1. Use compound exercises that utilize more than one muscle group. Full-body moves like tricep dips, burpees, and bicycle ab crunches are great examples.
2. The faster your muscles work, the greater the results. Research has shown that one rep per two seconds is three times more effective than one rep per four seconds.
3. Keep going until your muscles are totally fatigued. Do the same exercises until you cannot physically do another rep.
4. Change it up. A good muscle building routine is lifting three days a week with rest days in between.
5. Resist the urge to rest in between sets. Rest periods should be about a minute or less.
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Try to integrate these foods for a healthier heart!
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber and contains beta-glucans, which help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. One half-cup serving provides about 4.5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with a reduction in heart disease risk. Salmon is also a natural source of healthy protein and vitamin D. One three-ounce serving -- the size of a deck of cards -- contains 17 grams of protein. The American Heart Association recommends including at least two servings of fish per week (particularly fatty fish).
Broccoli is chock-full of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. It is a cruciferous vegetable, and part of the Brassica family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and collards. Members of the Brassica family are rich in phytochemicals, known to have antioxidant properties.
Peanuts are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fat and contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Regular consumption of peanuts has been associated with lower risk for coronary heart disease in people who eat them instead of other high-fat foods. Peanut consumption has been shown to improve lipid profiles in those with high cholesterol.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which may help raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E.
The flu is no fun (as if you needed us to tell you that!). Symptoms range from sniffles and chills to a high fever that keeps you home from work all week, or worse-flu lands 200,000 people in the hospital each year and kills more than 30 thousand in this country alone. There are antiviral drugs that can make you feel a little better and shorten the illness's duration. But of course your best bet is to not get the flu in the first place! Fortunately there are several simple and smart ways to defend yourself this flu season. And none of them requires full body armor or hiding in a bunker until April.
1. Get a flu shot. This one seems obvious, but it's amazing how many people don't get their flu shots. Only 37 percent of Americans got them last year, and it's looking the same this year. There's no guarantee that it will prevent your getting sick; the flu shot has been 60 to 70 percent effective in recent years. But it's definitely worth a shot! Go to your doctor, a local clinic or one of many drug store chains that offer walk-in vaccination. It takes all of five minutes, kicks in after two weeks and will keep you flu-free through spring.
2. Wash your hands … and your keyboard. And your phone. And doorknobs, faucets, the door to the fridge-any surface you use a lot and share with others. If the people around you are carrying the virus, they can spread it easily by touching or breathing on the stuff you use every day. And they might not even realize what they're doing: You can start spreading the flu a full day before you even get that I'm-coming-down-with-something feeling.
3. Keep moving. Regular exercise isn't just great for the parts of your body you can see. It might also help keep your immune system in tip-top condition. There's a clear connection between physical activity and immune function and researchers are trying to identify the specific effects. One early study found that women over 60 who kept active had more responsive immune reactions than their sedentary peers. Don't let the cold weather keep you huddled on the sofa. Get your body in fighting shape-inside and out!
4. Get plenty of sleep. If you do come into contact with the dreaded flu virus, it's important that your body is ready to put up its dukes to fight it off. Your immune system needs all the energy it can get to successfully battle viral invaders. The hours you spend sleeping are when your body can focus on rest and replenishment. Fewer hours in bed means less energy and a weakened immune state.
5. Supplement your diet. There are several foods you can eat or supplements you can take to give your immune system some added power. Vitamin D3 helps your immune system. It's hard to get enough from the winter sun, so consider taking supplements. You can also try chicken soup, large doses of vitamin C (500 mg every 4 hours), zinc lozenges, or anti-viral elderberry extract, all of which have been shown in studies to shorten the duration of colds or flus by 50 percent.
Stay tuned next week for more FIT TIPS to supplement your program.
1) Hot and Sour Soup. Hot and soothing is good, but if you can add some spice to it, that's even better. (And by the way, all that salt is also helpful.) Chinese hot and sour soup clears the sinuses and gives you a little bit of a buzz so you can hang on until bedtime.
2) Pho. Along the same lines as hot and sour soup, but Vietnamese-style! This spicy, fish-sauce-spiked beef noodle soup is another dish that's easier to get via delivery.
3) Swedish bilberry and rose hip soups. Apparently they're winter staples in Sweden. The rose hip soup is especially rich in vitamin C. You can drink these hot or cold, and you can buy mixes online -- search for Ekstroms brand "blbrssoppa" and "nyponsoppa."
4) Hot toddy. Keep these ingredients handy in your kitchen in case of emergency! A hot toddy can be made with brandy or rum, but I think whiskey works best. Heat that with some fresh lemon juice, honey, and a cinnamon stick. Ahhh, so much tastier than NyQuil and just as effective!
5) Ginger tea. Like the hot toddy, this is easy to whip up at home as long as you're stocked with the right ingredients. It's great how ginger warms your throat on its way down when you're feeling scratchy. It's a lot like a hot toddy, but no alcohol.
Sleep is VITAL to keeping your weight in check, building muscle and keeping your mind sharp. Instead of pumping yourself with caffeine in the morning and craving junk food all day, start doing these four things today to insure a more productive tomorrow:
1. Enforce an E-Curfew. 30 minutes before bedtime, don’t just shut off the TV, close down all tablets, phones, and laptops. Anything with a screen or a glow pulsates light all night. Cover up your digital clock too- you don’t need to know the time while you’re asleep! A study by Applied Ergonomics showed that the brightness from screens like iPads can suppress melatonin by as much as 22%. This tricks your body into thinking it’s morning when it’s the middle of the night, messing with your sleep patterns.
2. Eat breakfast as early as possible. It’s a fact that people who eat breakfast tend to be smarter, more focused and even more attractive than people who don’t. A study of 6,000 students found that the ones who ate breakfast had better grades than the students who skipped their AM meal. Breakfast eaters are also 40% less likely to develop fat around the belly, which can be extremely harmful to your overall health. By eating a protein and whole grain packed breakfast as close to your wake-up time as possible, you’ll raise your alertness and stay focused longer.
3. No Caffeine after Lunch. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s time to dump that 3pm latte. A poll from Sleep in America shows that 43% of Americans are “very likely” to brew a cup of coffee to help them push through a sleepy afternoon. That’s just wrong. A late afternoon caffeine boost can last anywhere from 3 to 12 hours, making it the reason you’re up playing words with friends at 2am. Instead of coffee, try getting up and running a flight of stairs when you’re crashing at your desk, or grab some energy from a piece of fruit or whole-grain carbs. This will perk you up for a few hours without turning you into a night owl!
4. Exercise 3 Hours Before Sleeping. Exercise can help you sleep better at night, but not if you start too close to bedtime. A study done back in 2008-2009 by Oregon State University showed that people who exercised regularly slept better at night than those who didn’t. But since this kind of cardio can raise your energy levels, make sure to leave yourself some wind-down time.
Mood-Boosting Food #1: Mussels Mussels are loaded with some of the highest naturally occurring levels of vitamin B12 on the planet—a nutrient that most of us are lacking.
Mood-Boosting Food #2: Swiss Chard This leafy green is packed with magnesium—a nutrient essential for the biochemical reactions in the brain that increase your energy levels.
Mood-Boosting Food #3: Blue Potatoes Blue potatoes aren't a common supermarket find, but they're worth looking out for on your next trip to the farmer's market. Blue spuds get their color from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that provide neuro-protective benefits like bolstering short-term memory and reducing mood-killing inflammation.
Mood-Boosting Food #4: Grass-Fed Beef Animals raised on grass pastures boast much higher levels of healthy conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), a "happy" fat that combats stress hormones and blasts belly fat.
Mood-Boosting Food #5: Dark Chocolate Turns out chocolate's delicious taste isn't the only reason it makes you feel so warm and fuzzy. The cocoa treat also gives you an instant boost in mood and concentration, and improves blood flow to your brain, helping you feel more vibrant and energized.
Mood-Boosting Food #6: Asparagus Your mom was on to something when she made you finish those green spears at the dinner table. This vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin-one of the brain's primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
Mood-Boosting Food #7: Greek Yogurt This dairy pick is packed with more calcium than you'll find in milk or regular yogurt, which is good news for your mood. Calcium gives your body the "Go!" command, alerting your brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters.
Mood-Boosting Food #8: Honey Honey, unlike table sugar, is packed with beneficial compounds like quercetin and kaempferol that reduce inflammation, keeping your brain healthy and warding off depression. Honey also has a less dramatic impact on your blood-sugar levels than regular sugar, so it won't send your body into fat-storage mode the way the white stuff can.
Have A Cup Of Green Tea
Green tea offers numerous health benefits and will cause you to burn more calories daily. This beverage is very rich in antioxidant content and will help fend off free-radical damage that could lead to disease. Be sure to serve your green tea with some lemon rather than added sugar to prevent the addition of unnecessary calories.
Add A Few Hot Peppers
Adding a few hot peppers to your meal is another quick way to instantly burn more calories. Hot peppers as well as chili peppers contain capsaicin which will cause the body to start expending more energy as heat, increasing your total calorie burn. If hot peppers aren’t your thing, then cayenne pepper will work the same way.
Power Your Meals With Protein
One of the fastest, easiest ways to instantly boost your metabolism is to simply get more protein into your diet. Each time you eat a protein-rich food, the body is going to expend so many calories simply breaking it down, making this an ideal way to instantly increase your daily calorie burn. For each 100 calories of protein that you consume, you’ll only net around 75 of those calories, so you can see how this could easily add up.
Bring Back Your Carbs
Those currently on low-carb diets for extended periods of time are also going to be at risk of a sluggish metabolism. Your carbohydrate intake is closely linked to your thyroid gland function, so not eating enough will decrease its effectiveness, slowing your calorie burn. Start adding some healthy carbohydrates back into your diet before and after your workout as well as in the meals just following. You’ll be less likely to store them as body fat and notice a dramatic difference as a result.
Get Up And Move
Another easy way to boost your calorie burn is to simply get up and move more. Sitting for extended periods throughout the day is really going to cause a reduction in your metabolic rate and lower your total amount of calories burnt. Try to set a timer and get up at least once an hour, if not every 30 minutes, and walk around for a couple of minutes. At the end of the day this
could add up to an extra 100-200 calories and make a big difference on your progress.
Performing short bursts of body-weight exercises whenever you have a free second is another great way to up your total daily calorie burn and strengthen your muscles. Every so often, get down and do 20 push-ups, bodyweight squats, crunches or, if you have a bar available, pull-ups. You’ll also energize yourself in the process.
Stop-and-go sports are an excellent way to rev up your metabolism and blast calories fast. The nature of these sports mimics that of interval training, so join in a game of basketball, hockey, soccer or football whenever time permits. As an added benefit, you’ll also boost your muscle strength and coordination by playing.
Those who don’t get enough sleep at night are also going to be at risk of suffering from a slow metabolism. In addition to that, getting enough sleep will also increase your glucose tolerance, so you’ll be able to handle any carbohydrates you consume that much better. This means you’ll have a lower chance of suffering from an increase in body fat.
Read Rather Than Watch TV
Settling in at night to watch TV for hours at a time is one of the lowest calorie-burning activities, so why not make more of your free time? Instead, pick up a good and do some reading. Not only will you enrich your mind, but reading burns up far more calories as the brain stays active metabolically speaking. Since it runs off pure glucose, this means you’ll burn up more of the carbohydrates you’ve eaten while reading than when watching late-night talk shows.
Use Diet Breaks Wisely
Being on a low-calorie diet for an extended period of time will also significantly decrease your total daily calorie burn. To help overcome this so that you can burn calories faster, implement diet breaks every four-six weeks while on the program. Two days of higher-calorie eating will immediately help reverse the resulting sluggish metabolism and help you burn more calories total.
DONT OVER EAT If you want to live to 100, leaving a little bit of food on your plate may be a good idea. Author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity around the world, found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they are feeling only about 80% full. St. Louis University researchers have confirmed that eating less helps you age slower; in a 2008 study they found that limiting calories lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism—and speeds up the aging process.
Turn Off the TV Too much time in front of the boob tube can take a serious toll on your health. In fact, a 2010 study found that people who watched four or more hours a day were 46% more likely to die from any cause than people who watched less than two hours a day. Even cutting back a little can help; each additional hour you watch increases your overall risk of dying by 11% and dying from heart disease by 18%.
Stay Out of the Sun Avoiding too much sun can head off skin cancer, and it can also keep you looking young by preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin. It’s never too early—or too late—to add sunscreen to your daily skin-care regimen (look for an SPF of 30 or higher). And don’t focus only on your face. Sun damage spots and splotches on your chest and neck will also make you appear older.
Reach Out Research shows that you’re at greater risk of heart disease without a strong network of friends and family. Loneliness can cause inflammation, and in otherwise healthy people it can be just as dangerous as having high cholesterol or even smoking. Loneliness seems to pose the greatest risk for elderly people, who are also prone to depression.
Drink in Moderation Women who have two or more drinks a day and men who have three or more may run into detrimental effects ranging from weight gain to relationship problems. But in smaller quantities, alcohol can actually be good for you. A 2010 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology linked light drinking (defined as one drink a day for women and two for men) to significant heart benefits.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables Getting fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day can eat away at your health. Nutritional powerhouses filled with fiber and vitamins, fruits and veggies can lower your risk of heart disease by 76% and may even play a role in decreasing your risk of breast cancer. As an added bonus, the inflammation-fighting and circulation-boosting powers of the antioxidants in fruits and veggies can banish wrinkles.
Focus on fitness Daily exercise may be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. A 2008 study found that regular high-intensity exercise (such as running) can add up to four years to your life, which isn’t surprising given the positive effects working out has on your heart, mind, and metabolism. Even moderate exercise—a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example—can lower your risk of heart problems.
Don't Smoke Quitting smoking is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your health—and your life span. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quit smoking by age 35 add roughly six to eight years to their lives. It’s never too late to kick the habit. Quitting can slow disease and increase survival odds even in smokers who have already caused significant damage to their lungs, like those with early lung cancer or COPD.
Take off just 10 pounds, and you’ll experience all of these health benefits and more: a better memory, a happier mood, shrunken fat cells, better sex, less pressure on your joints and a lower risk for diabetes.
Save Brainpower: Women scored one point lower on a memory test for every unit higher in body-mass index. Translation: Fat may make you forgetful. Shed that last 10 and, chances are, you’ll stay brilliant.
Get Faster: Flab’s a drag. Literally. For every pound of fat you lose, you run up to 4 seconds faster per mile; with 10 gone, that’s up to 40 seconds off your mile time. Your body won’t have to work as hard to go forward.
Improve Your Mood: You can feel more confident and upbeat by peeling off that tenner. It’s enough of a change to raise your body image and energy level; it may even help lift depression.
Be Ready for Baby, Whenever: Just a small amount of excess weight may alter pregnancy hormones such as progesterone—which can affect egg quality and prevent ovulation. If you can’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.
Shrink Your Fat Cells: Yep, you’ll actually make the cells smaller. That means a tinier waist and other big payoffs such as a healthier heart—ab flab raises your risk for heart disease.
Earn More Dough: Women with excess pounds make nearly $10,000 less per year than their average-weight coworkers. Possibly they are less assertive. Slim down and you may up your take-charge attitude and your take-home pay.
Sex Up Your Sex Life: The biggest benefits in the bedroom come from weight loss and regular exercise. Both put women in touch with their bodies in a positive way, which increases sex drive. Plus, there’s no lingerie sexier than confidence—and a small loss can take you there.
Dodge Diabetes: You know that extra pounds can lead to prediabetes (and diabetes!). But shedding 5 to 10 percent of your weight can slash that risk by nearly 60 percent. If you’re 150 pounds, a 7.5 pound loss may keep you healthy.
Stay Off the Sidelines: Downsize yourself and your risk for injury diminishes, too. Every pound of body weight translates to about 4 pounds of force on your ankles, knees and hips when you’re walking, so 10 extra pounds on your frame means 40 more pounds of pressure on your joints. Trim down slightly and your joints will suffer less wear and tear.
Supermarket Staple #1: Tree Fruits (Apples, Pears)
Why It's a Must Have: White fleshed fruits and veggies (such as apples and pears) have been shown to help reduce heart disease even more than their colored counterparts. Apples are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid with strong anti-inflammatory properties. The pectin found in the skin and the anti-aging polyphenols in apples help reduce artery and cell damage, and their fiber has also been linked with reduction of LDL-cholesterol and body weight. In fact, one Brazilian study published in the journal Nutrition found that women who ate three apples or three pears a day lost significantly more weight than those that ate the same amount of calories, but didn’t consume the fruits.
Budget Bonus: Shop for produce on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when it is more likely to have just arrived, instead of waiting until the weekend. Most markets receive deliveries during the week, and fruits and veggies that have just made it to the store means they be more likely to stay fresher longer (and get eaten, not wasted) at home. And if you can, buy local apples at your farmer’s market in the spring, summer, and fall to cut costs and improve their nutritional value. Local fruits and vegetables are picked and sold immediately, helping them retain their nutrient level.
Supermarket Staple #2: Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Lemons, Limes)
Why It's a Must Have: Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C. One German study found that vitamin C helps reduce stress levels and return blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation – which may help prevent chronic stress and decrease body fat storage in the abdomen. Eating 2-4 servings of fruit (including at least one serving of a citrus fruit) per day to reap their nutritional benefits. And, if weight loss is your goal, you may want to focus on grapefruit -- one 2004 study conducted by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic, found that subjects who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over 12 weeks (some even lost more than 10 pounds), without making any other dietary changes.
Budget Bonus: Skip fresh fruit when it’s out of season (in the US, citrus is typically in season from late fall and through winter) since fruits have to travel further during off-season. In off-season, reach for canned citrus fruit in its own juice or flash frozen citrus.
Supermarket Staple #3: Stone Fruits (Peaches, Plums, Apricots, Cherries, Tangerines)
Why It's a Must Have: This (mostly) sweet group of fruits is a delicious way to eat your vitamins and fiber. Tart cherries in particular, are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that recent studies have shown offers greater results for gout-related pain reduction than for prescription drugs. They contain an intense amount of the antioxidants; the anthocyanins responsible for their bright red pigment are also good sources of Vitamin A, making them helpers for eye health as well. They also help reduce heart disease risk, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood lipids, and may reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
Budget Bonus: Stone fruits are summer season fruits, so it’s best to buy them fresh when they are least expensive, and most plentiful locally, during the warmer months (check out the free app Locavore for help finding local, in-season produce). Skip the pricier imports and buy frozen varieties (sans added sugars and syrups) instead when they aren’t in season.
Supermarket Staple #4. Bananas
Why It's a Must Have: Bananas are often mislabeled as a ‘fattening fruit’ but don’t believe that erroneous myth. Not only are these fat-free, 100-calorie fruits easy to eat on the go, but they are a good source of vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium – which could help slim you down. “Bananas are a fantastic source of potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure and prevent water retention.
Budget Bonus: Good news – you can skip the organic versions of this fruit without worry. “Bananas are one of the least ‘dirty’ fruits. Save even more money by purchasing bananas that are still slightly green, since they will last longer.
Supermarket Staple #5: Grapes
Why It's a Must Have: Swap out your candy bowl for a bunch of healthy, naturally sweet grapes. This water rich fruit makes a great energy-boosting snack that can also help to reduce inflammation, which may lower your heart disease risk and even reduce arthritis pain. Grapes contain high levels of anthocyanins, flavonoids and resveratrol, all of which aid the heart in the task of pumping blood to the brain and other organs resulting in an energy boost.
Budget Bonus: Save by buying grapes in season (while it depends on the variety, most grapes grown in the US arrive from California, where they are in season from late June to December), and reaching for raisins during off-season. Raisins have all the same great benefits [of grapes] and contain no added sugars.
Supermarket Staple #6: Melons
Why It's a Must Have: Antioxidant rich melon fruits may help promote weight loss. Melons are very rich in vitamin C, which studies have shown helps to prevent stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking. Since stress hormones store more fat, especially in the abdomen, eating foods rich in vitamin C may help to shed unhealthy visceral (belly) fat. And, if you like watermelon, eat up! It may help you reduce your body fat faster. According to one 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, daily supplementation of the amino acid arginine (found in watermelon) helped laboratory mice lose 64% more body fat over three months.
Budget Bonus: Steer clear of the pre-cut containers of melons that can cost up to three times as much and stick with in season melons instead. Not sure how to tell if they’re ripe? Give them a good squeeze – a ripe melon shouldn’t feel like concrete, but shouldn’t be too squishy either. And watermelon? Give it a little knock – a ripe one should sound hollow.
Supermarket Staple #7: Greens (Romaine, Arugula, Iceberg, Cabbage, Collards, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard)
Why It's a Must Have: Greens contain a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals that help your body stay healthy. Swiss chard, for example, is a magnesium powerhouse that can help boost your energy level and has been shown to reduce depression. And just one cup of raw collard greens meets half of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C. All leafy greens are must-haves for their low-calorie, nutrient-dense contribution to any meal plan for healthy living.
Budget Bonus: Buy leafy greens fresh in loose bunches as the cut, packaged options cost up to $2-3 more. Frozen greens are acceptable for same nutrition but avoid canned or ‘seasoned’ varieties as they are usually not only more expensive, but high in sodium.
Supermarket Staple #8: Baby Carrots
Why It's a Must Have: These portable, prepped and easy to eat veggies are rich in carotenoids, which are great for eye and heart health. And you can maximize the absorption of their nutrients by eating them with a healthy fat, such as hummus or peanut butter (both also on this grocery list).
Budget Bonus: Something to chew on: while baby carrots may be a bit pricier than regular carrots, you may be more likely to eat them since they don’t have to be prepared before eating. And they are still cheaper (and much better for your health and waistline) than that bag of chips.