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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Helpful Diet Tips

Losing pounds doesn’t have to be torture (we’re looking at you, cayenne-pepper cleanse). Adopt at least three of these behaviors — they’re simple to integrate into your day-to-day routine, and all are enthusiastically backed by nutritionists — and you’ll be thinner and healthier in days. (Plus, the weight will stay off.)

1. SNACK, BUT SMARTLY

Grazing between meals used to be on the weight-loss hit list. But nutritionists now know that it’s better to satisfy a craving with healthy grub than ignore it and risk a junk-food binge later. The best picks are filling, protein-packed snacks, such as one stick of string cheese, a tablespoon of peanut butter on a piece of fruit, or a medium-size bowl of edamame.

2. TURN OFF THE TV

Dining while viewing can make you take in 40 percent more calories than usual, reports a new study. And texting, driving, or any other distracting activity during a meal can also result in your eating too much. Instead, make each meal something you put on a plate and sit down to, even if you’re eating solo.

3. STEP ON THE SCALE DAILY

If your regular weight increases several days in a row, it’s a red flag letting you know you need to cut back a little or beef up your workouts slightly.

4. SCULPT THREE TIMES A WEEK

Doing 5 minutes each of push-ups, lunges, and squats (in 30-second intervals) will help build and maintain muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be, so you’ll torch more calories as you go about your day.

5. REACH FOR YOUR CELL

Next time your mind gets stuck on a certain food, call a friend and redirect your brain by asking how her day’s going. Research shows that cravings only last about 5 minutes, so by the time you hang up, the urge to devour junk will have subsided.

6. EAT A BIG, BALANCED BREAKFAST

An a.m. meal made up mostly of carbs and protein with some fat keeps blood-sugar levels steady and hunger pangs away so you’re not susceptible to pigging out come lunch, studies show. Opt for something satisfying for your stomach and taste buds — like egg whites and turkey bacon with whole-wheat toast.

7. WATCH THE BOOZE

One innocent-looking margarita or cosmopolitan can rack up hundreds of calories that do nothing to quench your appetite. Treat yourself just on the weekends and cut back somewhere else or stick to a glass of wine, light beer, or vodka and soda — three drinks that each have about 100 calories per serving.

8. HAVE FRUIT TWICE A DAY

Fruit has no fat and is mostly water, so it’ll fill you up while leaving less room on your plate (and in your stomach) for high-cal fare. Don’t freak about fruit’s carb count — we’re talking the good kind of carbohydrates that contain lots of healthy fiber.

9. STAY ASLEEP LONGER

Getting to bed just 30 minutes earlier and waking up 30 minutes later than you normally do can help you make better food choices, researchers report. Also, when you’re well-rested, you’re less prone to snacking out of fatigue or stress.

10. VISUALIZE YOURSELF THIN

When you feel your willpower breaking, conjure up a mental picture of yourself when you looked and felt slim. The visual motivation keeps you focused on your goal weight and reminds you that itis attainable, since you’ve achieved it before.

Build Your Muscle using This Helpful Tips

Maybe you’ve had sand kicked in your face. Maybe you’ve lost one too many attainable women to beefier guys. Or maybe you’ve read so much about weight loss that actually admitting you want to gain weight is a societal taboo.

Here’s your fix: Follow these 10 principles to pack on as much as a pound of muscle each week.

1. Maximize muscle building. The more protein your body stores—in a process called protein synthesis—the larger your muscles grow. But your body is constantly draining its protein reserves for other uses—making hormones, for instance.

The result is less protein available for muscle building. To counteract that, you need to “build and store new proteins faster than your body breaks down old proteins,” says Michael Houston, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech University.

2. Eat meat. Shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is roughly the maximum amount your body can use in a day, according to a landmark study in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

For example, a 160-pound man should consume 160 grams of protein a day—the amount he’d get from an 8-ounce chicken breast, 1 cup of cottage cheese, a roast-beef sandwich, two eggs, a glass of milk, and 2 ounces of peanuts.

Split the rest of your daily calories equally between carbohydrates and fats.

3. Eat more. In addition to adequate protein, you need more calories. Use the following formula to calculate the number you need to take in daily to gain 1 pound a week. (Give yourself 2 weeks for results to show up on the bathroom scale. If you haven’t gained by then, increase your calories by 500 a day.)

A. Your weight in pounds: _____
B. Multiply A by 12 to get your basic calorie needs: _____
C. Multiply B by 1.6 to estimate your resting metabolic rate (calorie burn without factoring in exercise): _____
D. Strength training: Multiply the number of minutes you lift weights per week by 5: _____
E. Aerobic training: Multiply the number of minutes per week that you run, cycle, and play sports by 8: _____
F. Add D and E, and divide by 7: _____
G. Add C and F to get your daily calorie needs: _____
H. Add 500 to G: _____. This is your estimated daily calorie needs to gain 1 pound a week.

4. Work your biggest muscles. If you’re a beginner, just about any workout will be intense enough to increase protein synthesis. But if you’ve been lifting for a while, you’ll build the most muscle quickest if you focus on the large muscle groups, like the chest, back, and legs.

Add squats, deadlifts, pullups, bent-over rows, bench presses, dips, and military presses to your workout. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, with about 60 seconds’ rest between sets.

5. But first, have a stiff drink. A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising.

The shake contained 6 grams of essential amino acids—the muscle-building blocks of protein—and 35 grams of carbohydrates.

“Since exercise increases bloodflow to your working tissues, drinking a carbohydrate-protein mixture before your workout may lead to greater uptake of the amino acids in your muscles,” says Kevin Tipton, Ph.D., an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Texas in Galveston.

For your shake, you’ll need about 10 to 20 grams of protein—usually about one scoop of a whey-protein powder.  Can’t stomach protein drinks? You can get the same nutrients from a sandwich made with 4 ounces of deli turkey and a slice of American cheese on whole wheat bread. But a drink is better.

“Liquid meals are absorbed faster,” says Kalman. So tough it out. Drink one 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.

6. Lift every other day. Do a full-body workout followed by a day of rest. Studies show that a challenging weight workout increases protein synthesis for up to 48 hours immediately after your exercise session.

“Your muscles grow when you’re resting, not when you’re working out,” says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., Men’s Health exercise advisor and a former skinny guy who packed on 40 pounds of muscle using this very program.

7. Down the carbs after your workout. Research shows that you’ll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates.

“Post-workout meals with carbs increase your insulin levels,” which, in turn, slows the rate of protein breakdown, says Kalman. Have a banana, a sports drink, a peanut-butter sandwich.

8. Eat something every 3 hours. “If you don’t eat often enough, you can limit the rate at which your body builds new proteins,” says Houston.

Take the number of calories you need in a day and divide by six. That’s roughly the number you should eat at each meal. Make sure you consume some protein—around 20 grams—every 3 hours.

9. Make one snack ice cream. Have a bowl of ice cream (any kind) 2 hours after your workout.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , this snack triggers a surge of insulin better than most foods do. And that’ll put a damper on post-workout protein breakdown.

10. Have some milk before bed. Eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes before you go to bed. The calories are more likely to stick with you during sleep and reduce protein breakdown in your muscles, says Kalman.

Try a cup of raisin bran with a cup of skim milk or a cup of cottage cheese and a small bowl of fruit. Eat again as soon as you wake up.

“The more diligent you are, the better results you’ll get,” says Kalman.

Benefits of Walking

1. Walking strengthens your heart

Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.

2. Walking lowers disease risk

A regular walking habit slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, and you’re 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb with an active hobby such as walking.

3. Walking helps you lose weight

You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes and a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.

4. Walking prevents dementia

Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, we reckon that’s a pretty great idea.

5. Walking tones up legs, bums and tums

Give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (bum muscles) with a good, regular walk. Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist.

6. Walking boosts vitamin D

We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.

7. Walking gives you energy

You’ll get more done with more energy, and a brisk walk is one of the best natural energisers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon.

8. Walking makes you happy

It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must.