7 tips for how to buy a mountain bike under 2000$

The market for mountain bikes has exploded worldwide. In the US alone, they contributed 25 % of the $ 6.1 billion in bikes sales in 2012. That’s a lot of coins. As a biker, you want a combination of speed, strength, control, and flexibility (among others) from a bike while keeping your wallet happy.

With many reviews gushing about expensive varieties on offer, here’s how you wade through the noise to select the best mountain bike under $2000.

Tip #1 Be honest about your skills and the riding you want to do

Mountain biking can be an ego sport in many ways, what sport isn’t? When it comes to buying a bike for your long-term enjoyment, however, I’d suggest you consider the whole picture. The terrain you’ll use your bike on in the next 2 years should qualify your choice. If you will mostly ride flats, for instance, a hardtail is a sensible buy over the more expensive full suspension.

And what about skill? If you want fast, you’ll have to ride fast. Expecting your bike’s features to do it all will suck out the fun of riding when reality sets in. Maybe money can’t buy fun?

Tip #2 Only pay for what you need

Now that your real needs are out in the open, look for a bike to match it. Notable features affecting a bike’s price are the suspension, frame materials, gears, brakes, and wheels.

The frame material determines the weight, strength, and longevity. A brand’s mid-range aluminum model can be as much as $1000 cheaper than its Carbon model. Hilly terrains call for many low gears to power up them. For more aggressive riding with lots of bumps and jumps, a full suspension bike is ideal. The debate is still on about wheel size and performance, I say don’t think too hard about it especially if you are starting out.

It’s alright to build your skill on a lower end model and work your way up to a loaded one.

Tip #3 Don’t decide based on hype

The advertising for mid-range bikes is often not so loud, giving an impression that they’re nothing special. It’s an excellent idea to allow 1 – 2 years cooling-off period after a new bike release from a brand you’ve got your eyes on. By the time you are ready to buy, a new shinier version comes along, and the price of the previous range(s) reduces considerably.

What’s more, during the cooling-off period, customer reviews and user discussions on forums will emerge to separate the performers from the bling. You can also ask riding friends and family whose opinions you trust, about their own experiences.

Tip #4 Buy used

Used bikes are regularly put up for sale at reduced prices on websites like eBay, Craigslist, and bike classifieds. I would advise that you actually know about bikes and to tread with a caution of course. Compare listings of used bikes with their original prices to give you a sense of what previous owners were willing to pay for them. If you are lucky, you can score a high-end bike at an attractive price.

The same used bike model can have different prices depending on heavy use, upgrades, or bike sizes. Be satisfied with the reason. Time of year also matters people are more eager to part with their bikes during winter than in summer.

Tip #5 Walk into a physical store

Another option is to visit a local bike shop and check out bikes on sale, used bikes or Demos. A good store will have expert salespersons who are riders themselves. The wrong kind of store can leave you all shades of confused and starry-eyed after they’ve done their sales voodoo on you.

Don’t forget accessories. Many a beginner has made the mistake of blowing their entire budget on a bike they just had to have. Confirm warranties and ask about price discounts. It’s possible you’ll be sold a bike bundled with some accessories at a price that’ll make you smile.

Tip #6 Build yours from scratch

If you know your brakes from your spokes, like to get your hands dirty, and are a sucker for DIY, you could build your own bike. This way, you are in control of the price, design, and performance outcomes. You can really have fun with such a project as there are many ways to source for quality parts. New, used, or repurposed, you simply mix and match.

Not into bike building? You’ll still need to give some thought to repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. Some parts are expensive to upgrade, others are not. Things like saddles, tires, handlebars are easily replaceable but keep an eagle eye on the other expensive stuff.

Tip #7 Know your brands

For each brand, you’ll find a massive spread of bikes coming in different wheel sizes, frame material types, bike sizes, etc. Because the sizes of bike brands aren’t the same, you shouldn’t make assumptions. Hop on those you fancy when the opportunities present and observe how they fit. Make a note of your size for each brand.

Take as many bikes as you can for demo rides. With a friend’s bike, you could even test it out on various terrains. You could also rent from shops. Discover why you prefer one bike over another by noting how a bike feels when you turn, speed, ascend, or descend slopes and do other maneuvers. Prepare to be blown away by unexpected performances.

Above all, choose a mountain bike that is comfortable and enjoyable to ride. Happy trails!

 

7 tips to be better with your push-ups

Push-ups are a staple exercise in many workout routines, doing wonders for the entire body. That they work the muscles in your upper-body is obvious, also, they strengthen your core and glutes even without introducing variations.

For all their popularity, push-ups are easy to do wrong which could lead to injuries. Doing them effectively, on the other hand, builds strength and endurance. Here are 7 tips to get better with your push-ups and reap all the benefits.

Tip #1 Strengthen your core

The plank pose is the foundation of the push-up (the push-up is simply moving the plank position vertically) and requires strong core muscles. Without a strong core, your lower back sags, putting undue pressure on your shoulder joints as you try to compensate.

It invariably means that to improve the quality and volume of your push-ups, you need to strengthen your abdominals and back.The plank pose itself is the simplest way to begin the process.

Try holding the position for as long as you can for up to 3 sets, 1-2 days per week. Take a minute rest between sets. Aim to increase the length of time you can stay in position on each day you practice them.

Tip #2 Strengthen your quads and arms

Apart from your core, your quads also tighten up to keep your legs extended in the plank position. It’s common to see people with weak quads cheat by rounding their backs.

Strengthening your quads is the way to go, and squats are effective for this. Perform 8 -10 squats for 3 – 5 sets on the same days you practice your plank pose.  You need strong arms to lower your weight down and to push yourself back up again.

Lift heavy weights to work your biceps, triceps, pectorals and upper back (with curls, fly’s, and presses). Perform 2 – 3 sets of each exercise for 8 – 10 reps. Incorporate these exercises into your workout routine, 1 – 2 times a week.

Tip #3 Position your arms correctly and use proper form

You can earn all sorts of shoulder and wrist injuries by placing your hands on the floor incorrectly, and neck sprains by lowering your head. To ensure you use the correct push-up form:

 

  • Start in the tabletop position with your palms and knees on the floor while maintaining a straight back.
  • Your knee should be at a 90-degree angle from your hip.
  • Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders to begin, then inch each palm a little outward, so your hands are just wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Engage your core and lift your knees off the floor to plank position keeping your entire body in a straight line.
  • Lower your chest to about an inch from the floor by bending your arms at the elbow.
  • Push your body back up to plank.
  • It helps to keep your gaze fixed on a spot in front of you throughout the move.

Tip #4 Drop a few pounds

Your reason for exercising may be to build muscle or to lose weight so this tip might seem counterintuitive but hear me out. I know people who groan at the mere mention of push-ups because they can’t lift themselves back to plank from the lowered position.

For an overweight person, it’s not hard to imagine why. Hence, the reason to drop a few pounds.Don’t be despondent though, because that excess weight is a remedy of sorts.

You are lifting a heavy resistance which is good for building muscle, which is useful for weight loss. After dropping a few pounds, you’ll see that push-ups become easy and you’ll be able to crank out more of them.

Tip #5 Try an elevated surface or other modifications

If you are one who struggles to push off the floor, you can still get the benefits of push-ups with some modifications. Try pushing off an elevated surface instead, like a bench, table, or wall even.

Higher elevation equals easier push-ups. Aim for 3 sets of 10 push-ups with a minute rest between each set. Do this on the same days you work on your planks. When you’re able to churn out 3 sets, you can lower the elevation. See you on the floor soon.

You could also try modified push-ups where the front of your knee remains on the ground. However, I find that many who use this method still struggle to transition to full push-ups. As such, I prefer the elevated surface strategy.

Tip #6 Vary your speed

If you want to build endurance, perform as many push-ups as you can within a given time period. Your goal would be to increase that number.

If building muscle is your goal, reduce your speed and notice how your body shakes. From the plank position, instead of lowering to the floor in one movement, take 10 – 20 s to lower down to the ground. Then push back up. Repeat for the number of reps you can muster, your goal being to increase that number with time.

You could also reverse this by spending 10 – 20 s to push back up to plank position while lowering down to the floor in one move. Or you can mix it up, whatever, it’s your workout.

Tip #7 Turn up your push-ups

When you have mastered the basic push-up, the fun continues still. You can increase your strength and fitness by adding variations to the basic movements such as:

  • decline push-ups,
  • push-ups with varying hand placements (diamond shaped hands, hands close to the sides, etc)
  • push-ups with one leg raised
  • Spiderman push-ups,
  • ploy push-ups and much more

Is it a wonder why push-ups are so famous? Whatever variations you are performing, take care of your wrists. To avoid sprains, push off the floor using the outer edge and heels of your palms instead of the inside of the palm. You can also use your knuckles or hand grips.

7 Tips for improving endurance

If you’re looking to increase stamina during workouts and improve your endurance, check out these 7 tips for upping exercise endurance. Try one or all 7 to see the best results.

Tip #1 Interval training

Interval training is an exercise method where you switch between levels of intensity rapidly. Tabata training is one example of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Typically done in the rhythm of 20 seconds high-intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds, equaling a 4-minute completed Tabata.

Times can easily be adjusted to accommodate less intense exercises. For example, 45 seconds of squats followed by 15 seconds of rest. Interval training can be applied to most forms of exercise including weight training, cardio, and bodyweight training. Using the interval training method improves your body’s ability to recover quickly from higher intensity exercises. The better your body becomes at recovering quickly, the more likely you will be able to perform exercises for longer and at higher intensity levels.

Tip #2 The run walk run method

Jeff Galloway began and popularized the run walk run method. To help beginner runners improve their endurance and reduce fatigue, Galloway introduced the technique of using walking breaks during long distance runs. While some find this method frustrating and want to “run the whole thing”, the run walk run method has many benefits.

Some of these benefits include reduced fatigue, conservation of resources, quicker recovery, and reduction of core body temperature according to the Jeff Galloway training website. Galloway’s method boasts of faster long-distance runs (yes, even with walk breaks) than those that persevere to “run the whole thing”. According to his site, the average runner shaves 7 minutes off a half marathon using the proper run walk run ratio. To find your run walk run ratio, click here.

Tip #3 Change up your routine

As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life”. Applying this concept to your workout routine can really spice up not only your interest in exercise but your endurance as well.

“The best way to avoid a fitness plateau is to continuously vary your workout routine.” (Healthline.com) This means you should include many different types of exercise in your week-to-week routine. A varied routine might look something like this:

Monday: HIIT workout

Tuesday: Yoga class

Wednesday: Weight training

Thursday: Walk or jog

Friday: HIIT workout

Saturday: Long run

Sunday: Weight training

Tip #4 Up the intensity

Our bodies are generally pretty good about making the movement (exercise) as easy and efficient as possible for us. However, this is counterproductive to a workout routine. If your body has lifted a 10-pound dumbbell a million times, it will find nothing challenging about lifting a 10-pound dumbbell.

If you lift that dumbbell while also performing a lunge or choose to up the weight of the dumbbell and perform the same number of reps, you are teaching your body to accept a higher intensity level for an equal amount of time (improving endurance!).

Tip #5 Couch to 5k

If you’ve never been an avid runner or have never gotten beyond your running threshold, try a couch to 5k plan. There are endless apps to download that will walk you through the process of a couch to 5k, but the general concept is simple. With this method, you slowly work your way toward being able to run a 5k or 3.1 miles.

Using similar methods to run walk run and other interval lengths, you will begin mostly walking and slowly work your way up toward running the majority of your distance and eventually running the entirety. A couch to 5k is a perfect way to increase endurance in a safe and healthy way. Even if you typically only weight lift, do yoga, or do nothing at all, increasing your running abilities can only help in any workout method you prefer.

Tip #6 Ladder your workout

Like interval training, ladder workouts involve slowly making your workout more or less difficult. For example, begin with a basic squat for your first interval. Then, step up to a squat jump for your second interval. Finally, perform a round of burpees.

For an added challenge, make your way back down the ladder and attempt to maintain the same intensity as the first rounds. You can ladder weight training exercises as well by increasing or decreasing reps and weight. This might look like: 12 bicep curls at a lightweight, 9 at a moderate weight, 6 at a heavyweight, and finally, 3 reps at the heaviest weight you can perform curls with. Again, you can go back up or down the ladder for added endurance training.

Tip #7 Combine workout styles

Combining workout styles into one day’s workout is another great way to increase endurance. If you typically do a 40-60-minute weight training workout, try cutting your weight training to 30 minutes and add 20-30 minutes of cardio, flexibility, or balance training.

Just like adding variety to your overall workout routine helps keep your body on its toes, completely switching gears during your workout forces your body to work differently and learn to adjust. Any opportunity to confuse your muscles will require them to “rewire” and improve to accomplish the workout. Increased muscle endurance is the natural result.

7 tips for beginners training in a gym

New to the gym scene? No worries, here are 7 tips on how to accomplish your fitness goals even if you’ve never frequented a gym before.

Tip #1 Weight loss

If losing some extra weight is the goal when you enter the gym, the two most important factors are variety and intensity. You should aim to get 2-3 weightlifting workouts in per week. During these workouts, be sure to be conscious of increasing weight amounts as the lifts begin to feel easy. You should also focus on training different muscle groups to allow for recovery. For example, if on Monday you work back muscles and legs, on Wednesday focus on arms and chest. If you’re more comfortable using stationary machines, be sure to follow the guidelines for use. Include regular cardio of your choosing throughout the week to increase weight loss potential.

Tip #2 Muscle gain

Building muscle is a common goal among gym-goers. If you’re new to the gym scene, it’s important to get on the right track for muscle gain. Building muscle is a two-step process. First, you must tear down the muscle with a challenging workout. Second, you should rest the muscle so that the hypertrophic (growth) phase can occur. Choosing an appropriate weight and performing the correct number of reps and sets should be your primary goal. Try choosing a weight that is highly challenging to perform for 5-8 reps. Repeat your rep count for 4-6 sets. A combination of compound moves like squats and presses with isolation moves to target muscle groups like biceps and calves will give a well-rounded gain effect.

Tip #3 Increased endurance

Increasing your endurance can help make all your workouts more enjoyable as well as give you the stamina to make it through busy days. Interval training is one of the most effective methods for prolonging your wind power. All interval training requires is that you switch between levels of intensity for pre-determined lengths of time. For example, if you are running on an elliptical, try a 2-minute interval of high intensity by speeding up your strides and increasing the resistance, immediately followed by 1 minute of low intensity by slowing down and reducing resistance. Repeat that pattern for 10 rounds totaling 30 minutes. Not only does this increase your body’s ability to recover from high-intensity exercise but also keeps your workout more interesting.

Tip #4 Core strength

A strong core is the cornerstone of a fit body. It’s been heavily reported in recent years that most Americans, at one time or another, will complain of back pains. A strong core would likely eliminate many of these problems. Keep in mind that your core encompasses all of the muscles that surround your midsection including your back muscles. When targeting your core at the gym, try to get a good balance of back and abdomen exercises in each time to avoid burning out one or the other. A quality core routine should include dead lift, back extensions, plenty of plank, and traditional ab strengthening exercises like crunches and twists.

Tip #5 Burning fat

It is an unfortunate truth that you cannot spot treat the fat burn. Just because you want the fat specifically on your belly, butt, or arms to go away doesn’t mean a thing to your body. Generally, you can equally burn fat from all over your body by performing the right kinds of exercise. Lengthy workouts that do not reach too high of heart rates are best for reaching the target “fat burning zone”. This is because at higher intensities your body is needing quicker energies that can come from burning existing fat. You can still to higher intensity exercises and burn fat, but you must moderate your heart rate to stay in fat burning mode. Try giving yourself longer breaks between high-intensity moves if your workouts cannot consistently stay moderately intense.

Tip #6 Creating tone

To create an overall more toned look in the body, you will have to accomplish 2 things at the gym: (1) fat burn and (2) muscle gain. Burning fat requires that you be a specific calorie burning zone. Your body chooses to burn the fat stores only when it has time to process that it needs to. Long walks or light jogs are great ways to accomplish this fat burning mode. Generally, lengthier workouts are going to require your body to delve into its fat stores. To gain muscle, you will want to practice resistance training at least 2-3 times a week. For toned, strong muscles, lifting heavy is less important than if muscle bulk is the goal. Try bodyweight workouts as well as using free weights for spot treating certain muscle groups.

Tip #7 Beating boredom

If you haven’t already fallen in love with gym life or feel a bit of dread at the thought of going and doing the same thing again and again: here are some tips for beating boredom to keep your visits exciting and effective. First, try something you’ve never done at least once a week. This can either be a new machine, a cool exercise you saw online, or a class your gym offers. Second, switch up your music. Sometimes, a change in your playlist takes a mundane workout to the best workout you’ve had in weeks. Finally, bring a friend with you! Not only will you have a buddy to help you get through your workout, but you’re helping someone else make the decision to live a more fit life!

Best 7 tips how to lose weight fast

Whether you have an event you want to spiff up for, or are tired of slogging it out on the treadmill without seeing any progress, you would want to know how to lose weight fast.

There are many ways to do it, some are bad for your long-term health. Others require too much willpower, you are bound to fail.Because what you eat contributes a large part to your weight loss success, the tips I have compiled will reflect that.

Because what you eat contributes a large part to your weight loss success, the tips I have compiled will reflect that.

Tip #1 Understand what it takes to lose weight

Pick out 10 random people from a crowd, and unsurprisingly, you’ll find some who want to drop a few pounds. Why does losing weight seem to be an unattainable dream for so many people?

One reason is the incorrect beliefs people have about the process. A fundamental guideline to keep in mind is:

To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to spend 3500 calories. You can choose NOT to eat those calories, or burn them through activity and exercise. How long it takes to lose a pound is up to you, a guideline, if you are looking to do it fast and safely, is about 1 week [SAFE]

Tip #2 Make your plans easy to follow

We all have different needs and preferences. You may hear a person can drop a pound a week by staying off beer, but that tip isn’t useful if you don’t drink beer and are not a 30-something-year-old male.

Make plans that fall in line with your current activities and abilities. Implying that your menu and workout for the day are set beforehand, are doable, and your only job is to follow through. Much better than wasting hours online in search of the “best workout for fat loss” after eating too many cookies.

Tip #3 Watch out for simple carbs and added sugars

The problem with eating simple carbs is that they spike your sugar levels and can cause you to crave for more [CRAVE]. It’s no wonder you can wolf down large servings of white bread, spaghetti, and potato chips–good intentions be damned. Not only that, the insulin secreted into the bloodstream is the main hormone responsible for storing fat in the body [INSULIN].

Eat low glycemic index foods that release sugar slowly and stabilize your blood sugar levels. Good examples are oatmeal, many vegetables, and beans. Added sugars aren’t always visible in our foods, you can find them in sauces, fruit juices and the low-fat varieties of many foods.

Tip #4 Eat meals that keep you full

It’s the dieter’s conundrum, no sooner has a meal been eaten than hunger pangs show up to spoil the day’s plans. Proteins, fiber-rich vegetables, water-rich fruits and low GI carbs are the best food choices when it comes to staying full for longer. Eat:

  • Proteins like beef, chicken, pork, salmon, trout, and eggs
  • Low carb vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, celery, kale, and brussel sprouts
  • Water-rich fruits like watermelon, grapes, and strawberries

Vegetables have a bad reputation as “diet food” because they are often made to be bland, and just sad looking. When tastefully prepared, you can enjoy a variety of flavors that are only worth a few calories. Fill your plate up with low carb vegetables without the guilt.

Tip #5 Try intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting can take many forms but merely involves carving out a time for eating meals and staying without food for other periods of time. While you fast, your body must rely on stored energy for its fuel. Studies show intermittent fasting to improve blood sugar levels, lower diabetes and push dieters through a weight loss plateau [IF].

For example, using the 16:8 method [DAVID ZINCZENKO] you eat your meals in the 8 h between 11:00 a.m. and 7 p.m., and fast from 7 p.m. till 11.00 a.m. the next day (there are other guidelines to follow).  If you already skip breakfast regularly on most days without affecting your productivity, such time windows will be perfect for you. If you are a breakfast lover, however, you may choose to have a very early dinner the night before.

Tip #6 Be mindful

Sometimes, in spite of your plans and preparations, your emotions can trip you up. Boredom, stress, even thirst are culprits often confused with hunger. In such times, roadblocks that you placed when the going was good can help you get back on track.

It’s a good idea to rid your home of tempting snacks, replacing them with wholesome alternatives, e.g., air popped corn instead of a bag of chips. Using smaller plates is another trick you can use to prevent overeating .

Eat slowly, and if you are still hungry, drink some water then get some more food. The chances are that you will recognize cues when you are getting full and stop at that point.

Tip #7 Lift weights and move more

If you follow the tips I already mentioned above, you will lose weight fast. If you want to fire things up, lift weights about 2-3 times a week [LIFT]. This increased activity burns calories and builds muscle mass that gives your body a more defined appearance. The heavier the weights, the better. Bodyweight exercises like squats, sit-ups, push-ups, and lunges are a good place to start.

Cardiovascular activities that get your heart pumping are excellent for using up stored calories. Choose activities you enjoy from running, jumping rope, swimming to dancing and fast walking. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.

With high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you can reduce your workout time by half as it is a super calorie burner [HIIT]. For example, using proper form, perform an exercise at high intensity for 40 minutes, rest for 20 minutes and follow the same pattern for the next exercise.

To sum up, don’t obsess over the numbers on the scale, follow your plan and know that every little step you take in the right direction counts.