Daily Burn

Daily Burn
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Daily Burn is an online platform that offers personalized plans based on the user’s needs. A personal trainer and nutrition basics that you can access whenever you want, wherever you are. From intense interactive video workouts with fun and dynamic trainers, to custom meal plans and recipes, Offers cardio, strength, yoga, kickboxing, abs, mobility, core, metabolic […]Continue reading «Daily Burn»

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Daily Burn is an online platform that offers personalized plans based on the user’s needs. A personal trainer and nutrition basics that you can access whenever you want, wherever you are. From intense interactive video workouts with fun and dynamic trainers, to custom meal plans and recipes, Offers cardio, strength, yoga, kickboxing, abs, mobility, core, metabolic conditioning, stretching, and other workouts online. Their products have over 2.5 million users.

Dailyburn offers workout videos, expert trainers, personalized fitness schedules, and personalized nutrition, all accessible anytime via the internet.  Offers intelligent technology “IntelliBurn” which analyzes information about you, your goals, your strengths, and your weaknesses. It is constantly improving your workout plan to give you the best results. You just show up to DailyBurn, and IntelliBurn helps you know what workout is best for you that day. Daily Burn also offer personalized meal plans and recipes to their users. Their Nutrition Basics outlines guiding principles about how to eat and cook right. Daily Burn offers a free trial 30 day membership and a $10 /month membership thereafter. Their app is offered through all Apple devices, Android, PC, Roku, and your regular TV set.

 

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  • The Beginner’s Guide to Playing Tennis (Or Faking It Well)

    [caption id="attachment_41095" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    You’ve spent years watching Serena battle it out on the tennis court. Now, you’re ready to hit the ball yourself — but you have no idea where to start. Whether you’re intrigued by the outfits, the camaraderie of team play or the stress release of slamming that ball with all your might, tennis is also a great workout. You’ll burn up to 490 calories per hour playing a one-on-one match.

    “Tennis is a unique sport that tests every part of your body,” says Maureen Diaz, National Coach at the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Player Development Training Center. “It will tone your shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps — using muscles you never knew you had.”

    RELATED: U.S. Open Tennis Tips from the Bryan Brothers

    Ready to get swinging? This tutorial from Diaz and Scott Hausthor, manager of the USTA Player Development Training Center in Flushing, New York will help you learn the most common grips and strokes you’ll need on the court. You’ll be rallying in no time!

    Get a Grip

    The first thing you’ll need to know is how to hold the racket. Sounds simple, but the proper “grip” will help you achieve maximum control and power on the court. The most common grips used by beginners include the Continental, Eastern and Semi-Western. The butt of your racket is shaped like an octagon, and players typically use the eight sides, known as bevels, to navigate the different grips. Practice your grips before hitting the court so you know what to do before a ball is flying at your face.

    1. Continental
    While you can use this grip for every shot, it’s best suited for serves, volleys and overhead swings. Think of it as though you were holding a hammer.
    Benefits: This grip will give you a slightly open racket face, allowing for control for quick, defensive shots.
    How to: As you’re looking at the butt of the racket, consider the top Bevel 1, and work your way clockwise for each subsequent bevel (a). Make a v-shape with your thumb and forefinger on top of the handle (b). The knuckle of your index finger and the heel of your hand should rest on Bevel 2 (c).

    RELATED: 5 Major Benefits of Total-Body Workouts

    2. Eastern
    This grip is most commonly used for forehand strokes and is fairly similar to the Continental. It allows for fast, flat shots and the grip feels similar to as if you were shaking someone’s hand.
    Benefits: This grip can help you flatten out the ball to make it more difficult for your opponents to return.
    How to: Rest your index knuckle and heel of your hand on the third bevel (a).

    3. Semi-Western
    The semi-Western grip is an alternate option for forehands, and allows you to hit higher balls and gives you a bit more control than the Eastern grip. Your arm will be in the same position as a fist pump.
    Benefits: Because of the topspin that the semi-Western grip generates from the closed racket face, this grip is best for more aggressive shots.
    How to: Put your racket face flat on the ground and pick it up (a). Where you pick it up will naturally be with your index knuckle and heel of your hand on Bevel 4 (b).

    The Right Strokes

    Every tennis player, from first-timers to Rafael Nadal, relies on the same four basic strokes: forehand, backhand, volley and serve. Once you’ve got these down, you’ll be ready to take on your opponent.

    1. Forehand

    What It Is: You’ll rule the court with this is shot made by swinging the racquet across your body with your dominant hand, after the ball has bounced.

    How to: Start with the racket in your right, or dominant hand, using a grip between Eastern and Semi-Western, and stand with feet parallel to the net (a). As the ball approaches, keep your elbow slightly bent and swing the racket back behind your body in a circular motion (b). Step forward onto your left foot, angling it slightly towards the net, and pivoting on the toe of your back, right foot, heel raised (c). Make contact with the ball just in front of your body with your racket parallel to the net (d). After contact, continue the swing across your body on an upward diagonal, finishing with your racket over your left shoulder (e).

    2. Backhand

    What It Is: If the ball is rocketing towards your non-dominant side, never fear. With this forceful two-handed shot, you’ll swing the racket from the opposite side of your body — with the back of your dominant hand facing forward. It’s also a groundstroke, meaning that it is used after the ball has bounced.

    How to: Start with a two-handed grip, with your right, or dominant hand on the bottom in a Continental grip and your top, or left hand in an Eastern grip (a). Stand in your ready position facing the net, toes forward, shoulder-width apart (b). As the ball approaches, shift your stance, planting your left foot parallel to the net, as you bring the racket behind the left side of your body, keeping elbows slightly bent (c). Step forward with your right foot to meet the ball out in front of your body, keeping both hands on the racket (d). Follow through with your swing, ending with the racket behind and above your right shoulder (e).

    RELATED: 7 Must-Have Products for Sun Protection

    3. Volley

    What It Is: The ultimate power move, this shot requires just a slight swing. It’s executed before the ball bounces on the ground — and typically from close to the net.

    How to: Hold the racket in a Continental grip with your right hand, placing your left hand above it (a). Your ready position will be with your racket in front of you and your feet facing the net, shoulder-width apart (b). Shifting your toes to the right, turn to your forehand side and swing the racket back slightly, until it is just in line with your body (c). Step forward with your left foot as you make contact with the ball (d). Cut off your swing just after making contact with the ball (e).

     4. Serve

    What It Is: This is the shot that starts each point. Your goal: To land the ball in the box diagonally opposite from you on the other side of the net. Grunting, optional.

    How to: Your ready position will be holding the racket in your right, or dominant hand, using a continental grip, ball in your left hand (a). Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, parallel to the net (b). Swing the racket behind your body and above your head (c). Toss the ball just above head height, releasing at eye level (d). Tip your shoulders and pelvis back slightly, and make contact with the ball as you swing your racket over your head and in front of your body (e). As you hit the ball, your upper body will be fully extended as you plant your left foot, pivoting forward on your right foot (f). Follow through bringing your racket across your body, finishing with it near the court under your left arm. Recover back into your ready position (g).

    The post The Beginner’s Guide to Playing Tennis (Or Faking It Well) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

  • How to Fall in Love With Fitness in 4 Easy Steps

    [caption id="attachment_43135" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    It’s a vicious cycle: First, in a fit of motivation, you decide this is it. You’re going to wake up at the crack of dawn to pump some iron, or hit up that new treadmill class after work, and go all out with your workout routine. But after a few months (or maybe weeks, no judgment!) of sticking to your exercise plan, things go awry. Life gets in the way, and your workouts are put on the back burner until that inner urge to get in shape hits you all over again. Frustrating, right? Know that you’re not alone in your struggle.

    RELATED: 6 Reasons Why You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

    “People have a hard time sticking to fitness plans for two core reasons. One is because the motivation isn’t there,” says Michelle Segar, PhD, a motivation scientist and author of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness. The second reason? “[They] don’t give themselves permission to prioritize self-care,” she says. But Segar proves you can fall in love — and stick with — a workout routine. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or a weekend warrior, here’s Segar’s cheat sheet to perfect motivation — or just a friendly reminder to keep going strong.

    The 4 Steps to Fall in Love With Fitness

    1. Find Meaning
    The first step in revolutionizing your exercise routine is to determine what working out actually means to you. “You assign meaning to things based on your beliefs and past experiences,” says Segar. So there are a wealth of reasons you may harbor negative feelings towards exercise — even just thinking of a workout as one more thing to cross off a crazy-long to-do list can fill each one with a sense of dread. Instead, look for positive motivation (like how awesome exercising makes you feel in the short-term) to create an insatiable workout craving.

    To pinpoint your purpose, start by asking yourself whether you see exercise as a chore or a gift. If you see it as a chore, motivation is likely your issue. If you think of it as a gift but still can’t make the habit stick, chances are you don’t feel comfortable prioritizing it in your day. But the good news: The next three steps can help solve both of these problems.

    2. Raise Awareness
    Once you’ve found your meaning, the next step is to increase your self-awareness. After all, acknowledging how strong, empowered or connected to your body you feel is one of the best ways to reap the short-term benefits of your time on the mat. “When you [immediately] get a positive reward for doing something, it unconsciously motivates you to keep wanting it,” says Segar, who notes that desire is a very powerful motivator. Focusing less on the long-term payoffs (like tighter abs or lower cholesterol), as great as they may seem, and more on the immediate mental and physical boost, can be the exact motivation you need.

    RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

    [caption id="attachment_43132" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    3. Give Permission
    Exercise is so much more than just getting your body moving. It can reduce stress, amp up your happiness, and offer some solid proof of how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. “Yet people have a hard time sticking with exercise,” says Segar. Chances are you put your job, your family and what other people want from you ahead of your own needs. So go on, put yourself first with an hour (or even just 30 minutes a day!) of workout time.

    “We’ve been socialized to not consider well-being important, but you have to [take care of] yourself in order to give your all to everything you care about,” says Segar. Once you realize the day-to-day effects exercise has on your mood, happiness and overall ability to get things done, it will be easier to give yourself the permission to always find time for a quick sweat session.

    RELATED: 7 Reasons to Never Miss a Monday Workout

    4. Make a Strategy
    Bottom line: It all comes down making a plan of action. “You have to figure out the logistics of negotiating exercise within your complex life,” says Segar, otherwise you’ll put yourself back at the starting line. One of Segar’s top tips is to think about a space in your day where you could fit in just five minutes of exercise, like doing a loop or two around the office on your way to lunch. (Or this amazing two-minute routine. Carrying one of these amazing lunch boxes.) “Then ask yourself what excuses you come up with, like that you need to get lunch as quickly as possible so you can return to your inbox,” says Segar.

    Part of your strategy needs to be uncovering your personal sneaky excuses, then removing whatever obstacles are standing in your way. It can sound potentially overwhelming, so taking baby steps is an ideal way to start. “If you were new to strength training, you wouldn’t start with a 20-pound weight,” Segar says. Learning to love exercise is a process, but the payoff is more than worth it. You’ll feel stronger, leaner and happier once you dive in.

    The post How to Fall in Love With Fitness in 4 Easy Steps appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

  • Easy One-Pot Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

    [caption id="attachment_43129" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo by Alexa Schrim[/caption]

    Dirty dishes are our nemesis, which is why we created this one-pot baked chicken recipe. Everything can be sautéd and baked in just one oven-safe skillet, so you won't have a mountain of pots and pans to clean up after dinner. It's a win for your taste buds, too — the recipe doesn’t skimp on gooey mozzarella and Parmesan but it's still roughly 300 calories a serving. Every bite bursts with flavor from sun-dried tomato pesto and heart-healthy garlic. Did we mention it takes a quick 30 minutes to whip up? Make it tonight for a light and fuss-free dinner.

    RELATED: 16 Healthy Chicken Recipes That Don’t Suck

    [caption id="attachment_43146" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photos by Alexa Schrim[/caption]

    Easy One-Pot Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe

    Serves: 6

    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    [skinnybox]

    Ingredients

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 medium zucchini, cubed
    1 eggplant, cubed
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
    1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
    1/2 cup marinara sauce
    1 pound chicken breasts, sliced
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    5 slices mozzarella cheese
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    Parmesan cheese

    Preparation
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Pour olive oil into a large, oven-safe skillet, and warm over medium heat.
  • Sauté eggplant and zucchini with garlic for two to three minutes. Once vegetables soften, remove from heat.
  • Add cherry tomatoes to the skillet and stir in sun-dried tomato pesto.
  • On a cutting board, season chicken strips with salt and pepper to taste. Next, lay the chicken strips on top of mixed vegetables, pushing them down a bit so some of the vegetables come to the top.
  • Spread marinara sauce on the chicken. Lay the mozzarella cheese on top and place skillet in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.
  • Pro Tips
    • Don’t have an oven-friendly skillet? Simply use a regular skillet and transfer sautéed ingredients to a casserole dish before baking.

    For more recipes from Alexa, visit Simple Roots Wellness.

    The post Easy One-Pot Baked Pesto Chicken Recipe appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

  • 4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do In Front of Your TV

    [caption id="attachment_43002" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    This workout comes to you from DailyBurn trainer Justin Rubin. You can find more no-equipment moves in his True Beginner program at DailyBurn.com.

    Drop it like it’s hot? How about drop it like a squat? If you usually shy away from lower body exercises in favor of above the belt training, it’s time to wise up. Whether or not weight loss is your goal, you’ll get serious pay-off by training your lower half. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes are home to some of the biggest muscles in your body, and those muscles will torch calories both during and after your workout, thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the process by which your body replenishes its oxygen stores.

    Plus, working your lower body will pay off in about a million different ways. “Lower body strength, much like your core, is a foundation for all fitness,” says Justin Rubin, DailyBurn trainer for True Beginner. Challenging your legs and glutes will translate to better balance, strength and agility — all of which are important for day-to-day activities like racing up the stairs (without burning thighs) or even getting low on the dance floor.

    RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day

    Best of all, you don’t even need a pimped-out gym to get started. We asked Rubin to demonstrate four beginner-friendly moves that can be done pretty much anywhere. (Translation: No equipment required!) For a solid workout, repeat each exercise for one minute, doing as many reps as possible. Then recover for 30 seconds. Complete five rounds and you’ll start to feel the burn! If you want an extra challenge, try the optional towel modifications listed below each description to engage your upper body as well.

    4 No-Equipment Lower Body Exercises


    1. Reverse Lunges
    Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

    How to: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight onto your left leg and step your right leg straight behind you (b). Lower directly downwards until your front and back knees are at 90-degree angles. Hold for one second (c). Next, engage your left thigh and push off your right leg, coming back to a neutral, standing position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute.

    Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. When you step back for a lunge, twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your back leg. (Example: Twist to the left when you step back with your right leg.)

    RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners


    2. Squats
    Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings

    How to: Begin with your feet under your hips, legs no wider than your shoulders. Your bodyweight should be in your heels and your arms should be relaxed by your sides (a). Keeping your chest upright and your shoulder blades pulled back, bend your knees and sink down, making sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Your arms should extend straight in front of you. Imagine you are touching your butt to a chair (b). Now, drive through your legs and squeeze your glutes to stand back up, letting your arms come down to your sides again (c). Repeat for one minute.

    Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. As you squat down, bring your arms overhead, so your face is in between your biceps. When you drive upwards to stand back up, slowly let your arms come back to your sides. 


    3. Side Lunges
    Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

    How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Take a wide step to the left, letting your left foot point diagonally away from you and keeping your right foot planted (b). Keeping your weight in your heels and your chest lifted upwards, turn your left foot and knee out slightly as you sink down into a lunge. Make sure your knees do not come over your toes (c). Next, push off with your left leg, engaging your inner thighs and glutes, and bring the leg back to the neutral starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute.

    Extra credit: Want to engage the muscles in your arms? Hold a towel taut between your hands, with your arms extended straight upwards. When you step to one side for a lunge, bring your arms down so the towel touches your outer thigh. Bring your arms upwards as you step in.

    RELATED: 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners


    4. Curtsy Lunges
    Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs

    How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight to your right side and step your left leg behind your right leg so your legs are crossed. If you imagine a clock underneath you, your left toes should be at roughly 4 o’clock (b). Bend both knees, not letting them come over your toes, and sink into the lunge, keeping your chest upright (c). Engage your quads and squeeze your glutes as you drive off your left leg, standing up and bringing it back to the starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for one minute.

    Extra credit: When standing upright, hold the towel taut in front of your chest. As you step to each side for the curtsy lunge, extend your arms and bring them down so the towel is in front of your shin. Be sure to maintain good upper body posture. Once you drive off your back leg, bring your arms and towel back to your chest.

    To try True Beginner free for 30 days, head to DailyBurn.com/truebeginner.

    Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn.

    The post 4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do In Front of Your TV appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

  • 3 Great Moments from the 2015 World Track Championships

    [caption id="attachment_43085" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photos: Instagram (left); Instagram (right)[/caption]

    There’s nothing like witnessing a breathtaking feat of athleticism to rev you up for your next workout (a DailyBurn workout, of course!) — especially at the beginning of the week. That's why we’re looking back at the World Track and Field Championships, which wrapped up yesterday in Beijing. The exciting races and relays offered up some seriously inspiring moments that went way beyond just the thrill of cheering on a winner. (Though that is, of course, awesome in itself.)

    RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

    So whether you’re training for your first 5K or are a total gym rat, you’ll relate to these hard-to-believe, but totally inspiring incidents. (Spoiler alert: One runner was forced to go shoeless!) The way these athletes reacted to the challenges at hand might just inspire you to recommit to dominating whatever workout you’ve got scheduled for this week. Check them out below.

    3 Crazy Moments from the World Track Championships


    1. Usain Bolt Rolls With the Punches
    Did your heart stop for a second when watching the video above? Same. Mere moments after Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200-meter race, a photographer on an out-of-control Segway scooter literally plowed him down on the track. Though it could have been a career-threatening moment, Bolt almost popped back to his feet. Later, he laughed at a press conference, saying, “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that [American rival] Justin Gatlin paid him off.” He followed up with a Facebook post that said it all: “Unshakeable, Unbreakable, Unstoppable.” Carry that mantra with you — we’ve already put it in our pockets.

    RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body)

     

    Hats off to @trackjenny, who finished that race without her left shoe. Looks like it flew off with about 300m to go. pic.twitter.com/CiLGkDh3Ij

    — USATF (@usatf) August 25, 2015


    2. Jenny Simpson Goes (Unexpectedly) Shoeless
    American runner Jenny Simpson didn’t let the fact that she was only wearing only one shoe stop her from finishing her 1500-meter race at the World Championships. Her wayward cleat slipped off her left foot after another runner stepped on her shoe mid-course. Simpson, who came in first place in the event in 2011 and second in 2013, was a contender to medal in 2015 again. Despite her relatively disappointing finish in 11th place this time around, Simpson kept her cool and demonstrated what it truly means to tough it out. Next time you complain, think of Simpson and how she crushed her race in just one shoe.

    RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard


    3. Emily Infield Claims the Bronze
    Talk about an inspiring finish to kick-start your week! On Tuesday, August 25, American runner Emily Infield nabbed a bronze medal in the 10,000-meter race, overtaking fellow U.S. teammate Molly Huddle in the final seconds of the competition, after Huddle started celebrating early. Infield’s training partner, the elite marathoner Shalene Flanagan, told Runner’s World that Infield had been specifically practicing pushing herself at the end of her races. “I’m always telling Emily to run through the line and to pace herself so she has one extra gear in the last 100, so I’m taking partial credit,” Flanagan said. We’d say it paid off.

    How’s all that for some #MondayMotivation?

    Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

    The post 3 Great Moments from the 2015 World Track Championships appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

  • 7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym


    Celebs and athletes love touting the benefits of fancy exercise systems and zillion dollar recovery treatments. But when you're not on a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous budget, your fitness regimen has to come in at a fraction of the price. Whether you're new to the workout game or you've been pumping iron for decades, a few basic tools can help give your routine that A-list boost.

    RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard

    But before you fall down the QVC rabbit hole, get this: Much of the equipment you need for a great home workout is already right at your fingertips. Need a yoga block? Check the bookshelf. Want an ab roller? Head to the… kitchen? Check out these surprising everyday items that can up the ante at your next at-home sweat session.

    7 DIY Fitness Props You Already Own

    [caption id="attachment_42894" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    1. Books
    Your DIY: Yoga blocks
    When you’re not reading, use that copy of Harry Potter in lieu of a yoga block. Dense foam cubes typically used to make poses more accessible, yoga blocks can set you back $10 or more (and we know you’d rather spend that on lattes). "The blocks can bring the ground to you, enabling [you] to experience the fullest and safest version of the pose possible," says Rachel VanCleave, instructor and studio manager at Yogamaya in New York City.

    RELATED: 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class

    [caption id="attachment_42896" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    2. Frozen Water Bottle
    Your DIY: Foam roller (plus cold therapy!)
    Chances are you've seen or heard of foam rolling (aka self-myofascial release), but you may not be ready to splurge on some of the pricier rollers out there. Foam rolling is all the rage for recovery, improving range of motion and more. It works by elevating your temperature to increase blood flow to the muscles, explains Noam Tamir, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and owner of TS Fitness New York City, Instead of investing in a "real" foam roller, use a large frozen water bottle, which could offer even better results, he says. Because the muscle is chilled, when it re-warms, the rush of blood is even greater than with foam rolling alone, Tamir says. This can help better prevent inflammation and boost muscle recovery.

    RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

    [caption id="attachment_42897" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    3. Swiffer or Broom
    Your DIY: Workout bar
    Give your cleaning tools a whole new (way cooler) life by using that broomstick or Swiffer to improve mobility. Grab either one during your warm-up to open up your chest and shoulders (super important if you’re hunched over your keyboard all day). Try this: Stand up and hold the broom, hands hip-width apart. Then, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Next, draw your arms forward by spreading your shoulder blades and then retract them back in. You can also try adding shrugs, upright rows, and "pull-ups," to loosen up tight shoulders. Once you’re ready to get going, Tamir adds that you can also lay that Swiffer handle on the ground to jump over when doing plyometric movements.

    RELATED: Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out

    [caption id="attachment_42898" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    4. Belt
    Your DIY: Exercise strap
    Take your lower body and core exercises to a whole new level by using a belt (yes, the one from your pants), to engage your upper extremities. Gripping the belt at shoulder-height with hands about shoulder-distance apart, hold your arms straight out in front of you, elbows extended, while doing exercises like sit-ups, lunges, and squats. Keep that belt around for your post-workout stretch, too. "We all have different proportions and levels of flexibility," says VanCleave. "Simply put, straps can provide a little more length to your arms or legs." Try wrapping a belt made of a pliable material, like rope, around the ball of your foot while stretching your hamstring.

    [caption id="attachment_42899" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    5. Rolling Pin
    Your DIY: Ab wheel, foam roller
    When it comes to working out at home, less is more (as in, the less gear you have to shove into the coat closet when guests come over, the better). Most of us probably don't have an ab wheel lying around, even though rollouts are a great way to challenge the entire core. Instead of investing in the $40 gadget, Tamir recommends busting out that good old-fashioned rolling pin. While it's out, you can also use it as a foam roller — in case you didn't plan ahead and freeze that water bottle.

    RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

    [caption id="attachment_42900" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    6. Bag of Textbooks
    Your DIY: Weights
    Anybody who ever rocked a backpack in middle school knows textbooks can be heavy. Tamir suggests piling one (or more!) into reusable grocery bags (or an old backpack) to create easy-to-lift weights. Hold a bag in each hand for a farmer carry (do a few laps of your yard or block carrying the bags), or use just one for a suitcase carry. Both will improve grip strength, and work your entire body, says Tamir.

    [caption id="attachment_42901" align="alignnone" width="620"] Photo: Pond5[/caption]

    7. Bungee Cord
    Your DIY: Resistance bands
    Unless you’re a serious baller, we doubt you’ve got a rack of free weights (or even resistance bands) lying around. Luckily, bungee cords can provide a great workout, too. Double- or triple-up on cords to increase resistance and make sure you only use the cords for exercises where you've got the band pinned down (e.g. one end in each hand, holding the cord down with your foot). Unlike a flat band, the cord can roll around, and trust us, you don't want it to come whizzing at your face.

    Now that you've got a bunch of cheap DIY tools to add to your workout arsenal, here are 9 DIY projects for when you’re ready to really take your home gym to the next level.

    The post 7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

  • 11 Healthy Zucchini Recipes for Low-Carb Meals

    The best thing about zucchini is its versatility: You can shred it, slice it, dice it, stuff it — the possibilities are nearly endless. Whether it’s mixed into a breakfast muffin batter or sliced on top of pizza or burgers, we can’t get enough of this seasonal vegetable (or is it a fruit?). During the hot summer months, the lean, green squash is easy to find at your local farmers market or grocer so you’ve got no excuse not to use it. To help get you started, we’ve rounded up 11 irresistible zucchini recipes that bring out the best in the naturally low-calorie, low-carb ingredient.

    RELATED: 10 Beat-the-Heat Summer Smoothie Recipes

    11 Delicious Lower-Carb Zucchini Recipes

    1. Vietnamese Zucchini Noodle Bowl
    If you’ve never tried zoodles — aka zucchini noodles — dive into the tasty trend with this Vietnamese-inspired recipe. The firm noodles stand in for rice. The result? A fresh, guilt-free dish that stops hunger in its tracks. Keep things vegetarian or top your zoodles with a protein of your choosing for a heartier meal. Photo and recipe: Marisa / Uproot from Oregon

    RELATED: 12 Brilliant Meal Prep Ideas to Free Up Your Time

    2. Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
    Finger food doesn’t get healthier (or easier) than this. Since they’re baked, these zucchini spears are much better for you than your average French fries. Not in the mood for zucchini? The recipe would work just as well with summer squash, or even a more sturdy squash, such as butternut. Photo and recipe: Chungah / Damn Delicious

    3. Zucchini Bread Pancakes
    Any pancake lover will happily devour a short-stack of these colorful flapjacks. Each serving packs a half-cup serving of vegetables — so put them on your weekend brunch rotation, stat! A hint of sugar in the batter adds just the right amount of sweetness, while toasted pecans deliver texture and crunch. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

    RELATED: 10 Delicious Protein Pancake Recipes

    4. Portobello Burger with Zucchini
    Skip the pickles — thin slices of grilled zucchini can deliver a satisfying crunch at your next cookout. (Now why didn’t we think of this before?) Vegan BBQ mayo and baby greens bring this Portobello burger to new heights of deliciousness. Photo and recipe: Julie / Small Green Kitchen

    5. Honey Olive Oil Zucchini Muffins
    Using half whole-wheat flour, half white flour lightens up these muffins while still keeping them light and fluffy. Plus, shredded zucchini is the secret to perfectly moist treats. Photo and recipe: Lindsay Ostrom / Pinch of Yum

    RELATED: 15 Healthy No-Bake Dessert Recipes

    6. Fiery Szechuan Peanut and Chili Zucchini Noodles
    Tahini and peanut butter create a creamy, rich base for the sauce for this Asian-inspired zoodles recipe, while chili oil adds a spicy kick. Feel free to skip the recommended regular pasta and double the zucchini for a meal lower in calories and carbs. Pro tip: Simply toss cooked noodles with sauce in the same bowl you’ll use for serving. Photo and recipe: Tieghan Gerard / Half Baked Harvest 

    7. Gluten-Free Greek Yogurt Zucchini Brownies
    You’ve never had gluten-free brownies quite like these! Each square offers four grams of protein, thanks to vegan protein powder and Greek yogurt. Applesauce stands instead of oil or butter, which lightens up the recipe even more. (If you don’t have applesauce on hand, canned pumpkin or mashed banana work just as well.) Photo and recipe: The Big Man’s World

    8. Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs
    When the craving for classic spaghetti and meatballs hits, give this low-calorie, low-carb version a shot. Instead of beef, these slimmed-down meatballs rely on lean turkey for protein with less cholesterol. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

    9. Ricotta and Squash Blossom Pizza
    Zucchini and squash blossoms are only in season for just a few weeks in the middle of summer, and this pizza puts them to good use. Pair the seasonal duo on a whole-wheat pizza dough for an extra dose of fiber. Photo and recipe: Maryanne / The Little Epicurean

    RELATED: 7 Delicious Low-Carb Pizza Recipes

    10. Israeli Couscous-Stuffed Zucchini
    None of our favorite green vegetable goes to waste in this satisfying meal that boasts Israeli couscous, onion, bell peppers and basil. If you can find them, Eight-Ball Zucchinis work perfectly for this recipe. (Purchase eight instead of four, as the recipe indicates!) Otherwise, conventional zucchinis halved lengthwise will do. Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn

    11. Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips
    A half-inch slice of this snack bread comes in at just 128 calories and 13 grams of sugar. (Some have up to 27 grams of sugar per slice!) Applesauce and shredded zucchini maintain a delicate texture while keeping this bread low in fat. Skip the chocolate chips if you’re keeping a close eye on sugar. Photo and recipe: Emily Miller / Life by DailyBurn

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