DIY Bronzer

Who wouldn’t want that chocolaty summer tan all year long? Now, the quickest way we can obtain it usually involves some chemicals and UV blasting at the tanning salon, which I’m not really into. A natural tan at the beach already comes with some sun damage, so why would we add to that?

However, here’s a natural home-made bronzer lotion we can safely and regularly use to gain a bit of color and/or maintain our summer tans. It’s made of wholesome, natural, amazing ingredients that your skin will visibly thank you for.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Organic Raw Shea Butter
  • cup Organic Raw Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Oil

Pop the almond oil in the microwave for a few seconds, just to heat it up a bit. Add the cocoa and mix thoroughly until it’s homogenized. Then stir in the Shea butter and you’re all done. If you want a darker lotion, simply add more cacao powder. If you want a lighter lotion, add a little bit less. It’s as simple as that. You can apply this daily.

Obtaining and maintaining a healthy tan concerns your Vitamin A and beta-carotene levels, as well as your Selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E levels. That’s why we use Shea butter, which is high in Vitamins A, E, and F and almond oil (E), and that’s why this DIY, natural bronzer will promote a healthier and longer-lasting tan.

If you want to take it even further, you can make sure you get plenty of those nutrients up there through your meals as well. Nuts, spinach, carrots, and grapefruits (Vitamins A, C, E) are a few examples of what you should include in a high-protein diet (Selenium) to reduce sun damage and maintain your tan.

The Mindset

All the diets and workout programs in the world are nothing without a health and fitness oriented mindset. Eating and exercising feel like chores, and soon enough, we get off track and quit. Why would we do something we don’t enjoy, time and time again? It’s not sustainable. Sure, some days are better than others. That healthy meal is just what you’ve been craving and the day’s workout couldn’t have seen a better performance. But those other days… those days when you’d just stuff your face with all the fast food in the world, leaving you too lethargic to even leave the bed, nevermind exercising.

So what would constitute a fitness oriented mindset? What can we teach ourselves to remember and believe in during an off period?

  1. Exercising and eating well is not a imposition, it’s fun, stress-relieving and a self-gift towards your well-being. You’ve started because you’re mindful of its many benefits, you feel better and it only comes at the price of a 2-second decision to gear up and go exercise. That’s all it takes, a few seconds per day to simply decide to start.
  2. The decision you’ve made when you started was to push yourself into a stronger and healthier self. If change is what you desire, you can’t expect it to come without your commitment to new actions, new decisions. So we push ourselves out of bed, we put on our running shoes and we go that extra mile. That extra mile or that extra rep is the daily manifestation of our initial decision.
  3. Rest and regroup, not quit. Ok, we’re feeling down and all the motivation we can mustard only gets us from the bed to the kitchen, and back again. We just can’t do it. That bag of chips is faster than that proper home-cooked meal we were planning to make, so we grab that and return to the coziness of our beds. This goes on for a few days, maybe even a week, enough to take us off track from our healthy living routines. But does that mean we’ve renounced all ties with fitness and proper nutrition? Can’t we pick those routines and good habits back up again? So we felt beat and unmotivated, but we know we can do it. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.

Rest and Recovery

Almost every athlete – bodybuilder, runner or any other sort of sports person will encourage at least one rest day per week. Now, something I’m confident all fitness enthusiasts are guilty of in the early days is not resting. Unless the body painfully demands a recovery period, we are all inclined to push ourselves mindlessly for dat lean bod, since we haven’t yet passed the time to see that it truly does not happen over night. Or in a week. Or two.

Allowing the body to recover between sets and during the week will not only prevent injury, pains and aches, but it’s actually helping the process. So we don’t have to think of it as a lazy, unproductive day when in fact, it’s what ultimately leads to optimal performance.

Immediate rest and Metabolic rest

For what concerns rest between sets (immediate rest), it’s recommended to take 30 to 90 seconds between each set. We’ve seen how over-stressed cells behave, so take a few seconds to rest in-between sets. If you want to superset, start small and build the endurance for it.

Now, the necessary recovery time after a training session (metabolic recovery) depends on the intensity of your workout, rather than duration. The harder you work, the more time your body will need to regulate and repair itself. Obviously, a jogg and a weight training session will differ in recovery times.

Muscle growth happens through rest

If you’ve read about hypertrophy, you know that building muscle implies giving your muscle tissue something to adapt to (so you’re stressing the cells). Said adaptation happens like this: when you work out, the stressed cells in the muscle fibers undergo microscopic damage. The injured cells release inflammatory molecules (called cytokines) that call upon the immune system to repair the injury. After damage repair, the muscle is not only recovered, but adapted to an increased capacity.

So if you want to see dem gains, take that rest day and allow your muscles to recover. Your body will tell you when it’s done repairing itself, as your muscles will no longer feel sore. You can also aid recovery by stretching, walking, and other low-intensity activities after your workout.

Keeping motivated – tips and tricks

Tip no. 1

Surround yourself with all the motivators you can think of. Some ideas would be:

  1. Subscribe to fitness and nutrition YouTube channels to always have someone to inspire you and get you going. Not everybody has trainers and nutritionists for friends and family. Just make sure they are promoting solid concepts or fact-based solutions, rather than opinions.
  2. Follow blogs… yeah. Let’s put it like this: You’re trying to lose some weight and you’re following some fitness, health and wellness blogs (see what I did there?). Chances are they’ll provide you with all kinds of articles and even cute printables to keep on hand. Now take some time to find and print some appealing healthy recipes, afferent grocery lists, and some fun&effective workouts. At this point, you would’ve constructed your first fitness guidebook – one that you’ve tailored yourself. All you need now is some willpower to start making small (but consistent) changes, and soon enough you’ll have it all down.
  3. Your wallpapers. Find some inspiring pictures or quotes (cliche your ass off) and set them as your phone/laptop/PC/tablet wallpaper. They just might remind you that you didn’t work out today, or that you didn’t eat enough, or simply to take a break from work and take your dog out for a jogg.
  4. Take photos of your progress. Yes, I want you to take half-naked selfies like a needy teenage girl. There’s no greater motivator than looking at the starting picture and knowing where you got to.
Tip no. 2

Meal planning, the best trend of all trends. If you’re bodybuilding or jut trying to eat more, you already know it’s virtually impossible to prepare ~five meals a day. It’s no bother if you’re eating canned tuna and salads all day long, every day, but that’s just crazy. So find/ make a meal plan, prepare your meals in advance and take them with you to work or school so you’re less disposed to eating from the vending machine or ordering in.

Tip no. 3

Food is fuel. No, I’m not saying not to enjoy food. But when you’re just getting started and you’re trying to accustom yourself to a healthier or ampler eating regime, you’re not always going to enjoy it. So food is fuel, if nothing else.

*Going back to YouTube, I find it helpful to watch cooking channels (e.g., Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube and affiliate chefs) when I’m not that into eating.

Tip no. 4

Workout area. If you’re working out in your home, make sure you’re doing it in a clean (clutter-free), airy space. It’s important not to feel like you’re hitting the furniture with each leg lift and not stumble into piles of clothes/ toys/ what have you. You need to prepare your workout area so that you’ll be able to focus on your target for the day, and not be put down by the state of your environment.

Tip no. 5

Make everything as enjoyable as possible, always. Make your food look great, buy that cute active-wear, make a workout playlist and blast the speakers, go outside when it’s warm and sunny. Whatever gets you in a good, active mood.

Tip no. 6

This is the most important step to remember! Have fun with it! We can get caught up in the ought’s, shall’s and musts, so it’s important to remember that it’s actually really fun to be active, it truly could not be further apart from a chore. Learn how to do a handstand, try a greater variety of sports, or bring your friends into action! So eat well, rest well, and just have fun with all you do, and you’ll be sure to stick with it.

Begin today

1. Gain the knowledge you need to begin and maintain a fit&healthy lifestyle.
  1. Find a fitness blogger/ vlogger or a fitness-related YouTube channel you like… or many. They should inspire you, provide you with workout and/ or meal ideas, and maybe even teach you proper form.
  2. Read. Research nutritional science, anatomy and biochemistry and know why you are eating and training a certain way. Or better yet, just follow FitHealthyWell ’cause it’s doin’ it for you (*wink*).
2. You don’t need to be crazy strict, but that doesn’t mean you can be overly indulgent.

No, you’re not ruining everything if you eat that doughnut. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be eating all the doughnuts because you’re bulking. Don’t drive yourself insane and don’t torment your psych or your body. Build a meal plan and a training regimen that’s tailored to your goals and preferences (this is where all that knowledge comes in handy). Don’t over-train, don’t under-eat. Balance, balance, balance.

3. Motivation leads to discipline

Know that those hard beginnings will soon become your warm-up… *grunt*. Seriously now, when there’s a will, there’s a way, and sooner than later it will become a lifestyle, something you identify yourself with, rather than a chore.

4. Find the joy in it.

Results will not come right away. You will soon begin to feel differently (and you’ll definitely enjoy all those endorphins), but you won’t look differently right away. But you need something solid to hang on to in order to make it a habit. So just find a joy in it, be it running on a sunny day or patting yourself on the back for each tiny positive change, then moving on to the next, and the next. You have all the reason to be proud and happy with yourself for desiring and moving towards a fitter, healthier self.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise – the yin and yang of fitness, if you will. Cardio vs. strength, spinning vs. gym, cutting vs. bulking, each its own. But what exactly makes an exercise aerobic or anaerobic?

Aerobic exercise means involving or improving oxygen consumption by the body and sends to cardiovascular exercise, i.e. keeping your heart rate up through exercises such as walking, running, jogging, cycling, and swimming. Most aerobic exercises are lower in intensity and muscular contraction than anaerobic exercises. Anaerobic exercise is a high-intensityphysical exercise that last for a few seconds to up to 2 minutes (and gets those muscles burning).

Let’s say you’re doing some HIIT, for example. At some point when you exceed ~90% of max. heart capacity, you would’ve just went from an aerobic exercise to an anaerobic one. For what concerns strength training, it usually involves at least a minimum amount of purely aerobic exercises for warm-up or endurance purposes, like those 10 minutes on the treadmill for example. But what does really differentiate an aerobic exercise from an anaerobic one?

Why, how, what?

Anaerobic and aerobic exercises differ in the sense that the anaerobic ones are intense enough for lactate to form, while the latter are not.

When you’re performing a challenging exercise, the glycogen in your muscle cells breaks down to produce glucose, which undergoes glycolysis – a metabolic pathway (a fancy way of saying linked series of chemical reactions within the cell) that converts glucose into pyruvate/ pyruvic acid. When oxygen is present (aerobic), pyruvic acid supplies energy to the cells. When oxygen is lacking (anaerobic), pyruvic acid ferments to produce lactate.

  • When oxygen is present in the muscle cells ⇒ cellular respiration (aerobic)
  • When muscle cells are starved of oxygen ⇒ a metabolic process called lactic acid fermentation (so an anaerobic fermentation reaction) through which different hexoses (sugars) are converted into cellular energy and lactate.

So, when you’re training hard and depriving muscle cells of oxygen and causing this anaerobic fermentation reaction which produces lactate, you’ll begin to feel the effects of the lactate build-up. We might not know about lactate, but we all know the burn and the subsequent nausea. At this point you’re going to have (and want) to stop and allow the lactate to clear from the bloodstream.

So be careful, don’t exhaust yourself, train and eat smartly, set specific goals, find a balance and enjoy!

Thank you for visiting FHW!

Resources:

  1. Aerobic exercise
  2. Anaerobic exercise
  3. Glycolysis
  4. Fermentation
  5. Lactic acid fermentation
  6. Lactic acid