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How to get your best ever body

Don’t run. I used to run marathons, but while running may cause weight loss in some people, it can also cause a flattening of your bottom, and for many it just doesn’t trigger fat loss at all. Do it for sanity or enjoyment but don’t expect it to change your body shape. For that you need to add some kind of weights element – be it strength training, body-weight training or Pilates.

Be inspired. One thing that gets me going on days when I don’t feel like working out or eating clean is following people who inspire me on social media – I can look at their accounts and think, “Well, she did it today – so can I.” Don’t follow anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself, only those who motivate you. I like @hemsleyhemsley, @thefoodmedic, @thebodycoach, @honestlyhealthy, @deliciouslyella and @kayla_itsines – and I’m @thepilatespt.

A photo posted by Hollie Grant (@thepilatespt) on Apr 1, 2015 at 2:58am PDT

The more you get to know and like your body, the more natural the right things to eat or do will feel”

Jane Kersel is a London-based yoga teacher. She believes your best body is not one that looks incredible but one that you’re at ease with

It’s not rocket science: stop obsessing. If there is an imbalance in what you eat versus what you use you’ll gain or lose weight. If you don’t move, your body will lose its tone, it will seize up and you will end up looking like the shape of your chair.

Start to enjoy your body. Get out of your head and start to see your body as the sensuous playground it is. Focus on the feel of how it moves, what it’s like to breathe, the pleasure of stretching. Learn to marvel at the engineering of your hand, your foot, your arm and your hips. You want to begin to treat your body like your best friend, not the enemy. The more you do this the more you will also enjoy moving your body; it will start to feel like something you have to do every day.

Work from your internal feelings and thoughts. The more you get to know and like your body, the more natural the right things to eat or do will feel. My teenage daughter, for example, does not smoke, not because she is not allowed to but because intrinsically it does not feel as if it is something her body would want. When you first smoke, you cough and feel nauseous – that is literally your body rejecting it. And yet we put many other things into our bodies that trigger the same reaction.

Don’t be over-critical of your body. We live in a world in which we are constantly fed the illusion that unless your body is slim, flexible and toned you’re lacking in some way. I sometimes work with supermodels and I have heard them comment negatively in regard to their bodies. It’s all based on external judgments and critical eyes. The best body is one belonging to someone who feels a million dollars on the inside, has made friends with the parts of her physique she didn’t like before and is confident in herself and in her body.

Get high on movement. Each day simply say, “Today I am going to move,” and then go and do it with no agenda. I move every day but would never call it exercise. Whether I’m running, dancing, swimming, in yoga practice or riding a horse, I get high on the ability to move myself around in all directions. We should never forget what a huge achievement that is.


Yoga teacher Jane Kersel (HOWARD SOOLEY)

Eat high-quality foods – organic, grass-fed and unprocessed – and you will find that you can eat a greater quantity of food while still losing weight”

Dave Asprey is an entrepreneur and the author of “The Bulletproof Diet”, about the regime he believes helped him lose seven stone

You absolutely have to change your diet. Many people think the key to getting your best body is to focus on exercise. It is not the only answer. I learnt the hard way that no matter how much you exercise, if you aren’t eating the right foods you won’t get the body you want. Follow a diet high in healthy fats and organic vegetables accompanied by moderate amounts of grass-fed meats, and cut out sugar and grains completely – you will see a massive change in how you look and feel in as little as two weeks.

Quality not quantity is key. That rule applies to the food you eat and the exercise you do. Eat high-quality foods – organic, grass-fed and unprocessed – and you will find that you can eat a greater quantity of food while still losing weight. Focusing on quantity is also the mistake I see time and time again regarding exercise. There is a point of diminishing return with exercise, and more will not always lead to a better body. Exercise sessions should be brief, intense, not too frequent, safe and purposeful.

Don’t count calories. The calories in/calories out model has been shown to work in sealed laboratories, but in the real world calorie restriction during the day leaves most people craving sugary or salty snacks late at night, at a time when you’re more likely to give in to temptation. It doesn’t have to be hard to eat well and feel satisfied; if you’re not satisfied, it is likely that you are not eating enough healthy fats and proteins for you.

  • READ: How to find your natural weight

Swap your normal breakfast for a coffee. The Bulletproof regime sees people starting the day with a coffee combined with grass-fed butter and a coconut oil extract I call Brain Octane Oil, which is 18 times stronger than coffee alone. Swapping to this instead of your normal breakfast cereal and a cup of low-grade coffee gives you heightened focus and energy without the crash and jitters. It will also turn on your body’s fat-burning mechanism by putting you into a state called ketosis – you’ll basically be in fat-burning mode until lunch.

Add a whole avocado to lunch. I eat at least one avocado every day, and they are a great way to get a supply of fat at lunch that helps to keep energy levels up throughout the afternoon.


‘The Bulletproof Diet’ and its author Dave Asprey

Craving snacks is often a sign that you’re eating the wrong type of carbohydrates and/or not enough fat or protein”

Daniel O’Shaughnessy is the co-founder of the detox centre Bodhimaya, which has a clinic in London and a retreat in France

Change one thing at a time. Many of my clients try to change everything about their diet at once and follow every single fad, even if it is not working for them. Just focus on one thing – be that something about what you eat, or about when you eat – and give your body a chance to adjust to that. If it is working for you, keep doing it; if not, change to something else.

Structure your meals. This is the first thing I tell most of my clients to change as it often gives you very good results quickly. I suggest some clients eat only three meals a day – no snacks – and leave about five hours between meals. Craving snacks is often a sign that you’re eating the wrong type of carbohydrates and/or not enough fat or protein. Other people prefer eating only within an eight-hour window – say, between 8am and 4pm. Try doing this twice a week and see how you feel before attempting it more frequently.

Use full-fat not low-fat products. When manufacturers take fat out of food they normally replace it with sugar – and if you want your best-ever body you need to remove as much sugar from your diet as possible. Sugar is inflammatory, which increases ageing in the body and potentially links to an increased risk of chronic diseases. We have become afraid of fat, but we shouldn’t be – fat is a problem in a diet only when carbohydrate levels are high. Keep levels of both sensible and you can eat both.

Eat mostly above-ground vegetables. I divide vegetables into two types – those that grow above ground, which are mostly leafy, and those that grow in the ground, such as carrots or potatoes, which are more starchy. Focus your diet on the above-ground ones and you will lower carbohydrate and sugar levels a little further.

Know your energy sappers. I used to be a coffee addict. I loved it but it didn’t love me. It would sap my energy so badly that I just had to give it up. Then I had my genes tested and found that I carry a gene that means I detox coffee extremely slowly, which accounts for why it makes me feel dreadful. It is far easier to eat healthily and exercise if your energy levels are high, so look at how foods make you feel. If you believe you’re consuming anything that lowers your vitality, see what happens if you cut it out.


O’Shaughnessy recommends eating more leafy vegetables to lower your carbohydrate and sugar levels (ALAMY)

Ask yourself why you really want to change your body. Often we just think we want to get thinner, but actually what we want is more confidence”

Katie Kensit and Caroline Bragg are the team behind The Ignition, which combines physical exercise with mindset changes

Find your motivation. If you do not know why you want to improve your body, you won’t put in the steps it takes to achieve it. Ask yourself why you really want to change your body. Often we just think we want to get thinner, but actually what we want is more confidence, which might perhaps be gained by doing a different kind of workout. List absolutely every single benefit you think you might get from changing. When you go over the list you’ll probably see a theme – what lies behind that theme will reveal your true motivation.

Use the five Ws. What is your goal? When do you want to achieve it by? Where are you right now in relation to achieving that? (This is the question people overlook, but if you do not assess where you’re starting from, it can be hard to determine the best way to proceed.) What are your options to achieve your goal? Then finally ask, When am I going to start, and what’s the first step I need to take? Put that date in your diary then take that first step.

Put into your body what you want to get out of it. If you eat rubbish and don’t put the effort into your workout, your body will reward you with poor results. Two simple rules to follow are: do not eat anything you are unable to pronounce (except quinoa); and, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

Do something healthy first thing every day. Be that formal exercise, walking to the station, walking up the escalator, or starting with a perfect breakfast. It sets your mind up to think about your goals for the whole day.

Use “power postures”. The Ted talk by the social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, is brilliant. She proposes that our bodies and minds are intrinsically linked, and if you change the position of your body, you can change the way your mind behaves. For example, raising your arms over your head after your finish your run – as the winner of a race might do – gives a sense of jubilation that you can tap into to affirm how good exercise makes you feel.

Ready to start an exercise program? Just making the commitment is an amazing first step. To ensure success, here are seven surprisingly simple, research-backed strategies that can help you overcome the most common roadblocks to weight loss. They’ll motivate you through the ups and downs of any new workout routine, so you’ll stick to it and reach all your fitness goals.

1. Learn what “build slowly” means
Be realistic about your abilities. Experts say to progress gradually, but most of us don’t know how to translate that into real-life terms—especially those who used to be active but have gotten out of the habit. “Formerly fit people are surprised and frustrated when they find themselves winded after a walk around the park,” says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

If you haven’t worked out in years, start with a manageable goal, like 20 minutes of walking or yoga twice a week for 2 weeks. When you’re ready to progress, either bump your number of workouts to 3 a week or increase their length to 25 or 30 minutes—but don’t try both at the same time. Taking on too much too soon can leave you achy and discouraged; that’s why experts recommend you change only one thing at a time—the frequency, duration, or intensity of your workouts. If your new cardio workout still leaves you gasping for air, don’t be afraid to slow your pace—you should be slightly breathless but able to talk. You’ll be more likely to follow your program if you exercise at a comfortable level, according to White’s research. Strength-training will get easier, too. A study from Ohio University found that muscles adapt to resistance exercises after a mere 2 weeks.

2. Keep an activity log
Hands down, lack of time is the number one reason we struggle to keep exercising. Yet studies find we may have more time than we think. Women ages 45 to 70 spend an average of 28 hours a week in sedentary activities outside of their jobs, such as reading and web surfing, according to a University of Oklahoma study—ample time to find at least 2 1/2 hours a week for exercise. Keep a log of everything you do for 3 days, suggests Jennifer White, PhD, an assistant professor of fitness and wellness at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Then find ways to sneak in activity. Time in front of the TV can double as a stretching session, while a cell phone headset allows you to power walk while you’re on hold with the credit card company.

3. Prepare for post-workout hunger
Exercise can boost metabolism for a few hours, but burning more calories can increase your appetite. To avoid the munchies after exercising (and eating back the calories you just burned), try to schedule workouts so that you have a meal within an hour afterward. Or save part of an earlier meal to eat during that time, says Fernstrom. Snacks combining carbohydrates and protein—like a fig bar and fat-free milk, or cantaloupe and yogurt—are best to refuel muscles and keep you from feeling ravenous later on. If you still feel hungry, wait 10 to 15 minutes before eating more to make sure you’re physically, not just mentally, hungry. Distract yourself while you wait: Keep your hands occupied by cleaning out a drawer or giving yourself a manicure.

4. Be alert to prime drop-out time
About half of new exercisers quit in the first few months, research has found. But support, either one-on-one or in a group, can keep your momentum going. “Getting help specific to your particular issues is key,” says Fernstrom. If you struggle with exercise, try finding (or even forming) a walking group at work or at your local Y. If you’re goal-focused, signing up for an event, like walking a half or full marathon, can be the carrot you need to stay on track.

5. Take breaks
Missed a workout? Don’t worry: Your waistline won’t notice. Brown University scientists found that people on a 14-week weight loss program who took occasional breaks from working out lost an average of 7 pounds—about the same amount as those who never missed a day. “Just pick up again as soon as you can,” says Fernstrom. In the long run, it’s the habit, not the individual days that matter. For help, sign up for a weekly e-mail health newsletter: People who did exercised 14% more and ate better than those who didn’t get inbox reminders, reports a University of Alberta study. (Get our free newsletters, which cover health, weight loss, and fitness, and more at prevention.com/newsletters.)

6. Splurge, then get up and move
One date with a pint (or even two) of ice cream won’t doom your weight loss unless you let guilt keep you off track. In fact, French researchers discovered that obese exercisers who bicycled for 45 minutes 3 hours after a high-fat meal metabolized more stored belly fat than those who cycled on an empty stomach. Although bingeing on cookies before your next workout obviously won’t help you slim down, the study is a good reminder that not all is lost when you stray from your diet—in fact, your body may even kick it up a gear to help with damage control. Instead of giving up when a celebratory dinner with friends sends your calorie count through the roof, suggest a postmeal stroll or dancing. The party moves away from the table, and the evening can continue with a fun activity that helps you toward your weight loss goal.

7. Put the treadmill in a pretty room
If a workout bores you, don’t do it. “Research shows that if you enjoy an exercise, you’ll stay with it, so keep trying activities until you find something you like,” suggests White. Or jazz up a ho-hum workout with music or audiobooks. Just don’t try to exercise in some dark, dreary corner of the house. “So many women make the mistake of consigning the treadmill to the basement,” White says. You’ll be more likely to use exercise equipment if it’s in a pleasant space with good light and in easy reach of the radio and TV, like the family room. It’s worth investing in a home exercise space that’s both functional and attractive, whether by spending a little extra on a treadmill you won’t mind showing off or buying pretty baskets to store your workout DVDs and dumbbells.

Caroline Bollinger Caroline Bollinger is Prevention’s fitness editor.

40 Ways to Get Your Best Body in Your 40s

Add to this that after 40 your metabolism starts to drop like a rock and you have some major challenges. Logie advises you to cut out your eating after 8 p.m. or so, or at least be sure to stick with protein or vegetables that keep blood sugar levels down. So maybe swap out that piece of chocolate cake for a carrot, and you’ll be in shape in no time. And when you want to lose more weight, This Is the Safest Way to Lose Weight Over 40!

9 Make Friends With the Doggie Bag

Get in the habit of splitting your food when you go to a restaurant. As soon as your meal arrives, mentally (or even physically) cut it down the middle, and know you will be taking half home for lunch the next day.

“You won’t have offended anyone because you participated in the meal,” says Darius Russin, a board-certified physician and nutrition expert. “And, you’ll have food tomorrow so you won’t do any groceries.”

10 Eat for Hormonal Balance

Men’s testosterone levels start to drop in their 40s, which can cause fatigue, sleeplessness, weakness, depression, as well as weight gain. But the right diet can influence this hormonal balance, according to Apovian.

“Men should include egg yolks and foods that are rich in zinc in the diet, such as seafood, spinach, mushrooms, and lean meats, to boost testosterone production,” she says. “They should limit or eliminate added sugars, which decrease testosterone, and also soy, which imitates estrogen in the body.”

11 Cut Back on the Sweet Stuff

If you want to enjoy a healthier, leaner body as you approach middle age, cutting out sugar is key. “With estrogen and progesterone levels starting to fluctuate, we become more sensitive to sugar,” says Ariane Hundt, MS, a New York City-based nutrition coach and fitness expert. “When we eat these carbs, we respond more drastically to them and our blood sugar soars more than it used to. This results in faster fat storage and sugar sensitivity.”

12 Even Fruit

Unfortunately, that often means cutting out nature’s candy, as well. Even fruit sugar can contribute to excess weight around our waistlines as we age, so it’s best to limit yourself to a small amount on a daily basis. Hundt recommends no more than 20 grams of fructose a day for most people. “Be very limited when it comes to starches, fruits and sugar as those increase insulin levels and with that fat storage.”

13 Load Up on Organic Food

A healthier body in middle age doesn’t just mean eating healthy foods, it means eating organic ones, as well. According to Dr. Etti Ben-Zion, PhD, Sr. VP of Research and Product Development and a Partner at Dr. Smood, organic food is key to maintaining the health of your skin as you age, helping you maintain your youthful glow in the process. “It’s very important to eat quality organic food loaded with antioxidants and minerals and devoid of herbicides,” says Dr. Ben-Zion. “Organic bell peppers, oats, burdock root and radishes are excellent sources of silica which slows the aging process and increases the luster and glow of your skin.”

14 Increase Your Focus

You don’t need to dial up the intensity to get a more effective workout: just increasing your focus will do. “Put down the phone and focus. If you only have 30 minutes, focus on getting an intense and efficient workout. There are 23.5 other hours to be distracted,” says Glenn Dickstein, Founder and CEO of NeighborhoodTrainer and a NESTA-certified personal trainer.

15 Hydrate With Healthier Water

Don’t assume that all water is created equal when it comes to your health. “Hydrate with quality water,” says Dr. Ben-Zion. “Most tap water is highly polluted, so make sure to drink quality water and infuse it with a pinch of Himalayan salt, lemon or decorate your water with Goji berries, raisins, cucumbers or herbs like parsley for additional health detoxification properties.”

16 Skip the Starchy Veggies

Just because something is technically a vegetable doesn’t mean it will help you get a fitter, healthier body, says Hundt. She recommends limiting your intake of starchy vegetables as well when you’re over 40, so keep those potatoes, squash, and corn on the menu, but only in small amounts.

17 Make Friends With Fermented Food

Getting toned as you get older is easier than ever with the addition of probiotic foods to your diet. Researchers at the Université Laval found that women whose diets were supplemented with probiotics lost significantly more weight than those in a control group. Kimchi, here you come.

18 Channel Your Inner Yogi

You don’t need to do high-intensity workouts to see results when you’re over 40. Hundt recommends doing lower-intensity workouts, like yoga, to maximize your fitness goals while limiting the cortisol-spiking stress response other workouts can cause.

19 Keep Your Carbs Low

While many people assume that a low carb diet won’t provide enough fuel to build muscle, research suggests it may actually be the key to carving out the body you’ve always wanted. In a study conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina, researchers found that a very low carb diet actually helped reduce the body’s fat stores without significantly depleting muscle mass.

20 Eat Protein Every Few Hours

Don’t just increase your total protein intake in a single meal, but spread your intake of protein-rich foods throughout the day, recommends Hundt. “Protein is a thermogenic food as about 30 calories of 100 calories consumed will be burned off simply through the digestive process, so eating it every 4 hours or so allows us to feel full and balanced,” she says.

21 Delegate Duties

If you have to decide between exercising and another activity you could outsource, choose exercise every time recommends Dickstein. “You can send out your dry cleaning, you can order in dinner, but no one else can exercise for you,” he says.

22 Calculate Your Metabolic Rate

While many people may acutely feel the effects of their slowing metabolisms in their 40s, most don’t know how to stop it. However, getting a metabolic assessment from a trainer or doctor may help you better understand your caloric and exercise needs and adjust your meal and exercise plans accordingly.

23 Get in a Swim

You don’t need to get sweaty to enjoy a healthy calorie burn. Hundt recommends that clients over 40 try swimming instead of some higher-impact exercises to limit the stress-related cortisol spikes often triggered by higher-impact exercise.

24 Go Dancing

If you want to lose weight without risking injury in your 40s, try adding some dance to your routine. Researchers at Fukuoka University found aerobic dance effective at reducing body mass among middle-aged women with mild obesity, despite the workout’s generally low-impact, low-injury nature.

25 Load Up on Satisfying Fats

Want to get fit in your 40s? Try loading up on healthy fat. Hundt recommends keeping an eye on how much fat you’re eating and ensuring it comes from quality sources. “Fat intake needs to be monitored as well and should mostly come from avocado, olive oil and the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids,” she recommends.

26 Stay Consistent

While it may be tempting to skip a gym day here or there, staying consistent is the key to maintaining your muscle mass as you age. In fact, researchers in Denmark found that just two weeks of immobility significantly reduced muscle mass that six weeks of training afterward couldn’t make up for. “The biggest tip I can give is to be consistent,” says Dickstein. “Create a program that fits your busy professional and family schedule. If you can consistently exercise only 20-30 minutes, do it. The longer days will present themselves and you’ll be better conditioned to take advantage of them.”

27 Skip the Soda

If you want to maintain your healthy glow and keep the elasticity in your skin, it’s time to say so long to those sodas. “The biggest problem with soda is the crazy amount of sugar that causes an inflammatory reaction in the body, which causes pre-mature aging such as wrinkles and a saggy and dull texture,” says Dr. Ben-Zion. “In addition to sugar, the caffeine found in soda can dehydrate the skin, emphasizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

28 Eat More Regularly

Instead of eating three squares, your 40s are the ideal time to try eating smaller meals throughout the day to combat the metabolic dips that tend to accompany middle age. “An ideal diet consists of four or five smaller meals throughout the day, lots of green salads with lean proteins, and a little good fat from olive oil and avocado,” says Hundt.

29 Bulk Up on Vitamin D

Adding a little extra vitamin D to your diet could be the key to maintaining your health and fitness as you enter your 40s. Researchers at the University of Milan found that high levels of vitamin D supplementation yielded the greatest weight loss among overweight and obese adults, so don’t be afraid to enjoy a little controlled sunlight and supplements.

30 Skip the Marathon Workouts

Those marathon workouts you enjoyed in your 20s may be doing more harm than good by the time 40 rolls around. “In terms of workouts, we need to understand that long, drawn-out cardio sessions, such as long runs and very intense and stressful workouts, such as spinning, sprinting and long HIIT workouts can make our bodies more stressed out and promote high cortisol levels, which boosts fat storage around the midsection,” says Hundt.

31 Stretch Out

A little stretching can go a long way when it comes to improving your overall health, fitness, and your likelihood of becoming injured in your 40s. While stretching isn’t a major calorie burner, research published in the Journal of Athletic Training reveals that stretching can reduce muscle soreness and injury risk, limiting the risk you’ll find yourself sidelined and unable to exercise.

32 Eat for Your Workouts

In your 40s, it’s more important than ever to eat the right foods to fuel your workouts. “A good basic guideline for every meal would be to focus on one to two fist-sized portions of lean protein and two fist- sized portions of green vegetables,” says personal trainer Casey Dellas, who also recommends adding some healthy carbs for an extra boost of energy before and after intense training sessions.

33 Tackle a Fast

Intermittent fasting is all the rage among the fitness community, and with good reason: research suggests it’s an ideal way to maintain your muscle mass while ditching unwanted fat. In fact, research published in the Journal of Translational Medicine suggests that eight weeks of time-restricted eating yielded significant fat loss while maintaining study subjects’ muscle mass.

34 Fight Cravings With Chocolate

If you do decide to indulge in some dessert, make it dark chocolate, says Hundt. “Cocoa boosts serotonin levels—your happy neurotransmitter—and also makes your brain and mouth think they had something indulgent,” says Hundt, who says that skipping a sugary dessert will also yield fast results, like a reduction in bloating, weight loss, better skin, and even better sleep.

35 Add Some Omega-3s to Your Meal Plan

Trading in that burger for an omega-3-rich piece of salmon could be the key to the fit body you want over 40. Research published in PLoS One reveals that omega-3 supplementation significantly reduced obese study subjects’ waist circumferences. Better yet, research suggests that bulking up on omega-3s may even reduce your risk of dementia as you age.

36 Lift While Eating a Deficit

/Kzenon

Although weight loss often means muscle loss, as well, there is a way to maintain your hard-earned muscles while still cutting fat. Researchers at McMaster University found that calorie reduction while weight training signals the body to preserve muscle mass, helping maintain a person’s metabolic rate and fitness level, even while losing fat.

37 Walk After Your Workouts

Think you can afford to skip the cool down after your workout? Think again. Walking might just be the best way to burn more fat while reducing your body’s cortisol levels. “The ideal workout consists of a 20-30-minute lifting session, followed by a long, relaxed walk afterwards,” says Hundt. “While the lifting session helps boost a short release of adrenaline and cortisol, the walking reduces the stress effects and allows body fat to be burned off.”

38 Skip the Alcohol

Getting the body you’ve always wanted after 40 may mean skipping happy hour, especially if you tend to have more than a drink at a time. Researchers in Korea found that heavy alcohol use contributed to greater muscle loss after menopause, so if you’re trying to shape up and slim down, nix the drinks from your usual routine, or stick to just one when you go out.

39 Meditate

Exercise isn’t the only way you can improve your body as you approach middle age. According to Hundt, meditation is an effective way to improve your body from the inside out. “Meditation and other R&R activities are now much more important than ever before as they help reduce stress, boost mental focus and lower stress hormones.”

40 Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is always a good idea, but it’s particularly critical for your health in your 40s. According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, short sleep duration is linked with both weight gain and an increased likelihood of obesity, so don’t skimp on snoozing if you’re dreaming of a leaner, healthier body.

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1. Set a fitness goal. And give yourself enough time to reach it. Your mission is the motivation that will keep you going on days when you feel like giving up. Be sure to create smaller goals too (such as doing 15 sit-ups), and reward yourself when you reach them, to help propel you toward your big one.

2. Formulate a workout plan. Aim for three 40-minute workouts each week, at specific times. Your exercise schedule needs to be as important as any other appointment you have. Vary your routine — maybe it’s tennis one day and a dance class on another — to challenge yourself and ward off workout boredom. (Go to
redbookmag.com/getfit for ideas.)

3. Do a reality check. Be completely honest with yourself about how fit you are. Getting in shape is a personal journey that requires a realistic self-perspective; some novice exercisers are overly ambitious and begin a workout plan or set goals that are too hard on their bodies. So take it slow. Keep your focus on where you are and the progress you’ve made.

4. Seek support. You’re less likely to bail on a workout if you know a friend is waiting for you, and having a partner is good for emotional support too. Seek out people who have a contagious “You can do it!” attitude and who embody the fitness lifestyle you want. Don’t compare yourself to über- fit types — trying to match their high standards may just make you want to quit.

5. Eat right. Make sure you’re eating the best foods to fuel your body — including lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats. And drink at least six cups of water a day — or more on the days you work out — to keep your hardworking body hydrated and energized.

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Get-Fit Wisdom: 3 Questions for Ariane

Q: Why is getting in shape so hard?

A: Most of us have tried — and failed — to do it before, so we associate it with negative beliefs, like, It’s hard, and I’ll fail again. I tell people to use what I call their Change GPS. Your car’s navigation system only asks for two points: where you are now and where you want to be. It doesn’t say, “Yesterday we messed up and arrived late.” The same goes for fitness. Every day is a chance to ask yourself, Where am I? and Where do I want to be? Let go of everything else.

Q: How can I stop myself from giving up again?

A: Those who stick with a fitness plan have a strong reason for wanting to succeed. So create a new goal instead of the old “I want to lose 10 pounds.”Maybe you want to keep up with your kids or to run a mile — whatever motivates you and has no association with past failed attempts.

Q: What’s the most common excuse people have for not sticking with it — and how do you get past it?

A: Everyone says they have no time. But every person has the same 24-hour day. Make your exercise time a priority. Write down your top reason for not working out, then write on a Post-it note why it’s important to do so. Display that message on your bathroom mirror, at your desk, and in your kitchen as a reminder to stop making excuses and start moving.

For more pointers on becoming fit, and to connect with others who are getting in shape, log on to first30days.com.

How to Build a Sexy Female Body

Is there a secret to building a sexy female body?

A lot of trainers would say no. A lot of trainers will say that you don’t need to differentiate between men and women when designing training programs. They’ll tell you that the physiological needs are nearly identical and only the hormones are different; thankfully, I’m not like most trainers.

In fact, I disagree, and I believe that in a few specific ways, men and women need to train quite differently.

Firstly, the idea that only the hormones are different is flawed, fundamentally. I’ve written about this a lot, so I don’t want to rehash, but the fact is that hormones change the game significantly. The hormonal differences between men and women account for more than 90% of the differences in the way men and women actually respond to training and nutrition.

So, while I agree that on just about any level that there are a great deal of similarities in the way you can approach training, I recognize that there are some things that need to be taken into account.

Secondly, I don’t design programs for clients based on some arbitrary assessment of what they are theoretically capable of responding to. Rather, I approach program design based only on the client’s goals.

Forgive me for generalizing, but men and women typically have very different goals. Even when a man and a woman have the same goal—fat loss, for example—they will still have different micro-goals within the context of that macro-goal. Keeping those micro goals in mind is of the utmost importance…especially if you want to keep the client happy.

Having more than decade of experience training people of all shapes and sizes, and with the majority of them being women, I’ve come up with the following list for helping women get better results and achieving that sexy look that most of my clients are after.

Submitted, for your consideration, my top six rules for helping sculpt a sexy female body.

1) Ditch the Lame Warm Up

In most cases, your warm up should bear a fair similarity to your actual training. Given that we’ve pretty much established that slow paced workouts—be they cardio or strength training—are essentially useless, why would you think to warm up that way?

And yet, more often than not, you see women getting ready for fast-paced, intense workouts warming up with a lame 10 minute walk on the treadmill, or an even lamer series of stretches. Both time wasted that could be spent getting you to your goals.

Instead, it is much more effective to warm up much in the same fashion you’ll workout: fast. I always have my clients warm up with full body exercises and dynamic bodyweight circuits.

Skipping rope and performing calisthenic exercises like jumping jacks work the entire body, and prepare you neurologically for the workout to come. This will allow you to get more out of each exercise, as your body will be primed perform as a unit—this is especially true if you do a lot of full body movements in your training.

In addition to that, dynamic warm-ups also get your heart rate up over a shorter period of time, and allow you to burn more calories and get into the groove faster.

All of which is to say that whether your goal is to drop some fat or tone up your muscles, there is literally nothing that a lame slow-go workout can do for you that can’t be more effectively achieved with a fast one.

2) Don’t Be Afraid to Lift Heavy

Given that I maintain that men and women should train differently for differing goals, it stands to reason that I assert there should be certain aspects of training that carry over when goals are similar. One goal that men and women have in common is that we all want a firm, toned, sexy look. One of the best ways to get that look, for men or women, is with heavy weight.

How heavy and how often will depend on the the goal–I have a lot of women focused purely on gaining strength that almost always train using close to maximal weight. I’ve also got a number of athletes who use one heavy lift in every training sessions.

For my clients focused on fat loss, neither of those are necessary; however, I insist that all my female clients spend at least two days per month dedicated purely to heavy lifting (75% or more of 1RM), regardless of their goal. Not only is it great for fat loss, but lifting heavy will help you look better once you’ve lost the fat.

You see, training in a way that utilizes heavy loads is the fastest and most efficient way to increase both neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone; that is, it’s the best way to give you firm, toned look—even when you’re just standing there.

I’m fairly certain my general readership is beyond the whole “I don’t want to get bulky—won’t lifting heavy make me bigger?” dilemma. It pains me to even have to bring it up. But, chances are we’ve got some newbz reading, and for their sake I like to cover my bases and be thorough, so I’ll just lay it all out.

Gaining muscle is a result of a few factors: training methods, dietary considerations, and–as alluded to above–hormonal environment.

In terms of diet, it is exceedingly difficult—not to mention unlikely—to gain significant muscle mass without purposefully eating a Caloric excess. This is why athletes and bodybuilders eat more than their daily energy needs: so that excess will be used for the building of lean body mass.

Regarding hormones, women will always have a harder time putting on mass than men because of certain sex hormones; mainly testosterone. As a woman, your testosterone levels are generally too low to make getting “too big” a concern in a short period of time (although in certain situations, some muscle groups can grow faster than others; more on that below).

So, if you do notice yourself putting on more muscle than you’d like, just lower your caloric intake, and tone down the training volume a bit.

Speaking of training, that brings us back to my main point. Heavy lifting requires low reps; if you don’t do a greater number of sets, the total workout volume drops dramatically, and you are left without much stimulus for muscle gain.

And THAT is exactly what we want: to keep the weight and volume in the right balance to allow us to reap the benefits of heavy training without putting on mass.

To that end, I recommend that women spend at least two days per month doing some heavy training. To get you started, here’s a heavy full body circuit:

3 sets of 5 reps for each of the following:

  • dumbbell squat
  • dumbbell push press
  • Inverted row (add weight if necessary–or do pull ups!)
  • Alternating reverse lunges
  • Plank (hold for as long as possible)

To determine the correct weight, just pick a weight you can lift roughly 5-6 times. If you can get all 3 sets for 5 reps, increase the weight next workout.

Again, I said at least two days per month. This is the minimum. Speaking generally, I have my female clients training heavy at least once per week; further, there are a lot of women who train almost exclusively with near maximal weights (3-5 reps). So, again: don’t be afraid to lift heavy!

3) Sit Down And Sprint?

Over the past several years, we’ve tried to break people of the notion that if they want to lose stomach fat, they need to do stomach exercises. Now, we’ve got a pretty well established belief in the fitness industry that you can’t “spot” reduce fat…so if you are trying to reduce the size of your thighs and hips, your fat loss will come from all over and you just have to let your body determine how much visible reduction occurs.

What if that assessment is only partially true? I contend it very well might be.

A few years back, I attended a seminar led by Dr. John Berardi, who is an expert in the field of sports nutrition. He is also a world-renowned trainer who works with some of the most elite athletes around. During the seminar, Berardi made a remark about some Olympic athletes he was training; he had an interesting finding regarding fat loss.

As it turned out, when he had these athletes (all women) do their high intensity sprint workouts on a stationary bicycle, there was a “disproportionately high” amount of fat loss in the lower body. JB and I discussed this, and although he had a lot of data to back this up, no studies had been done. Instead, we just had an interesting factoid.

That was about 8 years ago, and in that time I have had a lot of opportunity to work stationary bike sprints into a good number of my programs; generally for women who found that losing lower body fat was a hardship. And you know what? IT WORKS.

But why? What makes the stationary bike so special?

To be honest, I have no freakin’ clue. None at all…at least, none that I can base on anything but broscience and black magic. I will say, however, that it seems to me that doing timed sprints that you get more efficient and can perform with more resistance overtime…seems A LOT like a “cardio version” of my type of density-based training, which as we all know has been very effective for dropping lower body fat (mainly, because it helps with hormonal optimization).

All I know is, it works—although I should point out that from what I’ve seen, there is some danger of losing some muscle mass on the leg alongside the fat. For most, this is an acceptable risk, and for the rest, an unexpected benefit.

After all, I’ve had the preponderance of my female clients say, “I have too much fat in my lower body.” I have never had one say, “Gee, Roman, I wish I had a lot more muscle in my legs, and I don’t want to do anything that runs this risk of compromising my lower body development, even if it’ll help me lose a lot of fat on my thighs.”

Just doesn’t happen. If anything, I have had a number of female former athletes ask how they can reduce leg muscle mass—and this works for that, as well.

Again, I don’t have a study to back me up on the exact way it works, but, again, I have 8 years of my own experience with clients to back up the fact that it DOES work. If are struggling with this area of your body and you have access to the equipment, you MUST give this a try.

4) Less is More. Or is it More is Less? Or Maybe is be More IN Less. Oh Whatever, Just Go Faster

As I’ve touched on so far, there are a lot of factors we can make alterations to in order to meet the goal of sculpting a sexy female form.

Variables such as training frequency, set and rep schemes, and the aforementioned volume and load (weight) are the most commonly manipulated facets of training. However, one of the variables you don’t hear much about is also lends itself to making some of the best progress.

I’m talking about training density. With regard to training, density can be described as the amount of work you do in a given time period. Density is actually one of the easiest variables to manipulate for progress: simply do more in less time.

Doing more work in less time has a number of incredible benefits: increasing the rate of fat loss, aerobic and anaerobic training, and an increase in work capacity. Over time, increasing density will make you stronger, leaner, fitter, and MORE capable of performing. That has carryover to nearly every other type of training and will have implications for accelerated progress down the line.

One of simplest ways to increase density is to shorten your rest periods. If you normally rest 45 seconds between sets, try cutting it down to 35 or less. Over the course of a 45-minute workout, that adds up and you’ll notice you are feeling a completely different stimulus.

Of course, my favorite way to manipulate density is to structure your sets for TIME rather than REPS. If you are going to squat, rather than just do 15 reps, perform squats for 30 seconds and see how many reps you get. On your next set, try to beat your previous number of reps; maintain good form, but try to in increase speed. Of course, eventually you’ll max out, and can improve by either increasing the time, or the weight.

These methods are great so fat loss, but because of the increased work capacity, often also help to increase neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone: so, increasing your workout density can increase your body density.

You’ll get leaner, firmer, and sexier—faster.

5) Focus on your Assets

Well, we made it this far without me getting to graphic. Ooops. Look, I’m a butt guy, I like butts. That’s my thing. I like when a girl has a nice, well-formed, athletic booty. I’m not sure if that’s me objectifying women, or just being honest (or both).

Either way, this is an article intended to help women build sexy bodies, and to me, nothing is sexier than a good backside. Don’t agree? Well, write your own article then. This is my show, so I say we’re talking about butts.

Or training them, at least.

You already know two of the best exercises for your glutes: the squat and the lunge. Here is a quick way to make them more effective (at least for your butt)

When it to comes to squatting for your booty, go wide. Wide stance squats with your toes pointed out place a greater emphasis on the glutes; make sure to focus on flexing and squeezing as you perform the movement. I’m not going to bother writing a joke here—it’s too easy.

For lunges, go back, not forward. While I don’t want to encourage too much favoritism or fuel the fires that scare women away from training, it must be said that there are certain exercises that put TOO much emphasis on some muscles. For women who want shapely legs and a nice butt without building up lots of quad muscle, it’s often a good idea to use reverse lunges in place of forward lunges.

Forward lunges place a lot more emphasis on the section of the quadriceps at the base of the knee–most specifically the vastus medialus—especially eccentric emphasis. Think about it: when you lunge forward, your lead leg has to “catch” your entire body weight and stop/absorb your momentum, and the muscles around the knee will do the majority of the work.

Conversely, when you lunge backwards, your glutes get a lot more work (on both the moving and non-moving leg) and the section of the quads that run up and down the length of the femur (rectus femoris) get a bit more work.

Overall, you’ll develop strong, shapely legs without having to “worry” too much about over developing the quads. Of course, I should mention that most of the time this is majoring in minutia, but there are those who do put on muscle in the thighs a bit more easily so this is relevant to some. (On a side note, those people would do well with the cycle sprints mentioned above!)

6) Be a Venus

When it comes to being physically attractive to the opposite sex, it’s important to understand that certain body dimensions are visually important, from an evolutionary perspective. In fact, these things are so indelibly burned into the collective consciousness of our species that our definition of what makes a “good body” are heavily influenced by them.

Our progenitors subconsciously credited desirable traits like maternity, productivity, and fertility to corresponding physical attributes. Certain physical traits are what we call mating qualifiers, which means that from an evolutionary perspective, these traits are attractive to members of the opposite sex because of what they imply.

Just as a man with broad shoulders instantly projects an image of strength in our subconscious, a woman with a narrow waist and shapely hips makes us (specifically men) more attracted to that woman because she is built in a way that implies fertility.

The cool thing about this is that even though our perception of what is sexy changes as a society, because of the way these qualifiers work in terms of attraction is based on unchanging ratios, they are still relevant.

For example, by today’s standards, Marilyn Monroe might be considered on the “heavy” side—but we still see her appeal—and can find comparable beauty in modern female celebrities.

The reason for that is the golden ratio, which in this case is going to refer to hip-to-shoulder comparisons and hip-to-waist comparisons. With women, we want the athletic shoulders to taper into a small waist, and then bloom out into sexy hips. This is something called the Venus Factor.

Just as Marilyn was “perfect” at 36-24-36, our current standard of more lithe sexuality a number like 34.5-23-34.5 would be more attractive. The commonality behind those numbers is the ratio of the waist to the hip and shoulders (1:1.5).1

There’s obviously a lot more to it, but that’s a good primer. If you truly want to be sexy—in the truly evolutionary and procreative sense of the word—train in a way that helps you develop a body that falls within those ratios.

This means spending more time focusing on building strong, sexy shoulders using exercises like the push press and lateral raise, as well as worrying less about making your butt smaller and focusing on the strength-building, multi-joint movements that will improve its shape.

Are you ready to build your ideal body?

I’ve got you covered. Just enter your name and email below and I’ll send you my guide, The 5 Principles to Radical Fat Loss, absolutely free.I’m going to straight up give you the recipe for extreme sexiness.

I’m going to straight up give you the recipe for extreme sexiness.
I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of fat loss sexification — just follow my lead. I’ll be the Dumbledore to your Harry Potter, the Merlin to your Arthur, the Regina George to your Cady Heron, the Ryan Gosling to your Steve Carell.

So: are you ready to learn the ways of the Force? Of course you are. To get you started, I’m hooking you up with my guide, The 5 Principles of Radical Fat Loss, which is yours to download as my gift to you.

Just drop your email in the form above and I’ll show you how you, too, can become an object of intense awesomatude.

  1. To get super technical about it, the Golden Ratio is actually 1.61803399…but the way that plays out in terms of measurements and clothes sizes is closer to 1.5. ↩
About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

6 Exercises for a Better Body

While the fitness industry has seen more than its fair share of trends, exercise fundamentals have pretty much stayed the same: To get your best body, challenge your muscles with heavier weights and new exercises. To burn fat and calories, increase your workout intensity. And to stave off boredom, mix up your routine. That’s not to say the basics can’t stand a little updating every now and again. To make sure you’re getting your best workout, we tracked down the current thinking on everything from maximizing fat burn to stretching. Try one of these new approaches every day this week and we bet you’ll feel stronger, firmer, and more energized. After all, the only thing you have to lose is flab. Crunches

OLD WAY

Do crunches to tone your belly.

NEW THINK

Get off the mat and add resistance.

“Performing crunches on a stability ball allows a greater range of motion and calls on more muscles to help you stay balanced,” says Stuart McGill, Ph.D., a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada. This is only true if you put the ball in the correct spot, though. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a stability ball significantly increased abdominal activity only when the ball was placed under the lower back. Centering it under the shoulder blades was less effective than doing crunches on the floor. (Get a stability ball here.)

If your middle’s weak, do 4 sets of 20 crunches on a ball with 30 seconds of rest between sets. As you get stronger, increase the number of reps or decrease the rest period. If you want to create firmer, more visible muscles, hold a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell or weight plate against your chest and do 3 sets of 8 crunches on the ball, with up to 3 minutes of rest between sets. Finally, add core moves, such as plank pose, to challenge your abs and back and help stabilize your spine during daily activities.Lunges

OLD WAY

Perform walking lunges to strengthen your legs and butt.

NEW THINK

Use jumping and bounding exercises (plyometrics) instead.

While many athletes rely on plyometrics to improve their power (a muscle’s ability to quickly produce force), incorporating them into your routine can help you tone up faster and ultimately make your workouts feel easier. Jumping moves are also excellent bone builders, but do your joints a favor and perform them on a soft surface, such as grass or a mat.Cardio

OLD WAY

Do moderate intensity cardio to burn fat.

NEW THINK

Boost the intensity-but not too often.

While exercising at a moderate level does melt calories, the harder you push, the more calories and fat you’ll blast. But vigorous sessions are physically demanding, so you shouldn’t do them every day. To get a high calorie burn you can maintain, spend most of your workout time at your lactate threshold, or LT, which is your fastest sustainable aerobic speed. Depending on your fitness level, that can be anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (go to here to see how to estimate your max heart rate) -or a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of about 7. Exceed this intensity and fatigue sets in rapidly. Research has shown that the highest rate of fat burn occurs at or slightly below your LT. “Working out at this level teaches your muscles to use more fat during exercise,” says Todd A. Astorino, Ph.D., an assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University San Marcos.

Here’s how to do it: After a 5- to 10-minute warm-up, exercise for 15 to 20 minutes at your LT. (You might have to experiment to find a level that feels hard but sustainable.) Finish with a 5- to 10-minute cool down. If you can’t maintain your LT for 15 to 20 minutes, break up your workout into shorter segments with rests: Do 5 minutes at your LT, rest for 1 minute, and repeat 3 times. Build up to 20 solid minutes.Reps & Sets

OLD WAY

Rack up 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps every time you strength-train.

NEW THINK

Vary the sets, reps, and weight each session.

While the old approach will sculpt muscles, doing it day in, day out can get boring for you and your body. “Any time you add variety to your exercise program, you create a new way for muscles to adapt,” says Len Kravitz, Ph.D., coordinator of the exercise science program at the University of New Mexico. And as they adapt, they get stronger. A number of studies have shown that periodized exercise programs-those in which you vary the sets, reps, weight, and/or rest times from workout to workout or week to week-yield better results than regular resistance-training routines, in which you usually change only the weight as you progress.Your Mindset

OLD WAY

Focus on how exercise helps you physically.

NEW THINK

Let your workouts help you mentally too.

We wholeheartedly recommend working up a sweat, but so much of what we do at the gym is focused on outside factors, whether it’s the treadmill readout, the person beside you, or your reflection in the mirror. The next time you’re putting in your time on the elliptical, try turning your attention-and intention-inward. ” ‘Working out’ sounds hard, but ‘working in’ is energizing and therapeutic,” says David Yukelson, Ph.D., director of sport psychology services at the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes at Penn State University. Think about how your body feels-can you calm your breathing or lose that side stitch? -then once you find your groove, brainstorm ideas or meditate on personal issues.Stretching

OLD WAY

Stretch after you finish working out.

NEW THINK

Stretch several times during the day.

While those hamstring and quad stretches feel so good when you’re done with your run, limiting your limbering up to the end of your workout is a mistake. It’s the repetitive activities (or inactivity) of your daily life that can lead to muscle tension and tightness, especially in your neck, back, chest, hips, and hamstrings, which is why you should make it a point to stretch throughout the day. “It counteracts stiffness and corrects flexibility imbalances,” says John R. Martinez, a physical therapist in New York City. “It also helps maintain or improve your range of motion, which will keep you healthier and more active in the long run.” Try this easy at-your-desk stretch: Place your right ankle over your left knee and clasp your hands behind your hips; pull your shoulders back. Keeping your chest lifted, lean forward from your hips until you feel a stretch across your right glute. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then sit up and switch sides.

Get sexy arms with this amazing routine!

A Better Body Fitness

About A Better Body Fitness

Equipment: Resistance bands, steps, hand weights, medicine balls, and stability balls

Students should bring: Water and mat (if you prefer to use your own mat)

Average class length: 60 minutes

Number of Staff: 1–5

Class location: Indoors only

Established: 2013

Registration required: Yes

Good for beginners: Yes

Guests allowed: No

Parking: Parking lot

Q&A with Jennifer Loman, Owner

Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?

As a women’s only studio, we tend to talk more so we become friends and support each other.

What’s the most radical physical transformation you’ve seen a client make?

One client lost 35 pounds in order to get approved for knee replacement surgery.

What is a typical session of your program or class like for a student?

We start with a warm up while everyone has some time to say hello to each other. I always start with core exercises (abs, obliques, lower back). I usually work opposing muscles so I use body weight or resistance bands to work the back and chest, quads and hams, arms, and inner and outer thighs. I always say the name of each exercise, tell you which muscles we are working and demo a Level 1, 2 and 3 skill set. I also like to incorporate a lot of balance moves to engage core. We end with stretching every major muscle group.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn’t cover?

During better weather, we will be doing some group outings such as hiking, biking, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. Also, I encourage teens to come attend class with mom!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more
information.

We all have health goals and want to build a better body this year. Some of us have these goals in our minds, while others will set them out in words and strategically plan towards them. Either way, we will all have aims for how we want to look and feel. Slim. Toned. Strong. Sexy. Energetic. Healthy. Balanced. All of these words will come into it. They each mean something to us all personally. And no matter how you want to look and feel, this could be the year that you finally work towards it happening. But you have to approach things in the right way to avoid making fitness mistakes.

Because this simply isn’t about losing weight or being skinny. It’s not about creating a body image. It’s about being better. Being the best version of you. Being healthy. That’s all that matters. So let’s consider six different ways you can work on building a better body this year.

1. Focus On Fuelling Your Body

First of all, one of the best ways to look at this is to make sure that you are fuelling your body. Don’t think about cutting back or what you need to do to make yourself thinner or lose weight. Instead, you need to make sure that you have an eating schedule with the right foods that make you feel good. And focusing on hydration too. This is going to go a long way for you to have a better body.

2. Work On Your Flexibility

The next thing to think about for building a better body is working on your flexibility. Because a lot of the time, having a toned and flexible body can make you feel wonderful. For this, you might want to spend some extra time stretching with a stretching strap or you could attend a class like C2 Pilates or yoga. You’ll often find that working on your flexibility can help with any aches and pains that you get in life too.

3. Energize

If you love the idea of building a better body and improving your mind at the same time, then you’re going to want to exercise for energy. Because it can be really invaluable for your mind. The more you workout, the more you can give your body energy. So find exercises that will allow you to feel your best each and every day.

If you haven’t been able to make time for a gym or a membership, there are plenty of at home exercises and even ways to workout while traveling. Never let the excuses stop you from building a better body and gaining some energy.

4. Get Strong

Something that everyone might like to aim for, no matter what your overall fitness goals are, is to become stronger. Because a strong body is a healthy body. And no, this doesn’t mean that you have to grow a ton of bulky muscle. It just means that you want to have muscles that are strong, lean and that can support you.

If your goal is to gain muscle while working out then I suggest spending most of your time on weight training rather than cardio. This will help ensure you are gaining muscle rather than just burning calories and losing weight.

5. Enjoy Exercise

You really need to make sure that you’re actually enjoying the exercise that you’re doing. Don’t force yourself to do workouts or join groups that you dread. Make sure that you find activities that you absolutely love doing and find enjoyable. And there really is something for everyone. The more you can enjoy something, the more you’ll want to do it. And this is always going to allow you to work on your body and put an end to the negative health cycle.

If you are like me and just really don’t like running – like at all…then check out some of these cardio exercises to keep your heart rate up!

6. Rest

But above all else, after your hard workouts and training to build a better body. You must make some time to rest. Allowing yourself to cool down is just as important as warming up your body. Without any rest, your body will be overworked and won’t have time to build the strength, endurance, and muscle that you have worked so hard for. It also can end up making you sick and unable to exercise for some time. I suggest making time for self-love throughout your week in order to stay healthy and get the rest you need.

What are your goals this year when it comes to building a better body?

Was there something on this list that you were lacking?

Any tips you want to add?

I can’t wait to read your comments!

Try these 4 Easy Ways To Get And Stay Healthy Today

Add these Top 5 Natural Fat Burning Foods to your diet

Want to Change Your Life In 60 Minutes A Day?
Remember… no matter what challenges you face,
Take it 1 Day At A Time.
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17 Better Body Tips For Men

Men’s Fitness

What is the best strategy to reach your goal and make sure you look good? Follow our nutrition tips, training and dietary advice and you’ll be on your way.

What is the best strategy to reach your goal and make sure you look good? Follow our nutrition tips, training and dietary advice and you’ll be on your way.

Looking to get a better body and improve your overall health in the process? This is no mean feat, but with a few tweaks to your exercise and daily diet, you should start to see result that last.

1

Half a kilo is enough

Always bear in mind that attempting to lose weight faster than half a kilogram (1lb) per week almost always leads to subsequent additional unwanted weight gain.

2

Avoid processed foods

Try and select wholefood for meals and snacks every time. Processed foods i.e. those foods that come in packets, are generally low in nutritional quality and high in unwanted calories, such as fat and sugar.

3

Hydrate when you can

Inadequate hydration often presents false hunger pangs, which are often then satisfied with processed foods such as chocolate and other confectionery. And the latter are generally high in calories, unnecessarily adding to total calorie intake.

4

Keep water handy

Ensuring that a bottle of water is always available, at your desk, in your car, etc., will help you keep fluid levels topped up, make your skin look great, and fending off false hunger symptoms.

5

Go easy on the booze

The calories from alcohol in beer, wine and spirits are stored as body fat if they’re not used at the time of consumption; so reducing your alcohol intake will help with your weight loss programme.

6

Alternate your drinks on a night out

Try alternating an alcoholic drink with water. This will keep the calories down as well as combating the dehydrating effects of the alcohol. Dehydration can lead to false hunger signs.

7

Correct food choices = fewer calories

Incorrect food choices are often triggered by energy lows, causing a desire to eat ‘quick energy hit’, highly-calorific foods, like chocolate. By choosing slow-energy release foods such as bananas, you will find that you maintain constant energy levels with fewer calories.

8

Don’t overdose on protein

It’s a common misconception when building muscle that you should eat as much protein as possible.

The maximum amount of protein we can utilise and absorb per day is two grams for each kilo of our weight – and that’s for someone training extremely hard. Any excess protein is stored as body fat. Also, too much protein consumption can cause kidney damage.

9

Turn up the resistance

Include resistance training exercises as part of your exercise programme. By toning up and building your muscles, you will increase the amount of calories you burn throughout the day – even when at rest.

10

Muscle burns more

The ‘energy cost’ of a body with a greater muscle mass is higher than that of a body carrying excess body fat. So if you build muscle, your engine is running faster 24 hours a day – leading to further body fat reduction.

11

Keep that balance

When you look in the mirror, the main muscles you see are your abdominals (stomach), chest and biceps (upper arm). Avoid overtraining these areas, because you will develop postural imbalances. Make sure that your weights programme works all around the body, not the muscles you see when you look in the gym mirrors.

12

CV is good for you

When looking to build muscle, many men shy away from cardiovascular (CV) training because they are concerned it will counteract their muscle gains. However, for a balanced health and fitness program, CV training is essential to ensure your body’s most important muscle, your heart, is trained too.

13

Abs are not enough

If you’re out for a six-pack, sit-ups for your abdominal muscles are just one of the exercises you should be doing. Exercises for your lower abs such as leg-only V-Sits (sit on the floor with your legs elevated and alternately bend and straighten your knees) should be included too, together with training for the obliques, those muscles at the sides of your abdomen.

14

Train that core

In addition to the heart, another muscle group that is extremely important to train is your core, or deep postural muscles. And good core strength will ‘pull everything in’ as well as greatly improving your posture.

15

Don’t forget the legs

An additional advantage of including CV training in your training regime is that almost all CV training involves using your legs – for running, cycling etc – so these exercises will tone up and build up your leg muscles to match your upper-body training.

16

Sleep

In today’s hectic world, most men are more than a little sleep deprived. Whether its late nights and early mornings at the office or juggling childcare and working life, all that time and effort you spend eating right and working out won’t be as effective if you’re not getting seven to eight hours a night.

17

Stick with it

For most men, what starts off as a new regime can seem more like hard work after only a couple of weeks, especially if you’re not seeing many results.

But don’t give up – it’s normal. It can take a month or so for training to become part of your routine, and once you’ve overcome the initial difficulties, you’ll start to look and feel better. In the meantime, focus on why you’re doing it, and make sure to reward yourself with a few treats – a nice home cooked meal or a rest day maybe – to keep yourself motivated. So there you have it, and by following this 17-part plan you can build a lean, muscular and toned body, while improving your all-round health too.

10-Minute Workouts For Busy People Who Want a Better Body

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Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get to the gym and do a full workout. So we’ve devised 4 great 10-minute workouts for you to do on the occasions when you’re stuck for time. These short but intense bursts of activity are great for your heart, will boost your metabolism and will keep you energised and more mentally focussed for the rest of the day.

1. 10-Minute Cardio Circuit

Devoting just ten minutes to physical activity is enough to increase the blood flow around your body. As well as raising your oxygen levels, this will improve your circulation and stimulate all your vital organs, improving brain, skin and kidney function to name but a few. Another reason to perform cardio is for the positive effects on your metabolism – even a short cardio exercise session can up your metabolic rate which in turn makes your body warmer, great for keeping out that cold autumnal weather!

2. 10-Minute Abs Workout

Even 10 minutes is enough to get your abs burning; if you don’t believe us then try out the above routine! Not only is it a way to improve your figure, it also strengthens the core muscles which stabilise your body, helping you to maintain better posture. Stronger abs will also make breathing easier as they keep your internal organs and your diaphragm in the right place.

3. 10-Minute Butt Workout

The muscles of the buttocks, known as the gluteus maximus or simply the glutes, are the largest muscles in the body, so getting them working hard will be very beneficial and make for an efficient workout. They help support your body, especially your knees and hips, and strengthening the glutes can help decrease the risk of lower back pain. And then, of course, there is the aesthetic side. A regular butt workout will make you look great in those new jeans which in turn will definitely boost your confidence!

4. 10-Minute Meltdown

Simply swapping ten minutes of inactivity for a quick blast of exercise will make you feel very virtuous. After a short period of exercise, you’ll enjoy a release of endorphins like serotonin and dopamine. These both create the feel-good factor. And, of course, the increased calorie consumption exercise requires results in weight loss. The great thing about short workouts is you won’t feel as tired afterwards and so will be less likely to mistake fatigue for hunger. Short workouts and a consistent, healthy diet are a steady and sustainable way to lose weight. This 10-minute meltdown will get you sweating and your heart beating fast as you engage muscles in all parts of your body.

We recommend using a yoga or exercise mat to support you during such workouts, and if you need to purchase one you can find a great selection in our online store here. For all other fitness and sports equipment requirements do check out our store homepage.

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8 Workouts to Build a Better Body

Train Like an Athlete
Some of the world’s best-conditioned men use this workout, but it was designed with you in mind. As a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, I work with guys of average strength and size every day. My job is to turn them into elite performers.
My workouts have helped hundreds of average athletes become Division I scholarship players and even NFL gamebreakers. But by developing explosive speed, strength, and power, these men also attain something more–the chiseled look of a high-performance athlete. Use this plan to redefine your body and raise your game. The training is short, intense, and if you put in the effort, highly effective.
4-Week Plan for Amazing Strength and Power
Feel stronger with every session
Directions Perform this workout three times a week with at least a day of rest between sessions. Do each exercise in the order shown. Complete 3 or 4 sets of each exercise except for the final movement (plank with weight transfer), which you perform just once for 30 to 60 seconds. Use this schedule for reps and rest.
Week 1

Perform five repetitions of the first exercise (clean pull) and rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets.

Do 10 reps for exercises 2 through 7, resting 60 seconds between sets. Perform the plank with weight transfer once for 30 to 60 seconds.
Week 2

Perform three repetitions of the first exercise (clean pull) and rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets.

Do 5 reps for exercises 2 through 7, resting 90 seconds between sets. Do the plank with weight transfer once for 30 to 60 seconds.
Week 3
Perform five reps of the first exercise (clean pull) and rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets.

Do 8 reps for exercises 2 through 7, resting 60 seconds between sets. Perform the plank with weight transfer once for 30 to 60 seconds.
Week 4
Perform two reps of the first exercise (clean pull) and rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets.
Do three reps for exercises 2 through 7, resting 90 seconds between sets. Do the plank with weight transfer once for 30 to 60 seconds.
Get More: To extend this plan, pick up a copy of Men’s Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles through Performance-Based Conditioning.
Clean Pull
Load a barbell and roll it to your shins. Squat down and grab the bar overhand (palms facing you). In one explosive motion, pull the bar off the floor, straighten your legs, rise onto your toes, and shrug your shoulders. Then lower the bar to the floor.
Keep your arms straight as you shrug your shoulders.

Happy Monday, everyone! I must confess, I’m obsessed with new beginnings, whether it’s a new year, a new month, or a new week. I love the concept of starting over, planning bigger, climbing ever-higher, and being better. No matter how much we’ve avoided doing the right things in the past and gone full bore with all the wrongs ones, as Scarlett O’hara said, “Tomorrow is another day!” With a new day, there’s always the opportunity for a do-over to make ourselves better.

Of course, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, the primary focus of my job is helping people to build better bodies.

“It’s a wise man who understands that every day is a new beginning, because boy, how many mistakes do you make in a day? I don’t know about you, but I make plenty. You can’t turn the clock back, so you have to look ahead.” Mel Gibson

How do we accomplish the task of building better bodies? Free weights? Kettlebells? Machines? Step aerobics? Cycle? Zumba? No, no, no, no, no, and again NO! These are all great ways to get exercise, but they do not build your body. No, in fact, they all succeed very well in tearing your body down. Weight training puts your body in a catabolic state, meaning muscle protein breakdown is occurring. Similarly, after a cardio or weight training workout, your body’s glycogen stores have been depleted, and they are the body’s key source for energy during a workout. If you don’t build a better body through exercise, how do you do it?

Okay, okay, I hear you protesting. Yes, you’re right if you’re asserting that exercise is at least part of building a better body. All forms of exercises provide the opportunity for the body to become better by physiologically stressing it, requiring it to build back even stronger to meet the demands of the stress being put upon it. However, it only gets better if you give just as much attention, if not more, to the refueling/rebuilding process as you did to the tearing down process.

Think of it, if you want a beautiful new home where an old shack used to be, and you go in and tear everything down, but never re-build, all you’re going be is tired, and all you’re going to have is a site full of potential. You can have the best demolition crew in town, as well as amazing blueprints for the new structure, but if you stop at the destruction phase and never begin construction, you won’t realize your dream of a beautiful, new home.

The same is true for your body. You can work out religiously, but if you have a poor diet, you are not going to build a better body. Most of us work out to be healthier and age more gracefully. What some people fail to realize is what I stated above: when we work out, we are tearing our bodies down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I thought working out was supposed to give me more energy. I’m more tired than ever!” These are the same people who think that just because they are exercising, they can eat anything they want. Everything we do from exercising to digesting food requires energy, and that energy comes from the nutrients we get from food. When we up our activity levels, we up our requirements for nutrients because we are depleting them even faster. Therefore, it’s important to eat even better, not give ourselves license to eat low quality, high fat, processed foods. Now, let’s go back to the house analogy.

If you were going to build a new home, you would put the best quality materials you could afford, right? You would plan your budget accordingly to make sure you get the best home possible. Why not plan for your body as well as you would your home? You’re going to live in your body longer than any home you ever had. If you want to build a better body, you must use better, higher quality materials. I mean eating whole, not processed, foods and choosing organic when you can to reduce the amount of pesticides you get. Remember the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen” when it comes to determining which items on your grocery list should be organic. If you’re not convinced you need to eat organic, here’s a link to a video that explains the effects of glyphosate (Roundup) which is used on crops:

The next things we need to consider after the materials we need to use to build our bodies, and we need to determine how much of each material we need and which sources are better/best. We can be getting the recommended amounts of macronutrients, but all sources are not equal. I’ll go into this in further detail next week, but in the meantime, if you are serious about building a better body, whether it’s slimming down or bulking up, I’ve got two homework assignments for you before you read next week’s health post.

Your first assignment is to go to the following website and determine, based on your age, sex, weight, and activity level, roughly how many calories you should be consuming each day. If you want to lose a pound, which is 3500 calories, you need a deficit of 500 calories per day. (500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories) That deficit can be created by any combination of less calories in and more calories burned through activity that add up to 500 calories per day. After finding out your caloric needs, you can go to the second link and discover how many calories your usual activities burn and figure out how to create your calorie deficit.

If you’re truly serious about building a better body, it’s important to be aware of these processes. You can’t just exercise, eat whatever, whenever and hope for the best. Again, back to the house analogy – you wouldn’t go to Home Depot without a plan, buy a bunch of random materials, go to your building site and start throwing things together, would you? Of course, you wouldn’t, and you can’t do that with your body either. Now if you have been trying to do this, and it hasn’t been working for you, don’t despair. Next week we’ll discuss some tweaks that you can try to help you achieve your desired results.

Don’t be caught next week without having done your homework! Put in the work at home as well as at the gym, and your body will thank you. Have a great week, and remember, “Tomorrow is another day!”

Build a Better Body

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