It is essential for fitness professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest health and fitness news. You never know when your clients are going to ask about some new workout or fad diet they’ve heard about; don’t let them catch you unprepared. Use IDEA FitFeed to stay in the know. This inclusive tool collates health, fitness and nutrition news being shared by fitness professionals around the web and posts the top trending news items in one convenient location. If you are just learning about this tool or haven’t used it in a while, you can catch up here.

1. Meditation Increases Gray Matter

This article from Feel Guide covers new research that provides proof that meditation has a legitimate effect on the brain. Over a period of 8 weeks, participants spent an average of 27 minutes daily in some form of meditation. The researchers discovered an “increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.” The control group did not experience an increase in gray matter, indicating that the increase was not just a natural result of time passing. View the full article here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Allan Ajifo

2. Mediterranean Diet Lowers Cholesterol

This article from The New York Time’s Well blog recommends adopting a Mediterranean diet to lower cholesterol. While it may be possible to lower cholesterol with medication, there are heart-healthy benefits to lowering cholesterol by making a lifestyle change. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits and vegetables; lean protein like fish and chicken; healthy fats like olive and canola oils and legumes. While not everyone will be able to lower cholesterol with diet changes alone, the benefits of eating more healthfully will lead to an overall higher quality of life. View the full article here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Meal Makeover Moms

3. Sitting Not as Harmful for Active People?

Fitness professionals have likely heard of the negative effects of sitting, however, this article from IDEA Fitness Journal explains that there is new research that shows sitting may not be as detrimental as we thought for those who also exercise. This study followed 5,132 people aged 35-55 for a period of 16 years. 450 people died throughout the duration of the study, and researchers were not able to find a definitive link to any of the five different types of sitting. This indicates that sitting may not cause increased death risk in more active individuals. View the full article here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Richard Duszczak

4. Experts Are Split on Daily Weigh-Ins

This article from Prevention explores the pros and cons of weighing yourself daily, a topic on which experts are split. On one hand, a daily weigh-in can be a reality check and reminder to stay committed to fitness goals. On the other hand, when the focus is placed too heavily on the numbers—especially when considering normal weight fluctuations—it can lead to obsessive eating behavior and unhealthy body image. Ultimately, it’s up to each person to find his or her own healthy balance. View the full article here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Daniel Oines

5. Morning Workout Hacks

Fitness professionals know the benefits of morning workouts, and this article from Greatist provides 24 helpful suggestions for beginning—and committing to—a morning workout plan. Some of the tips are motivational in nature, such as making a special pre-workout snack or ordering a smoothie to be delivered first thing in the morning. Others are more unexpected, like the suggestion to wear all-red workout clothes because red is a color known to increase excitement and motivation. Either way, there are plenty of creative options to choose from. View the full article here.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Arvind Grover