18 Simple Eating Tips For Effective Weight Loss

We all know how difficult weight loss can be. However, these simple tips to lose weight should make losing that excess weight that much easier.

Simple weight loss tip #1: Healthy cheese

If you love to eat cheese you may find that your weight will suffer for your indulgence.

If you swap your usual cheese for goats cheese you will be able to cut back on your calorie intake as cheese made from cows milk is an average of 40% higher in calories.

Simple weight loss tip #2: Eat some spinach

Spinach is full of beneficial fibre content that can help your body to burn off that annoying body fat.

Simple weight loss tip #3: Drink red wine

Red wine contains Resveratrol that has been shown to stop fat from forming, particularly around the waist.

Be careful not to overdo it though as too much alcohol can lead to its own problems.

Simple weight loss tip #4: Eat more berries

We all know that a healthy diet involves eating plenty of fresh fruit.

What you might not know is that the one of the best options are berries as they contain less fructose than many other fruits, so are less likely to cause weight gain.

Many berries contain beneficial antioxidants that can improve your overall health too.

Simple weight loss tip #5: Eat some ‘good’ fats

Certain foods, such as eggs, walnuts and chicken contain ‘good’ fats that can help with your weight loss efforts.

These fats can also help improve your overall health too, for example by reducing the risk of heart disease.

Simple weight loss tip #6: Buy red cabbage

Red cabbage has been shown to naturally aid fat burning and can help suppress your appetite.

This makes it an ideal food to eat while trying to lose weight.

Simple weight loss tip #7: Juicy bits

When buying fruit juice look for those that still contains the fruit bits.

This extra fibre content will help keep youfeeling fuller for longer so you will feel less inclined to snack throughout the day.

Simple weight loss tip #8: Healthy snacks

You will often hear people say that to avoid giving into your hunger pangs throughout the day that you need to eat little and often.

This means that you need to find some healthy snacks to eat in between your normal meals.

Raw nuts and oats are good options as they are full of fibre.

Simple weight loss tip #9: Eat some pineapple

Eating pineapple can boost your metabolism, which will result in extra calories being burnt.

Simple weight loss tip #10: Add some cinnamon

Cinnamon can help burn body fat as it can raise your metabolic rate.

Just half a teaspoon every day can help you to lose as much as 2 extra pounds a month.

Simple weight loss tip #11: Spice up your food

Adding some chilli to your meals will help to boost your metabolic rate and burn extra calories.

In addition, this extra heat with your meal will mean you will want to drink more water, which has its own health benefits.

Simple weight loss tip #12: Drink green tea

Although you may love your usual choice of cuppa, swapping to green tea can help you to lose weight.

Green tea can help burn fat and can raise your metabolism by as much as 20%. It also containspowerful antioxidants proven to boost your health.

Simple weight loss tip #13: Add some tomatoes to your diet

If you want to feel fuller for longer than start by adding a little tomato to your diet.

It has been shown that tomatoes can help tosuppress the hunger hormone ghrelin.

Simple weight loss tip #14: Add vinegar to your salad

Studies have shown that adding vinegar, in particular apple cider vinegar can help your body to burn fat.

Simple weight loss tip #15: Eat pomegranates

Pomegranates are able to reduce the bodies ability to store fat. They are also sweet so will help if you have a sweet tooth.

Simple weight loss tip #16: Use olive oil

Olive oil is one of the better options for cooking and as a dressing as it contains good fatty acids that can reduce your appetite and cravings.

Simple weight loss tip #17: Eat a grapefruit

Did you know that grapefruits contain an enzyme shown to lower insulin levels.

This will result in fewer sugar highs and lows, so fewer sugar cravings will be experienced.

Simple weight loss tip #18: Eggs are great

One of the best food types to eat for breakfast is an egg as they are full of protein but contain very few calories.

Just stay away from the fried versions as they will certainly not help you to lose weight.

Hopefully with these simple weight loss tips you will be able to achieve your weight loss goals. Please let us know if they helped.

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16 Perfect Tips To Abs Of Envy

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It may not be a secret that the best way to a six-pack is regular exercise and a healthy diet (even if it’s no diet at all), but there’s a right way and wrong way to a flat stomach. Read on for the ultimate tips to getting toned and enviable abs.

1. Know the balance

Getting flat abs isn’t about starving yourself or living at the gym. Reducing belly fat involves a mix of smart eating and effective exercise. Make sure you eat enough food to keep your body from experiencing hormone imbalances; eating too little (fewer than 1200 calories a day) reduces the amount of the fat-burning hormone leptin in your body, which will slow down weight loss. And if you’re just exercising without changing your diet, you’ll spend a lot of time at the gym with little result.

2. Stand up straighter

Doing regular posture-building exercises pack a double punch when it comes to busting that belly. Having good posture helps you look slimmer instantly, while sticking to a posture-building routine every day will strengthen your ab muscles, and help get you well on your way to a six-pack.

3. Fight the Flab

Abs exercises will help define those muscles, but don’t forget cardio for overall weight loss; otherwise all those sit-ups will go to waste. If you want results fast, try high intensity interval training, which has been proven to be one of the best ways to fight belly fat.

4. De-Stress

Having too much stress can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which can increase the amount of fat you store around your belly.

5. Start your mornings with oatmeal

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The secret to getting flat abs includes a diet that helps shrink that midsection. The best things to eat include foods high in fiber and other foods that help you beat the bloat. Swap your normal breakfast for a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, for example; the fiber in the oatmeal will aid in digestion, and the antioxidants in blueberries may help you shed ab fat.

6. Detox and cleanse

It’s not in the foods you eat—what you drink can help de-bloat and flatten your tummy as well, so bottoms up! Drinking a glass of water every morning, for example, will help you alkalize your body—which helps you burn fat and detox your system.

7. Don’t touch certain foods

There are those foods that help slim your middle, and those that make you feel like a bloated balloon. As you continue your ab-flattening workout plan, be sure to avoid foods that cause bloating, like broccoli and cabbage, when things start getting serious.

8. Full-body exercises is the solution

If you’re looking for killer abs, don’t waste your time focusing solely on crunches, since they tone just one muscle group and exacerbate bad posture, especially if you sit with a rounded spine at a desk all day. Instead focus on full-body exercises, like squat to overhead press. Not only do these types of exercises save time by working multiple body parts while engaging your core, they also do so without the posture-wrecking position of a rounded spine.

9. You have layers in your belly – work them all

If you’ve only go one type of ab workout in your routine, your midsection is missing out. Working your core involves exercising all your abdominal layers, not just the top part that you can see. The inner muscles help pull in your belly for a slimming look, so be sure to work all of your ab muscles.

10. Don’t forget the muffin top and saddlebags

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Getting rid of a muffin top involves many of the same strategies you’re employing when it comes to washboard abs, but if you’ve got a little extra padding all around your waistline, there are a few more tricks you should have up your sleeve. Read labels carefully, for example; lurking trans fats in your favorite foods can increase the amount of fat you hold around your waist. And while you’re focusing on your abs while you work out, don’t forget back exercises like the Superman or the side bridge if you’ve got a muffin top to lose.

11. Eat clean and whole

Salt, sugar, and fatty foods can all lead to bloat, while fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains do just the opposite. Pay attention to labels as you shop and train your taste buds to prefer fresh produce.

12. Practice portion control

Even if you’ve been working on your abs, no one will see your strong, defined midsection if you’ve got a few extra pounds covering it. Keeping portions under control can help you lose weight.

13. Don’t be afraid to add weights

Think weights won’t help you get a six-pack? Think again. Grabbing hand weights for your ab work will increase the difficulty and challenge your ab muscles further.

14. Work out your back

A strong back will make you look taller and slimmer, and especially helps such in that pooch area.

15. Eat lean protein

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Lean protein burns fat and helps keep you full so you don’t overeat. Whether you opt for fish, turkey, or tofu, make sure your diet includes enough lean protein to keep you satisfied and your belly flat.

16. Plank it up

Planks are an amazing ab-definining move to incorporate into any workout. The plank focuses on your entire core, helping you work the muscles that tighten your midsection while also strengthening your arms and legs.

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14 Simple Ways To Be Healthier Everyday

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It’s probably safe to say we all wish we lived healthier lives, full of many 6 a.m. yoga classes and absolutely zero 10 p.m. ice cream sundaes. Alas, life. Still, bettering oneself is a noble pursuit, and we’re committed to seeking out small improvements that have big impacts. That way, the road to healthy living doesn’t feel quite so insurmountable that we throw in the towel entirely. To inspire you to live healthier each day, we’ve rounded up 14 simple habits that make all the difference. Read on.

1. Get moving.

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Bike to work. Do a set of jumping jacks in the morning. Buy a jump rope and spend five minutes perfecting your double dutch. Put on a playlist of four or five songs, and dance like no one’s watching. Do leg flutters under your desk while you work at your computer (no one will even notice!). Set an alert for yourself for every hour or so and make a point to walk to the kitchen for a cup of tea or stroll to a co-worker’s desk to say hi.

2. Cool off.

Though a hot, steamy shower is the stuff of daydreams, it can actually be damaging to your skin and hair health. Because no one really wants to take an icy shower, try to find a happy medium and cool it down a touch, or at least turn the temperature down during the last two minutes of your shower. Even this burst of cold will do your body good, closing your pores and hair follicles (and waking you right up).

3. Stretch.

Throughout the day, pay attention to your body, and stretch when you’re feeling cramped, tired, or just generally in need of a pick-me-up. Try a couple of sun salutations first thing in the morning to get your blood flowing, and end your day with a slow, seated stretch of bending at your hips to touch your toes. Hang out in these positions for as long as feels necessary.

4. Look up.

The next time you’re walking down a street, put your phone away and allow your eyes to wander. Notice details. Challenge yourself to pay attention to things you might normally ignore. Pause before going inside, and look up at the sky, the clouds, or the moon.

5. Hydrate.

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Drink an extra glass of water every day. Better yet, drink a few extra glasses. To help in this, try drinking a glass of water before every meal. Oftentimes we mistake thirst for hunger, and drinking a tall glass of H2O will actually help you feel fuller, longer.

6. Commit to citrus.

Drink a cup of warm water with lemon juice in the morning. The benefits of sipping the antioxidant-rich beverage are numerous: It reduces inflammation, aids digestion, and boosts energy, to name just a few.

7. Be one with nature.

Whether that means taking a break from your office to stand outside in the sunshine, waking up a little earlier to take a walk around your neighborhood, or beelining it to the beach at morning’s first light, it’s all good. The health benefits of nature are well documented, with studies suggesting being outside can ease depression, improve focus, increase creativity, and even strengthen your immune system.

8.Take the stairs.

Whether it’s at work or home, there’s always that moment of pause where you can opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Challenge yourself to get walking. While you’re at it, inject a little bit of training into your flight climbing. As you take a step, plant your foot more firmly into the floor, allowing the entirety of your foot to meet the step, then burst out of your step and into the next.

9. Perfect your posture.

Sit up a little straighter and stand a little taller! Bad posture has all kinds of negative health impacts, including chronic muscle pain, reduced circulation, headaches, and even bad moods. Sitting up straight and assuming the body language of victory actually has a proven-positive impact on your health, both physical and mental.

10. Practice mindful eating.

Many of us are in the habit of eating at our desks, in front of the television, or absentmindedly while we do another task (or two or three). Try to slow down the act of eating. Focus on taste, consistency, and your enjoyment. When you can, eat your meals sitting down at a table, where all you are doing is eating and reflecting.

11. Meditate.

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The best times to take a stab at some meditation are first thing in the morning before you’ve caffeinated (but after you’ve gotten up and splashed some water on your face) and in the evening before dinnertime. Take some time to sit quietly and close your eyes. Find a comfortable spot to sit that has back support, and tuck yourself into a cozy blanket. Repeat a mantra, concentrate on positive thinking, focus on deep breathing, or just allow your mind to wander. The benefits of meditation are manifold, and even a “failed” attempt provides a much-needed break.

12. Wind down.

Turn off all your technology 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime. Even something as harmless as checking your phone just before going to sleep can disrupt your sleep pattern, as the bright screens excite optic nerves and make your eventual sleep less restful.

13. Give your eyes a break.

Eye health experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule in order to preserve eye health, cut down on eye strain, and reduce eye strain–related headaches. For every 20 minutes you spend on the computer, glance away from the screen for at least 20 seconds by looking at something 20 feet away.

14. Get enough sleep.

Not getting enough sleep is one of the most consistent indicators of poor health. Though everyone is different, adults generally require between seven and eight and a half hours of sleep per night. If you aren’t sure how much you require, pay attention to your energy levels and mood each day, and tweak accordingly.

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9 Breakfasts for a Flat Belly

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Shrink your waist without sacrificing taste with these fat-busting breakfasts to trim your tum.

1. Mushroom and Feta Frittata

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Make a frittata with 2 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 15g fresh spinach, 55g chopped mushrooms and 30g feta cheese. Top with 1 tsp fresh coriander and serve with 1 slice oat-bran bread and 60ml pomegranate juice.

Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh found that powerful polyphenols in pomegranate juice can suppress your appetite and even make other foods taste better. It’s not called a superfruit for nothing.

350 calories

2. Scrambled Eggsadilla

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Scramble 1 whole egg and 1 egg white with 2 tbsp chopped green pepper and 2 tbsp chopped red onion. Put egg mixture in a warm 18in whole-wheat tortilla and top with 30g grated cheddar cheese and 2 tbsp chunky salsa.

Good news! Peppers prevent new fat cells forming, thanks to a compound called piperine, which interferes with the body’s fat-building genes. Now that should pep you up.

330 calories

3. Porridge with Pecans and Berries

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Combine 1 packet Original Quaker Instant Oat So Simple with 180ml skimmed milk, 30g chopped pecans, 100g raspberries and 100g blueberries.

The soluble fibre in the porridge will keep you full well past the time you usually start thinking about lunch. And raspberries are a top source of belly-filling fibre – just 100g bags you a quarter of your RDA.

351 calories

4. Avocado and egg on toast with grapefruit

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Top 1 slice wholegrain toast with 1 fried or poached egg + ½ sliced avocado. Serve with ½ medium grapefruit.

Start the day with a citrus twist. A study found eating grapefruit before each meal helped adults lose up to 10lb in 12 weeks without making any other dietary changes.

380 calories

5. French toast with sugared strawberries

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Whisk 1 egg with 2 tbsp skimmed milk and dip 2 slices wholemeal bread. Fry in a non-stick pan, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp icing sugar and add 13 sliced strawberries.

New research shows eating strawberries increases your production of fat-burning hormone adiponectin. Berry tasty.

275 calories

6. Orange and pomegranate ricotta toast

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Spread 1 slice wholemeal toast with 60g low-fat ricotta + 2 tsp honey. Top with 1 navel orange, 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds and 3/4 tsp nutmeg.

Studies show pomegranate seeds help reduce body fat and increase metabolism. Sweet!

290 calories

7. Pancakes with almond butter and berries

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Top 2 whole-wheat pancakes with 1 tbsp of almost butter and 20g each of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Almond butter keeps blood sugar steady, a study in Nutrition and Metabolism found, so you’re less likely to nip to Greggs for a pre-lunch sugar hit.

310 calories

8. Pistachio rice pudding

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Cook 50g instant brown rice in 180ml skimmed milk. Mix in 15 pistachios, then top with 1 tsp brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon.

A Penn State University study found pistachios actually help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. That’s worth shelling out for.

220 calories

9. Eggs benedict and an apple

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Poach 2 poached eggs. Combine 3 tbsp 0% fat yoghurt with ¼ tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp lemon zest. Spread on 1 Kingsmill 50/50 muffin and top with eggs and 1 sprig fresh dill. Eat with 1 small apple.

Get belly-fighting protein in your diet with eggs. A recent study found people who ate two a day lost 65% more weight than those who had a carby bagel for brekkie. Crackin’.

440 calories

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One Trick To Efficiently Build A Lean Body

You’re wasting your time in the gym. Toned arms do not come from barbell curls or triceps pushdowns. Great legs don’t come from leg extensions and leg curls. The key and the only tip you need to efficiently building quality muscle is to ditch the isolation exercises and start replacing them with compound exercises.

Why Are Compound Exercises The Best For Building Lean Muscle?

Compound exercises work many muscle groups at one time. Isolation exercises, on the other hand, work a single muscle. Because of this, you can get a greater amount of work done in a shorter amount of time using compound exercises.

In addition, since compound exercises work several muscle groups at once, they help you improve your insulin sensitivity to a greater degree. By depleting glycogen stores in several muscles, you enable your body to keep insulin levels under control the rest of the day so that fatty acid mobilization can occur.

Compound exercises also cause a positive hormonal response that is beneficial for building muscle and burning fat. Hormones like testosterone and growth hormone are boosted in response to a set of intense squats.

Doing a set of squats will activate every muscle from head to toe. It forces you to have a high-intensity workout, which is key for both muscle building and fat loss.

Big arms are not made by doing curls, they are made through heaving rowing and pressing movements. A 300-400 pound bench press is going to do more for your arms than any triceps kickbacks or pushdown will do.

The same goes for your legs. You can sit on the leg extension machine trying to build great quads, and you might get a great pump and burn from it, but nothing is going to build great legs like squats will.

Are All Isolation Exercises Worthless?

No. Isolation exercises have their place, as you will soon see. However, they should not be the core of your workout. You will build all the muscle you need, and in a faster amount of time, if you would just stick to the core compound exercises.

When are isolation exercises effective? Two of the best times to use them are when you’re trying to work around an injury, or when you are trying to isolate a lagging body part (muscle imbalance).

Using isolation exercises when you’re injured allows you to continue exercising without aggravating your injury. For example, if you have an injured back, doing bent over rows is going to be detrimental to your recovery efforts. However, barbell curls will still allow you to train your arms.

The same goes for when you want to bring up a lagging body part. Isolation exercises let you hone in on one particular muscle without stimulating others.

Best Compound Exercises

The list of compound exercises is long, but there are a dozen or so core movements that you can incorporate that will make a big impact. These core movements also have several variations to them.

You can change the resistance curve by adding bands or chains, changing hand positioning to target slightly different muscles, changing angles, or by swapping out barbells for dumbbells. You can also do their bodyweight versions.

Here’s a list of compound exercises you should consider adding into your workout program:

  • Bench Press
  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Pullups
  • Good Mornings
  • Overhead Press
  • Barbell Rows
  • Front Squats
  • Incline Press
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts

Whether you’re a male or female, compound exercise principles apply. There is no best exercise for a girl or best exercise for a guy. Muscle is muscle, and it grows the same regardless of gender. Men might have an easier time putting on muscle because of their hormonal profile, but that just makes it even more important that women take advantage of compound exercises.

As you put together your exercise program, make sure compound exercises form the core of your program. Isolation exercises are fun and add variety to your workouts, but only compound exercises can provide you with the resistance and intensity necessary to efficiently build muscle.

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6 Reasons You’re Always Feeling Hungry

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You’re an hour into the working day and already on the hunt for a second breakfast – why are you so hungry?

If you’re confused by unexpected tummy rumbles, take a closer look at your eating habits. Chances are, your diet will reveal a lot about those troublesome hunger pangs and why you’re always shopping for emergency snacks.

Always hungry? Here’s why.

1. You Drink Too Much

There’s science behind your pizza cravings after a pint or two. Alcohol increases levels of ghrelin in the body: the “hunger hormone” that regulates appetite and distributes energy. Drink a glass of wine before dinner, and you’re more likely to be reaching for seconds. What’s more, alcohol can also significantly decrease levels of leptin in the blood – the “satiety hormone” that works to inhibit hunger.

Boozy sessions are just asking for unrelenting hunger. If you’re sick of submitting to late night trips to the takeaway, try scrapping alcohol from your diet completely.

2. You Need Good Bacteria

Whilst eating habits play a huge role in determining your hunger levels, certain aspects are left in the hands of Mother Nature. Emotional eating is something we all battle with – only a bar of chocolate can save the day! And another perhaps lesser-known trigger for hunger pangs is the bacteria in our gut.

Research highlighted in the Journal of Bacteriology found that the trillions of microbes in our stomach/intestines respond to the food we eat and, in turn, influence how hungry we are and at what times. If you’re hungrier than your friends, it could be because your gut isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

An imbalance of bacteria not only has the potential to produce toxins; they can also effect your eating decisions, manipulate your mood and stimulate hunger pangs. Ward off nasty microbes and feed your gut with the lots of tummy loving fibre – artichokes, beans, bananas and whole grains.

3. You Need More Protein

Hunger isn’t just a call for food. It’s a complex interaction between the brain, bloodstream, stomach and intestines. For this reason, it’s integral that you don’t just eat to satisfy random cravings – crisps, pasta, fast food. Feed your body with the nutrients it needs to stay fuller for longer, starting with protein.

Protein-dense foodstuffs such as lean meats, fish, eggs and soybeans are proven to promote fullness. In a study made by Purdue University, they found that even a “3-4 ounce portion of lean protein was enough to influence appetite,” reports WebMD, and that those whose diets didn’t meet the daily protein recommendations found they had an increased desire to eat.

Make simple food swaps to feel less hungry. At breakfast for instance, try switching from cereal to scrambled eggs to up your protein intake.

4. You’re Loading Up On Refined Carbs

You eat and eat and eat, but nothing seems to stop your stomach from rumbling.  Top tip: write down what you’re eating. If your diet is packed with ‘bad’ simple carbs that are broken down too quickly by the body, you won’t feel satisfied.

Refined carbohydrates tend to be processed, preservative-filled and topped with tons of sugar – all of which wreaks havoc on your hunger hormones.

Take fast food for instance. Whilst its sweet/salty goodness tastes great in the moment: the trans fat content can inflame the gut, and impair appetite-controlling hormones as a result. And to make matters worse, the high-carb intake is likely to spike insulin levels too, leaving you hungry for evenmore food.

Again, as tempting as it is, replace your takeaway trips with nutrient-rich, wholesome homemade dinners.

5. You’re Always Stressed

In many stressful situations, you probably don’t feel like eating. However, when stress becomes commonplace and you’re constantly feeling tired and irritable; you’ll probably start to eat more. Increased cortisol levels are a symptom of chronic stress, which can leave you super hungry and craving all kinds of sugary foods.

Rather than applying yourself to an unrealistic diet, look to eliminating the stress from your life. Stress can lead to all kinds of health complications; high blood pressure, heart problems, depression. A healthier you is a less snack-happy you.

6. You’re Taking Certain Medication

One of the hidden side effects to many medication types is weight gain. This could be for a range of reasons, and in some cases can even be considered a positive – perhaps you had a lack of appetite beforehand and the medication has given you a healthy hungriness again.

Even something as seemingly harmless as antihistamines can make your tummy rumble. Histamine is a chemical compound released by the body as an inflammatory response (to allergies for example) and suppresses your appetite. Thus, taking medication to prevent constant sneezing could also increase your hunger levels.

If you’re clueless as to why you’re constantly snacking, speak to a doctor and see if changing your prescription could make a difference.
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30 Day Plank Challenge

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WEEK 1:

DAY 1: 20 seconds

DAY 2: 25 seconds

DAY 3: 30 seconds

DAY 4: 30 seconds

DAY 5: REST

DAY 6: 40 seconds

DAY 7: 45 seconds

WEEK 2:

DAY 8: 45 seconds

DAY 9: 50 seconds

Day 10: REST

Day 11: 60 seconds

Day 12: 60 seconds

Day 13 70 seconds

Day 14: 70 seconds

WEEK 3:

Day 15: REST

Day 16: 90 seconds

Day 17: 120 seconds

Day 18: 90 seconds

Day 19: 120 seconds

Day 20: REST

Day 21: 150 seconds

WEEK 4:

Day 22: 150 seconds

Day 23: 180 seconds

Day 24: 180 seconds

Day 25: REST

Day 26: 210 seconds

Day 27: 210 seconds

Day 28: 240 seconds

THE LAST HURDLE:

Day 29: 270 seconds

Day 30: 300 seconds

BE PROUD! YOU DID IT!

11 Tips To Ease Back Into Exercise

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If you’re recovering from surgery or an illness, exercising can be tough. Maybe your doctor has told you it’s time to start exercising again to aid in your rehabilitation, but even though you know it’s important, you sometimes feel worse when you try to move. This can lead to feelings of discouragement and the desire to just give up.

But exercise is a great help in recovering from illness and surgery … just make sure it’s the right kind and the right amount. Here are 11 key things to remember about exercising when it hurts.

  1. Start slowly.

If you exercise too much, too hard or too fast, you’ll feel worse and it may be harder to make yourself exercise the next time. If your body is in pain, inflamed, fatigued or weak, it will respond best to a gentle, slow approach.

  1. Believe in your ability to get better.

Wherever you are in terms of fitness level, you can increase balance, strength, muscle tone, endurance and range of motion if you work with your body rather than against it.

  1. Treat your body like a good friend.

Exercise in a kind, enjoyable way. No bullying or forcing yourself!

  1. Little bits count!

Start exercising in short segments, maybe even three to five minutes, and very gradually add time. When I was first recovering from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, I had to rest after walking up a flight of steps. Exercising for me at that time was walking slowly around my yard. Today, I climb mountains, hike, dance, lift weights and lead a vibrantly active life.

  1. Trust what you notice.

You’re the one who lives in your body. You’re the only one who can notice what’s going on inside your body. When you notice how you feel and trust what you notice, you become your own best teacher. Which activities and types of exercise make you feel better and which make you feel worse? What are the voices inside your head saying about exercising? Which voices are helpful and which ones are not?

Let your awareness and your trust of yourself guide you toward your best exercise.

  1. Breathe!

Move with your breath flowing freely in and out. No need to push your breath — just soften around it and let it flow all through your body.
Breathe through your nostrils, not your mouth, whenever possible. This calms your mind and prevents strain on the body.

Let your breath remind you when you’re doing too much. When you begin gasping and feel out of breath, slow down a bit so that you can work within your breathing capacity. As you gain stamina and lung capacity you will be able to exercise more and more vigorously while breathing easily and without strain. Enjoy, on each exhale, a letting-go-breath. Release tension, strain and discomfort as you breathe out.

  1. Warm your muscles.

Warm muscles exercise more happily than cold muscles. Exercise in a comfortably warm room. Wear layers so you can adjust your body temperature. Use a heating pad on sore muscles before or while stretching them. Stretch gently in a warm bath or shower.

  1. Work within your range of motion.

Gradually this will extend and you will do more with ease. If you force muscles beyond their range of motion, they’ll contract in self-protection.

  1. Practice relaxation-in-action.

Notice muscles that are unnecessarily tight and let them relax. How easy can you let each action be? Cats are fabulous movement teachers. Watch a cat move and imagine your own body, sleek relaxed, supple and powerful, moving with no extra tension exerted.

  1. Be cautious with repetitive movements.

… especially when there’s weight or pressure on your joints. Strength training is valuable, but to avoid the inflammation from repetitive movements, start with small weights, few repetitions and work up gradually. Free weights and stretchy exercise bands are often safer to use than weight machines when you are dealing with pain.

  1. Have fun!

Find a way of moving that is fun to you. Use the buddy system and regularly walk with friends, meet friends at the pool, sign up for a class with a friend or make new friends in a class. How can you let exercising be more fun for you?

Remember: Your body is made to move! So get moving, but do it gently and kindly. You will feel better with intelligent exercise.

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9 Really Simple Ways To Be Healthy And Happy

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Perhaps you spent most of winter feeling stressed, being cooped inside, eating comfort food and rarely making it to the gym. You may have suffered a cold and gained a few pounds, and now you want to get your body back to being happy and healthy.

The good news is that warm weather is here and it’s a great time to get back out in nature and get nurtured. Here are nine easy ways to get started:

  1. Get outside.

Spending a lot of time indoors often means spending a lot of time on your phone or computer. We now know that excessive screen time is detrimental to our health but spending more time in nature is good for us. Twenty minutes in nature — gardening, walking, or resting while lying on the ground — is all it takes to access the benefits.

You can spend time by the ocean, walk in a forest or picnic in a park. Many trees and plants are loaded with phytoncides — chemicals that stimulate or relax your brain and may even benefit your immune system as they lower your stress response.

  1. Do some green exercise.

When you’re outside, you are more likely to exercise. And what’s better is that you’re more likely to enjoy your workout when you’re surrounded by greenery. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it. Walk along the beach, take a bike ride, or play a game of Frisbee.

  1. Enjoy some sunshine (with safe sunscreen).

While you’re out in nature, you’ll also benefit from getting one of the sun’s healing remedies — Vitamin D. Do this safely and cover up so you don’t expose your skin to harmful ultraviolet rays for more than 15 minutes. Make sure to wear sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen that doesn’t have added chemicals in it.

  1. Eat wild.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get yourself to the farmer’s market. Enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Get filled up with antioxidants from berries or dark leafy greens. Try to live by the rule that if it’s not fresh, don’t eat it, and if it grows in nature, especially in the wild, do.

  1. Sleep luxuriously.

Sleep is essential for your physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. A lack of sleep takes a large toll on your health. While you sleep, your stress system is turned down, your cortisol levels drop, your immune system gets stronger, your brain consolidates everything you have learned, and your body naturally releases hormones, most notably the important growth hormone as well as testosterone.

Not only will getting more sleep help prevent you from getting sick, but it will also improve your ability to get more fit andhave a better libido. Practice good sleep hygiene, remove stimuli from your bedroom, try not to eat too much or drink alcohol about three hours before sleep, luxuriate in your bed and get those zzz’s.

  1. Hydrate.

Being out in the sun and exercising more means sweating and dehydrating. Remember, your body is predominantly water, so it needs to be replenished. Try and shoot for half your body weight in ounces a day, and more if you are sweating a lot.

  1. Have fun with your friends.

Plan a barbeque, play dates or picnic outings with people you enjoy being around. When people feel a sense of belonging they not only feel better but also are healthier. Get that love hormone, oxytocin, working and spend time with people who help you feel good.

  1. Get dirty.

Garden, go for a hike, or simply follow your favorite child around and do what he does. Not only is spending time in nature good for you, but allowing yourself to relax and play like a child will do wonders to lower your stress levels and put a smile on your face. Pretend you’re going on an adventure in your backyard — or gather up your things and travel on a real adventure.

  1. Unwind.
    Slow down. Practice the art of mindfulness, simply being present, appreciating of the beauty around you. Immerse all your senses in the present moment, enjoying the gentle breeze against your skin, the aroma of the flowers in bloom, and the beauty of the blue sky or shapes of the clouds as they pass by.

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8 Mental Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout

You know that little voice in your head that whispers annoying things like “you can’t do it” and “just give up” when you’re uncertain about accomplishing a goal?

When the goal is finishing a 5K or holding a plank for 60 seconds, that voice turns into a screaming champion of doubt, urging you to cut your workout short right before the finish line.

To squash the non-believer in you, we asked fitness experts to give up their most motivating techniques. Here, the Jedi mind tricks that will help you finish your workout strong — and make healthier choices for the rest of the day.

1. It’s Not About Burning Calories

Sometimes, those fitness inspiration images of ridiculously ripped women have the opposite of their intended effect: they make you feel bad enough about yourself to consider spending half your salary on a personal trainer. But before you write that check, consider this: Science says that those who use health as their no. 1 fitness motivation reap more benefits than those who focus on physical appearance. That’s right, focusing on health benefits like better mood and memory will help you get back into your skinny jeans more than pictures of bikini bridges and thigh gaps will.

2. Repeat After Me: Exercise Is Fun

When the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., your beckoning spin class feels like anything but a good time. But one study suggests that seeing your workout as fun instead of a chore can have a major impact on your waistline. In the study, those who saw their workout as time to get away, enjoy nature or listen to music ate 200 fewer calories later in the day than those who viewed it as exercise. The exercise group also reported feeling grumpier and more fatigued, even though the mileage and calories burned were practically identical.

To avoid ruining your workout with high-calorie snacks, frame your physical activity as fun — and do something you really love. Create an awesome playlist that makes you forget to check your progress, or sign up for a fun run — it’s hard to think of a 5K as work when you’re wearing a tutu or are covered in colored powder.

3. Reward Yourself

From end-of-year bonuses to loyalty programs, we’re an incentive-based society. So why not use one at the gym?

Try this: If you finish your workout without stopping, they can put $10 in a cup. When the cup reaches $100, buy an amazing new workout outfit to rock. Think of it as making deposits into your fitness bank.

4. Make It a Competition

If you’ve got a competitive streak, you know the power of adding some friendly rivalry to goad you on.

Creating a competitive environment when athletes are struggling at the end of practice helps them to push through pain and fatigue, so why shouldn’t it work for you?

Research shows that working out with a super-fit buddy motivates women to work out harder and longer than those who exercise alone. The best part? The women increased their workout without even realizing it.

5. Visualize

It sounds cliché, but world-class athletes (and the people who train them) swear by visualization. As hocus-pocus as it seems, envisioning yourself crushing a ball into the stands or blasting by the competition as you sprint to the finish line can actually help you achieve that goal.

6. Break Up Your Goal

Sixty seconds usually goes by pretty quickly, unless, that is, you’re dripping sweat and struggling to complete that last Chaturanga.

You can do anything for one minute … and that minute turns into many more. Setting mini-goals within your workout breaks it up into less intimidating pieces. It’s not a two-mile jog, it’s just four little half-miles.

7. Crank Up the Beats

As long as the beat goes on, so will you — so say several pieces of research on the powerful effect music has on workout motivation.

Listening to a beat that matches the pace of your activity actually makes your workout feel easier, and can drown out that little voice that is telling you to stop. In some cases, music made people work out 15 percent longer and decreased use of oxygen by 7 percent (meaning they weren’t gasping for every last breath).

8. Come Up With a Mantra

It might sound hippy-dippy, but repeating a meaningful phrase or mantra can help you power through a difficult workout. Though yogis chant the traditional “Om,” you can use any word that summons strength. One of my favorite is, “Stay strong all day long” when I start to lose motivation. It reminds me that finishing the workout will make me feel stronger for the rest of the day.

According to sports psychologists, mantras should be action-based, short, instructive and positive. Choose a mantra that describes what you want to feel, rather than one that acknowledges pain. “Define yourself” was the mantra chosen by Deena Kastor in 2005 when she became the first American to win a major marathon since 1994. Sarah Reinertsen chose “You’re tougher than the rest” to qualify for a spot at the Ironman World Championship, where she became the first female leg amputee to finish the race.

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