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Small Steps For A Big Difference

If you’re considering competing, Ms Fitness in Alexandria VA, can be a powerful source of information. While we do focus on the major things to do, all those are created by taking small steps for a big difference. While it might sound overwhelming, it’s actually a great thing. It means you can focus on something small to get you started on your road to a great appearance and good health.

Could simply chewing each mouthful longer make a difference?

Something as simple as chewing your food longer can make a difference in our appearance and health. Eating slower can actually help you lose weight, according to many studies. As you eat and begin to feel full, your body sends a message to the brain to stop. Fast eaters don’t allow enough time and often over eat. Also, the longer you chew food, the more chance it has to digest for better health, since part of the digestive process takes place in the mouth. The longer you chew it, the longer it takes to eat and the less you’ll eat before the message of fullness makes it to the brain. Mindful eating, focusing on each bite and flavor, can help you slow down.

Drink more water.

Adequate water intake is important for your health and appearance. Drinking at least 8-eight ounce glasses of water a day will help your skin look plumper and can even help you eat less. If you drink a glass of water before meal time, studies show you’ll eat less. Also drinking a glass of ice-cold water can burn extra calories to warm it. Sometimes, the body tricks you and makes you think you’re hungry, when in reality, you’re really thirsty. Drinking adequate water can also ensure you won’t slow down and feel sleepy, due to dehydration.

Cut out food with added sugar.

While it seems like a small step, it’s really a tough one, but only if you’re eating a lot of processed food. Almost all processed food seems to have some type of sugar added, whether it’s high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose or other form of sugar. Instead of grabbing a candy bar for a snack, try eating a piece of fresh fruit or a handful of nuts. Plan for those hungry times by taking mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks with you.

When you eat is important. Try intermittent fasting. One way is to only eat in an eight-hour period, such as from 10 am to 6 pm and fast for the other 16 hours.

Increase your activity in small ways. Every hour get up and move around if you have a desk job. Do a plank or jumping jacks during commercials when watching TV. Take the stairs and not the elevator.

Learn to relax. It’s hard to relax in today’s hectic world, but it’s very necessary. Learn meditation, deep breathing exercises or just find a way to take five minutes of quiet solitude where you clear your mind.

Make your dinner plate colorful. Choose vegetables and fruits of many colors. Not only does it make a meal more enticing, it helps ensure you get all the nutrients you need.

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How To Stay Hydrated

The weather doesn’t have to be sizzling to get dehydrated. Some people are mildly dehydrated throughout the year. During the winter, however, it’s just as important to stay hydrated as it is during the summer months, but often a little more difficult. When it’s almost freezing outside or even colder, it’s hard to get excited about a tall cold glass of water, but that doesn’t mean hydration isn’t important. Here are some tips that can help and reasons why you need to stay hydrated.

Drinking adequate water can help you lose weight.

While you can get hydrated by drinking fruit juice, why not do it in the no calorie way, with plain water. Don’t even consider zero calorie soft drinks, as recent studies showed that they may add to visceral fat—belly fat. Not only will hydration boost your energy and metabolism, it also fills you up, so you eat less. If you don’t like water, try infused water. You make it by adding sliced fruit, herbs or vegetables in water to impart the flavor and a few nutrients, but very few if any calories.

Your body needs water to perform many functions.

Dehydration can impede the body from functioning at its peak. Even mild dehydration for a long period can have consequences. Water is the basic building block of all cells. It regulates the body’s temperature and keeps joints lubricated, acting like shock absorbers to avoid pain. It also forms a barrier in the brain to absorb shocks and prevent injury. If you’re dehydrated, it also can cause constipation and the bloating that occurs when you’re constipated.

Schedule your water breaks.

If you’re finding that it’s difficult to remember to drink more water, let your cell phone do the job. There are apps to remind you to drink water every few hours. If you hate plain water and it’s too cold to consider a pitcher of infused water, why not make it into tea by heating it. One of my favorites is a sliced orange with the peel removed, a stick of cinnamon and a few mint leaves that are allowed to steep in water for about four hours. You can add a teaspoon of honey if you need sweetness, but I don’t recommend it. The orange makes it sweet enough. Drink it hot or drink it cold.

Drinking water not only makes you feel better, it makes you look better. It plumps your skin and if you stay adequately hydrated, can make you look years younger and avoid premature wrinkles caused by drying.

The older you are, the more water you need, since older people dehydrate faster. It can cause symptoms that resemble dementia and often result in UTIs. Drinking extra water causes the bacteria to flush out of the urinary tract so it doesn’t build up and cause an infection.

Create a goal to drink eight glasses of water a day and track your progress. By setting a goal, you’re not only making yourself more aware of drinking water, you’re turning it into a game and be more likely to succeed.

One rule of thumb to determine how much water you need is to drink half your weight in fluid ounces. If you weigh 140-pounds, drink seventy fluid ounces of water.

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Good Workouts For Back Fat

It’s hard to find information about workouts for back fat, yet you’ll find tons of workouts for abs, glutes, legs and arms. Yet having a great looking body includes having a great silhouette in an outfit, without bulges under and over your bra straps or looking great when seen from behind. You need to lose weight if you have back fat, but there are also exercises you can do to tone the area and make the back fat less obvious.

While spot exercises can help, you won’t get the look you want without losing weight.

Most people do spot exercises for those areas they want to lose fat, it simply doesn’t work. When you lose weight, you lose it all over your body, not just in those areas where you exercised. If that were possible, everyone would have the picture perfect body. You have to use a double pronged approach and eat healthy to lose weight, ultimately fat, while also doing exercises to tone the muscles that are beneath the fat. When you’ve lost all the fat, that effort you made to tone the muscles will show.

Exercises that tone the core muscles, back and upper arms can also burn tons of calories.

You can get two goals accomplished using the right types of exercises. Core muscles are in the abdomen, mid and lower back and somewhat on the shoulders, hip and neck. Doing these types of exercises also help burn calories and tone the back muscles. Burning calories is the top way to get rid of back fat. The muscles of the back are divided into three groups, upper, mid and lower back. When you work all areas, you’ll notice the lap over and jiggling will start to subside, particularly if you’re losing weight at the same time.

Remember, exercises that involve pushing and pulling motions are great for the mid and upper back.

If you have a cable machine, do a seated close-grip row and upright standing row. Pull ups, using a doorway bar or using the monkey bars at a playground help build the muscles of the back. Push-ups work loads of muscles including back muscles. Using a rowing machine can help tone the back. Planks, whether forearm planks or full extension planks are good for eliminating back fat. Side twists can tone the muscles down the sides and tighten the back muscles. If you have dumbbells, or choose to use soup cans or water bottles as a substitute, upright dumbbell rows can help tone the back area.

  • Create a circuit training routine. Combine several exercises for the back, doing one set of each with minimal rest between each one. Rest slightly between each circuit. It will burn tons of calories and tone your back.
  • Working out with weights helps burn more calories and tone muscles fast. When you workout with weights, you’ll define your muscles rapidly.
  • You can use some exercises at the office, like chair dips. Sit near the edge of the chair with feet extended and raise your buttocks off the chair, moving it forward and then lowering your body toward the floor and back up again.
  • Don’t forget that healthy eating, which reduces caloric intake and drinking plenty of water helps you lose weight and improves your skin, getting that look you want more quickly.

For more information, contact us today at MsFitness

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Workouts For A Six-Pack

If life were fair, you could eat all you want and only gain weight in areas you choose. Everyone would be able to do workouts for a six-pack and get that look everyone wants. Unfortunately, when you lose weight, you lose it all over your body, not just in one place. If you don’t lose weight, that layer of fat on your belly will hide that flat belly and sculpted abs you worked hard to achieve. Not only do you have to work the abs, but also other core muscles.

Start easy and work toward a tougher workout as you improve.

While this exercise is easy to explain and understand, once you do it, you’ll find it’s not as easy as it sounds. Since getting results is all about form, this is the easiest form to master. You don’t move much once you get into position. The exercise is the plank. Lay on the floor on your stomach. Your toes should be touching the floor and arms upper arms directly under the shoulders perpendicular with the floor, elbows bent at 90 degrees and forearms on the floor. Lift your entire body up forming a straight line. Hold that position for as long as you can. You can start with a minute and extend it as you get stronger.

Navasana is a yoga pose that tones abs.

The Navasana is also called the boat pose. It starts by sitting on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly, scooting your feet toward you until your legs form an upside down V. Stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor with arms straight ahead and palms facing each other. Hold that pose. It’s hard to keep your balance and you’ll feel your abs tighten as you try to do it. The longer you can hold the position the better.

Ride a bike or better yet, do a bicycle crunch.

Riding a bike is a great cardio workout that helps burn calories and works the abs a little. To get more of a workout, ditch the bike and do a bicycle crunch instead. Lay on your back with your hands under your head. Raise one leg in the air, bending at the knee and simultaneously, bring the opposite elbow forward and try to touch the knee coming forward. Lower both your leg and elbow, then bring up the other leg and try to touch it with the other elbow. You’ll continue this in a bicycle pedaling motion.

  • Keep it simple, jump rope. Not only does it build abdominal muscles, jumping rope burns tons of calories.
  • Go for a walk, but focus on your posture. Having good posture can improve your appearance and help you build stronger abs. If you have bad posture, your chiseled abs won’t show either.
  • Do a belly suction. Bend over, blow out all the air in your lungs, pull your stomach in, trying to touch your backbone with it. Stand straight and hold in your stomach for as long as you can. Relax and repeat.
  • Cut sugar out of your diet, as well as caffeine. Those two things can cause belly fat that covers your stomach. If you’re under stress, workout for a half hour. Cortisol, one of the hormones of stress is known to cause belly fat.

For more information, contact us today at MsFitness

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How To Combat Fitness Complacency

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about your accomplishments or taking time to enjoy the progress you made, unless it causes you to quit trying. If your goal was to lose 20-pounds and you’ve made it to the halfway mark, it can be a time for celebration, but can also be an important time to hunker down and get back to work. It’s too easy to rest on your accomplishment and feel smug or satisfied with your achievements. However, it’s the very time you need to combat fitness complacency.

If you’ve lost weight in the past and even reached your goal, only to regain it, you’ve been complacent.

Even if you made it all the way to your goal, it’s no time to stop. One of the problems is that you’ve reached your goal, but you never set another to take its place. Create a new goal. It doesn’t have to be about losing weight if you’re at your perfect weight, but make it about fitness and staying in shape. Maybe you love the idea of cooking healthier. Make it your goal to try two new recipes a week or even create two. Consider a huge challenge like the Ironman or Tough Mudder and prepare for it. You need a new goal or you’ll go back to old habits that created the problem in the first place.

Find an icon or a mentor that’s doing better than you are.

If there’s someone you admire that’s in great shape, learn from them. Make it your goal to improve your fitness in all areas. One of the reasons many people become personal trainers is that they appreciated the knowledge and skills of other trainers and set their sites to be more like the trainer they admired. While you don’t have to go that far, all the trainers in the gym are willing to help and guide you toward a higher level of fitness, share their secrets and help you be the best you can be.

Develop a hobby that is more than going to the gym, but still keeps you fit.

Maybe it’s hiking all the trails at the local park or scaling that climbing wall, whatever you choose to challenge yourself with should reflect the need to stay in shape. Don’t let your success at achieving your goal leave you complacent and without another goal to fill the void. That’s the key to staying fit. Everyone needs a challenge. It’s what makes life interesting.

  • As you approach your goal, talk with your trainer or a friend into fitness to find another challenge. You’ll be amazed at some of the new ideas you’ll get that you might not have considered.
  • Rather than bathing in your success, always demand more from yourself. It’s good whether your goals are for fitness, business or life in general.
  • It’s counterproductive if you shame yourself for falling off the wagon after having success. Get back to what made you reach your goals and then create new ones so you don’t do it again.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Take on new challenges that you don’t think you can do. Make it part of your regular workout or daily routine. For instance, it might be lifting a certain weight or extending your endurance.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness

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Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

When I ask people at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, about their fiber intake, they sometimes wrinkle their nose, thinking about those commercials about the benefit of fiber for constipation. While fiber does aid constipation, it does so much more than that. It plays a vital role in your overall good health and diet. It starts by filling you up, which means you’ll eat less. That alone should be a good reason to ensure your diet has plenty of fiber.

Your gut microorganisms need fiber to live and you need them for your health.

Your digestive microbiome contains beneficial bacteria and other microbes that add to good health. Those microscopic benefactors aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients, boost your immune system and produce neurotransmitters that affect every part of your body, including your mood. An imbalance of the good bugs and the bad bugs can lead to problems with cholesterol, blood sugar regulation, weight gain and other disorders. Fiber helps keep that balance perfect.

There are two types of fiber.

Your body needs both types. Soluble fiber adds bulk by turning to a gel and absorbing liquid, leaving you feeling fuller. It’s also a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the bacteria in your gut. The more diverse the prebiotic fiber is, the more diverse your healthy bacteria is. That’s important to good health, since it offers more options to fight off microbes that harm us. Insoluble fiber, the other kind, is not used by bacteria and microbes, but provides bulk for your stool. It also is important to the feeling of fullness.

Your body benefits when you eat a wide variety of food with fiber.

Each beneficial bacteria has its own favorite fiber. So adjusting your diet to benefit certain bacteria could bring important health benefits. Food that offers these benefits include apples, onions, garlic, bananas, some root vegetables like beets, asparagus and other fruits and vegetables. It’s another reason to stick with the whole fruit, rather than drinking just the juice. Not only does the whole fruit fill you up more, it provides more soluble, prebiotic fiber.

  • Fiber helps you control blood sugar levels and that can help prevent insulin intolerance and prediabetes. That also helps you lose weight by preventing spikes and dips in blood sugar.
  • Combining fiber with protein helps fill you up, without stuffing you up. The fiber and protein are both filling, but the fiber helps you go, so you don’t suffer from bloating.
  • You need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day. The exact amount required is based on your activity level and weight.
  • A high fiber diet is easy to attain. It’s eating whole grain bread, instead of bread with processed flour, fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables. You need to ensure variety to get the maximum benefits.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness

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Natural Sugar Vs Refined Sugar

Many people that workout at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, come to lose weight. They know that what they eat makes a huge difference in whether they lose weight. Some switch their refined sugar for honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, while others cut out added sugar entirely and opt to get their sweetness from adding fruit, a true source of natural sugar. Is there a difference? The answer is yes. Which type of sugar is best to add to your meal? It’s easy to answer that, eating fruit is far superior to adding any other type of sugar, natural or refined.

It’s all about delivery and the type of sugar.

It gets pretty confusing when you start to get to the finer points of sugar. It’s all about how your body uses that type of sugar and how it’s delivered. Fructose is the natural sugar in fruit. If you use straight fructose, it’s just as bad as using table sugar. Eating too much, such as using too much agave syrup is just as bad as using too much table sugar. Sucrose is table sugar. It’s a combination of glucose and fructose that occurs naturally and is in beets and sugar cane. Your body has to break it down to fructose and glucose before using it. While it’s not good for you, the combination of fructose and glucose into HFCS—high fructose corn syrup—is even worse.

If natural sugar is delivered in fruit and milk, it’s hard to get too much.

Your body handles the sugar in milk and fruit far differently than it handles added sugar in food that is processed. Refined sugar breaks down quickly, spiking your blood sugar and insulin levels. It’s simply digested too quickly. If you eat a tablespoon of sugar, you won’t feel full, but if you eat a half grapefruit, you will, even though the half grapefruit contains fewer calories. It’s the fiber in the grapefruit that fills you. The fiber slows the delivery of the sugar, so you eat less, while getting more nutrition.

Natural sugar is in fruit and dairy products.

Dairy products like cheese and milk also contain natural sugar, which is lactose. Just like fruit that contains nutrients and fiber, the lactose is delivered with other nutrients, such as protein, calcium, iodine, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B2 and B12. The protein and fat in milk helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, just as the fiber in fruit does. For those with diabetes, monitoring even this type of sugar intake is important, but it affects the blood sugar far less than added sugar, even if it’s natural added sugar, like maple syrup.

  • The key to losing weight and staying healthy is to avoid products with added sugar. Even if that granola bar says all natural, if it has added sugar, put it down and walk away. Stick with whole food for snacks, like fruit or nuts.
  • What you drink makes a huge difference, too. Soft drinks and sports drinks add about 44% of the sugar to the American diet. Stick with water. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you do.
  • You might hear commercials touting HFCS as a natural type of sugar, so it’s good for you. That’s not true. Studies show that high fructose corn syrup can cause increased body weight and other problems.
  • Giving up added sugar isn’t easy. It takes time to kick the habit. Sugar affects the same area of the brain as opioids do and is as addictive.

For more information, contact Evolution Lifestyle Fitness

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Looking For Junk Food Substitutes?

Retailers make it so easy to buy junk food. They put right near the check out counter where you have to see it as you wait in line. Just turn on the TV and you’ll see manufacturers touting the flavor and fun of junk food. Everyone knows junk food is bad for your health, but unless you have junk food substitutes readily available, you’ll fall for their gimmicks every time. What are delicious alternatives to these foods that are easy to carry and easy to make? That’s the key to fighting the habit of being a junk food junky, having a plan that’s easy to follow.

The quickest and easiest is to go with whole food.

Grab an apple or a tangerine for a snack. That’s super easy and fills your need for sweets. (If you’re a sugar addict, don’t expect that craving to go away immediately, but choosing fresh fruit will help soothe that beast.) Try a handful of nuts. Veggies with a Greek yogurt and herb dip are also good snacks that are easy. You can also make a great hummus dip that’s healthy, too.

Try some homemade chips for a change.

Do you want a superfood chip? Try beet chips for more nutrients and fewer calories. Thinly sliced beets tossed with a light coat of olive oil, rosemary, pepper and sea salt, then baked at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes in an oven or air fryer is a great snack. You can mix garlic, olive oil, rosemary and sea salt together and brush it on sweet potato chips before baking at 400 degrees for ten minutes for another type of chip. There are loads of baked vegetable alternatives for potato chips that are healthier, but remember, they too must be eaten in moderation.

Homemade cold sweet treats.

Have you ever tried banana mash ice cream? It’s delicious and really creamy. It’s also simple to make. Just cut a sweet ripe banana into small round slices, freeze them in a plastic bag overnight and put those in the blender the next day. Pulse until you have an ice creamy looking substance and eat it immediately or keep it for later in a tight freezer container. You can add other ingredients like cinnamon, cocoa or peanut butter for different flavors. You can also freeze a half a banana on a Popsicle stick and dip it in dark chocolate for a treat.

  • Fruit mixed with yogurt or apple juice and then frozen in Popsicle molds are also a good summer treat that increases nutrition with no added sugar.
  • What you drink is also a snack if it’s laden with sugar. Replace that soft drink with water or for a real treat, infused water. My favorite infused water is orange and lime.
  • Get creative when it comes to snacks. Another summer favorite of mine is frozen grapes. Just wash them thoroughly, dry and freeze on a tray then transfer them to a freezer bag for a ready to eat snack everyone will love.
  • A go-to snack that’s delicious any time of the year is plain Greek yogurt with berries. I love blueberries or dark cherries in mine. I buy the frozen cherries to save time pitting and then mush them up in the yogurt until it’s a beautiful pink color.

For more information, contact Evolution Lifestyle Fitness

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Have You Tried Veggie Pasta Yet?

You hear a lot about veggie pasta today. What you don’t hear is whether it’s better for you or not. There are two types of veggie pasta. One is the type you find on the grocery shelf that is regular pasta that’s enriched with vegetables. It’s slightly lower in carbohydrates and calories and has a bit more vitamin A and protein. The second type of veggie pasta is real vegetables that you substitute for pasta. While the prepackaged vegetable pasta is slightly better for you than regular pasta, true vegetable pasta, where vegetables replace pasta altogether is the best.

Check out the vegetable pasta or whole wheat pasta.

For a long time, there was only regular pasta and whole grain pasta. Now there’s a whole collection of vegetable packed alternatives that provide a rainbow of color. While that color does make noodle salads more interesting, does it actually provide more nutrition? To find that out, you have to read the label to see what’s highest on the ingredient list. If you check out a bean based pasta, it should be at the top of the list. Refined flour isn’t one of the ingredients you want to find high on the list whether it’s a spinach pasta or whole wheat pasta. Eating some of these pastas with added vegetables is similar to eating regular pasta, but with a more colorful appearance.

Try a real veggie pasta, like vegetable spaghetti.

Have you ever tried a true vegetable alternative to pasta. If you haven’t, the easiest place to start is with spaghetti squash, also known as vegetable spaghetti. It’s extremely good whether you cover it with tomato sauce or just a touch of butter and garlic. Spiralizers let you make your own veggie noodles from broccoli stems, zucchini, butternut squash and parsnips, to mention a few. Eggplant and zucchini both substitute for noodles in lasagna, while cutting the calories significantly. They don’t require a spiralizer either.

Play around with recipes to find ones that taste great.

Even if you hate to cook, playing around with the spiralizer is fun. You can try out different vegetable substitutes and if you don’t like them, don’t make them again. For those not ready to invest, try out recipes that don’t require a spiralizer, like vegetable spaghetti or zucchini lasagna. Don’t make a large amount the first time. Just make enough for a serving for each person. That way, there are no leftovers if you hate it or your family does. You’ll be adding extra fiber and vegetables to your diet and eliminating some refined flour. One client does a mix and match, using half of the regular whole wheat pasta and half vegetable pasta.

  • There’s a ton of alternatives to regular pasta, including Shirataki noodles that are made from yams. Finding the type your family will eat is a top priority. No matter how healthy something is, if you or your family doesn’t eat it, it’s not healthy for you.
  • One great benefit of using the spiralizer to make noodles is that kids love to help. When they help make the noodles, the chances of them eating them increases dramatically.
  • Always read the label when you buy packaged veggie noodles. Make sure it has more than just a sprinkle of vegetable powder in the noodle mix.
  • You’re always better off eating whole foods, than depending on boxed or processed food. You can make spiralized noodles and freeze them ahead for later use, which adds to ease.

For more information, contact Evolution Lifestyle Fitness