Weight Loss

Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet

Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet

Fasting is something that’s played a key role in virtually all of the world’s major religions and dates back millions of years. Today, though, while fasting is still observed for many religious purposes, it’s become a new lifestyle that helps individuals lose weight, have more energy, and fight disease.

While fasting isn’t a new concept, intermittent fasting is something that has emerged in the past few years. It has gained popularity due to the incredible benefits it offers against signs of aging and disease.

Keep reading to learn about intermittent fasting and why this may want to be a lifestyle change you make.

Understanding Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a process that involves cycling in and out of periods where you eat and don’t eat. While people do experience (often significant) weight loss with this eating schedule, it’s not as much of a diet plan as it is a lifestyle choice that provides a wide array of health benefits.

There are several methods used with intermittent fasting. These include:

The 5:2 Method

This is the method that allows you to eat normally for five days a week. The two days after are for fasting, but you still eat. The goal is to keep calorie intake on this day between 500 and 600.

The Eat-Stop-Eat Method

This method is a bit different. With this, you restrict all food for a period of 24 hours. This is repeated two to three times per week.

The 16/8 Method

Here, you consume all your daily calories within a shortened period of time. In most cases, you eat in a period of six to eight hours.

The remaining 14 to 16 hours during the day, you fast. This is the method that can be done daily, or several times a week.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

When you switch to intermittent fasting, it will expand your limits while boosting your performance in several ways. Some of the specific benefits offered by this way of eating include:

  • Increase energy
  • Reduce bad cholesterol
  • Protect against various neurodegenerative diseases
  • Boost weight loss
  • Promote longevity
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Promote cellular repair

As you can see, the benefits are vast. As a result, this may be something you should consider trying.

Tips to Make the Most of Intermittent Fasting

While not eating for specific amounts of time alone offers health benefits, if you want to make the most of this lifestyle choice, there are a few other tips you need to use.

It can’t be a free-for-all when you do eat, as this is going to negate many of the benefits this way of eating offers. Some additional tips include:

  • Avoid refined grains and sugars (choose low-carb snacks when possible)
  • Don’t snack between meals
  • Remain active
  • Avoid snacking or eating in the evening and at night

By using these tips, the results of your intermittent fasting will be much more evident.

Be Healthier and Happier with Intermittent Fasting

As you can see, there are several options to consider if you are interested in intermittent fasting. As a result, you aren’t going to feel as deprived or hungry while following this way of eating.

Do you want to make a change to be healthier and happier? If so, let us help! Contact us to learn more about our nine-week challenge.

10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight and How to Fix Them

10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight and How to Fix Them

Over half of Americans say they’re trying to lose weight. It can often feel like you’re doing everything right, but you’re not losing weight.

You’ve tried the most recent fad diet and committed to a rigorous exercise regime, but the pounds aren’t shifting.

The answer has to be somewhere. Don’t give up just yet!

Instead, find out why losing weight is hard and what you can do to fix it. Check it out below!

1. Not Getting Enough Protein

If you’re having a hard time losing weight, then you could still be eating the wrong things.

Even if you’ve reduced your overall consumption, you might need to increase your protein intake. You want to lose fat, not muscle.

People who eat a protein-rich diet (between 15 and 25% of overall calories) store nearly 50% of excess calories as muscle rather than fat. If your diet consists of only 5% proteins, then 95% of your excess calories are stored as fat, not muscle.

So make sure you’re eating plenty of eggs, lean meats, and legumes in your diet.

2. Dehydration

Apparently, 80% of working Americans don’t drink enough water on a regular basis. You may be eating great, but are you drinking enough water?

After all, up to 65% of the human body is made up of water. It’s essential to the healthy functioning of your body.

However, it’s also really important when it comes to weight loss. High water consumption can even improve your metabolism by up to 30%.

3. High-Stress Levels

We’re stressed!

It could be about our country’s future. Our personal finances. Or about work.

If you’re trying to lose weight, then high-stress levels are really not helping. There is a correlation between high stress and larger weight lines, according to studies.

You can either get started with mindful meditation, which has been shown to reduce mental stress and anxiety. Or you may need to make some drastic decisions about your work and home life. Either way, your stressful life could be responsible for not losing weight with diet and exercise.

4. You’re Click Happy

We quickly moving toward a cashless society. However, this could have some significant consequences for people trying to lose weight.

Studies have shown that people who use credit cards to pay for groceries online are more likely to make unhealthy purchases. Therefore, if you think you’re guilty of being “click happy” with your credit card, then it’s time to switch back to the green stuff.

5. Missing Out On Sleep

You may have trouble losing weight because you’re not getting enough sleep.

According to research, not enough sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for developing obesity. Therefore, the fact that more than one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep is worrying.

If you want better sleep, you may need to consider when the best time to do exercise is to optimize your shut-eye. Or how you set a regular bedtime and wake-up time to improve your sleep patterns.

6. Lack of Vegetables and Fruits

Do you only ever buy food which has nutritional information on the label?

You don’t need to only purchase groceries which are labeled “low fat” or “no added sugar.”

Instead, why not purchase whole foods which don’t have any labels at all. Most importantly, you need to be eating fresh fruit and vegetables to lose weight.

By eating fresh fruit and veggies you can also maintain your healthy diet after you’ve achieved your weight loss goal.

7. Overeating

Do you ever think – “It’s healthy! I can eat as much of this as I want.” This is a dangerous game to play.

It’s also possible to overeat low-calorie and so-called “healthy” foods. Simply put, if you’re consuming calories that you’re not burning off, then you’re overeating.

Eating fruit can be essential to feed your cravings if you’re cutting out candy and chocolate. But, you can also eat too much of this good stuff too.

8. Drinking Calories

It’s so easy to concentrate too much on what you’re eating and forget that your drinks count as calories too.

If you often find yourself drinking lattes and smoothies instead of water, then you need to count those calories as well.

Although your regular black coffee doesn’t contain many calories, lattes and other milky coffee drinks do. Even a latte without sugar and low-fat milk contains up to 150 calories. However, if you’re choosing to add syrups and whole milk, you could be going over 400 calories.

When you consume sweet drinks, this also triggers your cravings for more food. So, you’re making it harder for yourself.

9. You’re Hungry

If you want to lose weight, you’re probably going to reduce the number of calories you are consuming. You can always go too far!

If you reduce your calories too much and too quickly, you could starve yourself. This slows down your metabolism so you can’t lose weight as easily.

If you’re eating less than 400 calories, your body could stop functioning normally. Your stress levels will increase and your thyroid hormones breakdown.

10. Run Don’t Walk

Even though any physical activity can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, if you want to lose weight, you need to do more than just walking.

Low-intensity workouts, such as walking with friends in the park, can be great, but you need to go up a gear as well.

You need to do moderate-intensity exercises if you want the pounds to fall off you. These include jogging, swimming, and cycling.

Why You’re Not Losing Weight

When you’re not losing weight with diet and exercise, it can be hard to stay motivated to achieve your weight loss goal. However, there are numerous reasons why you’re having a hard time losing weight.

Now you know what mistakes you need to watch out. It’s time to fix them and get back on track.

Do you want to find out more about how we can help you overcome your setback? Check out our 9-week challenge here!

How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Months? How to Set Weight Loss Goals that You Can Smash

How Much Weight Can You Lose In 2 Months? How to Set Weight Loss Goals that You Can Smash

Are you depressed by the statistic that 95% of people regain weight after losing it?

So many diets claim that you can lose weight with a magic pill or an expensive gym membership. What you really need is a heavy dose of realism!

Do you want to know how much weight can you lose in 2 months?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safe amount of weight to lose in a month is 4 to 8 pounds. So, in over 2 months you can lose up to 16 pounds. But, it’s up to you!

Follow our tips to find out how you can set weight loss goals that you can smash this time. Let’s get started!

1. Concentrate on the Process

Imagine you want to achieve your weight loss goal of 16 pounds in 2 months. But, that’s not the whole story!

It’s important to concentrate on the process rather than the outcome. Your outcome goal is 16 pounds in 2 months. Your process goals are the steps you take to reach your outcome goal.

For example, your process goal may be to do 30 minutes of physical exercise each morning. Or eating a vegan diet during the weekdays.

Instead of thinking about the abstract goal at the end of the tunnel, you need to focus on the habits and behavior which can help you make it to the end.

2. Setbacks are Normal

Weight loss is not easy. You’re going to have setbacks along the way.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you binge eat after a difficult day at work. Or when you skip your yoga class to watch television.

If you expect setbacks are going to happen, you can prepare for them when you encounter them.

When you know your friend’s birthday party is around the corner, you can plan how you’re going to deal with it. How are you going to say no to the slice of pizza?

3. Adapt Your Goals

You begin with a goal of 16 pounds in 2 months. But, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it!

If you’re making significant progress after a couple of weeks, you could increase your weight loss target to 20 pounds in 2 months.

You could decide that you were too ambitious with your goal the first time around. Instead, you need to reduce your weight loss goal!

Instead set a different target. This time ask yourself – can I lose 10 pounds in a month?

4. Get a Weight Loss Buddy

Social support is really important when it comes to weight loss. Your network of family and friends is hugely valuable. You also need a weight loss buddy who is going through the same thing as you.

When you’ve hit rock bottom and you’re on the edge of reaching for the refrigerator, you can call your weight loss buddy for help. Your weight loss buddy knows your weight loss goals and your strategies to achieve them. Your buddy keeps you accountable to your promises.

Instead of a weight loss buddy, you can also hire a professional coach to help you keep your weight loss goals.

5. Remind Yourself of Your Goal

Don’t allow yourself to forget your weight loss goal! There are numerous different techniques to remind yourself on a regular basis of what you set out to achieve.

You can visualize your success! Imagine what you’re going to look like when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Spend time repeating phrases which help you to stay motivated in hard times. Such as, “no thanks, I’ve already eaten” and “I can do this!”

6. Track Your Progress

It’s helpful to keep a weight loss journal which tracks your progress each day. Include everything you’re eating, your time spent doing exercise and your current weight and measurements.

It is easy to pretend you’re losing weight when you’re actually not. Telling yourself you’re eating healthy, but not counting the snacks you had in between meals is not helping.

7. Meditation to Focus

You may wonder what meditation has to do with weight loss. After all, surely sitting down and meditating is time wasted when you could be burning calories, right?

And yet, there is scientific evidence that meditation improves your ability to concentrate on your goals in weight loss. There are also numerous other health benefits of meditation practice. These include relieving the symptoms of stress and improving your emotional awareness.

8. Always Meal Prep

When you come home from work, the last thing you want to do is prepare and cook a delicious healthy meal. Instead, spend one day per week meal prepping for the rest of the week.

Then, when you come home from work, instead of getting a take-out, you just warm-up the healthy meal you made earlier. If you really need to order take-out, then choose a healthy option.

9. Buy New Clothes

We reward ourselves with tasty foods a lot of the time.

Did you get a promotion? Go buy some yummy candy from the store!

Graduated from college? Congrats! Let’s go out for an expensive meal.

When you want to lose weight, eating and drinking can longer be your reward for your achievements. When you’ve achieved one of your weight loss milestones, go shopping for clothes instead!

This doesn’t undo your hard work. But also, you get to enjoy your slimmer look in a new get-up.

10. Sleep Well

If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, then you need to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is just as important as healthy eating and physical activity for weight loss.

Many people don’t get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. In fact, over one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep.

Poor sleep increases your risk of obesity by up to 55%. So, make sure you get plenty of shut-eye.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in 2 Months?

If you want to achieve your weight loss goal, then follow our tips for staying on track. We can help you to determine how much weight can you lose in 2 months. We’ll help you every step of the way.

If you want to know more about how we can help you, check out our 9-week challenge now!

17 Fun Weight Loss Rewards to Help Keep You Inspired

17 Fun Weight Loss Rewards to Help Keep You Inspired

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study conducted a few years ago, almost 50 percent of Americans are trying to lose weight at any given time.

Some people are attempting to shed a few pounds to make themselves healthier. Others are doing it in an effort to look better in their clothes. And there are, of course, some moms looking to bounce back from pregnancy and lose baby weight.

There are so many different reasons to lose weight, but finding the motivation to do it can be tough. It’s why you should consider treating yourself to weight loss rewards throughout your journey.

Exercise rewards will make you more motivated than ever before to lose as much weight as you can. They’ll also give you something to look forward to as you strive to lose weight.

Here are 17 rewards that are guaranteed to keep you inspired.

1. Purchase New Workout Gear

There are a lot of people who make the mistake of treating themselves to new workout gear as soon as they commit to getting back in the gym to lose weight. They think it’ll help them take their commitment more seriously.

Resist the urge to do this and wait until after you’ve established a routine before buying new workout gear. It’ll prevent you from buying gear that you don’t actually need. It’ll also allow new workout gear to serve as one of your very first weight loss rewards.

2. Treat Yourself to a Massage

Is your goal to completely transform the look of your body by losing weight? This 9 Week Challenge will provide you with everything you’ll need to make your weight loss dreams a reality in a short amount of time.

You will, however, find that you’re pretty sore during the first few weeks of working out. Your muscles are going to ache, and your entire body will feel drained at times.

This is not necessarily a bad thing! It’s actually a sign that your body is responding to the workouts you’re doing and getting into better shape. But that won’t make you feel any better when you’re very sore.

A massage can take care of the soreness and inflammation you might feel following a string of hard workouts. It’ll also improve your blood flow and make your muscles feel looser than they would otherwise.

Treat yourself to a nice massage to get your body feeling its best again. This will motivate you to get back into the gym quicker.

3. Take a Beach Vacation

A study that was done a few years ago revealed that about one-third of Americans would rather take a trip to the dentist’s office than put on a bathing suit. They simply can’t stand the way they look in a swimsuit.

This won’t be a problem for you once you start losing a bunch of weight. You’re going to be excited about slipping into a swimsuit for the first time in a long time.

Circle a date on your calendar and tell yourself that you’re going to take a beach vacation at that time. You’ll feel an unprecedented amount of motivation every time you go to the gym when you use beach vacations as exercise rewards.

4. Try a New Hairstyle

Once you start losing weight, you’re going to have to get used to hearing, “You look so much different!”, every time you bump into someone who hasn’t seen you in a while. They’ll be blown away by your new look.

Why not start getting used to it now by trying a new hairstyle? Whether you decide to chop all your hair off or just make a small change to it, it’ll help you prepare for all the looks you’re going to be getting when the pounds start coming off in the coming weeks.

5. Participate in a Recreational Sports League

There’s a reason why about 80 percent of American adults don’t get enough exercise on a regular basis. It’s because they don’t enjoy the monotony that comes along with going to the gym day after day after day after…well, you get the point.

When you spend almost every day in the gym, it can start to get boring after a little while. So why not spice things up by finding fun ways to exercise in between gym workouts?

One good way to do it is by participating in a recreational sports league. There are adult leagues all over the country that would be more than happy to welcome you into the mix.

You can sign up for a sports league on your own and meet some new friends or team up with your existing friends to start your own team. Either way, it’ll allow you to blow off some steam while taking part in something you enjoy.

6. Get a Tattoo

We’ve already talked about how you’re going to want to show off plenty of skin once you begin losing weight. Going to the beach and sitting by the pool will start to become the norm for you when you’re not carrying around a bunch of extra weight.

And while you’re showing off your skin for the first time in a while, won’t it be great to show off a new tattoo (or two?!), too? Tattoos make great weight loss rewards for those who are ready to start showing off their muscles more in the future.

Studies have shown that about 40 percent of Americans now have tattoos. Additionally, 25 percent have more than one tattoo. Treat yourself to some fresh ink today and use it to remind yourself of how far you’ve come so far.

7. Pick Up New Running Sneakers

Most fitness experts will tell you that it’s smart to replace your running sneakers every 300 to 500 miles. That might seem like a long time in between sneaker replacements, but it’ll sneak up on you when you’re knocking out a few miles at a time.

If your current sneakers are on the older side, throw them in the trash and replace them with new ones as one of your exercise rewards. You’ll love how they fit, and you’ll cut down on your chances of suffering feet and leg injuries thanks to your new sneakers.

8. Have Updated Headshots Taken at Work

Do you cringe every time you look at the photo on your work ID? Or do you have a professional headshot on your company’s website that makes you want to quit tomorrow just so that they’ll take the picture down?

Now is the perfect time to do something about it. Walk into work as soon as you can and ask for a new photo to be taken of you. As long as you like the weight loss progress you’ve made thus far, it’ll give you an opportunity to show off how far you’ve come.

9. Splurge on a Mani-Pedi

The best weight loss rewards are the ones that allow you to pamper yourself. We already talked about the benefits of getting a massage, but there are other ways you can pamper yourself when you’re not lying down on the massage table.

Splurging on a manicure and pedicure is one terrific option. You’ll feel so relaxed after heading down to the salon to get both your fingernails and your toenails pampered.

And if you need more rewards than just that? Go all out and visit a local spa for a mani-pedi along with a facial and whatever other spa treatments they have to offer.

10. Enroll in Cooking Classes

Working out is obviously one of the keys to losing weight. You need to burn as many calories as you possibly can in the gym to see the pounds start to fall off.

But outside of working out, it’s also important for you to eat healthily. This starts with finding the right foods for your specific body type and also includes learning how to prepare the proper meals in your kitchen.

To make it easier for you to diet, consider enrolling yourself in some cooking classes so that you can learn how to cook things that will taste good and be good for you. This is one of the weight loss rewards that will continue rewarding you for a long, long time.

11. Buy a Better Mattress

In addition to working out and eating right, there’s one other thing you’ll need to do to lose weight: Sleep! Sleep will allow your body to recover from your workouts and make losing weight easier on you.

The problem? Americans are becoming more and more sleep deprived by the year. Smartphones, Netflix, and all the other technological advances that have come along have made sleep expendable for some people. It’s why one-third of Americans don’t sleep enough.

Avoid being sleep deprived by buying yourself a better mattress. It’ll make you want to spend as much time in bed as you possibly can moving forward.

12. Invest in New Headphones

Are you still using the headphones that came with your smartphone to listen to music at the gym?

Put an end to that immediately and invest in high-quality headphones that will enhance your workout. Ideally, you should look for a pair of Bluetooth headphones that will sync up with your smartphone or, better yet, your smartwatch and make it easy to scroll through your workout playlist.

13. Put Together a New Playlist

Speaking of a workout playlist, you do have one of those, right?

If not, get on it immediately. There are hundreds of workout songs that’ll get you into the right frame of mind to work out harder in the gym.

Studies have shown that music can actually make it more fun to exercise. It can also motivate you to push yourself, which will ultimately lead to you losing more weight than you could have imagined.

14. Ask Friends to Take a Fitness Class

If your motivation levels have been low in the gym lately, think about making one of your weight loss rewards fitness classes with your friends. Whether you choose to take yoga classes, spin classes, or other types of classes, you’ll find that you get more out of your workouts when you’re in a group.

There are many benefits that come along with working out as part of a group. They include everything from increased socialization to lower stress levels. Give it a shot today.

15. Subscribe to a New Magazine

There is so much you can learn about making the most of your workouts right online. You don’t need fitness magazines anymore to obtain workout tips.

But if you still enjoy getting your hands on a magazine every now and then (maybe to bring along with you on your beach vacation?), subscribe to one of the many fitness magazines as one of your exercise rewards.

You can find tips on working out, eating right, sleeping, and so much more in these magazines. And if nothing else, looking at photos of other fit people will give you a kick in the butt and motivate you like never before.

16. Enjoy a Cheat Day

Sticking to a diet day in and day out is a tall task. It can start to feel like it’s going to be impossible to do it when there’s no end in sight. Enter: The cheat day!

Cheat days give you a chance to eat all the things you abstain from on a regular basis. You can chow down on pizza, brownies, and whatever else you miss eating when you’re dieting.

You shouldn’t go too crazy with your cheat days and end up slipping back into old habits. But if you indulge every now and again, it can actually help you stay on track as you work towards losing weight.

17. Take On a New Training Routine

After you spend a few months working out and lose a bunch of weight, it’s not uncommon to hit what’s called a “weight loss plateau.” It’s when you suddenly stop losing weight after dropping a bunch of pounds.

One way to combat a weight loss plateau is by trying a new training routine on for size. If you’ve been doing nothing but weight training, give cardio a try. Or if you’ve been doing nothing but running, try hitting the weights and see how it goes.

By simply switching up your workout, you can shake things up in your body and get it to start burning calories and shedding pounds again.

Start Using These Weight Loss Rewards Now

Losing weight takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But you also need to reward yourself from time to time to keep your motivation levels up.

The weight loss rewards listed here should give you all the motivation you’ll need to keep working hard in the gym and continue eating right. Work your way through them and reward yourself whenever you need a quick boost.

Contact us today to get the fitness coaching and training you need to keep your weight loss goals on track.

Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss

Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss

You know how it goes.

You try to prepare healthy meals for yourself. Maybe you even count your calories. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough.

For those of us who want to lose weight, we need to add some exercise to our routine to see the best results.

With so many options, it can be hard to choose what’s best for you. Let’s talk about the two most popular types of exercise. Weightlifting and cardio.

Why Diet Doesn’t Always Cut It

This is a tough one to say because a good diet has so much to offer.

Don’t think that we’re saying diet isn’t important! You’ve probably heard the expression: “Abs start in the kitchen.” It’s true. Diet can account for the majority of our weight loss results. The issue is that for some of us, it just isn’t enough.

For some people, the problem is having too many cheat meals. For others, it’s simple genetics.

A proper combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Let’s talk about the benefits.

Why Exercise is Important

Let’s start with the basics. To understand which form of exercise is right for you, we need to understand what we’re talking about.

We all know that diet and exercise can lead to a very healthy life, but why?

Here are just a few benefits of regular exercise, in any capacity:

Increased Energy 

Okay, yes. Sometimes we leave the gym feeling exhausted. There is no denying it.

However, we still benefit from a lot of energy-boosting hormones that develop the more we exercise.

People who work out tend to get better, more effective sleep. This leads to significantly improved levels of energy throughout the day. No more feeling tired at work!

Check out the best times to exercise for better sleep.

Improved Mood and Brain Health

Exercise is known for the benefits to your body. It can go a long way for your overall health, too.

Regular exercise releases hormones and neurotransmitters. These include:

  • Serotonin – Known as the “Happy Hormone”. It regulates mood, social behavior, sleep, memory, and digestion.
  • Dopamine – Known for pleasurable effects, as well as improved memory and emotions.
  • Norepinephrine – Promotes memory and focuses attention.

These neurotransmitters are naturally formed by your body. Keeping a healthy balance of them is believed to have a critical role in preventing conditions. These conditions include depression, anxiety, and even dementia.

If you haven’t heard enough reasons to start hitting the gym, we’re not even done!

Gaining Self-Confidence

This is an issue more and more people are struggling with. Whether we like it or not, we all want to look good.

Nothing helps build confidence like seeing results in the mirror. The best part: the results can keep coming!

Achieve the body you’ve always wanted, and learn to be happy with how you look!

Increased Strength and Endurance

This is the one we hear about the most.

Have you ever been out of breath after walking up a couple flights of stairs? Maybe you’ve had an embarrassing moment trying to lift up something heavy. We’ve all been there.

This is avoidable. Regular exercise can get us in shape, and build our strength!

Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to exercise. Enough to fill up a book. So let’s talk about the most popular types of exercise.

Weightlifting

Strength training has been a popular and effective tool for humans since the start of their existence. But everything evolves.

There are so many different forms of strength training, it’s hard to keep track. So let’s only talk about lifting weights, which has a few subcategories of its own.

Let’s discuss the most popular.

Machines

Weight machines are a new development and are very popular. You’ll see them in almost every weight room.

There are a lot of benefits to machines, including:

  • Ease of use – Machines do not require training for form. There are usually images that will show you the proper movement. You also only need to move a pin to change the weight.
  • Availability – Almost every gym now has incorporated machines into their equipment.
  • Muscle growth – Varying your machine use is typically used for muscle growth, more than strength.

Let’s flip to the other side of the coin. Here are some of the downsides of machines:

  • Isolation movements – Machines tend to focus on one muscle or one muscle group. Compound movements are more effective for gaining strength.
  • Limited function – These are unnatural movements and do not translate well into functional strength.
  • Can increase the risk of injury – With the unnatural movements involved, and the added weight, it can lead to injury.

Here is a helpful guide to weight machines if you want to learn more.

Free Weights

Using dumbbells and barbells is great for functional strength and muscular endurance.

Free weight exercises have a lot of benefits:

  • Control and stability – Gain more balance and coordination by mastering the movements.
  • Strength – You will see strength gains in free weight training a lot more than with machines.
  • Function – Gain functional strength to help you with your daily activities.

The risks of free weight exercises include:

  • Learning the form – This can take time, but it’s absolutely necessary.
  • The potential for injury – This is especially true if we don’t learn the form!

These exercises can include a very wide variety. Here are some examples of free weight exercises.

Powerlifting

This is the best for pure strength. Powerlifting consists of only three functional movements:

  • Squat – Mimics the motion of sitting down and standing up. Improves leg and core strength.
  • Bench Press – Uses a pushing motion. Improves chest, tricep and shoulder strength.
  • Deadlift – Practices the act of lifting something off of the ground. Works on core, back and leg strength.

The benefits of powerlifting are simple: building strength.

The downsides are just as clear:

  • Training – There is lots of practice involved in learning the proper form to limit the risk of injury.
  • Limited movements – You also commit yourself to train three specific movements. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate other training with it. Most powerlifters do.

So we’ve learned a bit about the different forms of weightlifting. You can learn more about weightlifting here. We will get into the benefits in a bit. For now, let’s talk about cardio.

Cardio

Let’s dive into a few popular forms of cardio.

Machines

Every gym has some treadmills. This can be an easy way to get started.

We all know about other machines like:

  • Elliptical machines – Not a very functional movement, but great for burning some calories!
  • Stair climbers – These are excellent for cardio, but they wear you out quickly.
  • Stationary bikes – Very popular and easy to use.

These are great. The most obvious downside is that it can get boring. Staying in one place the whole time can make you lose your motivation.

An added bonus is that a lot of these machines will give you feedback. Many will even estimate the number of calories you burn while using them.

There are a lot of different cardio machines out there. Here is a guide to the best and worst cardio machines if you want to learn more.

Running

This is something you can do anywhere.

Whether you’re jogging or sprinting, running can be very beneficial.

Find out which type of running is better for you.

Circuit Training

This could be anything. It often involves strength training, but typically with body-weight movements.

Circuit training can apply to pure weight training, as well.

For cardio, it can apply to combinations of running, jumping rope, or anything you can think of.

Check out some ideas on how to develop a circuit training routine.

Weightlifting and Cardio: Which is Better?

We’ve gone over a lot about how weightlifting and cardio differ. So which one is better? Let’s quickly summarize and talk about their benefits and risks.

Benefits of Weightlifting

Let’s discuss the overall benefits of weightlifting that all types share:

  • Increased metabolism – This is a big key to weight loss. Your starving muscles become a fat-burning machine. Calories burned lifting weights are not as much as with cardio. That’s during the workout. The “afterburn” more than makes up for it.
  • Improved strength – This can help you in your everyday life, in more ways than you would expect.
  • Long-term benefits – It is easier to get out of shape than to lose strength. On top of that, the metabolic benefits tend to last longer with weight training.

Let’s also debunk the myth that lifting weights will make women too bulky. It’s not a risk unless you are training for it.

An added bonus with weightlifting is you have more freedom. There is a large variety of movements. On top of that, you can change up your weight and rep scheme with ease.

Also, weightlifting can be fun! A lot of people get bored with cardio and other exercises. Weight training can be new and exciting almost every time you start a session.

There are a lot more benefits that we haven’t discussed. Talk to a personal trainer or click here to learn more.

Risks of Weightlifting

Let’s face it, you can have all of the practice in the world. It can be any type of weightlifting. There is a higher potential for injury.

Luckily, there are skilled personal trainers out there to help you avoid this.

On top of that, you are more likely to feel sore after a strength training workout. While beneficial, this can be a pain. Literally.

Weightlifting can be tough for beginners. The more you train, the more you gain. The risks will take care of themselves with proper training and consistency.

Benefits of Cardio

There are a lot. Cardio is largely associated with the health benefits that we discussed at the beginning. Let’s go over just a few:

  • Fewer restrictions – Cardio can be done anywhere, at any time. No need for equipment.
  • Heart health – It’s in the name.
  • Burning calories – This is cardio’s claim to fame.
  • Brain health – Cardio is a big help for releasing the hormones and neurotransmitters we discussed. There is really nothing better for it.

It’s easy to see why cardio can be appealing. You can let your mind wander and perform your tasks without thinking about it too much.

You also have the benefit of a pleasurable feeling the next day. There is less risk of feeling sore.

Obviously, these rewards don’t come without risks.

Risks of Cardio

One possible side effect of cardio is the loss of muscle. This is especially true for distance runners and joggers.

Another issue is exhaustion. Doing extensive amounts of cardio can lead to a hard desire to go to bed.

Last, but not least: fat retention. That’s right. Over-training with cardio can make your body adapt to stress. This can make your body lose muscle, and lower your metabolic rate. Research about the pros and cons of cardio to learn more.

No good thing comes without downsides. There are ways to avoid these. The longer you keep up with your training, the easier it gets.

Check out the 6 crucial facts of cardio to learn more.

The Winner

The edge has to go to weight lifting. The benefits of the “afterburn” are too hard to pass up. That increase in metabolism is extremely helpful in losing weight.

This is not to say that a combination of the two is a bad idea. There is nothing wrong with running and lifting weights. Cardio and weightlifting can go hand in hand.

Think about it. The stress reduction and other health benefits of cardio? The strength and metabolism boost from weightlifting? They make a great pair.

None of this can be accomplished without getting started. If you’re already doing cardio, and want to change it up, read up on how to start weightlifting now!

What’s Right For You?

Honestly, there is no right answer here.

The best advice we can give is to utilize the best of both worlds. Weightlifting and cardio. Or at least to try them both out and see what is best for you. Sticking to the plan is the most important part.

Either way, we’ve learned the benefits of exercising. There’s no need to wait. Now is the best time to start losing weight!

Check out our 9-week challenge and get started today!

Healthy and Happy: 20 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants

Healthy and Happy: 20 Tips for Eating Healthy at Restaurants

Forget the rumors! You CAN get healthy without sacrificing your social life. The next time you’re at a restaurant, try these tips for eating healthy.

Everybody loves to eat out. In fact, 19 million people in the U.S. visited full-service restaurants in 2015. But when you’re trying to eat healthily, restaurants are taboo.

Whether you’re dining out with friends, on a romantic date, or during a business meeting, there are times you can’t avoid the dreaded restaurant!

Having an indulgent meal every now and again is no sin. But when it becomes a habit, you need to take action.

There are ways to eat delicious, healthy meals at restaurants without throwing a calorie bomb into your diet. To do it, you need a smart game plan. Read on to find out 20 tips for eating healthy.

Be Prepared

The Scout motto is “be prepared.” If you’re prepared with a game plan, you’ll be able to make your restaurant trip a success.

Check out the next five tips for finding the healthiest restaurants.

1. Do Your Homework

One of the best tips for eating healthy is to choose a restaurant in advance. Since most venues post their menus online, it’s easy to find the best ones to visit and the ones to avoid.

If they offer a lot of fatty foods on their menu that could be a temptation, skip it and go somewhere else. Search for healthy food restaurants on Google, and you might find some health-oriented places to eat.

When you’re looking for healthy dishes at restaurants, many ethnic food eateries are a great option. For instance, Japanese, Thai, Greek, or Indian. It’s a lot easier to eat clean at one of these venues compared to an Italian or Mexican restaurant.

2. The Right Vibe

Picking healthy dishes at restaurants isn’t enough. You also have to choose a place with the right atmosphere.

Listen to the music. Restaurants that have loud hectic music make you eat to the beat. If the music is softer and slower, you’ll spend more time at the table, but eat less.

The same applies to color. Restaurant decor can either stimulate you to eat more or calm your mind so you can have a relaxed experience.

For instance, the colors red, orange, and yellow will spur you to order more. Soft blue, gray, and peach, on the other hand, will create a relaxed ambiance.

3. Book in Advance

When you’re waiting for a table at a restaurant, you’ll only get hungrier and hungrier. When you finally sit down, you’ll devour all the table bread and give up on your diet for the night.

The solution is simple. Book healthy restaurants in advance – and you won’t have time to get hungry.

4. Be Wise in Your Seat Choice

When choosing where to sit in a restaurant, most people avoid the area around the bathroom. But an even more dangerous place to sit is near the kitchen.

It’s one thing to see the lip-smacking descriptions on the menu. But to see them coming out from the kitchen and smell the delicious aromas is way too much of a temptation, especially when you’re hungry.

Another tip is to choose a seat near or opposite a mirror. It might sound strange, but it’s backed up by research. Scientists have found that if you watch yourself in a mirror while eating unhealthy foods, they seem less tasty.

5. Eyes Too Big for Your Belly

According to research, people are bad at estimating how much a portion size should be. This means that on any given day, we’re probably eating more than we should.

So, whatever you do, avoid all you can eat restaurants. It’s way too tempting. Plus, these restaurants often have a no waste policy – if you’ve put it on your plate, you must eat it.

If a buffet is the only option, try using a smaller plate. Or fill half of a normal sized plate with veggies before you start snacking on goodies.

You Are What You Eat

You’ve found a healthy restaurant, now it’s time to choose your meal. This is the toughest part. But you can do it if you follow these tips.

6. Know Your Menu

Do your homework and take a peek at the menu before you go. Pre-planning your meal will make life a lot easier for you and help you to avoid temptation.

Restaurants sugar coat the words in their menu so that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. But once you’ve got down with the lingo, you’ll be able to figure out what menu options to avoid.

For instance, anything that is Alfredo, creamed, buttery, or scalloped. Also, anything smothered, pan-fried, crispy, breaded or dipped is a big no-no.

The same applies to meats. Some cuts of meat are fattier than others. Skinless chicken breast, for example, is leaner than chicken thighs or legs.

Healthy dishes at restaurants feature compelling descriptions, such as grilled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Also, anything braised, seared, or broiled is good. These are the healthy keywords to look out for.

7. Watch Out for “Healthy” Labels

When browsing the menu, you’ll see dietary labels like paleo, sugar-free, or gluten-free. You might assume that these would make the meal a healthy choice, but that’s not always the case.

To make the food tasty, restaurants often add hidden added sugars and fats. For instance, if you eat a vegan cake, you may think it’s healthier. But they usually swap the eggs for a ton of oil, which is anything but healthy.

8. Meats and Fish

When choosing healthy dishes at restaurants, you don’t have to opt for a simple salad. Meat and fish will help you feel satisfied without filling up on carbs.

Lean meats, such as flank steak or chicken breast, are full of protein. Fish is also a healthy option as long as it’s not fried. It’s harder to overeat proteins than it is to overindulge in carbs.

9. Load Up with a Salad

Salads can be one of the most healthy dishes at restaurants. But there are sometimes hidden calories. For instance, nuts, croutons, cheese, dried fruit, grains, and fancy salad dressing can add hundreds of salads to your meal.

Don’t force yourself to only eat lettuce as you’ll be hungry again in half an hour. Make sure you’re getting some protein in your salad.

10. Double Trouble

The veggie portions in most meals are often very small. So when you order, ask for double vegetables.

If you want to add a little extra zest to your meal, why not ask for a fruit side? Superfoods like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries can add some zing to your meal without a lot of extra sugar.

11. Don’t Be Shy

Don’t be shy to ask your waiter about the preparation of the food. If you find it out that it’s cooked with a lot of butter and salt, ask for them to prepare it without.

You might feel embarrassed asking, but that’s what your waiter is there for. Ask them what any unfamiliar words mean or ask their opinion on what the healthiest thing on the menu is. They may be able to make some great suggestions.

12. Sharing Is Caring

A sneaky way to keep portions realistic is to split your dish with a friend. This may give you the chance to try a little bit of everything without overdoing it.

You could even order a couple of appetizers as a main meal.

13. Get Saucy

Even if you order a healthy looking menu option, they may smother it with sauces and butter. It may end up being just as unhealthy as that double trouble cheeseburger you had your eye on.

Ask them to prepare your food without the butter and dressings, but to have them as a side instead.

Instead of dousing your meal with the sauce, try the fork-dip method. Dip your fork into the creamy side, then load it up with veggies. This way, you can get the taste without overindulging.

14. Skip Empty Calories

You may have ordered the healthiest dish in the restaurant, but it won’t matter if you stuff yourself with bread before the meal arrives. If it’s too tempting, ask the waiter to take it away.

Another empty calorie culprit is sweet alcoholic drinks or sodas. Avoid cocktails at all costs. They will load you up with sugar, use up all your calories, and you’ll still feel hungry afterward.

If you need an alcoholic drink, opt for a vodka and tonic or a glass of wine instead.

15. The Proof Is in the Pudding

Deserts are a no-no! Even a small piece of cake can add 400 calories or more to your meticulously planned meal. Just say no, kids!

If you have a sweet tooth, why not try sharing a dessert instead? Ask for some fruit, such as berries. Or grab some frozen yogurt on the way home as a low-calorie option.

Let’s Eat!

Now you’ve picked the right healthy food restaurant with the perfect ambiance, and you’ve chosen the healthiest item on the menu. What next?

The next part is the eating! Don’t let this final hurdle trip you up. Follow the next five tips.

16. Box It Up

Up to 94 percent of restaurant meals contain 600 calories or more. That’s because even if the meal is “healthy,” the portion is way too big.

Instead of asking them to box up the leftovers, try asking them to box up half the meal before you even begin. This will keep you from overeating. It will also save you money as you can eat it for your dinner the next day.

It might look a little odd to others, but it’s a smart move for eating healthy at restaurants.

17. Keep Calm, Drink Water

Drinking water can help control your eating and ward off hunger.

This habit makes it easier for you to slow down during a meal. You’ll not only enjoy the food more, but it’ll give your stomach the chance to tell your brain it’s full before you overeat.

Some struggle with the bland taste of water, especially if they’ve got used to drinking alcohol or sugary drinks. Ask for a slice of lemon or lime to improve the taste.

18. Slow Down There

Once you’ve got your plate in front of you, it can be tempting to gobble it down. But eating quickly leads to overeating. This is because your stomach doesn’t have the chance to tell you it’s full.

Try putting down your utensils between each bite. This will give you the chance to savor each mouthful. It will also help gauge your hunger levels before you stuff yourself.

19. Don’t Compare

Keep your eyes on your own meal. Don’t compare what you’ve ordered with your friend’s dinner. We all have different nutritional needs – comparing won’t help anyone.

It’s also handy to have this mindset before ordering. Try to be the first to order. This will stop you from having an “Oh, that sounds delicious, I’ll have the same” moment.

20. A Happy Ending

When you’re finished your meal, pop a mint into your mouth. The mint will help clear your palette. This will discourage you from taking any more sneaky bites of your meal or anyone else’s leftovers.

If what’s left on your plate is tempting even after you’re full, try one of these tricks. Use a napkin to cover the alluring leftovers. Or drown it in salt so that it becomes inedible.

Plan to finish off the night with light activity, such as an evening stroll or a little dancing. You’ll not feel like ordering something too heavy as it will make you feel sluggish for your activity.

Tips for Eating Healthy and More

If you follow these tips for eating healthy, you can enjoy your restaurant experience without the guilt trip afterward.

Of course, you should try to eat healthy foods at all times. And diet goes hand in hand with an exercise regime.

Our nine-week program combines diet and exercise to transform your look. If you want to turn heads for the right reasons, find out more here.

Tracking Your Progress: How to Take Body Measurements During Weight Loss

Tracking Your Progress: How to Take Body Measurements for Weight Loss

You don’t have to rely on the scale to track your weight loss process. Find out how to take body measurements for another way to see your progress.

Want to learn how to take body measurements for weight loss? Then you’ve come to the best place! We’re going to tackle on the sensitive topic of losing weight, and everything it involves.

Many people all over the world struggle with weight loss. It’s no mystery that there is an obesity issue in the United States. But what is the culprit behind so much weight gain, and can we stop it?

We’re going to be answering all your questions about weight loss and tracking results. We’ll take a closer look at all your tracking options, and what’s best for you. You’ll also gain more tips and tricks for keeping up with your weight loss process.

Keep reading to see the best options for tracking your weight loss body measurements!

Getting Healthy and Losing Weight

You’ve made the choice to lose weight, congratulations! That’s one of the hardest parts done. In truth getting healthy and losing weight is all about the right mental state.

That’s where tracking progress carries the most power-encouraging focus. You may be wondering: what’s the point of tracking progress?

While some choose to venture into losing weight without a plan, the best option is to have a goal. Goals are achievable! Tracking your progress is what will get you from point A to point B.

Are there other benefits to tracking? Yes, in fact, there are several. We want you to have a full understanding of why tracking progress is a great option for everyone.

Let’s examine each benefit closer.

Benefits of Tracking Progress

It’s fun to see the difference in your body from start to finish. You might consider taking before and after photos to show everyone your progress. Tracking your measurements is vital for your weight loss progress.

It’s more of a mental habit to focus your brain on continuing to lose weight. In our modern age, there are many temptations that can get us off the path of weight loss. There’s fast food at every street corner, and full-time jobs make us sleepy.

All we want at the end of the night is to curl up and doze off with a full belly, right? This throws a major wrench in the gears when we’re trying to lose weight. That’s why tracking your body measurements will keep you from slipping up.

You’ll see the exact body parts you’ve been neglecting. You’ll know how to better tailor your nutrition plan. Plus, it’ll target a workout routine to get better results.

You’ll get to decide if you should get serious and hit the gym or do at home workouts. Let’s break apart all the benefits of tracking your progress during weight loss.

Keeping Up Your Motivation

Motivation is crucial for losing weight, so you want to ensure you are practicing the best habits. Listen to music, and get yourself ready to pump some iron. Tracking your progress is a good habit to remind you of your success so far.

It’s also going to show you where you need to focus your energy. For example, if you are noticing more weight in your tummy area, you might avoid heavy carb lunches.

Another culprit behind tummy fat is stress hormones! In that case, try out some meditation workouts at the office or during lunch. Quick yoga poses can also release tension that gets stuck in your shoulders from hours of desk work.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life. Tracking your progress is a great way to get your mind clear and practice mindfulness. Which leads us to our next topic.

 

Being Mindful and Understanding Your Triggers

Another benefit of tracking your progress is that you develop mental resistance. That means that it displays all your triggers, and helps you become more mindful. Mindfulness is helpful for losing weight, but also maintaining weight loss.

As you track, you will notice patterns or trends in your data. You will see a clear picture of what makes you overeat or indulge. You can start to avoid foods or drinks that cause your weight to spike.

Drinks like alcohol can sabotage your weight loss goals, so keep up the focus. This can be hard to avoid when you want to have a normal social life. Going out to restaurants is a popular way to socialize, or have work meetings.

The most difficult aspect of avoiding triggers is resisting temptations. This is where tracking your progress comes in to save the day. It’s harder to give in to temptation when you know the consequences of overindulging.

While it’s hard to say “no,” you’ll be glad that you were strong and hit your weight loss goal.

What Are Body Measurements

We know tracking progress results are beneficial to our weight loss. Now, let’s get into what body measurements are. Body measurements are measurements of body parts like the neck, arms, torso, hips, and so on.

In America, the metric system most people use is inches to record track results. You might have a fitness coach that uses a tape measure for the body measurements. Most times, they use this to jot down your starting body measurements.

They wrap the tape measurement around each body part and see the total number of inches. Here’s everything you need to know about body measurements…

How to Take Body Measurements

Taking body measurements is all about precision, and placing the tape in the right place. It’s also important to note that taking body measurements will vary in women and men. That’s because, of course, women have a bust.

For the most part, the common body measurements for weight loss are:

  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Waist [tummy or gut area]
  • Hips

These areas will reduce in inches as you lose weight. It will also reveal details about your workout. Here’s an example.

If your waist is smaller, but the legs are bigger, then you’re practicing cardio or leg exercises. You body measurements are telling, and will more often tell you what you need to focus on.

How to Measure Biceps

Measuring biceps might be the trickiest of the body measurements. Don’t worry, it’s easy so long as you remember “flex.” That’s right when you’re measuring a bicep, you’ll need to flex the muscle.

The goal is to get the tape measure around the bicep at it’s highest point. The best way to tackle this measurement is to have the person flex their arm up. Then, tell them to flex their bicep muscle.

Wrap the tape measure around the bicep. Be sure not to pull too tight or let it hang loose. You want a good, solid tension on the tape measure for an accurate reading.

Then, write down the total inches on your recording device.

How to Measure Forearms

Measuring the forearm is along the same idea as the bicep. This measurement can be done with the arm pointing straightforward. Again, tell the person to flex their arm muscles, which will flex the forearm.

Wrap the tape measure around the forearm, below the elbow. Don’t put the tape measure on the elbow, and don’t get to close to the wrist. You’re looking for the highest point the muscle juts out.

Make sure your tape measure is level to the zero. Check the tension on the tape measure. Is it too tight or too loose?

Once you check all your bases, go ahead and take your measurement. Record the amount in inches in your recording device.

How to Measure Shoulders

Face the person you are measuring head on. Take the tape measure and hold it horizontal to the person. Then, place one end of the tape measure in the center of their chest area.

Take the other end and wrap it around their body so it goes over their back and around the other shoulder. Allow the other point to meet with the first end of the tape measure.

This is your measurement. Again, check for tape measurement tension and level the ends starting at zero. Record your measurement.

[For Women Only] How to Measure the Bust

Like a shoulder measurement, wrap the tape measure around the person. Keep the tape measure straight and horizontal. With a gentle tension, wrap the tape measure around the back of the woman.

Fishing the tape measure under each arm, let it rest against either side of the chest. Be sure to align the tape measure at the highest point of the bust.

How to Measure the Neck

The neck is the easiest measurement of all. For men, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the middle of the neck, below Adam’s apple. For women, it’s measured around the middle area of the neck.

Here, you want to ensure that the tape measure is straight and horizontal. Check the tense as usual, and line up the tape starting at zero for accuracy.

How to Measure the Waist

The waist for women is at the smallest point. Unlike muscles, you want to get the smallest point where the waist comes in. Picture putting on a belt.

You want to be sure the tape measure is straight and in a horizontal line. If it drops the reading will be inaccurate. Keep a solid tension on the tape measure to avoid inaccuracy.

Wrap the tape measure around the smallest point of the waist. Most times, this is between the space of the bottom of the ribcage and above the belly button. For men, you can gauge placement like women.

Use your hip bones for guidance. Feel out the area above to find out where your body caves in the most on each side.

How to Measure the Hips

For both men and women, you’ll want to wrap the tape measure around the width of your hip space. Include in your measurement the highest point of your bottom. Wrap the tape measurement straight, tense, and horizontal.

Be sure to align the measurement with the zero for accuracy. Record your measurement.

How to Measure Thighs and Calves

The idea is the same with these bodies parts as it is for the others. You want to get the circumference of the thickest, or highest point of the muscle. Measure each leg by itself.

Wrap the tape measure around one thigh in the mid-section of the quad area. This is about three or four fingers down from the pelvic region. Remember, that the goal is to measure around the high point.

Measure the right leg the same. For the calves, start off with one leg. Again, look for the highest point of the muscle and wrap the tape measure around.

If you flex for one measurement, stay consistent. You’ll need to flex for all measurements to avoid mistakes later on. It’s good to make a note if you keep a body measurements chart or have a record keeping.

Body Measurements and Record Keeping

There are different ways to keep track of your progress. You might have a paper journal or graphing paper notebook. Some prefer other avenues like smartphone apps or even excel spreadsheets.

How you choose to record keep is up to you and your convenience. Each has its perks. Weight loss smartphone apps are versatile and nifty. You can download food apps for tracking food items you intake or tracking your workout.

If you like to check your heart rate during a workout, this is a great option. There are apps which will break down each food item you ingest. Some split foods into different percentage groups of nutrition.

This makes it especially easy to see your calorie count, macros, or fats/carbs/proteins. From here you can see if you are eating too many sugars or taking in too much protein.

Changing Your Life With Us

Want firsthand help on how to take body measurements? Let us give you a hand! Try out our popular 9-week challenge for the ultimate body transformation.

Leave 2018 in the past, and embody the new you with a literal new body. This challenge will get you access to all the resources you’ll need to make the change of a lifetime. You’ll get information on diet and nutrition, and workout routine tips and tricks.

Do you still have questions? Contact us today with any doubts or concerns. You can also check out our FAQ section for quick answers.

Postpartum Weight Loss: 7 Daily Habits To Help You Shed That Baby Fat

Postpartum Weight Loss: 7 Daily Habits To Help You Shed That Baby Fat

You’re basking in the bliss of new motherhood, but those baby pounds just won’t drop. What can you do? Adapt these 7 Habits to aid postpartum weight loss.

The average woman should gain around 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. The amount you gain depends on your original weight pre-pregnancy.

After giving birth, you do lose some weight, however, your body won’t look the way it did before getting pregnant.

Are you ready to lose those baby pounds? Now is the time to do something about it and adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Need some motivation? Keep reading to learn about 7 habits that can aid postpartum weight loss.

Where Does All the Baby Weight Go?

First thing, don’t be discouraged. Your body just did an amazing thing–you created a life and brought it into this world. For that, you should applaud your body.

Wondering where all that baby weight goes? Here’s a breakdown of the weight you gain during pregnancy–assuming you gain 35 pounds and you’re at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy:

  • 8 pounds: Baby
  • 2-3 pounds: Amniotic Fluid
  • 4 pounds: Blood and other body fluids
  • 5-9 pounds: Fat, protein, and nutrients
  • 2-3 pounds: Breasts
  • 2-5 pounds: Uterus
  • 2-3 pounds: Placenta

As you can see, the weight you gain during pregnancy is needed to nourish your baby in utero and prepare your body for birth and breastfeeding.

How Much Weight Will I Lose Postpartum?

You’ll probably lose 10 to 12 pounds after giving birth. That’s the weight of your baby plus the placenta and other fluids.

A few days postpartum, you can expect to lose an additional 5 pounds of water weight.

If you’re breastfeeding, it will help your uterus contract back to its original size faster. You can expect your uterus to shrink back by about 6 weeks.

However, you may still look pregnant after a couple of months postpartum. Your abdominal muscles have stretched out, so you need exercise and time to get back into shape.

How Long After I Have the Baby Can I Begin a Weight Loss Plan?

Don’t expect to get back into shape a week or two after having your baby. In fact, it’s best to wait until your 6-week postpartum appointment so that your doctor can clear you for working out. You want to allow your body to rest for the first few weeks so that you don’t cause further injury or strain.

Make Realistic Goals

Remember that it took 9 months for you to gain the pregnancy weight, so you should expect around the same time to shed it. And if you gained more than 35 pounds, you might need longer to lose the weight.

You should aim to lose about a pound every week or two. If you lose the weight gradually, you’re more likely to keep it off and maintain your weight.

Losing Weight While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can help you lose the weight quicker. That’s because you can burn between 300-500 calories a day from breastfeeding.

However, you should wait at least six weeks before dieting if you’re breastfeeding. You want to first establish a regular milk supply, and cutting calories can affect your supply early on.

Habits to Aid Postpartum Weight Loss

Ready to start on your postpartum weight loss plan? Here are 7 daily habits to adopt.

1. Create a Workout Plan

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

This may be obvious, but it’s important to create a workout plan and to follow through with it. Before you start your new fitness regimen, you should decide how often you want to exercise and what times and days you can do it. With a little one in tow, it’s not going to be as easy to drop by the gym whenever you want.

Set a schedule based on your baby’s schedule. If your baby sleeps well through the early morning, you can wake up early and workout. If you prefer evening workouts, you can put your baby to bed and then go to the gym during that time.

Do what works for you. Some women find it easier to work out at home instead of the gym. If you have a gym room, you can exercise there or if your apartment has a community gym.

You can even workout in the comfort of your living room. The best thing about exercising is that you can customize your workout based on your needs. If you can’t find the time for longer workouts, you can try mini-workouts throughout the day.

Stick with It

Once you set a workout regimen for the week, you want to stick with it. You can team up with another workout buddy so you can motivate each other and work out together.

You can also join an online community for motivation and for workout tips and advice postpartum.

Another tip is to use fitness apps or a smartwatch to track your workouts and progress. There are many apps available that track your weight loss and send out reminders and motivations to help you reach your goal.

Set Mini Goals

It might help to set mini goals to help you get to your larger, overall goal. If you want to lose 20 pounds overall, you can set 4 mini goals to lose 5 pounds. That way, you can reach your mini-goals faster and will be motivated to keep going.

2. Drink More Water

Drinking water can help you lose the weight faster. Studies show that your resting energy expenditure goes up by 24-30% when you drink water.

Another study showed that women who increased their consumption of water to over 34 ounces a day lost 4.4 more pounds within a year.

Drinking water can also help curb your appetite. Research shows that drinking water before breakfast can decrease the number of calories you eat for that meal by 13%.

Drinking water can help fill you up and you can end up consuming fewer calories. And if you’re breastfeeding, you need to drink more water to replace the fluids you lose while nursing throughout the day.

How can you tell if you need to drink more water? A good indicator is the color of your urine. If your urine is dark-colored, you should be drinking more water.

3. Prepare Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time

Depending on your schedule, you can make this a daily habit or a weekly habit. Meal prepping your meals and snacks ahead of time can save you time, money, and effort. It can also help prevent you from binging on junk food when you’re hungry or craving certain foods.

If you do it weekly, you can pick a day of the week–Sunday is usually best–to make all your meals and snacks for the week. You can cook one or two large dinners and store it in the fridge or freezer for the week. You should separate the meals according to the days of the week.

You can also prep your snacks. You can make yogurt parfaits with Greek yogurt and fresh berries. You can also make overnight oatmeal for breakfast. For snacks, cut up veggies and fruits and place in small containers or plastic bags.

It can be difficult to find the time to make yourself a meal with a baby. This way, you’ll always have something to eat on hand throughout the week. All you need is to invest in some plastic containers or some type of container to separate your meals in.

4. Walk with Your Baby

Another daily habit to adopt–take daily walks. If you take a brisk walk, you can count it as a part of your daily exercise.

Depending on your neighborhood, you can opt to walk to nearby stores instead of driving. If you need milk, you can take a walk to the nearby grocery store. This is a great way to burn calories, and it’s also an environmentally-friendly choice.

You can also show your baby the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. Point out the trees, the birds, and the color of the sky. You can push your baby in the stroller or put them in a baby carrier so you’re on the go.

You can also add walks to your daily schedule. Park far from the store so that you take a mini walk through the parking lot.

If you have a two-story home, go upstairs to change baby’s diaper. This way, you’re always moving and active.

5. Set Limits

There are some foods you should limit if you want to shed the pounds. Candy and soda, for example, you can do without.

However, instead of cutting out these foods, you should replace them with healthier options. For example, instead of drinking soda at dinner time, you can drink fruit-infused water. This way, you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of your favorite sweets.

Other healthy substitutions include replacing candy with sweet fruits such as cherries or bananas. You can replace chips with celery or cut up cucumbers.

Another thing you can do is get rid of all the junk and processed foods in your house. Do an inventory of your fridge and pantry. Get rid of unhealthy foods and replace with lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy items.

6. Don’t Skip Meals

Another word of advice: don’t skip meals. You should especially not skip breakfast. The old adage is true, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

When you wake up in the morning, you have low blood sugar from not eating the night before. You need breakfast to raise your blood sugar and give you that energy boost in the morning

If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to feel tired throughout the day. You’re also more likely to overeat later in the day to replenish the calories you lost. This makes it harder to control food cravings to avoid overeating.

Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, you should at least eat a small, healthy breakfast like yogurt or boiled eggs.

If you eat your regular meals throughout the day, you can maintain your energy levels and have better control over your cravings.

7. Get Some Rest

One-third of us are not sleeping enough. Sleep has become a luxury these days. Many times you hear new parents boasting about how much sleep they didn’t get.

However, getting enough rest is an important form of self-care. It’s true that not getting enough sleep can affect your weight.

In fact, sleeping enough hours during the night is just as important for losing weight as eating healthy and working out. When you’re sleep-deprived, it affects the decision-making part of your brain–the frontal lobe. You’re less likely to make healthy decisions about what you eat.

Research shows that sleep-deprived people were more likely to snack late at night. They were also more likely to pick high-carb snacks.

If you’re tired, you have less strength to say no to food cravings. You might go for that chocolate bar or ice cream cone when you know you shouldn’t.

What’s more, lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that makes your body hold onto energy. This means that your body is more likely to hold onto fat which means a slower metabolism.

Studies reveal that people who slept less throughout a two-week period lost 55% less weight even with the same caloric intake. They were also more hungry and less energetic throughout the day.

How much sleep do you need? Experts say you need between 7 to 9 hours every night.

This can be difficult postpartum with the baby up constantly and your neverending list of things to do. You can at least rest when the baby is napping and sleep when the baby sleeps at night.

Final Advice for Shedding That Baby Fat

Our final advice for postpartum weight loss is to stay focused and not give up. As long as you’re making steady progress, keep going to reach your goal.

Are you ready to lose that weight and look and feel your best? Learn more about how we can help you be the happiest and healthiest you can be through diet, exercise, and motivation.

Walking for Weight Loss: How to Get Your Steps In and Shed Pounds

Walking for Weight Loss: How to Get Your Steps In and Shed Pounds

Those people who obsess about getting their steps in have a good reason. Here’s how walking for weight loss works and some tips to make it work for you.

When you want to lose weight, you’ve probably researching gym memberships and crash diets. But sometimes all it takes is a few steps. Literally!

If the thought of high-impact exercise is overwhelming, walking could be the solution. Walking for weight loss is effective and low-intensity. This could be the perfect exercise regimen if you’re starting your fitness journey.Â

A brisk walk can reduce stress, burn calories and build muscle-so why shouldn’t this be a part of your fitness plan?

Walking is a great form of physical activity that’s free and easily accessible for most people.

However, there are certain factors that can improve your results. How often you walk, at what speed and where you walk all play a factor.

This article explores how you can walk your way to fitness!

How Long to Walk Each Day for Weight Loss

So how often do you need to walk to lose weight? Less than you may think. A good goal is 30 minutes per day for weight loss.

At a brisk pace, the distance you could cover in 30 minutes cover should be 1.5 – 2 miles or 3,000 to 4,500 steps.

Some days are busier than others so feel free to walk more or less on some days. By the end of the week, you should have walked for at least 150 minutes.

How Fast Should I Walk for Weight Loss

The great thing about walking for weight loss is that you don’t have to overexert yourself. Walk at a moderately brisk pace. A great investment would be a heart rate monitor. There are plenty of smartwatches that have them built in.

While walking, your heart rate should be at 60 – 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You should be breathing heavily enough to make speaking difficult.

Keep in mind that the higher your heart rate, the more calories you burn. You’ll get more benefit by increasing the intensity for 10 minutes. But listen to your body. If you need a break, take one. Ignoring your body’s signs can cause injury later.

If you’re new to exercise, start with shorter periods and build up over time. You could also designate three days each week for your lower-intensity walks.

When it comes to health and fitness, consistency is key. Make it your goal to never go three days without taking your walk. If you find yourself unmotivated, this podcast might inspire you.

This will help improve your fitness level and your metabolism. Your body will begin to learn your new habits. Mental health is just as important as physical. If you find yourself worn out, take a day off.

How Can I Fit Walking in My Schedule?

We get it. Life is busy! Here are some tips to make walking fit in your schedule:

  • Break it up into walking two or three times a day for 10 minutes at a time.
  • Break it up into bigger chunks and take your walks twice or three times per week
  • Make it a family activity. Take a walk after dinner and use this time to bond with your family.
  • Start a fitness challenge at work to motivate co-workers. Walk as a group during lunch or other breaks. Accountability can help you reach your goals.
  • Park further at the grocery store! You’d be surprised how many steps you can get in large parking lots.
  • Skip the elevator. Stair climbing burns more calories than you may think.
  • Take a brisk walk on your lunch break or after dinner. This will help with that post-meal slump.
  • Make casual meetings walking meetings instead of meeting in a conference room. Having a change of scenery might even help with creative thinking.Â

Make a plan and write it down! If you fall off for a day or so, don’t stress out. You can always pick back up where you left off tomorrow!

How Walking Burns Calories

If you’re trying to lose weight, there’s a simple formula that you need to know. Weight Loss = Calories Burned > Calories Consumed. You need to burn more than you eat.

Walking is one of the activities you can do to increase the number of calories that you burn.

Think of calories as energy for your body. You need calories for daily activities like moving, breathing, and sleeping. However, some people eat more calories than their body needs.

People who are physically active will burn more calories and lose weight. But, everyone doesn’t have the time to lift weights at the gym or cross train. Simply finding a little time to walk each day can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Let’s break it down. Walking for 30 minutes equals 1.5- 2.0 miles. This will burn approximately 200 calories, depending on your sex and weight.

The more you weigh the more calories you will burn. Your body is exerting more energy to exercise so you will burn even more on a 30-minute walk. Another way you can increase the number of calories burned is by adding weights. You can also walk on hills or on an inclined treadmill.

A lot of beginners become discouraged when they aren’t able to run for long periods of time. Yes, running will burn more calories, but only about 23 more calories per mile.

Don’t worry about running quite yet, walking can burn a significant amount of calories.

If you choose to take longer walks, this can increase your calories burned as well. During the first 30 minutes of exercise, your body burns sugar for energy. After 30 minutes, your body starts using fat as fuel.

Make it a goal to take at least on extended walk per week. This will build your endurance and help you get rid of fat cells!

How Walking Builds Muscle

Most people are unaware of the benefits of building muscle. Building muscle doesn’t always mean you’re training for a bodybuilding competition. Building lean muscle can help you lose body fat.

Even though walking doesn’t involve barbells and weights, it still helps build muscle. It can also reduce age-related muscle loss. This helps you keep more of your physical strength and reduce age-related weight gain.

You may have noticed that walkers have strong and toned legs. Walking builds, shapes, and tones the legs and buttocks. If you’re consistent in your walking, you’ll notice stronger calves, quads, and hamstrings.

This isn’t the best way to “buff up” though. If you want to pack on some serious muscle, consider weight training.

How Walking Improves Mood

Been in a funk lately? Exercise may be the last thing on your mind, but it could actually help you feel better. Exercise can do wonders for your mood.

All kinds of physical activity can decrease feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety. It makes your brain more sensitive to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.

These hormones relieve sad feelings while releasing endorphins, which make you feel happy!

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you enjoy a physical activity, you’ll continue to do it.

This makes walking an excellent choice. It’s a moderate-intensity exercise that won’t be too physically demanding. Over time, you’ll look forward to your scheduled walk and feel great about doing it.

How Walking Keeps Weight Off

Let’s fast forward a bit. You’ve been walking for some time now and you’ve lost weight. You’re happy with your results and simply want to keep the weight off. Walking can play a major role in helping you maintain weight loss.

Remember, people who exercise frequently are usually better at maintaining their weight loss.

When you lose weight, your metabolic rate will drop. This means it will be harder to keep the pounds off. Walking can help prevent muscle loss and help you maintain your results over time. Lean muscle we mentioned earlier will also help you burn more calories, even at rest.

To maintain a stable weight, aim to walk at least 150 minutes per week. Increase this number if you’ve lost a considerable amount of weight. 200 minutes per week should be a good goal for you.

10,000 steps per day is a good goal for most people. Stay active by walking throughout your week so that your progress isn’t lost.

How to Start Walking For Weight Loss

So where do you start? Walking for weight loss can help you improve your muscle, reduce fat, increase mood and more.

The bottom line is that physical activity can help you live a healthier, longer life. 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking per week is ideal.

Walk for around 30 minutes at a time at a brisk pace. When this becomes easier for you, go the extra mile (pun intended). You can only reap more health and fitness benefits.

Remember, every little step helps, so start small and increase the amount you walk over time.

If you want to lose weight, you’ll get the best results by combining physical activity with a healthy diet. Check out these healthy eating tips.

Cardio For Weight Loss: 6 Crucial Facts To Keep In Mind

Cardio For Weight Loss: 6 Crucial Facts To Keep In Mind

If you’re just establishing your exercise routine, here are some crucial facts about cardio for weight loss. Keep them in mind when developing your routine.

If you immediately turned to cardio when you started trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. When it comes to weight loss, it seems like most people associate the treadmill or the track with their path to a smaller waistline.

Cardio is definitely an important part of any workout routine, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to use cardio for weight loss. You have to make sure that you plan your workouts effectively to get the maximum benefit.

When you’re developing your routine, keep these six crucial facts in mind. They’ll help you get the results you want!

1. You Can’t Just Do Cardio

This first fact might seem like a weird choice to start off with. After all, isn’t the whole post about using cardio for weight loss?

Here’s the thing, though — if you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you can’t have a workout routine that’s 100% cardio. You’re going to need to incorporate strength training into your schedule if you really want to see results.

Strength training helps to build muscle mass, which will help you out down the line by speeding up your metabolism and burning additional fat. Basically, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn on a regular basis.

Great, right?

If you’re only doing cardio, on the other hand, you won’t just be burning fat — you’ll be burning muscle, too. The last thing you want to do is to burn what will help you lose weight.

If you really want to go all in for both your strength training and your cardio, we recommend putting those workouts on separate days. (Think cardio on Monday, strength training on Tuesday.) If you really want to do both on the same day, though, do your strength training before your cardio. Strength training uses more energy, so you’ll need to be at 100% before you start.

2. You Don’t Have To Stay In The Fat-Burning Zone

We’ve all fallen victim to that pesky little display on the treadmill, or checked our Fitbits religiously to make sure that we’re in the golden “fat burn” zone. What does that even mean, anyway?

It’s easy to believe that you won’t burn any fat unless your heart rate is in that magic zone. That’s not completely true, though.

The name for the zone is a little misleading. It’s not that you’ll only burn fat in that zone, it’s that a larger percentage of the calories burned comes from fat. You’ll still be burning fat in the cardio or peak zones.

What’s most important isn’t the percentage of burned calories that come from fat. If you’re going to pay attention to one of the numbers lighting up your screen, it should be total calories burned. The number of calories you burn is way more important when it comes to the big picture.

And speaking of the number of calories you burn…

3. You Don’t Have To Burn 500 Calories

We can understand where this number came from. It’s a nice, round number, it sounds like a lot, and people feel accomplished when they can say that they burned 500 calories over the course of their workouts.

What’s problematic, though, is when people think that they have to burn 500 calories for their workouts to have any effect. Depending on the type of workout you’re doing, your cardio workouts can burn fewer than 500 calories and still be great for you.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, is a series of high-intensity workouts done in short bursts. You might not burn 500 calories during your thirty-minute workout, but you’ll keep burning calories at a higher rate for hours after you leave the gym.

4. Your Workouts Don’t Need To Be Long

When you think of cardio, do you think of long runs that take a ton of time out of your day? There’s a common misconception that your cardio has to be long, slow and steady to mean anything.

Even if you don’t have an hour to spare for your workout, go for a HIIT workout instead. The quick workout will still get your heart rate up, burn calories, and give you the cardio training that you need.

People who swear by the treadmill can still get the benefit of a shorter workout. Doing shorter sessions at a higher intensity will help you get more out of your workout in less time.

5. You Should Snack Before Your Workout

There are lots of runners who enjoy waking up early in the morning and going for a run first thing. That’s a great way to start your day…as long as you eat something before you head out the door.

When you’re in a calorie-burning mindset, it’s easy to think that to burn more calories, you shouldn’t eat before you workout. If you don’t eat ahead of time, your body has to burn off the fat that’s already on your body for energy, right?

Nope, not for cardio. Your body needs something to fuel it, and it will turn to the carbs and fat in your muscles, not the fat in your fat cells.

We’re not saying to eat a full meal and then go for a run — just eat a light snack to give your body something to work with.

6. You Still Have To Eat Right

Speaking of eating, you still have to have a proper diet if you’re planning on using cardio to lose weight. Just running an extra mile every time you opt for a cookie instead of a carrot stick won’t really help you out.

If your diet is still poor, doing lots of cardio will only do so much. Nourish your body with the right foods for the workouts you’re doing. For example, you incorporate a lot of strength training into your routine, make sure you eat enough protein.

Cardio combined with eating well can help you sculpt your body into the shape you want to see.

Use Cardio For Weight Loss Effectively

If you keep these crucial facts about cardio for weight loss in mind, you’ll be able to see better results. Make the most of your workouts and use your cardio effectively. Your body will thank you.

Need a little bit of an extra push? Register for our Body Transformation Challenge to take your body to the next level.

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