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Health Tips

Paul Lacoste Sports: Changing Mississippi

By | 2015, Athlete Blog, Fit 4 Change, Health Tips | No Comments

When I first met Paul and Clark, I weighed over 350lbs and things got off to a rocky start on day one of my very first session. At the check in at Milsaps College you were supposed to say your name so they could check you off the list. Clark had his head down when I walked up and said, “Last name Ever, first name Greatest” – he flipped page after page and got frustrated that he couldn’t find the name – so then I said, “Well, you may find it under Neely, Daryl which is essentially the same meaning.” Now we all know Clark to be “The Nice One”, well on day one I succeeded in turning the “The Nice One” into the “Incredible Hulk”. It was so rough that I almost said screw this and walked out – and 5 years and well over a 100 lbs. later, I still haven’t walked-out, thanks to Paul Lacoste Sports (PLS) and especially my fellow teammates. The thing about working-out is that you can convince yourself that you’re giving it your all.

The thing about training with PLS is that you WILL give it your all because your teammates and coaches will not allow otherwise. And because you’re giving extraordinary effort, you get extraordinary results.

I honestly believe that PLS saved my life. I wasn’t on any medications or having any health issues that I was aware of, but looking back on it my quality of life and potential quantity of life was low- very low. PLS changed that. Dropping the weight, keeping it off and making a lifestyle change has actually been pretty easy. Easy because just like the other things that you’re most successful at in your life – you don’t do it alone. Yes, you can replicate the workouts of PLS. Yes, you can do the same drills. But nothing replaces the motivation and pushing you to give it your all like having teammates does.

Being pushed to the NEXT LEVEL by your coaches and being in the trenches with others really brings the best and the beast out of you. At PLS, you’re never alone in the deal. At PLS, no one is going to lie to you to spare your feelings.

At PLS, you’re going to get pushed to and through the truth. And the truth is, you can go to the NEXT LEVEL. One drill, one station, one day, one week at a time. And that same attitude goes with you the rest of the day.

You find you somebody you can’t keep up with, and you give it your all to keep up with them. One day you pass them, and you just don’t set your sights on keeping up with the next person – you also encourage the person you caught up with to keep fighting and pass you. Sounds crazy, but it works.

PLS has provided me with a new lease on life. I’m healthier. I’m happier. I’m faster. I’m stronger. And that’s not just in the physical sense. PLS is mental. Very mental. The 5:00 a.m. workout sets the tone for the rest of the day. For the most part, nothing the rest of the day is as tough as that hour, but the rest of the day is more rewarding because that hour was so tough. When it’s done, you can’t wait to get out of there. But when the twelve week session ends, you can’t wait for the next session to start-up.

Paul often talks about the “ripple effect” of PLS; when you stick to it people will see the change in you and they will also begin to change – even if they don’t join PLS. In the past five years, my daughters have embraced healthier eating choices. The oldest even became a vegetarian on her own. My son loves to go to the gym with me and asks about drills and workouts. My girlfriend and I often do fasts or smoothie cleanses together, as well as encourage each other to eat right. And my mother, who has smoked my entire life, not only quit smoking and has stuck with it, but she purchased and now regularly rides her stationary. None of these things “just happened” – they are ripples of PLS. On some level it is all connected and attached to the PLS program and my participation in the program. The “ripple effect” is real. If you change, and stick with it, people around you will start to change too – even if it’s never spoken.

PLS can change Mississippi – I know because it changed me.

C. Daryl Neely

10 Simple Ways to Burn More Calories

By | 2015, Fit 4 Change, Health Tips, Workout | No Comments

Getting in shape and burning extra calories doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. We don’t have to spend hours in the gym contrary to what you have heard. Did you know there are 3500 calories in one lb. of fat? Seems like a lot, but if we can focus on burning extra calories each day by maximizing the time you spend in the gym by working out more efficiently, as well as making it a priority to burn extra calories at the times they would be spared, you will see a difference in your shape. Here are 10 ways you can burn more calories and shape up in and out of the gym. Keep in mind, small changes in your daily routine while practicing a healthy diet can only bring positive change to your physique.

1. Run in the Sand

Change up your normal walking, jogging and running routine by exchanging the pavement for the sand. The sand acts as added resistance, working muscles harder, creating better lung power and can burn from 20 to 50 percent more calories!

2. Focus on Compound Workouts

Compound moves stimulate more muscle building hormones. To build and create a lean, toned body you need to stimulate your androgen hormones that are growth hormones and testosterone. Growth hormone release peaks around midnight when your body regenerates overnight. Stimulating it via exercise will give it a welcome boost, but you need to get at least 8 hours good sleep a night to maximize its and the other androgen’s potential for improved fitness and health.

3. Jump Rope Between Sets

Jumping rope is one of the best cardiovascular exercises there is. It keeps our heart rate elevated while working the whole body. Instead of sitting around between sets, skip rope for 60 seconds. This is called “active recovery” and can increase caloric expenditure while preventing muscle breakdown.

4. Do Circuit Training

Doing one exercise after another keeps your heart rate at an efficient fat-burning level. The idea is exercising continuously. The fact that there is no rest in-between sets while working multiple muscle groups per workout, gives you more bang for your buck in the fat burning department. This form of training can be done at a gym, in your home and even outdoors.

5. Use Kettlebells

KB Training offers you the ability to burn fat with high-intensity workouts while sculpting your body from head to toe. Using kettle bells in your fitness routine can challenge your body and build strength, stamina, endurance and flexibility unlike other pieces of equipment. The functional movements that you perform with a kettle bell resemble movements that you perform every day. Kettle bells workouts are effective at increasing strength by using full-body functional movements that incorporate several muscle groups for each exercise, building lean muscle mass and increasing metabolism in return.

6. Choose Sprints

Sprinting causes significant caloric expenditure, yields positively for excess post exercise oxygen consumption and provides some enhancement to the cardiovascular system. Sprinting also assists in the development in a stronger lower body and core by adapting to the performance needed for speed.

7. Do Jumping Jacks on Breaks

The average commercial break lasts 2 to 3 minutes. Take that time to do some jumping jacks. The calories burned per 1 min of jumping jacks are about 7.8. Times that by 3 and you get 23.4 calories burned in that commercial break. Swap the snack you may eat during your favorite TV program with jumping jacks and watch the calories go right out the window!

8. Use Supersets and Giant Sets

Not only are supersets time efficient, it helps build muscle and burn fats by the increase Lactic Acid production, which helps boost Growth Hormone (GH) levels in the body. The body responds to the reduced pH (increased acidity) in the body from the production of Lactic Acid by secreting GH. GH is a powerful fat loss and muscle building hormone. Giant sets are great for bringing up your lagging muscles. Giant sets “shock” muscles into growing by forcing more blood into a specific muscle group which helps deliver amino acids. This helps with the healing process of ripped muscle tears resulting in muscle growth. The added intensity of Giant sets will also boost your metabolism and fat loss while recruiting more muscle fibers per work out due to such overload.

Bodyweight workout: Other exercises that utilize machines tend to isolate a muscle group working more on bulking the muscle, while bodyweight workouts forces us to use our whole body to stabilize. This burns more calories and builds over-all strength faster than traditional weightlifting.

9. Opt for HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential. HIIT also limits muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, in comparison to traditional steadystate cardio exercise of longer duration. Another benefit from these interval training workouts is, it increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session. With HIIT you burn a lot of calories in a short period of time.

10. Run Stairs

Running stairs provides a quick, gym free, fat burning workout. The calories burned when running stairs helps create a deficiency helping boost fat loss and boosting metabolism. Running/sprinting upstairs can be done as a single workout or in between sets to further increase calories expenditure. A fantastic lower body workout that sculpts and tones the whole lower body can easily include the upper body by carrying dumbbells.

5 Stretches to Do at Your Desk

By | 2015, Fit 4 Change, Health Tips, Workout | No Comments

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time can cause muscular tension. But you can prevent the buildup of stress in your muscles by taking a few minutes to stretch.

Try these 5 easy exercises when you need to reenergize, or throughout the day to keep your muscles relaxed.

1. Head tilt. Put your right hand on your left shoulder. Tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder. Hold for five seconds. Switch sides.

2. Neck roll. Roll your head to the right, down to the front, then left. Do this slowly and smoothly, in both directions.

3. Shoulder circles. Make circles with your shoulders—up, back, and down. Switch directions. Do at least five circles in each direction.

4. Side stretch. Stretch your arms to the right side, then clasp your hands overhead. Keep your head straight forward but lean your upper body to the right side. You should feel this down your left side. Hold for five seconds. Switch sides.

5. Back release. Sit at the edge of your chair as tall as you can (be careful if it has wheels). Open your legs apart so your arms drop between them. Straighten your legs so your heels are on the floor but not your toes. Knees are relaxed and never locked. Bring your chin to your chest, and then roll down toward your feet, one vertebra at a time.

You should feel this first in your neck, then your upper, middle, and lower back.

This should be done slowly; relax into each part of the back. Roll up just as slowly. This stretch should take at least 30 seconds.

3 Quick Nutrition Tips

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1. Cut out the white stuff.

The easiest way to lose weight and improve your health? Ditch the white stuff! Most white foods (bread, rice, pasta, sugar, flour) are primarily made up of refined carbs and empty calories, so cutting them out of your diet is one of the quickest ways to shed pounds and improve your well-being. There are a few exceptions to the rule, including egg whites, cauliflower, and fish, he says. Those are the only white foods you should have on hand.

2. Trade Supplements for tea.

Drinking all-natural green tea is an excellent way to boost your weight loss and your health. Not only does it have the power to stoke your metabolism, but it also contains the highest concentration of catechins, antioxidants found in plants that have been found to protect against heart disease and even some cancers. Sip on a few cups of green tea throughout the day to get all of its amazing benefits.Not a fan of tea? You can still reap the rewards! Try one (or all) of these creative ways to work green tea into your diet.

3. Delay dessert.

You don’t need to completely eliminate dessert, just try not to indulge immediately after dinner.”Avoid sweets directly after a meal since sugar disrupts the absorption of nutrients,”. The best time for a sweet treat is about two hours after you finish your meal. And when it comes to what you eat, try the good doctor’s go-to dessert: dark chocolate.”The flavonols found in cocoa improve circulation and increase blood flow to the brain, which helps you see more clearly,” he says.

6 Ways to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk

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Cancer is often unpredictable, but there are things everyone can do to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it. What’s more, some of those same behaviors can also help lower your risk for other serious diseases, and boost your odds of living a longer, healthier life.

1. Get regular cancer screening tests.

 Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early, when they’re small, have not spread, and are easier to treat. With cervical and colon cancers, these tests can even prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Talk with your doctor about the tests for breast, cervical, colon, lung, and prostate cancers.

2. Get to and stay at a healthy weight.

Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many cancers, including breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, and pancreatic cancer.

3. Exercise regularly.

Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, endometrium, prostate, and colon cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (equal to a brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (makes your heartbeat and breathing faster, and makes you sweat) each week, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Kids should get at least 1 hour of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity at least 3 days each week.

4. Eat a healthy diet.

Studies show that eating a lot of different vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fish or poultry is linked with a lower risk of developing certain cancers. On the other hand, eating more processed and red meat is linked with a higher risk of developing certain cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends:

  • Eating at least 2. cups of vegetables and fruits each day
  • Eating less red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) and less processed meat (bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and hot dogs)
  • Choosing breads, pastas, and cereals made from whole grains instead of refined grains, and brown rice instead of white

5. Avoid tobacco.

Tobacco use in the US is responsible for nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths — about 480,000 early deaths each year. About 80% of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths are caused by tobacco use.

6. Limit alcohol.

Research has shown that alcohol can increase your risk for certain kinds of cancer, including breast, mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon and rectal cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk.

  • Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day and women no more than 1.
  • One drink is equal to about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor

 

Defeat Your Diet

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HOW TO CALM YOUR CRAVINGS and crankiness while adjusting to a new way of eating.

Dieting Sucks

The deprivation, the siren calls of beer and pizza, the annoyance of micromanagement. Worst of all is the sense that the diet will last forever, that the peppery tang of chicken wings will never again touch your lips. It’s no surprise that 80 percent of diets go belly-up, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. We won’t tell you to skip the diet altogether. We will tell you that it’s going to be okay, though. In order to prevail, you simply have to get inside the diet’s whens, hows, and whys. So this time, instead of stumbling blindly through treacherous territory, you’re going to go on a guided tour of potential diet pitfalls–maybe the same ones that have snared you before. And this time, you’ll breeze past them. There’s just one catch: Pretty soon, you’re going to need some new clothes.

1 Week

THE CRISIS: You’re freakin’ starving.

BEFORE: You ate the first thing you saw.

NOW: Eat, but eat differently. Grab foods with lots of fiber and water. Your (gut) instinct says you want a Burger King Whopper with Cheese. Your smarter self knows that the same caloric load is found in a bowl of whole-wheat pasta with tomatoes and spinach, a whole-wheat dinner roll, a bowl of soup, and three scoops of sorbet. In the car? You’ll keep a stash of dried fruit–a tasty, nutrient-rich hunger-killer.

THE SCIENCE: When your stomach is empty, the hormone ghrelin kicks in, which stimulates appetite, says Scott Isaacs, M.D., a clinical instructor of medicine at Emory University and author of Hormonal Balance. Don’t let that happen. “By eating foods that are packed with fiber and water, such as fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel full while controlling ghrelin production.” Protein does the same thing, but some protein-rich foods are calorie-rich, too. So alternate. Have high-protein string cheese in the morning, fiber and water-rich apple slices in the afternoon.

THE 2ND CRISIS: You’re cranky.

BEFORE: You grabbed the chips and a soda.

NOW: Boost your mood with snacks that satisfy your hormones, not your stomach. Fatty, sugary foods quickly turn into glucose after digestion. From now on, your snacks will be complex carbohydrates, such as a whole-grain treat like a bowl of Cheerios with blueberries and 2 percent milk.

THE SCIENCE: You’re cranky because you’ve eliminated sources of quick mood-boosting energy–like chips and colas. “When these easy sources of energy are cut, you’re going to go through a time when you don’t feel great,” says Vincent Pera, M.D., director of the weight-management program at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Researchers in the Netherlands recently demonstrated that a glucose infusion can help ward off feelings of anxiety by enhancing serotonin function. That’s fine, but get your boost from complex carbohydrates that raise your serotonin levels without inflating your waistline the way sugary carbs can.

1 Month

THE CRISIS: The scale seems stuck.

BEFORE: You figured, What’s the point? This isn’t working.

NOW: Get in gear. “Exercising is critical at this juncture,” says Dr. Isaacs. Nothing complicated–just move. Cardiovascular exercise (running, biking, hoops) burns calories, and lifting weights increases muscle mass, which will make you burn calories even while you’re sleeping. For each pound of muscle you add, you burn an extra 20 to 50 calories a day. And drink lots of water to replace what you’re sweating out. Staying hydrated helps your body break down fat and deadens those hunger pangs. (After all, water takes up stomach space, too.)

THE SCIENCE: “As you lose weight, you require fewer calories, but by building muscle mass, you’ll rev up your metabolism and counter this effect,” Dr. Isaacs says. In a recent study at the University of Arkansas, people on low-fat, high-complex-carbohydrate diets who also exercised lost 3.5 pounds more over 12 weeks than those who ate similar diets but skipped the gym.

THE 2ND CRISIS: You have intense food cravings.

BEFORE: You gave in. Because, hey, life is meant to be enjoyed.

NOW: Give in to snack attacks, but wisely. David Katz, M.D., director of the prevention research center at Yale University school of medicine and author of The Way to Eat, recommends carrying “the food equivalent of an umbrella.” Keep a bag or small cooler of nuts, fruits, yogurt, and low-fat cheese on hand at all times. You need ready access to healthy sources of protein or fiber to offset sudden, out-of-nowhere cravings.

THE SCIENCE: “When you diet, your previously overstuffed fat cells start shrinking,” Dr. Katz says. They know their number’s up and that they’ll soon be burned for fuel. Understandably, they have other plans. “These cells send a message to your brain saying that they need more fuel. They shut down production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you’re satisfied,” he says. So your brain, by way of your cells, goes on the hunt for anything it can get your hands on. Which is why you should keep healthy snacks within easy reach.

6 Months

THE CRISIS: You’ve made so much progress that you think, What the heck.

BEFORE: You slipped–face-first, into a double-pepperoni, extra-cheese pizza.

NOW: Weigh in. You need to keep your eye on your rate of weight loss. Setting targets blows away complacency. “People taste success, and their adherence slips,” Dr. Pera says. “Their initial feelings of urgency to lose the weight also diminish.”

THE SCIENCE: A study at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth shows that people who weigh themselves regularly are more likely to stay focused. They’re continually reminded of their success so far and of the road ahead. Reaching your goal weight makes you more likely to keep the pounds off. A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania reports that patients who achieve their weight-loss goals are more psychologically satisfied. (continued…) You’re likely to stick with anything–a job, tennis practice– when you know it’s paying off.

THE 2ND CRISIS: You reach a plateau.

BEFORE: You figure, Well, that’s it. I’ve come far enough.

NOW: Diet less, exercise more. It’s probably going to be easier to exercise more frequently than to further restrict a diet that’s become an ingrained habit. Throw in a few high-intensity days–an extra long run or bike ride–to boost the calorie deficit. If your exercise is mostly cardiovascular, devote more time to weight lifting.

THE SCIENCE: “Because your caloric needs have lessened, you need to burn off more in order to continue to see results,” Dr. Pera says. “If you don’t increase your amount of exercise or continue to cut calories, you plateau.” The muscle from weight lifting, Dr. Katz says, will “increase resting energy expenditure. Then, when you return to more aerobics, you’re taking more calorie- burning muscle with you, and you’ll be bumped off the plateau.”

9 Months

THE CRISIS: A voice in your head says, I want my life back.

BEFORE: You got fat again.

NOW: Let loose–a little bit. “Being on a strict diet can drain you mentally, so there’s a huge temptation to let things slide,” says Dr. Katz. If you’re meeting your goals, give yourself a break. “If you love ice cream, try a lower-fat version or a sorbet,” suggests Howard M. Shapiro, M.D., author of Dr. Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss. “A pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream has 1,200 calories, while a pint of sorbet has only 300. You can still enjoy the taste, but you’re not inflicting so much damage.” The same logic applies with pizza, cake, beer, you name it. Savor a cold one, but make it an Amstel Light. Instead of the all-meat, extra-cheese pizza, top yours with chicken and green peppers.

THE SCIENCE: “By making your choices, you’re empowered and in control, and won’t feel the deprivation that might lead you to quit,” Dr. Shapiro says. When you feel as if you’ve cultivated enough willpower, reintroduce a couple of all-time favorites into your diet–as treats, not everyday fare. If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a Guinness and an order of chicken wings. The baked ones, thanks.

1 Year

THE CRISIS: There is none.

NOW: “Physiologically, you’ve converted your body from a foe to an ally,” says Dr. Katz. Blur the line between diet and lifestyle. Now that healthier eating patterns are ingrained, your diet isn’t a “diet” any longer– it’s a new way of living.

THE SCIENCE: According to research by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, successful dieters report that “significantly less” effort is required to maintain weight loss; as the pounds come off, less conscious attention is needed to keep them off. In other words, the longer you go, the easier it gets.

Getting Ready for Swimsuit Season

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UNFORTUNATELY, there is no magic pill or potion, and there is no easy or quick fix to getting in shape. It takes time, effort and dedication – but the results are worth it! You’ll look your best on the outside when you’re at your best on the inside – NOTHING tastes as good as being lean and attractive feels!

EAT RIGHT AND EAT REGULARLY – Eat to live, don’t live to eat!

  • 5 small meals a day will help keep your metabolism at it’s peak. When we allow ourselves to get hungry, our metabolism slows down and our bodies hang on tight to every crumb we put in it – and by the time we’re famished, we usually don’t make the healthiest choices.
  • Don’t starve yourself to lose weight – you may get skinny for this bikini season – but your metabolism will be shot for future seasons to come!
  • Have a cheat meal. Yes, you need to cut out the sodas and reduce your fat and sugar intake to eat right, but a cheat meal once a week is a great reward. You’ll enjoy it and it will give your body a little shock that will keep it on it’s toes.
  • Forget the scale! Muscle does weigh more than fat, but it’s more smooth and compact, so you can actually be getting smaller without seeing much change in your weight. Judge by how your clothes fit and most importantly by how good you feel!
  • Drink tons of water! A good rule of thumb is to divide your weight by 2. The number you get is about how many ounces you need to be drinking every day. So if you’re 150 pounds, your body needs about 75 ounces of water a day. Sounds like a lot, and don’t worry about water retention. It may happen at first, but once your body begins to trust that you will feed and hydrate it regularly, it will let go of the excess!

EXERCISE – there’s no way around it!

  • The ONLY way to burn fat anywhere is through regular cardio exercise, and you CANNOT choose where you burn it – your body has it’s own natural pattern for burning fat. It may not come off in your waist area at first, but if you stick with a regular program, it eventually will happen everywhere.
  • Besides cardio, you also need weight/resistance training. The more lean muscle mass you have the more effective your body will be a continuing to burn fat! It’s a fact that the leaner you are, the higher your metabolism will be – your body will even burn fat when your at rest!
  • The best way to stick with a program and stay motivated is to find a way to be accountable! Get a partner or train in a group. At PLS we have had a ton of weight loss success stories and one of the biggest factors they say helped them succeed was being part of a group. Not only did they come religiously because they didn’t want to let their teammates down, they didn’t want a call from “Victor” calling them out! Most of all, it’s just a lot more fun to train with friends – and these people may be strangers to each other when they come in, but the friendships and bonds that have formed out of the class has been phenomenal –and that’s something they take with them for good – along with a better body, a better outlook and a better life!

Fit 4 Teaching 2015 — Final Tips

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Don’t Skip Breakfast:

Fiber in the morning means less hunger late in the afternoon, when you’re most likely to feel tired and gorge yourself on sugar. My morning dose comes from steel-cut oatmeal, usually mixed with raisins, walnuts, and flaxseed oil. An early start on eating also keeps your metabolism more active throughout the day; breakfast eaters are thinner than people who just rush out the door

Sweat Till You’re Wet:

If you can work up a sweat for just 1 hour a day four days a week, you’ll enjoy a range of benefits: reduced risk of heart attack, better mood, and lower blood pressure.. Your muscles will become more efficient, so you’ll have more stamina for more enjoyable activities that also work up a sweat.

Add Some Weights:

Just 30 minutes three times a week spent lifting weights can build significant muscle mass. What’s more, working all that muscle burns tons of calories, making it a great way to lose your gut, too. Don’t have weights? Try lifting yourself: Pullups are the most valuable muscle-building exercises. Pullups work the back, pecs, arms, and belly all at once. And since you’re lifting yourself, you’ll think twice before eating that doughnut, because you’ll just have to lift it later.

50 Slim-Down Secrets

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Tips to jump-start your weight loss:

  1. Remember the 25-25-50 rule: Fill your plate with 25% complex carbs (whole grains, beans, or root vegetables like sweet potatoes), 25% lean protein, and 50% vegetables and/or fruit.
  2. Don’t skip meals. This slows down your metabolism by 20% to 30% and could lead you to overeat later on.
  3. Eat a good breakfast. Research indicates that people who eat breakfast tend to consume fewer total calories throughout the day. A combo of high-fiber protein and carbs works best to keep you fuller longer (try high-fiber cereal with blueberries and milk, or eggs on an English muffin).
  4. Get enough sleep. Studies have found that sleeping fewer than 8 hours a night is linked to a higher body mass index (BMI); lack of sleep influences hormones that regulate your appetite.
  5. Cut back on simple carbs like white bread and sweets, which may cause spikes in blood sugar and lead to water retention and puffiness—not to mention a crash in energy levels.

  6. Get picky about beef. Choose loin and ground beef that’s at least 93% lean. Limit higher-fat “prime” or “select” cuts. (A 3-oz serving of rib eye, for example, has about 15 g fat, but a 3-oz lean sirloin steak has just 5).

  7. Visualize portion sizes. A 4-oz serving of meat, chicken or fish is about the size of your palm. A 1-oz serving of cheese is the size of 4 dice. For more info on portions, check out mealsmatter.org

  8. Put everything on a plate so you can see exactly how much you’re eating.

  9. Don’t eat the same lunch (or breakfast or dinner every day. Our bodies get used to the same foods—mixing it up will stoke your metabolism.

  10. Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 (not at all hungry but could nibble) to 5 (famished); aim to eat only when you’re in the 3 to 4 range.

  11. Get competitive. Sign up for a weight-loss challenge.

  12. Plan a week’s worth of healthy meals at a time, before you hit the grocery store. calander

  13. Make a list of lighter substitutions and post it on your fridge. For example, dip baked chips in salsa instead of nacho cheese and spread toast with jam instead of butter.

  14. Keep a food emotion diary. Write down what you ate and how you felt while eating it to help pinpoint possible overeating triggers (stress, sadness, etc.).

  15. Make an “eat plenty” list: foods that you can eat large quantities of without feeling the least bit guilty (plain air-popped popcorn, fresh veggies, etc.). Keep the list on your computer or in your kitchen.

  16. Eat the right foods after exercising. Avoid a post-workout binge by deciding what you’ll eat ahead of time (try yogurt with fruit and a few nuts, or a glass of skim or soy milk).

  17. Find an online support system (like FoodFit.com) to help keep you motivated. Research published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that people with weight-loss partners (online or in person) lost nearly twice as much weight as those who dieted alone.

  18. Start a “have-done” list next to your “to-do” list to track all your diet accomplishments, big and small. Losing 1 pound, upping your daily fruit intake and weaning yourself from your late-night ice cream habit all count.

  19. Make nothing totally off-limits. A study published in the journal Appetite found that labeling foods as “forbidden” can actually increase your cravings for them.

  20. Pick a date to help you get motivated. Whether it’s a reunion or beach vacation, think of a special event that you want to lose weight for and aim to take off a reasonable amount by then. (Shedding 1 to 2 pounds a week is the safest way to go.)

    Spice it up and cut calories:

  21. Instead of sautéing green beans in butter, steam them and season with spices such as cumin and turmeric, then drizzle on 1 tsp olive oil.

  22. Sprinkle chili or red pepper flakes on corn rather than using butter.

  23. Toss some ginger and lemon zest onto cooked carrots instead of glazing them in honey.

  24. Cook sage, thyme and lemongrass into your rice instead of frying it in soy sauce.

  25. Sprinkle rosemary and minced garlic onto eggplant before grilling instead of topping it with marinara sauce and cheese.

  26. Add grated orange zest and cinnamon to roasted butternut squash, and skip the butter and brown sugar.

  27. Instead of marinating red peppers and onions in oil and vinegar, spray them with nonstick spray and season with oregano, paprika and pepper before grilling.

  28. Dust Brussels sprouts with mustard seeds and onion flakes instead of adding butter.

  29. Try imitation bacon bits and chives on your baked potato instead of sour cream.

  30. Put a dash of garlic salt and basil on an oven-cooked tomato instead of frying it in bread crumbs.

  31. Squeeze lemon juice onto spinach or broccoli instead of slathering on butter.

  32. pop cornMedium movie-size butter popcorn: 1,150 cal Burn it off by: Running for about 2 hours

  33. Chicken potpie: 740 cal Burn it off by: Jumping rope for about an hour

  34. 5-oz prime rib: 605 cal Burn it off by: Swimming freestyle at a slow-to-moderate pace for 75 minutes

  35. Slice of birthday cake: 340 cal Burn it off by: Working out on an elliptical trainer for a half-hour at moderate pace

  36. Snickers bar: 270 cal Burn it off by: Biking for a half-hour at moderate pace

    Our favorite lowfat recipes under 300 calories:

  37. TOMATO ARTICHOKE CHICKEN (serves 4; 286 cal per serving)

    Mix 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, . tsp salt and . tsp pepper in a gallon-size plastic ziptop bag.
    Add 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each, tenderloins removed), close bag and shake to coat chicken evenly.
    Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
    Add chicken and cook 8 minutes or until cooked through.
    Remove to a platter and cover to keep warm.
    Using same skillet, bring to a simmer 1 can (14. oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano; 1 can (13.75 oz) artichoke hearts, sliced; and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
    Cook 3 minutes.
    Spoon on chicken; sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella.

  38. GRILLED SWEET ONION AND CHEDDAR PIZZA (serves 6; 273 cal per serving)

    Heat outdoor grill.
    Unroll 1 tube (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil; press into a rectangle.
    Coat dough and 1 medium onion, sliced, with nonstick spray.
    Grill onion 10 minutes or until tender, then remove.
    Invert dough on grill; peel off foil.
    Grill 1 minute until bottom is lightly browned.
    Turn crust over and spread with 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce; top with onion and 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar.
    Cover and grill 2 minutes until cheese melts.
    Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

  39. SCALLOPS WITH CREAMY PESTO (serves 4; 268 cal per serving)

    Heat 1 1/2 tsp oil in a non-stick skillet over medium- high heat.
    Add 1 1/2 lb sea scallops, patted dry, and cook, turning once, 4 minutes or until golden and just barely opaque at centers.
    Remove to a plate.
    Off heat, add 1⁄3 cup refrigerated prepared pesto and 2 Tbsp heavy (whipping) cream to skillet; stir to blend.
    Spoon pesto-cream sauce onto serving plates and top with scallops.

  40. SIRLOIN STEAK WITH GOLDEN ONIONS (serves 4; 194 cal per serving)

    Coat a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; heat on medium-high.
    Sprinkle 1 lb boneless sirloin steak, fat trimmed, with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Add to skillet.
    Scatter 2 medium onions, sliced, around steak.
    Cook, turning steak once and stirring onions often, 12 minutes or until steak is medium-rare and onions are tender.
    Transfer steak to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.
    Meanwhile, combine . cup reduced-fat sour cream, 2 Tbsp each prepared horseradish and sliced scallions, and . tsp each pepper and sugar in a bowl.
    Slice steak thinly against the grain. Serve with the horseradish sauce.

    Smart fast-food switches:

  41. Applebee’s Instead of Grilled Steak Caesar Salad 1,190 calories, order this: Low Fat Blackened Chicken Salad 425 calories

  42. Dairy Queen Instead of Medium Chocolate Malt Milkshake 870 calories, order this: DQ Chocolate Soft Serve (1⁄2 cup) 150 calories

  43. Denny’s Instead of Fabulous French Toast Platter 1,260 calories, order this: Buttermilk Pancakes 410 calories

  44. Taco Bell Instead of Grilled Stuffed Chicken Burrito 640 calories, order this: Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco 170 calories

  45. Pizza Hut Instead of Slice of the Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s pizza 520 calories, order this: Slice of the Fit n Delicious with ham, red onion and mushroom 160 calories

  46. Olive Garden Instead of Spaghetti & Meatballs 1,260 calories, order this: Linguine alla Marinara 550 calories

  47. Burger King Instead of TenderCrisp Chicken Sandwich with mayo 790 calories, order this: 5-piece Chicken Tenders 210 calories Fit 4 Teaching July 7 2015

  48. Starbucks Instead of Grande Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee with whipped cream 380 calories, order this: Grande Skinny Mocha, no whipped cream 130 calories

  49. Subway Instead of Tuna 6-inch sub 530 calories, order this: Veggie Delite 6-inch sub 230 calories

  50. P.F. Chang’s Instead of Shrimp Lo Mein 1,135 calories, order this: Shrimp with Lobster Sauce 480 calories