6 Awesome Reasons to Drink More Coffee

Can you imagine life without your morning cup of coffee? For most of us, coffee is the one drink we just can’t live without. It’s the cup of happiness that perks us up, makes our days more delicious, and gives us the energy to get through long hours of work and play. Turns out it’s also surprisingly good for your health! Here are just a few reasons that you should drink more coffee in order to be healthier:

Rich in Antioxidants

That’s right, coffee is loaded with antioxidants! For example, it contains chlorogenic acid, which is a polyphenol that can reduce inflammation and protect against obesity and chronic disease. In fact, it’s estimated that coffee is the average American’s main source of antioxidants, as they consume far less antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables than is good for their health. The high antioxidant content of coffee makes it a good way for you to get the protective antioxidants that can prevent heart disease and reduce free radical damage.

Boosts Your Mood

Coffee has been linked to positive emotions, including happiness, calm, friendship, affection, kindness, and satisfaction. Studies have found that drinking coffee actually helped to decrease the risk of depression, and there were no negative emotions tied to caffeine consumption. If you want a drink that will brighten your day and make everything better, you’re definitely going to want to have a cup or two of coffee.

Lowers Diabetes Risk

Researchers who looked at the results of 30 different studies found a link between coffee consumption and a reduced risk of diabetes. According to the data, each cup of coffee you have per day leads to a 6% decrease in diabetes risk. This is likely the result of coffee’s high antioxidant content and its ability to increase calorie burning. It can also improve the health of your gut microbes, making your body more effective at processing the food you eat.

Boosts Workout Performance

There’s a reason that most pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, and that’s because coffee and caffeine both are amazing for boosting your endurance and increasing your athletic performance. Not only will it improve circulation and help your body send blood and oxygen to your muscles more efficiently, but it will increase your muscular endurance, power, and strength and can help to reduce pain and soreness. You’ll have the ability to push your muscles a little bit harder and go a little longer thanks to coffee!

Reduce Disease Risk

Diabetes isn’t the only disease that you can help to prevent with a few cups of coffee! Coffee may be able to help prevent a number of different types of cancer—including prostate, breast, endometrial, and colorectal cancer—as well as Parkinson’s disease and potentially heart disease. It may help to prevent the cognitive decline linked to neurodegenerative diseases, and it can decrease your chances of having a stroke. It’s amazing for your brain as well as your body!

Even Decaf Is Amazing

Taking the caffeine out of your coffee isn’t going to stop the coffee from doing its job and improving your health! While you won’t get the caffeine-related benefits (such as those pertaining to your exercise and endurance), you’ll still get all the antioxidants and nutrients contains in coffee. For example, you’ll still benefit from the diabetes-lowering antioxidant and the mood-boosting effects, even with no caffeine. Drinking decaf can be a great option for those who are very sensitive to caffeine but still want to enjoy the better health benefits offered by a good cup of coffee!

Posted in Health | 15 Comments

Your Guide to Buying Healthy Supplements and Vitamins

Taking supplements and vitamins is a good idea if you want to improve the balance of micronutrients in your diet, especially for those who have a hard time eating specific fruits and vegetables. Supplements can also provide you with more antioxidants, added amino acids, or even nutrients that can help boost brain function or speed up weight loss. But to be a smart consumer, here are a few things you need to know about finding the right supplements and vitamins:

Supplements and Vitamins Aren’t Regulated Carefully

Just because the label says that it’s a specific type of pill or vitamin, that doesn’t always mean it is. Supplements, unlike medications, aren’t regulated by the FDA, so there are far fewer quality control measures in place to make sure that you’re only putting healthy ingredients in your body. Be very aware of that when you go supplement shopping!

Shop Smart

The best place to shop for supplements will usually be at the big chain stores, like Walmart, GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Walgreens. These stores do typically have some sort of quality control, and they will pull recalled supplements off their shelves faster than local stores. They’re also less likely to allow low-quality supplements to end up on their shelves.

Beware of Supplements from China

Chinese supplements are utterly unregulated, which means that manufacturers can add whatever they want into the supplements and can sell them with whatever label they want. It’s also known that the manufacturing practices in China can be sub-optimal, leading to a higher risk of contamination. And when you consider that the contamination is often dangerous heavy metals—like lead—you can understand why it’s better to avoid these supplements completely.

Watch Out for Certain Supplement Types

Pretty much any supplement that falls into the weight loss and sexual enhancement categories should be treated with extreme caution. According to one study, a surprisingly high number of weight loss supplements have dangerous chemicals—and even some drugs—added in. These supplements, always produced overseas, can cause far worse health problems than just a bit of excess weight around your gut. Sexual enhancement supplements can also be very suspect, so you’re better off steering clear.

Be Wary of Bargains

High quality ingredients cost, and it’s hard to imagine that low-cost supplements can be very high quality. One investigation into herbal products found that the higher-priced supplements were more likely to actually contain the ingredients the label claimed they did, while the lower-priced options were more likely to have added ingredients or watered-down potency.

Research Thoroughly

Before you buy any supplement—even something as simple as a multivitamin or mineral supplement—it’s always a good idea to research the products thoroughly. Not only should you get information on the recommended daily amount of your micronutrients, but you’ll want to make sure there have been no problems with the product in the past, such as FDA recall alerts or warnings. The non-profit US Pharmacopeia is a good place to start doing your research into the specific manufacturers of supplements you’re thinking of buying.

Talk to an Expert

In this case, an expert means either your doctor or a pharmacist. Your doctor is the best place to start, as they’ll have years of experience to rely on to help you find a good supplement that meets your health needs. If you don’t have a doctor, you can ask the pharmacist to help you find a brand that is known for good quality and delivers results. It’s always best to get help when searching for a supplement you’re not familiar with!

 

Posted in Vitamins | 24 Comments

Do You Need an Exercise Ball in Your Life?

Exercise balls have been around the fitness world for the better part of five decades, but it wasn’t until the 2010s that they really came into their heyday as a hyper-popular piece of gym and fitness equipment. Now, you’ll find them in just about every home around the world. You’d be amazed by how useful they can be, and they may be just what you need to help you step your fitness up a notch. Here is what you need to know about owning and using an exercise ball for your workout routines…

Exercise Ball as a Chair

This is one of the best uses of an exercise ball, as using it as a chair forces your core muscles to engage and support your upper body while keeping your lower body and seat stable. Sitting on an exercise ball does more for core muscle activation than sitting on a chair, meaning your back, obliques, and abs get a workout even while you’re sitting down. If you’re one of those people who are trying to be more active despite your sedentary office job, an exercise ball may be just what you need.

Exercise Ball for Your Workouts

Using an exercise ball for your workouts is a good way to add instability to your movements. Instability in exercise can be dangerous, but if used in controlled environment, it’ll help to increase your core muscle engagement during exercises that don’t normally work out your core. For example, if you perform overhead shoulder presses while sitting on the ball, you force your core muscles to engage to keep your seat stable as you press the weight over your head. Or using the ball for abs exercises can make those movements even more difficult, as your body has to work extra hard to keep your movements controlled.

Crunches with a Fitness Ball

Crunches are one of the movements most commonly performed using an exercise ball. On a flat surface, crunches focus on the abs muscles, and it’s definitely a good one to help you build ab strength. But when you add a ball into the mix, all of the stabilizer muscles in your core are activated—not just your abs, but your obliques and lower back too. This makes the crunches twice as effective as they normally would be, and helps you to build a much stronger core.

Full Body Exercises with a Fitness Ball

Another good way to use the exercise ball is to mix it into your full body workouts. For example, if you’re doing push-ups, you can put your feet on the ball, forcing your core muscles to work harder to keep your lower body stable while your upper body does all the work. The same goes for Planks, Mountain Climbers, and any number of other full body movements. By mixing in an exercise ball, you add instability, and thus force your body to recruit those additional core muscles to keep yourself stable.

Other Types of Exercise Balls

While most of us think of the full-sized exercise balls as being the most popular option, the truth is that there are many more with many more uses. For example, medicine balls are used to add weight to more dynamic exercises, such as floor slams or wall ball. A Bosu half-ball is excellent for improving your balance while you work out, as it provides a flat platform on top of half an exercise ball. These two types of exercise balls are also very useful additions to your workout equipment, and they’ll do wonders to help you get a more varied routine!

Posted in Exercise & Training | 19 Comments

7 Simple Health Tricks That Will Help You Live Longer

The key to living longer is all about making small changes to your daily life, changes that will improve your health in small ways every day. You don’t need to totally overhaul your diet, workout program, or lifestyle. Instead, making a few minor changes will be enough to keep you healthy and extend your lifespan. Try these simple health tricks to live longer:

Reduce Stress

Stress takes a toll on your body, promoting chronic inflammation that can lead to a number of health conditions and diseases. Managing and reducing stress is crucial for a healthy body and a long life. The less stress you have in your life, the easier it will be for your immune system to keep disease at bay and your organs to function properly.

Move More

A lot of us spend our hour at the gym every day then go home satisfied that we’ve done enough movement. While that quality gym time is always a good investment, the best way to be healthy and live longer is to move more. Get in your workout, but make it a point to move throughout the day, too. Mow your lawn, rake your yard, clean something, sweep and mop your floor, go for an afternoon or evening walk, and play with your kids. The more you move, the easier it will be for you to burn calories and keep your metabolism active throughout the day. Even small, regular movement is better than nothing!

Cut Back by 20%

Look at how much you currently eat, then scale it back by twenty percent. It doesn’t sound like a lot—and it really isn’t, in terms of a single meal—but over the course of your day, that’s one-fifth of the total calories you consume. For an average person, that can be up to 500 calories! Eating just 20% less at each meal is an excellent way to control your appetite and prevent overeating.

Stack Your Meals Right

Always start with the biggest meal of the day first thing in the morning, then have a decent-sized lunch and a small afternoon or evening dinner. People in the longest-lived, healthiest regions in the world tend to have only a small meal in the afternoon or evening, and they have the biggest meals earlier in the day.

Moderate Alcohol Intake

Stick with one drink per day for women, or two per day for men. Ideally, make it “healthier” alcohols like red wine, dark beer, or whisky, or low-calorie alcohols like vodka or gin. Stay away from mixers and drinks that contain a lot of sugary soda or juice. Limiting alcohol intake is one of the best ways to enjoy life while still keeping yourself and your calorie intake in check.

Try for Plant-Forward Meals

Your best bet is to eat as much plant-based food as possible, as that’s the food that will lengthen your lifespan and protect your body against disease. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, and legumes are all amazing for your health, and they will help you to live longer. That doesn’t mean you should cut meat from your diet—your body needs the nutrients you can get easily from animal products—but your meals should always be heavy on the plants.

Cut Artificial Food

The less artificial, packaged, and processed food you eat, the better! Not only will you decrease your risk of chronic health problems, but you’ll avoid unnecessary calories and artificial flavorings that are designed to make you want to eat more. The result will be a much healthier diet and one that leads to a longer life

Posted in Body Works | 17 Comments

7 Simple Tips That Will Get You Fitter Starting Today

Getting fit doesn’t have to be difficult, confusing, or complex! In the end, it comes down to making smarter, healthier choices every day, day after day. Small changes are all it will take to help you make progress down the road to better health and fitness. Here are some simple tips that will get you fitter, tips you can put into action today:

Purge Your Pantry

And your fridge and snack cupboards and anywhere else you might be storing the wrong foods! Your home is the one place where you have total control over what you eat, and you’ll find it’s much easier to make healthy food choices if you ONLY have healthy foods at home. It’s time to get rid of all unhealthy snack foods, junk foods, pre-packaged and processed foods, and anything that you know is bad for you. Purging your fridge, pantry, and cupboards will be the first step toward helping you get healthier!

Devote More Time to Activity

Don’t just limit yourself to your few-times-a-week workouts at the gym, but make it a point to move around more—a LOT more! Do something active on the weekends, go for walks during the week, park farther away, take the stairs, walk around your house, and do whatever you can to be more active. Increasing your daily total activity time is the key to raising your metabolism and burning more calories.

Trim Your Portion Sizes

This is the best first step you can take! Often, you end up overeating not because of the quality of the food on your plate, but the quantity. Your servings are just too large, or maybe you go for seconds when you shouldn’t. Make it a point to measure out your carbs and your proteins, then load up your plate with as much veggies as you can eat. Have a “one and done” policy so you never go back for those unnecessary seconds.

Choose Three Top Treats

No one wants a life without a few special treats now and again. Treats make things just that little bit more enjoyable, so cutting them totally from your life will only make you feel more deprived. Make a list of your top three treats, and allow yourself to have them occasionally. ONLY those top three, though! Allow a treat one or two times a week, and it’ll make eating healthy so much easier.

Start the Day Off Right

Eating breakfast is crucial to help you stay satiated for the morning, and it also sets the tone for the day ahead. If you start your day eating healthy, you’ll find it’s much easier to keep eating healthy the rest of the day.

Try Meatless

Meat is tasty, but it’s not always necessary. There are lots of plant-based proteins you can add to your diet to give you another form of amino acids that don’t include animal fats. Considering having one legume meal a week, or having a meal of just salad with no meats. It can do wonders to clean up your eating habits!

Drink Up

The more water you drink in a day, the healthier your body will be! It’s nearly impossible to drink too much water, though you can set your cap at no more than 5 liters per day. Shoot for anywhere between 3 and 5 liters, and you’ll hydrate your body effectively. Getting more water is crucial for shutting down hunger pangs, ensuring effective body function, and keeping your organs working well. Make it a point to drink more water throughout the day!

Posted in Diets | 17 Comments

How to Eat Healthier and More Sustainably

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to eat healthier AND more sustainably! In fact, it could be argued that many of the healthy food choices you make will lead you to consume the more sustainably-produced foods—like veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, and seeds. It’s not as difficult as you might think, and both your body and the environment will thank you. Here’s what you can do:

Eat More Veggies

Veggies are produced in massive quantities, but did you know that a lot of them go to waste because they rot before people get around to eating them? You may have noticed that veggies rot in your fridge for that exact reason. The more veggies you eat, the less waste will be generated because you’ll be consuming the natural, untreated produce. Plus, you’ll end up way healthier because of that increased fiber intake. There is literally no drawback to increasing your vegetable consumption!

Consider Meatless Days

The meat industry has a huge effect on the environment, with a massive amount of water going to livestock and enormous quantities of emissions generated by animal farms. Just cutting meat from your diet for one day can reduce your greenhouse gas footprint by as much as 7%, and that’s just in ONE day! Think about having at least one meat-free day a week, a day when you eat more legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies. It will do wonders to raise your intake of healthy micronutrients while decreasing the amount of fat you consume.

Make Smart Shellfish Choices

Shellfish like shrimp, oysters, and mussels are all fairly healthy options. They’re lower in calories than high-fat meats and they contain a lot of beneficial micronutrients. If you’re going to increase your shellfish intake, try to make the sustainable choices by eating domestically caught or farmed shrimp, eating the more sustainable types of bivalves (scallops, oysters, clams, and mussels), and choosing the more sustainable types of fish—including domestic tilapia, farmed Arctic char, and trout farmed domestically.

Shop The Discount Section

Many grocers and produce stores will have a section or shelf that is “reduced to clear” because the veggies, fruits, and even meats there are on the verge of being thrown in the garbage. Stores have to set high standards for what they can sell, so fruits and veggies have to match certain standards of freshness and appearance. These “reduced to clear” racks are often an amazing place to get mostly-good produce that you can use to make your own soups, stocks, and stews, or freeze to always have veggies and fruits handy for all your cooking needs. Plus, you’ll reduce the amount of food waste generated in your city, which is definitely good for the environment!

Shop Local

Visit farmer’s markets and other “local” grocers to try and buy food items that are grown locally (within 100 to 400 miles of the city where it’s sold). Not only will this support small and local businesses, but it means you’re buying produce that has been minimally transported and refrigerated. You’ll find amazing deals on local produce that will be healthy and delicious!

Make Your Own

Turn old produce into stocks, soups, and stews, or freeze fruits and vegetables to use for your own dishes. You’ll find that this is often much healthier, as canned and boxed sauces or soups tend to be higher in sodium and preservatives. You’ll also have more control over what you put in your food, and you can make sure that no food goes to waste in your house. It’s a bit more time-consuming, but it’s excellent for the environment and your wallet!

Posted in Food & Nutrition | 17 Comments

Try This Fun and Unique Deck of Cards Workout Routine

Want a fun workout routine that you can do from home anytime, anywhere? The Deck of Cards Workout Routine is an absolutely unique option that will give you a fun and flexible workout that will never be the same twice. With just a bit of preparation, you can turn a deck of cards into a kickass home exercise option!

What is the Deck of Cards Workout Routine?

It’s pretty much as simple as it sounds: you take a deck of cards, assign workout values to each of the cards, and simply shuffle the deck and draw cards for your workout. You assign a specific movement to each suit (clubs = push-ups, spades = squats, etc.), and the number cards tell you how many of that particular exercise to perform. For the face cards, Aces, and Jokers, you assign specific exercises independent of the suit, or variations of the exercises you already assigned per suit (i.e. King of Clubs = Wide Push-Ups, Queen of Clubs = Diamond Push-Ups, etc.) and perform ten repetitions.

How to Craft Your Own Deck of Cards Workout Routine

Start off with a deck of playing cards, the sort you’ll find just about everywhere. Determine what the focus of your workout is going to be—whether you’re at home or the gym doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you know what you’re going to work out. Choose a muscle group or a specific focus, and assign exercises to each of the four suits, then exercises to each of the face cards, Aces, and Jokers. Once you’ve got the exercises assigned, it’s time to shuffle the deck and start working out!

An Example Deck of Cards Workout

Here’s a quick idea of how you could make it work. Let’s say you decide today is Chest and Triceps Day. You’d assign one workout per suit: clubs = Push-Ups, spades = Bench Presses, hearts = Flys, and diamonds = Dips. Then you’d assign one exercise per high card: Jacks = Diamond Push-Ups, Queens = Tricep Kickbacks, Kings = Dumbbell Presses, Aces = Overhead Tricep Extensions, Jokers = Cable Pushdowns. Now that you’ve got the exercises assigned, shuffle the deck and pull the top card to start your workout.

How Long Should Your Workout Last?

That’s the beauty of this routine: you’ll never really know how long it will last! Sometimes you’ll pull a lot of face cards or cards with high numbers, so you’ll blast through your workout quickly and hit fatigue within the first ten or so draws. Other times, you’ll get lower number cards mixed in, so you’ll end up working more sets of fewer reps to make it work. You can always switch to higher weight for lower-rep sets to hit muscle fatigue faster. But with this workout, you’ll find it’s always changing up, so no workout is ever the same twice.

Why Should You Try the Deck of Cards Workout?

A lot of people get bored doing the same workout with the same number of reps and sets over and over again. Boredom is one of the worst enemies of a quality fitness program, as when you get bored, you start to put less and less effort into the workouts. By mixing things up every day with your Deck of Cards Workout Routine, you’ll prevent boredom because there will always be something new to try. You’ll have fun changing things up on a daily basis, and you’ll make sure your body never fully adapts to one exercise or workout routine—meaning better long-term muscle growth!

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The 7 Best Health Benefits of Coffee

Coffee isn’t just a delicious part of our day—for many people, it’s the single most important thing in their diet! Coffee has become a staple of modern life, the fuel that gets us through our work or helps us stay active on the weekends. Thankfully, it’s also an incredibly healthy beverage (without all the cream and sugar and flavor, of course). Here are just a few of the many health benefits of coffee:

Decent Nutrition, Low in Calories

Coffee contains very little in the way of macro and micronutrients, though it does deliver about 118 milligrams of potassium (less than what’s in half a banana). However, you’ll find that it’s very low in calories. That’s right, one cup of coffee contains just TWO calories! It’s less calorie-dense than most other beverages, so you can drink a lot of it without adding unnecessary calories to your diet. As long as you drink it black—both cream and sugar add more calories—you’ll find it’s not going to add unwanted calories to your daily intake.

Rich in Antioxidants

Coffee contains a number of polyphenols and flavonoids, the antioxidants that give it its divine flavor. In fact, coffee contains polyphenols on par with dark cocoa, red wine, and black and green tea. Chlorogenic acid is the primary polyphenol in coffee, and it has been proven to be potentially effective at reducing diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and protecting the body from free radical damage. It’s one of the healthiest foods on the planet thanks to its high antioxidant content.

Heart-Smart

Studies have proven that moderate caffeine consumption (no more than 1 to 2 cups per day) can improve your cardiovascular health. Not only can it reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, but it can lower total mortality risk and decrease your chances of developing diabetes. Drinking some coffee (emphasis on some) can be a great way to improve your heart health!

Improved Exercise Performance

This is the result of the caffeine in your coffee, and one of the main reasons that it’s a staple of a fitness diet. Caffeine is a stimulant that can help to increase endurance by slowing down the rate at which your body burns glycogen, your primary energy source. By slowing glycogen burn, caffeine preserves your energy stores and helps them to last longer. It’s theorized that caffeine can help the body utilize fat more effectively, making sure your body has more energy for longer.

Increased Brain Function

Did you know that coffee can affect the parts of your brain that control concentration and short-term memory? Some research has also linked coffee with a decrease in the cognitive impairment and decline that is associated with Alzheimer’s, suggesting that it might be able to reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Even decaf coffee has been proven to increase alertness even without the caffeine buzz!

Reduced Pain Sensations

Caffeine has the ability to actually block the nerve endings in your body from sending pain signals to your brain. This acts as a pain reducing mechanism that helps to raise your pain tolerance. One study even found that drinking more coffee raises your tolerance to pain.

Enhanced Mood

That’s right, coffee DOES make you happier! Coffee triggers a release of serotonin and dopamine, both of which are linked to your mood. You’ll find that releasing these two neurotransmitters helps you feel happier and in a better mood. Not only that, but coffee may be able to help protect against depression, keeping your neurochemicals more balanced and decreasing the risk of chemical imbalance that contributes to feelings of depression.

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6 Best Foods to Lose Belly Fat

When you think of trying to lose weight, really what you’re thinking of is getting rid of belly fat. Most overweight people have a lot of their excess concentrated around their midsections, and that’s the stuff they need to lose for the sake of their health and wellbeing. Exercise, controlling stress, and sleeping more are all crucial ways to lose belly fat, but in the end, it’s often down to diet most importantly of all. Here are some of the best foods to lose belly fat today:

Avocadoes

Avocadoes are loaded with healthy fats and fiber, along with a lot of critical vitamins and minerals. Simply put, they’re one of the best foods to lose belly fat, for a number of reasons! Not only are they incredibly filling, but they can actually help your body target belly fat for burning throughout the day. Studies indicated that eating one avocado a day for three months led to significant decrease in belly fat. Make it into a smoothie or shake, have it on toast, or add it into your tacos or salad. You’ll find it does wonders to make your food tastier and helps you to lose belly fat.

Lentils

Legumes are nutrient powerhouses that contain a lot of protein, fiber, and minerals. Of all the legume family, none are quite as good as lentils. Lentils can help to increase the amount of soluble fiber you get in your diet, which will increase the amount of belly fat your body burns on a daily basis. The fiber will also help with your digestive process, feed your gut bacteria, and help with healthy elimination of wastes. Best of all, it’s a plant-based protein that gives you lots of amino acids without any saturated fats.

Green Tea

Green tea is amazing for your metabolism, but did you know that it can actually target belly fat for burning? The antioxidants in green tea will specifically burn your visceral fat and help to activate stores fat cells, making it easier for you to lose weight around your midsection.

Salmon

Salmon—particularly wild-caught salmon—is very good for helping you to burn belly fat. It’s got a very high Vitamin D level, and studies have shown that Vitamin D is critical for utilizing stored fats. You’ll get as much as 80% of your daily dose of Vitamin D from a healthy meal of salmon. Plus, the Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are amazing for your brain health and works as an anti-inflammatory. It’s one of the best proteins you can eat!

Nuts

Nuts are an amazing source of healthy fats, along with fiber, protein, some carbs, and a whole lot of very important vitamins. They’re particularly rich in magnesium, a mineral your body needs to improve your sleep habits and strengthen your mental health. Studies indicate that eating just one portion of nuts per day can lower your blood pressure and encourage weight loss around your waistline. You don’t need to eat a lot, but even a small handful or snack of nuts can make a huge difference in your daily fat-burning!

Whole Grains

Whole grains don’t work the same as refined grains. While white flour, rice, and pasta increase belly fat stores, whole grains actually help to target belly fat and encourage easier calorie-burning. Studies found that eating more whole grains led to a decrease in subcutaneous and visceral belly fat, both of which are the bad kinds that contribute to heart problems and diabetes. Stick with one or two small portions per day, but make sure to include whole grains in your diet!

Posted in Losing weight | 16 Comments

How to Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

How are you working to reach your weight loss goals? Are you trying fad diets or crash diets that cause your weight to yo-yo, or are you settling in for a slow, long-lasting weight loss? Are you trying all kinds of sketchy supplements or just trying to eat healthier? Your approach to weight loss can determine just what kind of effects you see—not just in the short term, but for the long-term down the road. Here is some simple yet VERY effective advice on how to reach your weight loss goals:

Move More

A lot of people spend their days trying to work on their cardiovascular conditioning, sweating and killing themselves just to run a few more minutes. While this is excellent for your endurance, it won’t help you lose weight. The key to effective weight loss via cardio is to move a lot longer, not necessarily more intensely. Rather than trying to run for 20 minutes, try walking for two hours. Or, combine the best of both worlds: a run for as long as you can sustain it, followed by walks throughout the day. The more you move, the more you’ll burn fat and get in shape!

Shift Your Macros

Your body needs carbohydrates, so you can’t cut them from your diet completely. Any diet plan that tells you otherwise is setting you down a path to diet failure and potential health problems. Instead of cutting out any one food group, try shifting your focus on the more important macros. Protein should be your primary focus, followed by healthy plant-based fats, fiber, and whole-grain carbs. Limit yourself to a few servings of carbs per day—some fruit, and some whole grains—but don’t cut them out completely.

Include Resistance Training

Just doing cardio isn’t going to help you lose weight. In fact, you might see the OPPOSITE effect—you could end up gaining body fat and weight despite your increased stamina. This is because cardio burns body fat, which teaches your body that it needs to store more body fat in order to function. Mixing in resistance training also burns glycogen (blood sugar), and helps your body to activate stored fats as well as use the sugar stored in your body. The combination of resistance and cardio training is exponentially more effective than cardio alone!

Use Carbs for Muscle-Building

Your body needs protein to build new muscle mass, but it takes carbs to sustain your weight lifting activity over the long term. Try to eat most of your carbs directly before and after your resistance training session. Eating them before will give you the energy you need to get through your workout, and eating them after replaces burned carbs to help you get through the rest of your day energized.

Choose Quality Foods

Rather than trying to cut specific foods from your diet, try focusing on eating the highest-quality foods you can find. Load up on high-nutrient veggies, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat animal proteins, healthy plant-based fats, and the antioxidant-rich fruits your body needs. Make sure to get plenty of nuts and seeds, too, as they’re loaded in nutrients. By focusing on healthy foods, you change your diet mindset completely.

Sleep More

Sleep is a vital part of the weight loss process! Not only does it regulate your appetite and your metabolism, but it helps your body to activate and burn fat while you sleep. Make sure to organize your life so you can get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Your body will thank you!

Posted in Weight Loss | 16 Comments