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Being Successful

“If you want to be successful, you’ve got to take responsibility for where you are now, where you want to go, and do the work to grow yourself and your business to the next level.” – Sean Greely

Good morning fitness family!!! I know I’ve been gone for a while but I’m back. I was really down. This quote helped motivate me to start taking responsibility for where I am and where I want to go. I’m going to start working harder to reach my goals as a Certified Personal Trainer!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Philip “FitGuy46”

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Today’s Quote Of The Day

Doing Something

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt

“What if we’re wrong? What if if we pick the wrong person to love, or the wrong job to devote ourselves to, or the wrong city to live in? We waffle and weave. Maybe we can put off the decision for a while. Maybe things will be clearer tomorrow.

Not making a decision is making a decision-and it may well be the worst decision we could make.” Linda Picone

I’ll do my research, talk to people I trust, and think hard. Then I’ll make a decision and move forward. If it turns out that I’ve taken the wrong path, I can always turn around and go the right way. If I don’t make a decision, I’ll never know the right way to go.

Good morning fitness family!!! This is the quote for today. So make it a great day day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Cardio vs. Weights: Which One Gets You to Your Goal Faster?

By Lauren Del Turco Updated January 13, 2020

Your time in the gym is valuable. It takes so much motivation to even walk through the door some days that you want to make sure your workouts are actually going to get you to your goals. And though both cardio and strength training are essential for your health, most fitness regimens will skew one way or the other.

Active young man exercising in a gym

Is your workout plan tailored to your health and fitness goals?Credit: Letizia Le Fur/ONOKY/GettyImages

If you’re not sure whether you should focus your sweaty efforts on strength training or classic cardio, look no further. Here, two fitness gurus break down whether spending more time on the treadmill or in the weight room will best support your health and fitness goals — from just getting of the couch to supporting strong bones to de-stressing.

When Cardio Is King

Aerobic exercise (aka cardio) includes any movement or activity that increases your heart and breathing rate. (Two popular options: running and cycling.) Cardio directly trains your heart, lungs and the rest of your cardiovascular system — but its benefits don’t end there.

In addition to improving your heart health, cardio also supports your brain health, blood sugar and overall mobility, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It even supports sexual well-being and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Because of its widespread benefits, regular cardio exercise can ultimately help you live longer, according to a June 2017 study published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease.

Where Strength Training Shines

Though strength training (technically called resistance training) had the reputation of being solely reserved for bodybuilders until recently, this type of exercise is crucial for everyone — especially as you age.

“As we age, growth hormones in the body decrease, which contributes to muscle loss,” says Amanda Murdock, CPT, director of fitness for Daily Burn. “Strength training helps us maintain and build muscle tissue.”

In addition to keeping your body physically strong, strength training can also support your overall cardiovascular health and help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training can also help you maintain strong bones and improve quality of life and independence in your later years.

How to Decide Between Cardio or Weights

In a perfect world, everyone would incorporate both cardio and strength training into their workout routines. Depending on your unique goals, though, you might want to focus more on one over the other. Follow this guide to figure out where you should be spending the majority of your gym time.

If You: Are Training for a Race

Go for: Cardio

Whether you want to run a 5K or bike 100 miles, if you want to compete in some sort of race, “you need to do the exact thing you’re trying to get good at in training,” says Bret Contreras, PhD, CSCS, author of Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training.

“If you want to get good at running, you have to run; if you want to get good at cycling, you have to cycle,” he says. Yep, that means you’ll want to focus your training on cardio — specifically on whatever form of cardio you’ll be doing come race day. This way, you train the right muscles through the right movements to help you perform at your best.

If You: Want to Burn More Body Fat

Go for: Strength Training

While cardio burns calories and can help you lose weight in the short-term, strength training best supports fat-loss long-term, Contreras says. Strength training builds muscle, which then increases your metabolism, helping you become leaner over time.

Though results may take a couple of months, Contreras recommends focusing on strength training for sustainable fat loss. (Though, since cardio can have an appetite-suppressing effect in some people, it cansupport your goals, too.)

If You: Are Looking to Get Stronger and Build Muscle

Go for: Strength Training

There’s a reason they call it strengthtraining. “We can build muscle mass quickest with weighted exercises,” Murdock says.

“Though cardio exercise like cycling and running will build some muscle in your legs, it can only really get you so far,” Murdock says.

Contreras agrees: “If you want to get stronger, there’s only so much stress you can put on your body just using your body weight.” When you strength train, you can progressively overload your body to continue making gains, he says.

The only way to continually put enough tension on the muscles to stimulate muscle growth, is strength training, Contreras says. “As you increase the tension you put on your muscles, they continue to respond by growing bigger and bigger over time,” he says. (This process is called muscle hypertrophy.)

You don’t need to lift big, hulking weights, either. Training with both light and heavy weights can promote muscle growth, according to an October 2015 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study (which Contreras co-authored).

If You: Just Want to Be More Active

Go for: Both Cardio and Strength Training

Though more experienced exercisers can strength train at an intensity that provides both its muscle- and cardiovascular-related benefits, that’s not the case with beginners, Contreras says.

If you’re just getting moving, aim for a balance of “three weight-training sessions and two to three cardiovascular sessions per week,” he says. Focus on full-body strength-training sessions to reap the most benefits.

For those without gym access (or who just don’t feel comfortable sweating in that setting), “going outside for a walk or jog is convenient and free,” Murdock says. You can also ease your way into resistance training with body-weight exercises like push-ups, squats and lunges.

If You: Need to Reduce Chronic Disease Risk

Go for: Cardio or Strength Training

“Exercising in general has been shown to reduce chronic disease,” Murdock says. “Whatever makes you move works!”

Both cardio and strength training offer notable benefits when it comes to protecting long-term health. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training can help ward off arthritis, obesity, heart disease, depression and diabetes. Cardio offers similar benefits — and may even help ward off strokes and certain types of cancer.

If You: Want to Support Strong Bones

Go for: Strength Training

According to August 2013 research published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, both power and resistance training effectively support bone mineral density.

“Weight-bearing exercises, which force you to work against gravity, help build bone mass and density,” Murdock says.

Though certain types of cardio — like running and jumping — are considered weight-bearing, they only increase bone density in certain parts of the body, like the hips, Contreras says. Instead, strength training offers the most notable full-body bone benefits.

Just as lifting weights stimulates muscle growth, it also stimulates bones to grow stronger. “When you lift a load, gravity acting on that load itself stimulates the body,” Contreras says. “On top of that, the muscles that contract in order to lift that weight pull on the bones, further stimulating them.”

If You: Need to De-Stress

Go for: Cardio (But Keep It Light)

If you want a workout to help you simmer down, stick to lower-intensity exercise, like a light jog, that doesn’t shoot your heart rate through the roof, Contreras says. Extra points if you do it outside.

“When we’re stressed or don’t sleep enough and go pedal to the metal when we exercise, it can promote this sympathetic [‘fight-or-flight’] state,” Contreras says. Low-intensity cardio, which doesn’t require too much effort or mental concentration, can help the body shift into a more parasympathetic (“rest and relax”) state.

Case in point: a July 2015 study published in PNAS found that nature walks can reduce rumination (aka anxious thinking) and quiet activity in the parts of the brain associated with risk of mental illness.

If You: Only Have 20 Minutes a Day to Work Out

Go for: Strength Training

“People don’t realize that you can get in an awesome workout in 20 minutes,” Contreras says. To make the most of that time, though, opt for full-body strength training. “You’ll be more functional, you’ll have more total-body strength, muscle mass and bone density, and build a better shape.”

To turn the benefits up a notch, Murdock recommends performing your workout HIIT-style, which involves alternating between periods of high-intensity work and rest. (HIIT workouts are more efficient than workouts you perform at a steady, consistent pace.)

In my opinion I think both will help with weight loss. Pick the one that works best for you. It all depends on what your fitness goals are. Let me know your thoughts on this. Contact me @ fitguy46personaltraining.com. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

7 Treadmill Mistakes Sabotaging Your Running Workouts

7 Treadmill Mistakes Sabotaging Your Running Workouts

By Ashley LaurettaUpdated January 9, 2020

The treadmill has a reputation for being monotonous. But some people actually prefer to run on it, especially when the weather is less than optimal. While the treadmill can be a great training tool — especially for beginners — there are a few common mistakes that can become a setback to your workout.

Young woman exercising on treadmill

Focusing too much on the treadmill display can prevent you from enjoying your workout.Credit: EmirMemedovski/E+/GettyImages

Stop sabotaging your indoor running sessions by fixing the following all-too-common treadmill mistakes.

1. Skipping Your Warm-Up

Even if you aren’t running on the road or a track, you should still go through all the motions. Warming up before exercise preps your body for the coming workout and helps prevent injury by increasing blood flow to the muscles, according to a February 2018 study from the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation.

“Nothing changes just because you are on a treadmill; you still have to take care of your body like any other running day,” says Mwangi Gitahi — aka Coach Mwangi — running coach and founder of RUNFIRST. “Spending a few minutes doing your warm up routine, even right next to the treadmill so that nobody else claims it, can go a long way toward keeping you healthy.”

You should put at least 1 to 1.5 percent incline on the treadmill, as it more closely mimics road conditions and keeps the treadmill from simply “pulling” your feet backward as you run and actually helping you do the work, says Ryan Bolton, owner and founder of Bolton Endurance Sports Training (BEST).

2. Running With Zero Incline

Unless you’re using the treadmill as your warm-up for a strength workout (in which case, start out slowly and keep it short), you should take at least a few minutes before your run to walk and do some dynamic moves (such as high knees and leg swings) to get ready for your run.

Not only should you automatically set the incline up slightly every time you run, you should also take advantage of its full potential. You can still get a great hill workout on the treadmill, which is especially crucial if you are training for a hilly race and live in flat conditions.

“Having the incline function on a treadmill is one of the best attributes of training on a treadmill,” Bolton says. “With the ability to create hills of 0.5-percent grade to upward of 20-percent grade on treadmills, it’s very easy to replicate any type of hill workout on a treadmill from short, power spurts of 50 meters on a high incline to lower incline, longer 800 meter to mile threshold type repeats.”

3. Using the Rails for Support

While you may have heard the advice that you should never, ever hold onto the rails while walking or running on the treadmill, things aren’t always that black and white.

A February 2013 study from the Journal of Exercise Physiology concluded, “There appears to be no scientific reason for not holding onto the handrails if the exerciser feels more confident in controlling his or her exercise session.” If you’re simply resting your hands on the rails to help you feel more stable and balanced, it’s likely not throwing your workout off too much.

The problem, however, arises when you put your weight into the rails — either by pressing down into your arms or by leaning back. This lessens the amount of weight in your lower body, which throws your stride off (which can result in injury when you switch back to road running) and shortchanges your workout.

In fact, leaning back decreases your calorie burn by almost 32 percent, according to a November 2014 study from the International Journal of Exercise Science.

4. Relying Too Heavily on the Display

While it may seem like a benefit to have your pace, distance and calories burned displayed on the treadmill, you shouldn’t rely on that data to be 100-percent accurate. Not only can it vary from machine to machine, but it also requires the treadmills to be serviced regularly and correctly, which you can’t always guarantee (or know the exact date this maintenance and recalibration happened).

“The two biggest parameters measured on treadmills, pace and incline, are both subject to this variability, although pace seems to vary more widely,” Bolton says. That’s why exercising with your regular running watch is a better bet, he says. Sure, there’s variability there too, but if you’re using the same watch you always use, you’ll at least have a more accurate basis for comparison.

Additionally, Mwangi recommends using a heart rate monitor (a functionality that some watches now have built in) to get a more accurate picture of calories burned and heart rate zone.

5. Copying (or Racing) the Runner Next to You

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening on the treadmill next to you, but don’t try to match strides with the person next to you or to turn it into an imaginary race. Focus on your own workout.

“There can be a tendency to mimic what other people are doing on the treadmill, especially when you don’t have a plan of your own,” Mwangi says. “It can also be hard to resist competing with the person next to you. Call it the treadmill wars! Both of these scenarios can lead to running too hard or too long, and that is never a good thing.”

6. Only Running on the Treadmill

Even if you’re using the incline to get more road-like conditions while running on the treadmill, you should still vary your running surfaces. The road, track and treadmill work your muscles in different ways, which can help you avoid injury and make you a more well-rounded runner.

“The movement of the treadmill belt can reduce the need to push off and therefore engage those muscles that help you move forward, like the hamstrings, calf muscles and glutes,” Mwangi says. “When you run on the road in addition to the treadmill, you train your body to engage those muscles because the road requires you to push off in order to run.”

7. Swapping a Training Run for a Pre-Programmed Workout

If you’re training for a race, it’s important to use the treadmill in a mindful manner. While it’s definitely easier to just hop on, press a button and go through the motions of the pre-programmed workout, you aren’t doing yourself. Instead, do your prescribed workout as planned, especially if you’re using the treadmill because of unfavorable weather.

“Those pre-designed workouts can work fine if an athlete is just trying to get in some general fitness, but if following a specific plan with specific goals, those pre-designed workouts should be ignored and an athlete should create their own workout on the treadmill by altering the incline and speed to their specific workout needs,” Bolton says.

You may need to sit down with your coach to find out how to use the incline to match the road or track conditions your workout calls for, but the little bit of extra effort that requires will benefit your training immensely.

Let me know what y’all thoughts are on this. For more tips on fitness contact me @ fitguy46personaltraining.com . Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

10 Trader Joe’s Items Nutritionists Swear By

By Kelly Plowe, MS, RDNUpdated October 29, 2019Reviewed by Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN

Trader Joe's groceries round-up

Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

Anyone who has shopped at Trader Joe’s knows that it’s a game-changer. Their aisles are bursting with snacks, convenient salad packages and other delectable items that are easy on your wallet. They also have deliciously nutritious finds that can help you slay the healthy-eating game. To help, we’ve rounded up top dietitians and asked them to share their favorite Trader Joe’s picks. Happy (and healthy) shopping!

Shakshuka Starter Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: Trader Joe’s

Get cracking with this Israeli-inspired kit that becomes a complete meal once you add a protein-rich egg. “This is a great freezer addition with transparent ingredients that you can both see and taste,” says Rachel Fine, RD and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, including just tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, olive oil, garlic and seasonings. Stick to one serving (half a package) and add sides of whole-wheat pita and fruit to round out the meal “since this is somewhat high in sodium,” Fine adds.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (½ container): 80 calories, 3.5 grams of fat (0.5 grams of saturated fat), 340 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $1.99 per 9-ounce container

Wild Alaskan Salmon Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

The majority of us are coming up short on our omega-3s. Make it easier on yourself and snatch up this frozen, individually-portioned wild Alaskan salmon. “Omega-3s are good for our heart, brain and entire body. But our bodies don’t make it so we have to eat it,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, ACSM and author of Body Kindness. “Plus, salmon is one of the few foods with vitamin D, which affects our metabolism, our mood and other body functions.” Scritchfield offers some tips for cooking salmon: “I have used salmon in everything from fish tacos to salmon cakes(just replace crab in your favorite crab cake recipe).” For a quick dinner, try this Simple Dijon Salmon dish.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (4 ounces): 160 calories, 6 grams of fat (1 grams of saturated fat), 125 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbs (0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 24 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $11.99 per pound

Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter With Flax and Chia Seeds Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

Nut butter can make pretty much everything better, from toast and oats to smoothies and sauces (like in this Cold Peanut Butter “Noodles” recipe). The Joe makes this pantry staple even better for you by blending in fiber-rich flax and chia seeds. The ingredients are simple: roasted peanuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and sea salt. The added seeds also bump up the omega-3 content, providing 420 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) per serving. Just try not to eat the entire jar in one sitting!

  • Nutrition facts per serving (2 tablespoons): 170 calories, 14 grams of fat (2 grams of saturated fat), 10 milligrams of sodium, 7 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), 7 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $2.99 per 16-ounce jar

Spicy Avocado Hummus Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: Trader Joe’s

Even though the ingredient list is short — it’s got just chickpeas, avocado, tahini, olive oil, jalapenos and spices — this spread that packs a lot of flavors. The avocado offers a dose of heart-healthy fats while the beans crank up the fiber factor. “Pair this hummus with your favorite legume-based chip or some veggie sticks and you’ll have a nutrient-dense, balanced snack to get through long afternoons,” Fine says. You can also try it on this Hummus Flatbread Pizzafor a creative twist on pizza night.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (2 tablespoons): 60 calories, 4 grams of fat (0.5 grams of saturated fat), 115 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, < 1 gram of sugar), 2 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $2.99 per 8-ounce container

Tomato basil marinara Trader Joes Grocery list

Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

Patricia Bannan, RDN and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, knows a thing or two about healthy shortcuts in the kitchen. This delicious Trader Joe’s find “works great for a tasty and convenient add to pasta, meatballs or a veggie dish,” she says. (You’ll want to try it in our Power Pasta Bowl With Turkey-Kale Meatballs!)

“Plus, it has a pretty clean ingredient list including tomato purée, diced tomatoes, spices (parsley, basil, oregano) and extra-virgin olive oil.” Those tomatoes are ripe with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s linked to preventing heart disease, according to a May 2018 study in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (½ cup): 90 calories, 5 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), 580 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $2.29 per 25-ounce jar

Cole Slaw Kit Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: Trader Joe’s

Whether you serve it atop a barbecue sandwich or as a salad on its own, this cabbage and carrot blend is a simple way to add color, vitamins and variety to your diet without chopping a bunch of vegetables yourself. “This is a convenient option for quick-fix meals,” Fine says, and it makes for a great addition to this Cruciferous Trio With Peanut Ginger Lime Dressing.

Try this tweak for an even healthier solution: “Swap the dressing with a homemade version using olive oil, dill and a dollop of yogurt to add a creamy texture with a boost of protein.”

  • Nutrition facts per serving (1 cup): 130 calories, 9 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat), 140 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar), 1 gram of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $2.69 per 10-ounce bag

Freeze dried fruit Trader Joes Grocery list

Credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

When you can’t score some real fruit, this is the next best thing. Trader Joe’s freeze-dried fruits — pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, banana and more — are perfect for when you’re on the go. “This dehydrated fruit pack has no added sugar and is perfect for DIY trail mix instead of dried fruit. They’re also a great snack to take when traveling,” says Beryl Krinsky, RD. And for a quick and easy breakfast, you can try this Trail Mix Parfait. Trader Joe’s also sells dehydrated vegetables (think: beets and broccoli), which offer a low-calorie crunch to salads and snacks.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (1 bag): 130 calories, 0.5 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 5 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbs (5 grams of fiber, 20 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $3.49 per 1.2-ounce bag

Unsweetened Instant Oatmeal Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: Amazon

Why resort to cold cereal when you can wake up your morning with a hearty, warm breakfast in a matter of minutes? “Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Fiber also helps to keep us full between meals, maintains blood sugar control for sustainable energy and promotes digestive regularity,” Fine says. “I love the blend of quinoa and flax here, which rounds out the nutritional profile,” by adding more protein and healthy fats. Try it in this Savory Tuscan Oatmeal.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (1 packet): 160 calories, 3 grams of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 0 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbs (4 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 5 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores and Amazon.comPrice: $19.95 per two 11.3-ounce boxes

Buttermilk Protein Pancake Mix Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: Trader Joe’s

Speaking of warm wake-ups, a short stack of pancakes is rarely considered a healthy win. But the flavor and nutrition facts panel of this TJ find will make you flip. Whey protein, whole-wheat flour and whole-grain oat flour make these a strong breakfast choice, especially if you exercise in the a.m. “This pancake mix uses simple ingredients to deliver a well-rounded blend of complex carbs and protein. Starting your day with fiber and protein helps to provide sustainable energy through busy mornings,” Fine says. For even more feel-full power, slather a ‘cake or two with a serving of nut butter to boost the healthy-healthy fat content of your morning meal. And for an even better energy boost, try adding cold brew to your mix, like in this tasty Tiramisu Protein Pancakes With Banana-Cream Frosting recipe.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (⅓ cup mix): 140 calories, 1 gram of fat (0 grams of saturated fat), 260 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbs (3 grams of fiber, <1 gram of sugar), 10 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $3.49 per 16-ounce box

Organic Tahini Trader Joe's Grocery list

Credit: Amazon

We’re not hating on store-bought dips, but sometimes you need to switch it up a bit and go the homemade hummus route. Add this organic tahini from TJ’s to your DIY hummus and feel free to jazz it up with fresh herbs and roasted veggies. “Two tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Organic Tahini has only 10 milligrams of sodium, no sugar and just 7 grams of carbs. You’ll also find 6 grams of protein per serving along with 2 grams of fiber,” Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com, says. “Add a squirt of honey to this nutty mix and then spread it on a slice of whole-grain bread — you’ll have yourself a snack that’s fast and will last.” And best of all, the ingredient list is squeaky clean, only containing organic sesame seeds, she adds.

Despite its clean ingredient list, TJ’s tahini is much more affordable than nearly any other supermarket’s competitors. For a delectable dinner, use it in this Pan-Roasted Broccoli With Tahini Dressing.

  • Nutrition facts per serving (2 tablespoons): 190 calories, 17 grams of fat (2.5 grams of saturated fat), 10 milligrams of sodium, 7 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar), 6 grams of protein

Buy it: Trader Joe’s stores; Price: $3 per 10.6-ounce jar

Try out these nutritional foods and let me know what you think. Contact me at fitguy46personaltraining.com. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

The One Food Scientifically Proven to Boost Metabolism

By Leah GrothUpdated May 16, 2018

There’s no shortage of things we’re willing to do to keep our metabolism revving, from increased exercise to ditching refined grains. But did you know you could actually boost your metabolism and burn more calories just by eating one amazingly healthy food? Yup! Say hello to your new best friend: whole grains.

Healthy, gluten-free grains collection (quinoa, brown rice, millet, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, sorghum), top view of small round bowls against rustic wood.

Whole grains have been scientifically proven to aid in weight loss.Credit: marekuliasz/iStock/Getty Images

We’ve always known that whole grains are healthier than their refined versions because they provide you with a much-needed dose of fiber.

Read More: The 6-Week Spring Shred Challenge With Anna Victoria

And, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,whole grains have an unexpectedly awesome capability to increase metabolism. That’s right, trading refined grains for whole grains can increase your overall calorie loss by reducing the calories retained during digestion and increasing metabolism.

Oatmeal for the win!

This has to do with the fact that whole grains (like whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice) aid with fiber absorption, enabling the body to speed up metabolism and ultimately burn calories.

“Many previous studies have suggested benefits of whole grains and dietary fiber on chronic disease risk. This study helps to quantify how whole grains and fiber work to benefit weight management, and lends credibility to previously reported associations between increased whole grains and fiber consumption, lower body weight and better health,” explained first author of the study Phil J. Karl, Ph.D.

Organic whole grain bread from the bakery

The extra calories lost by people who eat whole grains was the equivalent of a brisk, 30-minute walk.Credit: Paul Williams – Funkystock/imageBROKER/Getty Images

Researchers provided all the food to the 81 men and women who participated in the study, ensuring that the only discrepancy in the different group’s diets was the source of grains. Compared to individuals who ate refined grains without much fiber, those maintaining a diet rich in whole grains while matching the recommended dietary allowance for fiber based on age and sex lost an additional 100 calories per day due to a combination of increased resting metabolic rate and greater fecal loss.

“The extra calories lost by those who ate whole grains was the equivalent of a brisk, 30-minute walk or enjoying an extra small cookie every day, in terms of its impact,” Tufts University’s Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., senior author of the study, told Tufts Now.

If you want to reap the benefits of this new study, remember that it isn’t enough to just toss a little quinoa in your salad. In addition to maintaining a high-fiber diet overall, the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA recommend a minimum of three ounces of whole grains for women and four ounces for men per day, which is around one-and-a-half to two cups of brown rice or oatmeal per day.

Need ideas for some nutritiously delicious whole-grain foods? Check out this list of fiber-rich whole grains and get your metabolism going.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you believe whole grains actually speed up metabolism? Do you eat enough whole grains every day? Will you change your eating habits due to the findings of this study?

This is a great read. Let me know what you guys think. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

Best Fiber Supplements for Weight Loss

By Amy Furay

Fiber in the diet is essential for preventing constipation and helping a person to feel full. Fiber may also aid in weight loss. A recent article in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” studied the effects of a high fiber diet on weight loss and cholesterol in overweight women. The results indicate that consuming a diet that includes at least 35 g of fiber per day increases body weight loss and both total body fat and trunk fat loss. In addition, LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, was lower in the high fiber diet group. Fiber is present in many foods, but it can also be conveniently obtained via supplementation.

Feet on a Scale

Close-up of feet standing on a scale.Credit: pmcdonald/iStock/Getty Images

Metamucil Psyllium Husk Drink or Pills

Psyllium husk is a water soluble fiber that is available in capsule form. Metamucil also manufactures psyllium fiber flavored drink mixes that are available in orange, lemon, berry and original flavors. A review article published in the September 2010 edition of the “Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology,” by Attilio Giacosa, M.D., Ph.D., and Mariangela Rondanelli, M.D., Ph.D., suggests that psyllium husk fiber is the ideal fiber supplement for weight loss and general health. It has been shown to lower cholesterol, maintain insulin levels and, when taken with meals, favor weight loss and reduced hypertension.

Glucomannan Pills

Glucomannan is a soluble fiber that is derived from the elephant yam, a plant native to Asia. It is available in pill form. A June 2008 study in “The British Journal of Nutrition” by Jordi Salas-Salvado and colleagues investigated the effects of a dual fiber supplement containing 1 g of glucomannan on body weight and other factors. Subjects took doses of either 2 g or 3 g per day for 16 weeks. The results indicate that either dose increased satiety and decreased LDL cholesterol levels. Increased feelings of satiety may help to decrease overeating and snacking.

VitaFusion Fiber Gummies

Some people have a difficult time with swallowing pills of any size. For those, a chewable supplement may be appropriate. Vitafusion brand Fiber Gummies are small gummy squares that contain 5 g of fiber and carbohydrates and 10 calories per two gummy serving. According to Vitafusion, this supplement won the Chefs Best certified award for flavor. They are sugar-free, the colors and flavors are natural, and they come in three flavors: peach, strawberry and blackberry.

FiberChoice Chewable Tablets

For those who dislike the texture of gummies, chewable tablets are available from FiberChoice in several versions that include added calcium and antioxidants. FiberChoice Weight Management is available in strawberry flavor and has 4 g of fiber per two-tablet serving. According to the manufacturer, these tablets may curb hunger and cravings. Additionally, they contain chromium picolinate, which may aid in metabolism.

Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

4 Tips to Building Muscle Tone and Keeping Up a Solid Workout Routine

Together with Athleta, we’re compiling actionable wellness advice you need from the experts — and Well+Good is bringing it to life at events in NYC. Here, national fitness business director at Exhale Nicole Uribarriweighs in on the starter guide to a strength-building workout routine.

woman doing squats

Set realistic goals, grab a workout partner and try not to be so harsh on yourself.Credit: Getty Images/Carina König / EyeEm

Have you ever found yourself at the gym ready to get your strength on, but not totally sure what to do while you’re there (other than feel stronger)?

The key is to set tangible goals for yourself, along with realistic timelines to accomplish them. Start out slow, too. Give yourself a four-week benchmark for establishing a routine, editing where you need to, and creating a habit out of it — all while hopefully enjoying yourself along the way.

To help overcome any dips in motivation, Nicole Uribarri — national fitness business director at Exhale — suggests writing your goals (and the timelines) somewhere you’ll see them every day. That way you can try and avoid those help-me-I’m-lost moments after you’re laced up and ready in the gym. From there, you can get to the important stuff (re: putting in the work to build up that tone).

Here are four more tips from Uribarri that’ll help you build muscle and fine-tune your routine over a few weeks.

woman working out

All it takes is a few weeks to amp up your workout routine — plus, those endorphins are so worth it.Credit: Getty Images/ EmirMemedovski

1. Consult a Coach

Oftentimes, the hardest part is starting out. To show you what to do and to provide you encouragement to hit your fitness milestones, reach out to a trainer or coach. “Many trainers offer a single session to assess your form, provide guidance on how to effectively and efficiently perform moves and lead you through a brief tutorial on how to use gym equipment and props,” Uribarri says.

During that first session, take all the notes possible; that way you’ll be set to take on the gym with your newfound fitness knowledge. And don’t forget: Form is important and you can’t train properly if you’re injured, says Uribarri.

2. Be Consistent

The first week of workouts tends to feel pretty good — you’re in the zone, ready for the unlimited possibilities of your strength. But then comes the wall called lack of motivation. When this strikes, Uribarri says to always go back to your goals. “Start slowly and hold yourself accountable,” she says. “Keeping your practice will bring sustainable and long-term results.”

3. Don’t Forget About Your Diet

To be able to work out at your optimal level, you have to make sure you’re eating the right foods that energize you from beginning to end. Uribarri recommends eating high-quality, wholesome ingredients (if it doesn’t eventually rot, then it’s not real food, she says). That means fitting in some whole grains, fresh veggies and protein onto your plate. Your gym self will thank your in-the-kitchen self.

4. Try Uribarri’s Never-Fail Moves

Uribarri says it’s vital to create a routine that you actually enjoy, and to help you build one out (in addition to what you learn from a coach or trainer), she has four go-to moves that are sure to light up your muscle groups.

Plank poses are great, accessible moves for someone new to exercise and looking to build strength,” Uribarri says. “They’re full-body exercises that improve posture and target your core, back and arms.”

She also suggests push-upswall sits and abdominal pike-ups — all of which are easy to integrate into any routine. Now all you have to do to build your strength over the next month is develop a gym plan you won’t grow tired of, get your form down and remember to have some fun with it.

So follow these tips for muscle tone and keeping up a solid workout routine. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

Determined

Working on getting my fitness business up and running. I’m also studying to get my certifications for Certified Nutrition Coach and Group Training. I can’t wait to start training clients how to be a better version of themselves. So remember FitGuy46!!! Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

A 10-Minute Circuit Workout for Flat Abs

By Holly Perkins Updated January 9, 2020

Sculpting sleek abs isn’t just about the front-and-center six-pack muscles — it’s about your entire core from chest and upper back to glutes and hip flexors. This workout hits all those muscles and everything in between.

Top view of young fit woman working-out doing bicycle crunches on blue mat indoors.

In just 10 minutes, you’ll be on your way to flatter abs.Credit: undrey/iStock/GettyImages

Do: each move for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat this 5-minute circuit twice (or as many times as you’d like with good form). You can also combine it with any of our other 10-minute workouts, including one for gluteslegsarms and back.

1. Weighted Crunch

Man doing a weighted crunch to work his abs.

Here’s how to do a weighted crunch with proper form.Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and pointed up to the ceiling. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell above your chest.
  2. Using just the power of your abdominal muscles, lift your torso off the ground and sit up.
  3. Lower back down to the start slowly and with control.

Tip

In order to truly improve the strength of your core muscles, it’s important to incorporate this kind of resistance move. Be sure to move deliberately, focusing on the quality of contraction for each rep. Raise and lower your torso only using your abs — not your neck.

2. Bird Dog

Man doing the bird-dog exercise to work his abs.

Here’s how to do the bird-dog exercise with proper form.Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Begin on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Raise your right arm and left leg to parallel, using your core to stabilize you.
  3. Lower back down to the start.
  4. Repeat, this time raising your left arm and right leg to parallel.
  5. Lower back down and continue alternating sides.

Tip

During this exercise, brace your core strongly as if preparing to be punched in the stomach. This kind of contraction emphasizes proper function of the torso and is particularly important for this move.

3. Side Plank

Man doing a side plank to work his abs.

Here’s how to do a side plank with proper form.Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

  1. You can start out in a regular plank and then roll onto one side or start lying on your side and raise yourself up.
  2. Ensure that your body is in perfect alignment from shoulders to hips to ankles and that your hips are stacked on top of each other.
  3. Do a right-side plank on the first round and a left-side plank on the second round.

4. Bicycle Crunches

Man doing bicycle crunches to work his abs.

Here’s how to do bicycle crunches with proper form.Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head.
  2. Bring your right elbow to your left knee. Aim to twist from your torso and shoulders without reaching with your elbows.
  3. Twist back to center before switching sides so that your left elbow meets your right knee.
  4. Continue alternating sides.

Tip

Before you begin your reps, brace your core strongly as if preparing to be punched in the stomach. This will cause the front of your body to hollow out into a contracted position. Hold this contracted position as you execute this move.

5. Boat Pose

Man doing Boat pose to work his abs.

Here’s how to do Boat pose with proper form.Credit: LIVESTRONG.com

  1. Start seated, then lean back into a V shape, with your arms out in front of you for balance. 
  2. Make sure to keep your neck in alignment and take short, regular breaths. 
  3. Draw inward through your torso and brace your abs as if preparing to be punched in the stomach.

Try these exercises as you work towards your goals to a flatter defined stomach. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

Struggling With Push-Ups? 6 Exercises to Help You Master Them

By Emily AbbateUpdated January 8, 2020

Getting strong is about a lot more than how much weight you can move at the squat rack. In fact, building stellar strength can be done without any of those weights. Body-weight exercises — like push-ups, squats and sit-ups — can lead to some serious gains. Bonus: You don’t have to pack your gym bag.

Sporty young female trainer showing a girl how to do knee push-ups while training outdoors in summer

Mastering a push-up is an excellent example of upper body and core strength.Credit: undrey/iStock/GettyImages

But just because you’re not reaching for the barbell doesn’t mean body-weight movements are a total breeze. Take the push-up, for example. Push-ups are one of the most dependable tests of relative body strength around.

However, it takes time to build up to multiples. Here, experts weigh in on proper push-up technique and a slew of essential exercises to help you develop necessary push-up strength.

Start With Incline Push-Ups

If you’re not doing push-ups correctly, you won’t be reaping the muscle-building benefits. It may sound fundamental, and that’s because it is — your form is the foundation on which your results lie.

To get started, ease into things with an incline push-up, says Barry’s Bootcamp instructor Chris Lewarne. “The added height to your push-up takes some of the weight out of the upper body,” he says. The higher the surface you place your hands on, the easier the push-up will be to perform.

  1. Place your hands shoulder-distance apart on an elevated surface like a chair, box or countertop with your feet on the floor.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe.
  3. Press back to the start.

Practice Proper Push-Up Form

Once you’ve mastered incline push-ups on lower and lower surfaces, you’re ready to progress to the real deal. For a basic push-up, keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, and pay special attention to keeping your back and neck straight (so your head isn’t hanging down) with your hips and torso in-line.

Saggy form is one of the most common push-up pitfalls, and it reduces the engagement of stabilizing muscles like the abs and obliques. “With the proper core engagement your life gets easier and your rep count gets higher,” Lewarne says.

As you lift your body, focus on putting the weight on the outside of your hands rather than your palms, a habit that can lead to wrist injury. Keep your abs tight as you breathe regularly. To take advantage of the push-up’s full range of motion, your chest should graze the floor or come within about an inch of it.

Tip

If you have trouble keeping proper form, start with a modified bent-knee push-up, keeping your tail bone tucked until you can comfortably progress.

6 Exercises to Build Strength for Push-Ups

To improve your push-ups over time, you need solid upper-body strength, endurance and body control. And to get that, you need to incorporate the right exercises into your regimen.

To help bolster your push-up technique, remember the two Rs: rows and resistance. Dumbbell, cable and barbell rows, for instance, work the spinal muscles that stabilize your push-up. Other types of resistance training, whether you prefer free weights or medicine balls, help hone your flexibility, stamina and balance — three keys to better push-ups.

Here, Lewarne offers up six different exercises to help strengthen the chest, core and arm muscles activated during the movement

Move 1: Barbell Row

  1. Grip a barbell with palms facing down so that your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in a straight line.
  2. Lift the bar from the rack or floor, bend forward at the hips and keep your back straight with a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Lower the bar toward the floor until your elbows are completely straight, then pull it toward your sternum while keeping a flat back.
  4. Slowly lower the bar to the starting position.

Reps: 10

Move 2: Bicycle Crunch

  1. Lie on your back and lift your knees up to form a 90-degree angle at your hip and knee joints. Cradle the back of your head and upper neck with your hands.
  2. Lift your right shoulder toward your left knee. Simultaneously extend the right leg. 
  3. Repeat on the opposite side. Move slowly and methodically to get the most muscle activation out of the exercise. 

Reps: 20

Move 3: Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the ground with your heels a foot away from your butt. 
  2. Drive your hips up while keeping your upper back, head and arms on the ground. The higher you can press your hips up, the harder your glutes work and the more your hip flexors will stretch.
  3. Slowly lower back down to the ground.

Reps: 14

Move 4: Superman Plank

  1. Start in a high plank. Walk your hands forward as far as they can possibly go without letting your chest, hips or knees touch the ground. 
  2. Hold the plank as long as you can, engaging the chest, lats and core. 
  3. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

Reps: 3, with a 30-second rest in between

Move 5: Triceps Dip

  1. Sit on a bench or chair. Place your hands behind you so that your fingers face forward. Place your heels on another bench or on the floor. 
  2. Raise yourself up so that your arms are straight and this is the starting position. Then lower yourself until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Press back up to the starting position.

Reps: 12

Move 6: Commandos

  1. Start in a forearm plank. 
  2. Engaging the core, press your right palm on the ground and push up to high plank, bringing your left palm to the ground as well. Hold for 2 seconds.
  3. Lower back down to start, first with the right elbow, then the left. Do your best to minimize rocking and keep the hips square.

Reps: 14, alternating between which arm leads each time.

How to Increase the Number of Push-Ups You Can Do

Lewarne suggests seeing how many you can do before you are face down on the floor. “From there, aim to perform 80 percent of your max rep count for 3 to 4 sets (even if that is one, for now),” he says. “On a daily bases track to see if you have a bit more in the tank to add a rep to each set and track how many full push ups, eccentric push ups, and knee push ups you can do. “

Make Push-Ups More Challenging

If you’ve already mastered proper form and are pumping out push-ups at a smooth, even tempo with a full range of motion, you’re ready to move on to more challenging variations.

Elevate your feet on a bar, bench, step or chair for a decline push-up. The higher the elevation, the greater the challenge and muscle engagement (though lower elevations do a better job working the upper pecs, while higher ones emphasize the fronts of the shoulders).

I love pushups!!! Once you master them, you will become addicted. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

The Best Ways to Get Rid of Lower Back Fat for Good

By Bojana GalicUpdated January 7, 2020

Fact Checked

Losing fat from certain areas of the body, like the lower back and waist, can seem trickier than others and — unfortunately — spot reduction (aka targeted weight loss) is a myth.

Athletic woman lifting dumbbells in the gym

Strength training can help promote fat loss, including lower back fat.Credit: MilosStankovic/E+/GettyImages

But by reducing your calories, cleaning up your diet and exercising strategically, you can lose fat across your entire body, including those hard-to-target love handles.

Cut Calories for Fat Loss

While weight loss looks a little different for everyone, reducing your calories to create a calorie deficit (when you burn more than you consume) is the key to all fat loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.

To create a calorie deficit, you should first establish how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. This value is pretty easy to find out by simply tracking your daily caloric intake for several days. Assuming you don’t lose or gain any weight in this period, this value is your caloric maintenance. Alternatively, you can use an app — like LIVESTRONG.com’s MyPlate app— to do the job for you.

Once you’ve found your caloric maintenance value, you can safely cut between 500 to 1,000 calories per day to create a sustainable deficit, according to the Mayo Clinic. This will lead to weight loss at a rate of about 1 to 2 pounds per week. However, if this cut feels unsustainable (i.e. you’re left feeling overly hungry or tired), you can add calories back so that you’re only cutting 200 to 300 per day instead. This will likely mean a slower rate of weight loss, but you’ll be more likely to stick with it and reach your goal.

Whole-wheat spaghetti with green vegetables

Try to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal.Credit: Lilechka75/iStock/GettyImages

Choose Healthier Foods

Choose healthy, nutrient-dense foods, as they’re low in calories but high in fiber, a carbohydrate that helps promote satiety (the sense of being full) and healthy digestion. Fiber has actually been linked to lower levels of fat around the midsection, too. According to an April 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate diets richer in fiber were much less likely to have high levels of fat in this area.

To get more fiber, aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, which will also help you cut down on calories while getting the vitamins and nutrients you need, according to Harvard Health Publishing. For instance, swapping a cup of pasta for a half cup of pasta and a cup of green veggies like broccoli can cut about 100 calories.

And consider replacing refined grains (like white bread) with whole-grain options for a more filling, nourishing alternative.

Eating more lean protein, like chicken and fish, rather than red meat can also save you calories, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Eliminating deli and other processed meats can also help promote belly fat loss, as higher processed meat consumption has been associated with larger waist circumference, according to a 50,000 person study published August 2011 in PLOS One.

Also, avoiding ultra-processed foods is a great rule-of-thumb when it comes to cutting calories, too. Usually these foods (think: chips, cookies, cereals) are high in calories but low in nutrients. So, try to swap sugary sodas for unsweetened iced tea. Or replace breakfast cereal with whole-grain oatmeal and fruit.

Learn how to fill your plate with healthy, nutrient-dense foods by logging your meals on the MyPlate app. Download now to fine-tune your diet today! 

Exercise to Reduce Lower Back and Belly Fat

Exercise can not only help you create a calorie deficit but will also benefit your overall health. You should aim to get about 150 minutes of moderate cardio activity (like walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (like running) each week to benefit your overall health and help decrease the risk of chronic disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Incorporating some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also help spur fat loss, especially when it comes to belly fat. This form of exercise — where you alternate between intervals of intense activity and rest — can help boost your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) and keep your body burning calories even after your workout is over.

Indeed, HIIT has been found to be more effective in reducing waist fat than other types of training, according to a September 2019 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Introducing some strength training into your usual workout routine will also help boost your metabolism, according to the Mayo Clinic. Plus, people with a higher muscle-to-fat body ratio burn more calories performing everyday activities, so increasing your muscle mass with some strength training is a great way to promote fat loss.

So let’s follow these tips to reduce body fat. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”