Motivational Tips

5 Ways to Become a Morning Exerciser

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Let’s face it. No one likes an early wake up call. Even if your alarm is set for a flight to your vacation destination, the warm covers are still going to sound more appealing when you’re in that sleepy state. Most of the time, it’s not that you’re dreading the workout, you’re dreading getting out of bed!

Why should you exercise in the morning? Well, first off, it jump starts your metabolism for the day. You’ll continue to burn calories for the remainder of the day. Plus you’re more likely to be consistent with exercising. You may have a hectic schedule one day and not be able to fit in that evening workout. If you completed it in the morning, it’s already over!

You’ll probably never love it (or who knows, maybe you will), but these simple steps will make it a little bit easier to get out of bed and break a sweat. It may seem hard at first, but your body will eventually adjust to it.

1. Prepare the Night Before
Set your clothes out so that you can change as soon as you wake up. Fill your water bottle; lay out your mp3 player, towel, and whatever else you might take to the gym. That way, you can be out the door quickly. If you’re working out at home, set up your mat and props.

2. Let Yourself Wake-Up Slowly
Snooze if you have to. Sometimes your body just needs to acclimate itself instead of hopping right out of bed. Enjoy a cup of coffee or read for 10 minutes. If you feel forced to wake up immediately, you’re going to resent it even more. Your body will let you know when it’s ready to get moving!

3. Get Outside
Go for a walk or run outdoors for a change. Knowing that you’ll get some fresh air and different scenery should help motivate you to wake up. Plus, if you typically go outside, you’ll want to wake up earlier to beat the summer heat!

4. Try Something Different
Find a new workout or a new playlist. Buy a new workout top. Sometimes all you need is a change of pace to jumpstart your excitement.

5. Think About the Alternative
You may want to become a morning exerciser because you can’t fathom the thought of working out after a long day at the office. When your alarm goes off in the morning, think about how good you’ll feel all day knowing that your exercise for the day is already complete! Think about how great you’ll feel when you can go straight home after work.

As mentioned above, it’s really all in the mind. On enough sleep, your body can exercise in the morning. You just need to tell yourself that once you are up and moving, you’ll feel awake and rejuvenated. Maybe you don’t always need to exercise in the morning, but you can switch it up daily based on how you feel.

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

Source: www.fitday.com

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Science Behind “The Biggest Loser” Diet

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This is an article that I found on a Registered Dietitian’s blog. Her name is Rebecca Scritchfield, a weight management expert on balanced, healthy living. I thought it was an interesting read. Enjoy!  

 

I’m hooked on “The Biggest Loser”. Maybe it’s because I get to watch lives being transformed and new behaviors shaped. Or maybe it’s because I feel gratified that these changes are a result of improvements in nutrition and exercise, areas in which I have expertise, rather than the promise of a fad diet, magic pills or surgery as a solution. But I was always so curious about what goes on behind the scenes. So you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to learn from the registered dietitian and physician for the show at a recent conference.

First off, they both admitted upfront that one of the reasons the people lose so much weight consistently is because of their new environment. All the barriers that usually exist to behavior change (job/life stresses, family and friends, lack of time, lack of knowledge about what to do) have been removed. Their new job is to exercise, learn about good nutrition habits, and practice them. This is one of the keys to their success. They get enough time in the new environment that once they leave they have enough knowledge and motivation to keep it going… Essentially, they transform their lifestyle. That said, “Biggest Loser” success is within everyone’s reach. Read on to find out more!

Biggest Loser Diet

  • modified, low carbohydrate diet 45% of calories from carbohydrates (mostly fruits, vegetables and some whole grains), 30% of calories from protein, and 25% of calories from healthy fats or oils (seeds, nuts, avocado, olive oil)
  • no “white stuff”
  • whole foods, elemental ingredients
  • 4-3-2-1: daily 4 cups minimum of fruits and vegetables, 3 servings of healthy proteins (e.g. fish, skinless chicken breast, 93% lean ground turkey), 2 servings of whole grains, and 1 serving of healthy fat.
  • Aim for everyone to have 1 serving of fish daily.
  • There is room for 1 optional treat per day.
  • Cereals must have minimum 5 grams of fiber per serving and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. This limits the cereals to certain oatmeals, bran cereals, or other high fiber cereals on the market.
  • Goal of 7 calories per pound of body weight for daily caloric intake. This is recalculated after significant weight loss.

Participants are provided with calorie counting resources and a food and exercise diary which they must maintain daily. This helps to raise awareness of past behaviors and develops an understanding for calorie balance through diet and exercise.

Their diets are analyzed daily by the show’s registered dietitian / nutritionist. The nutritionist reported a 70% adherence to the diet. The nutritionist also reported as a result of the diet contestents experience decreased risk for diabetes because the measure that is used to diagnose diabetes decreases from “at risk” to a healthy range.

Biggest Loser Exercise

  • Goal is 7 hours per week of exercise
  • Incorporate weight training, coaching, teamwork, and competition

Typical Week at the Ranch

  • Before getting started, participants undergo extensive medical tests, including a physical, stress test, DEXA (to measure accurately percent body fat and lean mass), and “Bod Pod” (to measure resting metabolic rate)
  • Participants also undergo psychological evaluation and the support network at home is briefed on the program so they know what to expect when the person returns home.
  • All participants get a full nutrition consult, including a week of food journals review. They discuss any GI symptoms they are having. They discuss eating schedules and cooking and shopping strategies.

Common Denominators

In 3 seasons, they found the contestants shared many characteristics, including:

  • no idea of the number of calories they need or what they actually consume
  • most skip breakfast and snacks and let a long time go between meals
  • most consume very little fruits and vegetables
  • most are not getting enough protein, and what they do get is high in saturated fat
  • most get very little whole grains
  • most have too much “white stuff” (sugar, refined flour)
  • little planning of meals, mostly on-the-go eating and dining out
  • most are meeting their daily caloric needs through beverages alone (e.g. caloric sodas, juices and fruit punch)
  • many consume very little water
  • nearly all reported limited to no exercise
  • nearly all prioritize everything and everyone else in their life ahead of their own health

I found the common denominators particularly insightful. It is easy to see why they are struggling with their weight when you look at behaviors they have in common. The goal of the Biggest Loser is to restructure that lifestyle and get them on the path to better health and wellness.

Source: http://rebeccascritchfield.wordpress.com/2007/10/15/science-behind-the-biggest-loser-diet/

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Get Clear About Why You Want to Lose Weight

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So often in the business world or in general goal setting, you hear people talk about getting clear about what you want. You can’t really reach a goal until you know what that goal is. Plus, if you don’t have a goal or destination, how will you know when you get there? Well, the same can be said of why you want to lose weight. Is your reason strong enough? Are you clear about your why?

Anyone who wants to lose weight will have a reason behind it. It could be for physical reasons; so it’ll be easier to move around. It could be for vanity reasons; so you’ll look better in your clothes. Or it could be for health reasons. Whatever the reason you want to lose weight, you need to get clear about it. You need to instill those thoughts into your daily thinking. Get passionate about it. If you don’t keep it at the forefront of your mind, it’s likely you’ll just forget about it. If you don’t have some passion and determination behind your goals, it’s likely you will give up before you reach them.

Here are some questions to ask yourself for determining a strong why:

What will it feel like if you reach your goal?
What will it feel like if you give up?
Which feeling do you like better?

Will reaching this goal make you feel better mentally and physically?
Do you have big plans for when you reach this goal? If not, start making big plans so you have an added bonus when you reach your weight loss goal.

Will losing weight help you live longer?
Will it help control some medical condition?
If you don’t lose weight how low will your quality of life be? And how much shorter will your life span be?
Isn’t feeling better and extending your life worth your efforts?

How will it feel when you fit in your smaller jeans and shirts?
How will you feel if you don’t get back into smaller clothes?
Which of those feelings do you like better?

Remember, no matter what goal you want to achieve in life, whether it’s with weight loss or some other goal, it’s well worth getting a strong why and a strong determination to reach it. Get a support group if you need to. Give yourself daily pep-talks. Write down your why and post it all over your house.

Get behind your reason why, remind yourself of it several times each day and you’ll see results quicker.

Source: www.inspirationforweightloss.com

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

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50 Tips for Changing Mindset

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You know there is no magic way to shed pounds or become fit. The only way to get there is through hard work and eating right. Yet you can give yourself a leg up in the process by changing how you think about food, weight loss and eating healthy. By changing how you think, you’ll also change how you act and hopefully impact your health for the better.

Meditation can play a key role in helping you overcome food issues and create the body you want to have now. Awareness, consciousness, focus and concentration developed through yoga practice and meditation will help you to embody these key points.

Here are 50 tips to help you learn some tricks to get your mind ripe and ready for weight loss.

General
These general tips will help you learn to adapt your thoughts to healthy weight loss.

1. Be patient. Losing weight in any kind of healthy way is going to take time. Give yourself a break and relax, and the weight will come off.

2. Don’t stress. Stressing about weight loss will likely only make it harder to lose.

3. Be realistic. Setting unrealistic goals for your weight loss isn’t healthy for your body or mind. Get your mind set on more realistic accomplishments and you’ll be happier and healthier.

4. Create a routine. Success with any weight loss program requires creating a routine and sticking to it in what you eat, when you work out and how you think about your progress.

5. Listen to your body. It will tell you when you aren’t eating enough, you’re eating too much, or you’re pushing yourself too hard.

6. Use your imagination. Our imaginations are powerful things and you can use yours to picture your body and your life the way you really want it to be.

7. Take it slow. You cannot expect to change your mindset or your body overnight. Take the process slow and steady for the best results.

8. Be honest with yourself. Being honest might be more difficult or more painful, but you cannot move forward in changing your body or how you think about it without facing some hard truths about yourself.

9. Find out what you truly want. The reality is that you might not be ready to lose weight or commit yourself to the work that it takes. Find out what you truly want in your life. Knowing that you really, really want to lose weight can be a huge factor in motivating you.

Mindset
Learn how to change your mindset with these tips.

10. Always be accountable. There is no one else who is responsible for you losing weight. You have to be accountable for what you eat and how often you work out.

11. Break the cycle of excuses. We all make excuses to try to justify our behavior, but these kinds of excuses aren’t doing you any favors when it comes to weight loss. Force yourself to accept your failures and work to improve them.

12. Deal with your emotions. For many people, food is an emotional thing and a coping mechanism for other things that aren’t right in their lives. If you want to change your mindset about your body, you’ll first have to deal with these powerful emotions.

13. Make the decision to be thinner. Sometimes all it takes is a firm resolution to make a change in your life. If you want to lose weight, make the choice to do so and let your actions follow suit.

14. Take responsibility. No one is forcing food down your throat or keeping you from the gym. Once you realize that and can take responsibility for your own actions regarding your health and fitness, you’ll be one step closer to meeting your goals.

15. Think clearly. Weight loss, body image and personal health can be emotionally charged issues. When you think about these things it it important to separate them as best you can from your emotions and make logical, thoughtful decisions about what is best. For instance, our emotions might tell us we need a piece of cake after a hard day, but our logical thinking would tell us it will only make you feel worse about yourself.

16. Change your programming. Many of us have programmed our brains to think we are fat, unhealthy and will never look or feel like we want to. Thinking this way is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, but by changing your mental programming, you’ll change what you’re capable of in weight loss.

17. Stay positive. There is no upside to negative thinking when it comes to losing weight. Staying positive will help you feel better about yourself, keep you motivated and reduce stress — all of which will help you lose more weight.

18. Train your mind to think in your best interest. If you want to lose weight, focus on replacing your unhealthy thoughts with healthy ones. After a while, you will think less unhealthy thoughts and be a step ahead in reaching your goals.

Motivation
Give your mind some motivation with these ideas.

19. Pick out a motivational photograph. Whether you want to look more like you did 20 years ago or have the physique of someone else you admire, choose a photograph you can look at when you’re struggling to help keep yourself motivated.

20. Set smaller daily goals. While your larger goals are important, focusing on smaller, individual goals will give you more of a sense of accomplishment and change your mindset on a daily basis.

21. Use support from friends. There are few things that can change how you feel about yourself and your progress like motivation from friends around you.

22. Reward yourself. When you’ve worked really hard for something it’s only fair to reward yourself. Give yourself an indulgence, though not a food-related one, that you’ve really been wanting.

23. Tell yourself you can do it. Change your mindset about weight loss by constantly reminding yourself that no matter how hard it is that you can and will do it.

24. Never stop thinking about your goals. Keeping your goals in mind throughout the day will help motivate you and keep you on the right track.

25. Surround yourself with good role models. You won’t do yourself any favors when you’re trying to lose weight if you surround yourself with people who practice bad habits and influence you to do so as well. Spend time with friends who motivate you to be healthy instead.

26. Have a mantra. Finding your own personal weight loss mantra can be a great way to help keep yourself positive and focused on your goals.

27. Look at the bright side. Setbacks don’t have to ruin your motivation for weight loss. Instead, think of them as a chance to work harder and prove your commitment to your goals.

28. Create a map to your health and happiness. Spending some time laying out your goals, collecting photos that motivate you, and planning out your steps along the way can help make process easier, more real and something you’re more motivated to do every day.

Food
Change your relationship with food by changing your thoughts using this advice.

29. Think yourself out of bad habits. Bad habits with food don’t have to take down your weight loss goals. Instead, use the power of your mind to fight these bad habits. It will take some doing but you can overcome them.

30. Look at food differently. Food isn’t your enemy or your friend — it’s neutral. Learn to look at food as a source of nourishment rather than a reward or a way to deal with emotions.

31. Picture what food is doing for your body. When you look at what you’re eating, picture what that food can do for your body and how the nutrients will help you feel.

32. Allow yourself to eat when you’re hungry. Losing weight should never mean starving yourself. Listen to your body and feed yourself when your body tells you it’s hungry. Just make sure it’s actually hunger and not boredom or thirst you’re giving into. Likewise, stop eating when you are full.

33. Eat foods you crave. You can have foods you crave while you’re trying to lose weight if you can do so in moderation. Keeping things totally off limits could cause you to binge.

34. Be conscious. Always be aware of what you’re eating. Eating mindlessly while watching TV can lead to a lot of unwanted and unneeded calories.

Self-Image
How you see yourself can make a big impact in how much weight you lose. Try these solutions to feel good about yourself no matter how much you weigh.

35. Change how you think about your body. If you think you are a fat person, you’ll likely stay that way. Train your mind to see yourself as attractive at any weight and you’ll see more weight loss progress.

36. Get control over your thoughts. When your thoughts are out of control it’s easy to think cruel things about yourself and put yourself down. When you start to feel your thoughts heading in that direction, take the wheel and steer them somewhere positive.

37. Stop looking at the numbers. Weight isn’t everything when it comes to health. Some people look super skinny and feel healthy at one weight while another person might be totally different. We all have our own comfort zone, so listen to your body, not the scale.

38. Focus on how you feel. You might not have met your goal weight yet, but focusing on changes in how you feel can help keep you motivated and feeling good about yourself.

39. Stop berating yourself. Negative thoughts aren’t going to help you lose weight. If you have a misstep or aren’t progressing as fast as you’d like, never berate yourself. Simply get up the next day and start again from a positive standpoint.

40. Fill yourself with love. If you want to get the most out of your weight loss journey, make part of the process learning to truly love yourself. No one is perfect so get a handle on accepting and appreciating your faults.

41. Take pride in your appearance.It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, you can look good and feel good about yourself. Shower, put on a fragrance, style your hair, and wear your favorite clothes. It will change how you see yourself and how others see you as well.

Meditation
Learn how to turn your meditation practice into a reflection on your personal weight loss goals with these tips.

42. Imagine yourself eating like you should be. The more you imagine it, the more likely it will become reality.

43. Picture yourself thin. If you believe that you can and will be thin, then you give yourself the motivation and drive to actually make it happen.

44. Think about activities you’ll do when you’re thin. If you’re too overweight to do things you love right now, picture yourself doing those things as the new, thinner you.

45. Relax. You can’t take control over your thoughts and your mind if you’re stressed out and distracted. Simply relax and let go the problems of the day.

46. Picture yourself wearing something you’ve always wanted to wear. A big reason many people want to lose weight is to fit into the clothes and style that they love and admire. Get a mental picture of how you’ll look sporting something you’ve always wanted to wear to give you some motivation.

47. Imagine that you love to exercise. Rely on the power of imagination to help give yourself the initiative you need to get fit and in shape.

48. Don’t let negative thoughts interfere. It’s easy to think negative thoughts about yourself when you’re tackling a big and difficult obstacle like losing weight, but you have to make sure to keep these kinds of thoughts out during your meditation. Replace them with happy, supportive ones instead.

49. Kick all unhealthy habits and foods out of visualization. Don’t let your mental fantasies include unhealthy foods and behaviors. You might really crave them but the purpose is to retrain your mind to let them go.

50. Breathe deeply and calm yourself. Once you’re calm, relaxed, and in control of your mind and body, you’ll be able to start thinking clearly about who and where you want to be.

Source: www.totallyzen.com

To Happy, Healthy Living -
InCharge Fitness Team

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  |  in Blog, General, Motivational TipsNo Comments

Be the one that changes, not the one that watches.

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Weight Loss Plateaus: How to Get Over the Hump

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You’ve put in the hard work. You’ve overhauled your diet. You’ve put in countless hours at the gym, sticking to those grueling workouts time and time again. You’ve been rewarded with continuously dropping numbers on the scale. And then in happens: you hit a weight-loss plateau. Hitting a plateau can be more than just frustrating, it can be downright dispiriting. But it’s perfectly normal for your weight loss to gradually slow down and even come to a complete halt. Don’t let this discourage you to the point that you revert back to old habits.

Reasons for Weight-Loss Plateaus

The main reason people experience weight-loss plateaus is that their new, svelte bodies require fewer calories to maintain their weight when compared to their previous calorie needs at a heavier weight. When you initially reduce your calorie intake, through a reduced-calorie diet, exercise or both, you drop weight quickly.

Another reason people experience pleateaus is that they are losing muscle, which we know torches calories. This is especially true if they lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time. The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolism slows down. This translates to fewer calories burned performing the same activities you had at a heavier weight. With continued weight loss, you need to exercise more or consume less in order to continue to create a calorie deficit that will lead to further weight loss.

Tips for Overcoming Weight-Loss Roadblocks

- Step up the exercise. Even adding an extra 15 minutes to your exercise regimen can produce huge results. Consider adding an extra mile to your walk/jog or extending your warm-up routine and cool down routine.
 
- Cut calories with small tweaks to your diet. Consider cutting a reasonable, small amount of calories from your daily intake. Cutting just 150-200 calories per day, the typical amount in a snack, can result in a couple pounds lost per month.

- Track your food intake and exercise. Make sure you’re not becoming more lax by increasing portions or slacking off at the gym.

- Switch up your exercise routine. Unfortunately, as you become more physically fit, your body becomes accustomed to the same old gym routine. Your body actually becomes more efficient at performing the same activities. Take up a completely new type of exercise to keep challenging your muscles. Add resistance training to your workout. Start lifting weights, that is. Weight-lifting adds calories-incinerating muscle to your downsized frame, which helps you burn more calories all day long, even while your body is at rest.

Try not to lose sight of what is important when it comes to weight loss: your health. Studies have shown that people whose motivating factor for weight loss is improved health, rather than achieving a certain body size or shape, have more success with losing weight and maintaining that weight loss over a long period of time.

To Happy, Healthy Living,
InCharge Fitness Team

Source: www.fitday.com

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Put Yourself First

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Reach Other Goals by Starting With Your Self

You’re a parent, school volunteer, Little League coach, and trusted assistant to your boss. You’ve been up since 6 a.m., made breakfast, packed lunches, cleaned the house, chauffeured the neighborhood kids, helped with homework, read bedtime stories, and finished extra work from the office. It’s 11:30pm. You’re exhausted. And, in about six-and-a-half hours you’ll begin the whole 24-hour cycle…again.

If you find yourself saying ‘Stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off!’ you’re not alone. Most of us—especially women, but men too (hey, there are reasons that men die younger than women)—have at some time found ourselves at the bottom of the heap when it comes to taking care of our needs.

The problem with that is that if we don’t take care of ourselves, sooner or later we won’t be of much use to anyone else—or to ourselves. Just as the airline attendant tells you to put on your own oxygen mask in an emergency before helping a child with theirs, you must take care of your own basic needs before you can attend to the needs of others. What’s more, being busy is not necessarily the same as being productive with meaningful activity. (Do the workaholics you know really accomplish that much more in proportion to the time they invest?)

If “putting yourself first” (a common admonition) sounds too selfish or too hard, try something simpler: put yourself on an equal footing with those you love and tend to. Do you insist that they get enough sleep? Start making that a priority for yourself too. Do you give them time for fun and socializing with friends? Then you do the same! Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: human beings must meet their basic needs before they can move on to higher-level goals. Since most of us already know that we should take care of ourselves—but often have trouble figuring out how to doit, here are some guidelines for getting there:

  • Preserve your physical health with adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
  • Value your emotional health as much as the physical, with a support system of friends and a willingness to laugh—especially at yourself.
  • Schedule fun activities on a regular basis—it’s just as important to plan pleasure as it is to plan work.
  • Identify “busy behaviors” (or people) that drain your time and energy but aren’t really important, then dump ‘em, or at least minimize their hold on you.
  • Kill two birds with one stone, combining family time with exercise, for example, which benefits everyone involved.
  • Try to look at the problems in your life with new eyes to find solutions. If you’re a new mom, for instance, see if you can trade childcare with another new mom to get some time for yourself.
  • Learn to say “No!” Your “yes” is valuable and should not be automatic. Instead, reserve it for the things that are most important to you.
  • Don’t try to change every problem area in your life all at once. Start with one or two items, then expand as you get things under control.

Your life should be like a checking account, balancing out on a regular basis so that you always have assets to draw upon. By making even small deposits—taking care of yourself with a 10-minute walk or a nutritious meal—you’ll be amazed at the interest you’ll reap.

Source: Spark People

To Happy, Healthy Living!
InCharge Fitness Team

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Healthy New Year Resolutions

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1: Control Your Portions
Want to downsize your figure? Start downsizing your dishes. Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promote weight loss because they help to curb overeating

2: Be Active
One habit naturally slim people share is their ability to stay in motion. Try to inject each day with more activity (adults should aim for 30 minutes daily). The opportunities are endless once you’ve developed the right mindset.

3. Slash Sodium Consumption
Studies show many Americans consume close to twice the recommended limit of sodium, which is a teaspoon (or 6 grams) daily. Besides contributing to water retention (think bloat!), sodium can raise blood pressure. Processed foods contain the most, so make sure to read labels. Lower sodium diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, but are also associated with lower hypertension and weight management.

4: Increase Antioxidants
When your body breaks down food it produces molecules called free radicals. Cigarette smoke and radiation also produce free radicals. Over time, the damage from these substances can result in conditions like infection, cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. That’s where antioxidants step in. How the American Dietetic Association sums up their role: Once you cut an apple, it begins to brown, but if you dip it in orange juice, which contains vitamin C (an antioxidant), it stays white.

You can defend your body the same way by including rich sources in your diet. Pomegranates, coffee, and even chocolate contain antioxidants.

5: Quit Smoking Already
For smokers, quitting may be the hardest resolution to stick with because it is so challenging. If you consider the benefits, and take advantage of today’s resources, this could be the year you successfully become a nonsmoker. The National Cancer Institute’s smokefree.gov website is a good resource to bookmark.

6: Floss Your Teeth
Like many people, you may not know that bacteria in your mouth can lead to serious problems if you neglect oral health. You may also be surprised to learn that during routine exams, your dentist can spot indications of diabetes and heart disease. One simple thing you can do to head off bacteria is floss your teeth.

7: Wear Sunscreen… All Year
Sun exposure affects everyone. According to the National Cancer Institute most skin cancer develops after age 50, though sun damage starts at an early age. The sun’s rays are also behind brown spots, and can make wrinkles appear before their time. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, even in the winter, anywhere skin is laid bare to the elements.

8: Strength Train
In simply 10 minutes a day you could gain more energy, stronger bones, and a faster metabolism — and you don’t even need to lift dumbbells. The best exercises recommended by trainers are: squats, push-ups, lunges and the plank. Best part, you can do them anywhere! Adding these moves to your exercise program will help you burn more calories in less time.

9: Expect Good Things From Yourself
Having healthy expectations for yourself is important to both your physical and mental health. Obviously, that’s easier said than done. A mean-spirited inner-critic can ruin relationships, keep you from reaching personal goals, and cramp your ability to be an active participant in your life. For everyday ways to practice bringing acceptance into your realm, visit Oprah Winfrey’s self confidence page.

Source: Reader’s Digest
http://www.rd.com/slideshows/9-healthy-new-years-resolutions/

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15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

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It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. The craziness of holidays, getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you from exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?

Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Find a program that will suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort - After you finish any workout, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual - Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief- What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness - Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness - If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small - Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

Source: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/15-tips-to-restart-the-exercise-habit-and-how-to-keep-it.html

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How to burn more calories after your workout!

  |  in Exercises, General, Motivational Tips, Sample WorkoutsNo Comments

We’ve always heard that the positive benefits of physical activity continue long after your workout session is over. More energy, less stress and those “feel good” endorphins are some of the immediate effects. But what about the mysterious “afterburn” that a lot of people talk about? Do you really continue burning more calories after the workout, or is it really just during the workout that matters? A new study finds that it’s possible to burn more calories throughout the day–in fact, up to 14 hours later. The study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, took 10 healthy males and examined their energy expenditure under two different sets of conditions. “During the first session, participants were mostly inactive, but they stood and stretched for two minutes every hour. They could also perform everyday tasks, such as washing their hands and brushing their teeth, as needed. During the second session, participants followed the same routine, but then cycled vigorously for 45 minutes.” Researchers found that participants burned 190 additional calories while at rest throughout the day after vigorous exercise (defined in the study as a 73% max heart rate), compared to when they did no activity. The increased calorie burn lasted for over 14 hours–and continued even into the first few hours of sleeping. This is the first study to use a metabolic chamber (a highly controlled environment) to estimate calorie burned after vigorous physical activity. The number of calories each person burns during–and after–a workout will vary. It depends on many factors: gender, age, genetics, type of workout, etc. But it’s something to keep in mind as you weigh the benefits of exercise, and whether or not the time and effort is worthwhile. I think exercise is a key component of any healthy lifestyle, regardless of how much exercise you can do or how intense it is. Previous studies have also shown that your body’s metabolism stays revved after a workout and that generally, the more intense the workout is, the greater the post-workout “afterburn” will be. This study just gives one more reason to get off of the couch and get moving–no matter how much or how little time you have!

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