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Best Bodyweight Exercises for Teens

Teenagers in the 21st Century are the most unfit generation in history.

With the rise of the internet, mobile technology and gaming, teens perform less exercise than ever before.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the number of obese teenagers has risen from 32 million in 1990 to 42 million in 2013.

This is an increase of more than 25%.

Obesity and a lack of physical fitness can be combated by exercise and resistance training.

One of the best and most suitable ways is through bodyweight exercises.

So what are the best bodyweight exercises for teens?

The Facts

Bodyweight training is a cheap and easy way to exercise, get fit, build muscle and improve health. Bodyweight exercises can be done pretty much anywhere. Some ideas are:

  • In the house – a bedroom floor is perfect

  • Outside in a public park

  • In the yard/garden

One of the best things about bodyweight exercises is that you don’t need to join an expensive gym or buy any equipment. All you need is your body, some space and a little motivation.

Bodyweight training can burn huge amounts of calories and fat. Bodyweight training is used by the Army, Marines, boxers and MMA fighters to improve fitness, build muscle and increase endurance.

Remember to Warm Up!

A good warm up is really important. You should warm up before you do any kind of physical activity or exercise. A warm up will help prevent injury by loosening joints and getting the blood flowing.

Start by walking on the spot or up and down a set of stairs. If you’re able, gradually increase your speed until you’re jogging. Your blood will be pumping and you will feel warm and be sweating a little. Take care jogging up the stairs!

A warm up should last for between 5 and 15 minutes. You should feel warm but not tired.

Harder-Pushup-Variation

You can also make pushups harder if regular ones are too easy for you.

The Push Up

The push up (or press up as it’s sometimes called) is one of the most recognizable bodyweight exercises. It works your chest, shoulder, core and back muscles. MMA fighters, soldiers and boxers might do hundreds in one day. However you can start by just doing a few and then building up your numbers slowly.

The best way is to do as many as you can and then stop. That’s called one ‘set’. Rest for a couple of minutes and then do another set. Aim to do five sets of ten push ups. Once you can do that, go for five sets of 20.

To do a push up, lie face down on the floor with your hands palm down on the floor, in line with your shoulders. Your legs should be straight. Using your chest, arms and shoulders, lift your body off the floor, keeping your legs straight. Keep going until your arms are straight but not locked. Then lower down slowly until your elbows are at right angles.

That’s one push-up (or one ‘rep’).

If you can’t do a full push up, there is a technique that you can use until you build upper body strength. Rest your knees on the floor as you push up. This means less weight is being lifted and so the exercise is easier.

The Squat

The bodyweight or ‘air’ squat is one of the best exercises to work the leg muscles, lower back and core (abdominals or abs). It will also improve flexibility in the hips and improve posture.

To do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. I like to rest my hands on my head or have them crossed over my chest. Bend at the knees and hips, as if sitting down on a chair. Keep the chest up, eyes facing forward. When your thighs are at right angles to the ground, stand slowly back up. That’s one squat.

Start by doing five sets of 10 squats. Once you can do this easily, increase your numbers until you can do five sets of 20.

If you find squatting difficult, use a chair for support. Lower your bodyweight slowly onto the chair and stand slowly back up without resting. This will make the exercise easier until you are strong or flexible enough to do a full squat.

Chin Ups

So far, we’ve worked our chest, shoulders and legs. Now we want to work the muscles in our backs. The chin up is one of the best ways to safely exercise the back muscles.

Although you can buy chin up bars to fit in doorways at home, I prefer to improvise. You can use anything: a beam in your garage, the branch of a tree, even a climbing frame in the park.

Start with your hands grasping the bar. Your palms can either face you (this works the arms more) or away from you (this focuses more on the back). Pull your body up until your chin is over the bar. Then lower slowly down. This is one chin up.

Chin ups are quite difficult so start with three sets of two or three reps. When you can do this easily, increase the numbers until you can do three sets of eight.

There is a technique to improving your chin up numbers. It’s called ‘greasing the groove’. This is best done with a door-way mounted chin up bar. Every time you pass the bar, you have to do a chin up! Once this is easy, increase it to two chin ups, and so on.

You can also check out this post if you’re interested in learning how you can do more chin-ups and pull-ups.

Abdominal Crunches

Abdominal crunches are a great bodyweight exercise in that they target the stomach muscles, or abdominals. These are often referred to as ‘abs’.

A strong set of abdominal muscles helps you to perform the other exercises listed above. Strong abs also help to prevent injury, especially to your back. Crunches are easy to do. Here’s how:

Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Hook your toes under a sofa or another piece of furniture – this will help stabilize your body. Cross your arms over your chest with your hands touching your collar bone. Slowly raise your chest and shoulders up off the floor until your upper body is at a 45 degree angle. Keep your stomach muscles tight. Then lower slowly down. That’s one crunch.

Do three sets of 12 crunches. You can increase the numbers once this feels easy.

To make this move harder you can touch your head with your fingertips (don’t ‘pull’ on the back of your head). Try not to rest your shoulders on the floor in between crunches.

Tricep Dips

So far, we’ve worked the upper body, legs and abs. Now for the arms! Arm exercises are best done at the end of a workout as they require less energy than movements like push ups or chin ups. Tricep dips are one of the best bodyweight exercises for growing muscle in your arms and shoulders.

Many people spend a lot of time building their biceps, but the triceps muscles make up 2/3 of your arms. So it makes sense to focus on building them too.

To do tricep dips, all you need is a chair and a little bit of space.

Sit on the chair, with your hands beside you, gripping the edge of the seat. Straighten your legs out in front of you, heels resting on the floor. Push your body up and away from the chair using your arms.

Now lower yourself down until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Your bottom should be lower than the seat of the chair. Push back up until your arms are straight but not locked out. That’s one rep.

Start by doing four sets of 12 reps. Focus on doing the movement slowly and under control. Try to ‘feel’ your arms working and don’t jerk or use momentum.

Keep your elbows pointing back. Letting them point out to the sides will make the exercise easier and won’t target your arms as well.

To make this easier, you can bend your knees a little. The more you bend, the easier this exercise is.

Summary

Bodyweight training is a great way for teens to get fit, exercise and improve muscle size and tone. These five exercises are a great way to start working out and using bodyweight exercises anywhere.

Try doing these exercises consecutively in a workout. You could also do them in a circuit For example:

1 set each of:

  • Push ups

  • Squats

  • Chin Ups

  • Abdominal Crunches

  • Tricep Dips

Rest for two minutes and repeat three or four times. Both should take under an hour with a warm up.

Once you can do these exercises easily, you could also add in other bodyweight exercises. These are more advanced so you should focus on the basics before attempting these.

More advanced exercises include: Lunges, pistol squats, single leg dead lifts, ‘diamond’ push ups, plank, shoulder press.

Remember you should always speak to your physician when starting a new exercise routine and stop immediately if you feel sick or dizzy at any time.

Does-Weed-Make-You-Lose-Weight

Does Weed Make You Lose Weight?

Does-Weed-Make-You-Lose-WeightThe Link Between Weed & Weight Loss

Smoking marijuana, otherwise know as weed, is a hotly debated topic.

Is it good for you?

Is it bad for you?

Are there actually medicinal properties?

As more states in the USA legalize weed, either for medicinal or recreational use, these questions become more crucial.

While marijuana has been shown to reduce stomach issues for those undergoing chemotherapy and to treat muscle spasms and chronic pain, weed has also been shown to increase appetite in those with HIV.

Keeping this in mind, why do people also think that smoking weed will help to reduce weight?

Could this actually help, but could there also be unintended side effects from smoking weed for weight loss?

Does Smoking Weed Make You Lose Weight?

While people have been smoking marijuana for as long as history can remember, up until recently, there was no proper research done on the effects of the drug.

A number of studies have been released over the last decade that indicate that while weight loss can be a side effect of marijuana use, it can also have unintended consequences.

Good News

  • The American Journal of Epidemiology (2011) – In this study, authors used data from two studies of over-18 year olds to compare weight and marijuana use. After adjusting for tobacco use, age, and biological sex, the authors found that people who smoked weed at least 3 days a week were less likely to be obese. Those who hadn’t smoked marijuana in the last year had a prevalence of obesity around 23%, while those who smoked multiple times a week had a prevalence of around 15%.
  • The American Journal of Medicine (2015) – The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for 2005 to 2010 provided the data for researchers to understand whether there is a correlation between metabolic syndrome (factors for obesity) and weed use. Over 8000 people aged 20 to 59 were studied. The results across all age brackets, divided between current-users, past-users, and never-users, indicated that current-users had the lowest rate of metabolic syndrome, with never-users having the highest, and past-users were between the two percentage-wise.
  • The American Journal of Cardiology (2006) – This longitudinal study found that for both black and white youths, marijuana use was not correlated with a higher body mass index (BMI) or higher lipid and glucose levels, which are all markers of obesity. However, this study cautions that marijuana users also tended to have other habits (tobacco use and alcohol use) that were unhealthy and that could lead to obesity or other problems.
  • The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (2010) – This two-decade-long study out of Australia showed that both males and females were at a lower risk of an overweight or obese BMI (greater than 25), especially those who smoked daily.
  • Phytomedicine (2012) – This study, done in rats rather than humans, found that the animals that were injected with an organic cannabis extract over a 28-day period were less likely to gain weight and had better protection of their pancreatic islets.

Overall, studies indicate that regular marijuana use leads to a smaller BMI. However, studies also indicate that marijuana use could be bad for your health, if not your waistline.

Bad News

  • Public Health Nutrition (2001) -While this study, the oldest of the group of studies discussed here, also showed a correlation between weed use and weight loss (BMI was slightly lower overall for marijuana users), it also discussed the dietary habits of the users. The diet of a marijuana user had more sugars and more sodium, and their habits tended to include more alcohol and more cigarettes than those of a non-user.
  • Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience (2014) – This study, like the above study, also concludes that marijuana users are less likely to be obese. However, it also gives a number of reasons for why this could be true, including the fact that marijuana users also tend to use other drugs, including alcohol. The study also points out that there are differences for short-term and long-term weed users, with short-term use causing weight gain (for patients with HIV and cancer) and long-term use causing a lower rate of obesity. The study also suggests that food and drugs compete for the same reward sites in the brain, which may explain the long-term weight loss.

Overall, these studies indicate that marijuana users tend to have other habits that may contribute to bad health.

Anecdotal Evidence

It seems as though everybody has something to say about whether or not weed helped them, or somebody they know, to lose weight.

Here are two stories from people who have different ideas about how weed affects weight loss:

  • “When I was 16, I started smoking pot. I weighed about 140 pounds. But 6 months later I had dropped to 120 pounds – that’s 20 pounds in 6 months! I didn’t do anything different other than smoking weed. […] When you ask me, does smoking weed make you lose weight? I tell you it does!”
  • “The thin people I know who smoke pot tend to have other problems, like not enough money for good food. They aren’t losing weight because they smoke weed. They are losing weight because they are spending too much money on weed!”

Is Smoking Weed Bad For You?

As stated in the “Bad News” section above, marijuana use does have its bad sides, although withdrawal is not one of those things.

However, if you watch what other habits you are picking up when you use marijuana, you may get all the good without much of the bad tagging along.

Keep in mind, though, that marijuana is a drug and it does have around 60 chemicals in it.

These can cause side effects like red eyes or a dry mouth, so make sure to do your research before deciding that marijuana is the perfect weight loss drug for you!

P.S- We recommend using this diet for losing weight instead of playing around with marijuana.

Woman Losing Weight With Big Jeans

25 Science-Based Tips For Losing Weight in 2017 (Number 12 is a Weird One)

Losing weight can be a difficult process.

It seems that everyone knows just the way to do it.

If everyone is so great at giving advice at losing weight, why isn’t everyone 100% healthy right now?

Because their advice is usually wrong.

It’s as simple as that.

Would you rather listen to your great uncle Ross (whose beer belly seems to be growing every year) or accredited scientists and doctors?

Let’s listen to the doctors and make sure that 2016 is the year when you finally lose that belly fat and get the beach body you’ve been dreaming of forever.

Let’s dive in!

1. Eat Protein for Breakfast

In his 4 Hour Body book Tim Ferriss explains how his dad lost 23 pounds in 2 months.

What did his father do?

He started consuming 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.

Now you don’t have to consume 30 grams of protein to see the fat-loss effects. You don’t even have to eat it within 30 minutes of waking up.

Simply swapping your regular breakfast for eggs or any other protein-rich food can help you lose a ton of weight.

In this article in the International Journal of Obesity, they state that “egg breakfast enhances weight loss,” but you still have to do some sort of exercise even if it’s simply walking for 30 minutes per day. (Another source in PubMed)

2. Drink More WaterGlass of Water for Weight Loss

Water isn’t just good for helping your brain work better. (ScienceDirect, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

Drinking more water can also help you lose weight more effectively.

In fact, drinking 500 mL of water can increase your metabolism by 30% for 90 minutes. (PubMed)

This means that your body automatically burns more calories no matter what you do.

Cool, huh?

If you drink 500 mL of water 30 minutes before eating you can decrease your hunger and thus lose more weight. (PubMed)

3. Go On a Low Carb Diet

Going on a low carb diet can help you lose more weight than standard low-fat, and other diets.

Once again this is something that Tim Ferriss suggests in his book, but he’s not a doctor so let’s look at the actual doctoral publications.

There are numerous studies about this, and instead of linking to all of them here is an article on Authority Nutrition summarizing 23 of them.

4. Have Only Healthy Food Around You

This might seem like an obvious one, but if you keep healthy snacks on your desk, near your couch, etc, you are more likely to eat them than unhealthy ones.

You could have a bowl of nuts at your work desk, a fruit-bowl near your couch, or some baby-carrots, a yogurt, or a healthy granola bar.

5. Eat Before Going Grocery Shopping

We’ve all had it happen to use.

We go to the grocery store hungry and everything looks good.

We pile tons of food into our cart, come home, eat, and then realize that half of the stuff you bought you don’t even want.

When you shop hungry you’re not just wasting money. You’re also hindering your weight-loss goals because you’re more likely to buy unhealthy snacks and foods if you’re shopping hungry.

Save your wallet and your tummy. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

6. Use Smaller Plates

The size of plates have been steadily increasing, which means that you have to put more and more food on them to feel full. (PubMed)

If you use a smaller plate you’ll end up eating less and still feeling full after because of the way your brain works. (PubMed)

A smaller plate with food piled on top of it will trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating more, compared to a large plate with the same amount of food.

Smaller Plate Size With Food

7. Don’t Drink Calories

When we say don’t drink calories we mean don’t drink soft drinks like coke (yes, even coke zero), don’t drink “fruit juice” (the store bought fruit juice has the same amount of sugar as coke), and minimize the amount of sugar and creamer in your coffee.

If you love juice, then buy fruits and make your own. Studies like this one have shown that fruit juice has nearly the same amount of sugar as an equivalent amount of coke.

Milk is healthy, but it can still be fattening so try decreasing the amount of milk you take in.

There’s a reason why there is a GOMAD (gallon of milk a day) “diet” that can help you gain over 30 pounds in 30 days.

P.S.- Coke zero or any other zero-calorie drinks are terrible for you. Don’t drink them.

8. Eat More Protein

This one goes hand in hand with tips number 1 and 3.

Eating more protein overall means that you’ll probably eat more for breakfast and that you’ll probably decrease the amount of carbs you take in.

A high protein diet can increase your metabolism by 100 calories per day, and you’ll feel fuller which means you’ll eat less throughout the day. (PubMed)

9. Sleep More and Better

I’m sure you know that the average adult needs 6-8 hours of sleep per night.

The question is, are you an average adult?

You might need 10 hours of sleep, or maybe you’re fine on 6 hours of sleep.

Try sleeping for different amounts of times for a week at a time and see how you feel.

You might be surprised at what you find.

Bad sleep also hinders your ability to lose weight and is shown to be one of the highest risk factors for obesity. (PubMed)

10. Don’t Watch TV/Videos While Eating

Watching TV while eating can cause “mindless eating” where you don’t pay attention to how much you’re eating and what you’re eating.

This might not necessarily be a problem if you already have the food that you’re going to eat on your small plate and you have no junk food in the house, but otherwise the temptation might be too great and you won’t be able to lose weight.

Consider this: eating while watching TV is “associated with poor eating behaviors in adolescents.” (PubMed)

You might be stronger than that, but why take the risk?

11. Eat More Fiber

Eating fiber with every meal can increase the feeling of fullness and help you lose weight. (PubMed)

12. Eat Spicy

Can eating spicy really help you lose weight?

Not all spicy foods will, but some of them can and will help you reach your ultimate goals.

Cayenne pepper boosts your metabolism and reduces your appetite which is great if you want to lose weight. (PubMed and PubMed)

Cayenne Pepper For WeightLoss

13. Do Resistance Training

Everyone wants to have more muscles and less fat, right?

However resistance training exercises can be confusing.

Do you really need to go to the gym 7 days a week for 2 hours per day to increase your muscle mass?

No.

In fact as little as 20 minutes of resistance training per day 3 days a week can increase your muscles mass and help you lose that pesky fat. (PubMed)

No more second guessing or questioning whether what you’re doing is right.

14. Ditch Simple Carbs

This goes hand in hand with many of the tips above.

A simple explanation of what simple carbs are is this: it’s the white foods.

White bread, table sugar, cookies, cereal, white pasta, white rice, and potatoes. (Potatoes are technically complex carbs, but they tend to act like simple carbs inside the body which isn’t good.) (Pubmed)

15. Chew Slowly

Chewing your food slowly can help you lose weight.

Don’t believe me?

Your brain doesn’t register the food that you’re eating right away which is why you might feel bad after eating an appetizer, the full meal, and a dessert afterwards.

You still feel hungry right after eating the meal because your brain hasn’t registered everything yet, so you order the dessert.

However your stomach is already full and eating more just makes you feel bad and prevents you from losing weight.

Chewing slowly can decrease the number of calories you consume and also increases the production of hormones linked to losing weight. (PubMed)

16. Drink Green Tea

This might seem like strange advice, but it really works.

Green tea contains something called catechins, which are antioxidants that can lead to fat burning when combined with caffeine. (ScienceDirect and PubMed)

Do you know what the best part is?

Green tea also has caffeine in it.

This means that by simply drinking green tea you can help yourself lose weight, and if you combine this tip with tip number 7, you’ll be on your way to losing more and more weight!

17. Take Glucomannan

Studies show that a supplement called Glucomannan can help you lose weight and feel more full.

Glucomannan is a fiber that absorbs water and stays in your stomach for a while, which helps you eat less and lose more weight. (PubMed)

18. Have a Cheat Day

Always preventing yourself from eating sweets, simple carbs, and other yummy stuff is impossible.

That’s why they invented cheat days!

Pick a day of the week where you’ll allow yourself to eat whatever you want.

Throughout the week if you ever have a craving instead of acting on it, write yourself a note about what you were craving and tell yourself that you’ll eat that thing on your cheat day.

This helps you keep yourself motivated throughout the week because you’ll know that even if you don’t eat what you want to day, you can pig out on the cheat day of your choice.

19. Cut Back On Alcohol

Alcohol has all kinds of sneaky calories in it (the term beer belly is there for a reason), and while completely banishing it might be impossible, you should try to come back as much as you can.

The sneaky calories in alcohol can hurt your weight loss goals, but that’s not the only thing it does.

It can also prevent yourself from making good eating decisions, and it can hurt your performance in the gym which means you’ll be burning less calories for the same amount of effort. (PubMed)

20. Set Realistic Goals

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions without ever completing them.

Why?

Usually it’s because the goals look so big and threatening that we put it off until the next day, week, or month.

For some reason we like to think that the future me will have more control over himself and that he will finally go to the gym.

That doesn’t happen which is why you need to set realistic goals.

Instead of setting a goal of going to the gym every day for an hour, or even going to the gym at least 3 times a week do something simpler.

Start out by setting a very small goal like walking for 15 minutes every other day.

Once you do that for 2-3 weeks, a habit should start to form and you can change up your goal and make it a bit harder.

Now instead of walking for 15 minutes every other day, let’s walk for 30 minutes every other day, or let’s jog for 10 minutes every other day, or let’s do some pushups, squats, and planks for 15 minutes every day.

21. Make It a Habit

While habits might not necessarily take 21 days to form, you should still try to make it a habit of doing exercise, eating healthy, and trying to lose weight.

According to Tom Bartow there’s 3 phases to forming a habit:

  1. The Honeymoon- Everything is easy.
  2. The Fight-Thru- Things seem harder and you find it hard to convince yourself to keep doing what you were doing before. (This is the most important part of forming a habit. If you fight-thru 2-3 times, you’re onto the next stage.)
  3. Second Nature- Everything is great again, and you now have a habit. You might still be pushed back into the fight-thru stage from time to time, and that’s normal. You just have to keep going.

22. Decrease Stress

Stress can trigger increased eating and cravings and no one wants that.

Try to get rid of stress in your life, and try meditating, doing yoga, or just de-stressing by spending time with a loved one. (PubMed)

23. Do HIITBodyBuilder Flexing

High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to be more effective than simple cardio. (PubMed)

What is HIIT?

It’s running or doing any form of exercise at a very high effort for a period of time and then doing the same exercise at a low-moderate effort for some time. Rinse and repeat, and you got yourself a HIIT workout!

It’s also known as interval training if you want to learn more about it.

24. Bedroom Fun 😉

Sweating in bed can burn around 150 calories in half an hour and it reduces blood pressure, decreases stress, and it’s fun. (PubMed)

25. Start NOW

This is a big one.

Start now.

Today.

Don’t put it off and don’t make it your New Year’s Resolution.

Why?

Because it won’t work.

Your future you isn’t going to have more willpower than your current you, and your future you won’t randomly become excited about losing weight.

You yourself have to start now.

Start off with something small, and focus on one thing from this article that resonated with you the most.

Set a small goal and go for it.

We believe in you!

P.S.- This post was inspired by these two articles. (Greatist and AuthorityNutrition)