hop back to standing and do two squats before lowering your back to a flat position, where youll start the sequence over again. Dont rush this movego slowly until you get the hang of it, then gradually speed up once youve got your form down.

Make it harder: Instead of a regular squat, do jump squats, where you hop up into the air between reps.

Marching Farmer Squats

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet together and your arms hanging at your sides. Press your hips back and squat down, trying to touch your fingertips to the floor. Rise up, by pressing through your heels and squeezing your glutes. Lift one knee to hip height, return your foot back to the floor and drop back down into the squat. Rise up and lift the opposite knee to hip height and continue alternating knees as you squat.

Plank Jump-Ins

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Get into a plank position. Hop both feet forward toward your hands, so youre in a crouching position, with hands still on the ground. Immediately spring back into a plank position and repeat.
Make it easier: Hold a strong, stationary plank instead.

Star Jumps

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides. Drop into a slight squat and spring up into the air while extending your arms and legs outward into a star shape. Land softly, knees slightly bent, with legs back together and arms at your sides. Repeat.

Side-Plank Hold

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Get into a side-plank position, with your elbow directly below your shoulder. Try to maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your feet, so that your hips dont drop.

Make it harder: Add outer thigh lifts by raising your top leg up and down while holding the plank.


Jump-Switch Lunges

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Get into a standard lunge position, with both knees bent at 90 degrees and your back knee an inch, or two, off the floor. As you rise out of the lunge, jump up and switch legs in the air then land with the opposite leg in front. Lunge again and repeat. Dont let your front knee go past your toes in the lunge position.

Make it easier: You can take the hop out and simply do continuous lunges on one leg before switching to the other side.

Skater Jumps

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand in an athletic position with your knees slightly bent. Jump to the right, landing on your right foot, and cross your left leg behind your right ankle, softly tapping the ground with your left foot. Repeat the movement to the left, naturally pumping your arms for momentum as you jump back and forth.

Squat with Thigh Kick

Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Squat down, pushing your butt and hips back, so your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Rise up, pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes. Lift one leg up and out to the side. Bring your leg down and squat again. Repeat, alternating legs for the side lift.


Photos: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower down into a squat, place your hands on the floor in front of your feet and kick your legs back into a plank position. Do one pushup (go to your knees if you need to). Hop your feet forward, stand up and jump straight up into the air. Repeat.

Make it easier: Take out the pushup or the jump.

Make it harder: Jump into a star position (arms and legs extended out to your sides) instead of a straight jump.

Seated Leg Lifts

Photo: Courtesy of Elyse Miller

Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you and your back completely straight. Hug one knee into your chest and lift the other leg about 12 inches off the ground. Slowly lower the leg, lightly tapping your foot to the ground, and repeat. Try not to let your upper back hunch forward.

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