Counting Calories for Weight Loss

Undoubtedly, anyone who has attempted a fitness program with the purpose of losing weight has felt frustrated because the volume of work put in never seems to equal the amount of weight lost. There is a very simple explaination for this phenomenon: It all comes down to physics. There is a principle of physics called the law of thermodynamics. This basically states that energy (calories) can be stored or used. However, the calories that are put in will be of the same value when they are used or burned through exercise. Essentially, this is how weight gain and loss occurs. If more calories are taken in through the diet than are burned, weight is gained. Conversely, if more calories are burned than are taken in, weight is lost. Weight is maintained when the two are equal.
Practically speaking, this seems oversimplified. The problem is that it tends to be far easier to take in calories than it is to burn them. For example, one M&M candy holds the same number of calories that it takes the average person to walk the length of a football field. This means that about 17 M&Ms would demand walking one mile! To help you put this into perspective, we will help you do some math to more accurately estimate the difference between what you take in and what you burn. It will also help you create more realistic goals and expectations for your weight loss efforts through exercise.
It takes 3,500 calories burned to lose one pound of fat. This seems like a relatively large number, but it should be doable considering how hard exercise is, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, our bodies do not burn calories that fast. Below is a list of some common exercises and their net calorie values. Keep in mind that net calories burned means it is above and beyond the calories you would burn just sitting there thinking about exercising instead of actually doing it. The good news is that if you are doing weight-bearing exercise like walking or running, the more you weigh the more calories you will burn. This is due to the fact that you are moving your entire body weight against gravity. Activities like biking or swimming do not require moving the body weight against gravity, so the values are about the same regardless of a person¡¯s weight. The flip side of this is that as you lose weight, it will take more effort and exercise to burn the same number of calories through walking and running. However, it should be a little easier since you will not be toting around as much weight.
To help you, we’ve provided a calculator for you to specifically determine your net calories burned for running or walking. As you calculate your net calorie burn, do not be discouraged. According to the law of thermodynamics mentioned above, if you burn 100 calories per mile walked, you would have to walk 35 miles to lose 1 pound of fat. Broken down this would be seven miles per day for five days. This does not imply that you should push yourself to crank out that many miles. It simply means that you should be patient and consistent with your program. Keep in mind that the math equation for weight loss takes both the caloric intake and the output into account. To get that difference of 3,500 calories, you can take in less while burning more. If you reduce calorie intake by 250 calories per day (about one bottle of cola) and burn 1,750 calories (walking about 3 miles, 6 days a week) you could lose one pound of fat in one week. In the course of a year, that would equal about 50 pounds! Smart and steady wins the race.

Gale Sayers

Gale Sayers received praise as one of football’s greatest offensive players from all corners of the NFL. “If you wish to see perfection at running back,” remarked Chicago Bears owner George Halas, “you’d best get a hold of a film of Gale Sayers.” The occasion for Halas’s high praise was Sayers’s 1977 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The youngest man ever accorded pro football’s highest honor, Sayers (born 1943) began his remarkable career as a standout halfback at the University of Kansas.
The exciting “Kansas Comet” was one of the most brilliant performers in the Big Eight Conference’s history. In three seasons, he rushed for 2,675 yards, returned 22 kickoffs for 513 yards, brought back 28 punts for 324 yards, and caught 35 passes for 408 yards.
His 283 yards rushing in a 1962 game against Oklahoma State and his 99-yard run from scrimmage against Nebraska in 1963 were both conference records.
As a pro, Sayers exploded on the scene. His trademark moves and breakaway speed dazzled his Chicago Bears teammates, opponents, and fans alike.
In a game against the Vikings midway into his remarkable rookie season, Sayers scored four touchdowns, one coming on a 96-yard kickoff return. A few weeks later, the amazing rookie scored an NFL record-tying six touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers.
Sayers’s one-man show included an 80-yard pass-run play, a 50-yard rush, and an 85-yard punt return. For the season, he amassed 2,272 combined net yards and scored an NFL rookie-record 22 touchdowns.
In 1966, Sayers increased his net yards figure to an NFL-record 2,440 yards and led the league in rushing with 1,231 yards. After an outstanding campaign in 1967 and a great nine-game start (856 yards rushing) in 1968, Sayers suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Determined to resume where he left off, Sayers battled back. In 1969, the Comeback Player of the Year rushed for a league-best 1,032 yards. But injuries continued to take their toll and, just before the start of the 1972 season, Sayers called it quits.
To learn more about football greats, see:

Scrum Half Training

Rugby is a sport played mainly in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. It’s similar to American football, with plays that involve running with the ball in hand, although only the ball carrier can be tackled in rugby. Scoring is also similar, but in rugby, the ball must be grounded in the end zone. Significant differences between the two are that in rugby, you cannot pass the ball forward, nor can you wear protective equipment.
Like football, rugby has a number of specialist positions. The scrum half is one of the most important. Rugby is split between forwards and backs. The forwards, also known as the pack or scrum, are normally the bigger, stronger players who get stuck in, fight for the ball and push up the pitch. The backs are the faster, more skillful players who spread across the field, waiting for the ball to come their way so they can run at the opposition and score. The link between these two groups is the scrum half, generally the smallest player on the pitch, who takes the ball from the forwards and sets the play in motion.
As the link between the forwards and the backs, the scrum half effectively dictates how the team plays. He can control the pace of the game when the team is attacking by choosing when to keep the ball rolling with the forwards and when to pass the ball to the backs to open up the running game. He can also choose to run with the ball or kick the ball himself.
The scrum half must be tactically aware. Because he can influence the game, he needs to take responsibility and make split-second decisions. If you’re a scrum half, you can study video footage and graphics so that you’re aware of when you can make certain plays, but no amount of studying will replace actual experience. You should be aware of how your backs are set up behind you and how the opposition is lined up. If there’s an overlap, you should try to pass the ball to that side or kick into space to start an attacking move.
Scrum halfs need to focus on agility. You need to be able to squeeze into tight spaces to get to the ball at the scrum or during a ruck. You also need to work on passing the ball quickly and accurately. A common drill is to pick a ball off the ground and pass it in one movement, often with an added dive to minimize the time and distance traveled by the ball as you come off the ground. The dive pass is just one of the moves favored by the scrum half. Whether you are kicking, passing or running from the base of the scrum, you need to move quickly, as you will become a target as soon as you lay hands on the ball.
The scrum half also has defensive duties, although typically as one of the smallest players on the pitch, he is given less responsibility. When the opposition is in control of the scrum or at a breakdown, he will be lurking at the edge of the scrum, level with the ball, looking to tackle the opposition scrum half or block the ball as soon as he picks the ball from the base of the scrum.

NFL Cheerleaders Earn Less Than Fast Food Workers


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Update: On the eve of the 2016 Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, paltry pay for NFL cheerleaders remains an ongoing issue. Since this post was originally published in 2014, “the Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets agreed to settlements worth more than $2.6 million combined and the guarantee of minimum-wage pay,” USA Today reports. Still, the lawsuits have only won cheerleaders the right to minimum wage, and these newest requirements aren’t enforced across the league.
When asked about many cheerleaders’ pittance in a pre-Super Bowl press conference, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell offered this tepid observation: “I think the cheerleaders perform a very valuable function for us. They’re very active in their communities. I respect what they do. They do a lot of charitable work. They’re passionate about our game, so I think they should be properly compensated.”
When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks face off in New Jersey for the 2014 Super Bowl, the football players, regardless of their position or notoriety, will take home a handsome paycheck starting at the bottom of the roster barrel at around $6,200 for that game alone — and that’s just for the practice squad that won’t even set foot on the playing field. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, may receive a post-season pay bump, but their typical per-game take home ranges between $70 and $90. In fact, some NFL cheerleaders’ paltry income is so abysmal the Oakland Raiderettes, who are compensated around $5 per hour, recently filed a lawsuit against the NFL for wage theft and unlawful employment practices.
Though professional cheerleading isn’t the most inspirational female career, it nevertheless demands time and intensive training for startlingly little payoff. Moreover, cheerleaders for better or worse are an undeniably significant feature of American football culture, the effervescently sexy “eye candy” for the male, hetero fan base (which actually isn’t all that overwhelmingly male these days) and hyper-feminine visual contrast to the bulked-up, hyper-masculine players on the gridiron. And, c’mon, even professional mascots earn between $23,000 and $65,000 annually, compared to cheerleaders’ average $1,500 annual income.
Tight budgets certainly aren’t a valid excuse for cheerleaders making less than fast food workers, either. Super Bowl fans, for instance, who are shelling out between $2,500 and $3,000 for a seat in New Jersey’s MetLife stadium easily could spend the same amount to hire an entire squad of sideline gymnasts to cheer them along for an afternoon instead and still have cash to spend. Or, for the most dramatic wage comparison of this year’s Super Bowl, consider Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning whose base salary is $15 million, or $937,500 per regular season game. Granted, individual cheerleaders don’t generate anywhere near the economic ripple effect of a top-tier player like Manning, but they aren’t worthless visual commodities, either. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, who have been around since 1972, attract an estimated $1 million in additional revenue for the franchise. Their per-game pay? A measly $50.
More Stuff Mom Never Told You about Cheerleading: Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
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Muscles Being Worked in a Bridging Exercise

Although the bridge is an effective glute-toning exercise, it also works the rest of your core, which includes your rectus abdominus, erector spinae, hamstrings and adductors. More advanced variations spread the tension a little more by working your hip flexors, quads and obliques.
To perform a basic bridge, lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Think of pressing both feet into the floor as you squeeze your glutes, raising your hips until your body is in a straight line from shoulders to knees. For more advanced variations on this exercise, you can extend one leg straight so it’s in line with your body in the up position, or do glute bridges with both legs straight, resting on top of a stability ball.
Your gluteus maximus, with its powerful hip extension, is the primary mover for this exercise — thus the much-vaunted butt-toning benefits. Your hamstrings also assist somewhat both for extending your hip and stabilizing your body, especially if you’re performing the single-leg or stability-ball variations. Note that your gluteus maximus isn’t the only muscle on the back of your hip. Your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, both of which lie deep in the gluteus maximus, also fire to help stabilize your hip throughout the bridge exercise. Your hip adductors, large muscles that run down the inside of each thigh, also work to keep you stable.
Glute bridges are an excellent core training exercise because they engage your rectus abdominus and erector spinae, which stabilize your spine against extension and flexion, respectively. Your rectus abdominus, in particular, works in an isometric contraction to help keep your pelvis from tilting too far forward, as if your belly button were reaching for your knees. Your obliques are also involved during bridges, acting most powerfully when you do a single-leg or stability-ball variation.
During a single-leg bridge variation, your hip flexors and knee extensors also work, including the iliopsoas, sartorius and quadriceps. Your hip adductors, including the pectineus, adductor longus and adductor brevis, are also particularly active during this variation.
Your shoulders remain on the ground throughout the glute bridge exercise, and you can extend both arms out to your side for extra stability — the wider you spread your arms, the more stable your body will be. But at no point should you try to push yourself up with your shoulder and arm muscles; all the effort of this exercise is focused from the ribs down.

Exercise for a Muscle Cramp Under the Rib Cage

A cramp in the ribcage, or side stitch, can occur when you’ve been sedentary and start training. Fit individuals can also develop side stitches when they boost the intensity of their exercises. As you grow stronger and more accustomed to your fitness regimen, side stitches should naturally disappear. While stretching can help to relieve side stitches, core exercises can strengthen the muscles around your ribs and help prevent cramping during exercise.
Your diaphragm separates your chest cavity and lungs from your abdomen. When you breathe, your diaphragm contracts and expands. During rigorous exercise, these contractions grow more pronounced. If your diaphragm is overexerting itself, it can start to spasm and lead to side stitches. In another situation, your diaphragm may be functioning normally but the strain of breathing hard can cause the muscles to the sides of your diaphragm — the obliques — to spasm. It may be that not enough blood reaches the muscles responsible for respiration during rigorous exercise. Some people get side stitches after drinking juice or eating just prior to a workout. However, the exact cause of side stitches remains unknown. Once you feel the cramp under your ribs, reduce the intensity of your exercise and wait for the side stitches to subside. If the cramping continues, stop exercising.
In the same way that a swimmer gently stretches a cramped calf muscle during a workout, you may be able to relieve a side stitch with a stretch. If the cramp is on your right side, raise your right arm overhead and place your right hand on the back of your head. You can continue to exercise, but hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and allow the knots under your ribs to loosen. Although not an exercise, you can also apply pressure on the pain point, pushing down on the cramped area with your hand. Slowly bend forward or backward, keeping the pressure on the side stitch until the pain disappears.
Exercises that may prevent side stitches involve warming up your diaphragm before a workout and strengthening your core. Before a workout, sit on the floor and put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Inhale deeply, filling your lungs to full capacity. Exhale until you run out of air. Watch your hands rise and fall for a few breathing cycles. By strengthening your core muscles — particularly your obliques — your body is better equipped to handle changes in exercise intensity. There are numerous core exercises, including forward and side planks, standard and wrist-to-knee crunches and trunk rotations. For example, sit on the floor with your knees bent. Hold a weight plate or medicine ball in front of you with arms extended. Lean back so your body forms a 45-degree angle to the ground. Exhale and rotate your arms as far to the right as possible while keeping your lower body still. Hold the peak position for three seconds and then return to center. Continue rotating your torso from side to side for 30 reps.
If the cramping under your ribs persists or grows worse, touch base with your doctor. Chronic cramping can be a sign of exercise-induced bronchospasm, which impacts up to 90 percent of people with asthma and about 30 percent of people who are asthma-free, according to the ¡°Fundamentals of Sports Injury Management¡± by Marcia Anderson. If you suffer from sinus disease, allergies or other lung-related ailments, the risks of coming down with exercise-induced bronchospasm increase. In addition to abdominal cramping, other symptoms of this condition include chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath and a dry cough. If you do have exercise-induced bronchospasm, a doctor will most likely prescribe an inhaler.

Which is Better: Soccer or Football?

Soccer and football — cousins of rugby that established their rules in the latter half of the 19th century — serve as ritualized combat. Both sports have offsides rules that require the offense to move in a coordinated campaign down the field to attempt to score. One sport features hard hits, and the other continuous free-flowing action. You¡¯ll have to decide for yourself which is better. Maybe you¡¯ll decide to love both football and soccer for their very different strengths.
Soccer requires tremendous cardiovascular endurance, as players must engage in 90 minutes of jogging, striding, running and sprinting. American football requires explosive strength every 20 to 40 seconds as a play is called and executed. The running back, wide receivers, cornerbacks and safeties require overall fitness analogous to that of a soccer player. In soccer, obese players such as football linemen are unheard of.
Offensive and defensive line players in football typically weigh 300 lbs., with William ¡°the Fridge¡± Perry pushing the scale during his playing career up to 380 lbs. A typical offensive tackle, the heaviest position, weighs 318 lbs. Brute force is required for this collision sport, whereas soccer is a contact sport that women can play and master at the elite level. ¡°Soccer is a profoundly democratic sport that has never favored players with particular physical attributes,¡± write the authors of ¡°Gaming the World.¡± Still, though soccer may appear the more graceful sport, soccer has borrowed agility drills from American football.
Soccer requires just a ball and a cleared area, along with shinguards, a jersey and cleats for league play. Football training demands extensive training equipment including sleds and blocking dummies, as well as helmets and pads for practice and organized play. The simplicity of soccer goes a long way to explain its popularity from Brazil to Japan and South Africa. While both sports have plays, soccer¡¯s are largely limited to set pieces such as free and corner kicks, and soccer¡¯s rulebook is far more streamlined. Coaches have more of an effect on play-by-play decisions in football, while soccer players need to make good judgments throughout 90 minutes based on coaching and practice but not play calling.
FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, counted 265 million players worldwide in 2006, with women playing the sport in increasing numbers. American football has closer to 4 million youth players, mostly boys, and 1,700 professionals in the NFL. The simplicity of soccer — Brazilian great, Pele, as a child played with balls made of rags — makes the sport playable worldwide in the poorest of neighborhoods. The better game — soccer or football — is a matter of opinion, and varies depending upon where you live, your gender, and your personal choice.

How can you visit all 30 baseball stadiums in a season?

Spring blossoms and the smell of fresh cut grass bring a lot of things to mind — sunshine, winter thaw, rebirth. Spring implies newness, a welcome change from the dreary winters that leave many housebound for months on end. Spring is bike rides, walks in the park and cool breezes. For baseball lovers, the dawn of spring can best be summed up in four short words — pitchers and catchers report. As any baseball fan knows, the announcement that these players have reported to their Spring Training parks means that the first pitch of the season is right around the corner.
The origins of the game of baseball are generally tied to two men — Abner Doubleday and Alexander Cartwright. While Doubleday is commonly thought of as the inventor of the game, it’s Cartwright who was responsible for formalizing the game and shaping it into what it would soon become. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first all-professional baseball team. In 2008, the same sport that saw Ty Cobb make $40,000 per year in the 1920s, paid Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez $33 million and generated total revenues of more than $6 billion [source: Isidore].
Despite the blemishes put on the eye of America’s national pastime in recent years with the bloated salaries and allegations of steroid use, it remains one of the top two sports in the United States, alongside National Football League football. But even the fan fervor of the NFL can’t match baseball’s diehards. There are stories of New York baseball fans who have refused to even watch a game since their beloved Dodgers were moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1957. We’ve heard of Chicago Cubs fan Harry Grossman, who at the age of 91 had attended more than 4,000 games at hallowed Wrigley Field. We’ve wept during “Field of Dreams” and rooted for pitchers on the opposing team who are vying for a no-hitter, just for a chance to see history.
Baseball has roots almost as old as its country of origin. This rich history is what fans are after when they visit ballparks to watch the boys of summer take the field each night. It’s the same history that inspires some fans to achieve what seems like an impossible feat — visiting all 30 major league ballparks in a single season. But not only is it not impossible, it’s achieved every year by the most dedicated fans. We’ll take a look at just how you can accomplish the ultimate baseball road trip.