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    The Best Healthy Protein Bars for Men 2021

    Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.
    Questions? Reach us at shop@mensjournal.com.
    Who doesn’t love a good protein bar? Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or just something to tide you over until mealtime, protein bars are a fantastic option that provide nutrients and energy with great taste—and usually very little (or even zero) sugar. But with so many on the market, it’s hard to know which one to pick. So we’ve rounded up some of the best and most popular protein bars for you.

    Our Top 3 Picks

    No matter if you’re on a low-carb, high protein diet or just trying to lose weight, a protein bar is a great choice. They help keep you full between meals, and have vastly more nutritional value than a candy bar. They’re better for breakfast than cereal and pastries. They work awesome as a between-meal snack. And a lot of people substitute them for meals when altogether.
    They’re also great for athletic recovery. After a hard session in the weight room or CrossFit arena, a protein bar can give your muscles and tissues a kickstart to recovery with a jolt of amino acids, to get you back in the game faster while keeping vital nutrients flowing.
    Protein bars come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. The most popular—LUNA bars, PureProtein, and ONE come to mind—have been around for years. But the new breed of protein bars like GoMacro, PowerCrunch, and thinkThin are taking the protein bar into previously uncharted territories, providing vegan, gluten-free, and kosher options. Even stalwart brands like Gatorade and SlimFast have gotten in on the protein bar action.
    So quit snacking between meals, kickstart your recovery, and start enjoying healthy snacks today. There’s a flavor to suit every taste. And most come in a variety of flavors and package sizes, so experimenting until you find the one that’s right for you is a breeze. So try some of these bestselling protein bars, and take our health and fitness into your own hands. More

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    Beat Boredom and Burn Fat With This Super-Shredder HIIT Workout

    HIIT is effective for melting body fat, but burpeeing to oblivion can be a soul-sucking means to a sculpted end. Instead of reverting to autopilot and blasting through the usual rotation of mountain climbers and jump squats, try this power endurance HIIT workout, courtesy of Lululemon’s newest brand ambassador and bootcamp maestro, Akin Akman.

    “These exercises strengthen neuromuscular pathways and unlock fast-twitch muscle fibers to help you move freely across all planes of motion,” Akman says. Rather than aggravating knees and ankles, this HIIT workout strengthen joints and tendons while improving bone density. “You’ll move and react sharper, becoming more receptive, focused and alert,” says Akman. Plus, all this single-leg work promotes longevity and peak performance.

    Directions: How to Do the Power Endurance HIIT Workout
    Exercises 1 and 2 are AMRAP super­sets: Do as many reps as possible in 1 minute, then immediately begin second move without rest. Repeat superset on opposite side; that’s 1 round. Rest 45 seconds between supersets and 2 minutes between rounds. Perform 3 to 5 rounds.
    1A. Side Lunge Pivot Reach With Row (shown above)
    Hold dumbbells at sides with a neutral grip, feet hip-­width apart. Take a big lat­eral step out with left leg, pivoting foot and torso to face forward, as you descend into a lunge and reach arms to frame front leg. Engage lats and draw elbows back to row weights. Drive through left foot to pivot back to start. Go immediately to 1B.

    Skater With High Pull and Lateral Hops Marius Bugge for Men’s Journal1B. Skater With High Pull and Lateral Hops
    Stand on left leg with soft bend in knee and right hand holding a dumbbell, palm facing you. Lean forward as you raise right leg behind you, and draw left arm back for counterbalance. Jump left foot to the left. Stabilize, then immediately jump back to the right, landing on right foot as you explosively perform a high pull, bringing weight to shoul­der. Stay on right foot and hop laterally (side to side) 4 times. Go back to 1A; switch sides.

    Single-leg Oblique Dip Marius Bugge for Men’s Journal2A. Single-leg Oblique Dip
    Stand on left leg with right leg bent at 90 degrees, foot flexed, holding a heavy dumb­bell in left hand. Don’t rush: Keep obliques and glutes engaged as you dip toward the left. Go immediately to 2B.

    V-formation Tennis Drill Courtesy Image2B. V-formation Tennis Drill
    Stand in a split stance, right foot forward, left foot back, holding a medicine ball with both hands. Rotate your torso and hips, drawing med ball to left hip. Shuffle forward at a diagonal, plant your feet, then wood­chop the med ball from right hip to above left shoulder keeping arms mostly straight. Shuffle back and repeat. Go back to 2A; switch sides.

    BOSU Ball Side Plank to Snatch Marius Bugge for Men’s Journal3. BOSU Ball Side Plank to Snatch
    Plant right hand on BOSU ball, then come into a side plank, shoulder stacked over wrist and feet staggered with bottom foot behind, top foot in front, hips off the ground. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand, palm facing you. Engage core and snatch weight overhead, then lower and repeat. Note: You can do a high pull instead of a snatch. Make it easier by com­ing into a forearm plank or removing the BOSU altogether. Perform as straight set AMRAP: 1 minute each side.

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    7 Couples’ Workout Tips to Get Fit with a Partner or Workout Buddy

    Couples’ workouts are a great way to spend time with someone while getting fit. They can also ruin relationships if poorly executed. Couples’ workouts can be particularly challenging if one partner is much fitter than the other. This post will help you make the most of couples’ workouts so that everyone can get in a challenging and fun activity together. Good to know:These tips are also suitable for workout buddies and fitness partners—not just couples!Benefits of Couples’ Workouts, Workout Buddies and Fitness PartnersWorking out with someone else has many benefits:Everyone is more likely to stay accountable to their fitness goals[1].A workout partner who is fitter than you can help you push yourself.Couples’ workouts can boost a couple’s sex life.Working out with a partner can deepen the relationship.Your partner can help you improve your technique.However, couples’ workouts can be tricky to navigate. A fitter partner may feel like their less fit partner will hold them back. They could feel like they’re letting their partner or gym buddy down. The less fit partner may become demoralized.These seven strategies will help you make the most of your couples’ workouts, whether they’re with a special someone, a workout buddy or a fitness partner! Tip 1: Be HonestAcknowledge the difference in fitness. Be respectful and don’t put each other down. Don’t downplay the fitness differential. Instead, call it out respectfully and tie it to the purpose of the workout (more on that below).It can be tempting for the fitter partner to pretend that they aren’t fitter. This is a swift way to annoy your less fit workout partner because you are basically lying to them. They could feel even less comfortable working out with someone more fit than them.Couples, workout buddies and fitness partners all want to get in a good workout. Reducing your activity to match your partner’s abilities can lead you to resent working out with them. Alternatively, the less fit partner can feel pushed too hard to keep up and even lead to a preventable overuse injury. Once you begin from a place of honesty, you’re ready to plan your workout!Tip 2: Make the Couples’ Workout Challenging for EveryoneWorkouts need to be challenging to be effective. The trick with couples’ workouts is making the exercise appropriately challenging for each person. Here are some ways fitter partners can make workouts more challenging while respecting their partner’s abilities:Do some intervals during your workout. Return to your partner for the recovery portion of the interval. Short sprints are perfect because you won’t get very far and you need a long time to recover at a very easy pace.Make it harder: The less fit partner can have a bit fun if they go harder/faster while the fitter partner is returning back to them. This will decrease the recovery time the fitter partner has. It also makes the less fit partner an active participant.Similar to the one above, go full speed up hills and return to your partner as they make their way. Focus on technique. Try increasing leg speed turnover if running or cadence if cycling. Try improving your ground contact time balance. Try these drills to improve your running form. You have to go slow to work on technique anyway.Start your workout before or continue working out after your fitness partner stops. This may mean already doing a loop before starting your couples’ workout or doing an extra loop at the end. Do push-up variations or plank variations afterward!If the activity starts or ends from a location that is further from your home, the fitter partner can bike or run to the start or back home after the workout. Plus it can be environmentally friendly!Make active recovery your workout goal. It can be easy to skip recovery days or push too hard when you should be taking it easy. Working out with someone who is less fit than you is a great way to sneak in an active recovery session. Plus, you have the mental rejuvenation of having a fun experience with someone.Tip 3: Be the Lead DogThe fitter partner can carry water, snacks or extra clothes. Push a stroller or pull a bike trailer if kids are along for the journey! This has the effect of making the workout more challenging for one partner. It also gives security for the less fit partner since they know they have easy access to everything they might need.The fitter partner can also take the lead on navigating routes. This takes the mental energy needed to navigate off the less fit partner’s mind. They can just focus on finishing the workout and not unnecessary details.Route selection is also critical to couple workouts.Tip 4: Partner Perfect RoutesChoose a route that both partners find comfortable. A route filled with hills is not the best idea if one partner will be on their limits the whole time. Pick shadier routes if it’s hot.Multiple exit points or loops of a shorter route are great route choices. This is so that if the workout is too much or someone isn’t feeling well, they can easily get back home. This will help take away some of the pressure on the less fit partner. You can also make the route an activity with a goal destination. For example, run to a swimming hole and jump in, then run home. Run to a friend’s house, take a break, then run home. Make the journey the workout and have fun with it!Set your couples’ workout up for success from the start by making it clear that it’s okay to cut the planned route short. The fitter partner can keep going as long as the less fit partner is comfortable finding their way home alone.Tip 5: Set Couples’ Workout Specific GoalsState workout goals clearly before the workout. Work on goals you cannot work on alone. For example, make the focus of the workout mental health, building fortitude or bonding and deepening your relationship. Your brain is a muscle: don’t neglect it. Mental and emotional health is critical to building this muscle.Tip 6: Spice It UpTry new things! Pick an activity that neither of you has done before. New experiences deepen social bonds. You will both automatically be complete beginners! Here are some couples’ workout friendly activities to try next weekend (depending on the season):Standup paddleboardingBouldering or rock climbingTandem bikingMountain bikingRollerblading or rollerskatingParkour Swimming laps (try a new stroke)CanyoningKayakingSkiing, snowboarding or cross country skiingIt doesn’t matter what the activity is so long as both partners want to have a good time and get in a bit of exercise. You could even do an active vacation based on activities neither of you has done before!Tip 7: Embrace DifferencesThis tip may not be for everyone. If one partner is super strong and one is smaller, consider doing something like acrobatics. Dancing—think swing dancing—could also be fun. These types of activities only reveal themselves when partners have very different physical characteristics! Who knows, you might find something you really enjoy and both of you are uniquely good at!Couples’ Workout Exercises and Routinesadidas Training has thousands of workouts you can do as a couple or with a workout or fitness partner! Try these workouts and check out the exercises in the adidas Training App!8-Minute Fit Together Workout [embedded content]Dynamic Duo Partner Workout[embedded content]Max Motivation Partner Workout[embedded content]*** More

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    9 Plank Variations You Have to Try

    I am sure you have all probably heard of a basic plank, but what about these challenging plank variations for every level?Planks not only work your abs but also recruit your legs, arms, shoulders and your entire core. Plank-based movements are the foundation of my training and really help build total–body strength.Why? Because you are not isolating a single muscle group. You are integrating many different muscle groups in a practical way that mimics real-life movement.Not convinced you can get in an effective ab workout in only 5 minutes?Then you haven’t tried planking. I have 9 of my favorite plank variations to share with you today so that you can really understand the power of a plank.Beginner and Intermediate Plank Variations1. Plank T RotationsThis plank variation works your obliques and arms.Roll your toes to the side and stack your feet on top of each other. Pause in plank position and check your engaged core. Rotate hips and shoulders at the same time.[embedded content]2. Low Plank TapsThis fun alternative to the standard plank works your core, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings and triceps. Any kind of object will do. The faster you tap, the harder it gets! [embedded content]3. High Plank DumbBell Pull-ThroughNo dumbbell or similar piece of workout equipment? No problem. Just fill up a water bottle and use that instead! This dynamic plank variation works your core, shoulders and lats muscles. The closer your feet are, the more impact the movement has on your core and stability. Drop your knees to make this plank variation easier.[embedded content]4. High Plank Knee TouchesThis plank variation will have you sweating in no time! It works your oblique muscles and shoulders.Make this plank variation harder by keeping your feet closer together. This helps you work on stability and balance. Make this plank easier by moving your feet further apart.[embedded content]Advanced Plank Variations1. Side Plank Cross CrunchThis alternative plank will develop full-body coordination. It works your core, oblique muscles, hip flexors and shoulders. Keep your elbows under your shoulders. Don’t let your hips drop while rotating. [embedded content]2. Tiger Bend Push-UpIs this plank variation a plank or a push-up? It’s both! It works your core, shoulders, chest and triceps.Rock your body backward if your hips come up too much when lowering down onto your elbows. Start in an elevated position to practice this move. Focus on a straight line from shoulder to elbows and all the way through your wrists when coming up.[embedded content]3. Military WalkThis alternative to the classic plank is excellent for working your core, hip flexors, shoulder and trapezius/upper back. Try to move the opposite arm and leg at the same time for a smooth movement. Crawl backward and forward.[embedded content]4. Low Plank Walk-InsThis plank alternative combines the two classic yoga poses: plank and downward dog. It works your core, shoulders and legs. Slowly walk into a pike position. Keep your shoulders engaged. Keep your legs as straight as possible.  You can bend your knees to make it easier.[embedded content]5. Low Plank Booty TapsThis plank variation is a must-do for full-body strength! It works your glutes, triceps and quads. Make this move even harder by raising your opposite leg at the same time you move your arm. [embedded content]How should you incorporate planks into your workout?Choose 3-5 of these plank variations and try to do them for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 2-5 times if you can. I know that seems like a short amount of time, but—trust me—it’s challenging and you will probably need breaks. Often, I do an entire workout based on plank variations like these. Plus, you can plank anywhere and everywhere. Here are 9 more plank variations to try!If you have energy in the tank, you have the energy to plank!*** More

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    Create Your Triathlon Training Plan: 3 Steps for Beginner Triathletes

    If you are feeling inspired to try your first triathlon, we can help you get started. Find out what you need to consider to complete a triathlon below. With these three steps you’ll be able to set up your own beginner triathlon training plan.​​Swimming, cycling and running: the challenge of triathlon training is to prepare for three endurance sports at the same time.Good to know:Triathlon distances vary, so you can choose a length that works for you. For your first attempt, try a super sprint triathlon – also known as the “starter triathlon”. Distances are usually approx. 500 meter (0.3 mile) swim, 10K (6.2 miles) bike, and 1.5K (1.6 miles) run. These three sports place very different demands on your body:Swimming is considered to be a technique-heavy endurance sport. Water is 800 times denser than air. To swim efficiently, you need to reduce drag (the resistance of water on your body) while increasing the thrust force of your arms to propel your body forward. The only way to improve this is by working on your swimming technique.In cycling, the bicycle restricts your range of movement. This means that this sport greatly depends on building up a specific kind of endurance and reducing air resistance (drafting and/or aero position).Of the three triathlon sports, running is the one that places the greatest demands on your cardiovascular system. Since this sport is at the end of the race, it is important to increase your running stamina and your mental toughness.You can’t really take a recreational approach to triathlon training or improving at all three sports simultaneously. Therefore, you need to follow certain strategies in order to make performance gains in an efficient manner.3 Steps to Your Triathlon Training Plan Step 1:Determine your training cycle and how much time you want or can devote to your training.Divide the number of weeks before the race by 3.Example: 30 weeks/3 = 10 three-week cyclesNow multiply the average time you want to devote to training per week by 3 to get your overall training volume. Then you need to break your training volume down into the individual weeks of your three-week cycle based on the following weighting: 35% in week 1, 40% in week 2 and 25% in week 3. Therefore, if you want to train 10 hours a week, you will have a 30-hour cycle that breaks down like this:Week 1: 10.5 hours (35 %)Week 2: 12 hours (40 %)Week 3: 7.5 hours (25 %)This is the standard 2:1 training cycle — two weeks of intensive training followed by one week of recovery.Step 2:Choose a training goal for each three-week cycle.What is my best sport?What sport needs the most improvement?Keep in mind: It takes much less effort to maintain a performance level than it does to improve one. Depending on the length of the race, the influence of the individual sports on the overall time differs: swimming makes up about 11-18%, cycling about 50-55% and running about 30-34% of the total time.Thus, improving your swimming performance by 1% doesn’t really have a big impact on your overall time, whereas improving your cycling performance by 1% can shave several minutes off your final time (in long distance races). On the other hand, if you wear yourself out during the swim, you aren’t going to be able to perform well on the bike.Once you have set a goal for a training cycle, the other two sports have to take a back seat. Therefore, if the focus is to work on improving your swimming technique, your cycling and running training sessions will only serve to maintain but not improve your performance level. The priority over the next three weeks will be to improve your swimming efficiency.You can change your goal for each training cycle but make sure to devote more time to your weaknesses than your strengths.Step 3:Keep track of your progress!You should assess your performance at regular intervals (6-8 weeks) — the best time is at the end of the first training week of a cycle. These tests are designed to show you whether or not your training is producing the desired adaptations. But keep in mind that your performance doesn’t always have to increase — your goal can also be to maintain a certain level.Of course, there are also other variations of this approach:Ask yourself the following questions: How much time do I have until my race? What training options do I have? (swimming pool, track, seasons, etc.)Besides the 2:1 training cycle, there is also the 3:1 cycle with three weeks of intensive training and one week of recovery. The weighting for a four-week cycle is 25% in week 1, 27.5% in week 2, 30% in week 3 and 17.5% in week 4.Caution: Because three weeks of intensive training can greatly increase overall fatigue levels, this long training cycle is better suited for experienced athletes.Of course, you can combine the 2:1 and 3:1 cycles to suit your training. Besides these standard training cycles, there are newer approaches like block training, supercompensation training, training at a specific time of day, etc. You should probably talk to a personal trainer, however, before trying one of these approaches because some of them are very demanding and could easily lead to overuse injuries if done improperly.The main thing though is to have fun and stick with your triathlon training plan. We wish you great success in reaching your goals.*** More

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    Foods to Make you Run Faster? Top Marathon Nutrition Tips

    In a marathon, it’s the right training and preparation that gets you across the finish line. An important part of your training plan is your diet. But there is a lot more to it than just what you eat before and after you run. The right snacks and fluids during the race can help you run faster and boost your performance. You’ll see the best results if you start taking a closer look at your marathon nutrition weeks before the big day.Macronutrients for Runners: A BreakdownIf you’re an endurance athlete, you should get to know and love carbohydrates. They are the most important macronutrient and should make up about 60-65% of your caloric intake. Your muscles rely on carbohydrates for fuel. They are stored as glycogen in your liver for use later on when you need a quick burst of energy. Keeping carbs as a staple in your diet will help you maintain (and improve) your performance and help you achieve that goal time you have your mind set on.(1) Depending on the intensity of your workouts, 6 to 10 g of carbs per kilo of body weight are enough to keep your glycogen stores full. Everyone’s needs are, of course, different. Additionally, carbohydrates help your body recover post workout.2) Additionally, carbohydrates help your body recover post workout. Aim for complex carbohydrates like quinoa, sweet potatoes, whole grains, vegetables and legumes.Protein is the building block of muscle. It’s recommended that you consume 1-1.5 g/kg of your body weight – this is dependent on how intense your workouts are. If you’re doing more strength training, as opposed to running, then you definitely need more of this macronutrient than endurance athletes. Protein is found in both animal products (meat, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products) as well as plant-based foods (soy and soy products, legumes, nuts, seitan, grain products). You can cover all your protein needs with a vegan diet if you choose. The focus here should be on including a variety of foods in your diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.Fat is an incredibly important source of energy and vital for your body! First of all, it acts as a protector for your organs, insulates your body (keeps you warm) and is necessary to absorb those critical fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). One gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy. This is twice as much as protein and carbohydrates. How much fat do you need? Around 30-35% of your daily caloric intake should be fats. Where can you find healthy fats? Avocados, salmon, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds (like flax and chia). These fats provide tons of energy for your marathon training.Preparation is EverythingTraining isn’t the only thing to think about in the final weeks before a marathon. The right marathon nutrition will help you run faster. Get informed about the race set up beforehand: how many aid stations will there be along the course? Don’t try anything new on race day; only consume foods and drinks that you’ve tested during training. Try out different options in the weeks before the marathon.Are you feeling uncertain?A dietician who specializes in sports nutrition can answer any questions you may have and get you on the right track with marathon nutrition.The Final CountdownCarb LoadingSince the race will take longer than 90 minutes, it’s advisable to increase your carb intake in the days leading up to the marathon. The goal of carb loading is to fill up your glycogen stores. However, that does not mean that you should overdo it with carbohydrates. Gradually increase your carbohydrate intake in the week before the marathon to increase the amount of glycogen in your muscles. Do you have digestive problems? Fiber is important for athletes, but make sure to reduce your fiber intake to a minimum just before and on race day.HydrationMake sure you go into the race well hydrated. Start paying attention to your fluid intake 24 hours before the event. Marathon Preparation on Race DayBreakfast 3-4 hours before a run:You want an easy-to-digest breakfast to power you up for your race. Stay away from foods that are high in fat and fiber. These foods will sit in your stomach too long – not a good feeling while running. And, if you want that extra boost, go for a cup of black coffee to get you energized.Breakfast ideas:white toast with jam and a small portion of plain yogurtBircher muesli (soak oats overnight in low-fat cow milk, soy, or oat milk) with bananacereal (not the sugary kind!) with milkporridge with berriesDon’t forget to drink enough water before the marathon.Snack approx. 1 hour before:If you’re used to eating a small snack before your run, go for it! Remember, this is all about how you feel and how you have done it during your training runs.Snack options:bananacereal barTake sips from your water bottle regularly.During your run:There are two very important things to remember during your race: carbs and fluids. Getting the right amount of both is critical.CarbohydratesThe recommended carbohydrate intake for long endurance workouts is 30 to 60 g per hour.(3) That amount increases to 90 g of carbs per hour for races that last longer than 2.5 hours.The following foods are rich in carbohydrates:Banana (approx. 30 g)Energy gel (approx. 25 g)Energy bar (20 to 40 g) Fluid LevelRunners lose a great deal of fluid and electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) from sweating heavily during long runs. These fluids have to be replaced. The only way to know how much fluid you’ve lost is by weighing yourself before and after your marathon training. Try it to get an idea of how much you should drink on race day.Drink 600 to 1200 ml of fluid per hour of exertion.(4) Your beverage of choice should contain carbs, sodium, and potassium. Isotonic drinks are a great source of energy for your run. Isotonic means it has the same osmotic pressure as blood plasma, so it’s able to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. This is the perfect solution for lost fluids and electrolytes during your long run. You can even make your own sports drink at home for your marathon!  Immediately after the MarathonIn order to refill your glycogen stores, some recommendations advise you to consume about 1 to 1.2g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight in the first few hours after you finish the race. However, this is only necessary if you’ve got another race in 8 to 10 hours. That’s probably not the case, right? Don’t worry too much about what you eat after your marathon. Celebrate your achievement; you just finished a marathon and should be proud of yourself. TakeawayYour marathon nutrition should be well-planned. No matter whether it’s before or during your race, it’s important to choose the right drinks and foods to make you run faster and perform your best. *** More

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    Do These 10 Core Exercises for a Strong Core and an Awesome Ab Workout

    Include these 10 core exercises in your next ab workout to strengthen your core and tone your abs. A strong core will keep you healthy and pain-free. Sculpt your abs while strengthening your core in the same workout!Your core is your center of gravity. A strong core allows for stronger functional movement throughout exercise and everyday life. You should constantly engage your core, whether you are doing a workout, standing in the kitchen cooking a meal, or sitting down at work. Check out these desk-specific stretches if you’re feeling tight.A strong core will help prevent injury and promote more efficient workouts overall.Suffer from back or neck pain? Strengthening your core can help get rid of seemingly endless back and neck pain too. Try these exercises to loosen up your neck. You can do these ten core exercises without equipment. Strengthen your core and tone your abs whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced. Include these core exercises in your next ab workout!1. HollowmanI learned this move from Jillian Michaels. This is an isometric core exercise, meaning it has no movement. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Keep your low back on the ground.2. High PlankThis is my absolute favorite core exercise of all time. I do plank variations in every single workout. If I had to do one core exercise for the rest of my life, this would be it.3. BridgeMost people think that a bridge is for your glutes. Bridge is also a fantastic core strengthening exercise when performed correctly with your hips tucked and low abdominals engaged.4. Superman pull[embedded content]This move really targets the low back. In fact, many people suffer from low back pain because their core (including their low back) is really weak. Skip the “pull” part and just practice raising your arms and legs off of the ground if you find this core exercise too difficult.5. V-upsThis move took me a while to master. The full V-up is pretty advanced, but you can always do the modified version as you work up to it. Once you master the V-up, you can even try holding a weighted medicine ball in your hands.[embedded content]6. V-sitSee how long you can do this ab exercise move without shaking! Bend your knees if extending your legs is too difficult. Make sure that your shoulders stay down and away from your ears.7.  Plank knee crossesExhale and blow all the air out of your lungs as you pull that knee towards the opposite elbow. The idea is to get as close as possible can and aim for the outside of the elbow.Mastered this core exercise? Try doing them slower for an even bigger challenge!8. Leg raises[embedded content]This move should not hurt your low back. If it does, place your hands underneath your low back for support and/or don’t drop your legs down as low. This exercise is meant to work your core and abs, not hurt them. Always listen to your body’s signals.9. Elbow plank twists This core exercise is the perfect addition to your next ab workout. Think of yourself like a towel that needs wringing out as you do this exercise.10. Plank shoulder tapsAs you can probably tell by now, I love planks! This plank variation is excellent for challenging your balance and core strength. Avoid rocking your hips and body from side to side when doing the shoulder taps. The only motion that should be happening is your hand moving to the opposite shoulder. Work at it, and you will get it!*** More

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    TOP 15 MOST COMMON CYCLING MISTAKES (AND TIPS TO FIX THEM)

    We all make cycling mistakes. Everyone messes something up on their bike when they first start. Some people continuously make cycling mistakes, and you usually know them as “the person who always crashes” or “the person who always has a flat tire” or “the constantly overtrained person.” These tips will help you shortcut the 15 most common cycling mistakes. You won’t go from Joe to Pro in a day, but you can avoid a lot of frustration by doing a few simple things.Good to know:Always make sure your bike is in safe working order. Take your bike to a shop if you’re not sure.Mistake 1: You don’t wear a helmetDo you know bikers who ride around with their helmet hanging from the handlebars? That doesn’t make much sense. So, never make the mistake of riding without a helmet, no matter how short the trip may be.Mistake 2: The saddle is too high or lowIf you want to ride a bike, you should look at the height of the saddle. Follow these steps to check whether everything is set correctly: Put your bike upright.Stand up straight next to the bike, facing toward the front of the bike.Now check how high the saddle is. Ideally, it should be at your hip crest. If not, take a minute to move the saddle into a neutral riding position: the saddle should be level and pointing toward the front, not tilted up or down. The position of the saddle should feel comfortable.If you buy your bike from a shop, have them help you set it up to be comfortable.Mistake 3: The handlebars are too high or lowMake sure that you adjust the saddle first and then the handlebars. If you are a beginner, the difference between the height of the seat and the handlebars can be one to two centimeters. After a few trips, you will get used to this position. Then you can move the handlebars down a bit. Mistake 4: You’re wearing the wrong clothesPart of enjoying a good bike ride is wearing the right clothes. Well-padded biking shorts make sense, but the right bike shirt is also essential. The special fibers wick the sweat away from your body.Mistake 5: You’re riding the wrong bikeA beginner bike doesn’t need to be lightweight or have the latest components. The bike simply needs to fit your body and how you want to ride it. Pick the bike that will make you want to ride it more, not the one that claims to be “the best road or mountain bike.”Mistake 6: You’re not wearing cycling sunglassesHigh-quality sunglasses are not just to protect your eyes from UV rays. They will also keep your eyes from watering, like when you’re on a fast downhill. Plus, glasses will prevent insects and dust from landing in your eyes.Did you know?Good cycling glasses also protect you if you fall. The lenses are shatterproof, which provides better protection for your eyes.Mistake 7: You’re riding without biking glovesGloves are not a must – unlike helmets – but it still makes sense to wear them. They will protect you if you fall, and you’ll have a better grip on your handlebars when you work up a sweat.Mistake 8: You overdo itCycling has a lot of benefits. But just like with other sports, it’s all about the right intensity. Don’t overdo it on your first ride – pace yourself.Overdoing it can also include overestimating your abilities. For example, riding a mountain bike on a too technical trail can lead to serious injury. Planning to ride your bike over several mountains before you have built up enough endurance can also do more harm than good.MISTAKE 9: TOUCHING HOT DISC BRAKESEver notice your disc brakes make strange noises after using them for long, sustained periods? That noise is due to heat buildup in the disc and the caliper. Never touch hot disc brakes or rims after squeezing the brakes for a long time, as you can seriously burn yourself!MISTAKE 10: NOT EATING ENOUGHYou plan to ride further than ever before. Midway through the ride, you begin to quickly realize just bringing a sandwich, and a bottle of water was a bad idea. It will happen when you’re in the middle of nowhere and on the hottest day of the year. Panic sets in, and you wonder if you can even turn the pedals another kilometer.If you plan to ride for more than an hour, bring a minimum of 40g of carbs with you for each hour you plan to ride. Aim to drink 500ml of water every hour, more if it’s a scorching day or you sweat a lot. Plan your stops ahead of time so that you can stop for a snack and fill up your bottles. Read more about nutrition timing and what to eat.MISTAKE 11: NOT WEARING SUNSCREENCyclists are passionate about their laser-straight tan lines. Do you know what they aren’t passionate about? Skin cancer.Always wear sunscreen. Plus, it makes your legs shiny, and cyclists think that’s cool.MISTAKE 12: NOT KNOWING HOW TO CHANGE A FLAT TIREYou will get a flat tire eventually. Watch a couple of videos and practice at home before your next big ride, so you are prepared when you ultimately flat. Know how to use your tools and pump and always carry a spare tube or two. If you don’t need them, you will make someone’s day when you stop to help them.MISTAKE 13: JOINING A GROUP RIDE BEFORE YOU’RE READYYou just watched the Tour de France and the events in Japan. You roll up to your local drool-on-the-handlebars group ride about to show them all what a real sprint is. Hold up.Riding in a group at high speeds is a skill. Knowing how to modulate your speed and ride predictably are group ride requirements. Introduce yourself to the group the first time, then hang out at the back for the first few times. When you feel comfortable and get a feel for riding in a group, practice moving through the pack.It’s for your and everyone else’s safety. MISTAKE 14: NOT SHIFTING GEARSYour bike probably has at least 20 gears by now. Use them. The smaller gear in front makes things like climbing hills easier. The bigger gear in the rear of the bike likewise makes things like climbing easier. So if you’re climbing a hill and you feel like you’re pedaling through mud, shift into the small gear in the front and the big gear in the back, and you should be able to pedal easier up hills.Reverse this for pedaling downhill (big gear in front, small gear in back). MISTAKE 15: CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINKCars. Other riders. People who don’t ride. Everyone has an opinion about cycling. You may feel self-conscious about wearing tight-fitting bike clothes, sweating a lot or if you have the “right bike.” The only thing that matters is that you ride the bike, stay safe and have fun. See you out there!*** More