Have you been skipping the gym lately? No judgment: So you overdid it on gingerbread lattes at Starbucks or grabbed too many fast-food meals after marathon shopping trips? No biggie—as long as you stay active in other ways. "A lot of people skip workouts completely when the holidays get busy and promise they’ll exercise in January,” says Mike Donavanik, a personal trainer in Los Angeles. “But it’s that much harder to motivate when you’ve skipped the gym for two-plus weeks.” While you don’t have to maintain your exact same exercise routine, keeping your body in motion will help you balance out the indulgences and start the year strong. To help you do that on the quick, we’ve rounded up a dozen research-backed ways to get more out of your workouts and improve your metabolism to boot.
Most people are familiar with calories but few know exactly what they are. Calories are units of measure assigned to foods to show how much energy it contains. Your body expends a certain number of calories as energy everyday. If you consume more calories than you expend, the excess will be stored as body fat. If you consume less than you expend everyday your body will have to use stored body fat to meet energy needs.
Fitness and lifestyle coach Marci Nevin (@marcinevin on Instagram) posted nine simple, easy-to-follow eating tips to lose fat without the tediousness of having to count calories. She said that while counting calories ensures more accuracy in knowing if you're reaching your calorie goal, calorie counting isn't for everyone. Here's how you can still shed body fat "without meticulously counting every calorie."
It's easy to overdo it when you're eating something delicious — and that's why it's good to focus on foods that will force you to slow down. "Slowing down can help you check in with your hunger levels. For that reason, I love snacking on 100-calorie packs of in-shell pistachios," Gorin says. "Shelling the pistachios helps you slow down your snacking, and the shells leave a visual cue to remind you of how much you've eaten. Because you're more in tune with what's gone into your mouth, you may be less likely to have extra servings." In one preliminary study, people snacking on in-shell pistachios ate 41% less calories than those who ate the shelled version.
Carbs. Carbs cause insulin release which, as we now know, is a double edged sword. The important thing is to consume carbs at times of the day where they will be most useful and will be less likely to inhibit fat loss. The three times of the day where carbs must be consumed are the pre-training meal, post-training shake, and the post-training meal. Here is how you should distribute your carbs among these meals.
Harley acknowledged that "jumping 1,000 steps per day each week can be daunting" and that not everyone is starting at 10,000 steps each day. If you're hovering somewhere closer to 5,000 steps daily, the goal is the same. Add 1,000 steps per day for week one, another 1,000 for week two, and so on until your new daily average is 4,000 steps above your start point.
So what have we learned, I gotta get to the point! After 5 years of triathlon training both he and I have been consistent with EARLY morning workouts. I mean 5:30 or 6am when you're working from home (and have no kids) better mean an emergency or dog has to potty! Granted running in the south is better early, we would still suffer through at 6pm if we had to! We now actually plan our days out and getting in the morning gym trip saves our busy evenings. We even manage to get up without one another to get those workouts in - and after spending 3 years beating ourselves up about countless alarm fails, we now push each other to make it happen - not to mention an early bed habit has helped. We are able to support each other when one has a great workout and sees a notch on the belt get looser - but also as a couple we can encourage one another when we decide to sleep in for an evening session or those shorts I'm holding on to just don't fit yet. I have worked to not beat him up over food or his attitude as I do myself, and I repeat Amanda's mantra "progress not perfection" at least once a day!
Good sleep hygiene can help. “Our ancestors needed to sleep when it was dark, quiet, and cool, Gillespie says. “That meant it was safe.” Despite technological advancements like heat and air conditioning, our bodies still crave those cave-like conditions. Draw the blinds, use a white noise generator, and keep the thermostat set between 63 and 68 degrees.
Find ways to reduce your stress. People under excess stress tend to make less healthy food choices, and they may also burn fat more slowly. Excessive stress is bad for your skin, it's bad for your sleep, it's bad for relationships — it's just bad overall. So find a healthy way to get rid of it! You’ll feel better no matter how much it helps you in losing body fat.
We’ve now arrived at tip number 16. If you’re still having trouble losing weight, despite following the 15 pieces of advice listed above, it might be a good idea to bring out the heavy artillery: optimal ketosis. Many people stalling at weight plateaus while on a low-carb diet have found optimal ketosis helpful. It’s what can melt the fat off once again.
We both agree, and me especially, that any group that has accountability (facebook, IG, live calls) far outweighs the "workout plan" almost anyone can pick up, try to start, and quickly fall off (though some super disciplined people make it work) but as with team sports, if you have other people rooting you on, picking you up when you miss a day/workout/meal and are actually checking in to see your progress, its like your own little fitness team. The facebook groups were full of people all working to achieve the same goals and there was only positive support from complete strangers. having Amanda and Brandon as the coaches was an added bonus. I get excited for each week or workouts, how to get creative with meals and not feel as though I'm depraving us AND how can I share what I'm doing to change my lifestyle with others.
The human body will process carbohydrates the same way first thing in the morning as it does right before bed. So feel free to eat some carbs before bed. It will not hinder your fat loss one bit. In fact, newer studies have even shown that consuming carbs before bed may even lead to a slightly higher metabolism, but further research is still needed on this subject.
2. Go to sleep earlier: A study in BMC Public Health found that people who racked up insufficient sleep on the reg were more likely to have a higher BMI. Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Chicago found that sleep loss causes decreased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity (those processes that cause your body to shuttle nutrients into fat cells instead of muscle cells) as well as elevated levels of ghrelin—the hunger hormone—and cortisol, the stress hormone that encourages your body to store fat. What’s more, the less you sleep, the less testosterone your body is able to produce. In short, skimping on sleep messes with all the hormones that help extra fat off your body—so hit the hay already. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night, more if you’re training hard because your body needs more time to repair and rest.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can't digest, and it helps regulate the body's use of sugar as it slowly passes through your digestive system. Increasing your daily fiber intake can result in greater satisfaction after meals, less blood-sugar spiking and crashing, and subsequent reductions in the amount of calories eaten for the rest of the day. When trying to trim belly fat, aim to get at least 25 grams of fiber in your diet each day. Foods that are rich in fiber include pulses, like lentils and beans; apples and pears, with the skin; nuts and seeds; and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Try this recipe for Tabbouleh with Chickpeas for a fiber-packed side dish or a one-dish dinner!
While it’s often assumed that bread is off-limits when you’re trying to lose belly fat, the right bread may actually expedite the process. Switching to sprouted bread can help out carb-lovers eager to get their fix without going up a belt size, thanks to the inulin content of sprouted grains. The results of a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reveal that found that pre-diabetic study subjects whose diets were supplemented with inulin shaved off more belly fat and total weight than those whose meal plans didn’t pack this healthy prebiotic fiber.