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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”

Featured

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”

Food Portion Control

Portion Sizes

The standard serving sizes are often much less than what people actually eat. Many individuals often believe they’re eating fewer calories than they take in, which can lead to unwanted weight gain. So control your portions, calories, waistline, and ultimately your health. I’m here to help you reach your health and fitness goals, contact me!!!

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

Weight Loss Tips

Tip

Burn more calories during the day by taking the stairs, standing instead of sitting and making other small changes to your movement habits. Because every little bit goes towards your weight loss goals 👍🏿. If you’re needing help contact me!!! Make it a great day!!!

Make it a great day!!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

Stick With Your Weight-Loss Goals When You’re Stuck at Home

Whether you’re nursing a nagging cold, snowed in during a Nor’easter or practicing social distancing, odds are being stuck at home is disrupting your daily diet and gym routines. But just because you’re temporarily cooped up doesn’t mean all your efforts to drop unwanted pounds are doomed to fail. Contact me if you’re ready to reach your weight loss goals. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Do What Works For You

Do what works for YOU

Weight loss can be achieved in many different ways as long as you consistently burn more calories than you consume. However, to achieve and sustain results, follow the example of successful losers who selected behaviors they could maintain for life.

Keep in mind that you can start by making small changes such as taking 10 minute walks, skipping your afternoon soda or increasing your daily steps. You may not drop the pounds as fast as you’d like, but when it comes to weight loss– it’s not how you start that counts, it’s how you finish. Do what works for you for the long haul and YOU will ultimately become a successful loser.

Doesn’t matter how you start, just start 👍🏿!!!

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

Why do most people gain the weight back?

In a nutshell, people return to their original weight (and more) when they stop doing what made them successful in the first place. Participants of the NWCR who regained more than five pounds reported exercising less, eating more fatty foods and allowing themselves to overeat more frequently.

It makes perfect sense why the majority of those who go on “fad” diets and other programs lose weight quickly and eventually gain it back. They simply cannot maintain the drastic changes most fad diets require. It’s not that fad diets don’t work; the problem is they only work on a short term basis. Keeping the weight off is the real challenge.

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

Weight loss Tip

Weight loss Tip

To succeed you only have to pay attention to a number, but you need to know what that number is.
You WON’T manage what you CAN’T see and you CAN’T manage what you DON’T know
To successfully achieve your goal weight YOUR way, you need to know how many calories you use every day so you know how many you can eat to lose weight or not get fat. Now you have something to manage that’s controllable daily: simple numbers. And remember, numbers don’t lie.

Motivation will come from seeing body fat coming or going in real time at any time — hourly, daily, weekly, etc. When you can SEE your daily body fat gains and losses, it’s simple to manage them because it doesn’t take much effort to eat one less bite or take 10 extra steps to stay on track. The “icing on the cake” is that you will actually be motivated by having visibility into real time changes in your body fat.

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

Why Food Logging is Critical for Weight Control

Food Logging – A Powerful Weight Loss Tool

You may surprised by the fact that losing weight is not the main challenge for most people. Keeping it off is much more of a struggle. In fact, only a small percentage of those who lose at least 10 percent of their initial body weight manage to sustain their results. The remaining majority regain all of the weight lost within three to five years.

This is likely due to the way many individuals go about losing weight – short-term, or fad diets. The issue with diets is that they tend to be a temporary fix and the eating rules are difficult to sustain. Although you lose weight initially, once you resume your old habits, the weight comes back and often more. It is simply unnatural to cut out whole food groups and drastically cut calories – our bodies will fight it.

For you to lose weight and keep it off for good, you’ll have to adjust your food choices and activity level permanently. That means the changes you make should be something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. And they don’t have to be earth shattering. Perhaps you switch regular soda for diet and save 200 calories a day. And maybe you add a 15 minute walk twice a day and burn 200 more calories, but the bottom line is they’re doable for life.

Remember, the only proven method to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in, and research shows that different eating patterns, whether high-carb, low-carb, low-fat or high-fat, can all yield results as long as you burn more than you take in. Only you can determine what works best for you.

So keep these tips in mind when you start your health and fitness goals 👍🏿.

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

How to Get Started Working Out at Home

By Lauren Bedosky

Updated September 12, 2019

Always make sure you start every at-home workout with a good warm-up session to avoid injury. There’s a lot to love about at-home workouts: They’re affordable, convenient and accessible to all fitness levels — beginners included. However, it can be a bit tougher to avoid distractions (phone, email, kids, pets) at home than at the gym. If this is you, there are steps you can take to make sure you stay on track.

How to Do Beginner Workouts at Home

If you can, set up a small workout space that’s enjoyable to be in. “If you dread the space you’re working out in, you’re less likely to be consistent,” says Hannah Davis, CSCS, owner of Body By Hannah and creator of BBH.Fit online training studio. She suggests filling the area with fun decor, like signs featuring your favorite positive mantras, colors you like and a quirky exercise mat.

Also, if you plan on doing a lot of at-home workouts, consider investing in a few key pieces of equipment, such as a resistance bands, mini bands (resistance band loops) and two or three sets of dumbbells of varying weights.

Eliminate distractions as much as possible by activating your phone’s do not disturb feature, asking your family not to bother you and shutting the door to your workout space (if possible).

Finally, always go into your home workouts with the same amount of planning as if you were going to the gym. “Knowing what to do and in what order to do it is a must to make sure you get an effective workout in your own home,” says Amanda Dale, ACE-certified personal trainer and Precision Nutrition-certified nutrition coach.

A Few Safety Tips Before You Begin

Keep in mind that you’ll have to take special safety precautions if you’re working out at home — especially if no one else is around. First, make sure you have a safe, open space to work out in, and that any equipment you’re using (such as a chair or bench) is sturdy and can support your body weight, Dale says.

Also, be mindful of the surface you’re exercising on. “If you progress to any kind of plyometric movements [jumping exercises], I would not recommend doing those on concrete garage flooring,” Davis says. Wood or carpeted floors are kinder on your joints. On the other hand, some exercises (ex. jumping jacks, lateral hops) can sometimes be risky on carpet, so you might want to use a mat or other smooth surface.

Finally, pay attention to how you feel during exercise. “If something causes a sharp pain, your form may off,” says celebrity trainer Mike Donavanik, CSCS, creator of the Sweat Factor workout app. He recommends seeking professional help or watching videos to perfect proper form. And if you can, watch yourself perform the exercises in front of a mirror. “Your form will improve dramatically,” Donavanik says.

If you still feel pain when doing a particular exercise, you may have an underlying issue. Skip that move for the time being and get help from a doctor or physical therapist.

A Full-Body At-Home Circuit Workout

Ready to get started? A full-body workout is the perfect choice for beginners, as it gives you more time to focus on form without fatiguing any one muscle group too much. Try this one from personal trainer Amanda Dale.

Warm-Up

Do: Two sets of the below moves for 30 seconds each, without rest.

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Body-weight squat
  3. Push-up
  4. Alternating front lunge

Move 1: Jumping Jack

  1. Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides.
  2. Jump in the air, bringing each foot about one to two feet out from the midline and arms up and overhead. 
  3. Jump your feet back to the start and lower your arms. 

Move 2: Body-Weight Squat

  1. Start with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down into a squat with your thighs at or below parallel to the floor. 
  3. Press through your heels to return to standing. 

Move 3: Push-Up

  1. Start in a high plank with shoulders over wrists. 
  2. Keeping the elbows close to rib cage, lower your chest, body in straight line ,toward the floor.
  3. Push through palms back to start.

Move 4: Alternating Front Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet together. Step forward with your right foot and lower down into a lunge, keeping your torso upright. Both knees should be almost at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Press through your right heel to return to start; repeat on the opposite side. 

Circuit #1

Do: 20 reps of each exercise. Then repeat the same circuit for 16 reps each, then 12, and finally eight reps for a total of four sets.

  1. Triceps dip
  2. Alternating side lunge
  3. Knee-to-elbow plank
  4. Jump squat

Move 1: Triceps Dip

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench with your heels on the floor. Place your hands behind you so that your fingers face forward. 
  2. Raise yourself up so that your arms are straight. This is the starting position. 
  3. Lower yourself until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. 
  4. Pause for two seconds, then press back up to start.

Move 2: Alternating Side Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet together. 
  2. Take a big step out to the right. Lean to the right and straighten your left leg. Stick your butt back and put your weight onto the heel of your right foot. 
  3. Press through the right heel and step back to the center
  4. Repeat on the opposite side, alternating with each rep. 

Move 3: Knee-to-Elbow Plank

  1. Start in a forearm plank, with shoulders over elbows and core engaged. 
  2. Bring your left knee to your left elbow. 
  3. Return to start and repeat on opposite side. 

Move 4: Jump Squat

  1. Start with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down into a squat with your thighs at or below parallel to the floor.
  3. Quickly jump up, body as straight as a stick. Land in a squat and repeat.

Circuit #2

  1. Set a timer to go off every minute for six minutes.
  2. During each odd-numbered minute (1, 3, 5), try to complete 30 crunches.
  3. During each even-numbered minute (2, 4, 6), aim to hold a plank until the timer goes off.

Move 1: Crunches

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the mat and hands behind your head. 
  2. Angle your chin slightly toward your chest and curl your torso up toward your knees, while your feet, tailbone and lower back stay flat on the mat. 
  3. Once you’ve at the top of your range of motion, lower torso back to the mat.

Move 2: Plank

  1. Start at the top of the push-up position.
  2. Engage your core, make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and there’s a straight line from your shoulders to heels.

So keep those workouts going at home until the gyms reopen. I also program workouts and I do supplement support. If you need help in that area, contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

The One Protein Dietitians Want You to Eat More Often

“Food first” is a mantra most dietitians preach: Do your best to get your nutrients from the actual foods you’re eating and if you’re coming up short, then turn to supplements.

When it comes to getting our omega-3s, however, we could all use a little help in practicing what experts advise since fish oil is the most commonly used supplement, according to a 2015 National Health Statistics Report. A tastier and more effective approach (that doesn’t involve burping up a fishy pill) is to go straight to the source — salmon.

Salmon is often touted as one of the richest sources of omega-3 fats, but the fish is also an excellent source of protein and other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you still need more convincing on adding salmon to your weekly meal plan, consider all of these benefits.

1. It Packs Higher Quality Protein Than Red Meat

The protein in fish trumps other sources of protein such as red meat. Unlike red meat, salmon is low in saturated fats (which can raise your cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease) and high in omega-3 fatty acids (which can protect against heart disease), according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

And even though it’s considered a fatty fish, salmon can help support your weight-loss goals. A 3-ounce piece of cooked salmon has 21 grams of protein — and getting enough of this macronutrient is important if you’re trying to lose weight, according to an April 2015 paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For starters, protein is the most satiating macronutrient (compared to the other two, carbs and fats), which means it can help you feel fuller longer. It also helps to build and maintain muscle mass, which is important when you are losing overall body mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so you’ll want to hold onto as much muscle as possible.

2. Salmon’s Fatty Acids Might Help Fight Depression

Mental health is a growing concern — diagnosis of depression amongst adults has risen by 33 percent on average since 2013, according to a May 2018 report by Blue Cross Blue Shield. But that rate is growing faster amongst millennials; in fact, it’s up 47 percent.

The good news is daily habits, like your diet, can be part of the treatment and prevention. One nutrient that has garnered much attention is omega-3s. In September 2019, the International Society of Nutritional Psychiatry Research released updated guidelines in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics recommending including omega-3s as part of the treatment plan for depression.

Salmon is one of the richest food sources, providing 54 percent of your daily value of two types of brain-boosting omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, per a cooked 3-ounce serving, according to the USDA.

3. It’s Linked to Better Skin

If your skin could have a best-food-friend, salmon would make the cut. There are a number of nutrients found in the fish that help keep your skin healthy.

First, there are the omega-3s, which can help fight inflammation, according to an October 2017 study in Biochemical Society Transactions. Inflammation is enemy number one for your skin because it can lead to acne and signs of aging, as explained in an August 2017 article published in Nutrients. Omega-3s also help your skin hold onto moisture by supporting the lipid barrier.

The antioxidant astaxanthin also comes into play when it comes to your skin and anti-aging. Two clinical trials found that the antioxidant (when ingested and applied topically) may help reduce wrinkles, age spots and improve skin texture, according to a March 2012 paper in Biochimica Polonica.

4. Salmon Shows Your Heart Some Love

Thanks in part to its nourishing fatty acids, salmon is considered a heart-healthy food. The omega-3s help to lower triglycerides and blood pressure (slightly) as well as reduce your overall risk of stroke and heart failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Another nutrient found in salmon may also contribute to its heart-health benefits. Salmon is unique from most other fish because of its red-pink color, which comes from the algae they eat as part of their diet. Just as how anthocyanins give berries their deep red, blue and purple gues, the antioxidant astaxanthin gives salmon their pink color.

Preliminary research shows this antioxidant may lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol levels, although more research is needed to solidify these benefits, per a February 2016 article published in Marine Drugs.

5. It’s Linked to Building Strong Bones

When we think of building strong bones, a tall glass of milk often comes to mind. But eating salmon can help, too.

Salmon is surprisingly high in vitamin D, a bone-strengthening mineral. A 3-ounce piece of cooked salmon provides more than 70 percent of your daily needs. It’s hard to meet your vitamin D through diet alone: Between 50 and 90 percent of our vitamin D needs are provided by the sun, according to a January 2010 study published in the International Journal of Health Sciences. So adding salmon to your weekly eating plan will help to ensure you’re getting enough.

6. Salmon Is Tied to Keeping Your Brain Sharp

Did you know our brains are about 60 percent fat? So it makes sense that eating high-quality fats, like omega-3s, can help support your overall brain health.

In fact, the MIND Diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), was developed to help prevent neurological decline. The diet provides weekly recommendations around specific foods like how many cups of berries to eat and how many servings of beans.

One of their recommendations is to eat at least one serving of seafood a week, with a focus on fatty fish like salmon, as outlined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

So How Much Salmon Should You Eat?

The AHA recommends eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish per week. While eating a variety of fish is healthy, salmon is especially great because of its omega-3 content. 

Another consideration when shopping is farmed-raised versus wild-caught salmon. There are pros and cons to both, but wild salmon wins when it comes to your health, per the Cleveland Clinic. If you’re concerned about the environment, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch offers recommendations for choosing the most environmentally-friendly type.

I’m not a big fish person but I’m definitely going to add salmon to my meal planning. How about y’all? Contact me if you want to crush your health and fitness goals. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

5 Booty-Building Mistakes Hindering Your Glute Growth Goals

By Bojana Galic

Updated February 6, 2020

Great glutes aren’t born great, they grow great. And if you’re training with a well-rounded glute routine, this musing probably rings true. But if you’re rushing your reps or neglecting your hip thrusts, you may not be growing the great glutes you’d like.

Before your next glute day, read about the five most common booty-building mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs!

1. You’re Doing Only One Glute Workout a Week

Training frequency and consistency play a huge role in muscle growth, says K. Aleisha Fetters, CSCS. If you’re only giving your glutes one day of training each week, you’re depriving them of the attention they need.

For optimal glute growth, incorporate glute-dominant exercises in your workout routine between three to five days each week, Fetters says. Instead of completely burning out your glutes on one day of training, spread your exercises across three to five.

Also, don’t forget to vary your exercises, reps, sets and tempo each day. This will help you target all the different parts of the muscle. Just make sure you’re performing the same exercises week to week, Fetters says. That way you can more easily track your progress.

2. You Rush Your Reps

Muscle burn isn’t comfortable but you don’t want to rush through your reps, Fetters says. Consider slowing down the eccentric part of an exercise (when your muscle elongates). This increases your glutes’ time under tension, which boosts glute activation and growth.

Generally, the eccentric portion of most leg exercises is where you lower the weight toward the ground. For example, in a squat, you’d lower down for a count of three, hold for one, then raise back up in one count. This helps you eliminate momentum to encourage more muscle growth.

This is also where your mind muscle-muscle connection is key, Fetters says. As you slow down your exercises, “make sure you’re actually feeling it in your glutes. If not, take the time to fiddle with your set-up and technique so that you feel maximal tension in your glutes.”

3. You’re Avoiding Glute Isolation Exercises

Given their application to everyday life and movement, it’s no shock functional exercises have become the forefront of strength training. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon isolation exercises completely.

Adding some isolation glute exercises to your leg or glute days will help you zero in on those muscles, Fetters says. Donkey kicks and fire hydrants are two moves that deserve a space in your regular glute routine.

Donkey Kicks

  1. Start on all fours (optional: loop a resistance band around your thighs above your knees).
  2. Keeping your knees bent and hips squared to the floor, lift one leg straight out behind you, your foot flexed like you were stamping your footprint on the ceiling.
  3. Lower back down to the start.

Fire Hydrants

  1. Start on all fours (optional: loop a resistance band around your thighs above your knees).
  2. Keeping your knees bent and hips squared to the floor, lift one knee out to the side like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant.
  3. Lower back down to the start.

For these exercises, you’ll want to use less resistance but perform more reps, like 12 to 15 reps per set. This makes them the perfect complement to the heavier compound movement exercises (squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts) you’re usually doing.

4. You’re Only Moving in One Direction

The exercises you’re probably doing most, like lunges, are in the same forward-and-back plane of motion. But if you want to develop all of your glute muscle fibers, especially in the glute medius and minimus, you need a larger range of movement.

Adding more lateral (side to side) and rotational movements will do the trick, Fetters says. Try lateral band walks or lateral lunges to your repertoire of glute exercises. These will be challenging because they’re not how you usually move, but you’ll see the results!

Lateral Band Walk

  1. Begin with a resistance band around your legs, placing it just above your knees.
  2. Start with your feet separated in order to keep tension on the band and maintain a long, tall spine by bracing your abs.
  3. Bend your knees in a quarter squat and keep your feet parallel to each other.
  4. Leading with your left heel, step to the side, stretching the band. Be sure to step with your whole leg without extending your lower leg below the knee.
  5. Remain in a partial squat as you step, then follow with your right foot, returning to the start position while keeping tension on the band.

Lateral Lunge

  1. Stand tall with both feet together.
  2. Step out to the left side a few feet and bend your left knee. Sit your butt back and don’t let your knee go past your toes.
  3. Press through your foot to return to standing.
  4. Do all reps on one leg before doing the same on the right side.

5. You’re Not Doing Hip Thrusts

There’s a reason the hip thrust gets unparalleled praise where glute growth is concerned. In comparison to the standard back squat, hip thrusts have been shown to promote more glute activation, according to a December 2015 study published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.

“Your glutes are the most powerful muscle group in your body,” Fetters says. “If you want to spur change, you need to give them a challenge.” Add a few sets of heavy hip thrusts to one of your glute days and you’ll see (and feel) the results.

Try these exercises to help aid you in your goals to get that perfect sexy butt. Contact me for help. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Trying to Lose Weight? Eat More of These 3 Things

By Kelly Plowe, MS, RDN

Updated February 8, 2020

The focus of weight loss typically is to eat less, but what if you focused on eating more?

A major concern with the way we eat today is that we’re filling up on a lot of foods that don’t serve us well (i.e. fast-food, ultra-processed foods, foods high in sugar and saturated fats), and are falling short on the foods that not only provide us with the nutrition we need (fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc.) but that can actually help with weight loss, too.

If you’re trying to lose weight (or just follow a more nutritious diet), here are three foods you should focus on getting in healthy amounts.


1. Whole Foods

Eating has become overly complicated. Take one look at the vast amount of food products on supermarket shelves and you’ll get a sense of why. The number of packaged goods — often overly processed and covered in marketing and nutritional claims: sugar-free, fat-free, gluten-free, keto-approved, and the list goes on — inundate us.

About 70 percent of our food and beverage supply is now considered ultra-processed, according to a July 2019 study published in Nutrients. This is concerning because research to date shows that consistently eating these types of foods is doing a number on our waistlines.

Observational studies (which show an association, not cause and effect) have found a connection between the increasing popularity of ultra-processed foods and the obesity epidemic. Researchers of a review paper published in December 2019 in Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology looked at the research and concluded that these foods are contributing to weight gain and decreased satiety (feelings of fullness).

A small clinical study (which shows cause and effect) published May 2019 in Cell Metabolism had similar findings. The researchers in this study broke subjects into two groups: an unprocessed-foods group and an ultra-processed-foods group. They found that despite subjects being allowed to eat as much or as little as they wanted, and meals being matched for calories and macros, the people in the unprocessed-food group naturally ate about 500 calories less each day.

So how do we eat more whole foods? Well, most foods, even some of the healthiest, are processed in some way — yogurt, oatmeal, chia seeds and so on. The issue here is ultra-processed foods — those that are high in sodium and saturated fat, have a lot of added sugars and/or have artificial additives like sweeteners and coloring.

Here are some tips on how to swap whole foods for ultra-processed foods:

  • Choose plain, unsweetened or lightly sweetened yogurt (with less than 7 grams of added sugar) instead of yogurt with artificial sweeteners, coloring or higher amounts of added sugars.
  • Aim to add whole fruits and/or vegetables to each meal. This will leave less room for more heavily processed foods.
  • Swap unsweetened iced tea or water with lemon for sugar-sweetened beverages like soda or other sweetened drinks.
  • Make your own salad dressing at home combining oil, balsamic vinegar, spices and dried herbs versus shelf-stable store-bought dressings, which typically have a laundry list of ingredients.
  • Batch cook old-fashioned oatmeal at the beginning of the week instead of relying on single-serve packets that might have added sugars and flavoring.

2. Fiber-Rich Foods

When we think of fiber, and eating more fiber, we typically think of how this nutrient helps keep us regular. But the truth is, the benefits of fiber go way beyond just digestion — aiding in weight loss is another boon.

Fiber is on the list of foods to eat to lose weight because fiber-filled foods are typically lower in calories and are nutrient-dense, like fruits and vegetables, making them weight-friendly. And when you’re eating more fibrous foods, you have less room for nutrient-poor foods that might be working against your weight-loss goals. Because fiber slows digestion and swells in your stomach (specifically soluble fiber), you feel fuller longer.

Adding more fiber to your diet is one of the easiest things you can do when trying to lose weight — but the key is to try to get your fiber from whole plant-based foods first, versus more processed foods with added fiber — although these will ultimately help with boosting your fiber intake too.

And this is something most of us can benefit from. About 95 percent of Americans fail to get enough fiber on a daily basis, according to a January 2017 report from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. A September 2014 USDA report reveals that, on average, we’re eating 16 grams of fiber per day. The recommended intake is 25 grams per day for women and 38 for men. As the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans outline, this shortfall is largely due to our lack of fruit, vegetable and whole-grain consumption.

So how do you get more fiber in your diet? Eat more weight-loss friendly foods: whole grains (like brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat bread and pasta), fruit and especially vegetables like asparagus, turnips, broccoli, artichokes, green peas and Brussels sprouts.

3. Lean Protein

Getting adequate amounts of protein is crucial when trying to lose weight and for myriad reasons, as outlined in a June 2015 paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. First, protein is the most satiating nutrient (compared to carbohydrates and fat), and has been shown to help decrease overall calorie intake throughout the day.

Dietary protein is also a good food to eat to lose weight because it requires more energy to digest — 20 to 30 percent of its usable energy is used for metabolism and storage — compared to 5 to 10 percent for carbs and zero to 3 percent for fat. Getting adequate amounts of protein also helps your body hold onto lean muscle tissue, which is more metabolically active, keeping your metabolism up (and your body burning calories).

How much protein do you need? A December 2019 review paper published in Advances in Nutrition found that for most of us, the Recommended Daily Allowance of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day is sufficient. But if you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, you want to increase your intake to 1.3 grams per kilogram per day (keeping in mind that a kilogram equals 2.2 pounds). This shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for most of us; we’re currently eating 1.1 grams per kilogram, the study notes.

To put that into perspective: A 180-pound person who’s trying to lose weight should get about 106 grams of protein a day.

If you’re looking to up your protein intake, here are some of the best sources: eggs, salmon, white fish, chicken breast, tofu, farro, tempeh and beans.

Here are some more tips on losing weight. If you need help in your weight loss goals contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

4 Types of Workouts That Help Women Burn More Fat at the Gym

By Kaitlin Condon

Updated December 30, 2019

Your time is valuable — especially at the gym. So if your goal is to burn body fat, you’ll need to be strategic about the kinds of workouts you do. The goods news, though, is that you don’t need a ton of time for these workouts. Even 30 minutes will boost your fat-loss efforts.

But keep in mind that when it comes to losing body fat, you diet matters just as much (if not more) than your workouts. That likely means reducing the number of calories you’re currently eating, so that you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.

While maintaining a proper diet can help you shave off excess calories, your body composition (ratio of fat to muscle) will change faster with the right fat-burning exercises for women. Hit the gym several times a week with a fitness regimen that combines cardio and strength training.

Tip

Start your workouts with strength training and finish with cardio or HIIT. Another option is to lift weights at least three times per week and do cardio or full-body circuits on separate days.

1. Cardio Machines

One of the best ways to blast away calories is through cardiovascular exercise. Cardio causes your heart rate to increase, which gets your heart pumping harder, your body sweating and calories burning. In fact, depending on your weight, workout intensity and the machine you choose, you can expect to burn between 250 and 750 calories in 30 minutes.

The treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike and stair stepper are among the best cardio machines at the gym. They allow you to alter the speed, as well as the resistance, during your workout, keeping your body challenged. Perform cardio exercise three to four times a week for 30 to 45 minutes to burn calories and shed excess body fat.

2. Weight-Lifting

While cardio exercise torches more calories during the workout than lifting weights does, building lean muscle mass helps you burn more calories in the long run. Lean muscle requires more energy (read: calories) to maintain, even when you’re not working out.

Plus, you’ll experience what’s called “the after-burn effect” (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC). High-intensity strength training increases resting energy expenditure for up to 24 hours after exercise, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise.

Lift weights at least three times a week using a combination of upper- and lower-body exercises to build lean muscle. In general, most women tend to store fat on their arms, legs and backside, so focus on these areas.

To work on your arms, perform exercises like the shoulder press, push-ups and triceps extension.

Move 1: Shoulder Press

  1. Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing out.
  2. Press the weights straight overhead without raising your shoulders or locking out your elbows.
  3. Lower back down to your shoulders.

Move 2: Push-Ups

  1. Start on all fours, hands under shoulders. Straighten your legs straight out behind you so that you’re in a high plank — your body forming a diagonal line from feet to head.
  2. Bend your elbows out at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your chest to the ground (or as far as your strength and mobility allow).
  3. Press back up to the start.

Move 3: Triceps Extension

  1. Hold either a dumbbell in each hand or one large dumbbell with both hands above your head.
  2. Lower the weights slowly behind your head.
  3. Press back up to the start without shrugging your shoulders or locking out your elbows.

When it comes to toning your lower body, look no further than the sumo squat, walking lunge and Bulgarian split squat.

Move 1: Sumo Squat

  1. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, feet pointed out slightly.
  2. Bend your knees and hinge your hips to lower your butt toward the ground, keeping your back straight and your knees tracking over your toes.
  3. Lower down as far as your strength and mobility will allow.
  4. Press back up to standing.

Move 2: Walking Lunge

  1. Stand tall, then take a step a few feet forward, bending both knees to 90 degrees.
  2. Press off your back foot and bring it to meet your front foot as you return to standing.
  3. Step forward again, but this time with the opposite leg.

Move 3: Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. Start in a split stance with one foot in front of the other. Place your back foot up on a weight bench or chair.
  2. Bend both knees to lower straight down. Your front knee should be bent to 90 degrees and your knee in line with your ankle.
  3. Drive through your feet to return to standing.

Thus, a fat-burning strength training workout for women might look like this:

  • Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes with light cardio and dynamic stretches. Then do:
  • 20 sumo squats
  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 Bulgarian split squats (10 each leg)
  • 10 shoulder presses
  • Repeat for 4 rounds.
  • Finish with 10 minutes on the step mill.
  • Cool down with 3 to 5 minutes of static stretching.

3. HIIT Workouts

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves short but intense bursts of activity followed by less-intense active recovery or rest. This type of workout helps promote weight loss and reduce belly fat in a shorter amount of time than steady-state cardio, according to a 2017 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

HIIT comes in many forms, but it’s easy to get started on cardio machines, such as the treadmill. For example, try this HIIT treadmill workout:

  • Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace.
  • Run at a challenging pace for one minute.
  • Jog or walk for two minutes.
  • Repeat this 3-minute block five times for a total of 15 minutes.
  • Cool down for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace.

HIIT workouts are supposed to be intense, so it’s best to work your way up with the number of intervals you are doing. Start with five, and as your fitness improves, increase workout duration and intensity.

4. Circuit Training

Circuit training is a combination of strength-training and cardio exercise, offering the best of both worlds. This makes it one of the best fat-burning workouts for women. According to a 2017 research paper featured in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, high-intensity circuit training improves body composition aka muscle-to-fat ratio while increasing overall strength.

A typical training session involves different strength-training exercises for each muscle group; you move quickly from one exercise to another, which keeps your heart rate elevated and the calories burning.

Instead of resting after a strength-training circuit, you can also perform cardio exercises in between, such as jumping jacks and jump rope to ramp up your overall calorie burn.

Fat-Loss Workout Gym Plan

Now that you have the workouts that will help you burn fat at the gym, remember that consistency is the key. Create a workout plan, clean up your diet and set clear goals. Exercise three to five times per week to fully reap the benefits.

Beware that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss. Experiment with different fat-burning exercises for women and keep your workouts diverse. Track your results and adjust your gym plan accordingly. For example, if you’re having trouble losing those last few pounds, add HIIT to the mix.

Hello ladies!!! Try these exercise tips to help you reach your weight loss goals. Contact me for all your health and fitness needs. I also give supplementation recommendations. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Exercising Video

Demonstrating Seated Leg Press

Hello everyone. I’m a certified personal trainer. In the video above I’m demonstrating the seated leg press exercise at planet fitness. I’m an up and coming personal trainer just trying to get my name out there. My main goal is to help as many people as I can reach their health and fitness goals.

I specialize in fitness program design, weight loss, muscle tone, strength training, flexibility training. I’m also a distributor for DotFIT supplements and I’m also a certified Group Fitness Personal Trainer Specialist. So if you’re wanting to reach your health and fitness fitness goals please contact me.

You can visit my website www.fitguy46personaltraining.com. Follow me for further information and tips on health and fitness. Make it a great day!!!

Thanks,

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

By Philip “FitGuy46

Weight Loss & Muscle Tone

I’m dedicated to getting results. I specialize in fitness assessments, program design, weight loss, muscle tone, and supplements. So if you are in need of a personal trainer that can get you results and help you reach your health and fitness goals contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Want to Lose Weight? Here’s How Much Water You Should Be Drinking

By Bojana Galic

Updated June 28, 2019

While water won’t burn any extra calories, drinking lots of good old H2O may be beneficial on your weight-loss journey because it can help you better identify when you’re full and provide the hydration you need to power through fat-burning exercise.

Maybe you’ve heard that 3 liters a day is the magic amount when you’re trying to drop pounds. Well, here’s what you need to know when it comes to hydration recommendations, plus tips to help you reach your ideal amount.

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Even if you don’t feel thirsty, you might be shorting yourself when it comes to your daily water intake.

It may seem like a lot of H2O, but the minimum daily requirement is 3.7 liters (about 15 cups) for men and 2.7 liters (about 11 cups) for women, according to 2004 research by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which is still the standard referenced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, keep in mind that this total should include your intake from water as well as other beverages and food.

Something else to know: How much you personally need will vary based on factors like your activity level, environment and overall health, according to the Mayo Clinic.

  • Activity Level: If you’re an athlete or regularly breaking a sweat in the gym, you need to hydrate even more to cover your fluid loss. For those who exercise more than an hour per day, it’s advised to replenish your minerals and electrolytes with a sports drink or tablet.
  • Environment: If you live in a hot climate, you may also need more water than those living in more temperate or mild areas.
  • Diet: Your eating habits can also affect how much liquid you need to drink. Those who consume more water-rich fruits and vegetables may not need to fill their cup quite as much in order to stay hydrated.

Hit Your Daily Water Goal

Drinking water is an important component of any plan for fat loss because it helps fuel your workouts and flush toxins from your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. When you exercise and sweat, your body naturally loses the fluids it needs to keep you working. This is why hydrating before, during and after workouts is crucial.

Drinking adequate amounts of water during meals can also help you feel full sooner, preventing you from overeating, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

There are several practices you can introduce into your day-to-day to make sure you stay properly hydrated:

  1. Keep a water bottle close at hand and refill as needed throughout the day, keeping a tally as you go.
  2. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, like watermelon and leafy greens, to up your overall water intake.
  3. Pay attention to your thirst, and keep in mind that thirst can sometimes feel like hunger. In fact, according to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, about 37 percent of people mistake the two. So, when hunger pangs strike, especially when it’s not mealtime, see if a glass of water satisfies before you reach for a snack.

So stay hydrated my friends!!! As always, if you have any questions or need any help contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

6 of the Best Ab Exercises You’re Not Doing (But Totally Should Be)

By Henry Halse

Updated March 3, 2020

Regardless of what type of training you do, repeating the same workouts over and overcan become boring very quickly. Not to mention, your progress will stall. But by varying your workouts, you’re more likely to stick with your regimen over time, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Take your ab workouts, for example. There are a lot of great ab exercises out there, but a lot of them tend to be robotic and monotonous. Like the sit-up: You roll up then lower down, only moving in one (not very functional) direction.

But your ab muscles are incredibly dynamic. And if you’re stuck doing crunches and planks on loop, you’re missing out on the ab-sculpting (and boredom-busting) benefits of these other exercises — some of which you may never have even heard of!

1. Dead Bug

The dead bug exercise — despite its odd name — requires balance, coordination and lots of ab strength. It not only works your rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle), it also works the obliques and transverse abdominis, according to an April 2015 study published in the Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences.

  1. Lie on the floor on your back with both arms reaching up toward the ceiling. Lift your feet off the ground so your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Slowly and with control, extend your right arm over your head and extend your left leg out straight. Lower your limbs as far as you can while keeping the lower back on the ground.
  3. Exhale as you return to the starting position, then repeat with the left arm and right leg.

2. Bird Dog

Another exercise with weird name but serious ab-strengthening benefits, the bird dog exercise doesn’t just work your abs; it targets your obliques, glutes, hamstrings and back, according to a November 2013 report in Sports Health.

  1. Start on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. On an exhale, reach your right arm straight out in front of you. At the same time, kick your left leg straight back.
  3. Return your arm and leg to the starting position.
  4. Switch sides, reaching your left arm out in front and kicking your right leg back.

3. The Kettlebell Drag Plank

You already know planks are great for building core strength, stability and balance. But just holding the position for 30 to 60 seconds seems like you’re there forever. Add a cross-body kettlebell drag to target more of your obliques.

  1. Begin in a forearm plank, elbows directly below your shoulders, and toes, hips and head in a straight line. Position your feet wider than hip distance to form a stable base, and keep your hips low.
  2. Place the kettlebell just behind your right hand.
  3. Engaging the glutes, low back and abdominal muscles, reach the left arm across the chest to grab the kettlebell, dragging it on its side by the handle under your body.
  4. Pause when the kettlebell is just behind the left hand, stacked below the shoulder.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Captain’s Chair

If you’ve never incorporated the captain’s chair at your gym into your ab workout, now is the time to start. In 2011 research from ACE, it was named the second most effective exercise for your rectus abdominis and the most effective for your obliques.

  1. Climb up into the chair with your back pressed against the backrest, arms and elbows on the armrests (to support your body weight), hands gripping the handles and legs extended straight down.
  2. From there, pull your knees up toward your chest, engaging your abdominal muscles in the process.
  3. To finish the move, extend your legs back to the starting position and repeat.

5. Dumbbell Pullover Crunch

No captain’s chair? Try this move instead. It’s a combination of a leg raise and crunch to work the upper and lower region of your abs.

  1. Holding a dumbbell against your chest, lie down on a bench. Raise your legs in the air with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Grip the dumbbell with two hands under the weight, instead of the handle. 
  2. Press the dumbbell up toward the ceiling until your elbows are locked out and the dumbbell is over your chest. Reach your arms backward with the dumbbell in your hands until your arms are parallel with the floor. 
  3. While lowering your arms, lower and straighten out your legs until they’re parallel to the ground. 
  4. Raise them back toward the starting position. 
  5. Perform a crunch by rolling your hips back until your butt is off the bench. At the same time, roll your shoulders, head and neck off of the bench.
  6. Lower back to the start and repeat.

6. Side Plank Knee Crunch

This exercise will challenge every muscle on the side of your torso, from your shoulders to your hips. According to a September 2011 study in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, the side plank is also one of the best exercises out there for your gluteus medius on the side of your butt.

  1. Start in a side plank on your right side with your right hand under your right shoulder and your feet stacked on top of each other with your left foot on top. Your left arm should be raised straight up toward the ceiling.
  2. Lift your right foot and bend your right knee to bring it up as your bring your right elbow down to meet it. Use your obliques on your right side to crunch your top elbow and knee toward each other.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Try out these 6 ab exercises and let me know how they work for you. If you have any questions or need any help contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

The Optimal Squat Depth for Glute Gains, Explained

By Bojana Galic

Updated March 4, 2020

Squats are a must-have staple in any leg-day routine. But since they mostly rely on your quads, you may need to tweak how you do them in order to target your glutes more. So how low can (or should) you go?

For maximum booty gains, your squat depth matters, and you may not be squatting low enough. Deep squats are optimal for growing and strengthening your glute muscles. But before you start dropping it low, make sure your form and mobility are on par.

Start Squatting for Lower-Body Strength

Whether you want to strengthen your glutes, quads or hamstrings, squats have you covered. But the benefits don’t stop there. Squats are a fundamental movement pattern that can help you stay injury-free as you perform day-to-day tasks, according to the American Council on Exercise. Just make sure you nail your basic squat before squatting super low.

Body-Weight Squat

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out, hands at your sides.
  2. Keeping your core tight and back neutral, shift your weight into your heels and push your hips back behind you.
  3. Keep your chest up as you bend at the knees and lower your hips toward the ground.
  4. Lower until you reach about 90 degrees or slightly below while maintaining a flat back. Keep your knees pressing slightly out to avoid caving in.
  5. Pause for a moment, then press into your heels, push your hips forward and return to standing.

Then Drop It Low for Glute Gains

After a few squat sessions, you’ll realize the deeper you squat, the harder it is to get back up. Although they’re more challenging, deep squats (squatting below 90 degrees) will actually lead to more muscle and strength gain, says Noam Tamir, CSCS, owner and founder of TS Fitness.

“The lower you go, the more strength you can gain,” says Tamir. “It does require more stability, mobility and skill, so there is an increased chance for injury.” To stay injury-free, follow Tamir’s tips below.

Deep Squat

  1. Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing out slightly. 
  2. Bracing your core, push your hips back behind you and shift your weight into your heels.
  3. Keeping a flat back, bend at the knees and lower your hips toward the ground. 
  4. With your chest up, lower until your glutes hover a few inches above the ground. 
  5. Push your knees out and keep your back flat. 
  6. Press into your heels and, keeping a neutral spine, return to standing. 

Tip

Only squat as low as you can go while maintaining good form, Tamir says. If you begin to feel any pain, you should limit your range of motion and stop your squats a little higher.

If you don’t quite have the range of motion required for a deep squat, even getting to 90 degrees (or just slightly below) will still boost muscle gain, Tamir says. This depth isn’t quite as affective as the deep squat, but it requires less stability, mobility and skill to perform, meaning there’s a lower risk of injury.

If you can’t squat to 90 degrees, though, you’re probably not gaining much strength or size in your glutes (or the other muscles in your lower body), Tamir says. In that case, you’ll want to focus on building your mobility and improving your form (see below for some mobility moves).

Now Improve Your Deep Squat

To stay injury-free, your form is top priority as you play with different squat depths. Keep your spine neutral at all times and avoid rounding your back, Tamir says. If you’re unable to keep a neutral spine, lower the weight you’re lifting or work on your ankle and hip mobility to get into proper position.

Avoid bouncing at the bottom of your squat, no matter how low you go. This little cheat may help you stand up more easily, but it also puts stress on your joints, especially the knees. Bouncing also takes the work away from your muscles, limiting your strength gain. Instead, keep the entire motion controlled.

Knees caving in is another common mistake Tamir sees with deep squats. This can happen if your glutes are weak or if your feet pronate (roll inward). Imagine you’re corkscrewing your feet into the floor, he says. This will help lift the arches and activate your glutes.

Deep Prayer Squat

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. 
  2. Push your hips back and lower into a squat, bending at your knees. 
  3. Tuck your pelvis and squat as low to the ground as possible, keeping your feet rooted into the ground.
  4. Bring your hands to prayer position in front of your chest and press your elbows into your inner thighs to open up the hips. 
  5. Hold here for 20 to 30 seconds before returning to standing. 

Child’s Pose With Thoracic Spine Rotation

  1. Kneel on the ground on your hands and knees.
  2. Sit your hips back toward your heels and, with your feet tucked, rest your butt on your heels.
  3. Stretch your arms out in front of your body along the floor.
  4. Bring your right hand behind your head, bending at the elbow.
  5. Holding the rest of your body still, raise your elbow up toward the ceiling, rotating slightly.
  6. Pause for a moment, then lower your elbow back down to head height.
  7. Perform this movement several times, then repeat on the other side.

So for maximal booty gains work on squatting deeper. Follow these tips for a nice development of the booty. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Want to Lose Fat Without Losing Muscle? Here’s How to Get Lean

By Nick Tumminello

Updated March 4, 2020

Looking to get lean and show off your hard work? To make those muscles pop, you need a lower body fat percentage while preserving that hard-earned muscle mass.

But here’s the hard part: Muscle is high-maintenance and requires a specific type of diet, training and recovery plan to preserve, especially if you’re looking to lose body fat at the same time. That means you need to cut your calories slowly, spend some extra time in the weight room and make sleep a high priority.

Cut Your Calories… Slowly

In order to drop excess body fat, you need a caloric deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than you burns each day, according to the Mayo Clinic. While you can cut as many as 500 to 1,000 calories a day to lose weight safely, you need to ease into your deficit in order to keep as much muscle mass as possible.

After testing two different weight-loss regimens, researchers of an April 2011 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolismfound that athletes on a slower weight-loss plan lost more fat and actually gained muscle mass during the trial.

On the other hand, those who followed a faster weight-loss regimen did lose fat but gained no muscle mass. Researchers concluded that a weight loss of 0.7 percent per week was optimal for those looking to lose fat but keep (or gain) muscle.

A 2014 review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritioncame to a similar conclusion. A weight-loss rate between 0.5 to 1 percent body weight each week helped athletes keep the most muscle while maximizing fat loss.

The amount of protein you eat also affect your muscle maintenance. Each day, eating between 2.3 to 3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal, according to the above-mentioned review. For a 150-pound adult, that means consuming between 156 and 210 grams of protein each day.

Healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado should make up between 15 to 30 percent of your daily calories, according to that same review. Then, the remainder of your daily calories can come from carbohydrates.

Focus on Strength Training and HIIT

If you want to lose fat and keep your muscle, you’ll need to combine your nutritional efforts with consistent resistance training, according to a January 2018 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. After a small group of people were assigned to either follow a diet, resistance program or both, researchers found that those who followed both programs experienced the best results.

The type of exercise you do makes a difference, too. Strength training helps your body retain more muscle mass than cardio while you’re in a calorie deficit, according to an October 2017 study published in Obesity.

For the best results, base your workout regimen around strength training and consider including compound movements (ones that involve more than one joint) like the chest press and deadlifts to target several muscles at once.

While a majority of your weekly workouts should take place in the weight room, cardio is still important for your heart health. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is great for burning calories quickly and may also help you maintain muscle while you’re losing fat, according to a June 2012 study published in the Journal of Obesity.

HIIT involves alternating between short intervals of high-intensity work and rest or active recovery, spiking your heart rate and revving your metabolism.

Prioritize Quality Sleep

Your recovery regimen is just as important as your exercise and diet, especially if you want to keep as much muscle mass as possible. Even one hour lost sleep can cause your body to lose less fat when on a calorie deficit, according to a February 2018 study published in Sleep.

While you sleep, your body produces human growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth, according to the National Sleep Foundation. During this time, your body also increases blood flow to the muscles, which helps repair damaged tissues post-workout.

Sleep demands vary from person to person, but you should try and get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night on a consistent basis.

Prioritize Quality Sleep

Your recovery regimen is just as important as your exercise and diet, especially if you want to keep as much muscle mass as possible. Even one hour lost sleep can cause your body to lose less fat when on a calorie deficit, according to a February 2018 study published in Sleep.

While you sleep, your body produces human growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth, according to the National Sleep Foundation. During this time, your body also increases blood flow to the muscles, which helps repair damaged tissues post-workout.

Sleep demands vary from person to person, but you should try and get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night on a consistent basis.

Here’s an article to help you with fat loss without losing muscle. If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Build Your Best Butt With This 20-Minute Dumbbell Workout

By Jaime Osnato

September 29, 2019

Odds are you use dumbbells for your upper-body workouts, but they’re also super handy for lower-body moves, too. Sure, doing squats and lunges with your body weight is an easy and effective way to target your glutes, but adding dumbbells into the mix challenges your body in new ways and ramps up the intensity.

The result? You’ll get stronger over time and build leaner, meaner glutes (hello, booty gains!). Ready to whip that butt into shape? Here’s a quick dumbbell workout that’ll set your cheeks on fire.

Try This 20-Minute Dumbbell Butt Workout

This booty-building workout — designed by Geoff Tripp, CSCS, certified personal trainer and head of fitness at Trainiac —is guaranteed to sculpt your buns whether you’re a beginner or an advanced exerciser.

Start with a set of medium-weight dumbbells and increase the weight as you grow stronger.

Warm-Up

Do: Three to five minutes of dynamic stretchesto loosen up your legs and hips.

The Workout

Do: Each of the following exercises for 10 reps per side (as indicated). Repeat the circuit two times total, resting 30 seconds in between each move and 60 seconds in between rounds.

  • Single-leg glute bridge
  • Front squat to press
  • Sumo stance deadlift
  • Split squat
  • Single-leg Romanian deadlift
  • Lateral lunge
  • Single-leg hip thruster

Move 1: Dumbbell Single-Leg Glute Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees.
  2. Place one dumbbell over the hip bone of your right leg. Lift the left leg off the ground.
  3. Drive through your heel to lift your hips up into a glute bridge and squeeze your glutes at the top.
  4. Slowly lower your hips to the ground.
  5. Continue for 10 reps and repeat on opposite leg.

Move 2: Front Squat to Press

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest them on the tops of your shoulders with your palms facing in.
  2. Slowly bend your knees and sit back into a squat position.
  3. Push through your heels and drive out of your squat into a standing position as you press the weights overhead.
  4. Lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders.

Move 3: Dumbbell Sumo Stance Deadlift

  1. Stand with your feet several feet apart and toes turned out slightly. Hold a dumbbell (your heaviest) in each hand between your legs.
  2. Hinge forward at your hips and slightly bend your knees to lower the weight toward the floor.
  3. Keep your back flat and drive through your feet to lift the weight.
  4. Stand up tall and extend your hips as you squeeze your glutes.

Move 4: Dumbbell Split Squat

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step one leg back (about two feet) into a lunge position. 
  2. Place equal pressure on both feet and slowly lower, bending until your back knee and front knee are at 90 degrees. 
  3. Drive through the ball of your back foot and the heel of your front foot to stand.
  4. Continue for 10 reps and repeat on opposite leg.

Move 5: Dumbbell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

  1. Stand with your feet together, holding a light to medium weight in each hand at your sides.
  2. Shift your weight onto one leg while keeping a slight bend in your knee.
  3. Keep your back flat and dumbbells close to your body as you hinge forward on your working leg.
  4. Raise your other leg behind you and keep it straight.
  5. Lower the weights toward the ground, maintaining a flat back.
  6. Once your body is parallel with the floor, drive through your working leg using your glute and hamstring to stand back up.
  7. Continue for 10 reps and repeat on opposite leg.

Move 6: Dumbbell Lateral Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet together, holding a weight in each hand at your sides.
  2. Take a large step to one side. Bend your knee and push your hips back as you lower into a side lunge. Make sure both feet point straight ahead.
  3. Drive off your bent leg and return to the starting position.
  4. Continue for 10 reps, then repeat on opposite leg.

Move 7: Dumbbell Single Leg Hip Thruster

  1. Sit on the ground with your back to a bench. Place one heavy dumbbell in your lap and hold it in place.
  2. Keep your gaze on your knees and pick your hips up off the ground, so your upper back is resting on the bench (you may need to walk your feet forward slightly). 
  3. Lift one leg and shift your weight onto your working leg.
  4. Slowly lower your hips to the ground, then drive through your heel, using your glutes to lift yourself up.
  5. Continue for 10 reps, then repeat on opposite leg.

Cooldown

Do: Five to 10 minutes of walking and static stretches, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

Try this best butt exercises and let me know how it works for you. Contact me if you have any questions. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

9 Weight-Lifting Myths It’s Time to Stop Believing

By Jaime Osnato

Updated January 24, 2020

Do you avoid the weight rack for fear of getting too bulky? Skip strength training because you think cardio is the best way to drop pounds? If you answered yes to either question, you’re probably acting on faulty assumptions.

Whether your aim is look better in the buff, develop strength or increase overall endurance, working out with weights can help you reach your goals. Not to mention lifting builds stronger bones and protects you from injury as you age. So, don’t let rumors hold you back from reaping all the amazing health benefits of pumping iron.

Here, fitness experts break down the nine most common weight-lifting myths to help you separate fact from fiction and take your fitness game to the next level.

Myth 1: Lifting Heavy Will Make You Bulky

Worried that lifting heavy will make you look like the Hulk? A lot of women avoid grabbing the heavier set of dumbbells for fear of becoming too muscular. But even though “men and women build muscle similarly with training, men have greater base levels of muscle mass,” says K. Aleisha Fetters, CSCS, fitness writer, trainer and coach.

That means if a man and a woman both boost their lean muscle mass by 10 percent, the increase will always appear greater on the man since he started with a larger amount.

What’s more, building muscle is a slow process that requires strategy. “You don’t get bulky by accident,” Fetters says. “It’s important to realize how much time and effort it takes to really build discernible size. Looking like a bodybuilder takes years of dedicated work with exercise and nutrition plans that are specific to that goal.”

Myth 2: If You Don’t Feel Sore After Lifting, It’s Not Working

Many lifters judge whether they’ve had a good workout based on how sore they feel. “Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the muscle ache you feel following intense exercise,” says IPE Natural Pro 3x Champion, Master World Champion and ISSA certified personal trainer, Michael Wittig. It’s your body’s inflammatory response to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers.

But how much you hurt post-workout isn’t always indicative of a successful sweat session. “DOMS doesn’t necessarily signal that a workout is somehow more effective or beneficial,” Fetters says. “Rather, DOMS tends to occur most often when performing new movements and/or eccentric exercises.”

DOMS happens when your muscles are subjected to a new kind of stress. But in time, your muscles will eventually adapt, and the soreness frequency and intensity will decrease. In fact, if you lift to the point where your body always aches, you may be undermining your progress.

“If you’re sore all the time, you probably aren’t doing something right,” says Morit Summers, CPT, creator of Brooklyn-based training studio Form Fitness. “You might be changing things up too often, not sleeping enough or not eating properly.”

Plus, “if you feel super sore, you’re more apt to skip that day’s workout, or, if you do work out, to dial back on your intensity,” Fetters says. Moral of the story? “You’ll get more benefits from exercising regularly with less DOMS than by destroying yourself in every workout.”

Myth 3: Lifting Burns Fewer Calories Than Cardio

Anyone who’s ever done Bulgarian split squats holding a challenging weight has felt their heart hammer against their chest. Like cardio-based workouts, lifting can elevate your heart rate and torch calories. But what type of exercise burns more — traditional cardio like running or weight training?

“In the end, it’s the intensity of the workout and the time performing it that are going to make the biggest determinations of how many calories you will burn, both during your workout and afterward as your body recovers,” Fetters says. In other words, it depends. Some cardio sessions may burn more calories than some lifting routines and vice versa.

That said, lifting does have a small edge on cardio when it comes to post-workout calorie burning, Fetters says. That’s because, unlike cardio, strength-based workouts increase your lean muscle mass, which burns calories even when your body is at rest.

Plus, resistance training with heavy loads can boost your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, according to the American Council On Exercise (ACE). This simply means that your metabolism continues to rev even after you’ve left the gym.

Want to really optimize your calorie burn? Structure your resistance workouts in a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) format, and you can incinerate a tremendous number of calories in a short period of time, says Wittig, who adds even training this way for 10 minutes can be extremely effective.

Myth 4: Light Weights With High Reps Is the Best Way to Tone

Cranking out a bunch of reps with light weight is one way to “tone,” but it’s not the only — or even the top — strategy to achieve results. “What most people refer to as muscle ‘toning’ is just muscle building, generally while also losing fat,” Fetters says.

While you can develop muscle with any rep scheme by training to fatigue (meaning you can’t perform another rep), it might take a whole lot of reps (and time) to max out your muscles — and stimulate muscle growth — with a 3-pound dumbbell.

That’s why light weights and high reps are generally best for enhancing your muscular endurance, Fetters says. Conversely, doing fewer reps (say, 3 to 6) with a heavier load is more likely to lead to gains in muscular strength, per ACE.

That said, lifting moderate weight for 15 to 20 reps, when combined with short rest periods, can cause a calorie-burning aerobic effect, which can help you simultaneously burn fat and increase your lean muscle mass, Wittig says.

Myth 5: You’ll See Instant Results

Think you’ll bench press for a week, and poof! you’ll have perfect pecs? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. “You don’t expect kids to grow a foot overnight or your hair to grow 6 inches in a day, so why would you expect your muscle and fat cells to alter instantly?” Fetters says.

“There is no magic pill for instant results,” Summers says. “There’s only hard work and effort. No matter what your fitness goal is, it will take time, and if you are willing to trust the process and enjoy it, the results will come.”

So, how long will it take to see some progress? Building muscle — and losing body fat — in a healthy way is not a quick process, Wittig says, adding that it takes even longer depending on your gender and age. If your objective is to drop a pants size, aim to lose no more than two pounds a week.

And, according to Wittig, slow and steady is the key. If you try to speed up the process by under-eating or following a crash diet, you’re only sabotaging your goals. Indeed, drastically restricting your food intake may actually impede your metabolism and result in muscle loss.

Myth 6: You Need A Gym to Lift

No gym membership? No problem. “You don’t need a fully equipped gym to get some serious fitness results,” Wittig says. “A lot of progress can be made at home, or anywhere, using just body weight.”

“And just because an exercise is performed at home doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Fetters says. Not convinced simple body-weight moves can kick your butt? Attempt some handstand push-ups or pistol squats. Enough said.

Even if you want to build a small home gym, you don’t need fancy, expensive equipment. All you need to develop muscle and strength are some simple, affordable tools like adjustable weights and resistance bands, Fetters says.

Myth 7: Lifting Weights Will Stunt Your Growth

Read our lips: Lifting weights will not halt your growth or make you short and stumpy. All in all, “the length of our bones, and ultimately our height, is based on genetics. So, if you are shorter than you would like to be, the blame goes to your parents,” Wittig says.

In fact, weight-lifting may actually produce the opposite effect — though minimal — on your stature. “Sometimes when you start lifting, your posture improves, which can make you look taller,” Summers says.

What’s more, “building strength in the muscles that support your spine can help prevent you from developing a forward hunch and standing shorter as you age,” says Fetters, adding that “improving spinal health through lifting helps keep the discs intact — and deliver nutrients to them — which could make a slight difference in height in one’s later years.”

Myth 8: Lifting Weights Will Make You Lose/Gain Weight

You can lift to lose or gain weight: It all depends on what your goal is and how many calories you’re eating, Summers says.

“To shed pounds, presumably body fat and not muscle, a person would need to consume fewer calories than exerted,” says Wittig. Weight training while eating in a calorie deficit can help you retain lean muscle mass, which will aid the fat-burning process and slightly increase your basal metabolic rate.

Conversely, if your aim is to add mass and build lean muscle (i.e., to gain weight), you would need to combine a progressive lifting program with a high protein, moderate- to high-carb calorie surplus, Wittig says.

But what if you want to lose fat and develop lean muscle at the same time? That’s achievable too, Fetters says. “If you maintain only a very slight caloric deficit while increasing protein when following a lifting plan, it’s possible to lose weight from fat while gaining weight from muscle.”

Myth 9: Lifting Weights Burns Belly Fat

Hate to break it to you, but you can’t spot reduce, i.e., target fat loss in a specific area of your body. Sadly, 1,000 crunches or side bends a day won’t get you any closer to blasting belly fat.

That’s because doing an exercise aimed at your abs won’t do you much good when it comes to increasing your overall fitness level, strength and energy expenditure, per ACE. And, these three factors, not small muscle fatigue, is what determines how well your body can burn fat.

“Body fat is best reduced by the combination of eating in a clean calorie deficit, resistance training, which builds lean muscle, and in turn, helps the body burn fat more efficiently, and cardio, which burns additional calories and improves general heart health,” Wittig says.

“That said, research shows that minute per minute, strength training can be more effective at reducing abdominal/visceral fat compared to cardio,” Fetters says. Again, that’s likely due to weight-lifting’s superior ability to build lean, fat-burning muscle mass, which boosts your basal metabolic rate and overall metabolic health.

So, even though you can’t lift to lose belly fat specifically, weight training certainly plays a powerful part when it comes to winning the battle of the bulge.

There’s way too many myths out there. That’s why so many people give up after following myths because they aren’t seeing any results. So if you’re struggling with weight loss or muscle gain contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

The Best Pre-Workout Foods and Snacks to Eat, According to Dietitians

By Kim Conte

Updated November 27, 2019

Whether you like to exercise first thing in the morning or prefer to hit the gym later in the day, your energy levels and performance depend a lot on what you eat before your workout.

Consider these eating tips to choose the optimal pre-workout foods and snacks to get the most out of your training session.

Include Carbs and Protein in Your Pre-Workout Meal

Carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats all provide the fuel needed for energy, but carbs, in particular, are the body’s preferred fuel source for almost every type of exercise, Kristen Arnold, RDN, CSSD, a sports dietitian and cycling coach based in Fort Collins, Colorado, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

In fact, without carbs, the body must rely on stored calories in the form of fat and glycogen (aka, carbs stored in muscles and the liver, providing energy). If these stored calories are depleted and no carbs are available from food, your performance may decline.

That’s why Arnold recommends eating a meal rich in complex carbohydrates and lean protein three hours before a workout. Complex carbs are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains and contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Per the National Institute of Health, these include:

  • Fruits
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Peas
  • Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes
  • Sprouted bread

Protein is not the body’s chief supplier of energy, but it does contribute to satiety and is important for muscle recovery and growth. Angie Asche, RD, CSSD, a sports dietitian and owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition, LLC., tells LIVESTRONG.com. She recommends eating a pre-workout meal with at least 20 grams of protein along with 60 to 80 grams of carbohydrates.

Lean protein is made up of amino acids and sources include:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean, grass-fed beef
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Eggs

Then, 30 to 45 minutes prior your workout, Arnold suggests eating a snack rich in simple carbs — carbs that break down quickly — such as fruits, starchy vegetables and dairy. “When adequately fueled with carbohydrates, the body will perform to its fullest potential, burn more calories and contribute to steady energy throughout the rest of the day,” Arnold says.

What About Fat?

Healthy fats also play a role in performance by helping your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and provide fuel for endurance exercise, such as running and long-distance biking, according to the Colorado State University Extension.

Sources of healthy fats include:

  • Nuts 
  • Nut butter
  • Seeds
  • Avocadoes

Just be sure to keep fat to a minimum the closer you get to a workout since it takes the longest to digest. “Too much fat immediately before a workout could lead to GI distress such as bloating, gas and stomach cramping,” Asche says. The same thing goes for fiber, too — no one wants to get a pesky side stitch minutes into a hard training session.

Pre-Workout Snack Combinations

Both Arnold and Asche recommend eating a pre-workout snack containing plenty of carbohydrates and protein and small amounts of fat about 30 to 60 minutes before working out to have a quick source of fuel to the bloodstream.

Some of their favorite pre-workout snack combos include:

  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread with peanut or almond butter, sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A half-cup Greek yogurt with a quarter-cup granola and a large handful of fresh berries
  • 1 energy bar that contains whole-food carbohydrate sources (like oats and dates) such as GoMacroor LäraBar

Stay Hydrated

Because dehydration can lead to fatigue and a loss of coordination, pre-workout hydration is as equally important as pre-workout nutrition.

“I recommend drinking 20 ounces of water during meals,” Arnold says. “The electrolytes in the food help to hydrate the body’s cells and the fluid helps to digest the food.” Before your workout, drink 8 ounces 20 to 30 minutes prior to workout; then, while exercising, aim to drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes, according to the American Council on Exercise.

So be sure to get your pre-workout meal/ snack in for energy to crush your workout, and always remember to stay hydrated! If you have any questions or need any tips, don’t hesitate to contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

5-Minute Glute Activation Routine to Always Do Before a Butt Workout

By Jaime Osnato Updated January 26, 2020

If you’re not seeing booty gains in the gym, your muscles may not be activating at their full potential during your workouts. Before you begin busting out squats, start with some glute-activation exercises.

These moves help “switch on” on the muscles in your bum and “improve the conversation between your brain, nerves and muscular contractions,” says Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift To Get Lean and creator of The GLUTES Project ACTIVATE.

“In order to get the benefits from any exercise, your muscles must be firing,” says Perkins, explaining, “The only real way to do that is to perform certain movement patterns that thoroughly activate the muscle group.”

Why Glute Activation Is So Important

Waking up your butt and leg muscles pre-workout is especially essential since so many people spend most of the day sitting — at desks, on couches or in the car — which can make our glutes groggy, lazy and weak. After being inactive for hours on end, you can’t expect your muscles to spring into action; your body needs time to prepare for strenuous strength exercises.

“Doing a pre-workout activation series helps make every rep of your strength-training routine effective, even during the first set,” Perkins says. “Alternatively, if you begin your workout ‘cold’ (without activating), your first set becomes your warm-up, and, in essence, a waste.”

Not only will you reap the maximal benefits during strength training, but “activation exercises also improve your mobility and body alignment, reducing the risk of injury,” Perkins says.

Try This 5-Minute Glute-Activation Routine

Ready to get your backside burning? This 5-minute glute-activation routine features three of Perkins’ favorites moves from her ACTIVATE series. Perform this sequence immediately prior to lower-body strength and conditioning workouts or as a stand-alone mini workout when you’re pressed for time.

Set a timer for five minutes (or more if your body needs it) and repeat these three moves in sequence until time’s up.

Move 1: Banded Lateral Walk

  1. Begin with a resistance band around your legs, placing it just above your knees.
  2. Start with your feet separated in order to keep tension on the band and maintain a long, tall spine by bracing your abs.
  3. Bend your knees in a quarter squat and keep your feet parallel to each other.
  4. Leading with your left heel, step to the side, stretching the band. Be sure to step with your whole leg without extending your lower leg below the knee.
  5. Remain in a partial squat as you step, then follow with your right foot, returning to the start position while keeping tension on the band.

Reps: 15 in each direction

Move 2: Hip Thrust

  1. Sit on the floor with your shoulder blades pressed into a bench (even a sturdy couch or chair will do).
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and turn your toes out slightly.
  3. Brace your core, drive into your heels and press your hips up. Rotate your pelvis under (posterior tilt) and squeeze your glutes, ending with your hips locked in a fully opened position. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.
  4. Press your knees outward, then pause at the top for a few seconds before lowering back down to the starting position.

Reps: 15 to 20

Tip

For an added challenge, loop a resistance band just above your knees.

Move 3: Single-Leg Reach

  1. Stand with both feet together, a long tall spine and your core braced.
  2. Keep a slight bend in your left knee and focus your eyes on a spot in front of you. (This is called “spotting” and helps maintain balance.)
  3. Lift your right foot off the ground and settle into your balance for a few seconds. Using the strength of your left leg, bend forward from the hip allowing your right leg to extend backward.
  4. Reach your right hand forward and lightly touch a stable object (optional).
  5. Drive into your left heel, activating the left side of your glutes, and return to the standing position.

Reps: 15 on each side

So try this routine to get that perfect butt you’ve been looking for. If you need help or anymore tip contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Want to Lose 15 Pounds? Here’s Your Kickstart Plan

By Jennifer Kelly Geddes Updated February 5, 2020

Fact Checked

Losing 15 pounds is a worthy goal if you’re overweight, but doing it too quickly can backfire. Instead of trying to hit that number in, say, six weeks, health experts agree that a slow (but sure!) 1- or 2-pound weekly goal is your best bet. The reason: Slower, steady weight loss is easier to maintain — and who doesn’t want that?

“Most research has shown that when you lose weight at a slower pace, you are more likely to keep it off long term, and when you drop pounds too quickly, it can result in losing muscle rather than fat,” dietitian Nicole Hinckley, RD, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

And be wary of trendy or fad diets that promise quick weight loss, says the American Academy of Family Physicians. These too-good-to-be-true eating plans aren’t healthy and may actually be dangerous in certain cases.

Read on for more about the drawbacks of losing weight too quickly, along with an easy-to-follow plan full of great eating tips and exercise moves that’ll edge you toward fit and trim — and healthy.

Why Too-Fast Weight Loss Isn’t Smart

Creating a calorie deficit (aka burning more calories than you take in) is the first and most important step in losing 15 pounds, but cutting your calories too low isn’t the way to go about it. Fact: If you eat too little, you might not get the daily nutrition you need.

“This kind of crash dieting can impact your immunity, energy levels and even your hair — and those who restrict calories too much are more likely to overindulge later on,” Hinckley says. Too-fast weight loss could also mean you’ll lose water weight or lean muscle tissue rather than the fat you want to target, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“Rapid weight loss may also put you at a higher risk for other health complications, such as electrolyte imbalances, gallstones and dehydration,” adds dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and a media spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

What’s worse, you could end up messing with your metabolism in a permanent way. “Studies have also shown that rapid weight loss may cause a long-term slowing of your metabolism, which will prompt weight to regain and could even result in a person becoming more overweight than he or she had been before the diet,” Valdez says. In other words, you could lose 15 pounds but then end up gaining back 20 or 25 before you know it.

Cut Calories the Right Way

Keeping track of the calories you consume is recommended when it comes to weight loss. To create the right calorie deficit to lose 15 pounds, you’ll first need to find out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight (sometimes called your “maintenance calories”), which is different for each person. You can do this by keeping a food diary for a week or so, keeping track of both the total calories you eat and the calories you burn via exercise. You’ll also need to track your weight to determine if you gain, lose or stay the same.

If that all sounds a bit tedious, you could try using an app instead. LIVESTRONG.com’s MyPlate app, for example, does the calculations for you, based on your age, sex, height and weight. Download the app to get a calorie goal based on your weekly weight-loss aim.

Warning

Keep in mind that women shouldn’t fall below 1,200 calories a day and men shouldn’t take in fewer than 1,500 daily calories, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Dropping below these numbers could put you at risk for nutritional deficiencies.

Once you’ve established your baseline, the “magic” number of calories to cut each day is 500. Experts agree this is a safe amount that doesn’t put you at risk for deficiencies, but it’s enough to get the scale moving. Since a pound equals about 3,500 calories, slashing 500 each day — through a combo of eating less and burning more through exercise — should help you lose about a pound each week, which means you can lose 15 pounds in less than four months.

Adjusting to a new diet may leave you feeling hungry, but you can make adjustments. “If you’re very hungry while on a diet, it’s possible to increase your calorie intake slightly, as long as you accompany this with an increase in exercise that results in a similar overall calorie deficit,” Valdez explains. For example, a person weighing 155 pounds who wants to add 300 calories a day due to hunger could counteract this by going for a 25-minute run each night or swimming for about 30 minutes, he says.

Eat Well on Your Weight-Loss Plan

The key word here? Plan! “Make a meal plan for the week, which not only aids with grocery shopping but helps you avoid last-minute decisions when hungry, which is usually the biggest reason people turn to processed foods,” Valdez says.

By implementing a weekly eating plan, you’ll have carrot sticks and hummus or yogurt and nuts on hand when you’re feeling peckish and won’t be tempted to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine.

To stay fuller for longer while cutting back on calories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends focusing on low-energy-dense (aka low-calorie) foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lean protein.

“These low-calorie foods are full of vitamins and minerals to help you meet your daily needs,” Valdez says.

Trimming a few extra calories here and there can be easy. For example, consider what you’re drinking each day. Sodas, high-calorie smoothies and alcohol can all add empty calories to your daily diet, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Swap these for low- or no-calorie drinks like water, black coffee or tea.

Combine Strength Training and Cardio

Regular exercise is an important part of any program to lose 15 pounds, but starting slowly is key if you haven’t been to the gym lately. The best exercise approach is one that combines a regimen you like to do and shows results.

“Easing into a workout routine will help you make fitness a part of your life without having it seem like an ‘all or nothing’ approach — and it may help you enjoy the process by not putting too much pressure on jumping into an intense program,” Hannah Davis, CSCS, a certified personal trainer and founder of Body by Hannah, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (like walking or biking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (like running) each week, and those who are trying to lose weight may want to aim for more.

Since muscle loss can occur on a reduced-calorie plan, include strength training as part of your workout regimen, too. The guidelines suggest training all your major muscle groups at least twice a week.

Davis recommends a focus on big movements that burn the most calories and build more muscle. “Start by adding a series of walking lunges (10 per leg), pushups (10), squats (10) and dumbbell rows (30) once a week for two weeks, increase it to twice a week for the next two weeks and then three times a week for the next three weeks — and even more if you can,” she says.

The American Council on Exercise also recommends these easy ways to add more fitness (and calorie burn) into your daily routine: parking your car farther from the stores you’re visiting, using the stairs instead of the elevator in your building or at work and taking breaks during the day to stand up and stretch.

So just be careful on which weight loss plan you choose. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Trying to Lose Belly Fat? Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

By Lauren Del Turco November 12, 2019

Belly fat gets an extra bad rap — and for good reason. In particular, the fat that accumulates around the organs of your midsection (technically called visceral fat) is linked with increased risk of both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

But that doesn’t mean you should drop everything and do nothing but crunches all day in an attempt to get rid of it. “No matter how many abs workouts you do, body fat is reduced evenly throughout the body,” says Jim White, RD, ACSM Health Fitness Specialist and owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.

Despite most people’s fervent wishes, ‘spot reducing’ isn’t a thing, which means you’ll need to take the same balanced, holistic approach to losing belly fat you’d take take for general weight loss. Avoid these few common mistakes and you’ll help your body shed fat healthfully — and trim down your midsection in the process.

Mistake 1: Doing Endless Crunches

We said it once and we’ll say it again: “You cannot spot reduce fat on any part of the body,” says Kasey Kotarak, certified personal trainer and coach for Fit Body Boot Camp. “Your body loses fat as a whole.”

Doing abs exercises day in and day out will help strengthen your core, sure, but it won’t ensure that you burn fat from that part of your body, Kotarak says.

Fix it: While you can totally incorporate core exercises into your workout routine, well-balanced workouts that involve your entire body involve more muscles and better support fat loss, White says.

Mistake 2: Getting Too Little Sleep

“Sleep is when our body repairs and rebuilds tissues,” say Brittany Schneider, certified personal trainer and nutrition program coordinator at Life Time Westminster in Colorado.

And according to April 2013 research published in PNAS, insufficient sleep alone increases risk of obesity. Sacrificing sleep (even for the sake of a workout) impairs glucose metabolism, which can lead to higher blood sugar levels — a major contributor to belly fat, Schneider says.

Not to mention, lack of sleep also affects the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin, driving sugar and carb cravings, she says. In combination with that messed-up glucose metabolism, this creates a vicious cycle that feeds right into fat gain.

Fix it: Schneider recommends prioritizing seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night. (Sticking to a regular bedtime and limiting screen time in the hour for bed can help make that happen.)

Mistake 3: Not Doing HIIT

Heading out for your usual run around the neighborhood may burn calories, but it’ll only get you so far if you want to shed fat, says Kotarak. HIIT (high-intensity interval training), on the other hand, can maximize the fat-loss benefits you get out of a workout in less time.

“HIIT involves intervals of high-intensity exercise that elevate the heart rate — and intervals of rest that bring it back down,” Kotarak says. Because your body works at a higher intensity during those intervals, your body continues burning calories for more than 24 hours after your workout, she says.

Fix it: For best results, White recommends incorporating one to three HIIT workouts into your weekly routine.

Mistake 4: Skipping Resistance Training

Another workout must-have for fat loss: resistance training, which can include everything from push-ups to barbell squats.

“Since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat — even at rest — the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn every day,” says Kotarak. Plus, like HIIT, resistance training stimulates your metabolism for more than 24 hours after your workout as your body repairs, she says.

According to July 2012 research published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, 10 weeks of resistance training can contribute to notable increases in muscle mass and metabolic rate — and decreases in visceral fat.

Fix it: If you typically stick to cardio, White recommends starting with one or two resistance training sessions per week, and increasing from there.

Mistake 5: Eating ALL the Low-Fat Foods

Despite what older generations would have you believe, opting for the low-fat versions of foods like yogurts and salad dressings is not necessarily fat-loss friendly.

“Low-fat foods usually make up for the flavor losses that go along with removing their fat by adding sugar,” White says. As a result, many of these foods are more processed and contain more craving-inducing additives (like sugar and sodium) than their fat-containing counterparts.

Plus, “healthy fats actually support brain health and healthy hormone and cholesterol levels,” Schneider says. They also satiate us, helping to curb hunger and cravings.

Fix it: Schneider recommends incorporating wholesome healthy fats — like avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, extra-virgin olive oil, fatty fish and egg yolks — into every meal.

Mistake 6: Ignoring Signs of Too Much Stress

Though stress can actually support fat loss in the right amounts at the right times (ex. in your HIIT workouts), it sabotages even the most consistent fat-loss efforts when uncontrolled.

One major player in stress and its impact on our waistlines: the stress hormone cortisol. Charged with prepping the body for mental and physical exertion (like exercise), cortisol raises our blood sugar so we have energy readily available.

However, if you sleep poorly, feel stressed often or over-exercise (or all three), cortisol can run rampant and have a number of negative impacts on our bodies and health, Schneider says. Chronically high cortisol levels can reduce our ability to build muscle and promote abdominal fat gain.

Fix it: To manage stress and cortisol, Schneider recommends incorporating practices like meditation, yoga and journaling into your daily routine. Making sure you meet your daily needs of vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium can also help balance the stress response, she says.

Mistake 7: Slashing WAY Too Many Calories

“Many people believe that cutting calories really low is the answer for shedding fat,” says White. “When the body is starved of energy, though, it enters a ‘starvation state,’ in which it holds onto any energy it’s given in order to sustain itself.” The end result: You make little (if any) fat-loss progress.

If you’re experiencing fatigue, dizziness, headaches, shakiness, irritability, and/or cravings, you’re eating too few calories, Schneider says. Making sure you aren’t falling short on calories or nutrients is important for proper body function. Having enough calories throughout each day will let the body know it doesn’t need to be in a starvation state by holding onto calories.

Fix it: Instead of focusing on slashing calories, plan to eat small meals that contain protein, complex carbs (like oats or sweet potatoes), healthy fats and vegetables every three to four hours, Schneider says. Eat a diet of whole foods and you’ll be much less likely to overeat.

Mistake 8: Underestimating Full-Body Movements

“While isolation exercises, such as biceps curls, are great for targeting a certain muscle groups, they do not burn as many calories as total-body exercises,” says Kotarak.

Total-body exercises (like deadlifts and burpees) activate and use multiple muscle groups (including your core), and therefore burn more calories, Kotarak says.

Fix it: Focus as much of your workouts as possible on exercises that involve multiple muscle groups makes for more efficient workouts and best supports your fat-loss efforts over time.

Mistake 9: Relying on Belly Wraps or Fat-Loss Supplements

You knew this one was coming. “There is not a single drug on the market today that is approved by the FDA to reduce belly fat,” says Schneider. “There is no magic bullet.”

Though ‘fat-burner’ or ‘weight-loss’ supplements may promise to support your efforts, they typically “help you drop (temporary) water weight, not real body fat,” Schneider says. Same goes for belly wraps, which typically just increase how much you sweat and dehydrate you, says White.

Fix it: No product can replace exercising regularly (and including resistance training), eating balanced meals and drinking plenty of water. “If you’re nailing the basics but still not losing stubborn belly fat, reach out to a nutrition professional who can help you dial in your diet,” Schneider says.

Mistake 10: Not Eating Enough Protein

In addition to supporting muscle repair and growth, protein also helps curb hunger and cravings, Schneider says. So eating ample protein daily has a significant impact on your fat-loss progress.

Plus, protein plays an even more crucial role in maintaining metabolism and muscle mass after you lose that fat, according to February 2013 research published in The Journal of Nutrition.

Fix it: Schneider recommends active people aim for anywhere between one and two grams of protein per kilogram of goal body weight. (That’s up to about 135 grams of protein daily for someone with a goal weight of 150 pounds.) Get there by including protein — like poultry, fish, meat, eggs, legumes, and nuts — in every meal and snack.

Health and fitness is a lifestyle you have to adapt to. The hardest part is getting started. So just remember to be patient, stay motivated, and be disciplined because these 3 things will help you stay on course. Also remember I’m here to help if y’all need it. Let me know what y’all think about this article and give me your opinion. Contact me for assistance.

Make it a great day!!!
Philip “FitGuy46”

4 Types of Diets to Avoid if Long-Term Weight Loss Is Your Goal

By Jaime Osnato October 9, 2019


When you’re looking to shed a few pounds, you might be focused on quick results. And though many diets might help you drop a pants size super fast, you should be asking whether the same eating plan can help you keep off the weight in the long run.

The truth is, weight maintenance can be even harder than the weight-loss process. And, unfortunately, regaining pounds can have negative consequences for your health, according to a study in the October 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that all the cardiometabolic benefits associated with healthy weight loss — including improvements in HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference, among others — reversed when people packed on the pounds again.

So, when you choose an eating plan for weight loss, consider one that will set you up for success over the long haul. Here, dietary experts discuss the types of diets you should steer clear of if you want to achieve long-lasting results, plus those that will help you go the distance.

Unhealthy Diets to Avoid

1. Crash Diets for Quick Weight Loss

“Crash diets that lead to rapid weight loss may sound enticing, but they aren’t healthy or sustainable, and they won’t help you keep weight off in the long-term,” Michele Weinberg, RD, CDN, an associate at NY Nutrition Group, tells LIVESTRONG.com. That’s because they often involve eating as few as 500 calories per day, and, though you’ll drop pounds (mostly water weight), your body will switch to starvation mode to conserve energy, says Leslie Langevin, RD, CD, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook and co-owner of Whole Health Nutrition, a Vermont-based nutrition counseling company.

The result? Your metabolism slows down and your body may release more cortisol — a stress hormone that can cause inflammation — making future weight-loss attempts even more difficult.

And another thing: Crash diets can result in nutrient deficiencies and muscle loss, both of which can further stall your metabolism and may lead to disordered eating behaviors, such as binging on “off-limit” foods, according to Weinberg.

Not sure if the diet you’re considering falls into this category? If it severely restricts calories (less than about 1,200 per day) and/or promises lightning-fast results (anything more than 1 to 2 pounds per week), it likely qualifies as a crash diet.

2. Diets That Eliminate Entire Food Groups

If you nix a whole food group like carbs, you may shed some pounds — again, mostly water weight — in the short term, but you’re not doing yourself any favors in the long-term health department, says Langevin. That’s because you risk losing vital nutrients that your body needs.

“For example, cutting out fats can lead us to become deficient in essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, while eliminating carbohydrates from sources like whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits deprives us of essential fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals,” says Weinberg.

Plus, eating too much of another food group can be harmful, too. “People who follow the keto diet have a high intake of saturated fats and processed meats, which, in excess, have been linked to certain cancers, poor gastrointestinal health and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Weinberg.

What’s more, excluding an entire food group just isn’t realistic or sustainable over time. Are you really going to give up bread for life? Odds are your willpower will eventually run out, and when you reintroduce the “forbidden” foods into your diet, you’re likely to regain the weight — often more than you lost in the first place.

The takeaway? Unless you have a food allergy, intolerance or health condition like celiac disease that requires specific dietary restrictions, don’t ax an entire food group from your daily menu.

3. Meal-Replacement Diets

“Diets that feature meal replacements lead to weight loss because they provide pre-portioned meal options that help people reduce their overall calorie intake,” says Weinberg. If you need a fast protein fix or a quick meal-on-the-go, something like a meal replacement shake or bar can be helpful as a snack or supplement, but replacing most meals in this way is overly restricting and unrealistic in the long run, says Langevin.

Over time, you’re bound to get bored of consuming the same stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you’re likely to revert to your unhealthy eating habits. That’s because when you follow a diet that eschews whole foods in favor of pre-packaged, pre-portioned products, you never learn how to prepare healthy mealson your own, says Weinberg.

In other words, if you want to keep off the weight, you’d need to stick to that restrictive diet forever, which is nearly impossible if you want to dine out with friends, travel or enjoy your favorite foods again.

Plus, when it comes to your health, Weinberg says that weight loss plans that rely on pre-packed meals generally don’t stack up against a diverse diet of wholesome whole foods, which “provide a synergistic effect between vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber that meal supplements and replacements can’t replicate.”

4. Weight-Loss Plans That Don’t Encourage Exercise

No doubt you’ve heard of a diet that boasts, “you’ll never need to set foot in a gym again!” Sounds tempting, right? Our advice: Run the other way! Any long-term, sustainable weight-loss strategy should incorporate other healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise.

Because in order to lose weight from dieting alone, you must consume relatively few calories and progressively decrease the number over time as your body adapts, says Weinberg. The kicker? This gets way harder to maintain as you age.

Indeed, after you turn 30, your metabolism declines slightly each year, says Langevin, who adds that increasing muscle mass is an effective way to keep your metabolism revved up. You can combat this by adding strength-training to your regular routine. That way, you’ll build more fat-burning muscle and won’t have to starve yourself to keep the muffin top at bay.

What Diets Work for Long-Term Weight Loss?

“The best diet that works for the long-term is one that fits within your lifestyle,” says Weinberg, who suggests making two to three small changes at a time to develop healthier habits that will lead to gradual, yet sustainable weight loss.

Need some pointers? Start by focusing on increasing physical activity, practicing portion control, reducing your intake of added sugars, refined grains and processed foods and incorporating fresh, whole foods as much as possible, especially fruits and veggies. Langevin recommends aiming to eat nine servings of fruits and greens every day.

In fact, packing half your plate with fresh produce reflects the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) dietary guidelines, which also call for splitting the remaining half of your plate between lean proteins like chicken, fish and tofu and whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta.

The USDA‘s guidelines also support simple-yet-sustainable eating plans that are easy to follow like the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes consuming vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, lean proteins and extra-virgin olive oil. What’s more, the Mediterranean diet may help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases, too.

But to maintain healthy weight loss, you should also build in some wiggle room to enjoy your favorite treats as well. You can nosh on wholesome, nutritious foods most of the time and still indulge in french fries, ice cream and pizza now and again. Doing so will keep you from feeling deprived and falling off the wagon.

At the end of the day, you don’t need to be perfect to shed pounds or keep them off. If you’re mindful about making healthy decisions when it comes to food and exercise, you’re on the right track to steady, sustainable weight loss.

Follow these tips health tips to help aid you in your weight loss goals. Let me know what y’all think about this article. Don’t hesitate to contact me. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

How to Shed Belly Fat and Define Your Abs (Zero Crunches Required)

You’ve been hitting the gym, working your core and lifting weights — but you’re still not getting those flat, defined abs that you’ve always wanted. What gives?

Many people want a tight core, but achieving that can be difficult. If you’re looking to shed the layer of fat over your abs, the process actually involves much more than just targeting your midsection during workouts. Here, we tapped the experts to break it down.

Think Beyond Your Belly

The first thing you need to know is that you can’t target fat loss from just your middle. In other words, if you want to lose fat near your abs, you’ll need to decrease fat across your entire body.

“A very common myth about strength training is referred to as ‘spot reduction,’ meaning if you work out one particular area of your body, the fat will melt off of that particular spot.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Fat reduction is an overall process and is dependent upon how many calories one consumes and burns.”

Your genetics also play a big role in how your body stores and distributes fat, according to a March 2014 review in Diabetologia. Women, for example, tend to store more subcutaneous fat and have more fat in their lower body. Women also have naturally higher levels of body fat than men, so it may be easier for a man to have visible abs than a woman.

Remember: There Are 2 Types of Belly Fat

If you’re looking to lose fat, it’s also important for you to understand the difference between the two major types of fat in the body. Your body actually has two different kinds of fat: visceral fat, sometimes called “hard” fat, and subcutaneous, or “soft” fat.

Bell explains that subcutaneous fat is the type of fat we can see and feel. It lies just under the skin and having some of it is necessary for survival. According to Bell, subcutaneous fat provides an extra layer of protection, which helps to regulate body temperature, create a barrier between skin and bone and serves as a storage sight for unused energy.

Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies deep in the abdomen, surrounding your organs, and poses a greater threat to your health. It releases hormones and inflammatory compounds called cytokines, which can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Eat Your Way to Better Abs

You’ve heard the phrase that abs are made in the kitchen, right? Well, there’s a good reason for that. Although exercise is important for many reasons, including boosting your metabolism and maintaining a healthy heart, physical activity alone will not burn excess fat, especially over your abdominals.

Instead, the most effective way to lose body fat is to eat a healthy diet and have an overall calorie deficit to burn away extra fat.

“Any weight-loss plan will require a ‘negative energy balance,’ meaning you are burning more calories than you are eating,” Kristi Veltkamp, RDN, a dietitian with Spectrum Health in Michigan, tells LIVESTRONG.com. “The best plan is one that can be followed long-term and allows for balanced nutrition that supports proper body function, like the Mediterranean diet.”

Bell and Veltkamp also recommend nutrition strategies that will help your body optimize its fat-burning abilities and protect from future fat accumulation. For example, you can:

  • Eat more fiber, healthy fats and protein. “By eating a well-balanced diet, your body will not only feel fuller longer, but will be receiving the nutrients it needs to avoid cravings and overeating that lead to the accumulation of fat,” Bell says. Additionally, eating healthier fats can increase HDLs, which combat overall high cholesterol.
  • Bring on the beans. “Beans are a great way to get in protein while cutting back on animal fats,” says Veltkamp. “Beans also have fiber, minerals and phytonutrients.” She recommends aiming for at least a half cup per day.
  • Consume less trans fat, sugar and simple carbs. According to Bell, foods with added sugars and simple carbohydrates (think: sweets, soft drinks, cereal) cause a spike in your blood sugar, which will throw off your hormone balance and place unnecessary stress on the pancreas. Additionally, she says that trans fats (often found in foods with long shelf lives, like potato chips and packaged baked goods) have been linked to higher amounts of visceral fat.
  • Drink less alcohol. “Alcohol has little-to-no nutritional value but still adds calories to our diet,” Bell points out, so she recommends consuming less alcohol if fat loss is your goal. And because alcohol is dehydrating, alcoholic beverages will also slow down your metabolism and lead to an increase in overall fat. Sounds like a good reason to skip that hangover, right? 
  • Increase protein. Veltkamp explains that when you cut down on calories, your body starts to use protein and muscle for energy, so increasing your protein intake will help to prevent muscle loss. “Remember, we want to lose body fat,” she says. “A lot of people lose muscle with severe diets and think they are doing well losing weight but are actually losing a lot of muscle.”

Tip

If you’re cutting calories for weight loss, your daily goal should be to get 1.3 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Keep in mind that a kilogram equals 2.2 pounds — so a 180-pound person, for example, should try to eat about 106 grams of protein each day.

Up Your Fat Burn with Exercise

Reducing both visceral and subcutaneous fat depends on your lifestyle, Bell explains. And, she says, studies have shown that although they can decrease in size, fat cells don’t decrease in numbers. In other words, you can shrink fat cells, but they never fully disappear. But the good news is that visceral fat responds well to both diet and exercise.

Bell recommends incorporating both aerobic training and strength training as a way to fight fat most effectively.

“Numerous studies have shown that a moderate amount of aerobic training is one of the most beneficial ways to reduce fat,” she notes. And although the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week, she says that even starting with a short walk could make a difference in reducing the development of unwanted, dangerous fat.

Strength training, although not as effective at eliminating fat as aerobic training, Bell says, will also help your body to become more efficient at metabolizing both carbohydrates and fats. “Therefore, we reduce the risk of ailments such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” she adds.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends strength training all your major muscle groups at least two days per week.

Strengthen Your Abdominal Muscles

Although you may not be able to spot-reduce fat on your abs, you can work on specific exercises that will help tighten your abs and build a stronger core. That way, when you do reduce fat from your body, you will have more defined abdominal muscles to display.

Bell recommends the following four exercises as effective ways to strengthen your core:

Plank hold: Rise on your elbows and toes and ensure that your shoulders, hips and heels are all in a straight line. Tuck your chin so that your neck is in neutral spine and you are looking directly at the floor. Squeeze your quads, glutes and shoulders, then try to hold this position for at least one minute.

Ab wheel rollouts: Kneel on a mat with your feet uncrossed and toes on the ground. Using the ab wheel rollout, take a deep breath in and brace your core, moving the wheel away from your knees with slightly bent arms. Drop your chest as close to the ground as safely possible, then exhale, crunch and pull the ab wheel back toward your knees. Repeat.

Kneeling cable crunches: This weighted exercise allows you to contract most of your abdominals if done properly. Using a cable machine and a rope to hold onto, kneel on a mat directly below the handle. Choose your weight on the cable machine so that it feels fairly heavy, but achievable. While kneeling and holding the rope behind the head (next to the ears), take a deep breath in and elongate the spine so that the top of the head moves toward the ceiling, then exhale and crunch down toward your knees. Hold for two seconds, then slowly release back to neutral spine. Repeat.

Decline bench sit-ups: Lock your feet into the bench and lay back. Take a deep breath in, extending the arms overhead and lengthening the spine, then exhale and sit-up. Try not to round the spine, but instead stay nice and tall, reaching fingertips toward the ceiling. Lay back slowly and controlled, then repeat. If you can achieve this without weight, try to progress by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball.

While these exercises are great for building core strength, just keep in mind that core moves alone won’t give you visible abs.

“Doing them does not necessarily mean you’ll look like Zach Efron in the movies,” Bell says. “You can have a strong core but not be able to see your abs due to them being buried under extra layers of fat.”

Reduce Your Stress Levels to Lose More Fat

Along with physical activity and good nutrition, one way you can help shed excess fat in your body is to reduce your levels of stress. Yup, that’s right. Although many of us think of being stressed as just a normal part of daily life, too much stress over long periods of time can actually lead to physical changes in the body that will increase your fat stores.

The visceral fat within your abdomen is significantly affected by stress levels. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which Bell describes as the “stress hormone.” Although cortisol release is a normal process on a short-term basis, if your cortisol levels stay high for an extended period of time, you will have more trouble losing fat and run into health problems.

“Cortisol increases when we are feeling overwhelmed in any way,” Bell explains. “It is our bodies’ natural response to both physical and psychological stress and its main goal is to preserve carbohydrates to use for more vital organs, such as the brain. If cortisol becomes too high, however, it can lead to symptoms such as overeating, depression and weight gain.”

According to a February 2017 study published in Obesity, long-term cortisol exposure has a significant impact on fat accumulation in the body.

“Cortisol actually causes fat to be stored or taken from other areas of the body to be stored in the abdomen area,” notes Veltkamp. “It also leads to more fat cell development and increases blood glucose and insulin suppression.”

On top of all of that, elevated cortisol levels will increase your appetite and make you crave more energy-dense foods (read: high-calorie comfort foods), so you will feel hungrier and eat more too, Veltkamp adds.

All in all, stress = bad for your body, so it’s important to reduce your stress levels for your overall health and especially if you are specifically trying to decrease fat in your body. To reduce stress, Bell recommends incorporating calming practices such as meditation, yoga or even just deep breathing throughout your day.

And don’t overlook the importance of nutrition in helping you manage your stress. Veltkamp tells LIVESTRONG.com that what you eat can have a big impact on your stress levels. She suggests avoiding diets high in refined grains, sugars, red meats and fats and instead sticking to more fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts and whole grains, as those foods are associated with reduced depression and anxiety, according to October 2019 research in PLOS One.

You can also reduce your stress levels by trying some of the following science-backed methods:

  • Declutter your environment. A September 2017 study in Current Psychology linked clutter to decreased life satisfaction in adults. Marie Kondo your space and breathe a little easier!
  • Get outside. A June 2019 study inScientific Reports found that spending at least 120 minutes a week outside in nature increases wellbeing and happiness.
  • Decrease your time on social media. April 2015 research from Computers in Human Behaviorrevealed that there is a direct correlation between stressful experiences and Facebook usage.
  • Get enough sleep. “Studies have proven that increasing your sleep from six hours or less per night to between seven and eight may help reduce visceral fat by approximately 26 percent,” says Bell. “Anything less than that may cause an increase in abdominal weight gain.” (Cortisol is the culprit here again, since your body tends to release the hormone when you’re sleep-deprived.)

In the end, as Bell reminds us all, the only way to have visible, strong abs is to be very disciplined in your lifestyle, reduce your stress levels and pay close attention to the number of calories you consume and expend. Veltkamp also advises that to lose fat, you need to focus on the long term.

“Too many people look for the easy way out or quick fixes,” Veltkamp notes. “The only thing that will make a long-term difference is making healthy changes that will last.”

She adds that if what you are following cannot be maintained long-term — such as pills, supplements or extreme diets — then your weight loss will not be long-term either.

“Lifestyle changes are not trendy, or always easy, but it’s the only thing that really works,” she says.

Let me know what y’all think about this article. Again I am here if you have any questions about fitness. Check out my website fitguy46personaltraining.com.

Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

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Why You Really Shouldn’t Be Working the Same Muscles Every Day

By Jessica McCahon Updated January 15, 2020Reviewed by Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHT

Go big or go home, right? If you’re looking to build muscle fast, you could be forgiven for thinking the harder and more often you train, the quicker you’ll see results. However, the opposite is usually true. Your muscles need rest to grow, build strength and perform at their peak.

Woman wiping her forehead with a towel in the gym

Your muscles need rest just as much as they need to be challenged.Credit: Richard Drury/DigitalVision/GettyImages

Here are three reasons you want to avoid working the same muscles every day, plus how to schedule an optimal workout regimen.

1. You’re Sabotaging Your Muscle-Building Efforts

Ironically, working the same muscles day after day is one of the worst ways to build muscle. When you strength train, tiny tears form in the working muscles.

It’s when you give your muscles time to rest and recover that they repair themselves by pumping extra blood to the affected muscles, causing them to grow bigger and stronger, according to Muscle Growth, Repair and Preservation: A Mechanistic Approach.

If you don’t factor recovery time into your exercise routine, this process won’t take place (or takes place but doesn’t have sufficient time to finish) and your muscles won’t grow.

2. You Risk Burning Out and Quitting Your Workout

Training the same muscles every time you hit the gym can leave you constantly tired and sore. If you hit the gym without energy and enthusiasm, it’s unlikely you’re going to give 100 percent. And if you don’t give your best effort in each session, you won’t see results, starting a vicious cycle.

Resting muscle groups between sessions breaks this cycle. A December 2019 study published in PLOS One found that switching up your routine with different exercises that work various muscle can help boost your motivation, while providing the same muscle-building benefits as progressive overload (doing the same exercises but increasing the weight).

3. Your Chance of Getting Injured Increases

Working the same muscles too hard and with insufficient recovery can lead to overuse injuries, according to a December 2018 review from the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research.

Muscle-building workouts like lifting weights puts stress on your tendons, which connect muscle to bone. If your tendons don’t have time to rest, they become inflamed, resulting in pain. Plus, if your muscles are tired from your previous strength session, your technique can get sloppy, upping your risk for injury.

To ensure that you get the most out of each session — and, just as important, avoid injury — you need to focus on the action of the muscle group you’re working and perform every part of a given exercise with good technique. Keep your reps slow and controlled, working through each muscle’s full range of motion, which is difficult to do if soreness is limiting your movement.

Schedule Some Rest and Recovery

In general, a minimum of two strength-training workouts per week is recommended in the second edition of the U.S. government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

But you’ll need to schedule at least one full rest day in between training sessions for any given muscle group, according to the American Council on Exercise. Even then, if your muscles are still sore from the previous workout, avoid training them until they have recovered.

Organize your sessions so you work a combination of upper and lower muscle groups on varying days. For example, on the first day, you might train the muscles of the lower body — abdominal, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles — and the next day, while these muscles are resting and rebuilding, you might train your chest, back, shoulders, triceps and biceps.

And make sure you also allot time for stretching and foam rolling. According to an August 2019 review published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, even six to 10 minutes minutes of active recovery has a positive effect on performance.

So just remember that you need rest and recovery for muscles to grow. As always, you can contact me at fitguy46personaltraining.com. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

How Often Should You Take a Break From Lifting Weights?

By Mike Samuels

Lifting weights has many benefits when it comes to building muscle mass, strength and burning calories in a fat loss program. It also puts stress on your body, meaning you need to take breaks. Not only do you need short breaks between individual workouts, longer breaks at more infrequent intervals can also help you avoid injury and maintain your progress.

Rest Between Sessions

A muscle group needs about 48 hours of rest between sessions according to personal trainer Chad Tackett. This means if you train your chest on Monday, you shouldn’t train it again until Wednesday. If you’re training your whole body in every session, this means training one day on and one day off. If you work one or two muscles in each workout, you don’t need rest days between sessions if you’re doing different muscles each day.

Workout Schedule

How you plan your breaks depends on your workout schedule. If you’re on a bodybuilding-style split routine, you can train every day but still get the required rest for each muscle group. A typical split could break your workouts into individual sessions for your back, chest, legs, shoulders and arms, which would allow you to train daily. As you train one body part, the others are getting a rest. On a full-body routine, you’ll need a full day of rest between sessions.

Deloads

A deload involves taking an intentional long break between sessions. Strength coach Jeff Barnett recommends taking a deload once every four weeks. This might sound counterproductive, but a week off means you’ll come back to training rested, well-recovered and stronger. During the deload, lift at around 40 to 60 percent of your single repetition maximum for every session that week. Concentrate on form and do more stretching and light cardiovascular exercise.

Increased Breaks

If you’re lifting weights close to your maximum, you may need more frequent breaks. Coach Jon-Erik Kawamoto says you can become exhausted if you constantly push your body to its limits with high loads, frequency and volume. He says you should plan your deload and recovery weeks in advance. Strength coach Stephen Bergeron of Built Lean says you can recover faster if you include non-impact workouts like yoga or swimming in your scheduled breaks.

Let me know what y’all think about this. Make it a great 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”

Certified Personal Trainer

Transform Belly Fat into a Toned Core

Take it from me. You’re definitely not the only person out there who’s concerned about losing belly fat. And while belly fat can seem extra stubborn, just like all fat in the body, it will come off with some tweaks to your nutrition and exercise.

While you can’t target fat loss in one area of your body, creating a calorie deficit, prioritizing healthier foods and building a balanced exercise routine are all measures that will bring you closer to the physique you want. Fat loss doesn’t happen overnight, so above all, stay persistent in your efforts and patient with your body.

The Science Behind Belly Fat

Carrying a little extra fat around the abdomen is common with age, especially for women after menopause, according to the Mayo Clinic. As you get older, it’s normal for the metabolism to slow a bit, causing a decrease in muscle mass and increase in fat mass. Changing hormones also play a role in this process.

The extra fat you may see around your belly — the type you can pinch — is called subcutaneous fat and it makes up about 90 percent of your body fat, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But you may also be carrying visceral fat, which is located behind your abdominal wall and surrounds the organs.

Although visceral fat is generally not visible (but can begin to push against your abdominal wall over time, lending a “beer belly” look), it can pose some significant health risks, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Having higher levels of visceral fat has been connected with chronic health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Tweak Your Nutrition to Burn Belly Fat

While visceral fat may sound scary (and it can be), you’ll be happy to learn that it can be shed just like any other type body fat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Making some changes to your overall nutrition is the most important place to start.

So let’s get rid of that stubborn belly fat this year. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

Can’t Do Squats? Here’s What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You

By Jaime OsnatoUpdated January 5, 2020

On a list of the most functional exercises (i.e., those that help you develop strength for everyday tasks) squats would be number one. Not only do they prepare you for daily life (think: bending down to pick something up), they also use — and build — most of your lower-body muscles and help reduce your risk of injury.

Though our bodies are designed to crouch (just look at babies and toddlers), our squat form tends to deteriorate as we get older thanks to being less active and sitting in chairs all day. If you can’t squat for squat, chances are you’re dealing with some muscular weaknesses and imbalances you’ve developed over the years. But there’s still hope for hunkering down on your haunches.

If You Can’t: Sit Low

You Might: Have Tight Hips

To perform the perfect squat, you must sit deeply, executing a full range of motion to get your thighs parallel to the ground. But if you can only manage shallow squats, lack of flexibility and mobility in your hips may be to blame. “Tight hips can hinder the depth of your squats and also lead to poor form,” McLaughlin says.

While there are a ton of possible reasons for tight hips, the most common culprit is sitting too much, which constrains your hip flexors into an abnormally compressed position. Over time, these muscles become shorter and stiffer, causing pain and limiting your hips’ full movement potential.

These hip stretches can work to combat tightness, increase flexibility and improve mobility to help you achieve a deep squat.

Figure Four Stretch

  1. Lie on your back and cross you right foot over your left thigh, bending your left knee.
  2. Pull the back of your left leg gently toward your chest.
  3. When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

Side Lying Quad Stretch

  1. Lie on your right side and pull your knees in front of you, bending to 90 degrees.
  2. With your left hand, pull your left heel up toward your left glute muscle.
  3. As you pull, engage your glutes to intensify the stretch in your quad muscle.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.

If You: Have Knee Pain

You Might: Have Weak Glutes and Abductors

Though knee pain can have a few different causes, a common culprit of discomfort while squatting is a muscular imbalance. “If your knees cave inwards when you squat, it’s likely a symptom of a sedentary lifestyle,” McLaughlin says.

In this scenario, your outer thighs (abductors) are likely weaker than your inner thighs (adductors), which pull the knees inward when you squat. This creates bad squat form, places stress on the knees and can lead to pain and discomfort in the area.

So focus on strengthening your glutes and outer thighs, says McLaughlin. “When these muscles are strong, they will help stabilize the whole body and protect the knees.” Try adding exercises like banded clamshells — which activate your abductor muscles, including your gluteus medius — to your routine.

Banded Clamshell

  1. Loop a resistance band just above your knees. Lie on your side so that your hips are comfortably stacked one on top of the other and bend your knees at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Keep your feet together as you raise your top knee as high as you can. Don’t let your lower leg leave the floor. 
  3. Pause and squeeze your butt at the top of the movement, then slowly lower. 
  4. Switch to the other leg after reaching fatigue on your first side.

You can also modify squats to accommodate knee issues, says McLaughlin. Try using the support of a chair (squat down until your butt touches the chair, then use your hands to push yourself back up) or squat with your back to a wall. Wall-assisted squats (or wall sits) are great for firing up your leg and booty muscles.

But always heed your body’s signs. If you feel pain, don’t push through it. “Only squat as low as it feels good,” says McLaughlin. “As long as your leg and core muscles are engaged, your body will reap the benefits.”

If You: Lose Your Balance

You Might: Need to Slow Down and Check Your Form

Tend to lose your balance during a squat? Pump the brakes and examine your form. “Form is always more important than speed,” McLaughlin says. “Most people’s first mistake is not taking the time to set up.”

Before you begin, make sure your feet are hip-width distance apart, or slightly wider, and your toes and knees point forward. This stance is key for providing a study base for your squats. Then, as you bend your knees, keep your weight in your heels, not your toes. This will help ground you and keep you steady during the movement.

“If you have access to TRX equipment, you could hold the straps in front of you as you squat down and back, using them as support so that you can really feel the hips go back with your weight in the heels.”

But your bottom half is only part of the equation. Poor posture in your upper body can also throw off your form and balance, McLaughlin says. “Don’t let your body lean forward. Keep the chest lifted, shoulders back and down, and spine straight.”

Again, wall-supported squats — which require you to lean your back straight against a wall — may be a useful modification to help you train your torso to remain upright during the squat movement.

Follow these tips and you too can squat your way to success. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

Why Portion Control Works — and How to Get It Right

By Kaitlin AhernUpdated July 8, 2019

Fact Checked

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve likely been told to “watch your portions!” by at least one well-meaning soul. This isn’t bad advice, actually — as long as you know what the heck it means.

Here’s a hint: Your diet-whisperer is likely talking about portion control, a practical approach to eating that puts the focus on food portion sizes (which are different from serving sizes — more on that later). The idea is that no foods are completely off-limits, but everything can and should be eaten in moderation.

Sounds pretty simple, right? But there are a few things you should know before you dive in. Here, we’ve put together everything you need to know about starting a portion control diet, from the science-backed benefits to the tools and tricks dietitians swear by.

What Is Portion Control, Anyway?

Portion control is a practical way of eating that can help you lose weight or simply eat healthier. Instead of counting calories or avoiding certain macronutrients altogether, this method puts the focus on learning what a healthy portion size of each food looks like — and sticking to it.

So, where to start? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the go-to source when it comes to how much of each food group (vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, protein and oils) you should be eating on the daily. While the USDA doesn’t set rigid rules on portion sizes, it does offer general guidelines that you can adapt for your specific goals.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were created by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults who need 2,000 daily calories should eat the following amounts of each food group every day:

  • Vegetables: 2 1/2 cups
  • Fruit: 2 cups
  • Grains: 6 ounces
  • Dairy: 3 cups
  • Protein: 5 1/2 ounces
  • Oils: 27 grams

What’s So Great About Portion Control?

Practicing portion control helps you get the nutrients you need without overindulging — which is easy to do these days, when serving sizes at most restaurants far exceed the recommended calories you should be getting in one sitting, according to an April 2016 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Think about it this way: When you’re out at a restaurant and the waiter brings you a huge plate filled with food, two things are likely to happen:

  1. You’ll consume more than you intended. Research consistently shows that people eat more when presented with larger portions, according to the Mayo Clinic.
  2. You’ll think you ate less than you actually did. A study published in BMJ in May 2013 found that adults underestimated the calorie content of meals at fast food restaurants by more than 20 percent, and that number climbed even higher for larger meals and those labeled as “healthy.”

Controlling your portions helps you more accurately determine how much food you’re taking in at each meal, which not only helps with weight loss but can also positively affect other areas of your health.

Learn about four benefits you’re likely to reap when you practice portion control.

Tip

Download LIVESTRONG.com’s free calorie-tracking app MyPlate. Once you’ve portioned out your breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack, entering it into the app will help make sure you’re staying on target for the day’s calories, carbs, protein and fat.

What Healthy Food Portions Really Look Like

Knowing you need 2 1/2 cups of veggies, 2 cups of fruit and 5 1/2 ounces of protein a day is one thing. But can you tell when you’ve served yourself a healthy portion of, say, asparagus? Should the size of your morning grapefruit rival your breakfast plate or your coffee mug? And just how big is a 3-ounce serving of salmon, really?

See what serving sizes of meat, poultry, fish and seafood actually look like, compared to everyday objects, so you can easily calculate just how much you’re getting.

Tricks to Make Portion Control Easier

When you’re just starting out, the trickiest part of portion control might be recognizing the difference between a portion size and a serving size.

In a nutshell: The serving size of a food refers to a measurement on a nutrition label, while portion size is what you actually eat in a sitting. The two are often different, and portion sizes are typically much smaller than serving sizes for those who are trying to lose weight, says Emily O’Neil, RDN, LDN, a weight loss coach at the Austin Diagnostic Clinic in Austin, Texas.

Even when you understand this key difference, it can still be tough to cut back on portions when you’re used to seeing a lot more food on your plate. Luckily, we’ve got a few tricks that can help.

The Tools You Need to Succeed

There are also some tools that can help when it comes to planning your meals and sticking to the healthiest amounts of each food.

Portion control plates, for example, give you a visual reminder of the USDA guidelines when it comes to food group portions, helping to take the guesswork out of measuring your meals.

Portion control containers — glass or plastic containers that are sized to help you measure and regulate the amount of food you eat at each meal — are also a user-friendly option and especially good for those who want to prep their meals ahead of time. Ready to give them a try?

Portion control is very powerful and will help you out in your weight loss goals. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

A Complete Guide to Complex Carbohydrates

By Ginger HultinUpdated December 18, 2018Reviewed by Sylvie Tremblay, MSc

Carbohydrates or ‘carbs’ are an energy source in food that comes from starch, sugar and cellulose. Carbohydrates provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber in the diet.

The current recommendations suggest 45 to 65 percent of daily calories come from these types of foods. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends choosing foods containing complex carbohydrates over refined sources most often for maximum benefits.

You can find healthful carbohydrate sources in foods like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye and in fruits, vegetables and legumes. Read on to learn more about the importance of including the right type of carbohydrates in your diet.

Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs

There are two types of carbohydrates; those in their natural food form comprised of a long chain of simple carbs (three or more) linked together which is referred to as “complex” and those that are already in smaller pieces (one or two sugars), referred to as “simple.”

Complex carbs are foods, which contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants., according to NIH MedlinePlus. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils are examples of complex carbs says the National Institute of Health.

Simple carbs are often softer in texture — white bread, white rice and baked goods. Soda, candy and other sweeteners like table sugar and honey are also simple carbs. These easily digested carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed, causing a spike in blood sugar and quick boost in energy. Refined flours have been stripped of some of their natural, high fiber content including the bran, germ or endosperm.

Because of this processing, they’re digested faster and more easily and deliver fewer amounts of healthful nutrients. Fruits, vegetables and dairy are also technically made of simple carbohydrates but because of the fiber, protein and other nutrients, they act more like complex carbohydrates in the body and should be consumed daily.

Metabolism of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate digestion begins in your mouth as special enzymes in the saliva start to break complex carbohydrates down. The product that continues passes through the stomach and into the small intestines where more enzymes break carbohydrates down into the simplest form of sugars that the body can use for energy.

Though all types of carbohydrates eventually break down into blood glucose, complex carbohydrates take longer to complete this process and offer vital nutrients the body needs along the way, explains Study.com. They also offer indigestible fibers that aren’t broken down and instead aid in gut health and elimination of stool.

When simple carbohydrates are consumed, they offer little nutrition and are broken down rapidly causing a sharp spike in blood sugar and the hormones needed to complete carbohydrate digestion.

The Health Benefits of Complex Carbs

The Whole Grains Council presents evidence from studies of folks who eat whole grain foods that show a lower risk of obesity including a reduced body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip measurement.

These people also have lower cholesterol level and those who enjoy at least three servings of whole grains each day have been shown to reduce their risk of heart disease by 25 to 36 percent, stroke by 37 percent, Type 2 diabetes by 21 to 27 percent, digestive system cancers by 21 to 43 percent, and hormone-related cancers by 10 to 40 percent.

The Linus Pauling Institute sites the dietary fiber content of complex carbohydrates as a contributing factor to decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol, normalizing blood glucose levels and insulin response over time. Fiber also promotes bowel health by creating a more productive stool to prevent constipation and reduce diverticular disease.

How to Read Carbohydrates on a Food Label

When reading a label to learn about carbohydrates, look at three things: grams of total carbohydrate per serving (be sure to identify what a serving size is), grams of fiber per serving and the ingredient list. The total carbohydrate tells how many grams of carbohydrate is in one serving but keep in mind that there can be more than one serving size in the package. Grams of fiber indicate the number of grams of total carbohydrate that won’t be digested into blood glucose.

Adult men need 38 grams of fiber per day and adult women need about 25 grams according to USDA Dietary Reference Intakes. A high-fiber food contains at least five grams of fiber per serving. Foods that provide between 2.5 and 4.9 grams per serving are considered good fiber sources.

The term “sugar” can be confusing — it has already been counted into the total carbohydrate and indicates either naturally occurring or added sugars. That’s when you read the ingredient list to see if there are any added sugar sources. On the label, look for whole grains within the first or second ingredients, says Diabetes Education Online.

Aim for the terms: brown rice, whole-grain sorghum, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, whole-grain barley, oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat and rolled oats. When the label on a specific food claims that it has been “made with whole grains,” it is important to know what to look for to be sure you are getting a complex carbohydrate source. A better label to look for states “100 percent whole grain.”

A List of Complex Carbs

  • Acorn Squash 
  • All-Bran Cereal 
  • Amaranth Barley 
  • Black Beans 
  • Black-Eyed Peas 
  • Buckwheat 
  • Bulgur 
  • Butternut Squash 
  • Durum 
  • Einkorn 
  • Emmer 
  • Farro 
  • Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas) 
  • Green Peas 
  • Kamut 
  • Kidney Beans 
  • Lentils 
  • Lima Beans 
  • Millet 
  • Navy Beans 
  • Oatbran Cereal 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Oats 
  • Parsnips 
  • Pinto Beans 
  • Potato 
  • Quinoa 
  • Rice (brown, colored and wild) 
  • Rye 
  • Split Peas 
  • Sorghum 
  • Spelt 
  • Sweet Potato 
  • Wheat 
  • Wheat Berries 
  • Whole-Grain (breads, cereals and flours)

Remember, fruits and vegetables are simple carbohydrates that contain fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, so they are more complex in nature. These are nutrient-dense foods that should be eaten daily.

Whole-Grain Coconut Almond Granola Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Ginger Hultin, RD

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1 cup slivered almonds 
  • 1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios 
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed or sunflower oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract 
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, almonds, pistachios, coconut, cinnamon, salt and cardamom in a large boil. Combine maple syrup, oil and extract in a separate bowl then fold into dry mixture.
  3. Spread onto the prepared sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stir and then cook 15 minutes more. Granola should be slightly browned but monitor it closely so it doesn’t burn. Fold raisins into hot granola and set aside to cool for 10 to 30 minutes, and then transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one month. Also freezes well.

Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

4 Carb Mistakes You’re Probably Making — and How to Fix Them

By Lauren O’Connor, MS, RDN, RYTUpdated January 1, 2020

Fact Checked

You either embrace them as part of every meal or wish or you could cut them out entirely. But while you should be mindful of how many grams of carbs you’re packing on your plate, quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to your health.

Surprisingly enough, Americans are eating fewer total carbs and fewer refined carbs than they did in the 90s. But despite eating less of the macronutrient and some positive shifts in nutrient balance, we’re still opting for too many low-quality carbs than dietary guidelines recommend, according to a September 2019 study published in JAMA. In fact, researchers looked at dietary trends over an 18-year period and found that whole grains and fruit accounted for only 9 percent of the typical American diet.

The bottom line: We’re still falling short in fueling our body the right way, with the right carbs. That’s why we spoke to dietitians about what you can do to keep carbs in your diet.

Wondering how to calculate the amount of carbs you eat every day?

Download the MyPlate app to do the job and help you track your intake, so you can stay focused and achieve your goals! 

1. You Think All Carbs Are the Same and Eat the Wrong Ones

“As a dietitian, I see people grouping all types of carbs together and demonizing them all,” says Sarah Grace Meckelberg, RD. Cupcakes, fries and other foods lacking nutrients may fall into the overall classification of a carbohydrate, but that doesn’t mean all carb-containing foods deliver the same nutritional value (or lack thereof).

“An awful lot of carb-rich foods are the very foods that boost nutrition and help fight disease.”

“Oranges and orange soda don’t belong in the same category any more than pinto beans and jelly beans,” says Jill Weisenberger, RDN, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide. She recommends focusing more on the nutrient density rather than its overall classification. “An awful lot of carb-rich foods are the very foods that boost nutrition and help fight disease,” she explains.

A June 2014 manuscript published in the journal Lancet concludes that it’s more crucial to consider the nutrient-density of your carbohydrates (and fats) than it is to focus solely on the quantity of those macronutrients. Highly processed carbohydrates are associated with greater risk for chronic disease while switching to minimally processed whole grains, fruits and legumes can help lower those risks.

Need another reason to believe that quality matters? Low-quality carbs such as white bread, white rice, pastries, sweetened beverages and chips — besides lacking in nutrient quality — are quickly metabolized in your body. This leads to blood sugar spikes that eventually come crashing down, leaving you with hunger cravings, says Cheryl Mussatto, RD, author of The Nourished Brain.

Fix It

“When it comes to what you’re eating on average, it’s about picking ‘smart carbs’ — those that are nutrient-dense and that aren’t extremely processed, refined or contain artificial ingredients,” Meckelberg says.

Put more focus on the nutrient density of food instead of making food choices based solely on how many grams of carbs it contains. Mussato recommends choosing more vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains (like oatmeal) instead. “Their ‘natural package’ of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber keeps blood sugar fluctuations in check, helping to reduce the need to overeat,” says Mussato.

2. You Cut Carbs to Lose Weight

The booming popularity of keto and other low-carb diets might trick you into thinking that skipping out on quality carbs is an easy and quick weight-loss fix.

When you cut carbs, you’re also cutting foods rich in fiber, a very important type of carb. Research shows that the high fiber content in complex carbohydrates can contribute to weight loss success.

While cutting carbs may help you lose water weight since carbs hold onto water, that doesn’t translate to long-term fat loss. In fact, the potential long-term health risks of low-carb diets such as keto are still up in the air because most of the research done on these eating plans haven’t lasted more than a year, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What we do know is that when you cut carbs, you’re also cutting foods rich in fiber, a very important type of carb. Research shows that the high fiber content in complex carbohydrates (including beans/legumes, whole grains and vegetables) can contribute to weight loss success.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Carbs and Why You Shouldn’t Cut Them

A 2017 study published in The Journal of Nutrition took a look at macronutrient influence in a calorie-restricted diet. A carbohydrate-rich diet that’s high in fiber and low in fat was observed to promote weight loss in people at risk of diabetes. This study suggests that getting more fiber from complex carbs including fiber-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables may help promote weight loss and lead to sustainable results.

Fix It

“The U.S. Dietary Guidelinesrecommend two servings of whole grains daily; there’s need to cut them out,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. A better idea is to include nutrient-dense whole grains and other plant-based carbs in your diet. 

They’re nourishing, satisfying and weight-loss friendly. “Sweet potato, quinoa and oatmeal contain super-healthy carbs that are high in fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals,” Dr. Young says. Aim for two servings of whole grains daily, exercise portion control and stop relying on low-carb convenience foods to get you through the day.

3. You Aren’t Balancing Your Macros

Heed caution to any diet that wants you to eliminate carbs, protein or fat. “Every day, you need a certain amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber found in each of these macronutrients,” says Mussatto. “The best approach is to balance these macros by aiming for about 50 percent of your diet coming from carbs, 30 percent protein and 20 percent fat.”

“All food groups have nutritious and nourishing foods supportive of healthy weight loss, such as whole grains, fruits and veggies with energy-boosting carbs, lean meats and seafood for muscle-building protein, and avocados and nuts containing essential fats,” says Mussatto.

The Mediterranean diet has long been recognized for improving heart and overall health as well as aiding in weight loss. And that’s mainly because it supports all food groups and places an emphasis on quality carbohydrates as well as fish, lean animal proteins and healthy fats.

In fact, on the Med diet, carbs make up the biggest chunk of your meals, with about 43 percent of total daily calories come from carbs, according to a 2015 review published in Nutrients.

Fix It

Include all food groups in your daily diet, focusing on a variety of foods found in their natural state. Aim to get around 40 to 50 percent of your daily calories from whole-food, unprocessed carbs.

To help achieve overall balance, Kristen Carli, RD recommends swapping out empty-calorie snacks (candy, doughnuts, cookies, cakes, highly refined crackers, etc.) for healthy combos, such as hummus with baby carrots, an apple with peanut butter or a slice of whole-wheat toast with avocado and hemp seeds.

4. You Underestimate the Power of Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates provide the dietary fiber necessary to improve digestive health, curb cravings and prevent chronic disease. What’s more, not getting enough fiber can lead to health issues such as diverticulosis and unhealthy cholesterol levels, putting one at risk for poor digestive health and heart disease, per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Carbs serve as powerhouses — our body’s best source of fuel.”

A 2019 review on plant-based diets cites evidence from numerous studies and several clinical trials, concluding that getting between 25 to 29 grams of fiber could reduce the risks for metabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, per research published in Translational Psychiatry. Getting plenty of fiber from legumes, grains, vegetables and fruits aid in metabolic processes that improve gut health, blood sugar control and lipid levels.

Read more: 19 High-Fiber Foods — Some May Surprise You!

And if that’s not enough to convince you, Meckleberg states she’s seen low energy levels, workout fatigue, imbalanced hormones in women and stalled physical results in her patients who’ve chosen to restrict their carbs.

Fix It

“Carbs serve as powerhouses — our body’s best source of fuel,” says Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies and YouTube vlogger at Diabetes Every Day. Get at least 25 grams of fiber a day from plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits and beans. “The fiber helps blunt glucose spikes,” says Smithson. 

Embrace the power of good carbs and follow a plant-based diet that is rich in a variety of complex carbohydrates to stay energized and healthy.

So just remember that all carbs aren’t bad. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

Flexibility Training

Can’t Touch Your Toes? Here’s What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You

By Bojana GalicUpdated January 1, 2020

Fact Checked

If you’re active, you likely set aside time for aerobic exercise to improve your heart health. You may even carve out a few hours a week for strength training to build or maintain muscle mass. But how much time are you devoting for flexibility training?

Man and woman outside stretching and trying to touch their toes

It’s totally fine if you can’t touch your toes — yet. There are stretches that’ll get you there.Credit: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/GettyImages

Though often neglected, improving your flexibility is a crucial part of maintaining an overall healthy body, according to the American Council on Exercise. Regular stretching can help improve your posture, relieve muscle tension and may even reduce your risk of injury.

Even if you dreaded the sit-and-reach test in elementary school PE class and still struggle to reach your toes during a yoga class, don’t totally abandon this stretch just yet. Take note of your sticking points (ex. chronically tight hamstrings or stiff hip flexors) and listen to your body.

And if you can’t figure out exactly what your hang up is, these tips from Samuel Chan, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City, will help you improve your flexibility and finally touch your toes.

If You: Feel Tugging in the Back of Your Legs

You Might: Have Weak Hamstrings

Sometimes weakness in the body can be misconstrued as poor flexibility, Chan says. In some cases, feeling a tugging or tightness on the back of your legs as you reach for your toes may actually indicate weak hamstrings, rather than a lack of flexibility.

Incorporating hamstring-strengthening exercises can help you improve your range of motion. “Loaded mobility and strengthening can yield good, long-lasting changes in your flexibility and decrease sensations of ‘tightness,'” Chan says.

One exercise to try in the gym is the Romanian deadlift, he says. Throughout the majority of this exercise, your hamstrings work eccentrically, meaning they lengthen to lift the weight. As a result, your hamstrings stay under tension longer, which strengthens them.

And don’t forget to foam roll after you work out! Foam rolling your hamstrings (and legs in general) can help promote blood flow to these muscles, promoting relaxation and flexibility, Chan says. Try to devote 60 to 90 seconds of foam rolling for your hamstrings after you exercise.

Romanian Deadlift

  1. Stand with your legs at about hip-width apart. You can either hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides or a barbell in front of you, gripping the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Shoot your hips back and bend your knees slightly as you hinge forward, keeping a flat back.
  3. Lower the weight(s) toward the ground, keeping it/them close to the body. You should feel a stretch down the back of your legs as you lower the weight. 
  4. Once your upper body is parallel to the ground, reverse the motion and bring your hips forward, returning to standing.

If You: Feel Tightness in Your Hips

You Might: Have Tight Hip Flexors

If you’re not already overwhelmed by all the reasons why sitting for hours isn’t healthy, here’s another: tight hips. Your hip flexors, a group of muscles at the front of your hips, adapt to being in a shortened position after long bouts of sitting.

When they’re chronically shortened, your hip flexors pull on your pelvis, causing it to tip forward (also known as an anterior pelvic tilt). An anterior pelvic tilt then places tension on your hamstrings even before you begin to reach for your toes, Chan says. That doesn’t leave much room for stretching if your hamstrings are already at their limit.

If possible, stand up and move around more frequently throughout the day for at least a few quick minutes, he says. Consider setting an alarm on your phone or fitness tracker that reminds you to stand up every hour or so. Or consider investing in a standing desk to give your hip flexors and chance to lengthen.

And make sure to stretch your hip flexors properly. Even a simple kneeling hip flexor stretch is a good way to maintain mobility.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Kneel on the ground with your right leg out in front of you, bent at 90 degrees. Place the left knee on the ground for support.
  2. Tuck your hips slightly and begin to lean into your right knee. You should feel a stretch along the front of your left hip. 
  3. Sit here for about 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Read more: 7 Dynamic Stretches to Improve Hip Mobility

If You: Feel a Pinch in Your Lower Back

You Might: Have Poor Nerve Mobility

Your muscles aren’t the only potential hindrances to touching your toes. If you begin to feel a pinch in your lower back that shoots down your legs, you may be experiencing tension in your nervous system, Chan says.

Ideally, our nerves should be able to slide and move independently from other muscles and tissues surrounding them. But poor nerve mobility can cause tension in this movement, which starts in your lower back or in the back of your legs. Mobility exercises, like an active hamstring stretch, can help alleviate this tension.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to your sciatic nerve is your posture, Chan says. “Since the sciatic nerve comes from the spine, sitting posture is very important — make sure to have your lower back supported!” If you’re sitting for a long time, keep a pillow on your chair for some added support.

Active Hamstring Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight out and arms at your sides.
  2. Raise your right leg up toward the sky, keeping it straight and grab the back of your thigh with both hands.
  3. Slowly pull your leg toward you until you feel a stretch on the back of your leg.
  4. Keeping your knee in place, facing the ceiling, lower your heel toward the ground and then raise it back up.
  5. Lower and raise the bottom part of your leg several times to loosen the hamstring, then switch legs.

Always remember to stretch before and after your workout. Just remember not to hold your stretches for longer than 15 seconds before exercising. Make it a great day!!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”

Certified Personal Trainer

4 Types of Workouts That Help Women Burn More Fat at the Gym

By Kaitlin CondonUpdated December 30, 2019Reviewed by Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHT

Your time is valuable — especially at the gym. So if your goal is to burn body fat, you’ll need to be strategic about the kinds of workouts you do. The goods news, though, is that you don’t need a ton of time for these workouts. Even 30 minutes will boost your fat-loss efforts.

Determined female athletes exercising on rowing machines in crossfit gym to lose body fat

HIIT, strength training and full-body circuits are all great ways to burn fat and boost your metabolism.Credit: Cavan Images/Cavan/GettyImages

But keep in mind that when it comes to losing body fat, you diet matters just as much (if not more) than your workouts. That likely means reducing the number of calories you’re currently eating, so that you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.

Exercise is even more effective when paired with a healthy diet. Download the MyPlate app to track your calories consumed and burned for a complete picture of your overall health.

While maintaining a proper diet can help you shave off excess calories, your body composition (ratio of fat to muscle) will change faster with the right fat-burning exercises for women. Hit the gym several times a week with a fitness regimen that combines cardio and strength training.

Tip

Start your workouts with strength training and finish with cardio or HIIT. Another option is to lift weights at least three times per week and do cardio or full-body circuits on separate days.

1. Cardio Machines

One of the best ways to blast away calories is through cardiovascular exercise. Cardio causes your heart rate to increase, which gets your heart pumping harder, your body sweating and calories burning. In fact, depending on your weight, workout intensity and the machine you choose, you can expect to burn between 250 and 750 calories in 30 minutes.

The treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike and stair stepper are among the best cardio machines at the gym. They allow you to alter the speed, as well as the resistance, during your workout, keeping your body challenged. Perform cardio exercise three to four times a week for 30 to 45 minutes to burn calories and shed excess body fat.

2. Weight-Lifting

While cardio exercise torches more calories during the workout than lifting weights does, building lean muscle mass helps you burn more calories in the long run. Lean muscle requires more energy (read: calories) to maintain, even when you’re not working out.

Plus, you’ll experience what’s called “the after-burn effect” (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC). High-intensity strength training increases resting energy expenditure for up to 24 hours after exercise, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise.

Lift weights at least three times a week using a combination of upper- and lower-body exercises to build lean muscle. In general, most women tend to store fat on their arms, legs and backside, so focus on these areas.

To work on your arms, perform exercises like the shoulder press, push-ups and triceps extension.

Move 1: Shoulder Press

  1. Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing out.
  2. Press the weights straight overhead without raising your shoulders or locking out your elbows.
  3. Lower back down to your shoulders.

Move 2: Push-Ups

  1. Start on all fours, hands under shoulders. Straighten your legs straight out behind you so that you’re in a high plank — your body forming a diagonal line from feet to head.
  2. Bend your elbows out at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your chest to the ground (or as far as your strength and mobility allow).
  3. Press back up to the start.

Move 3: Triceps Extension

  1. Hold either a dumbbell in each hand or one large dumbbell with both hands above your head.
  2. Lower the weights slowly behind your head.
  3. Press back up to the start without shrugging your shoulders or locking out your elbows.

When it comes to toning your lower body, look no further than the sumo squat, walking lunge and Bulgarian split squat.

Move 1: Sumo Squat

  1. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, feet pointed out slightly.
  2. Bend your knees and hinge your hips to lower your butt toward the ground, keeping your back straight and your knees tracking over your toes.
  3. Lower down as far as your strength and mobility will allow.
  4. Press back up to standing.

Move 2: Walking Lunge

  1. Stand tall, then take a step a few feet forward, bending both knees to 90 degrees.
  2. Press off your back foot and bring it to meet your front foot as you return to standing.
  3. Step forward again, but this time with the opposite leg.

Move 3: Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. Start in a split stance with one foot in front of the other. Place your back foot up on a weight bench or chair.
  2. Bend both knees to lower straight down. Your front knee should be bent to 90 degrees and your knee in line with your ankle.
  3. Drive through your feet to return to standing.

Thus, a fat-burning strength training workout for women might look like this:

  • Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes with light cardio and dynamic stretches. Then do:
  • 20 sumo squats
  • 10 push-ups
  • 20 Bulgarian split squats (10 each leg)
  • 10 shoulder presses
  • Repeat for 4 rounds.
  • Finish with 10 minutes on the step mill.
  • Cool down with 3 to 5 minutes of static stretching.

Try this full-body weight-lifting workout for fat loss.

3. HIIT Workouts

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves short but intense bursts of activity followed by less-intense active recovery or rest. This type of workout helps promote weight loss and reduce belly fat in a shorter amount of time than steady-state cardio, according to a 2017 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

HIIT comes in many forms, but it’s easy to get started on cardio machines, such as the treadmill. For example, try this HIIT treadmill workout:

  • Warm up for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace.
  • Run at a challenging pace for one minute.
  • Jog or walk for two minutes.
  • Repeat this 3-minute block five times for a total of 15 minutes.
  • Cool down for 3 to 5 minutes at an easy pace.

HIIT workouts are supposed to be intense, so it’s best to work your way up with the number of intervals you are doing. Start with five, and as your fitness improves, increase workout duration and intensity.

Incorporate these fat-burning exercises into your HIIT routine.

4. Circuit Training

Circuit training is a combination of strength-training and cardio exercise, offering the best of both worlds. This makes it one of the best fat-burning workouts for women. According to a 2017 research paper featured in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, high-intensity circuit training improves body composition aka muscle-to-fat ratio while increasing overall strength.

A typical training session involves different strength-training exercises for each muscle group; you move quickly from one exercise to another, which keeps your heart rate elevated and the calories burning.

Instead of resting after a strength-training circuit, you can also perform cardio exercises in between, such as jumping jacks and jump rope to ramp up your overall calorie burn.

Do one of these circuit-training workouts next time you’re at the gym.

Fat-Loss Workout Gym Plan

Now that you have the workouts that will help you burn fat at the gym, remember that consistency is the key. Create a workout plan, clean up your diet and set clear goals. Exercise three to five times per week to fully reap the benefits.

Beware that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for weight loss. Experiment with different fat-burning exercises for women and keep your workouts diverse. Track your results and adjust your gym plan accordingly. For example, if you’re having trouble losing those last few pounds, add HIIT to the mix.

This one is for the ladies. Always remember to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen, especially if you have had any prior health issues. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46

Certified Personal Trainer

How to Start Exercising in Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond

By Lambeth HochwaldUpdated October 4, 2019

If you’re over 40 and haven’t exercised in years (or ever), take heart: An August 2019 study published in Frontiers in Physiology concluded that it’s never too late to start working out. While the study was small, the results indicate that even those who start exercising in their late 70s can reap the benefits of exercise.

Full length of mature man wearing sports shoe at home

(Image: Cavan Images/Cavan/GettyImages)

So what’s the best way to approach exercise at this phase of life? “For anyone who is returning to exercise after a long break — say, several years or more without exercising — it’s important to start slow and gradually increase your duration and intensity,” says Leanne Pedante, head of the training program at STRIDE, a running-based fitness club in Los Angeles.

“As we age, incorporating both cardio and strength work becomes important. Aerobic exercise keeps your heart healthy, while resistance training helps keep bones strong,” Pedante says. To help you kickstart a workout routine, here’s a decade-by-decade guide to getting (and staying) active.

Read more: Denise Austin Shares the Best Exercises for Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond

How to start exercising in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond graphic

(Image: Graphic: LIVESTRONG.com Creative)

Exercising in Your 40s

The bad news? “Muscle loss has already begun when you’re in your 40s,” says Linda Melone, certified personal trainer and founder of Ageless After 50. “This age-related loss of muscle and decline in strength occurs naturally so if you haven’t started a resistance training program, now’s the time.” If you don’t, you can expect to lose between three- and five-percent of your muscle mass each decade.

The good news? Even if you haven’t been steadily working out, you can start an exercise regimen in your 40s and get up to speed pretty quickly, provided you don’t have any health issues or previous injuries, says Tamara Jones, certified personal trainer and a Pilates instructor in New York City.

“While I wouldn’t turn around and try to run a marathon tomorrow if you haven’t been routinely exercising, you can likely jump into a two- to three-times-a-week exercise schedule,” she says. “This could include working with a trainer in a gym or taking an exercise class at your local YMCA or gym.”

Unfortunately, this decade can be especially hard on the ladies. “Women in their 40s are just potentially getting into perimenopause,” says Debra Atkinson, CEO of Flipping 50. “They may have symptoms of hot flashes, weight gain and more belly fat.” But exercise can help mange those symptoms.

How to Start: Moderate activity that includes frequent brisk walks around your neighborhood or leisurely swims at the pool are good options to ease into things, says Mitchell Fischer, fitness manager of Gold’s Gym in San Antonio, Texas.

“To get the most cardiovascular benefit, keep this in mind: If you’re speaking full sentences and don’t feel short of breath, you’re not getting the full benefit,” he says. “You should only be able to get five to six words out at a time to catch your breath.”

You should also add weight lifting to your weekly regimen, starting slowly to avoid injuries and mastering proper form using your body weight before adding resistance. But don’t sell your workouts short, either. “If you’re doing three sets of 10 reps with a certain weight and don’t feel it, you’re not challenging yourself,” he says. Pick a weight you can comfortably and safely lift but that also provide a challenge on your last two reps.

Working Out in Your 50s

In your 50s, muscle loss accelerates as muscular strength, endurance and muscle mass continue to decrease. “By age 50, metabolism may be down between 10 to 15 percent as a result of a drop in muscle,” Melone says.

“In addition, bone density decreases for both men and women and increases the risk of bone fractures.” Plus, ligaments also become less “elastic” and hydrated, making overuse injuries more likely, Melone says.

How to Start: It can help to have a few sessions with a personal trainer to assess how you’re moving before you throw yourself into a workout regimen, Jones says. A trainer will put you through a series of diagnostic tests to check your flexibility and core strength. This is the perfect time to ask what exercises he or she recommends for your fitness level, workout experience and injury history.

Based on what they tell you, you can amp up your cardio workouts by biking, swimming, rowing or taking brisk walks. And always find the time to strength train. “If you’re working hard enough and taking shorter rest breaks between reps, you will get your heart rate up and that will have cardiac benefits,” says Morgan Nolte, DPT, a board-certified clinical specialist in geriatric physical therapy in Omaha, Nebraska.

“Weight training will also build your strength, which is so important for body function and weight management, and strong leg and core muscles will improve your balance to prevent falls.” Key exercises you can include in your two or three day a week regimen: push-ups, squats and planks. Body-weight exercises like these build functional strength to continue to perform day-to-day activities without injury.

Read more: HIIT Over 50: A 20-Minute, Low-Impact Workout for Beginners

Getting Active in Your 60s and Beyond

This is a tougher stage to jump-start a regimen, but it’s not impossible to make it happen. Your goal: Be conservative and consider going back to the basics, Jones says.

“My best advice: If you’re patient and consistent you’ll reap the rewards,” she says. “At this age, I would also recommend working with a trainer at least to start out as this professional will be very helpful in creating a fitness routine for you to follow.”

How to Start: Since osteoarthritis may rear its ugly head during this decade, that’s all the more reason you should always warm up for at least 10 minutes before every workout, Melon says.

This is also a great time to partner with a friend on daily walks or workouts. “After you retire, your workplace community is gone and isolation becomes increasingly likely,” Pedante says. “Group fitness classes are an amazing way to stay not just physically active, but socially active as well.” Try Zumba or other dance classes or water aerobics.

At the gym, consider doing treadmill intervals to develop stronger legs, stronger hearts and greater lung capacity. “Speed-walking treadmill intervals on an incline make for a tough workout and if balance is a concern, guardrails provide extra support,” Pedante says.

No matter your life stage, do your best to neverage yourself out of exercise, Jones says. “I always tell people who haven’t exercised in a while to start with a brisk walk,” she says. “Then find the methods and intensities that will help you enjoy exercise and keep you motivated to stay consistent. I’d give this same advice to a 20-year-old: Always listen to your body. It will tell you what’s working and what isn’t.”

Just remember that you’re never too old to start exercising. Make it a great day!!!

Philip “FitGuy46”