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10 Steps on Improving Your Metabolism

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Are you sluggish and low on energy? Do you feel like you work and work toward your weight loss goal and never seem to make any dramatic improvement?

You could be suffering from a slow metabolism. Even though you may have a slow metabolism, it does not have to destroy your weight loss efforts. You can dramatically improve your metabolism, and boost your energy levels without taking supplements.

Your metabolism simply refers to the conversion of food to usable energy by the body. It is the biological process, by which energy is extracted from food, and the net result is how fast or slowly the body burns those calories.

A few steps you can take to improve your metabolism naturally are:

Drink Water – Water is great to drink and you should be drinking a minimum of 8 to 10, glasses daily, of course, more is better. It will help increase your metabolism and flush out sodium, toxins, and fat. Drinking water before meals will fill your stomach so you feel full and prevent overeating. Avoid excess colas, coffee, teas, and sugary juices. Caffeine will dehydrate you, and the sugar will do more damage than good in the long-run.

Eat Every Three Hours – Eat a small balanced meal every three hours, including snacks. Meals and snacks should be balanced, meaning they should contain a complete protein, carbohydrates, as well as natural fat. Failure to eat consistently can lead to a slower metabolism and fat storage. Also, skipping meals slows down your metabolism. To ignite fat loss you need to be consuming the right foods in a balanced manner throughout the day.

Don’t Skip Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it gets your metabolism running in high gear. You wouldn’t drive your car to work on an empty tank, and you shouldn’t start your day without adequate nourishment. Your first meal sets your metabolism for the day and keeps it going, as long as you eat every three hours. If you get up early and eat a late breakfast, you miss out on several hours of burning calories.

Don’t Fear Fat – Fat has developed a bad reputation. Many people think fat makes you fat. This is false. The type of fat and how much fat you eat impacts your body fat composition. Fat is needed by the body. Those who follow a very low-fat diet have a harder time ridding their body of fat. Choose natural healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, various nuts, flax, and natural peanut butter to receive your necessary fats.

Omit Trans Fat – Trans fat is the bad fat, the cause of weight gain, low energy, depression, cancer, and heart disease. You will never get the body you desire by eating “healthy” fast food, frozen dinners, and other processed choices. If it’s man-made, it’s not the best choice, and will halt fat loss endeavors. Eat the foods Mother Nature has provided to meet your fat loss goals.

Be Active Daily – Stay active at least six days a week. Take the stairs when possible or park further out to get that little bit of extra movement to keep the heart and lungs working optimally. The more movement you get daily, the better you will feel overall.

Do Cardiovascular Exercise – Cardio exercise is necessary for heart and lung health. It also burns calories. Doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can tap into fat stores, and keep your body burning calories at a high rate for about an hour after cardio is finished. If you fail to eat adequately daily, first morning cardio on an empty stomach can work against you. Doing morning cardio on very low calorie diet can burn muscle. Another good time to incorporate cardio is in the evening after your last meal. This allows you to burn calories so you are not sleeping on them. You do not have to implement a morning and evening session, choose one or the other or cycle between the two to prevent staleness and boredom.

HIIT It – Blend some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your cardiovascular program from time to time to give your body and metabolism a good shock. The body is programmed for adaptation. Therefore, doing the same cardio format day in and day out can become stale really fast. Take one or two days a week and implement some HIIT to give the body an added shock.

HIIT is basically alternating low intensity and moderate to high intensity cardio training. For example, a 20 minute HIIT session would look similar to this:

Minute 1 and 2 – Low Intensity (Walking) Minute 3 and 4 – High Intensity (Light jogging or running) Minute 5 and 6 – Low Intensity Minute 7 and 8 – High Intensity and so on…

Weight Train – Resistance training builds muscle, which is metabolically active tissue. The more muscle you acquire, the faster your metabolism will be. Adding more lean muscle tissue to your body will put curves in the right places and allow you to eat more calories a day.

Listen to Your Body – Killing yourself with workouts is just as dangerous as not working out at all. Listen to your body and get proper rest. Don’t train if you are ill, still sore from the previous workout, or just simply too tired. Training in such a state can cause more problems than it solves.

If any of the above fails to prove results in 4 to 6 weeks, there could be an underlying problem, such as a food allergy, sluggish thyroid, hormonal imbalance, toxins, parasites, etc. If so, I recommend searching for a natural healer in your area to determine the cause. and work from there. For the most part, proper diet, detoxifying, and herbs can correct any ailments.

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When Moderation Isn’t A Thing

Savannah Lynx

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Photos by Ludwig Araujo Photography

It’s 4 pm and I’m alone in my apartment. Even though I’ve just eaten a satisfying spinach salad with egg whites, slivered almonds, red bell peppers, and broccoli florets, I’ve been opening, closing, and reopening the pantry cabinet door for the last minute and a half now. Before I take a second to stop and think, I do the unthinkable. I climb up onto my kitchen countertop and reach far into the unreachable space in which I’ve hidden it. I grab a spoon, unscrew the lid, and dip my silver utensil into the ooey-gooey goodness of my most delectable vice. As the savory sweet treat lands on my tastebuds, the voice inside my head says just one more spoonful and then you’ll be done. That voice and I both know it’s a big fat liar.

For more Savannah Lynx: Savannah Lynx’s Resolutions with Resolve

Hi. My name is Savannah, and I’m addicted to peanut butter.

It’s amazing to me that no matter how many times I tell myself I can keep peanut butter in the house and enjoy it in moderation, I still manage to disappoint myself to no end. My predictable lapses in willpower and good judgment have become exhausting, and my tumultuous relationship with this particular pulverized nut butter is no doubt verging on toxic. If you think my hyperbole is employed simply for dramatic flare, think again. It’s not uncommon for me to polish off a Costco sized family pack of peanut butter in under a week. If I don’t have anything to do on a lazy Sunday and nobody’s around to judge me, it might only take me a committed afternoon to devour an entire jar. It’s disgusting and flat out shameful, but it’s also the sad truth. As a fitness model and supposed model of health, I feel like I shouldn’t be dealing with such silly food-related matters. After all, I have won tens of thousands of dollars in fitness competitions and even have my own column on fitnessgurls.com for crying out loud. This kind of behavior just doesn’t fit the bill. But the more I think about the secret life of everyone you think you know, the more I’ve come to realize that I’m probably not the only one suffering from a paralyzing food addiction. Just to be certain, I started asking my friends.

Competitor or not, what I’ve discovered from my official “Is-It-Just-Me?!? Poll”, is that almost EVERYBODY has that one food they cannot say no to. These addictions range anywhere on the spectrum from “questionably healthy” like raisins and trail mix to flat out not good for you at any time and might not even be considered food like Sour Patch Kids and Flaming Hot Cheetos. Moral of the story? We all pick our poison. Everyone knows treating yourself isn’t bad in small doses. But what happens when we finally come to terms with the fact that small doses sometimes aren’t a possibility? It’s time to get real, get honest, and get this friggin’ crap out of our hands so we don’t sabotage our own progress.

Here’s how to kick those cravings and keep on target!!!

Step 1: GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE
You’ve tried “moderation” but it’s time to accept the fact that you just can’t control yourself. The only way to stop yourself from eating too much of something you really don’t want to be eating in the first place is by not having access to it. If it’s not in the fridge or pantry, you can’t be tempted by it. Out of sight, out of mind!!

Step 2: Turn your Emotional Eating Into Mindful Refueling
Most of the time we binge or indulge too much because we’re emotional. Boredom, nervousness, excitement, and stress are major triggers when it comes to forgetting about our nutrition plan and making undesirable choices. When you feel a craving coming on, take a moment to breathe and ask yourself if you’re compelled to eat because you’re hungry or because it’s just something to do. If it’s the latter, step away and occupy yourself with something intellectually engaging that will veer your focus elsewhere.

Step 3: Beware of Group Think!!
Just because your boyfriend, coworkers, friends, or neighbors are eating, doesn’t mean you have to. In a lot of cases, we eat because it’s socially awkward not to. For me, it’s almost impossible to beat my girlfriend’s house for movie night and not reach for the chips, pretzels, or popcorn- but I’ve got to stay strong! There’s a time and a place to indulge, but if you haven’t already accounted for some extra calories via your workout and meal plan, then say no thank you and pop in a piece of gum!

Step 4: Throw Away Unhealthy Mentalities
I’m not a stranger to that unhealthy way of thinking where I’ve already broken the seal on some fattening foods and think to myself I might as well keep eating since I already messed up. Wrong! We all make mistakes, and nobody can be expected to be perfect 100% of the time. The key is recognizing when we’ve had enough, and stopping before we head for a binge. Be kind to your body and allow for some give here and there. You’re only human!!

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Workout Wednesday

Heather Marsh’s Workout Wednesday: Cardio & Core Circuit

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Heather Marsh has one of the most beautiful and inspiring physiques in the fitness industry. She’s a mother, a WBFF Pro Competitor and she shares her secrets on cardio & core circuit.

Related Article: Jade Atkinson’s Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Workout

A strong core is a key to warding off back pain and keeping good posture. A good strong posture keeps you standing tall and confident! Try this cardio and core circuit if you’re short on time. You’ll be sure to get your heart rate up while building a strong core.

Heather Marsh’s Cardio & Core Circuit Workout

Interval 1:
Plank jacks 20
Supermans 20
Side planks 20 secs
Jump squats 20

Interval 2:
Jump squats 20
Mountain climbers 20 per leg
Dumbbell Russian twist 20 per side
Lateral squatted walks 20 per leg

Interval 3:
Lateral squatted walks 20 per leg
Plank toe taps 20 per leg
Scissor kicks 20 per leg
Frog hops 20

Repeat each interval 3-4 times

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Health & Fitness

7 Reasons Why Your Muscles Stop Growing. How To Get Muscle To Grow Again

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Photo by Ludwig Araujo Photography

Have ever wondered why your muscles stopped growing after a few months of training even though you are training very hard? Here are 7 reasons why your muscles stopped growing and how to get your muscle to grow again.

Also: Jade Atkinson’s Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Workout

– You are training too hard: Every time when rain your muscles intensely, you are actually breaking down your muscles. So your muscles need to recover from the damages you inflicted on them. So train each muscle group only once or at most twice a week.

– You are training too long: Keep your workout intense but do not workout more than an hour each time. After 45 minutes of intensive training, your cortisol level will increase. This hormone is known to destroy muscle cells.

– You are sleeping too little: You need to sleep more for good muscle growth. Your muscles grow when you sleep. So sleep more than 8 hours a day and watch those muscles growing fast.

– You are abusing alcohol: Alcohol is known to break down muscle mass plus many other body destruction ability.

– You do not change your workout routine: You must change your workout routine every 6-8 weeks. Your muscles adapt to your routine and stops growing.

– You do not progressively overload your muscles: You must try to increase your reps or weight every time you next train a particular muscle group. Otherwise, there is no reason for your muscles to grow.

– You do not eat sufficient protein: If you want to build bigger muscles, you must eat more protein. Protein is the building block for your muscles. It is recommended that you need 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight equivalent. If not enough protein is consumed with your normal diet, do supplement with protein shakes.

There you are, the 7 reasons why your muscles stopped growing even though you are training hard. There are many more methods on how to grow your muscles bigger but these 7 reasons and how to overcome them will be sufficient for an average bodybuilding beginner.

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