Summer is about to be in full swing, and it's that time when everyone wants to look impressive in their "lack" of clothing. While I can't promise you that you'll achieve a fitness model body, I can at least give you some simple but important tips in achieving a leaner physique. Listen up! Behavioral changes guarantee your success - not just knowledge alone. You may already have drawn out your road map with your nutritional plan and your workouts, so take that strategy and ACT on it. Stay motivated and consistently remind yourself of your fitness goal. Here are 11 basic tips to get you jumpstarted!
1. CUT THE SIMPLE CARBS. It's unfortunate that the majority of society is a "carb junkie." This especially applies to overweight individuals mainly because their bodies struggle with insulin sensitivity. Our body absolutely needs carbohydrates, but one has to learn to appropriately reverse the ratio of simple carbs (high glycemic) to complex carbs (low glycemic). Most importantly reducing total sugar intake. Having a positive ratio of complex to simple carbs will allow the body to regulate blood sugar levels, burn more fat as fuel, and ultimately lose more weight.
2. EAT SMALLER, MORE FREQUENT MEALS. Smaller, frequent feedings about every 3-4 hours prevents your blood sugar levels from spiking dramatically throughout the day. This helps your hormones stay in check, while regulating hunger as well. Ultimately, it helps elevate metabolism, it's easier on your digestive system, and it can eventually provide you with more energy throughout the day.
3. CONSUME MORE FUNCTIONAL FATS. Essential fatty acids, such as omega-6 and omega-3 consumed in appropriate ratios of 2:1 or better yet at 1:1 will allow the body to regulate your hormones, calm down inflammation, and stabilize blood sugar levels. This eventually leads to greater fat loss. So suck it up, and buy your fish and flax oils at your local health food store.
4. DOWN THAT WATER. Water is often overlooked, but it's the number one nutrient for our body to survive. Staying hydrated aids with digestion, curbs your appetite, and flushes our metabolic waste. Make sure to get in at least 64 oz per day.
5. INCREASE FIBER INTAKE. This nutrient keeps food moving along your gastrointestinal tract, and like water, it aids in flushing metabolic waste. It also helps maintain consistent energy levels, slows the rate of carbohydrate digestion, which stabilizes blood sugar levels.
6. ABSTAIN FROM ALCOHOL. Not only is alcohol estrogenic (negatively affects testosterone for men), can lead to fat gain, and has a whopping nutrition-empty 7 calories per gram, but it takes precedence over fat metabolism when introduced into the body. Alcohol actually shuts down the fat burning mechanism for up to 48 hours, so avoid it as much as possible.
7. SPICY METABOLISM. Incorporating a variety of spices in your foods such as curry, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and certain herbs may help boost your metabolism. Spices also help with stabilizing blood sugar levels.
8. COMBINE WEIGHT TRAINING WITH YOUR CARDIO. While aerobic activity may burn a great deal of calories, especially when maintained at a high intensity, you'll achieve greater success by combining it with resistance training. This is because proper resistance training stresses all of your muscles fiber types (Type 1 and Type 2). When you stress your muscles effectively, you either maintain and strengthen your current muscle mass or you even gain some. For every pound of muscle you gain it equates to 50 extra calories you can burn per day. So remember to hit the weights at least three times per week along with your cardio.
9. SLOW DOWN YOUR EATING. No one truly gets to sit down and have a nice relaxing meal nowadays, especially with our busy schedules. Learning and realizing to slow down the pace at which we eat prevents compulsive overeating and assists our digestion. It takes at least 20 minutes between the time you're full and when your brain actually realizes it. Slowing your eating will also allow you to enjoy your meal.
10. WATCH FOR FOOD ALLERGIES. Many people are allergic to dairy and wheat products. Being sensitive to these two food categories have been shown to cause weight gain. If you're consuming a diet high in refined foods, these sensitivities become more evident. This causes digestive problems such as bloating, stomach pain, and water retention. If you're not sure you may want to consider an allergy test.
11. GET YOUR ANTIOXIDANTS. Getting your daily dose of antioxidants from either a good multi-vitamin, a specific antioxidant supplement combination, or even a healthy combination of fruits and vegetables is important for combating toxins held in fat cells. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, polyphenols in green tea, etc. help your body reduce the time that toxins stay in your system.
So there it is - 11 basic tips to help you achieve a healthier and leaner physique. It's never to late to take action. Have fun and enjoy the summer!
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