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Easy Fitness Tips

These tips from the YMCA fitness trainers cover a variety of topics.



Easy Fitness Tips

Before you start spending hours at the gym and starving yourself to lose the extra weight, read on to discover some great weight loss tips to turn heads with your new and sexy body.

1. Eat five times per day. OK, this doesn't mean chow down five full meals in one day. Space out your recommended calories with three normal meals and two snacks. For instance, have breakfast (without one hour or waking or after a morning workout), lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and one more evening snack. This will speed up your metabolism and prevent your body from going into starvation mode, which causes the body to store fat for future energy.
2. Drink 8-10 glasses of water, and only water, every day. Cut out all those sugary soft drinks and juices and load up on water. Not only will you save money, cut a large amount of unnecessary sugar from your diet, and facilitate fat metabolism, but you will end up eating less because water fills you up. So before you devour your long-awaited lunch, chug a full glass of water.
3. Interval train to save time and burn more fat. Don't spend hours at the gym to get in shape. Switch to interval training for better results and less time on your cardio machine. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, more calories are burned in short, high intensity exercises. Studies have shown that interval training can help "increase your metabolism, burn calories from fat and carbohydrates, and keep burning calories long after you finish exercising." For instance, if you like to run for your cardio workout, try alternating jogging and sprinting in two-minute increments. You'll be surprised at how fast the time goes by, compared to your old, long and slow endurance routine.
4. Exercise as soon as you wake up. Before you raid the refrigerator for breakfast, try squeezing in a morning workout. This is the optimal time to burn fat instead of carbohydrates because your body has been fasting throughout the night, creating a depletion of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) and lower blood sugar. Plus, if you exercise in the morning, you not only burn fat during your workout but at an accelerated rate for hours after.
5. Choose wheat instead of white. It's no secret that whole grain/wheat is healthier than white bread. But how can this help you lose weight? Whole grain and whole wheat carbs contain much more fiber than white carbs. This magical ingredient suppresses your appetite, increases your rate of digestion and improves intestinal health. So stop by your nearest Trader Joe's, where everything from pasta to pizza dough can be found in whole wheat/grain.
6. Stretch every day. How do you think dancers and avid yoga practitioners stay so slim? Stretching helps elongate our muscles so we females don't "bulk up." If you exercise, be sure to stretch during your workout.
7. "It takes fat to burn fat." Sounds like an oxymoron, but actually "good fats" (monounsaturated fats), which are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, help control your insulin levels, slow down carbohydrates' rate of entry into the blood stream and send a signal to your brain to stop eating, according to Dr. Beary Sears of "The Zone." This doesn't mean scarf down a pound of guacamole for lunch. Use these "good fats" as meal condiments and take a fish oil or omega-3 supplement every day.
8. Eat breakfast! A common misconception is to skip breakfast to cut daily calories. But actually, studies show that those who eat breakfast actually weigh less than those who skip. According to Meal Matter nutrition, "when you skip breakfast, your metabolic rate slows down and your blood sugar drops. As a result, you become hungry and have less energy. This sets you up to impulsively snack in the morning -- often on high-fat sweets -- or to eat extra servings or bigger portions at lunch or dinner. When you eat breakfast, your body feels nourished and satisfied, making you less likely to overeat the rest of the day.
9. Eat these sweets, consume less sugar. With an all-new and creative caffeinated drink coming out each season, coffee has become more of a liquid dessert than an energy booster. If you're not a fan of plain coffee or green tea, choose Starbucks' Skinny Latte, which contains only 90 calories, zero grams of fat and uses sugar-free syrup. For your cookie cravings, try South Beach Diet's cookies and meal bars. These are not only delicious, but have little to no grams of sugar and are low in calories.
10. Take home leftovers when dining out. It's hard to diet when there are so many delicious eateries serving up mouth-watering dishes. Don't feel bad; just be sure to take at least 1/3 of it home for later.

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