Side Stitch: What Causes It and How to Prevent It

Whether you're a newbie or an accomplished marathoner, side stitches happen. With all of the research we have available, it sounds strange, but we're still not exactly sure why this pain in the rib cage occurs. Some physiologists have theorized that the common side stitch comes from your stomach and other organs bumping into each other as your feet hit the ground. And others speculate it happens when the ligament that attaches your liver to your diaphragm becomes overstretched. We can't shift the science that occurs in our bodies, but there are some steps to prevent those pesky cramps.

Don't fill up: Running on a full stomach is never a good idea. And this doesn't just refer to a big meal; it goes for water as well. Staying hydrated is absolutely necessary, but overloading on H2O or a sports drink right before you head off can lead to bad cramps.

Stretch appropriately: Improper or lack of stretching may be linked to annoying side pains that cramp your style. While the verdict is still out on whether stretching before a run prevents injury, get in an active running warmup to cover all your bases.

Breathe deeper: Learning to breathe with your diaphragm can be some of your best defense against cramps. If you're not sure where to start, take our tips and learn to breathe correctly when you run.

If you're suffering from a side stitch in the middle of a run, slow down your pace and your breath. If that doesn't help, stop completely and press your hand into the right side of your body and push up. Once the pain goes away, feel free to jump back on the running wagon. Have you dealt with the side-stitch dilemma? What's worked for you?

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

The Lower-Ab Workout You've Been Waiting For

Try this quick and focused workout to tone the lower part of your abs and work off the pooch. We concentrate on the abs for five minutes and guarantee you feel the burn. You don't need any equipment, but don't forget to breathe!

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

A 20-Minute, Calorie-Burning Treadmill Workout

If you only have a short window to spare for a workout, try this challenging 20-minute treadmill routine. Beyond switching up the speed every two minutes, you'll also be changing the incline, which challenges the body to work even harder. Even after this short cardio session, you'll feel light, energized, and ready to power through the rest of your day.

Before you head for your run, be sure to print this workout to bring to the gym with you!

Related: 20-Minute Abs and Arms Blast

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Chili

Link to Anytime Fitness Blog

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Chili

Posted: 31 Jan 2016 06:00 AM PST

Black Bean Chicken Chili

Everyone has a favorite chili recipe. So take your crowd down a new, healthier path with this lean, mean and easy chicken chili version.

The post Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Chili appeared first on Anytime Fitness Blog.

Say Goodbye to the Jiggle With This Arm Workout

We all know that Kelly Ripa is ripped. Her secret weapon? Workouts with trainer Anna Kaiser of AKT in Motion. And here is a 10-minute arm workout from Anna for you to try. You will tone and sculpt sexy, shapely shoulders while working your entire body. Now that's efficient! Grab a set of dumbbells, between three and eight pounds, and get ready to work your arms, legs, and core.

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

Full-Body Circuit Workout With Weights

Why do we love circuit workouts? It's simple: they torch calories while building muscle. So we created this efficient full-body circuit that combines several exercises to work multiple body parts at once. And since you can easily do this workout in the comfort of your living room, it's excuse-proof, too. It takes about 20 minutes! All you need is a set of dumbbells between five and eight pounds. Even if you don't have weights, you can still give it a go.

Instructions: After warming up with light cardio for five minutes, repeat each three-exercise circuit twice, resting for 60 seconds after completing one round of an entire circuit.

Find the printable version here.

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Ways to Make Running Feel Easier

Lacing up those sneaks the first few times can feel so hard. Your muscles ache, your lungs burn, it's hard to breathe, and all you can think about is stopping. Don't give up! Here are five techniques to incorporate every week to help running feel like a breeze instead of a chore.

Pencil It In

In order for your body to become more accustomed to the demands running places on it, you have to run regularly. Instead of fitting in random runs whenever you can or when the weather is nice, it's imperative to stick with a weekly running schedule that includes running at least three or four times a week. Running often will strengthen the muscles in your lower body and core that are needed to make running feel easier, and it will also build your endurance. Ease into running regularly with shorter runs, and as it begins to feel easier, gradually increase the mileage per workout.

Slow Down

There's no need to start off running seven-minute miles. Slow down your speed enough so you're breathing faster than you would if just walking, but not huffing and puffing so much that your lungs hurt or you're gasping for each breath. Skip the interval training, because even though it's great for targeting belly fat, running at a comfortable, consistent pace is easier than sprinting. Slowing down will allow you to focus on correct running form, which can alleviate common running aches, and you'll also be able to take in the scenery or have the energy to chat with your workout buddy, all of which can actually make you love going out for a run. As your body becomes stronger, your pace will increase naturally, and you can begin to challenge it with sprinting intervals.

Make It Fun

If you hate every second of your run, you're doing something wrong. Find ways to make it enjoyable either by bringing your dog or best friend along, exploring running in new places, listening to your favorite tunes or a book on tape, splurging on new gear, tracking your run with an app, or running near water so after your run you can jump in to cool off.

Hills and Squats

Having strong leg muscles will make running feel like a breeze. One way is to incorporate leg-strengthening work into your runs by adding hills. Running uphill will feel incredibly challenging, but as soon as you get to the top and start running on a flat surface, you'll be amazed at how much easier running feels. Or you can focus on toning your lower body when you're not out for a run, with moves like squats, lunges, or step-ups, or try this yoga sequence for runners.

Don't Just Run

Running regularly will train your body to make running feel easier, but if running is the only workout you do, boredom and repetitive-stress injuries can make it unbearable. Mix up your cardio routine with biking, hiking, dancing, or swimming. Doing other types of cardio will strengthen your body in different ways, so every time you lace up your sneaks, it'll feel easier to head out for a run. But the best part about taking breaks from running is that it'll actually make you miss it, and if you're excited to get out for a run, it'll make it that much more enjoyable.

Related: A Belly-Fat-Blasting, Booty-Burning Treadmill Workout

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

This Yoga Sequence Knows That Summer Bodies Are Made in the Winter

Sure, yoga is great for calming the mind, but this ancient practice can also give you a strong and sexy body to boot! Get psyched for beach time (or naked time!) with these 12 challenging yoga poses that will tone your tush, thighs, abs, and upper body. Follow this 12-pose sequence through on the right side, and then repeat on the left.

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

Shape and Tone Your Butt in Just 3 Weeks

A shapely, rounded, perky tush not only gives you confidence in your yoga pants and bathing suit, but toning your backside with butt exercises will also make you stronger for your active lifestyle whether you run, cycle, swim, dance, climb, or play sports. This challenge takes minutes to do each day, requires no equipment, and is simple enough even for bodyweight-exercise newbies.

Getting started: This challenge consists of five basic exercises that target your glutes and thighs. Over the course of the challenge, you will increase the number of reps you're doing of each exercise, eventually working up to three sets of 15 reps for each exercise. Below is an explanation of how to do each of the five exercises, followed by the plan itself. If the challenge ever feels too easy, go ahead and increase the number of reps, or repeat the circuit for another round.

Source: POPSUGAR Fitness

Weekly Episode Update: The Price of Steroids and Kai Greene Talks Sex & Bodybuilding

Iron Cinema:
Chris Bell Talks Steroids & Bodybuilding.

The director of Bigger, Stronger, Faster* sits down with Vlad Yudin to discuss the unfair stigma that bodybuilding has with steroids compared to other sports. Why does bodybuilding get so much blowback when steroids has been in sports for decades?

> Watch full interview here


Episode 14:
Dirty Talk - Sex & Bodybuilding

This week on the Generation Iron Podcast it's all about sex! What is the sex life of a bodybuilder like? And do "average people" find mass monsters attractive? Kai Greene shares his personal insights and past experiences in our latest episode.

> Listen here!
The ARNOLD CLASSIC 2016 is just around the corner. That's why this week we're counting down the most memorable bodybuilding quotes from the Austrian Oak himself - Arnold Schwarzenegger.

> Watch it here!
Watch some truly amazing jumps that you have to see to believe. Oh, and some of them end in hardcore face plants. Your face might sting after this.

It's the best and worst fitness videos on the internet all in one place!

> Watch it here!
The Golden Era was a magnificent time for bodybuilding to many... but when looking at it through the eyes of Gregg Valentino, it gets a lot weirder. Dirty bulk, massive brawls, and "Cake-shakes" await in Gregg's latest episode.

> Watch it here!
Competition prep is an incredible balancing act. The truth of the matter is - months of training can be ruined by one misstep days before the competition. Dennis Wolf goes into detail about the dangers before a contest in this latest GI Exclusive.

> Watch it here!
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Michael Phelps Distracts Free Throw Shooter At Basketball Game

Michael Phelps Distracts Free Throw Shooter At Basketball Game

Photo courtesy of

Michael Phelps gave the Arizona State University student body a gold medal performance during their basketball game against Oregon State. Phelps was behind the ASU student section's "Curtain of Distraction," wearing gold medals around his neck, a speedo, and a yellow swim cap. 

Once the curtain drew open, Phelps imitated the freestyle stroke to coax a missed foul shot from Oregon State's freshman Stephen Thompson. When Thompson was going for the second one, Phelps stripped down into his speedo and swim cap and was joined by two 942 Crew members decked out as Chippendales. It must have worked because it led to another missed shot. Arizona won the game 86-68. 

Bill Kennedy, Arizona State associate athletic director tells Yahoo Sports, "I don't think you could have written it any better with the Oregon State player missing both free throws. You could see the look on his face. He couldn't help but look. He was trying to hold himself together, but you could tell by the look in his eyes he was going to miss the first one. Missing the second one was just icing on the cake."

As for the "Curtain of Distraction," it's an idea from ASU's student group 942 Crew. Every time a player shoots a free throw toward the ASU student section, students set up a pair of black curtains right behind the basket and show a hilarious distraction. This time being Michael Phelps.

Phelps is currently training in Tempe, Arizona for the 2016 Rio Games. 

source: Muscle & Fitness

5-Week Program for Progressive Overload

Today's fitness world can be confusing with a multitude of tools being thrown at you. The list is endless: supersests, drop sets, slow negatives, partial reps, and so on. The problem with the bombardment of information and subsequent bandwith overload is that it's easy to lose sight of what truly matters in oder to make progress. An important pricinple to adopt right away is progressive overload. 

Get Stressed

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during training. The principal is about continuously increasing the demands on the muscoloskeletal system so that you can make gains in muscle size, strength, and endurance. In simplest terms: to get bigger and stronger, you must lift more weight and add more volume -- making your muscles work harder than what they're used to. Without this concept, there will be no improvement. 

It sounds simple enough, yet we all know someone who's been a gym-goer for years and ends up getting nowhere. In nine out of ten cases, the overload principle was violated.

A simplistic progressive overloading program is just the trick. I personally like the way Mike Isreatel and Nick Shaw from Renaissance Periodization do things. 

The first basis of this program is to figure out your diet, and then setting up a training routine. Next, set up your training weights by calculating your 70-75 percent max.

In the first week, you'll train about 70 percent, moving the weights up in 3-5 percent increments each week, finishing to about 85 percent. This holds primarily for compound exercises. Note that the smaller exercises will progress in smaller steps. Here is my way of increasing the weights every two weeks.

As an example, lets assume that you can bench 300 pounds x 10 -- giving you a max weight of 380. You would start the program at around 300 pounds without going to failure, then add volume and weight as you go along. The program is for someone who has decent legs but lacks upper body mass and strength. This is a five-week program, the fifth week being a recovery week. 

Now I know this program will not work forever, so in week five, halve the volume and the reps to give your body and central nervous system a chance to recover. As for rest days for the program, you can switch them but just make sure that you stick to the original sequence. 

source: Muscle & Fitness

3 Glute-Building Moves for a Bigger Deadlift


A big problem with a lot of deadlifters I work with is their lockout. There can be a few different reasons for this, but the most common reason I run into is weak glutes. The major function of the glutes is hip extension, and hip extension is what we want at the top of a deadlift. So, if you want to fix your deadlift lockout (or you just want to fill out the Wranglers and drive the cowgirls crazy) read on for some serious glute strengthening exercises.

Structure and Function

The glutes are made up of three different muscles; the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. Collectively they make up the buttocks. The main function of the glutes is extension of the hip, they also assist in external rotation and abduction of the femur and knee stabilization.

The Exercises

1. Glute Ham Raise

The glute hamstring raise is one that most people hate, it looks like it should be a piece of cake but it is a hard exercise. It is one of the most important accessory movements you can do for your hamstring and glute development. Jump on the GHR apparatus and adjust the footplate so that your knees are on or just behind the knee/hip pad. Keep your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck in a straight line and lower yourself until you are about parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion by contracting the hamstrings and glutes, while maintaining the straight line position. Start with 3 sets of 6-10 reps and as you get stronger start to add weight.


2. Barbell Hip Thrusts

Sit on the floor with your back (around scapula level) resting on a bench. Put a barbell across your lap at the crease of your hip. Start with your butt on the floor and push your heels into the ground, extending your hips upward throughout their full range of motion. Return your butt to the ground and repeat. Make sure you fully extend your hips on each rep and squeeze your glutes hard at the top. Start off with 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps.

3. Back Extension Deadlifts

This exercise is done on the back extension piece of equipment. You can use either the 45 degree angle or flat variation. I prefer the 45 degree variation. Set up a barbell in front of the back extension apparatus. Get in the back extension and grip the barbell, now squeeze your glutes as you lift the bar off the ground to full extension. You are basically doing a deadlift while on the back extension… easy enough. This exercise is a great hamstring and glute builder and helps with your deadlift lockout. Do 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps.

source: Muscle & Fitness

5 Ways to Shredded Abs

source: Muscle & Fitness