Sporting Life- Sports, Exercise Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Sporting Life

Everyone has started out on an exercise program full of excitement and determination, only to find the excitement start to fade after a few days. What started as something you were sure was going to change your life, has began to make your life a nightmare, trying to keep the enthusiasm at a high enough level to continue exercising. In order to stick to an exercise program, and make it work for you, you need to find a way to keep that original motivation. Here are some tips to help get you motivated, and encourage you to stay that way.

1) Find A Role Model – Who has that “perfect” body that you would love to have? Who sticks to a fitness plan, and shows that dedication in the way they live their lives? Many women tape up pictures of someone they aspire to be like, such as a model or actress. This is a great way to keep your goals fresh in your mind, and to remind you what you’re striving towards. Make sure that you choose someone deserving of your admiration – not someone who has unhealthy eating or exercise habits, or who has an impossible to achieve image.

2) Set Small Goals – If you have set the bar too high by setting goals that are too tough to reach, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed. If you don’t achieve the goals you have set, you will become discouraged. Just set smaller, easy to achieve goals and work your way towards the bigger goals. Start with something simple like, “I will work out three times this week.” Once you have established a routine, start working out harder, and try doing more each session.

3) Reward Yourself – Setting goals is a great way to get yourself going in an exercise program, but if you have a hard time keeping yourself going, don’t be afraid to offer yourself rewards for any small achievements. You don’t need to go overboard – just small rewards for reaching small goals. Take yourself out to a movie you’ve been wanting to see if you achieve your goal of working out three times in the week. Just remember that if you’re working out to lose weight, don’t reward yourself with food!

4) Get A Buddy – Having someone to work out with makes it much more fun, and will keep you more motivated to exercise. You might even find that you’re actually looking forward to it! Not only that, but having a buddy makes it much harder for you to skip your workout, because they will be there to hold you accountable. Let them encourage you and motivate you when you don’t feel like exercising, and do the same for them. If you can’t find a buddy to work out with, hire a personal trainer to give you that extra push.

5) Make It Fun – Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. If you don’t like your exercise routine, change it and make it more exciting. Keep trying new exercises until you find something you enjoy doing. If your exercise routine is fun, you will end up looking forward to exercise, instead of dreading it.

6) Mix It Up – Anything you do over and over every day is going to get boring, no matter how motivated you are to succeed. Find several different exercises you enjoy, and alternate. Try swimming on Monday, dance class on Wednesday and a Pilates tape at home on Saturday. Whenever you find yourself getting bored with a workout, replace it with something else you enjoy, and go back to it again when you’re ready.

7) Don’t Take It Too Seriously – If you start treating exercise like hard work, that’s exactly what it will become. Make your exercises light, fun and exciting rather than looking at it as a chore you have to do. Don’t let yourself get a bad attitude towards exercising, or you will be more likely to give up.

Staying motivated isn’t hard if you approach your exercise program with an open mind. Be flexible and let yourself have fun. Eventually, you will realize that you’re actually enjoying working out, and before you know it, you will be looking forward to exercising.

(From: http://www.fitwatch.com)

College basketball is a game of tradition. Fans line up days before a big game to make sure they get good seats, they do the same chants, wave their arms in the same way and cheer the same way all in an effort to propel their team to victory. The food fans eat is also a big part of the tradition, whether before the game, at it or after it.

There is one small problem, though, with college basketball food traditions: the weather. It’s cold outside and, while football breeds legendary tailgating and outdoor eating, college basketball fans are stuck indoors. Fortunately, the basketball arena itself or your local watering hole, restaurant or sports bar is there to be the cornerstone of your basketball eating traditions. Here are just a few of the more popular food destinations in great basketball cities.

Free State Brewery — Lawrence, Kansas

Free State is a local microbrewery in Lawrence that’s almost always packed full of hungry and thirsty Jayhawks. Known across eastern Kansas for its excellent ales, including the hoppy Ad Astra ale, Free State has been a Lawrence hangout for decades. It’s located on one end of Massachusetts Street, a five-block area in Lawrence filled with restaurants, bars and eclectic stores, making it a wonderful place to grab a good dinner and a beer before catching a bus to campus, cheering the Jayhawks to another home victory and then returning for a postgame celebration.

Eskimo Joe’s — Stillwater, Oklahoma

Eskimo Joe’s is an institution in Stillwater with a national reputation because of its simple, but always recognizable T-shirts with the Eskimo logo and sled dog logo. Eskimo Joe’s is a multistory, multibar, multi-TV eating-and-drinking establishment that is perfect for Cowboy fans to get to before, during or after the game. The food is amazing, the drinks cool and the merchandise is legendary. Game days usually feature food and drink specials, and the atmosphere gives Cowboys and Cowgirls plenty of reasons to stay and party long after the drinking is over.

KFC YUM! Center — Louisville, Kentucky

Perhaps eating KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut during a game isn’t the most gourmet of food traditions. Still, when you’re at a stadium named after the YUM! brands (the owners of KFC, Pizza Hut, etc.) you know that you’ll be able to eat well at one of the stadium’s concession stands which will sell you a Taco Bell taco, a Pizza Hut pizza, etc. Plus, KFC YUM! Center is fairly unique in that not a lot of basketball arenas are sponsored by large food concerns. At the very least, the presence of so many YUM! foods means you’ll never have to eat stale nachos and that weird yellow cheese.

Players Sports Bar — San Diego, California

Players tops the list of the best sports bars in California, which is no small feat given the huge number of places where one can catch a game in the Golden State. However, San Diego gets high marks because of its proximity to one of the best emerging college basketball programs in the nation (San Diego State University). Players, though, gets high marks not for its local clientele, but for the fact it always keeps some of its large number of TV screens tuned to games from the Universities of Missouri, Texas, Illinois, and North Carolina, giving visitors and people who move to San Diego a little taste of home. Try their fried green beans and a burger when you drop in.

Walk-On’s — Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Located within stumbling distance of LSU’s Pete Maravich Center, Walk-On’s is a local chain of sports bars named after three LSU walk-ons (two of who happen to be the bars’ owners.)  Walk-On’s is perfect for getting some postgame grub because of its proximity to campus and because it prides itself on being a center of food and fun for all LSU sports fans. Some of the fun may not be of the family-friendly variety, but that doesn’t mean that the adventure seekers and college-students-at-heart won’t find a great meal at the place voted Best Sports Bar by ESPN.

(By Chris Perrin )

 

Basement fitness centers be damned. There are some places around the world that make your intentions to lace up the runners and don the spandex a whole lot more inviting.

1. MV Stella Australis, Chile

Ever wanted to jog around Cape Horn but thought it was impossible? Well, it’s not.

Brand-new ship (well, in cruise ship terms any ship just past her first birthday is still brand-new) Stella Australis plies the glacier-lined route between Punta Arenas (Chile) and Ushuaia (Argentina).

The gym is positioned on the top deck with full-height double-glazed windows providing an ever-changing view of snow-dusted mountains and glaciers amid forest-clad fjords. The double glazing is important, as summer temperatures barely reach double figures in South American Patagonia.

There’s no problem getting warmed up, however, on modern treadmills, steppers and bikes, as albatross soar on the Furious Fifties winds that buffets the land at the “end of the world”.

2. Andaman Hotel, Langkawi, Malaysia

National Geographic film crews know a good location when they see one. So it’s no surprise to find out that the same ancient rainforest that treadmill pounders gaze at from the Andaman Hotel is a favoured habitat for filming wildlife documentaries.

Located on the northwest coast of Langkawi, the region abounds in rare wildlife on land and kaleidoscopic fringing coral reef beyond the beach.

Hotel designers didn’t quite get it right for water babies but for those who find inspiration in lush plush jungle, you won’t be disappointed with French windows allowing heady tropical aromas to waft around the gym.

3. Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

Unleash your inner safari man (or woman) when you drop into your own personal piece of African indulgence on a privately held 137,000-hectare concession of Singita Grumeti Reserve.

Incongruously rising above the plains in the style of an Edwardian manor house, the main lodge is surrounded by a handful of secluded cottages, each with its own infinity pool and dreamy heat-haze views all the way to the horizon.

If you can drag yourself beyond poolside tranquilized stupor, the gym is a revelation for such a remote location. Equipped with modern machines, it’s easy to imagine running across the sun-kissed plains, with bounding zebras kicking up their hooves beside you.

4. Aqua Expeditions, Peru

If cruising little-accessible waters of the Amazon floats your boat, step onto the treadmill aboard luxury river expedition vessel MV Aria, departing from the forest-clad port of Iquitos.

Launched in the spring of 2011, MV Aria plies the upper reaches and tributaries of the Andes-fed Amazon, allowing up to 32 guests to immerse themselves in wildlife and wild landscapes of 20,000 square kilometers of Pacaya Samira Reserve encased in floating luxury.

Hitting the treadmill daily is recommended, given that menus are designed by renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, otherwise known as the jungle chef, for his creative use of Amazonian wild foods.

More an exercise room bathed in natural light from immense picture windows rather than a fully blown gym, there’s no denying the inspirational “in-your-face” view gliding by.

5. Chobe Safari Lodge, Uganda

Recently restored to her former 1950s elegance and perched above the bank of the River Nile, water is the main focus of Chobe Safari Lodge.

That is, of course, once you’ve had your fill of the elephants, hippos and buffalo that hang out around this legendary waterway. Attracting wildlife by the safari-load, the three-level swimming pool, spa and gym all overlook the rushing, gushing Nile.

Within the largest National Park in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Parkis not a bad spot for fishos to drop a line once they’ve finished buffing their biceps in the Chobe Health Club and Spa.

6. Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa, United States

It’s unlikely that master mariner Captain James Cook would recognize much about Anchorage these days. Things have changed a bit since he anchored in the bay, now known as Cook Inlet, beneath a couple of active volcanoes and a mountain affectionately known by locals as Sleeping Lady.

On a clear day Redoubt and Spurr mountains, all 3,000 meters of them, poke out above the clouds, all theatrical summits and look-at-me attitude.

Gazing out from the 15th floor gym to the street below, gym junkies shouldn’t be surprised to see one of the 1,000-odd moose who also call Anchorage home wandering the streets.

7. Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, United States

Any hotel that puts step machines front and center behind frameless glass walls that overlook the Pacific Ocean gets my vote.

Add a crystal chandelier to enhance the theatrical movie star opulence, and you’ll be seriously motivated to get your butt camera-ready.

Naturally, equipment is top-of-the-line Precor and Icarian with individual screens and multimedia connectivity. The team at Ritz-Carlton seem to know just how to prop up a narcissistic gym junkie’s habit.

 

8. Wickaninnish Inn, Canada

The favored destination for storm chasers, those climate-crazy souls who time their holidays to encounter the worst weather, Wickaninnish Inn sits tall, proud and somewhat weather-beaten on a point jutting seaward. Beachcombers and surfer dudes also find their way to wild tumbled Chesterman Beach.

Looking west across the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver Island, 10 years ago the inn built a new wing to capitalize on their beachfront location, thrilling gym junkies no end by placing the workout room center stage.

9. Paresa Resort Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is home to sea gypsies who live on floating villages earning a living from ever depleting fish stocks, as well as the seething, writhing, pumping tourism hub of Patong Beach which attracts modern-day travelers.

Treadmill joggers who bother to look south from the gym at Paresa can catch a glimpse of the ever-present partying integral to the beachfront strip.

But for my money, the real attraction is the uninterrupted cliff top view from high above the Andaman Sea, particularly at dusk as the blazing tropical sun disappears below the salt-laden horizon.

10. Hotel Icon, Hong Kong

Opened just two months ago, Hotel Icon represents the combined efforts of Hong Kong’s most creative geniuses.

Clearly health-conscious designers who appreciate the benefits of positioning the pool and gym on the rooftop, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting cityscape than Hong Kong’s.

Particularly so at night, when all bets are off when it comes to conserving energy and the city lights up like the a Christmas tree.

Naturally, being a brand-new luxuriously appointed hotel with a heavy focus on glamour, gym equipment is state of the art and open 24 hours.

(By Fiona Harper, CNN Travel )

The majority of summers during our first three decades of marriage were spent camping in the national parks — from Acadia to Zion. And we did so in a series of four VW campers, the first of which was so underpowered it was unable to make the minimum speed limit heading west against the wind on a Wyoming interstate. Indeed, spending three months each summer in a VW bus is the gold standard for testing the oft-repeated vow “….. for better, for worse.”

Elements of campground desirability tend to be homogeneous. Most of us probably prefer a peaceful environment, beautiful scenery, spacious sites offering a degree of privacy, availability of drinkable water and flush toilets. Showers, of course, are a nice addition. Cost isn’t a differentiating factor for national park campgrounds because rates span a relatively narrow range.

Still, there are some campgrounds that stand out. So, here are some of our favorites. We are listing only those that are accessible via a typical family vehicle. Therefore, no hike-in or backcountry campgrounds are included.

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument: Belle Fourche Campground 

This is perhaps our favorite among all national park campgrounds. Located in a grove of cottonwood trees (unfortunately, lack of water is causing the trees to look pretty shabby) the campground is seldom crowded. Most campers depart relatively early in the morning after staying only one night. Thus, we nearly always have the campground to ourselves throughout most of the day. A number of campsites offer excellent views of Devils Tower. A trail leads from the campground through a prairie dog town to the visitor center at the base of the tower. Another meanders along the Belle Fourche River.

Glacier National Park: Two Medicine Campground 

It’s a great location to appreciate this wonderful park without the crowds. Located about 13 miles from East Glacier, the campground is near peaceful Two Medicine Lake and a camp store that was constructed as a chalet by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Many of the nearly 100 sites provide shade while a shuttle offers transportation to locations along the east side of the park. Red Bus tours also make a stop here.

Olympic National Park: Kalaloch Campground

Olympic National Park: Kalaloch Campground 

It would be difficult to find a campground with a more spectacular setting than this relatively large unit (170 sites) that sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The driftwood-covered beach below offers a world-class place to stroll, and dozing off with the sounds of circling gulls and the ocean’s roar isn’t a bad way to spend part of a lazy afternoon. Fog, mist, and wind are frequent visitors to the Washington coast, but this is all part of the coastal experience. Kalaloch Lodge is a short walk north so a warm restaurant with hot coffee isn’t far away. During our first drive to Kalaloch many years ago, the fog in the distance was so thick that we were certain a major forest fire was in progress.

Grand Teton National Park: Signal Mountain Campground 

Situated in a grove of fir and spruce trees, Signal Mountain is an ideal location from which to explore the Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake areas of Grand Teton National Park. Even with nearly 100 sites, the campground fills very early from June through August. Groceries, supplies, and meals are nearby at Signal Mountain Lodge. Although views of the mountains and lake are not available from all campsites, a short walk will reveal some of the most spectacular scenery found anywhere in the country.

Lassen Volcanic National Park: Manzanita Lake Campground 

This large campground (179 sites) has been a favorite since our first visit in the mid-1970s. In a pine forest at 6,000 feet, the cool summer temperatures are a welcome relief for travelers who have driven up from the hot and dry Central Valley. The giant sugar pines drop cones so large they could stagger Mike Tyson if he ever decides to camp here. A path circling Manzanita Lake leads to Loomis Museum and its exhibits that document the 1914-1917 volcanic eruptions here. Bring a canoe or inflatable raft and enjoy a quiet morning paddling the lake.

Capitol Reef National Park: Fruita Campground 

One of the most unusual and enjoyable campgrounds found in any national park, Fruita is set amid an orchard maintained by the National Park Service. We haven’t camped here for some time, but we have pleasant memories of picking apricots, apples, and cherries, the latter of which were eaten with such abandon that we both got sick. The National Park Service description of the campground as “an oasis within a desert” is spot on.

Kings Canyon National Park: Sentinel Campground

Kings Canyon National Park: Sentinel Campground 

Sentinel is one of four campgrounds in the Cedar Grove area of the park. Actually, any of the four would be on our favorites list because we consider Cedar Grove such a great place to camp, but Sentinel is closest to Cedar Grove Lodge with a small market and dining area. The campground sits along the Middle Fork of the Kings River that can really roar in the spring and early summer.

Big Bend National Park: Chisos Basin Campground 

Surrounded by high cliffs, this 60-site campground is in an area that offers hiking, beautiful night skies, and a chance to see some javelina — a strange looking pig-like mammal — chow down on a cactus or two. The campground isn’t far from Chisos Mountains Lodge, which offers a market and restaurant. One night while camping here we heard a commotion from a nearby campsite. It turned out that a skunk had gotten into a tent. The commotion was from the human occupants, not the skunk.

Blue Ridge Parkway: Rocky Knob Campground 

We have generally considered the Blue Ridge Parkway to have some of the National Park Service’s most pleasant campgrounds. In fact, it is difficult to choose which is best among the nine that are along this 469-mile drive. Rocky Knob Campground at milepost 161 is certainly near the top of the list, in part because it is only 9 miles from Mabry Mill and its excellent breakfast biscuits. Some campsites are in the deep woods while others are more open. An attractive picnic area is next to the campground.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Juniper Campground 

Located in the badlands of western North Dakota, this national park has always been one of our favorites. We prefer the smaller Juniper Campground in the park’s north unit to Cottonwood Campground in the more popular south unit. Juniper Campground sits beside the Little Missouri River in an especially scenic area of the badlands. This unit of the park is more distant from the interstate and receives fewer visitors. A visit to the small town of Medora near the south unit is a must.

(By David and Kay Scott, NationalParksTraveler.com)

Through rainforest, over mountain ridges, across open plains, beside lakes and oceans, Australia has so much to offer the hiker who’s prepared to pull the boots on and get stuck in.

With the peak walking season for Tasmania’s stunning Overland Track beginning on October 1, here’s our list of great hikes, taking from half a day to a week.

Multi-day treks

Overland Track, Tasmania

What would Frodo do? The writer stands atop Mount Ossa.

What would Frodo do? The writer stands atop Mount Ossa.The Overland Track covers 65 kilometers over six days through the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park, part of the World Heritage Area.

Walkers can trek independently but must book with the Parks & Wildlife Service, or use one of the many guided-walk operators.

We went with Cradle Mountain Huts, known for its eco-friendly lodges tucked away from the track.

Highlights include Marion’s Lookout with (if the weather’s good) great views of Cradle Mountain; Barn Bluff towering over an exposed alpine plateau; and the beautiful D’Alton and Ferguson Falls.

Worth the challenge, weather permitting, is the five-hour side trip climbing Mount Ossa.

Our guide points out two rocky towers, nicknamed The Gates of Mordor, after that dire place in “The Lord of the Rings.” And up we go.

Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory

Trekking along Euro Ridge on the Larapinta Trail.

Trekking along Euro Ridge on the Larapinta Trail.The Larapinta Trail winds through a rugged and ancient landscape in the Northern Territory.

Waving goodbye to Alice Springs from the Euro Ridge, walkers head westward, experiencing the beauty of Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge and ascending Mount Sonder at the end.

Being remote, this trail is best tackled on a group tour.

Michele Eckersley of World Expeditions (WE) says: “It’s our No. 1 trek worldwide.”

Apart from the six-day classic experience — support vehicles reduce the total walk — there’s also a 14-day end-to-end option (the whole 223 kilometers).

Both treks are organized by WE subsidiary Australian Walking Holidays.

Great Ocean Walk, Victoria

The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Walk.

The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Walk.Since 2006, the Great Ocean Walk has enabled us to go where its namesake road could not.

Stretching 104 kilometers from Apollo Bay, the track meanders through gum and eucalypt forest, reaches Cape Otway Lightstation, traverses sand dunes, beaches and cliff-top tracks.

There are shipwrecks to inspect and magnificent views of the Twelve Apostles, those much-photographed limestone sea stacks.

If you’re walking independently, there’s a shuttle service transporting gear from one stop to the next and the VisitVictoria site has information.

For guided walks or self-guided inn-to-inn packages try auswalk.

Six Foot Track, New South Wales

Crossing the Bowtells Swing Suspension Bridge over the Coxs River.

Crossing the Bowtells Swing Suspension Bridge over the Coxs River.Marked out in 1884 as a six-foot-wide (1.83 meters, if you really must know) track to allow loaded horses to pass each other while traveling from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves, the Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains is iconic.

Taking three days and two nights, the 44-kilometer track starts at the Explorers’ Tree, drops into Megalong Valley and crosses Coxs River by the Bowtells Swing Suspension Bridge.

Challenging climbs take walkers to the Black Range ridge before heading for the caves.

Cape to Cape Walk, Western Australia

Walkers heading for Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Walkers heading for Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.The Cape to Cape Track in the southwestern corner of Western Australia follows the ridgeline for 135 kilometers through the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, between the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.

This seven-day walk can be done independently or on a guided group tour with Inspiration Outdoors; participants carry a day pack and accommodation and transport is included.

The track mostly follows the coast, sometimes along cliff-top paths, at other times crossing beautiful beaches.

Several inland loops traverse sections of karri forest, while staff at the spectacular lighthouses at both ends run guided tours.

Do these in a day

Kosciuszko Walk, New South Wales

One of several streams on Mount Kosciuszko that will become the legendary Snowy River.

One of several streams on Mount Kosciuszko that will become the legendary Snowy River.From the Kosciuszko Express chairlift at Thredbo in the summer, a 14-kilometer return walk (five hours) goes to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko — at 2,228 meters, Australia’s highest peak.

The landscape features rocky granite outcrops, wildflowers and glacially carved Lake Cootapatamba.

Many walkers seem oblivious to the stream near the trail, but we pause to see the beginning of a waterway that became a legend thanks to Banjo Paterson’s poem “The Man from Snowy River.”

Passing the sign at Rawson Pass, it’s not much further before there’s a carnival atmosphere among hikers who have made it to the top of Australia.

The route’s easy to do independently but guided walks are an option.

Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Northern Territory

The sheer wall of Kings Canyon, a feature of the Rim Walk.

The sheer wall of Kings Canyon, a feature of the Rim Walk.It’s one of the world’s best short walks.

The reasonably fit should not be deterred by the 500-step climb to the top because it’s then quite flat.

This walk of six kilometers (four hours) follows the rim of Kings Canyon in a horseshoe fashion.

There’s a sense of awe at this ancient land with 100-meter-high sheer cliff walls, weathered dome-like structures called the Lost City and the Garden of Eden with its permanent waterholes. It’s enough to make one feel humbled.

Stay the night before being sure to start early to avoid hiking in the midday heat.

Kings Canyon Resort lays on various accommodation levels and guided tours.

Dove Lake Circuit, Cradle Mountain National Park

Looking back at a brooding Cradle Mountain, towering above Dove Lake.

Looking back at a brooding Cradle Mountain, towering above Dove Lake. This six-kilometer walk leads around the shores of Dove Lake in Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park in about two hours.

It’s an easy grade of walk, much of it on boardwalk, and one of Tasmania’s most popular.

Highlights include the much-photographed boat shed, built in 1940 by the first Ranger at Cradle Mountain, Glacier Rock, which bears the marks made by Ice Age glaciers and the peaceful cool temperate rainforest known as the Ballroom Forest.

Towering above it all is Cradle Mountain. Look several times to see its mood change from bright to brooding with the weather.

Binna Burra to Green Mountains (O’Reilly’s), Queensland

A peaceful moment on the Binna Burra to Green Mountains walk.

A peaceful moment on the Binna Burra to Green Mountains walk.Part of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, a multi-day hike, the section from Binna Burra to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park makes a good full-day walk.

The Border Track passes through stands of Atlantic Beech forest, subtropical and cool-temperate rainforests and along the rim of the Tweed Valley volcanic erosion caldera.

From Wanungara Lookout views extend over Limpwood Valley, Mount Warning and sometimes as far south as Byron Bay. The 23-kilometer hike takes six or seven hours and can be done in either direction, completely independently or with transport by O’Reilly’s.

Manly to the Spit Bridge

Walking the Forty Baskets Beach section on the Manly to the Spit Bridge walk.

Walking the Forty Baskets Beach section on the Manly to the Spit Bridge walk.Hiking in the middle of the city? Absolutely.

Walks through Sydney Harbor National Park provide a peaceful perspective.

A favorite is Manly to the Spit Bridge, a 10-kilometer one-way walk of three hours.

No human guide is needed and manlyguide.com has an excellent map.

Catch the ferry from Circular Quay, alight at Manly Wharf and head west along the foreshore.

Having crossed the picturesque and oddly named Forty Baskets Beach, the track heads up through a reserve with spectacular lookouts.

Quiet beaches like Castle Rock give the walker reason to pause, before everything becomes busier approaching the Spit Bridge, which we see open for a ferry to pass.

(From: Bruce Holmes/ CNN Travel)

running

mikebaird via Flickr

For years people have been searching for the “perfect diet” like they were hunting the Holy Grail. But which diets actually work?

Consumer Report (CR) recently asked more than 9,000 readers to weigh in on the question. They ranked 13 weight loss plans and tools, assigning each diet a score out of 100 based on factors like initial weight loss, food variety, and maintenance, among others.

Consumer Reports found that do-it-yourself plans were more popular than commercial alternatives, possibly because of the lower cost and the better flexibility. But ratings aside, Consumer Reports points out that weight loss is possible on any of the plans, and satisfaction is based on more than just shedding pounds alone.

lululemon athletica via Flickr

Weight Watchers is a commercial plan in which dieters monitor their food intake with “points.”

CR Reader Score: 56

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 12 to 35 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 28 lbs

Pros: Weight Watchers provides the flexibility to create your own diet plan and lets you eat whatever you want.

Cons: The Weight Watchers points system can be annoying to keep track of each day, and their premade food products are a bit pricey.

mikebaird via Flickr

SparkPeople is a diet tracking website with an additional online support community.

CR Reader Score: 60

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 5 to 21 lbs

Pros: SparkPeople is free and readily-accessible, and enables you to easily track your weight loss journey. The site also has a user community that you can rely on for encouragement and shared tips.

Cons: The premise is mainly a low-carb, high-protein diet, which isn’t best for everyone, and there can be a wait to get advice or answers from physicians on the site when you need help.

beast.com via statigram

Nutrisystem is a commercial plan with many easy-to-make meal choices.

CR Reader Score: 66

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 7 to 24 lbs

Pros: Carbs are not off limits on the Nutrisystem plan, and the meals are simple and easy to make.

Cons: Nutrisystem’s food choices have been called “palatable,” and eating them feels like sitting down to a TV dinner instead of a meal.

Shutterstock

The South Beach Diet is a DIY plan that guarantees weight loss in the first two weeks.

CR Reader Score: 70

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 11 to 27 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 8 to 23 lbs

Pros: One of the perks of the South Beach diet is the allowance of snacks and dessert, and the brand claims you can lose up to 13 pounds in the first two weeks.

Cons: Many people say planning and preparing the meals can be time-consuming, and the first two weeks in which the most weight is typically lost can feel very restrictive.

The Perfect Workout via statigram

Medifast is a commercial plan with no calorie or point counting.

CR Reader Score: 70

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 20 to 43 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 14 to 40 lbs

Pros: Dieters on Medifast are relieved of counting calories, carbs or points on this plan, and stay full from a diet of mostly protein and fiber.

Cons: Medifast is a lot more rigorous than other diets, on which adults typically consume between 800 and 1,000 calories, which has associated health risks for some individuals.

Niels M. Knudsen

Slim Fast is a DIY plan that is perfectly portioned.

CR Reader Score: 71

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 5 to 22 lbs

Pros: Slim Fast is convenient with its many grab-and-go products, and the plan ensures that you get the right portions and calories throughout the day.

Cons: Two out of your three meals have to be “meal replacements,” like their meal bars or shakes, which can become boring and routine after a while.

FailedImitator via Flickr

The Paleo Diet is a DIY plan is perfect for carnivores.

CR Reader Score: 71

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 32 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 6 to 20 lbs

Pros: The mostly protein Paleo diet is based on the premise that we could eliminate all the modern day health ailments if we reverted back to eating like our Paleolithic ancestors, namely, primarily meat and plants. This diet is also low in sodium.

Cons: The Paleo diet does not approve most grains and dairy, so the diet lacks many of the nutrients, especially calcium, that our bodies need.

cumi&ciki via Flickr

MyFitnessPal is a free app and website that tracks your calories and exercise.

CR Reader Score: 72

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 4 to 18 lbs

Pros: MyFitnessPal works as a calorie counter and diet and exercise journal, making users accutely aware and more conscious of what they put into their bodies.

Cons: Some users wish MyFitnessPal had healthy and guilt-free recipes available for those who love to cook but are looking out for their waistlines.

rexboggs5 via Flickr

Jenny Craig is a commercial plan that many celebs have had success with.

CR Reader Score: 74

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 15 to 34 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 30 lbs

Pros: Jenny Craig is one of the easiest diets to follow, with straightforward instructions and prepackaged foods in reasonable portions delivered to your door.

Cons: Those who love to cook are largely restricted from eating homemade meals, as they don’t fall within the Jenny Craig-approved foods, which can also be expensive.

mikebaird via Flickr

The Mediterranean Diet is a DIY plan that allows the good fats of foods like olives.

CR Reader Score: 76

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 10 to 25 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 7 to 25 lbs

Pros: The Mediterranean diet offers dieters a wide variety of foods and flavors, and many find that the weight they lose on the plan stays off.

Cons: The biggest problem with the Mediterranean diet is price, as the quality, often-imported foods and ingredients can cost more than other items at the grocery store.

Official U.S. Navy Imagery via Flickr

A Low-Carb Diet (non-Atkins) is a DIY plan in which users reduce the caloric consumption of carbs.

CR Reader Score: 77

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 13 to 35 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 29 lbs

Pros: Like those on Atkins, other low-carb dieters see quick weight loss, and many have seen lower blood pressure as well.

Cons: People cutting carbs could potentially see a loss in muscle mass if they aren’t careful, and some also lack sufficient nutrients, like fiber, in their diets.

DVIDSHUB via Flick

The Glycemic Index Diet is a DIY plan focused on the consumption of more low-carb foods like whole grains, and fewer high-carb foods like white bread.

CR Reader Score: 80

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 11 to 29 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 10 to 27 lbs

Pros: On the Glycemic Index diet, also known as the GI diet, users cite feeling fuller than on many other diets. The diet also claims to cut the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Cons: The diet can be moderately difficult to follow, and other than carbs, the GI diet doesn’t provide much guidance in the ways of fat, protein, or salt consumption.

Flickr/lululemonathletica

The Atkins Diet is a DIY plan based on cutting carbs and finding more balanced nutrients from other sources.

CR Reader Score: 83

Typical Weight Loss (Men): 15 to 30 lbs

Typical Weight Loss (Women): 8 to 25 lbs

Pros: Many people adhering to the Atkins diet see results quickly, and the brand makes low-carb snacks and other ready-made food products.

Cons: The carb-eliminating diet can feel restricting, and some people on the diet find themselves gaining back some of the lost weight if/when they return to eating carbs.

Post From:Melissa Stanger/Business Insider

Camping Equipment

Camping Equipment

1. Tent – Whether you’re on a solo trip or camping with the family, for protection from the elements you’ll need a shelter in the form of a tent. Where you’re camping and the time of year will determine the details, but in general you should always try to get as much tent as you can for the money. By “as much tent” I don’t mean size (though I’ll cover that in a moment); I’m talking about quality, workmanship and durability. Believe me, you will not enjoy being awakened in the middle of the night to find rain leaking into your tent because you bought the bargain brand. Also, buy the next size up from your needs. In other words, if you’re camping solo, take a 2-person tent, if it’s you and a buddy take a 3-4 person tent, and so on until you need to split up the people. You’ll appreciate the extra room, if for nothing else but storage, but in particular because you’ll find that a 2 person tent usually means 2 small persons. I’m 6’4″ and another person can make a 2-person tent feel very crowded.

2. Sleeping Bag – Again, where and when you’re camping will dictate the details, but keep in mind you’ll be spending several hours each night in that bag, so make it as comfortable a sleeping bag as you can. Taking a 40-degree rated bag into a freezing or snowy area guarantees you’ll be wishing you had the minus-20-degree bag as you shiver through the night. Also, if you’re not going to be using a pad or air mattress, make sure you have a thick bag with quality stuffing. Otherwise, your body will feel every bump, rock and twig you lay on throughout the night.

3. Food/Water – The kind of food you take will depend on your personal tastes and the tastes of those camping with you. The amount of food and water will depend on how many campers there are and how long and remote your camping trip will be. Water is more necessary than food. Current recommendations call for each of us to drink a half-gallon (64 ounces) of water a day. In an outdoor camping environment where you are probably exerting yourself more than usual by hiking, canoeing, biking, etc. it would be prudent to double that to a gallon per person per day just for water consumption. If you need water for washing utensils or other needs, then take a separate supply for those requirements.

4. Ice Chest – Unless you’re camping in the dead of winter and using the nearby river to keep your perishable food cold, or you’re just not taking any perishable food and don’t need one, take an ice chest. I tried out one of the 5-day models during this past hurricane season and they work great for keeping things cold for days (mine went 6) even in hot, humid Florida weather.

5. Stove/Campfire – I’ve done this both ways and generally I prefer to build a campfire, especially for the heat it generates in cool or cold weather, but a stove can be good too, particularly if you’re using cookware that would not stand up to the direct flame of a campfire. This Spring and Summer, I intend to try out the new self-heating dinner packets (they just recently arrived at my local store) to see how those work/taste, but I’ll probably use those mostly when backpacking.

6. Flashlights/Lanterns – Unless you’re going to get up every hour or so to feed the campfire through the night, you’ll appreciate having a good flashlight or lantern to supply light in the darkness. Plus, if you’re looking for something in your kit at dusk or just before dawn, they’re more helpful than holding a flaming torch.

7. First Aid Kit – This can range from a very bare bones kit to one that would be more at home on an EMT’s truck, depending on your wants and needs. I always carry one that has band-aids, bandages, gauze, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, a topical anti-biotic, aspirin, burn spray and insect repellant.

8. Cookware/Dinnerware/Utensils – A good frying pan, Dutch oven and pot will go a long way toward making cooking a manageable event, plus some plastic plates, cups and eating utensils will make your dining experience a bit more civilized.

9. Matches/Lighters – I know, I know, we’re all mountain men (and women) and we can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. This is easier.

10. Personal Items – These will vary according to your own personal wants, interests, hobbies, etc. For instance, I prefer to sleep on an air mattress, so when I can I take one along. A hammer or small hatchet for driving tent stakes into the ground beats using a rock. A multi-purpose knife can help with a multitude of tasks. I take reading material, music and sometimes, if I’m at a site with power, I’ll even take my laptop to write, watch a DVD or work on photos I’ve taken during the day.

These basic pieces of camping equipment, used as determined by length and location of your camping experience, will cover your needs when you go tent camping, insuring that you have a minimum level of comfort and safety.

(SOURCE: Jeff Wetherington)


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