Burn Calories and Blast Fat with These Fitness Tips
— By Megan Patrick, Staff Writer
Everyone wants to do more in less time. Just imagine how much you could get done if you had an extra hour or two a day! That may be a fantasy, but boosting the caloric burn—without spending more time in the gym—isn’t. Use these smart strategies so your next workout does more for you!
Strategy #1: Crank Up Your Cardio
10 Smart Ways to Burn More Calories
Learn why it matters whether you do cardio before or after strength training, plus nine other ways to ramp up your cardio workouts for maximum calorie burn.
Strategy #2: Work Out in the Right Zone
Is Your Fat-Burning Furnace Fired Up?
Is the “fat burning” heart-rate zone really the key to torching calories and losing weight? The answer might surprise you. Find out how hard you should really be exercising for best results.
Strategy #3: Follow the Fat-Burning Fitness Facts
The Best Fat-Burning Advice
Separate fat-burning myths from truths and learn why exercising on an empty stomach might not be doing you any favors.
Strategy #4: Try Tabata Training
Tabata Training 101
This intense workout protocol will torch 13.5 calories per minute and double your metabolic rate for 30 minutes after you stop exercising!
Strategy #5: Clear Yourself of These Cardio Crimes
The 10 Worst Cardio Crimes
These common mistakes are zapping your calorie-burning potential. Are you guilty of any of them?
Strategy #6: Incorporate More Intervals
7 Good Reasons to Try Interval Training
Adding intervals to your regular cardio workout will burn more calories and more fat in less time. Here’s how to do it.
Strategy #7: Pick Up a Kettlebell
We Iron Out the Facts on Kettlebell Training
Discover how this full-body workout uses both anaerobic and aerobic energy systems to burn more calories per minute than any other form of exercise.
Strategy #8: Pull Out Your Jump Rope
Jumping Rope for Fitness
Just 10 minutes of jumping rope provides the same fitness benefits as a 30-minute run! ‘Nuff said!
Strategy #9: Burn 20% More Calories When You Walk
Nordic Walking for Fitness and Fun
Change up your routine and boost your calorie burn by using this walking technique.
BONUS Strategy #10: Combine Cardio + Strength Training into One Workout
Our 28 Day Boot Camp workout DVD is the ultimate calorie burner!
— By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
Heart disease is a scary thing. In the face of dire risk factor statistics and horror stories about cholesterol, you can easily get rattled. You might feel overwhelmed by the whole cholesterol question, and feel like you face uninformed life and death decisions every time you sit down at the table.
But reducing your risk of heart disease is not an impossible task. All it takes is a few simple adjustments.
Your cholesterol level is determined by several factors, including your genetic makeup, your diet, and certain lifestyle choices. You can’t do anything about genes passed down from Grandpa Charlie, but you can change your future with a few new, heart-friendly lifestyle choices.
The list below contains several strategies to help you develop cholesterol-smart, heart-healthy habits. These nutritional do’s and don’ts won’t have you feeling deprived, or require you to train for a marathon. They will, however, make your heart very happy. And a happy heart has nothing to be afraid of.
DO watch your cholesterol intake. Dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol you eat) may raise blood cholesterol levels. Limit dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day.
DO limit the fat in your diet. A diet rich in fat encourages weight gain and may lead to elevated blood cholesterol levels.
DON’T eliminate all fat from your diet. You need some fat in your diet for good health. Fat adds pleasure to your meal and makes you feel satisfied after the meal. Fat also gives flavor, texture, and moisture to food.
DO choose olive oil and canola oil for salad dressing, sautéing vegetables, cooking and baking. They are rich in monounsaturated fat, the heart healthy fat.
DON’T forego seeds and nuts, like almonds, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts. These are high in the healthy monounsaturated fats. A small handful 3-5 times a week can help prevent heart disease and increase your HDL (high density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol) levels.
DO find more soluble fiber. Soluble fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels. It is found in oats, rice, bran, barley, dried peas and beans, and certain fruits like prunes and apples.
DON’T overlook complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Choose more whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, brown rice, and dried beans and peas. Enjoy fruits and vegetables more often.
DON’T overindulge in salt. High blood pressure is associated with a diet high in sodium. Check labels carefully and watch the amount of salt you use in cooking and at the table.
DO cut back on trans fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which makes a fat more saturated and extends its shelf life. Avoid the term “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the ingredient list of margarines, as well as packaged foods, cookies and crackers.
DON’T forget to go fishing. Fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, is good for cholesterol. It is recommended to eat at least 6-8 ounces of baked or broiled fish each week. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and halibut are excellent sources.
OTHER HEART HEALTHY TIPS:
DON’T smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. It decreases your HDL (high density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol) levels.
DO get moving. Physical activity is an important part of a heart-healthy routine. It can also help you control your weight and lower your blood pressure. Shoot for at least 30 minutes of activity every day.
DO lose weight, if you are overweight. People who maintain a healthful weight (a BMI of 18-24) are not only less likely to develop heart disease, but also high blood pressure and diabetes. Lose unwanted pounds by eating fewer calories and increasing your physical activity on a regular basis.
DON’T forget to know your numbers. Get your blood cholesterol levels checked yearly.
Chronic Stress Isn’t Normal
— By Erin Whitehead, Health and Fitness Writer
We’ve all done it, and sometimes we don’t even realize when it’s happening. Maybe you graze when you’re bored, or reach your hand into the office candy jar each time you pass by. Perhaps when you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon, you head to the vending machine for a pick-me-up. All of these are opportunities to eat for reasons other than hunger. No matter why food calls your name, one thing rings true: We have all eaten something when we weren’t truly hungry. While that’s OK from time to time, too much eating without thinking can really hurt your weight management goals. And depending on what you eat, hurt your health, too.
Take a look at these 10 situations that encourage you to eat when you’re not hungry, plus tips to cope in a healthier way.
Emotions are a common eating trigger. Happy? You might eat a treat to celebrate. Sad? You might eat to soothe yourself with comfort food. Angry? You might take it out with a fork instead of the person who really caused it. But if you turn to food for emotional reasons, you won’t resolve the underlying issues. It may help to track your eating habits in a journal, noting your emotional state when you headed for that snack. Writing it down may help you make a connection you hadn’t seen before, like the fact that you eat when you’re lonely or angry. Then you’ll know for the future to look for a different outlet, such as calling a friend when you’re lonely or turning to that punching bag when you’re mad or stressed. If emotional eating is a known problem for you, check out SparkPeople’s 10-step guide to overcoming emotional eating.
Out of Boredom
Sometimes you’re not emotional—you’re just bored. For many people, eating seems like a good solution when there’s nothing better to do; whether you graze at home on the weekends or entertain yourself with lavish dinners out. But eating can only last for so long—and then you have an afternoon to fill! If you know boredom is a trigger for your emotional eating, have a list of strategies in place to keep yourself busy and entertained when you don’t have anything else to do. Catch up with an old friend, write an old-fashioned snail-mail letter, write in your journal or blog, volunteer in your community, take up a new hobby or read a book you’ve always wanted to read. Better yet, make your boredom-buster an active endeavor, such as trying a new class at the gym, playing an active video game, going for a walk with the dog or flying a kite. Eating won’t sound as appealing if you have a fun alternative to occupy your mind and your body!
Because Other People Are Eating
When you’re out enjoying a dinner with family or friends, it can be easy to eat when you’re past the point of fullness—especially if you’re enamored in conversation and not paying attention to your satiation level. Perhaps more common, it’s easy to indulge when others around you are eating, too. It makes you feel like you fit in, and that it’s OK since everyone else is doing it. Research shows that our habits mimic our companions’ actions in situations like these. You don’t have to swear off happy hour with friends to watch your weight though. When your dining companions devour a second basket of bread or chips, or order dessert, don’t automatically follow suit. Check in with your hunger level to see if you really need it or if you’ll be more satisfied with the fun conversation. If you have trouble stopping yourself from reaching for more, use some of these dining out tactics to stay in control.
Because Food is There
Have a candy jar at the office that calls your name? Do you feel powerless to pass up food at a party, even if you’ve already eaten? When food is in plain sight, it can be so easy to grab a handful simply because it’s there. It looks good. You like it. It’s right in front of you. What’s the harm? Any food that is nearby, visible and easily accessible is hard for anyone to turn down. If you’re unable to nix the trigger food altogether, move the treats out of sight—you’ll be less likely to grab a handful. So if you buy a bag of Oreos, put them on a high shelf in a cabinet—not on the counter. Instead of a clear candy jar, try an opaque one or move it to another location. (Alternatively, stock the candy jar with a healthier, more filling treat—like nuts or trail mix.) When you’re already full and food is out at a party, stand with your back to the table or in another room. The flipside of this works, too. When you keep lots of other healthy foods in sight, like a bowl of fruit on the table, you’re more likely to eat them.
Because It’s a Special Occasion
If you work in a big office or have a big family, it can seem like every day is someone’s birthday, anniversary, or shower. And if those celebrations often involve cake or alcohol, it might seem that every party is a calorie-laden minefield. If you don’t want to have a piece of cake every day, don’t automatically get in the cake line when it’s your bosses’ birthday—you can always show your face at the celebration without taking part in the punch bowl. Remember: Celebrations are about the people, not the food. If you do best without temptation, skip the gathering altogether or bring your own low-cal treat. Here’s another tactic: New research shows that just imagining yourself eating a treat can decrease your desire to eat the real thing. Passing up cake or celebratory food on occasion just got easier!
Because You’re Tired
The dreaded afternoon energy lull can drive even the most disciplined of us to food—especially sugary treats. But that sugar rush might be followed by an even worse crash. Instead, take a walk around the office, head outside for some rejuvenating natural light, or drink a cup of coffee or a tall glass of cold water. A change of scenery might be just the ticket to battle the afternoon lull.
Because the Clock Says So
Do you pull out your lunchbox when the clock strikes noon, just because it’s time for lunch? Or head to the kitchen at 6 p.m. just because that’s your typical dinnertime? Don’t just eat when the clock tells you to! When mealtime hits, use it as a cue to check in with your current hunger level. Are you actually hungry? If so, whip up that healthy meal. If not, wait until your body tells you to eat, and ignore the clock.
Because It’s Free (Or Cheap)
Everyone loves to get a good deal. But don’t eat up just because something is free (think free samples at the grocery store) or super cheap (buy-one-get-one-free sodas or all-you-can-eat buffets). Always check in with your body’s hunger level before you automatically fill your plate with a freebie.
Because You Can’t Say No to Food Pushers
If you’re a people pleaser, it can be hard to say no, especially when friends or family offer you scrumptious food. And sometimes people who push food don’t take no for an answer. Have excuses lined up in your bag of tricks—and be honest. “I’m not hungry” works well, as does “I’m trying to lose weight.” If you end up with a piece of cake (or a whole cake to take home!) despite your protests, remember that you’re in control (it’s rare that people will try to force feed you). You can always set the fork down or share the cake with neighbors or co-workers, or simply eat just a small portion.
Because You Suffer from Clean Plate Syndrome
Most of us have grown up hearing, “There are starving kids who would love to eat that” to get us to clean our plates as kids. And for many of us, the well-meaning notion to prevent kids from wasting food and encourage them to eat their broccoli has stayed with us into adulthood. Do you still feel obligated to clean your plate, even when you’re not hungry enough to comfortably finish it all—especially at a restaurant where you’re paying a premium for a meal? Fortunately, most of us live with modern amenities like refrigerators and microwaves that make stowing away almost any meal for another time easy. (See, no waste necessary!) To prevent overeating, take stock throughout your meal to gauge how hungry you are; you might find that you don’t need those last few bites after all. If that doesn’t work, use smaller plates at home to eat less! And lastly, get over your fear of leftovers. I’ve met countless people who say they simply don’t eat them. Why not? Many foods taste better the next day or two, and most things can be refrigerated and eaten without sacrificing flavor or texture.
If you eat for reasons other than being hungry, check in with yourself. Knowing what true hunger feels like can help you recognize when you’re eating for other reasons. If you can’t avoid the specific triggers that cause you to eat when you’re not hungry—and there’s no way to avoid them all—knowing these strategies will help!
— By SparkPeople
A gathering of close friends and family is one of the happiest times of year for all of us. Celebrations like Thanksgiving can distract us from our everyday worries…but they can distract us from our diets too. Here’s what you need to know so that the only thing you’re “adding on” this holiday is joy.
The average American will consume more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day alone, according to the Caloric Control Council. Surprisingly, most of these calories come from the all-day snacking in front of the TV while watching parades and sporting events.
The Truth about Fat
So what happens to all those extra calories? Caloric intake above your total daily energy expenditure (calories in > calories out) is converted into droplets, which are gobbled up by your fat cells. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories.
Luckily, following puberty, the body has developed all of its fat cells. Unfortunately, fat cells can never go away. Although they can shrink, you can never actually get rid of the cell itself.
How Many Pounds?
There’s good and bad news here. You’ve probably heard that the average person gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. However, a joint study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Medical University of South Carolina found that the average person’s weight gain is just over one pound. Sounds harmless, but…
The researchers found that the extra weight is stubborn—still present a year later on 85% of study participants. Gaining one extra pound each year can add up significantly, especially if it ends up sticking around forever, as the study suggests.
You’re Getting Very, Very…very…sleepy
Americans consume over 675 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving Day! Although turkey contains a natural sedative called Tryptophan, the chemical doesn’t have a large effect because it’s mixed with everything else you eat. That “food coma” you experience is actually the result of your body working overtime to digest all that food! <pagebreak>
We all have that friend or family member that can eat whatever they want and never gain a pound. But the rest of us, need some tips to help cut back on the bad stuff and enjoy the holiday without guilt.
Try Revamping some of your Traditional Recipes
Feel the Burn!
You can easily add a little more activity to your holiday routine to help “make up” for some of the extra calories you eat. Burn this many calories in just 10 minutes!
Build lean muscle and boost your metabolism even if you can’t make it to the gym by adding 10-15 reps of each of the following:
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Now that you’re armed and ready, you can look forward to your time with friends, family, and food, without losing your diet momentum.
“If you know you are going to give in to temptations, making up for them with exercise and healthy choices elsewhere can keep you on track,” says Coach Joe. “Be realistic on Thanksgiving and try to break even.”