5 Best Exercises To Torch Your Flabby Belly

We know that there’s no great magic to achieving the perfect 6 pack, but rather it’s about a lot of hard work and clean eating. We also know that no matter how badly we’d like to believe otherwise, there’s no such thing as spot training.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t be working out your abdominal muscles on a regular basis. They make up a very significant part of your core and if they aren’t engaging then you are doing yourself a big disservice.

Although a classic, you’ve probably heard by now that crunches aren’t the most effective abdominal workout. The reason for this is because they work only the front and sides of your body. To get a better, more “total” and functional workout you should be focusing on working out the entire core. That being said, including some crunches in your workout is not a bad thing in a pinch, but there are so many better exercises out there.

A key tip to remember is that if any of these exercises are hurting your lower back then stop and reassess. You may be doing something wrong or your back and abdominal muscles simply aren’t quite strong enough. Never feel bad about doing modifications as they are essential to keeping you safe and injury free. Here are the 5 exercises that you’ll ever need to toughen that core of yours.

1. Plank with side crunch (spiderman).

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The plank is an amazing exercise. It works all of your core muscles at once and has numerous variations. Really, there’s something for everyone. This exercise starts in a classic plank position. Make sure your abdominals are engaged and your shoulders are down. Take a breath and on the exhale, pull one knee up toward your armpit. Repeat with the other leg. Do this 10x on each side. If you feel some discomfort in your lower back, make sure you are engaging your abdominals and simply lift your glutes toward the ceiling by a few inches. This should relieve any pain. Watch that you aren’t letting your head drop toward the floor and keep your ears between your shoulders. This workout can be done either with straight arms or propped up on your forearms.

2. Side plank.

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Very similar to a classic plank but your body is rotated to one side. For many simply holding this position for 30+ seconds will be enough. Work your way up to 1 minute.

Increase Intensity: To increase the difficulty try lifting one leg in the air. This will also work those hip muscles as well. This workout can be done either with straight arms or propped up on your forearms. You can also add a rotation. In one movement, lift your hip toward the ceiling and sweep your arm beneath your body, then return to your start position. Repeat 15x each side.

3. Single leg stretch.

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Lying on your back start with your head and shoulders curled up off the floor and your legs bent and 90 degrees off the floor. Inhale, then as you exhale straighten your right leg. Your right arm will touch your left knee and your left arm will reach toward your left ankle. Inhale and repeat on the other side. Don’t stress too much if the arm sequence is confusing. A good variation to this exercise is to have both hands lifted toward the ceiling.

Increase Intensity: Do this while holding a ball. If you find this hurting your neck, just place your upper body on the floor. The workout will be just as good, you are simply working slightly different abdominal muscles. Repeat with each leg 10x.
4. Bicycle.

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Start lying on your back, hands behind your head, legs bent and lifted off the floor at 90 degrees. Inhale and as you exhale, curl your torso off the floor rotating your upper body to the left while straightening your right leg. Keep your upper body off the floor and alternate sides. Another option is holding a ball between your legs, straightening them as you rotate your torso from side to side.

Increase Intensity: Add the instability of a BOSU ball and you’ll feel a burn like no other. If you start feeling pain in your lower back, simply lift your legs higher, keep them bent until you get stronger or place them on a ball or chair. What to remember: keep your shoulders down and elbows wide and never pull on your head/neck. Your hands are there for support only.

5. Teaser.

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This is an absolute favourite ab workout for many women, and when done properly is a killer. Start by lying flat on your back with your arms straight and by your ears but not touching the floor. Inhale. As you exhale, start curling your upper body and legs simultaneously off the floor until you are in a V position. Take a breath and then slowly roll back down to your start position.

Tips: Keep your toes pointed and inner thighs glued together, this will help your balance as well as work additional leg muscles. At the top of your V, ensure that you are not arching your back, instead try keeping it slightly rounded.

Increase Intensity: If you are a beginner, start the exercise with your feet already in the air and bent if necessary, or place them on a ball. If you find this easy then try doing the exercise with a ball between your legs. When you reach the top of your V, try lowering and lifting your legs a few inches 10x. Or hold a ball in your hands as you add a rotation at the top of the V.

 

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4 Amazing Fruits For Weight Loss

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Weight loss boils down to choice. Specifically, every time you choose to eat something, you’re either taking a step toward your goals… or away from them. And if you’re like most people, you want to get in shape as fast as possible.

As such, this article will help you speed things up a bit. In fact, if you incorporate the following 4 fruits into your daily diet, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your weight and waistline.

And before we get to the meat of the matter, let me make this small disclaimer. The title of this post is somewhat misleading. You see, there are no fruits (or foods in general) that actually burn fat. At least not directly.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard about celery and that you use more calories to chew and digest it than it actually contains. But those are silly myths.

With that said, there are foods that speed up the weight loss process. They just do it indirectly. So, you’re not actually getting lighter every time you eat them. But, by boosting your metabolism, they’re helping you shed the pounds that much faster. And with that out of the way, let’s get to the fruits…

Fat burning fruit #1: apples.
Their high pectin content binds water and prevents fat absorption by your body’s cells. As you can imagine, the less fat you store, the lighter you’ll get – simple as that.

Now, in addition to pectin, apples are very high in fiber. This keeps you full so you take in less calories throughout the day. In fact, studies have shown that eating an apple 30 minutes before a meal is a great way to control portions. The bottom line? An apple a day keeps more than the doctor away. It also keeps the pounds at bay.

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Fat burning fruit #2: grapefruit.
Grapefruits (much like oranges, lemons, and limes) are citrus fruits. These are high in vitamin C. And the latter plays a key fat-burning role by helping your body break it down. As such, it makes it easier to get rid of it.

What’s more is that vitamin C lowers insulin levels. The lower your levels of insulin, the less likely you are to store fat in the first place. So as you can see, this fruit provides you with a double weight loss “whammy” and you should eat it often.

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Fat burning fruit #3: blueberries.
What makes blueberries (and berries in general) so special in terms of weight loss? Simple, they’re packed with fiber, which again, keeps you full. Furthermore, they’re chock-full of antioxidants and improve insulin sensitivity. Grab a handful and enjoy every bite because these little guys will keep you fit and healthy into old age.

Fat burning fruit #4: tomatoes.
Now, this one might come as a bit of surprise. Most people think that tomatoes are vegetables. But they are in fact fruits. And if you didn’t know that – now you do! Either way – fruit or vegetable – one thing’s for sure: it’s a great ally to have on your side in the battle of the bulge.

Here’s why…

Tomatoes are very high in biotin – a B-vitamin that plays a key role in energy production. In short, without this essential vitamin, your energy levels suffer. And the less energy you have, the less you’ll move, and the less fat you’ll burn.

In addition to biotin, they’re also high in chromium – a well-known stabilizer of blood sugar. And as you probably know, stable blood sugar means fewer insulin spikes, and hence, less fat storage.

Now, before we wrap things up, let me leave you with one last disclaimer. The fruits just listed are indeed great for burning fat. But only if you eat them in their natural form… and in moderation.

Why?

Because fruits are high in sugar. Therefore, do not juice them. This is very important. I know juicing is all the rage lately, but don’t fall for the fad. You see, when you drink a glass of juice, you’re ingesting several fruits at once. That, and you’re missing out on a lot of the fiber. It’s a bad combination that, not only will prevent fat loss, but will make you gain weight to bout.

In conclusion, eat these fruits, eat them often, but don’t’ drink them. And by doing so, you’ll be taking several steps to getting that fit, healthy body you can truly be proud of.

 

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20 Really Bad Diet Advice You Need To Ditch

 

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You know you can’t believe everything you read. And still, you haven’t eaten an egg yolk since the nineties, and you can’t touch a French fry without being saddled with guilt. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the whole don’t-eat-after-8-p.m.-or-else mentality.

Let’s set the record straight once and for all by calling out these 20 worst diet tips—and offering up smart food rules to follow instead.

1. Fat Makes You Fat
It all depends on the type of fats you’re eating. Fats in chips, cookies, and greasy foods can increase cholesterol and your risk for certain diseases. But good fats, like those found in nuts, avocados, and salmon, protect your heart and support your overall health. And when paired with a healthy diet, the right fats can help keep you from being, well, fat.

2. Stop Snacking to Lose Weight
Eating in small, frequent amounts is a great way to curb hunger, control portion sizes, and make better nutritional choices. Smarter snacks like nuts, fruits, and yogurt will keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

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3. Count Every Single Calorie the Same
Not all calories are the same. The type of calories, the timing of the calories, and the quality of the calories can significantly alter the effect of the calories on the body. Food creates reactions within our bodies and the type of food you eat is an important component in diets.

For example, 50 calories of an apple will cause a different internal reaction than 50 calories of cheesecake. The quality of the calories is also important because the chemicals, hormones, and general byproducts that are found within processed food effects the absorption of real nutrients. Quality calories are nutrient dense, like spinach. Calories that don’t contain any nutrients—also known as “empty” calories—are like the ones found in French fries.

Bottom line: Calories are important for understanding portion control, but they’re not the only factor in good nutrition.

4. Cut Out Carbs
The research on carbohydrate intake is often misinterpreted. Yes, it is true that excessive intakes of refined carbohydrates, like white bread or white rice, may lead to weight gain or increased cardiovascular risk. But there is no research suggesting that healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, or legumes, can negatively impact health or weight. On the contrary, many studies suggest a diet high in these plant-based foods is associated with better overall health.

Case in point: A 2002 American College of Nutrition study that found replacing refined grains with whole-grain and minimally-processed grain products—along with increasing the intake of fruits and veggies—can help lower dietary glycemic load and insulin demand. This, in turn, can ultimately reduce the risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So, keep the carbs! And aim for those that come from 100 percent whole grains or fruits.

5. Load Up on Protein
Sorry, caveman lovers: eating lots of protein is not the key to healthy weight loss. Why? The body needs three macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. And focusing exclusively on protein for weight loss makes no sense. “ou not only deprive your body of fiber and other antioxidants found in healthy carbohydrates—whole grains, fruits, and veggies—but you also run the risk of eating too much fat in your diet which can lead to high cholesterol and triglycerides.

6. Eat Less Gluten
There’s no scientific evidence that gluten is a particularly fattening ingredient. The problem is that we eat too many refined grains—foods made of white flour or other refined grains.

And cutting gluten without checking with your doctor first can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients, such as fiber, iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium.

In the meantime, focus on getting healthy whole grains in moderate portions.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

7 .Exercise On an Empty Stomach
Working out with or without food in your stomach doesn’t affect calorie burn—but skipping meals before sweat sessions may result in muscle loss. And before you settle for a sports drink, know this: While a quick sip of sugar energizes your muscles, the drink’s other artificial additives can be harmful to your health.

Instead, go for naturally sweet fruit, like bananas, peaches, and mangos before your sweat session. Or try an ounce of dark chocolate for the same caffeine fix you get from a half cup of coffee. Chocolate also contains feel-good substances, called neurotransmitters, which are the same release during a ‘runner’s high.

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8. Eat Every Two Hours
Going four or five (or even eight!) hours between normally-sized meals will not make your metabolism slow down. Eating more frequently may help stave off hunger, which can help you fight temptation. But if you want to do this, you have to be careful to keep your meals and snacks really small. Otherwise, eating every two hours can simply lead to taking in too many calories over the course of the day.

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9 .Treat Yourself on the Weekends
Throwing caution to the wind on the weekends can offset the consistency and success you had all week. On the weekends, we tend to sleep in, maybe missing our workout, typically drink more alcohol, and have heavier meals. So if you lose about one pound between Monday and Friday, you just might gain it back—or at least maintain it, really taking away the efforts towards weight loss.

Which means if you’re trying to lose weight, the weekends shouldn’t be a free-for-all. You still need a plan. Some suggestions: passing on the breadbasket and limiting yourself to one cocktail. (Of course, if it’s one of our ridiculously healthy cocktail recipes, we won’t tell if you have two.)

10. Swear Off Foods
We tend to be in ‘all or nothing’ mode when we diet and never seem to find a middle ground. You have to realize that you can’t have pizza, French fries, and chocolate cake all in the same day. But with careful planning, you can enjoy these foods when they are presented to you. Just don’t go for seconds, and share if you can. In fact, research shows that moderately indulging in “forbidden foods” is what keeps people from bingeing on the stuff.

11. Skip Breakfast
This backfires, says Carroll. “People end up overeating at lunch and dinner, often in excess of what they ‘saved’ at breakfast,” she says. “In fact, research on individuals who have successfully lost weight shows that they regularly eat a healthy breakfast.” Better if it’s high in protein, according to this study published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition.

12. Detox Often
Your digestive system, kidneys, and liver are all actually fairly amazing at ‘detoxing’ your body on a regular basis. There’s no need for special cleanses or juices.

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13. Only Eat Raw Food
Many studies show that cooking method—heating, grilling, and microwaving, etc.—makes a nutritional difference. So while some food may be best eaten raw, that’s not the case for all foods.

Oh, and if the whole myth about “negative calories” (you know, the dubious idea that just the act of eating certain foods burns more calories then you actually take in from those foods) draws you to raw foods, think again. Some foods do require more energy to digest than others, but to live on these so called ‘negative calorie foods’ results in unsustainable weight loss and can also slow your metabolism down, as well as break down muscle.

5 Veggies That KILL Stomach Fat?

14. Chew Mint Gum to Cut Cravings
Not to burst your bubble, but the lingering taste of mint can actually reduce the palatability of healthy food, finds researchers from the University of Buffalo. That means that when you spit the gum out and go for a snack, that candy bar’s likely to look—and taste—a lot more appealing than a carrot.

15. Drink Skim Milk
The reality is that dairy contains fat, and interestingly, some recent studies from Harvard have found positive attributes of high-quality saturated dairy fat. My two cents on 2 percent? Keep it. Removing all the fat changes the hormonal effects dairy has on the body and can make you struggle to feel full.

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16. Don’t Eat Meat
Yes, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine suggests that vegetarians may live longer, but the idea you should cut out red meat is a little misguided. Beef is a healthy and convenient protein that contains iron. The problem is when you eat it with bacon, cheese, and onion rings.

A better bet: lean, grass-fed meat. It’s pricier than regular beef, but the health perks—vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids—make it worth the splurge. And try to limit yourself to small portions twice a week. You want to leave room for other animal and vegetarian protein sources, such as chicken, fish, beans, lentils, chia seeds, and avocados.

17. Artificial Sweetener Is A Great Substitute For Sugar
This one’s gonna hurt, diet soda drinkers: Research indicates a possible link between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain. A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 36% greater relative risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 67% greater relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with non-consumption.

The presence of constant artificial sweeteners in the diet means you’re never really letting your taste buds get a break from the sweet taste you love. The more you drink diet soda, the longer you’ll remain trapped in the sugar cycle and continue to crave.

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18. Too Much Sugary Fruits Make You Fat
The sugar in fruit is not what makes you fat, since it’s unprocessed sugar found in its most natural state. Also, cutting fruit out of your diet is a poor choice because of all the fiber that you would be missing. Fiber keeps you full and the nutrients in the fruit nourish your body, which far outweighs the concern of natural sugar that you are consuming when eating, say, an apple.

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19. Eat The Same Thing Everyday
Steve Jobs may have done it but this is boring. And being bored will lead to one donut, then two…and you know how it goes. Not to mention you miss out on nutrients if you’re eating the same old foods. Your lineup of foods gives you a broad range of vitamins, minerals, and healthy phytochemicals. Otherwise, you could choose a dozen healthy foods, but every single one might be low in, for example, vitamin C, or zinc, or both!

20. Leave Out The Egg Yolk
Let’s crack this case for good: A study from the University of Connecticut found that eating dietary cholesterol through egg yolks can actually boost a person’s HDL, or “good,” cholesterol. “Compared to egg whites, which offer nothing more than protein, the egg yolk contains 100% of the carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, E, D, and K. They also contain choline, which boosts brain and liver health, as well as reduces inflammation.

In a way, eggs are the perfect food. Enjoying them in moderation—less than 4 to 6 per week—is a perfectly healthy option.

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18 Ways To Lose Weight Without Exercising

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Meticulous meal planning. Counting every calorie you consume. Spending an entire weekend cooking healthy meals for the following week. Finding even more time to exercise. Sure, these weight-loss strategies work, but they can be awfully time consuming and can drain a person to a point where they give up on their weight loss plan entirely.

Enter some good news – there are ways to lose weight without having to give it your all – by adding simple activity back into your daily life and by following some simple healthy living and eating rules.

But keep in mind that you have to make your goals realistic. Yes, we all want Jennifer Aniston’s body tomorrow but that’s clearly not possible. So instead of resorting to a crash-and-burn diet—which you know is going to fail before you even start it, incorporate the below healthy tweaks to your routine one at a time and you’ll see the pounds peel off without you going crazy in the process. Good Luck.

Tweak Your Living And Eating Ways
1. Eat more protein.
Protein requires 25 percent more energy to digest than carbs, so it’s possible to cut your calorie intake without eating less food. Your body has to work harder to digest a salmon filet than it does a bowl of pasta, meaning you can get away with a few extra bites of that perfectly cooked fish while the noodles could do a number on your waistline. Eating protein also causes your body to release a hormone called leptin, which makes you feel fuller so you eat less later.

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2. Stay hydrated—with salt water.
When it comes to H20, salt is not the enemy. Water needs electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride to be best absorbed, which explains why they’re added to popular sports drinks. Add a pinch of Celtic sea salt or real salt (unrefined and unbleached) to your water before chugging. The electrolytes in the salt will push water into the cells where they need to be, rather than letting the water get flushed out, causing you to go to the bathroom every other minute. You’ll notice a spike in energy after staying hydrated, too, and you’ll be less likely to give in to cravings which are even harder to avoid when you’re running on empty.

3. Eat regular meals. Don’t skip any.
Your mom taught it to you when you were little, and now you’re teaching it to your kiddos, but are you doing it yourself? You better be. Otherwise, you’ll end up snacking on the wrong food or eating too much at the next meal. But just to be sure, have some healthy snacks around to keep your belly happy in between meals.

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4. Get more sleep.
If you’re tired and up late, you’re more prone to late-night snacking, which often causes weight gain. Lack of sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones—ghrelin and leptin—making it more difficult to lose weight. Put those chips back on the shelf, girl. It’s midnight.

5. Write down what you eat.
Keeping a food journal forces you to look at the foods you’re eating on a daily basis. You’ll be much more honest with yourself about what and how much you’re actually eating. And science backs it up: A recent survey found that users who logged their daily eats lost more weight than those who didn’t. Think about it: You’ll actually want to eat healthier because writing, “12 cookies” and “18 chocolate squares” in the same journal entry is just not ideal, while writing “oven-roasted salmon with broccoli and wild rice, plus two squares of dark chocolate for dessert” sounds way more satisfying—and something to be proud of.

Science PROVES it is possible to get skinny in JUST 6 Minutes a day

6. Stop stepping on the weighing scale every morning.
Research shows it can backfire when weight loss is your goal. If you get too wrapped up in the number of pounds you still have to shed, you can get discouraged and be tempted to give up altogether. Just focus on having healthier behaviors—and use your clothes or weekly selfies as a guide if you need one—and the weight loss will follow.

7. Get social.
Speaking of selfies, don’t be afraid to show them to your friends. And yeah, we know your instinct is to give some major eye roll when scrolling through an abdomen-filled Instagram feed, but try to refrain. Studies show that celebrating your clean eats and workout commitments on social media can actually promote weight loss because the support you’ll get from those around you will motivate you to keep it up. So go on and click “post” already.

8. Mix in some matcha.
We’re talking about the powdered green tea that’s been popular in Japan for quite some time now, and is now making waves in the U.S. A study found that it contains extremely high amounts of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which helps stop the growth of fat cells. Matcha is also loaded with these health benefits, so get ready to go green.

9. Branch out with berries.
A new study found that camu camu, an Amazonian berry, contains about 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C in just 3.5 ounces of fruit and can help lower blood sugar. When your blood sugar is too high, you need more insulin to metabolize the food you eat, and insulin stops your body from using stored fat as energy, says Westerkamp. In other words, higher blood sugar = more insulin = stored fat sticking around for way too long. Unfortunately, you won’t find fresh camu camu berries at your local grocery store, but you can purchase them as a raw powder—perfect for mixing into smoothies—online or at natural health food stores.

10. Go nuts for nuts.
Studies have shown that a diet high in nuts results in greater weight loss, and now scientists are finding the benefits go even further. New research found that peanuts can improve vascular health, while almonds can reduce belly fat and your risk of heart disease. Snack on a handful in the afternoon, or toss ’em in your salad for some extra healthy crunch.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

Tweak Your Daily Movements
11. Take yourself off cruise control.
Increase the intensity of your everyday tasks, from vacuuming to walking the dog. Turn on some music, add in some vigorous bursts, and enjoy the movement.

12. Step it up—and down.
Climbing stairs is a great leg strengthener, because you’re lifting your body weight against gravity. In addition to taking the stairs at every opportunity, try stepping up and down on the curb while you’re waiting for the bus or filling your gas tank, says Brooks.

13. Stand taller.
You’ll burn calories (and look thinner) when you stand tall. To improve posture follow this shoulder girdle crunch: Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing forward. Visualize a pen placed vertically between your shoulder blades, and squeeze them together as if you were trying to hold the pen in place. Hold for a count of 6, relax, and repeat 12 times.

Science PROVES it is possible to get skinny in JUST 6 Minutes a day

14. Carry your own bags.
When you let someone else load your groceries or carry your suitcase, you’re missing a great opportunity for strengthening and calorie burning. Carry your groceries, balanced with a bag in each hand, even if you have to make several trips. And pack two smaller suitcases instead of one big one, so you can carry them yourself.

15. Have a ball.
Replace your desk chair with a giant exercise ball. You have to engage the core muscles to maintain stability on the ball so you’re getting a great workout right at your desk.

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16. Take the longer route.
Stop using the closest rest room, parking space, or vending machine. Get in the habit of taking the longest route to the rest room (on a different floor, if that’s possible) and climb stairs to get there.

17. Do chair aerobics.
Set a timer to ring hourly. When it goes off, stand up, and sit down slowly four times. This will boost circulation and give you a nice stretch, and you’ll be doing 4 squats an hour, or 32 a day. That’s a great way to strengthen your lower body.

18. Play waiting games.
Don’t just sit there while your computer is downloading or the copier is collating. Do a stretch (place both hands behind your head, open your elbows, and lean back), try balancing on one leg, or do a few buttocks squeezes.

 

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10 Convenient Low Carb Snacks

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You know a granola bar isn’t the most nutritious or weight-loss-friendly snack, but when you’re on the go, it’s a heck of a lot easier to eat than an egg omelet. Can a busy schedule and a low-carb diet really coexist?

The answer is yes, especially when you take advantage of the many prepackaged foods that deliver 10 grams or less of good carbs (like fiber instead of sugar) per serving. Here are 10 superconvenient snacks you can grab and go– no cooking skills required.

1. Cottage Cheese and Berries (115 calories, 3g fat, 18g protein, 10g carbs)
Sweet and savory while still keeping the carb count down? Yes, it’s possible. Cottage cheese is a nutritious, low-carb staple. Three quarters of a cup with four thinly sliced strawberries supply 15 percent of your calcium needs and almost half of your vitamin C requirements. You can vary the flavors by swapping out the strawberries for blueberries or raspberries, and also try seasoning with cinnamon or adding vanilla extract for extra sweetness.

2. Turkey Roll-Up (3 roll-ups, 170 calories, 7g fat, 20g protein, 9g carbs)
Prefer to make your munchies from scratch? Good idea: You’ll know exactly what you’re eating — no added sugars, preservatives or other crazy ingredients you can’t pronounce. Sharon Richter, a New York-based registered dietitian from HealthiNation, recommends turkey roll-ups as a simple snack you can prepare ahead of time and then stash in your bag for later. To make them her way, take a slice of turkey and wrap them around a pickle slice along with a very thin slice of avocado and tomato. The lean protein and monounsaturated fat combo will keep you feeling full longer and less tempted by the office vending machine.

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3. Kefir Smoothie (60 calories, 0g fat, 5g protein, 10g carbs)
Lifeway’s BioKefir isn’t quite a smoothie, but that’s the best way to describe this dairy drink that looks, tastes and even smells like one. Made of kefir, which is similar to yogurt but a richer source of live and active probiotics (you know, the healthy bacteria that can boost the immune system and aid digestion), these 3.5-ounce shots have as much protein as a whole medium egg. Two flavors worth having on hand at home or work are BioKefir Blackberry, which contains 30 percent of your daily calcium needs, and BioKefir Pomegranate Blueberry, which meets 100 percent of your vitamin C needs.

4. Ants on a Log (2 logs from small stalks, 206 calories, 16g fat, 9g protein, 10g carbs)

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A childhood favorite is new again. For a quick, high-protein energy boost, try the totally portable ants on a log. Peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats and satiating protein. The key is to use natural peanut butter made with just peanuts (and salt, if desired) — avoid any added oils or sugar. Celery gives you a satisfying crunch, and the raisins add a touch of sweetness (or chocolate chips, my favorite).

Science PROVES it is possible to get skinny in JUST 6 Minutes a day

5. Hummus (150 calories, 11g fat, 4g protein, 9g carbs)
Forget the portion police! With Sabra’s Classic Hummus Singles, it’s OK to clean out the container in one sitting (something that’s been known to happen when somebody cracks open the family-size version too). This two-ounce protein pack is just the right amount to satisfy a savory craving and keep you full until your next meal, especially when you use it as a dip for peppers or celery.

6. Brewed Tea (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs)
It seems the health benefits of tea are never-ending. From improving exercise endurance to reducing the risk of heart disease and even boosting metabolism, there are many reasons to make time for tea. If you enjoy iced tea, Takeya’s Iced Tea Makers have made it even easier to brew your own quickly. And with flavors like Coconut Vibe and Hibiscus Pomegranate, your afternoon teatime will leave you satisfied without the need for petits fours.

7. Edamame (95 calories, 4g fat, 8g protein, 8g carbs)

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Warm a package of shelled edamame according to the instructions on the bag. When the beans are done and have cooled, place half-cup servings, which contain only 8 grams of carbs, into separate ziplock bags. Registered dietitian Sharon Richter suggests adding to each a quarter of a cup of your favorite lightly salted nuts — almonds, pistachios, cashews or walnuts. Voila! You’ve just assembled your own prepackaged snacks for the entire week. For an even easier recipe, just grab the frozen bag of soybeans on your way out the door. They’ll be thawed by snack time.

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8. Hard-Boiled Egg (78 calories, 5g fat, 6g protein, 0g carbs)

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A bodybuilder’s go-to, hard-boiled eggs are perfect for anyone looking for an extra dose of protein. Eggs also offer a variety of nutrients, including choline, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin B12, folate, iron and vitamin A. To save time, boil a bunch of eggs at once and enjoy them throughout the week. They’re an easy, portable snack, and by playing around with some spices, you can add a variety of flavors. Try topping with pepper, sea salt, paprika, chili powder, etc.

9. Portable Cheese (50 calories, 3g fat, 6g protein, 0g carbs)
Remember how your mom used to put string cheese in your lunch box? The classic protein snack we once loved to pull and peel is still a great on-the-go option for both kids and adults. And good news: The recipe has improved over the years. Laughing Cow Mini Babybel cheese wheels come in many varieties — there’s even a light version. Keep a stash in your office fridge for a satisfying midmorning snack or an afternoon pick-me-up.

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10. Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios and More (100 calories, 9g fat, 4g protein, 3g carbs)
Whether you opt for one of the 100-calorie packages on the market like Blue Diamond or try it DIY-style, nuts are the perfect snack for anyone following a low-carb diet. All nuts are a great source of heart-healthy fats and protein, but the type and amount of nutrients differ between each one. Almonds are known for their vitamin E and walnuts for their omega-3 fatty acids. Pistachios have two eye-friendly nutrients — lutein and zeaxanthin. To create your own 100-calorie pack, add 13 almonds, 30 pistachios or eight walnuts to a ziplock bag. When eating nuts, choose dry-roasted ones — and be mindful of flavored nuts and their ingredients.

 

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9 Ways To Melt More Fat Off

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It gets horribly frustrating when you work really hard at something and the results don’t meet or get even close to your expectations. This applies to many things in life but in particular weight loss and fitness regimens. I’ve been in situation many times before where I go weeks without seeing any inches or weight coming off, no matter how hard I work. I struggle with those weeks as much as any other woman.

But, step in Mike Reinz, a personal trainer, fitness blogger and author of the best selling Fit To Fitter, he says that there are several mistakes that many women make when trying to get out of a plateau – there is no one fixed method but a combination of different methods. Here are 9 ways he suggest we mix it up in and out of the gym to help us get past that plateau.

1. Lift heavier weights
The theory that lifting light and furiously fast burns more fat than heavy weights is harder to kill than a cockroach. Here’s why it’s hogwash: fewer reps with heavier weights equals a metabolic boost that outlives the increase from high rep, light weight workouts according to the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education. To maximise the calories burned long after you and your gym bag have left the change room, shoot for three to seven reps.

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2. Mix it up
Don’t put your light weights out for hard rubbish. While lifting low and heavy burns more energy later, lighter weights may burn more calories during your session, according to researchers from the College of New Jersey. Hedge your bets by splicing heavy and light routines – three to seven reps with heavy weights one day, 10 to 20 with light weights the next. If you want to get tricky, do both in one session: two sets light, two sets heavy.

3. Cut rest time

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Sleep is critical; research consistently shows that skipping your kip can undermine intensity. But your workout isn’t the time to be loafing. You’ll torch 50 per cent more calories if you cut rests between sets from three minutes to 30 seconds, a College of New Jersey study found.

4. Control speed
Yes, you need slow, controlled reps. But don’t ditch the fast moves. Instead, make your reps rapid and explosive and reap the calorie burn rewards. The fast twitch muscle fibres engaged during fast lifts are less energy efficient than their slower cousins, meaning they chew through more fuel, according to Ball State University researchers. You’ll need a weight about 30 per cent of your one-rep max (1RM), which means being able to lift it for 15 to 35 reps per exercise. Aim for four to five sets comprising two fast sets of three to eight reps, and two to three at normal pace.

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5. Listen to your favorite tunes
Cranking the tunes before you hit the treadmill is a free hit in the fat-loss stakes, with listening to your favorite playlist linked to greater intensity and fat loss according to a study presented to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The headphone set registered significantly more reps than those listening to the purr of the treadmill engine.

6. Put resistance training before cardio

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Burning more fat is as simple as switching the order of your workout components according to Japanese researchers. By putting your resistance training before your cardio workout, you can seriously boost your fat burn. The better news is that the fat burn was highest in the first 15 minutes of cardio, so say goodbye to hours on the elliptical and set your stopwatch for quarter of an hour.

7. HIIT
To burn fat with cardio, you can’t go past intervals. Commonly shortened to HIIT, high intensity interval training demands intervals at 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) interspersed with bouts at walking pace. For the record, most steady-state cardio hangs around the 60 to 70 MHR mark. A good rule of thumb for HIIT is 20 seconds/10 seconds (sprint for 20, walk or jog for 10).

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8. Try intermittent cardio
In the vein of HIIT, intermittent cardio burns more fat than continuous movement. A study pitting subjects doing steady cardio for 30 minutes against those doing three 10-minute bursts broken by 20-minute rests, found the staggered group burned more fat, with the bonus of greater calorie burn after the fact.

9. Exercise after work

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Good news for night owls – exercising after work raises your metabolic rate more than morning sessions. Subjects who cycled for 30 minutes between 5 and 7pm got a greater spike in post-workout calorie burn than their early-rising counterparts, said University of Wisconsin researchers. The after-work window also trumped lunchtime workouts for efficiency.

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