Burning body and belly fat with cardio exercises is half the battle. Next is strengthening abdominal muscles so you have something to show once the fat is shed. In a recent study, ab exercises were ranked from best to worst. The bicycle exercise ranked as #1 because it requires abdominal stabilization, body rotation, and more abdominal muscle activity.
If you are trying to lose weight gained during the holidays or to fit back into your bathing suit for the summer, or simply to lead a healthier lifestyle, you know it is a task that needs time and patience. We are all guilty of trying all sorts of diets and fitness tips to lose those extra pounds. While some have been successful in meeting their goals adopting extreme measures, others have struggled and struggled to a point that have made them give up hope. The truth is that losing weight is easy, but only if done in the right manner. So here are my top 10 secrets to help you achieve your target weight this year, and not just that, these daily practices would also help you lead a healthier life.
You likely keep almonds stocked in your pantry because they’re brimming with healthy fats that keep you slim and satiated. So what if we told you that swapping your sugary pre-workout snack with your favorite nut can help skyrocket your workout’s effectiveness? According to a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, popping about 2.6 ounces of whole almonds increased cyclists’ endurance performance and improved oxygen utilization more than cookies did. Researchers suspect that almonds’ nutrients arginine and quercetin may contribute to these fat-burning effects.
First, the bad news: Three-quarters of Americans have a "fat gene" associated with a 20 to 30 percent higher risk for obesity. But that doesn't mean you're destined to be heavy. A recent British review found that exercise can trump your genetics. Physically active people with the fat gene are 27 percent less likely to become obese than couch potatoes who have it. We're not talking about training for a triathlon; the active people got just one hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a week. Aim for the recommended five hours a week (three days of cardio and two days of strength training) and you'll rev your weight-loss results even more.
3. Keep your workout efficient and wear a heart rate monitor. If your goals are to lose weight you need to train entirely different then if you are trying to improve your endurance. So why would you leave it as a guessing game if you have a set goal that you want to achieve? My all time favorite model is the “Polar FT 60 Heart Rate Monitor.” My suggestion is to use this tool to aid in an interval training circuit 3x a week followed by cardio intervals. Get off the machines and incorporate stability exercises as well as full body movements into your workouts. This will not only help you improve your stability, strength, endurance, but also target your deep intrinsic muscles that support your core. You will then kill two birds with one stone getting in your strength and cardio training in one shot. By monitoring your heart rate throughout you will leave the gym energized instead of exhausted. AS you start to condition yourself over time you will naturally be forced to challenge yourself in new ways in order to achieve your goals and elevate your heart rate.
“It can take 12 minutes or longer for the signal that you’ve started to eat to make its way to your brain,” says Mark S. Gold, M.D., of the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida. Quick tips: Sip some water between every bite of food you eat, or at least eat more meals with friends or family members. You’ll be more likely to talk and therefore to eat more slowly.
"Remove all foods from your home you may be tempted to overeat, like snack foods and candy," says Cody Ivey. "Anything is OK in moderation, and a cheat here and there is fine. But, many people have a difficult time with temptation and moderation. This method works best for me; I do get a little 'snacky' in the evenings. If it's not around, I won't eat it."
You're more likely to stay slim if the view out your window includes hills, water, a park, or a street that leads to one of those things. In a North Carolina study, counties with more natural amenities, including mountains and lakes, had lower obesity rates. "It could be that there's something healing and calming about simply being outside," says Stephanie Jilcott Pitts, PhD, an assistant professor at East Carolina University. For instance, research has shown that people tend to be happier walking outdoors than inside. They also stride faster, yet feel less exertion, than they do on a treadmill. Not only that, hoofing it outside curbs cravings along with calories: In a study, regular chocolate eaters who took a brisk 15-minute stroll consumed about half as much of their favorite treat as those who didn't go for a walk. So take your workout outdoors. If your neighborhood isn't made for exercising, find a park nearby and head there as often as you can to bike, run, or hike.
A daily run or Spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone won't do much for your waist. "You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training," says Sangeeta Kashyap, MD, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat. "Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle," says Kate Patton, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. Patton recommends 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.
Grazing is a surprisingly good idea because it helps you avoid metabolic slowdown. "Your body will be tricked into thinking it's constantly eating, so it will never slow your metabolism down," explains Bauer. Aim for five small meals (200 to 500 calories) a day rather than three large ones. Also try not to go more than four hours without eating — if you eat breakfast at 7am, for example, have a snack at 10am, lunch at noon, another snack at 3pm and dinner at 7pm.
The meals shown here are "templates" that you can vary any number of ways to please your tastebuds and avoid eating the same old thing every day. Follow them and you'll get between 2,400 and 2,800 calories per day. That should provide plenty of calories for all but the most severely obese, while allowing most guys to lose fat around their middles at a steady pace. (Don't worry about hitting the numbers on the nose every time. If you exceed your fat quota during lunch, for instance, just cut back a little during dinner.)
It's easy to overdo it when you're eating something delicious — and that's why it's good to focus on foods that will force you to slow down. "Slowing down can help you check in with your hunger levels. For that reason, I love snacking on 100-calorie packs of in-shell pistachios," Gorin says. "Shelling the pistachios helps you slow down your snacking, and the shells leave a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten. Because you're more in tune with what's gone into your mouth, you may be less likely to have extra servings." In one preliminary study, people snacking on in-shell pistachios ate 41% less calories than those who ate the shelled version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxktmQ3zJOA