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Unhealthy, Even Dangerous Weight-Loss Diets

​K-E DIET, AKA THE FEEDING-TUBE DIET: Talk about extreme! This doctor-affiliated/monitored recent fad diet has you eating via a feeding tube. Yes, a feeding tube. A "very low-calorie, protein- and fat-rich" solution with no carbs whatsoever is pumped through a tube the size of a strand of spaghetti that is inserted through your nose and into your stomach where it empties. Your body goes into ketosis, burning your own fat at a faster pace. "The fact that one would resort to a feeding tube to lose weight is appalling," says Levine. "This very low-calorie restricted plan is no more effective...
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​How to Get Pumped to Work Out

1. Pick the soundtrack first. I used to listen to the same "workout" playlist every time I went to the gym, and it got old pretty quickly. I'd skip past half the songs and suffer through many more. But when a song that still got me pumped came on, my workout felt easier, my pace increased, and my endorphins surged. If you make a playlist or find a radio station where every song is one of those songs, your workout becomes much more fun, believe me. I've started listening to the workout playlists on the Spotify app, and they are a game changer. Is this a gym or a dance party?! 2. Splurge fo...
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Unhealthy, Even Dangerous Weight-Loss Diets

​BABY FOOD DIET: Reportedly, celebrity fitness guru Tracy Anderson touted this fad diet to her ultra-famous clientele. The idea is to replace breakfast and lunch with tiny jarred rations of puréed food and then to eat a low-calorie dinner. Sure, babies subsist just fine on tiny, jarred rations of puréed food, and if you're a grown-up and choose to eat nothing but tiny jars of puréed food, you'll likely lose the same amount of weight you would if you ate tiny portions of any food. This leaves ease of portion control and the convenience of jarred, prepared food as this regimen's sole sellin...
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Unhealthy, Even Dangerous Weight-Loss Diets

​HOLLYWOOD DIET: Jamie and Larry, creators of the Hollywood Diet, have long claimed their products and regimens will help you miraculously lose weight while you're treated, as their website promises, "like a star." Their small selection of shakes and cookies for sale, on which you are to subside for 24 hours or more, will reportedly lead to a weight loss of two to nine pounds. Extreme low-calorie diets like this can be dangerous, especially when followed for more than a couple of days, warns Los Angeles-based nutritionist Alyse Levine M.S., RD. "This diet puts your body into starvation mo...
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Unhealthy, Even Dangerous Weight-Loss Diets

​TAPEWORM DIET: Not for the squeamish, this fad has reportedly been around since the dawn of the 20th century. Brave souls would swallow tapeworm cyst pills, so tapeworms would grow and mature inside their intestines, eating all food products until the dieter's goal weight is reached. Said tapeworm is then excreted with the aid of an anti-parasite pill. Mind you, tapeworms can get pretty damn huge -- as long as 30 feet -- and can cause a whole mess of health issues, like diarrhea, vomiting, headaches and even epilepsy. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, says this is in no way a viable weight-loss op...
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Stability: ball planks

​Spiderman Plank. A great way to hit your core from every angle. It's a forearm plank on the ball where you slowly alternate bringing a knee in toward your elbow, while keeping your hips level and in line with your head and shoulders. Now your upper back, shoulders and upper abs are stabilizing you while your lower abs and obliques are working. Multitasking at its finest!
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Stability: ball planks

​Stir the Pot. Of course you could just do a forearm plank on the stability ball but why not make it a little more interesting and really challenge your core? Separate your feet about hip-width (or even shoulder-width) distance in your plank with your forearms on the ball. Imagine that you have a big mixing spoon between your clasped hands and create a circular motion with your forearms similar to stirring a big pot. Keep the movement in your upper body only, using your core to stabilize you. Be sure to stir the pot in both directions. Whew! This is a toughie for sure.
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Stability: ball planks

​Jackknife. Start in a plank with the tops of your feet flat on the stability ball. Keeping your shoulders and wrists stacked, pull from your core and press your hips high up into the air (aiming to get your hips right over your shoulders). Work to keep your legs straight but don't lock your knees. Balance the weight evenly over the palms of your hands. Then, slowly lower your hips down and come back into a legs-elevated plank — but don't let your hips sag — before rolling back up again. This is also fabulous prep for working into a handstand.
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Stability: ball planks

Legs-Elevated Plank. You've got a couple of options about how to place your feet on the ball: tops of the feet flat on the ball or toes tucked under like I'm doing in the demo picture. The tops of the feet is easier than toes tucked under but it's a huge stretch on the front of the ankles (which may or may not be tolerable for you). Keep the front and back of your neck long and look slightly ahead of you on the floor. Don't tuck your chin into your chest and don't look too far in front of you. Wanna take this up a notch? Try lifting one leg at a time … yikes!
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Stability: ball planks

​For good reason, the plank continues to steadily replace the situp or crunch as the test of core strength in the health and fitness world. And why wouldn't it? The plank is super effective for training so many of the key muscles in the core all at the same time without placing so much pressure on the spine and hips. The 2-minute plank is rapidly becoming the target benchmark used by many trainers when measuring their clients' fitness. When done with proper form, planking is also fabulous for improving posture. As the front of your body works to keep you from crashing onto the floor, the muscl...
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Yoga Scorpion Pose

​As the name implies, the yoga scorpion pose, another trunk rotation exercise, was originally intended as a yoga pose. It's showing up more and more, though, in fitness and performance training programs, either as a dynamic warm-up stretch or as a "core exercise" performed on a Swiss ball.A look at the movement confirms there's no sport or activity in daily life that even remotely resembles the body position and action of this exercise. And not only does the yoga scorpion pose look unnatural, it's also invalidated by the science of human biomechanics, which shows the exercise has the potential...
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Lying Torso Twist

​The lying torso twist is another exercise that just about everyone, from beginners to personal trainers, seem to use as a staple in their abs workout or core training program. The move entails lying on the floor, with your legs up, and twisting your hips from side to side. There are two variations of this exercise: One version is done with bent knees, while the other, tougher, version is done with straight legs.But according to Shirley Sahrmann, a professor in the program in physical therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, movements like the prone torso twist, as wel...
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Exercise Risk vs Reward

​All exercises have both a risk and a reward. Choose exercises that pose the least risk while offering the most benefit. Don't do an exercise just because it looks cool or because that's what you've always done. Remember, your primary goal is to not get injured while getting into shape.You can quickly and easily evaluate any exercise by asking yourself this question: "Does the exercise make both common sense and scientific sense?"The common sense part is simple. You can determine that by just looking at the movement. If it looks natural or seems similar to an action used during normal daily ac...
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Exercises That Could Be Hurting Your Back

​Have you ever thought about why you do the exercises in your current workout routine? Probably not. Because the fact is, most people, even personal trainers, learn their moves from coaches or from a book, or maybe even from an online video and continue doing these exercises indefinitely.It's always a good idea to occasionally stop and evaluate the worth of an exercise, assess its risk to reward ratio. After all, a few of the commonly included moves in yoga and Pilates classes, along with those in the "core training" or "functional" strength programs of many personal trainers, aren't really th...
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​A single faulty joint affects the body as a whole because the individual parts of the human body are meant to work synergistically, not independently. As long as there's not permanent damage in the joint, you can regain lost ranges of motion through preventive care, its recommended performing daily self-assessments and joint-mobility exercises. "If you look at life, maintenance is one of the key principles. It doesn't matter if you're maintaining your car, your lawn or your personal relationships. Once you stop maintaining it, it goes down. Same thing with your body,"
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​Working at a computer all day, gripping heavy weights at the gym or past wrist strains can lead immobility in the wrists. This can make effective body-weight exercises like push-ups and certain yoga poses uncomfortable or even impossible. Wrist rolls can help facilitate those movements. HOW TO DO IT: With your arms outstretched in front of you, fully open your hands. Bring your fingers back toward your forearm, then circle at the wrist for five to 10 repetitions in each direction on both wrists
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​Mobilizing your ankles may be just what you need in order to let go of nagging running injuries and finally ditch that knee brace for good. "The epidemic of plantar fasciitis and fallen arches is a result of the foot bones destabilizing in order to compensate for the ankle being incapable of absorbing and retranslating force," says mobility expert Scott Sonnon. The ankle-roll mobility drill restores movement to the ankle and, as a result, restabilizes knee alignment in your gait as well as causing arches to stop falling and resolving pain from plantar fasciitis, says Sonnon. HOW TO DO IT: Sta...
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​Knee pain is often the result of loss of mobility at the hips, says mobility expert Scott Sonnon. This knee-circling exercise not only frees the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the knee joint, but it also frees the hips. HOW TO DO IT: Begin standing. Bend one knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold on to a chair or ledge for balance if necessary. Extend your leg straight out in front of you. Circle at the knee as you bring the heel to the outside of your hip, through to starting position, then toward your opposite inner thigh and back around to the extended position. P...
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​Hip mobility may help provide relief from low-back pain. A 2011 study from the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy reports that more than 60 percent of subjects reported improvements in chronic low-back pain after performing hip-mobility exercises. If the hips are not mobile, the body destabilizes the lower back or knees to compensate for the lost range-of-motion potential. "The high degree of lower-back pain and injuries and knee strain correlate directly to hip immobility -- particularly from sustained sedentary seated lifestyle behaviors," says restorative mobility expert Scott Sonn...
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This traditional yoga pose is excellent for opening up the thoracic spine and lubricating the discs. "If your thoracic spine is locked up, you will likely experience problems in the cervical and lumbar spine as well. When your spine is out of alignment, neurological issues may arise. "If you're not firing neurologically, "you're going to create imbalances and movement-pattern problems. You've got to correct the neurological and then stabilize the structure of the spine." HOW TO DO IT: Begin on your hands and knees in a neutral-spine position. Inhale as you arch your back and tilt you...
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