New Partner: Nautilus Schwinn Home Cardio Equipment

Syncing Your Workouts Just Got Even Easier!

Once again, MyFitnessPal is making it one step easier for you to reach you goals from the comfort of your own home. Today, we’re proud to announce a partnership with Nautilus, a leader in innovative home fitness equipment to create the first integration of MyFitnessPal with home cardio equipment ever. By integrating directly with Nautilus’ new line of Schwinn exercise machines, MyFitnessPal is helping users like you track your exercise even quicker and easier than before.

Without the need to manually log your workouts, you have more time to focus on simply reaching your goals!

schwinn 470

Nautilus’ new line of Schwinn products integrates seamlessly with MyFitnessPal, allowing you to sync your device to the exercise machine, and your calorie count and exercise automatically update within your MyFitnessPal account. No need to count, measure, track or manually log – MyFitnessPal and Nautilus do the work for you, so you’re focused less on the numbers and more on your lifestyle. We hope this integration with Nautilus will help millions of MFP members like you keep track of your exercise without making it a chore.

Sound intriguing? Visit our app gallery to learn more about the Nautilus Schwinn 170 upright bike, the Schwinn 270 engineered fitness bike and the Schwinn 470 elliptical trainer.  (Hint:  It’s just about that time to put your holiday gift wish lists together, isn’t it?)

 

The more complete your data becomes, the more effective MyFitnessPal is in helping you reach your health and fitness goals.

Let us know what Nautilus equipment you have at home – or which of these machines you find crave-worthy! We love hearing how you fit MyFitnessPal into your daily life, and we are always looking for feedback.

13 Unexpected Ways to Fit In Cardio

13 Unexpected Ways to Fit in Cardio

Greatist-Logo.jpgExercise is a key contributor to health and happiness. Beyond triggering that runner’s high, it’s associated with a higher quality of life, improved health, and a better mood. But missing a few gym sessions doesn’t mean staying active has to fall by the wayside.

Sneaking cardio into daily life can save time and improve fitness, sometimes on par with the benefits of a scheduled sweat session. And more time getting moving in our daily lives means less time sitting, which can lower the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and early death. While intense exercise is good for us, it doesn’t completely erase the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, so making an effort to get moving throughout the day can have some serious long-term benefits.

So how much cardio is enough, and what are some ways to fit it in? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise, plus two days per week of strength training.

Whether it’s 30 continuous minutes of activity or three 10-minute sessions, we’ve got 13 simple ways to get more active for even the busiest person, whether at home, work, or play. Just keep in mind calories burned varies depending on age, build, gender, and weight.

AT THE OFFICE
1. Be a stair master: But consider taking them one at a time, not two.Researchers found that while the rate of caloric expenditure is higher when taking two at a time, the burn over an entire flight is more when taking one at a time. In one study, participants climbed a 15-meter stairway five times a day with an average of 302 calories burned per week using one step and 266 calories per week using the double step.

2. Walk and talk: Hold walking meetings with co-workers. While moderate walking uses almost two-and-a-half times the energy of sitting in a meeting, mobile meetings can also strengthen work relationships, improve health, and boost creativity.

3. Please stand up: Think of your ring tone as an alarm to get up out of the chair. Throw in a few bodyweight exercises before sitting back down (and check out this list for some great ideas).

4. Hydrate often: Getting lots of H2O means more trips to the bathroom (drinking water might also help ramp up metabolism). Pick a bathroom on a different floor, and visit it often.

ON THE GO
5. No more lazy layovers: Stuck in the airport because of a delayed flight? Don’t just sit there. Do terminal laps — but skip the moving sidewalks!

6. Ditch the drive: Bike or walk to work instead. In addition to adding stress, commuting via public transportation or car can rack up sitting time and lead to weight gain. Just make sure to follow some basic safety precautions and rules of the road!

CHORES GALORE
7. Clean machine: Chores — they have to get done, so why not make them into a workout? Vacuuming can burn about 75 calories per half-hour, while washing the car uses more than double that.

8. Made in the shade: While running errands, park in the shadiest spot, not the closest, to log more steps and keep the car cool.

9. Take a lap (or three!): Browsing the perimeter of a grocery store can do more than just promote healthy food choices. Take a couple of laps to compare prices and rack up some steps! Pushing a cart around the grocery store uses 105 to 155 calories in a half-hour. Bonus points for lugging home the groceries.

WEEKEND FUN
10. Hit the dance floor: Shake it to your favorite beat. Just 30 minutes — or about seven or eight songs — of fast dancing can use up 180 to 266 calories.

11. Take an active date: Challenge your date to a game of tennis. In addition to burning 210 to 311 calories in 30 minutes, tennis may improve bone health, reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, and lower body fat. Looking for more options to give dates a fitness twist? We’ve got plenty of ideas for any season.

12. “Shopping is my cardio”: Words of wisdom from Carrie Bradshaw. Except that a two-hour shopping expedition uses almost 300 calories, or 75 per half-hour. Enough said.

13. Game night: So-called “exergames” — such as on the Kinect or Wii Fit Plus— have been shown to increase energy expenditure up to three times more than just sitting. But while these games are better than parking on the couch, energy burn can vary quite a bit depending on the game.

THE TAKEAWAY
Exercise doesn’t have to be done at the gym, on a track, or even in workout clothes. Little bits of exercise throughout the day can add up — just get creative! Pair some of these sneaky cardio boosters with unexpected strength training to vary the routine and meet the weekly recommendations for exercise.

Have favorite ways to sneak in cardio? Share in the comments below!

More links we love from our friends at Greatist:

Written by Emily Shoemaker

Nutrition 101 Recap: Top 5 Tips to Eat More Nutritiously [INFOGRAPHIC]

Throughout this Nutrition 101 series we’ve counted calories, compared carbs, and highlighted the pros of lean protein, healthy fats and a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Nutrition can be complicated enough, so to simplify things we compiled all of the infographics into one!

MyFitnessPal Nutrition101 Entire

You can read the full text of each deep-dive post in the links above, but to summarize, here are my top 5 tips to help you eat more nutritiously:

1. When it comes to carbs–the more natural & whole, the better. Go for complex carbs like 100% whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, starchy vegetables (just leave the nutrient-rich skins on those potatoes), legumes, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Limit simple sugars from refined grains, processed snack foods, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

2. Keep protein lean. It’s perfectly okay to indulge in breakfast sausage and cheeseburgers on occasion. But on an everyday basis, there are plenty of great lean proteins to choose from! Some good meat-free options include beans, peas, quinoa, lentils, tofu, low-fat yogurt and 1% milk. Fish is another great source of protein that can also be rich in healthy Omega-3s. And as far as meats go, cuts that have round, chuck, or loin in the name are usually leanest, along with chicken and turkey breast.

3. Make healthy fats your friend. Add avocados, nuts, seeds and nut butters and fatty fish like salmon into your weekly menu. Cook with oils like olive or grape seed instead of butter or lard. Make salad dressings with flaxseed oil for a healthy dose of Omega-3s. You can even substitute avocado for butter when baking!

4. Incorporate colorful foods into every meal. From dark greens to red berries, orange bell peppers and white onions, the colors in fruits, vegetables and even proteins are associated with important vitamins and minerals. Eating a rainbow of colorful foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is an great way to get a variety of micronutrients in your diet.

5. Make the most of your calories. Eat a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal and choose foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. A good way to do this is to fill your plate with 3-4 food groups at each meal. Eat a combination of protein foods, whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and incorporate the groups you miss into other meals and snacks throughout the day.

Nutrition can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, healthful eating does not mean eating perfectly. It’s about making more nutritious choices most of the time, nourishing our bodies with real food and enjoying the occasional treat along the way!

To get all of the details and read the individual posts, here they are broken down for your reading pleasure:

Calories | Carbohydrates | Proteins | Fats | Vitamins & Minerals

I hope you enjoyed the series and learned some nutrition basics in the process. If you have a specific nutrition question, feel free to leave it in the comments. The questions with the most votes will inspire my future posts!

Nutrition 101: Vitamins & Minerals [INFOGRAPHIC]

When you pick up a new food in the grocery store and look at a nutrition label, where do your eyes first land? Do you instantly look at the calories or grams of carbs, protein and fat per serving? You’re not alone. We often choose foods based solely on their macronutrient content (carbs, protein and fat) without thinking much about what micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) they provide.

Micronutrients are often overshadowed because they make up a much smaller part of our diet than the macronutrients. Micronutrients get less of our mindshare, too, because they don’t impact our weight the way the macros do.

Though they may seem less significant, vitamins and minerals are actually just as critical as the calories we eat. They play critical roles in the structure of our bodies. For example, calcium mineralizes our bones, and Vitamin C makes our collagen strong. Micronutrients also impact how well our bodies function:

  • Sodium, potassium and calcium work together to moderate hydration and muscle contractions.
  • Vitamin K allows blood to clot if we get a cut.
  • Vitamin E, an antioxidant, protects healthy cells from being damaged.

The list goes on and on. The takeaway point is this: even though we need less of them in our diet than macronutrients, vitamins and minerals are no less important to our health.

MyFitnessPal Nutrition 101  Vitamins and Minerals

It’s not necessary to know every function of every vitamin and mineral to understand their importance. There is a dizzying number of details and the scientific research changes almost daily. The idea behind this infographic is to show you just some of the major functions of these micronutrients, and some of the foods you’ll find them in. Instead of putting together an exhaustive list, I thought it’d be more beneficial to share some tips on how to get the most micronutrients from the foods you eat.

How to Maximize Those Micros:

Eat from every food group. Protein foods, dairy, grains, fruits and veggies can all be great sources of vitamins and minerals. But no single food, or food group, is a great source of everything. At mealtime, fill your plate with 3-4 food groups, and try to incorporate the ones you miss into snacks throughout the day. For example, if you have a bowl of cereal with milk and a hard boiled egg for breakfast, grab a piece of fruit to snack on later in the day.

Incorporate lots of color. Micronutrients contribute color to foods. These colors are often associated with certain vitamins and minerals. Eating a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a great variety of micronutrients.

Eat fresh or frozen when you can. Food processing, as well as exposure to light and air, can degrade important vitamins and minerals

  • Minimize the amount of processed and fast food you eat. These foods typically have low nutritional value when it comes to vitamins and minerals, and can be high in saturated fat, sodium, added sugar, and calories.
  • Don’t let your farmer’s market finds sit around too long before you eat them–even when those fruits and veggies are tucked away in the crisper section of the refrigerator.
  • Stock up on frozen produce. Frozen fruits and vegetables are commonly picked at peak freshness and quickly processed, which preserves their nutrient value.

Know a few kitchen basics. Certain vitamins and minerals can be lost or broken down in cooking, while others can be better digested and absorbed when paired with certain foods. Here are a few rules of thumb:

  • Eat some produce raw and avoid overcooking the rest.
  • When cooking: steaming, roasting or sautéing will generally preserve more vitamins and minerals, compared to boiling.
  • Eat iron-rich plant foods like lentils, spinach, tofu and beans with a squeeze of lemon juice or citrus dressing. The Vitamin C increases iron absorption.
  • For better absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K,  pair with a heathy fat, like oil & vinegar dressing. This is a great reason to choose low-fat milk instead of fat-free.

Choose foods over supplements. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be beneficial when treating nutrient deficiencies or certain medical conditions, but for most of us, they’re not necessary.  It’s possible to get a wide variety of micronutrients, and plenty of them, from a healthy, well-balanced diet.

As you make decisions about what foods to eat, keep in mind it’s not all about calories, carbs, protein and fat. It’s entirely possible to be malnourished from a lack of micronutrients even if you’re eating plenty of calories and macronutrients! A vitamin and mineral-rich diet is essential for good health. And the best way to get enough of these is by eating a healthy variety of colorful foods from the different food groups.

Check back tomorrow for a brief wrap-up of the Nutrition 101 series, and my top 5 tips to eat more nutritiously!

To read up on our previous Nutrition 101 posts, check out: Calories | Carbohydrates | Proteins | Fats

How to Do the Perfect Push-up

How to Do the Perfect Push Up

Push-ups — we’ve all done ‘em, but sometimes they just don’t look so pretty. Fear not! We’ve got the guide to get it right. Push-ups are a total-body functional move that are great for increasing strength, much like bench-pressing, and have the added benefit of engaging the core and lower body (thanks, gravity!). The bodyweight exercise can be done just about anywhere — with a ton of variations to liven things up. So let’s drop down and do the perfect push-up.

The Basics

Basic Push Up 604

1. Get into a plank position with hands planted directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder width apart). Ground the toes into the floor to stabilize the bottom half of the body. Engage the abs and back so the body is neutral. In other words, flat as a… plank (ah, now we get it!).

2. Begin to lower the body — back flat, eyes focused about three feet in front of you to keep a neutral neck— until the chest nearly touches the floor. (Note: Some experts say a push-up isn’t a push-up unless the chest actually grazes the ground). Don’t let the butt dip or stick out at any point during the move; the body should remain flat from head to toe all the way through the movement. Draw the shoulder blades back and down, while keeping the elbows tucked close to the body, so the upper arms form a 45-degree angle at the bottom of the push-up position.

3. Keeping the core engaged, exhale as you push back to the start position as explosively as possible without leaving the ground (pow!). That’s one! Repeat for 10-20 reps or as many as can be performed with good form (no sagging those hips, ya heard?).

Variations 
Changing the positions of both the elbows and hands will activate different muscles and amp up the intensity of the basic push-up. Ready? Here we go!

Bent Knee Push UpsBent Knee Push-Up

These push-ups are great for beginners to nail down form before graduating to other varieties. Come to all fours, hands directly under the shoulders. With the knees on the floor, lower to the ground the same way as a standard push-up, just with the knees helping to stabilize the body rather than the feet.

Alternating Medicine Ball Push-Up

This variety increases range of motion, and works core stability. Place one hand on top of the medicine ball, while the other stabilizes the body on the floor. Adjust the body into a plank (only this time, one arm is supported by the ball). Perform a standard push-up, then roll the ball to the other hand and repeat.

Single Leg Push-Up

This push-up is tricky, because the body is stabilized by only three points rather than four. Perform a standard push-up, but raise one leg up toward the ceiling, heel reaching toward the wall behind you. Alternate legs after each rep, or perform two sets (starting with one leg, then switching to the other for the next set).

Clap Push Ups

Clap Push-Up

These push-ups are all about plyometrics, meaning the hands lift off the ground,, clap, then return to the floor. To break it down: Perform a standard push-up, but at the exhale, swiftly straighten the arms and forcefully push off the floor. Bring the hands together into a clap, then return to the start position. Note: This is not a beginner’s exercise, and requires quite a bit of strength (and practice!) to perform correctly.

Handstand Push-Up

Handstands? Why not! These push-ups really amp up the demands. And we’re not kidding, they take a lot of practice and coordination (and usually a wall, maybe even a spotter for your first go at it). Position the body against a wall and practice a static handstand before lowering into the push-up. Once you’ve mastered that, slowly lower the body down a few inches then press back up to a full handstand. Eventually, work toward lowering down completely to the floor before pushing back up. Carefully lower those legs and it’s a wrap.

The Most Common Push-Up Mistakes

Focusing too much on the upper body.
 Sure, push-ups are known for strengthening the pecs, shoulders, and triceps, but they’re a total-body move. Pay attention to the glutes and legs, and keep ‘em tight! Tightening that tush can help keep the lower back from arching during the move. Instead of letting the bum flop down first (and compromising the lower back), hit the ground chest first, keeping the hips in the same plane as the shoulders. Imagine the belly button drawing in toward the spine to help keep the torso flat.

Flaring the arms.
 Letting those arms pop out to 90 degrees can be really tough on the shoulders. Instead of forming a “T” with the arms and body, keep the elbows tucked close to the body.

Forgetting to breathe.
 Faith Hill had it right: Just breathe. Concentrating on form and reps can make it easy to forget one of the most important parts of working out — breathing.Inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way back up.

Cheating Yourself. The key is quality over quantity. Make sure each push-up reaches a full range of motion by getting the chest as close to the floor as comfortable, then fully extending the elbows at the top. Having sloppy form will make for a less effective strengthening exercise that targets fewer muscles.

Greatist LogoMore links we love from our friends at Greatist:

Article by Nicole McDermott | Illustrations by David Cushnie Bell