Friday, January 27, 2017

My Review of the ‘Sworkit’ Personalized Workout App

A photo of a woman looking at her phone as she works out.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
I recently came across the Sworkit app while watching an episode of Shark Tank. I have to say: so far, I’m really impressed with it!

What’s neat is that with Sworkit, there are literally no more excuses for not working out. Can’t afford a gym membership? That’s fine. Sworkit is free. Don’t have any exercise equipment? No worries. Sworkit exercises don’t require equipment. Don’t have time to exercise? Surely you can spare at least five minutes out of your day. That’s right, Sworkit has myriad of personalized exercises that range anywhere from 5-60+ minutes.

The convenience is what originally drew me to the app. I travel quite often, which means I don’t always have access to a gym. The app is almost like having a personal trainer with you wherever you go.

And that’s exactly why it’s called Sworkit. The app name is derived from the phrase “simply work it,” since it’s so easy to use.

There are currently over 170 different exercises in the app’s database. These exercises were designed by a multitude of fitness experts, including: doctors, physical therapists, personal trainers, and physical education instructors.

Users can design their own workout based on five fitness categories: strength, stretching, cardio, yoga, or Pilates. The app also has the capability to sync workouts to Health, Google Fit, and MyFitnessPal. There’s even a separate app designed specifically for kids.

The only downside is the ads. It’s annoying for sure, but at the same time, I understand that the founders of the app need to make money somehow. I mean, they are offering all of these services for free, so the least I can do is sit through a 15-second ad.

According to the Sworkit website, 20 million people have already downloaded the app. I highly recommend it myself, and since it’s available at no cost, the user has virtually nothing to lose but pounds.

*Sworkit is available on iOS and Android devices.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Yale Graduate-Turned-Trucker Works to Improve Truckers’ Health

A photo of a semi-truck cruising down the highway.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Siphiwe Baleka is a remarkable man. Aside from earning his degree in philosophy at the highly prestigious Yale University, he was also the first African American to make it onto the First Team All-Ivy League Swim Team. But that’s not what makes him remarkable.

Baleka, who is now in his 40s, fell on hard times about six years ago and decided to take on a job as a trucker. But after only two months in, the former athlete noticed he had gained 15 lbs.

"Life on the road is tough. It's lonely," Baleka stated. "There's not a whole lot to make you feel good. So eating is one of the things you kind of have some freedom with, to make you feel good."

Baleka did everything he could to lose the weight. He even resorted to doing exercises inside of his cab. But no matter what he did, nothing seemed to work.

Baleka’s struggle to gain back control of his health almost made him quit his job. It’s an all-too-common phenomenon in the trucking industry. In fact, a recent survey conducted by HireRight Transportation found that 21% of drivers leave the industry due to health concerns.

But after experimenting with several different weight loss programs, Baleka finally found success in a low-carb, high-protein diet combined with short bursts of high-intensity workouts. And now that he’s back to being fit, he wants to help other truckers get healthy, too.

So Baleka developed a wellness program that’s specifically designed with drivers in mind. Inspired by the technological devices that are already used in the industry, he decided to develop one that’s capable of monitoring the driver’s health.  

"At that time, the only thing that we didn't have any real-time information on was the driver—the physiological state of the driver," Baleka stated. "These digital health devices now allowed me to do that. I can monitor the physical condition of the driver just like we do with a truck."

So far, the program seems to be doing well. Hopefully it will inspire other trucking companies to institute wellness programs as well.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Stress, Diet, and Genetics: A Recipe For Adult Female Acne

A woman with acne all over her jawline.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Researchers from Italy may have just uncovered the mystery behind adult female acne. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, acne in women is caused by three main factors: stress, diet, and genetics.  

The study looked at 500 women over the age of 25. Researchers found that these women had a few things in common. For one, they had diets low in fruits and vegetables. Secondly, they had a family history of acne. And thirdly, they reported chronic levels of stress and anxiety.

For Dr. Debra Jaliman, none of this is surprising. Jaliman is an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She said it’s quite common to see adult women with acne.

“Women tend to get adult acne more often than men. It’s often due to changes in hormone levels and or hormonal imbalances,” Jaliman stated.

But she’s also well aware of the link between acne and diet. Jaliman said that she’s seen plenty of people, both men and women, whose acne is caused by poor eating habits.

“We see that people who have a diet of junk food tend to break out more,” Jaliman explained.

Interestingly enough, the study did not find any connection between acne and dairy. Some dermatologists theorize that the hormones present within dairy cause imbalances in humans that lead to acne. However, the researchers in this study found no evidence to support that claim.

Rather, researchers suspect that high glycemic index foodssuch as sugar, white bread, chips, and pastasare to blame. High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to spike, which can disrupt hormone levels.

So on the bright side, two out of the three factors are completely within one’s control. As for the genetics aspect? Well, mom and dad can take the blame for that one.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Founder of Bikram Yoga Found Guilty of Sexual Harassment

A group of women in yoga poses.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Bikram Choudhury, the man who founded the world’s first hot yoga studio, was ordered to forfeit the revenue from his businesses in order to settle his $6.8 million sexual harassment case. He was also ordered to give up his collection of fine cars, which equates to a total of 43 vehicles ranging from Ferraris to Bentleys to Rolls-Royces.

The ruling comes after Minakshi 'Miki' Jafa-Bodden (Choudhury's former legal adviser) sued him for sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Last year, Jafa-Bodden was fired for refusing to cover up allegations of sexual harassment.

Jafa-Bodden claims that she herself was a victim of his unwanted advances. She alleges that Choudhury touched her inappropriately and tried to get her to stay with him in his hotel.

The Daily Mail reports that she was awarded nearly $1 million in compensatory damages and more than $6 million in punitive damages.

“This is a good day for women,” Jafa-Bodden said after the ruling came down.

However, the 43 luxury cars that Choudhury was ordered to give up have mysteriously gone missing… along with any trace of Choudhury himself.

Choudhury’s garage manager denies any involvement with the sudden disappearance of the cars. However, Jafa-Bodden’s lawyers claim that they have photographic evidence of his entanglement.

“Bikram is no longer the boss of Bikram yoga. I am. I’ve been to hell and back but the jury has spoken. Bikram has tried to conceal assets and has fled America but justice will be done.”

Now that the verdict is out, pictures of Choudhury standing on women in nothing but a Speedo have suddenly taken on a new meaning. It’s disturbing to say the least, and I can’t even imagine what his wife is feeling.

I myself as a yoga practitioner have gone to Bikram studios in the past. It makes me sick to think that I ever supported a sexual predator.