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POPSUGAR Fitness inspires readers to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle with news and tips on exercise, eating, gear, and more!

Published: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:03:38 -0700

Copyright: Copyright 1976-2017 POPSUGAR Inc. All rights reserved.

Here's Why Weightlifting Is the Key to Weight Loss

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:20:07 -0700



Contrary to what you might think, lifting weights doesn't lead to gained weight (generally speaking). In fact, strength and resistance training will most definitely help you slim down and change the shape of your body.

Many women are scared to grab heavy dumbbells in class or at the gym for fear of looking bulky or muscular, but the truth is, over time, weight training can seriously impact weight loss - just as much if not more so than cardio can. In fact, there are weight-loss benefits beyond the scale. Here are some reasons to start lifting heavy - stat.

  • It boosts your metabolism. When you lift weights or strength train, you gain more muscle. "Muscle uses more energy and thus burns more calories than fat," said Nicole Aurigemma, physiologist at the Penn State Muscle Biology Lab. This also means you'll have "a slightly higher resting metabolic rate, meaning that your metabolism is increasing with training."
  • You'll lose fat. Long-term resistance training "can lead to the decreases in adipose tissue (fat), which can also contribute to weight loss," Aurigemma said.
  • It'll help you slim down. Trying to get that long, lean look? Weights can help. Have you ever seen a pound of muscle compared to a pound of fat? (Go on, google it.) It's MUCH leaner. Check out how Adrienne Osuna transformed her entire body and slimmed down with power lifting.
  • It can change your shape. Trainer Tia Falcone, who helped Miss America 2013 lose over 50 pounds, said, "You're not going to change the shape of your body [with cardio], you're just going to be exactly like you are but you'll be a smaller version. All your flaws will be the same, everything will just be smaller." Want to change your shape? Lift weights.
  • You'll burn more calories. Especially if you're using your legs - those muscle groups are calorie-burning powerhouses! Aurigemma said to "remember that protein synthesis is ramped up significantly four hours after your resistance exercise, and it's maintained up to 24 hours," meaning "you will continue to burn calories even after exercise."

Keep in mind that "weight loss" might not necessarily correlate to a number on a scale; you might look leaner and slimmer (like Adrienne), but the scale won't budge. That's OK! Judge your progress by how you look and feel (and how your clothes fit) vs. the scale to have a better indicator.

A Twist on Lemon Water That Can Help You Hit Your Weight-Loss Goals

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:20:06 -0700


Heard drinking hot lemon water can help you drop pounds? And also heard that grapefruit can help you lose weight? Put the two together by sipping on this twist of the classic lemon water: cut up a few wedges of grapefruit and squeeze the juice into your water (hot or cold), or place a couple thin slices into your glass.


While grapefruit water itself isn't a magic weight-loss elixir, the fruit is a low-cal way to add vibrant flavor to H2O. So if you choose it over a glass of juice or fancy Starbucks coffee, it can save you a hundred calories or more, which adds up over time. Grapefruit is also considered a fat-burning food that can kick-start metabolism and curb cravings.

Experts Share the Perfect Snack For Maximum Weight Loss

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:05:00 -0700

It's not just for preschoolers! Snack time is important for adults, too, because it can satiate hunger between meals to prevent overeating and help you lose weight. Snacks can also be a way to get valuable nutrients you're missing from meals alone. But not all snacks are good ones. We've enlisted the expertise of two nutritionists - Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition - to share the perfect equation for how to choose a delicious and filling snack that will help you reach your weight-loss goals. Follow their advice below to start seeing results. Calories Aim for two 150-calorie snacks each day. Think of them as ways to fill nutrition holes in your diet, such as getting your fill of fiber or a boost of calcium. Carbs Anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of your calories at snack time should come from carbs, which works out to 14 to 20 grams. Choose high-fiber carbs such as fruit, whole grains, and starchy veggies like peas, corn, sweet potato, pumpkin, and Winter squash. Carbohydrates that are naturally high in fiber tend to be less refined and processed and also typically yield a larger portion size for fewer calories, making them more satisfying. Protein Go for six to 10 grams of protein, which is 15 to 20 percent of your total snack calories. Protein is essential in order to make what you nosh on feel more satisfying. Protein also helps to even out the rate that carbohydrates enter your bloodstream, so if you eat a snack that's low in protein, a spike in your blood sugar levels could result in stronger cravings and the need to munch on more. Related77 Snacks to Satisfy Hunger, All Under 150 Calories Fats Far should constitute 30 to 40 percent of your snack's calories, which works out to between six and 10 grams. Including healthy fats also adds to the "I feel satisfied" feeling. The one thing to watch out for is portion size, since fats like nuts, seeds, and avocado tend to be high in calories. Fiber Getting enough fiber in your snack - at least three grams - is a must to not only help you feel satiated for longer, but to also help you reach your daily goal of 25 grams. Getting your fill of fiber will ensure you stay regular, which can help you avoid that bloated feeling, making you feel more energetic. It can also help maintain stable blood sugar levels, which keeps cravings at bay. Sugars Aim for no more than 10 grams of total sugar and no more than four grams of added sugar (one teaspoon of honey, sugar, or maple syrup). Timing Most people like to include their two 150-calorie snacks between their three main meals, so one in the late morning and one in the late afternoon. A good rule of thumb is to eat every couple of hours, so find the schedule that works for you. Maybe you eat a later lunch and an earlier dinner so an afternoon snack isn't necessary but a bedtime snack is. Remember that experiencing a little hunger is OK, but snacking can prevent that famished feeling that makes people overeat. And eating late at night won't cause weight gain, but overdoing it on your daily calorie intake will. If you know you like to eat a little something before bed, make sure you save 150 calories in order to stick to your daily limit. Eating and Working Out If you're grabbing a pre-workout snack, aim for a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. After a workout, go for a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein. A banana with some nut butter or a small smoothie is a great option. For workouts that are an hour or shorter, don't stress too much about getting the exact amount. As long as your snack includes a combo of carbs, protein, and healthy fats, and is under 150 calories, you're good! Generally it's good to enjoy a pre-workout snack 30 to 90 minutes before a workout, but eating beforehand isn't a necessity. Some people prefer working out on an empty stomach, so do what's right for you. Then refuel with a post-workout snack within 30 to 60 minutes. RelatedEasy 150-Calorie Snacks - They're All Completely Vegan! A Few Examples of Snacks The above info would m[...]

Start Losing Weight Now With These 100 Tips

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:50:00 -0700


Losing weight is a journey made up of a million healthy choices we make each day. So keep these 100 tips in mind to continue on that healthy path, little by little.

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Jenny Craig (Including If It Actually Works)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:20:03 -0700

So you're researching diets, looking for weight-loss solutions, and evaluating your options. A program you've definitely heard of, but may not know the logistics of: Jenny Craig. We've all seen the commercials, heard the jingles, and maybe have even had a relative who's done this diet - but how does it work? We chatted with registered dietitian nutritionist Lisa Talamini, senior science expert at Jenny Craig via email to get the scoop. She told POPSUGAR that "the program takes a holistic approach to weight loss and weight management, focusing on food, body, and mind." So the goal is weight loss, and the tools are preplanned meals and expert coaching. Let's break it down! RelatedAfter Ditching Yo-Yo Diets, Angela Lost 75 Pounds With Jenny Craig The Food This is the premise of the program: the diet. Or rather we should say, the food (which tastes fantastic, according to the very high ratings from US News and World Report). Jenny Craig premade meals - which range in price but start at $3 each - are how members lose weight on the program. Here's the gist of it. You eat often. Members eat six times a day - three main meals with three snacks. You don't eliminate foods groups. There is no food group elimination, but a heavy emphasis on the Jenny Craig meals. "Jenny Craig entrees are the basis of every meal," said Talamini. "Members add in their own fruits, vegetables, and dairy for balance and variety." NO calorie counting! Hallelujah, right? There is no calorie counting or macro counting on Jenny Craig. The food is dietitian-approved. "The Jenny Craig menus are designed by RDs to meet national guidelines," said Talamini. When eating on the JC plan, members eat foods with "less than 10 percent saturated fat and less than 10 percent added sugar calories," in addition to unlimited amounts of "non-starchy vegetables [i.e., celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli], and low-calorie condiments and flavor enhancers that add satisfaction, flavor, and heart-healthy benefits." You're not locked into these meals forever. The goal isn't to keep you on Jenny Craig food permanently - it's a tool to help you reach your weight-loss goal. Talalmani told POPSUGAR "While members during the weight-loss part of the program are encouraged to follow their plan to obtain the best results, as the member approaches their goal, they are encouraged to start eating more of their own foods. Their consultant works with them on healthy meal planning and food preparation, as well as strategies for dining out and managing social situations. The goal is to develop a healthy, sustainable, enjoyable lifestyle." RelatedThinking of Trying Weight Watchers? Here's Exactly How (and Why) It Works The Coaching So you've got the food, but now you need a little bit of help and guidance. This is the second part of the program, and just as crucial as the meals: the consultants. "The Jenny Craig program offers a personal consultant who provides support and behavioral skills for developing a healthy relationship with food, while the Jenny Craig menus act as a guide for members to right size their portions," said Talamini. These consultants go through rigorous, "intensive training," according to Talamini, which "focuses on active listening, motivation-based counseling, and education on basic nutrition, physical activity, and behavioral strategies for weight management and lifestyle change." This education is paramount for equipping Jenny Craig dieters with information that can help them sustain their healthy lifestyle. Consultants educate members on how to combine their premade, precalculated Jenny Craig meals and snacks with what the brand calls "Fresh and Free Additions" (read: high volume, low calorie) that are "rich in water and fiber to keep them feeling full longer with fewer calories." A post shared by Tanvi • (@tanviidotcom) on Mar 10, 2017 at 6:00am PST Losing Weight With Jenny Craig It's not just marketing and catchy jingles: Jenny Craig is [...]

Major Weight-Loss Victories That Have Nothing to Do With a Scale

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:35:15 -0700

When we interview women for before-and-after weight-loss stories, our favorite question to ask has nothing to do with diet or exercise. In fact, it's: "What was the first big difference - other than the number on the scale - that really made you feel proud and excited?" These nonscale victories paint an incredibly powerful picture about a woman's journey - where she's come from, what she's gone through, and oftentimes the little things we can all take for granted. You don't even need to be on a weight-loss journey to be inspired by these beautiful responses. Related3 Weight-Loss Success Stories That Prove the Scale Is Bogus So what is that big difference for these weight-loss champions? Eighteen women shared triumphant and vulnerable details about what their weight loss meant for them and how it has impacted their everyday lives. New Clothes "I've always been big - even in high school I was wearing size-18 pants. I think the moment I wriggled into a size 16 was my first big, proud moment. I now wear size 8!" - Sarah Thornton "The first nonscale victory for me was being able to shop in the regular-size section at the store. I was so excited being able to buy my first size-16 pants!" - Rachelle Hosick "Being able to fit into clothes that I never thought I'd fit into again . . . it's a surreal feeling." "Being able to fit into clothes that I never thought I'd fit into again . . . it's a surreal feeling. I vividly recall trying on a dress again that hadn't fit in years and finding that it was way too big. I was drowning in it. And I just looked at myself in the mirror and broke down in tears. I was so damn proud of myself; never did I imagine I would ever lose weight and get healthier. I never believed in myself until that moment. That was a very cathartic moment for me!" - Kaitlyn van Brunschot RelatedAdrienne's Dramatic Before and After Is a Total "Eff You" to the Scale "I think every woman has clothes in their closest that are a size or two too small that we're hoping to fit into 'one day.' I had this pair of shorts my 'skinny' friend gave me as a hand-me-down. When I began my weight-loss journey, I would look at them and think, 'These are so small; I can't imagine ever fitting into them!' After being on Jenny Craig for a while, I finally had the courage to try them on. They fit perfectly! That was so exciting!" - Angela Estrada Budding Confidence "My life has been transformed dramatically. People tell me that on the outside, I am the person who I always was inside. I am happier, more vibrant, more engaged in all aspects in life. I believe in myself and I am empowered to develop more areas of my life. I am more active with my family and am open to new experiences . . . ones that I felt were closed off to me prior." - Esther Hollander "The biggest thing for me has been the mental change. That's what I am most proud of. I was always intimidated to try anything new, or even ashamed, and had the mentality that I could never do something or wasn't strong enough to even try. I've proven myself wrong so many times now that my mindset has completely shifted to 'why not?' and now I LOVE pushing my limits and finding new ways to challenge myself. I was holding myself back and didn't even realize it!" - Jessica Forseth "Weight loss has dramatically changed every aspect of my life. I feel so much better: I'm happier, more confident, and a lot healthier. I am more confident now and, because of that, applied for my dream job as a behavioral therapist and have been doing that now for 10 months now. I am more confident in myself and can now wear clothes that I always wanted to." - Amber Anderson RelatedA Doctor Told Us to Throw Away Our Scales If We Want to Lose Weight: Here's Why "It was the confidence I gained while losing weight. Not only did I feel so much better and more alive, but I also started to love how I looked as a result. My skin was glowing, I was smiling more, and I started enjoying clo[...]

The 30-Day, 100-Rep Squat Challenge!

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:20:03 -0700

This squat challenge will make you fitter, stronger, and sporting the best butt of your life! Are you ready to get your rep on? This 30-day challenge is going to help you build up to being able to do 100 squats in one workout. Don't think it's possible? It is, and after the burn and the effort, you're going to love tagging us with your success online. Squats are a compound exercise, which means they work multiple muscles at the same time. Why is this important? Simple. It adds extra calorie burn and reduces the need for multiple isolation exercises that force you to spend more time in the gym. Related3 Things You Need to Be Focusing on If You Want to Up Your Fitness Game In order to get to the result of 100 squats in one workout, we're going to throw in a few variations of the basic squat along the way so you can hit this level. This will ensure you are working every muscle in your lower body, in every different way. Plus, it will keep you from getting bored from doing just one exercise over and over. We consulted with certified personal trainer Heather Neff, who selected the following three variations of squats you'll be performing in this progressive plan. Here's how to do them. Basic Squat Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, eyes facing forward, shoulders back, and chest out. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows, clasp the fingers, or hold your arms up. With a slight bend at the knees, send your hips back as if you are about to sit in a chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend. Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, pressing your weight back into your heels. Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position to complete one rep. Sumo Squat Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Bend your knees, lowering your hips deeply, so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your weight back in your heels. Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most from the exercise. This completes one rep. Jump Squat Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. This entire movement should be done in one smooth motion. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control. The Challenge By adding three different types of squats to this challenge, it won't just give you good variety, but it will also work and challenge your muscles to grow and become stronger. Here's Neff's workout to get you to 100 squats! DAY OF MONTH TYPE OF SQUAT AND NUMBER OF SETS Day 1 2 sets of 5 Regular Squats 2 sets of 5 Sumo Squats 1 set of 5 Jump Squats Day 2 2 sets of 5 Regular Squats 2 sets of 5 Sumo Squats 1 set of 5 Jump Squats Day 3 2 sets of 5 Regular Squats 2 sets of 5 Sumo Squats 1 set of 5 Jump Squats Day 4 2 sets of 5 Regular Squats 2 sets of 5 Sumo Squats 1 set of 5 Jump Squats Day 5 2 sets of 5 Regular Squats 2 sets of 5 Sumo Squats 1 set of 5 Jump Squats Day 6 Rest Day 7 Rest Day 8 Rest Day 9 2 sets of 10 Regular Squats 2 sets of 10 Sumo Squats 2 sets of 5 Jump Squats Day 10 2 sets of 10 Regular Squats 2 sets of 10 Sumo Squats 2 sets of 5 Jump Squats Day 11 2 sets of 10 Regular Squats 2 sets of 10 Sumo Squats 2 sets of 5 Jump Squats Day 12 2 sets of 10 Regular Squats 2 sets of 10 Sumo Squats 2 sets of 5 Jump Squats Day 13 2 sets of 10 Regular Squats 2 sets of 10 Sumo Squats[...]

This Trick Helped Me Finally Get Healthy and Lose Weight in My 50s

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:12:00 -0700

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell A couple of years ago, my doctor warned that my blood sugar levels had been consistently high for two consecutive years (one year is a possible anomaly, two years is a pattern). So high, she was worried that I was on the cusp of being prediabetic. I got the dreaded lecture, "You need to cut your sugar intake and lose some weight. You must exercise. Consistently." I had prioritized family and work while relegating my self-care to nights in front of a TV . . . now I faced the consequences. Back in the day, I used to be active: running, biking, swimming, Jazzercise (LOL), even kung fu (not kidding). But life - and TBH a touch of my own innate laziness - had sidetracked me. I had prioritized family and work while relegating my self-care to nights in front of a TV or cooking amazing desserts. I'm not abdicating; I made those choices, but now I faced the consequences. RelatedNew Runners: Here's Why You Should Run For Time, Not Distance Lucky for me, family and friends were ready to reintroduce me to a more active lifestyle. I started out slowly: walking, then hiking, and eventually working up to long-distance walks like half-marathons. I even joined a running group, San Diego's In Motion Fit, so I could improve my half-marathon walking speed. My daughter Dominique, a POPSUGAR Fitness editor, consistently championed my journey and encouraged me to push boundaries. A recent conversation went something like this: Me: "My blood sugar levels are improving, but I'm still not losing any weight." Dominique: "You have to do cardio." Me: "I'm walking and hiking." Dominique: "Get your heart rate up. Try running with your group instead of walking." Me: "I'll try." I lied. I wasn't going to try. I went to my Saturday group run with all my justifications lined up: a recent broken ankle, my chronic knee issues, an inability to keep up, it was too hot, it was too cold. You name it, I was prepared. And that is when I accidentally ended up running. Wait, you say . . . how does one "accidentally run"? Well, it's easy: I didn't want to be rude. In Motion Fit groups runners together by goal and by speed. I was with the half-marathoners in the 15-minute-mile group. That morning, I began talking to some women I thought were fellow walkers as we started walking that week's scheduled six-mile course. A couple of minutes in, they all began to run. As I was midconversation, I ran to keep up. And then they stopped. Whew, I was so relieved . . . the running was just a fluke. We walked for another minute, and they began to run again. Then walk. Then run, again. "What madness is this?" I questioned. Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Alicia Astorino The author (left) with her daughter after a half-marathon in San Francisco. "Oh, this is the Galloway method," someone said, laughing. "We run for 45 seconds and then we walk for 45 seconds." "For how long?" I asked. "For six miles." Related3 Reasons New Runners Should Sign Up For a Half-Marathon (It's Not as Crazy as You Think!) Well, as I said, I didn't want to be rude. And they weren't going that fast. I figured I could tolerate anything for 45 seconds. I would try it for one mile. Six miles later, I was incredulous. I hadn't run in 30 years, and I had just run-walked-run SIX miles. My health and fitness had just taken a turn for the better. I kept training with that group and I completed a half-marathon (13.1 miles) using the run-walk-run (RWR) method for the entire distance. RelatedHow My Mother Impacted the Way I See Myself The method is as straightforward as its name implies: run - then walk, then run - for short, timed intervals, over any distance. I use the Nike+ app to track distance and the HIIT timer in the Seconds Pro app to time the intervals. Recently, I ran into the person behind the RWR method at a Disney Half Mara[...]

This Is How Much Weight People Have Lost - You Have to See This Visual!

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 15:05:04 -0700


When you throw around a number, like "I've lost 20 pounds," or "I've dropped 50 pounds," it's hard to visualize exactly what that means. Check out these Instagram photos showing the equivalent of pounds lost compared to basic everyday objects. This is a great idea for staying motivated, to celebrate your victories, and to keep you inspired to reach your weight-loss goals.

Holy Crap, These 7 Metallic Nike Sneakers Are Really Freaking Fierce

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:20:03 -0700


We're looking to step up our sneaker game, and the best place to start is with a little shine. Metallic shoes are really hot right now, so we can't wait to incorporate them into our fitness wardrobe. Whether you prefer gold or silver, we found seven options that will catch your eye. You'll feel unstoppable in these kicks - take a look.

I Added These 6 Things to My Breakfast, and Now I'm Not Hungry Till Lunch

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:10:19 -0700

Breakfast was one of those things I never took too seriously. I would normally grab whatever was most convenient on my way out the door in the morning, and that was the extent of my morning meal. However, like clockwork, I became painfully hungry by 10 a.m., at which point I would either overeat or reach for the closest food I could get my hands on. I knew I had to change my breakfast game if I wanted to stay healthy. So I set out to revamp my outlook on breakfast, and by adding these six ingredients to my morning grub, I kept a clean diet for the rest of the day and kept off the extra weight. More Calories I used to be frightened of consuming too many calories in the morning, but putting small amounts of food into my belly in the morning only made me binge-eat later, so I chose to beef up the sheer amount of food I was eating every morning. Now I try to consume around 400 to 500 calories for breakfast, which usually comes in the form of a nutrition-packed green smoothie. Simply having all that sustenance in my body stops me from snacking before lunchtime rolls around. A Scoop of Coconut Oil There has been a lot of debate over coconut oil lately and whether it's good for you. But many experts say that when eaten in moderation along with a healthy diet, unrefined extra-virgin coconut oil can do great things for your weight-loss goals. The saturated fats in coconut oil differ from the saturated fats found in animal sources and are believed to be burned as fuel for your body rather than being stored as fat. By spreading a tablespoon on my sprouted toast or tossing it into my smoothie, I stay full for longer and feel more energetic. RelatedI Added These 4 Things to My Salad and Now I'm Not Hungry Till Dinner Chia Seeds Chia seeds are high in protein, fiber, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s and can be made in a variety of ways for breakfast. I like to soak two tablespoons of chia seeds in unsweetened almond milk overnight, which gives me a delicious chia pudding that has 11 grams of fiber and four grams of protein. I also add fresh fruit and some cinnamon, and it feels like a morning dessert! Avocado My smoothies have gotten a serious upgrade since I started adding in a quarter of an avocado, which has 3.4 grams of fiber. Avocado is a food that prevents bloating, curbs hunger, and makes you feel fuller in the long run. Plus, I can't think of anything that tastes better on morning toast. Dark Chocolate This sounds unconventional, but it's a weird (and tasty) trick that has been my saving grace. A study conducted at Tel Aviv University found that participants who ate a 600-calorie breakfast that included dessert lost, on average, 40 more pounds than those who ate a smaller, more restrictive breakfast. I can totally see why that's the case. There's something about indulging in the early morning that keeps me from wanting to mindlessly snack for the rest of the day. RelatedThe 11 Best Protein Powders You Can Buy Plant-Based Protein Powder Merely consuming more protein will help you stay fuller for longer, so I made it a priority to eat more in the morning. I never make a smoothie anymore without adding in one or two scoops of Garden of Life Sport Plant-Based Protein Powder, which has 30 grams of all-natural protein and only seven grams of carbs. It's a miracle worker that tastes decadent and fills my belly for the next several hours. [...]

The Easy Eating Formula For Getting Rid of Body Fat

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:05:03 -0700

If you feel soft in the middle, you can either thank your mother for inheriting her blessed genetic predisposition for belly flab or your sweet kiddos who were created there. Whatever the reason, if you'd much rather have a sleeker midsection, as a mom of two, I can totally relate. Although it's impossible to spot-reduce fat from specific areas, we've enlisted the help of Christmas Abbott, CrossFit competitor and author of The Badass Body Diet ($28), to help us ditch our pinch-more-than-an-inch tummies. As a formerly "skinny fat" woman who transformed her body through CrossFit and a dialed-in diet, Christmas understands how real women feel and also what they need to do to get the body they crave. "Food is your foundation, and fitness is the accessory," says Christmas. She believes that every meal and snack needs to embrace the macronutrient trifecta of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats to help reduce overall body fat, which will aid in reducing stubborn belly fat. RelatedThis Is the No. 1 Reason You're Not Losing Weight Christmas explains that all food can be categorized into a protein, a carbohydrate, or a fat. "You can't go wrong by dividing your plate into thirds and filling each section with a primo protein, primo carbohydrate, and primo fat." There are only two foods Christmas says to avoid - processed foods and alcohol - since these contribute to unwanted fat. If you want to know specifics about how many of each to eat, The Badass Body Diet outlines a diet plan based on your personal body type and goals. What about exercise? Short, high-intensity training sessions are proven to help reduce belly fat faster than steady-state cardio. Below are some great examples of this type of workout. 45-minute walk-run-sprint interval workout for beginners 10-minute HIIT video from celeb trainer Astrid McGuire 60-minute walk-jog workout 7-minute workout that targets belly fat 20-minute full-body HIIT video workout 30-minute pyramid interval workout for the treadmill Tush-toning interval workout with hill repeats And once the belly fat begins to dissolve, you'll want to reveal a carved, toned core with this 10-minute ab workout. Working out three times a week is great if you're starting out, then you can add additional days as your body becomes stronger. As a CrossFit competitor, Olympic lifter, and head trainer at CrossFit HQ, Christmas also makes a point that your workouts should be fun so you stick with them longer. Related3 Things to Help You Have a Tighter and More Toned Tummy [...]

The 5 Secrets Your Trainer Wishes They Could Tell You

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:30:10 -0700

For those of us who are addicted to group fitness or personal training, a good trainer is a vital part of our workout success. We rely on their expertise on our journey to better health. Sometimes a trainer may seem a little mystical or at least unrelatable to mere humans as we stumble our way through challenging routines, new exercises, and seemingly unending repetitions. As a fitness trainer, I see this relationship from both the consumer and the provider side, so I am here to let you in on some secrets that trainers wish they could tell you. We Aren't Looking at You At least, not in the way you worry about. We don't care what brand of workout clothes you are wearing, although we may ask you where you got your supercute leggings. And please believe me, we don't judge the size or shape anyone's body. You don't need to look like a fitness model to train with us, which is a good thing, because instructors come in all shapes and sizes too. We are all on the path together. The most important thing is not how any of us look but how working out makes us feel. Of course, physical transformation is a reasonable goal for putting in hard work, but hyperfocusing on appearance can distract you from the task at hand. Bottom line: we aren't mentally measuring whether your thighs are shrinking, so you shouldn't be either. RelatedA Trainer Gets Brutally Honest About Why You Aren't Seeing Results We Aren't Judging Your Level of Fitness If you are attending a group exercise class, we are watching the entire room. Our job is to take note of everyone's participation level and adjust our teaching in a holistic fashion. Our main concern is making sure your workout is safe and effective. We even may offer modifications during class to ensure your success and safety. We frankly don't have the time to spend on anything other than immediate, short-term assessments of a single person in group setting. So let go of your self-consciousness and just train as hard as you can. We Can Tell How Hard You're Working We know the physical signs and differences between someone digging in and giving their all versus someone just getting through. If you are working your hardest and are struggling, we are so on your side. We want you to finish those sets, those intervals, those reps. We want it for you as much as you do. When you push yourself, we notice and are there to help. And if you don't want to work that hard? We are still there for you. We will try to motivate and encourage you, but we can't supply the fire if it isn't there. You bring the fire, we'll keep it burning and maybe even throw a couple more logs on. We Want You to Be Careful With Your Expectations Whether your goal is to lose weight, get stronger, or improve a skill base, there is a direct link between the amount of time you put in and the results that you get. If you are looking for a total transformation, a few classes a week will not get you there. Fitness has to be your top priority, something you devote significant time to: at least 45-60 minutes a day, five days a week, and for several months. Your diet will likely have to change. And the intensity that you work out at will probably have to increase. Once you achieve your goals, maintenance is just shy of that amount of work, but the nutrition needs to stay the same (e.g., no jumping the kale ship for tater tot island once you finally get the abs you wanted). So please be mindful of what pressure you are putting on yourself. Look at your free time. Are you willing to allot most of that toward working out? Be honest: can you take the steps necessary in your diet to support your exercise work? These two decisions impact not just you but your loved ones, their time, and their tummies (ver[...]

This Low-Cal, Dairy-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust Will Blow Your Mind

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:20:03 -0700

Yes, we know - everyone is talking about cauliflower crust pizza because it's lower in carbs than traditional pizza dough made with flour. But if you're avoiding dairy or eggs, the basic cheesy crust is off limits. Now you can have cauliflower crust made without mozzarella or eggs, and this one is just as easy to make. Made with flaxmeal to replace the eggs, and almond meal to add a little protein, this crust is jam-packed with delicious basil, oregano, and garlic flavor - you could eat it on its own . . . it's that good! And because it's low in carbs, this is a pizza you can indulge in. RelatedMeet the Cauliflower Pizza That Blows Trader Joe's Out of the Water You won't get over how flavorful and bread-like this 218-calorie savory cauliflower crust pizza is - just note that this is more of a fork-and-knife pizza than one you'd pick up and bite into. And you'll definitely want to eat this right out of the oven, since the crust tends to get a little softer with time from the cauliflower soaking up the tomato sauce. The toppings shown are pretty basic, but get creative and add vegan mozzarella, sauté tofu, or tempeh, or go with a Mexican theme and top with black beans and corn. Although it takes an hour to make, it's totally worth your time and effort. Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust From Jenny Sugar, POPSUGAR Ingredients1/2 cup raw almonds 1 cauliflower head 3 tablespoons flaxmeal 9 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon ground rosemary 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 tablespoon olive oil Directions Place a piece of parchment paper onto a round pizza pan or cookie sheet and lightly oil. Set aside. Place almonds in a food processor and turn on until almond meal forms. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. No need to clean out the food processor. Place half the cauliflower florets in and turn on until finely chopped (smaller pieces than if you "riced" it). Transfer to a glass bowl, finely chop the rest of the cauliflower, and add that to the bowl as well. Microwave for 2 minutes. While the cauliflower is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the flaxmeal and water, and set aside. Give the cauliflower a stir and cook for another 90 seconds. While that's cooking, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the cauliflower is cooling, in a small bowl, mix together the oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic powder, and sea salt. Once the cauliflower is cool, place on a clean, dry dish towel and wring out the excess water. Squeeze out every last drop that you can. This step is super important as the less water there is, the crispier the crust. Return the cauliflower to the glass bowl and mix together with the almond meal, flax/water mixture, the spices, and the olive oil. Spoon out the dough onto the lightly oiled parchment paper and use the back of a metal spoon to flatten into a round or rectangular pizza crust so it's about one-quarter-inch thick. Bake for 25-30 minutes. While the crust is baking, place parchment paper over another pan and set aside. Since you have time, prep any toppings you plan on using for your pizza. I sautéed mushrooms and peppers. When the crust is firm to the touch and lightly browned, remove it from the oven and flip the pizza crust onto the other pan, carefully peeling the parchment paper from the crust. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add your toppings. Bake for another 5-10 minutes. Enjoy! Source: Calorie Count Information Category Main Dishes, Pizza Cuisine Italian Yield 1 crust; 6 pieces (3 servings) Cook Time 1 hour Nutrition Calories per serving [...]

Get Off the Treadmill! This 30-Minute Gym Sesh Actually Sculpts Your Butt

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:15:03 -0700



The treadmill is great and all, but if you really want to work that booty, the incline isn't gonna cut it. Let's maximize your gym time AND your backside with this 28-minute StairMaster routine from a personal trainer at Crunch Gym in San Francisco, Shannon McCourt. She created the "StairMaster Fat-Burning and Booty-Building Workout" just for you.

Repeat this circuit four times for a total of 28 minutes, taking a brief rest or sip of water between each set. Check out the video (below the workout instructions) to see Shannon show you how it's done. Side note: Shannon reminds you to "keep the weight in your heels!" to balance your body when you do any reverse steps on the StairMaster.

Time Speed Move
0:00-1:00 5-10 Forward standard steps
1:00-2:00 5-10 Left-side cross steps
2:00-3:00 5-10 Right-side cross steps
3:00-4:00 5-10 Reverse steps
4:00-5:00 1-3 Skip a step with glute kickback
5:00-6:00 1-3 Left-side step with leg raise
6:00-7:00 1-3 Right-side step with leg raise

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This Rowing Gym Is the Ultimate Total-Body Workout

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:30:12 -0700


Rowing is a great full-body workout, and in this episode of Hannahgram, we tag along as Hannah learns how to make the most out of working out with a rowing machine from the folks at CityRow.

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Tone Your Entire Body While You Brew Your Morning Coffee

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:45:15 -0700


You know those mornings when you ignore your alarm and sleep through your workout? All is not lost! If you're an addict a fan of pour-over coffee, you can turn your brewing ritual into a full-body workout. Don't just stand there waiting for gravity to pull the water through the grounds; grab a set of 10-pound weights and strength-train in your kitchen. I've been doing this workout at least once a week (yeah, about once a week I blow off my workout but I make up for it during my brew time), and it keeps you moving. And when you're done, you're rewarded with coffee!

Warm up while the water boils. No jumping needed! Plus, you don't want to wake your neighbors, roommates, partner, etc. Mix and match with moves like march with arms circles, walkouts, standing twists, leg swings, and shallow squats.

Use a set of five- to 10-pound dumbbells and do 10 reps of each exercise.

  • Squats with overhead press
  • Deadlift with upright row
  • Push-ups
  • Seated Russian twist
  • Side elbow plank with twist, 5 per side

I try to fit in a set with each pour - this might drag out the brewing process a bit, but we're multitasking here! I do about three pours per pot of coffee, so this turns into a three-set workout with mini breaks between sets.

Keep reading if you need a refresher for any of the moves.

Is Coffee Bad For You? Here Are the Facts, Straight From a Doctor

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:40:14 -0700

If you're like two-thirds of Americans, you probably started your day with at least one cup of coffee. After water, it's is the most commonly consumed beverage in the United States. But from a health perspective, coffee's reputation has been tenuous for decades, and the habit often draws criticism from wellness circles. The notion that a coffee-free lifestyle is health-promoting stems at least partially from '70s-era studies that linked coffee intake with higher rates of heart disease and certain cancers. But these associations were later debunked, after other researchers noted that the studies didn't account for unhealthy behaviors (like smoking) that were often associated with coffee drinking at the time. Related52 Healthy and Satisfying Breakfast Ideas Despite the release of higher-quality studies that paint a more benign (if not outright positive) picture of the coffee habit, many well-intentioned wellness gurus continue to urge the health-conscious set to give it up. Below, I review the ups and downs of coffee drinking and share my professional take as a doctor. The Good Evolving science over the past decade points to several coffee-related health benefits. In large studies, coffee drinkers appear to have a lower risk of type II diabetes, stroke, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers than non-coffee drinkers. Two new reports released in July found that coffee drinkers even have lower rates of death from any cause - including cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease - than people who don't drink coffee. Furthermore, those who drank two to three cups per day appeared to have a lower risk of death than those who drank just one. Coffee is actually the leading source of antioxidants in the typical American diet, likely because we drink so much of it. Studies like these must be interpreted with caution, however, because they only imply association, not causation. According to Darla Klokeid, MD, a family medicine physician at One Medical Group in Seattle, "Healthy individuals may be more likely to select or have access to coffee and other caffeinated beverages than less healthy individuals." In other words, the study may have selected for people who were healthier overall, which makes the task of determining whether coffee itself is a causative agent very difficult. Still, many experts say that a causative relationship between coffee and downstream health benefits is scientifically plausible, thanks to coffee's high antioxidant content. According to the American Chemical Society, coffee is actually the leading source of antioxidants in the typical American diet, likely because we drink so much of it. Though both regular and decaf coffee are antioxidant powerhouses, caffeinated coffee can provide additional perks. "Caffeine is known to have short-term benefits - it can increase concentration, mental energy, and alertness," said Klokeid. This may sound familiar to anyone who can't talk to another human in the morning without a cup or two. The Bad Coffee - with and without caffeine - is known to exacerbate gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), so if you get heartburn or stomach pain after drinking a cup, you should probably stay away. Those with trouble sleeping should also be wary; one study demonstrated that consuming caffeine even six hours before bedtime can have disruptive effects on sleep. As any java drinker can tell you, another downside is caffeine dependence. After skipping a morning cup, habitual drinkers tend to develop headaches, fatigue, and irritability. But only a minority of drinkers say that dependence makes them wa[...]

18 Healthy Dinners That Are 5 Ingredients or Less

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:40:03 -0700


We've all been there - the fridge is almost empty, the cupboard is gathering cobwebs, and that trip to the grocery store just keeps getting pushed back. In times like this, it's easy to reach for that bowl of microwavable mac 'n' cheese or order takeout, ultimately throwing any health-conscious decisions to the wind. But rest assured the following recipes all contain five ingredients or less and the varying contents of your spice cabinet and are as satisfying as they are healthy.

I Trained With Nina Dobrev For a Day - and She Kicked My Butt

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:59:02 -0700

What did I do when I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work out with Nina Dobrev? I took it. The star, who is the face of the Reebok x Les Mills collaboration, had promised an "epic workout adventure" complete with brunch, dinner, and a stay at the swanky William Vale. I was so excited (mainly to check out the hotel's rooftop bar - kidding, sort of) that I didn't think twice about what kind of workouts we would be doing. I'm on ClassPass, so I figured I'd breeze through (maybe even excel) at the two fitness sessions on the schedule, make some new friends, and then relax for the day. Well, I was wrong. Nina and our instructors James Thomas, Julea Cecil, and Lissa Bankston, kicked my butt. Our morning started on the hotel's roof with the Les Mills's BODYFLOW class, which was a mix of yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. The weather had hit 90-something degrees, I was sweating off my sunscreen, and I had already chugged two water bottles. I was slowly losing all motivation until I saw Nina from the corner of my eye. She had even brought her pup Maverick along for the experience. After making a quick introduction, Nina took her spot up front. RelatedNina Dobrev's Ab-Ready Moves The music began and the mood turned purposeful and calm. I still felt like I was being cooked inside an oven (it was hot!), but I also felt challenged by the bends and twists in the yoga sequence. We moved together in a sweaty unison and no one was shamed for making adjustments. Nina powered through the workout with us and even gathered "her squad" (what she called us) in the end for a celebratory photo. I'm the one doing the sorority squat in the front row. Post-workout, we all grabbed brunch together and then prepared for our second and final workout. It was Nina's favorite: Les Mills's GRIT, a 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class. We would be completing the session on a custom-built moving barge on New York's Hudson River. I scarfed down an extra lox bagel to mentally and physically prepare me for this unconventional class and prayed I wouldn't get seasick. After a fresh outfit change and a quick boat ride from the pier, I climbed aboard the barge, took some 'grams, and was greeted with a row of individual steps complete with a barbell. The amazing 360-views of New York, river breeze, and pumping playlist (tip: add "Awoo" by Sofi Tukker to your workout track) energized me as I loaded up my barbell with weights to begin a series of squats, lungs, donkey kicks, you name it. All the moves were aimed toward strengthening the body. I took breaks when I needed, but I also pushed myself harder than ever before. Because, how many chances does one get to work out on a barge? Related20 Minutes and Done! Full-Body HIIT Workout The water was thankfully calm that day, so none of us fell overboard, and by the end of the 30 minutes, we all made it through. Nina ran down the rows, giving us high-fives, and in that moment, I realized how awesome it was for her, a celebrity, to not give a sh*t about how sweaty she looked or tired she felt. She served as our motivator and partner in both workouts, not once complaining. I worked up the nerve to ask her for a post-workout photo and we chatted about how my eyeliner hadn't budged the entire day. You know, girl talk. Although both my workouts were more challenging than I anticipated, I felt invigorated, happy, and tired by the end of day. (FYI: I had the best sleep that night.) I felt a sense of accomplishment after the struggle and I was glad to know Nina was in [...]

Gear Up For Summer Fun With Our July Must Haves

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:55:02 -0700


Whether you're road tripping around the country or your county, here are some things to keep you fit, healthy, and happy on your Summer adventures both big and small.

20 Inspiring Fitness 'Grams From #BlackGirlsWorkOutToo

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:11:02 -0700


Within many of the popular fitness hashtags and social media communities, women of color are drastically underrepresented. But thousands of women are aiming to change that with the hashtag #BlackGirlsWorkOutToo. It's a community of black women in fitness, motivating and inspiring followers, friends, and newbies in the world of exercise and wellness on Instagram.

Today we're highlighting some of the incredible fitness check-ins we found through #BlackGirlsWorkOutToo - these women are working so hard, and they deserve recognition! There are other tags, too - like #blackgirlfitspo and #ebonyfitness - where you can find even more inspiration.

Tighten Your Upper Arms With the Upright Row

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:55:02 -0700

Sizzling temps mean it's just too hot for sleeves. After all, your arms wouldn't mind a little time in the sun. To help your shoulders feel great when you slide off the sleeves, we've got one quick and easy exercise for you to do: the upright row! This classic arm-toning move doesn't just target the arms, it also tightens up the upper back. To help make sure you've got the form down and make the most of this move, we've enlisted the help of Youfit Health Clubs' Fitness Education Expert, Raphael Konforti, MS, CPT. How to do the upright row Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography Like every exercise, it's important to make sure you've got the form down pat. More than being safe, you'll make the most of your time exercising so you can get on with your busy day. According to Konforti, the upright row is an easy exercise to learn as long as you follow a couple key form cues. Here are his three tips. Start standing and hold a light barbell at your hips with a shoulder-width grip. Do your best to hold onto the bar without squeezing it too tight. It should feel like you're holding a glass of lemonade instead of juicing a lemon. Then start by lifting the elbows up toward your head - it's important to always lead with the elbows rather than the hands on this move. Exhale as the bar comes up, lifting till the bar reaches your collarbones and the elbows are up by your head. Then, slowly lower the bar back to starting position as you inhale. Again, the most important part to remember is to always lead with the elbows. You'll know if you're doing the move correctly if your elbows are always higher than your hands. When to do it Getting the form down is a great start, but knowing when to do the upright row is just as important. Pairing exercises is like picking out an outfit; everything should complement each other. Luckily you have plenty of options of how to do this move and what workouts to pair it with. Konforti's Trainer Tip: "There's plenty of flexibility when it comes to integrating the upright row into your workouts. Since it focuses on the arms and shoulders it's a no-brainer to add to any arm or upper-body workout - it's even great for full-body workouts. As a compound exercise (more than one joint moves at a time, in this case the elbows and shoulders) it can really be placed anywhere within a workout. Usually upright row works best as a finisher at the end of a workout. Or add it to the middle before you do any isolation work on specific body parts and after your other big exercises like push-ups or overhead presses have been done." RelatedSculpt and Strengthen Your Arms With This 3-Week Challenge Now we know when to do it, but how many sets and reps should you do? "Three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions is ideal. It's important that the weight feels challenging at the end, but it shouldn't be so heavy that you can't reach 10 reps," Konforti recommended. What equipment should you use? This move is very versatile, making it easy to do at any gym, even if it's your home gym that's equipped with more remotes than weights. You can really do this exercise with whatever equipment you have available. Most people prefer to do this move with a bar because the motion is easy to master and it allows you to find a comfortable grip. According to Konforti: "You can absolutely do this move with a kettlebell as well; it's actually a great way to build up to more complex kettlebell moves. Dumbbells are always in as well. Tr[...]

5-Minute Standing Ab Workout For Your Strongest Core Ever

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:25:03 -0700


Get ready to rock your core five-minute workout that helps tighten your middle while also sculpting definition. Best of all, the moves are done standing - no crunches needed! Press play, grab a set of weights, and get ready to tone. If you want a longer workout, we have a 10-minute standing ab workout for you, too.

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