Monthly Archives: November 2017
Janet Jackson Lost 70 Pounds Without Doing Any Cardio
This article originally appeared on InStyle.com.
Janet Jackson is looking better than ever. Not only did the 51-year-old star recently welcome a baby girl, Eissa, she also is in the best shape of her life.
If you think she’s been pounding the treadmill or doing some intense spin classes, think again. The famous singer and her trainer devised an entirely new workout plan, and she’s lost 70 lbs. without doing any cardio. While still rigorous—they worked out together four times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes—the intense training skipped exercises that tend to be hard on the body.
“We were doing three or four exercises with weights back to back,” Jackson’s trainer Paulette Sybliss told E! News. “What that does—you would look at her and think she’d done like an hour of cardio with me—but when you’re working with weights and you’re working the muscle that way, it elevates the heart rate, but also it’s creating that fat burning affect both during the session and also when she left me, and that was key.”
RELATED: Janet Jackson Makes Rare Red Carpet Appearance in Skintight Leather Skirt
While their initial goal was to lose weight, they’re now focusing maintaining her figure and staying healthy. “We’re not looking to lose any weight whatsoever,” Sybliss continued. “She looks incredible and she’s so fit, but she’s also healthy.”
Despite her focus on staying in incredible shape, Jackson also makes sure to treat herself occasionally. “If Janet feels that she needs to have a chocolate cake, go ahead and have a chocolate cake. You’re not eating it every day. You won’t get fat overnight.”
(Don't) Curb your enthusiasm
For many homeowners, a home’s "curb appeal" is a source of pride. Certainly it is to me, although often the best I can usually hope for is to keep the lawn mowed, the dead plants removed from the flower bed, and the driveway reasonably well swept.
Sometimes, though, the situation calls for more. If, for example, you’re planning to put your house on the market. Obviously you want your home to be as attractive as possible to potential buyers. On the other hand, you don’t want to put too much cash behind the effort. So what do you do?
This being National Curb Appeal Month, I asked RECON subscribers who are in the business of selling houses to share their best tips for sprucing up a home’s front exterior quickly and inexpensively. All of the respondents agreed that a fresh coat of paint on the door and shutters, along with fresh plants and mulch in the flower beds, is the best way to make a strong first impression.
For the homeowner who wants to put just a little more effort and money into it, DIYNetwork.com also suggests:
- replacing your old mailbox, making sure you follow city regulations;
- putting up new house numbers if your old ones are faded;
- planting a tree, keeping in mind how big it will get and whether it will eventually encroach on your home;
- installing exterior lighting that fits the style of your home and makes your entryway safer; and
- adding flower boxes to your front windows, especially if your house lacks color.
Need more ideas? Looking for inspiration? Chances are you’ve seen HGTV’s program, ‘Curb Appeal.’ It’s been around for years. Their website
has galleries and videos to point you in the right direction.
We Tried It: Physiclo Weighted Workout Pants
This article originally appeared on People.com.
What It Is: Physiclo Compression Tights with Built-In Resistance
Who Tried It: Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, PEOPLE Bodies writer
Level of Difficulty: 5/10
I was skeptical when I first heard about Physiclo compression tights and the company’s promise of amping up a workout just by wearing special gear. But it sort of made sense, the idea of built-in resistance making a workout harder and more efficient. And since I’m always trying to squeeze the best workout in the fewest minutes possible (who isn’t?), I ordered a pair and decided to take them for a trial run. Literally.
The first thing I noticed was how difficult they were to get on. I mean, these babies were tight! And at $110 for capris and $125 for full-length tights, I was a little annoyed at feeling like I was being stuffed into a sausage casing. Once they were on, though, things felt better — and each time I wore them they were easier to pull on.
The site says Physiclo’s technology uses elastic bands and panels stretching over different muscle groups to generate resistance. My legs definitely felt heavier wearing them.
To test the company’s claim of an increased heart rate and caloric burn, I did the same routine wearing the Physiclo tights one day and my regular workout pants another day, comparing my Fitbit stats both days.
I ran on the treadmill for 15 minutes at a pace of 6.0 and a barely noticeable 1.0 incline. Even with the added weight, the tights didn’t restrict my movement at all, although I imagined it might be hard to do my usual speed work.
Wearing the Physiclo tights I had an average heart rate of 158 (max 170), and I burned 158 calories. In regular pants my heart rate was 154 (max 164) and I burned 133 calories.
So according to my completely unscientific experiment, wearing the Physiclo pants produced not only a higher heart rate but more of a calorie burn! I was sold.
Over the next few weeks I wore them for some other activities. I jumped rope in them one day. I wore them to the playground to do body weight exercises while my kids ran around. I tried the leg-day workout on the Physiclo site designed by Olympian Stephen Lambdin.
By this time I was starting to dig them and feel a lot more comfortable. I was able to run 5 miles on the treadmill with no problem achieving my usual speed. (Not sure if my legs were getting stronger or what, but I felt great!)
When I most felt the effects was while doing exercises like squats or the Stair Master. I did 15 minutes at level 10 and really felt it in my thighs and butt. I felt as sore as if I had done a full hour of barre! I wondered if I would grow an awesome peach booty if I wore these consistently.
After a few weeks of wearing Physiclo sporadically, I noticed that my legs felt stronger, tighter and more toned. Not sure if that was the pants or because I was working out a lot more in general.
The one thing I didn’t love was how they looked. Yes, I am a little vain about what I wear to the gym — I find it motivating to look good. And even though I am in shape, these pants squeezed me in ways I felt were slightly unflattering. That’s not to say everyone would have this problem — it’s possible that other body types would be fine. I dealt with the issue by wearing longer-than-usual tops. But this was really my only complaint, and it was not enough to keep me from wearing the pants.
Verdict: At $110, these pants are not cheap, but they run the same amount as some other luxe brands. If you work out a lot and are looking to add something new or take your routine to the next level, you should give these a shot! Just don’t size down when you order.
What's keeping nominal wages down?
For the past year, the U.S. labor market has moved toward full employment. This hasn’t spurred rapid nominal wage growth (Figure 1). The reason is low inflation and dismal productivity growth.
Nominal wages are real wages plus inflation. Nominal wage is measured in dollars, while real wage is measured in purchasing power. Workers care about the real wage because it measures actual purchasing power of goods and services. Firms also care about the real wage because it captures the cost of hiring labor and is determined by productivity.
Why is measuring real wages important? Let’s say that nominal wages and overall inflation both go up by 5 percent. That means there is no change in the amount of goods and services you can purchase. In other words, you’re no better or worse off. But if overall inflation would have risen by 7 percent, you would be worse off because you could purchase fewer goods and services. In other words, “inflation ate your raise.”
The phrase “inflation ate your raise” was common during the ’70s when inflation was high and obstinate. That’s why nominal wages rose at a higher rate during that time. Inflation has systematically trended down since then, accompanied by a decline in nominal wages (Figure 2). Don’t expect a big increase in nominal wages when inflation is currently below 2 percent.
So how about real wages? Real wage growth peaked during the late ’90s, boosted by the surge in productivity. It has since fallen as productivity has declined. Real wages are still increasing (meaning real purchasing power is increasing) but at a lower rate than in the ’90s.
Going forward, if productivity does not increase at a higher rate, neither will real wages. This will cause nominal wages to grow basically at the current rate if inflation continues to be low.
Higher productivity means higher real wages, which translates into an increase in purchasing power.
Is Loud Music in Workout Classes Bad for Your Ears?
That cranked-up stereo definitely isn’t great for your ears. Adults can safely bear a noise dose of less than 85 decibels for eight hours a day, per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. And the max amount of time shrinks quickly the louder the noise gets. For instance, adults can tolerate 94 decibels for only one hour before it becomes potentially damaging to their hearing. And the music in some workout classes these days is blasted as loud as 99 decibels, a recent study found.
RELATED: Got Ringing in Your Ears? Here’s How to Cope With Tinnitus
That probably won’t tear you away from your favorite class, which is likely only an hour or less. But next time, see if you notice any ringing or buzzing in your ears (a.k.a. tinnitus) after class. If you do, I suggest you start wearing earplugs to prevent any long-term or permanent hearing loss. Earplugs will only muffle the noise, so you should still be able to hear the music. Some studios offer earplugs to clients for free (ask at the front desk), or you can pick up a pack at the drugstore and stash them in your gym bag. And don’t forget to watch the volume if you’re working out on your own and listening to music with headphones. As a rule, if someone near you can hear the music through your headphones, it’s too loud.
Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.
Climbing the social (media) ladder
Over the past year, the Real Estate Center has overhauled its social media accounts, adopting new technologies and techniques to determine how we can best reach our constituents.
HootSuite, a social media managing platform, has helped us create and schedule posts on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn pages efficiently. More importantly, it’s provided us with valuable data that has taught us more about the audience we serve: you.
One thing we learned is that not all social media platforms are the same, and users’ habits vary by platform.
We found that women make up 57 percent of our Facebook followers, with most of them between 45 and 54 years old. Our fans are most active on Facebook between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and they prefer posts about RECON and the Red Zone podcast.
Meanwhile, our Twitter users prefer content posted between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Fridays. Fifty-three percent are male, and around 80 percent are homeowners. Links to third-party content and Center research are among the most popular, especially if the Tweet includes an infographic.
We joined Instagram in June 2016, making it our youngest social media account. Like Facebook, 57 percent of our followers are women, but they tend to be younger (25 to 44). We learned not to worry about the news on this platform, concentrating on beautiful images of Texas and our publications.
LinkedIn is our fastest-growing account, with the number of followers doubling in just a year. Those followers prefer to log in between 8 a.m. and noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They are most interested in housing statistics and research. Our approach to LinkedIn is nearly opposite of our Instagram strategy. Instead of worrying about images, we focus on information and data.
The Center is relatively new to the world of social media marketing, but we’re growing faster than we ever imagined we would. Thank you to everyone who follows us and engages with our content.
Key to economic growth? More education, more training
The U.S. economy is growing at an average rate of 2 percent per year, down from its normal 3 percent. What will it take to get that rate back up?
The answer is complicated, but Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres told me one thing is clear: You can’t just throw money at the problem.
"Monetary policy isn’t enough. The Federal Reserve can’t make a person more educated, and that’s what we need," Luis said. "We have all of these structural issues — especially in the area of education and training — that are preventing our growth."
Luis had just returned from a national business economics meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, so this was fresh on his mind.
"Jobs have actually come back," he said. "Job openings are at a higher level than before the economic crisis. In this country, if you’re highly trained and educated, you’re probably going to have little trouble finding a job. But if you’re low-skilled with little training, you’re going to struggle."
By education, Luis said he’s not referring only to college degrees. He said that while we do need, say, engineers, we also need welders and mechanics.
He said other structural problems include a drop in workers because of an aging population, tax policies that could use some adjusting, infrastructure needing improving (airports, roads, internet, etc.), and immigration policies that need to be reformed.
Luis talks about this in much more depth on this week’s Real Estate Red Zone podcast. Click here to listen.
Three haunted Texas properties that’ll make your spine tingle
If there’s one thing Texans love, it’s a good ghost story. With Halloween creeping up on us, we thought we’d celebrate some of our favorite haunted Texas real estate.
The Grove is an 1861 home in Jefferson, a small East Texas town around 40 miles northeast of Longview. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Registered Historic Landmark. At first glance, you may mistake the building for a cozy old home. But this private residence is home to more than just the living.
Some call the house one of the most haunted locations in the Lone Star State. The chilling ghost stories date back over a century. The first sign of paranormal activity was in 1882 after T.C. Burke purchased the home. He and his family moved out after only a month.
Prominent specters in the home include a wandering lady in white and a man rushing through the garden as if late for an appointment. A rascally ghost in the den is particularly fond of the ladies.
In La Grange stands a beautiful Victorian Gothic building now home to the city’s visitor center and chamber of commerce.
The former Fayette County jail housed many infamous “guests” during its time, including two members of Bonnie and Clyde’s gang. But it’s rumored that some visitors never left.
The most disturbing of the apparitions is the Widow Mary Dach. The mother of three was accused of killing a farmhand who helped her after her husband’s death. Sentenced to death in 1933, Mary was to be the first woman sent to the electric chair, but she starved herself to death before the penalty could be given. The suicidal spirit is said to haunt the halls of the historic building.
Fortunately, not all Texas ghost stories are sinister.
The USS Lexington, a decommissioned aircraft carrier harbored in Corpus Christi as a floating museum, is home to a friendly ghost. Up to 200 visitors have reportedly seen this white-uniformed, blue-eyed young seaman.
“Charly” reportedly died on the ship after a Japanese Kamikaze attack off the coast of the Philippines on Halloween in 1944. But the sailor is no haunting figure. Reports claim the seaman is a “polite young man” who shares his knowledge of the ship with visitors.
It may be a coincidence, but the Lexington‘s nickname has long been “The Blue Ghost.” The Japanese Navy reported sinking the aircraft carrier four times during World War II. Japanese sailors believed that the ship was able to return from the grave.
There are so many more Texas ghost stories, but we’ll end it there. What’s your favorite piece of haunted real estate? Let us know by tweeting to us @TexRec with the hashtag #HauntedTXRealty.