Why aren't you at your goal weight today? It's not like you started your fitness journey yesterday...this has been a goal that you've been working towards for years.
So why haven't you achieved it yet?
Now listed really closely to all the reasons that are popping into your mind right now. Grab a pen and paper and jot them down.
These reasons you're giving for failing to reach your goal are really very clever excuses. So clever that you convinced yourself that they were legit.
That's right. You're not at your ideal weight at this moment because you've given in to excuses.I can understand your frustration because those excuses that you cling to tend to be very convincing.
Now it's time to push your frustration aside and to really focus in on your goal. If you lose focus on your goal for even a second, excuses will take over – leaving you without progress and without the sweet satisfaction of accomplishment.
Here are the 3 Steps to Destroy Excuses...
Step One: Make A PlanThere's huge benefit to having a step-by-step plan when working toward a goal. Write out exactly how many times you'll exercise per week, for how long, and make a list of acceptable foods. This plan will be your follow-along-guide to arrive at your goal, so put a lot of thought into it.
Step Two: Have Accountability Your next insurance against excuses is to enlist as much accountability as possible. Try to find people who will actively check up on you (like me!) rather than people who aren't likely to follow up on your progress. Share your detailed plan with these accountability partners and explain the importance that your goal has for you.
Step Three: Set a DeadlineAll good things must come to an end, and so does the journey to your ideal body. How long should the process take? Well, that's up to your unique situation: 1) How much fat you have to lose, and 2) How hard you are willing to work to get there. Find a reasonable timeframe in which to accomplish your goal, then focus all your energy on meeting this deadline.
Most of us consider fruit to be healthy – something that we can enjoy without restraint. And while fresh fruit does contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, the market place has been flooded with "fruit products" that are sabotaging your fat loss results.
Is any product with the word "fruit" in the name a valid way to meet your fruit quota? Nope. Here's what I mean:
Problem Fruit #1: Juice
Fresh fruit juice can be wonderful. It has great flavor, great color, and good amounts of important vitamins and minerals. At least it does when it is actually fruit juice. Unfortunately, many drinks labeled as fruit juice, contain a very low amount of actual fruit juice. For these hardly-fruit fruit juices, sugar and water make up the bulk of the contents, robbing you of the important benefits of all-natural fruit juice and leaving you primed and ready to fill your fat cells.
Always keep fruit juice indulgences to a minimum, as even the fruit-only kind is loaded with simple sugars.
Problem Fruit #2: The Fruit SmoothieNow, now, don't get all up in arms. Smoothies have long been considered a healthy treat, but this often a misconception. It's not that all fruit smoothies are unhealthy. In fact, a smoothie can give you a big boost of vitamins and minerals that help you feel energetic and ready to face the day. However, it's very easy to add more sugar than is found in many desserts, losing all the healthy benefits and putting you at risk for fat storage.
To keep your smoothie lean and healthy, don't add ice cream or frozen yogurt, processed sweeteners, or other items that are high in sugar and filled with empty calories. Keep your smoothie nothing but fruit, ice, juice, yogurt, and a nice scoop of protein powder to ensure it is high on the health chart.
Problem Fruit #3: Fruit-Filled DessertsLots of desserts are based around fruit. Cheesecake, pie, and upside down cake just to name a few. Though most of these desserts are unhealthy, there are a few healthy fruit-based desserts to enjoy. Fruit parfait and fruit sorbet are usually lower in sugar and calories than most desserts. And if you just have to have your cake and eat it with berries too, a light angel food will do just fine. Just make sure the slice of cake is thin.
Problem Fruit #4: Fruit-Flavored CerealsHopefully eating bowl after bowl of fruity cereals that leave your milk pink and orange is only a problem for your kids. But if you're still hooked on cereals that claim to have some semblance of fruit, while being filled with added sugars and calories, it's time for a change. Yes, these cereals may taste good, but sugar-laden breakfast cereals are ruining your fitness results—even if they supposedly have real fruit flavors. Wean yourself from the fruity cereals by chopping some real fruit into a bowl of healthy, sugar-free, whole grain cereal.
Stick with the Real Deal. The best way to avoid unhealthy fruit flavored products is to only eat raw, whole fruits and avoid packaged fruit in any shape or form. This will keep you on track with your fitness and fat loss goal.
Don't forget that true fitness success comes from a combination of a consistent, challenging exercise routine coupled with a diet of wholesome, unprocessed foods.
So what's this Muffin Top Myth?
The belief that doing a magical ab exercise will shrink and flatten your waist, and will rid you of a muffin top.
Sorry, there's no such magical ab exercise.
In fact, all of the magical ab exercises in the world won't make a dent in your muffin top, as long as you continue with your current, unhealthy lifestyle.
The true belly-shrinking magic is found in improving your DIET and EXERCISE routine to promote fat loss from your entire body, including—but not limited to—your midsection.
Here's how to really get rid of that muffin top:
Shrink Your Belly Tip #1: Stop Eating Processed Foods
Everyone loves a good shortcut, right? Depends on where that shortcut takes you.
From now on I want you to think of processed foods as a shortcut to belly fat.
I wouldn't be surprised if future studies prove that the over-processing, chemical additives and high fructose corn syrup that are pumped into processed foods specifically adds fat around your belly.
If you want to shrink your belly then stay away from sugars, sodas, chemically altered fats, processed, packaged, fried and preserved foods.
Shrink Your Belly Tip #2: Eat Fresh, Whole Foods
Once you've cut the processed foods out of your diet, fill in the void with lots of fresh foods like:
- Green vegetables
- Whole, organic, seasonal fruits
- Lean, hormone-free, high quality meats
- Colorful organic veggies
- Nuts and seeds
I know this list of foods may seem boring at first, but if you stick with it long enough, you'll grow to love the tantalizing flavors of real food.
When your diet is filled with the foods listed above, your body will quickly shed pounds and lean out.
Shrink Your Belly Tip #3: Do Challenging Exercise
The absolute best way to lose your muffin top forever is with a consistent, progressive exercise program.
- Consistent: You should be exercising 3-5 times each week.
- Progressive: For truly awesome results, keep your body guessing with new exercises and increasing intensity.
A warm up is the act of preparing for an athletic event or workout by exercising or practicing for a short time beforehand. Warming up helps reduce your risk of injury and the aches and pains that come with exercise. The physiological reason to warm up is to assist your circulatory system in pumping oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. The idea is to increase circulation throughout the body in a gradual manner. A proper warm up safely prepares the body for the increased demands of exercise. Cold muscles do not absorb shock or impact as well, and are more susceptible to injury.
A warm-up helps you prepare both mentally and physically for exercise and reduces the chance of injury. During a warm up, any injury or illness you have can often be recognized, and further injury prevented. Other benefits of a proper warm up include:
- Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
- Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
- Prepares your muscles for stretching
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- Improved coordination and reaction times
Every workout should also include a cool down portion. This is especially important if you are engaging in strenuous forms of exercise that increase your heart rate and place heavy strain on your muscles.
A proper cool down is important for keeping you healthy. You don’t want to come to a sudden stop after running a marathon, cycling uphill or doing any other activity that has your heart pumping blood at high speeds. Skipping a cool down in these situations can sometimes lead to sudden dizziness. When you cool down properly, you help to resume normal breathing. A cool down will also help to reduce muscle soreness after a workout. You do not want lactic acid and toxins to lodge themselves in the muscles. When you stop abruptly after a strenuous workout, the likelihood of this occurrence is greater. A cool down portion will help to gradually push the lactic acid and other unwanted substances out of the muscles. This often helps to reduce soreness after your workout.
In general, the cool down portion of your workout will allow for the blood to circulate throughout your body. This is important for carrying important nutrients and oxygen to your muscles and cells, and assists in the growth and repair of muscles.
When designing the cool down portion of your workout, make sure that your level of activity is much less strenuous than the core of your workout.
A toned, lean stomach is the ultimate sign of a fitness plan that's working.
It's also one of the hardest things to achieve.
It's time that you forget everything you've heard about how to sculpt your abs. The truth is that crunches simply won't give you a six-pack. Ever.
Maybe you've given up on your abs after doing thousands of crunches only to see zero results. Doing crunches with the hope that it will turn your midsection into a washboard is to operate under the most widely held fitness myth. I'm talking about the spot reducing myth. Here's the truth: training one area of your body will not specifically burn fat from that area.
Even those who have heard that spot reducing is a myth often still train as if it is true. So here's the hard truth that you need to face: Doing crunches will not magically make your tummy shrink, it will not cause your muffin top to melt away, and it will not give you washboard abs.
Only a reduction in body fat will do that for you.
So want the secret to great abs? The secret to great abs is a combination of fat burning cardio, resistance training, and clean eating.
It is very possible for you to dramatically shape up your waistline before the holidays arrive. Yes, I'm talking to Y-O-U. Weight loss is not reserved only for the people you see on the Biggest Loser or on exercise equipment infomercials. You can do it too.
So is your current routine getting you closer to that six-pack, or have you simply been burning time? Answer the following two questions to find out...
How many times per week do you exercise? If you answered with anything less than 4 times a week then that's the first thing getting between you and streamline abs. What is a fat burning workout? A routine that incorporates intense cardiovascular training with challenging resistance training. Does this describe what you do?
I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace isn't a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely, not-a-drop-of-sweat 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that exercising smart allows you to dramatically increase your results while spending less time in the gym.
Cardio exercise is most beneficial when done at an effective level of intensity. This doesn't mean that you should be out gasping for air. It does mean that you need to dig down and push yourself. Every time.
Resistance training is the second vital part to a workout that burns fat. This means working your major muscle groups against resistance in a way that challenges you and stimulates your metabolism. The key here is to find the right intensity and to keep each muscle group guessing.
Do you eat clean?Diet is the number one reason that most people don't have great abs. If your diet is out of control then your abs will be too. To trim your waist, start by trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how hard you exercise.
- Don't eat too much. Do you know approximately how many calories you eat each day? The best way to find out is to record every single thing that you eat for a few days. Take those numbers and do an evaluation—feel free to recruit me to help out with this part. Together we'll come up with improvements for your diet and adjust your calories for maximum results.
- Cut out the junk. While this may seem obvious, your definition of "junk food" may need to be updated. Start with anything that contains sugar. Refined sugar is one of the biggest ingredients in the junk food world—it is found in soft drinks, blended coffee drinks, cookies, cakes, packaged snacks, and other sinfully sweet treats. Processed fat is another monster to avoid. As a rule of thumb, view all processed or refined items as junk food, and kick them to the curb.
- Eat when hungry. You've been told to never let your metabolism "crash" by going hours without eating, but it turns out that all-day snacking may be counter-productive. Instead of trying to schedule meals and snacks for certain times throughout your day go with how your body feels. If you are hungry then have a small, protein-based snack. If you aren't hungry then don't force a snack on yourself in the name of fueling your metabolism.
Now you know why simply doing crunches will not get you the abs of your dreams. While it is important to exercise your abs a couple of times a week, don't expect fat to fall of that area after thousands of crunches.
If you seriously want to flatten and sculpt your waist in time for the holidays then all you have to do is decide that you really want it. Commit to yourself. You deserve it.
If the number on your scale won't budge then read on for an explanation:
Possibility #1: You're Not Eating Enough Calories
This only happens in cases of severe calorie restriction, so don't take it as a license to eat whatever you'd like. When you're trying to drop a few pounds by eating next to nothing, it actually counteracts your efforts.
There's a base number of calories that you should be eating in order to maintain your proper bodily functions, including fat loss, so check with a doctor or nutritionist to make sure that you're eating enough.
Possibility #2: You're Eating Too Many Carbs
Processed carbs will promote fat storage quicker than you can say the alphabet backwards. Blood sugar and insulin levels always respond the same to processed carbs – whether those carbs are in the form of a FiberOne bar or a Twinkie.
You're fooling yourself, but not your scale, if you think processed carbs should be included in your fat loss diet.
Possibility #3: You're Doing Too Much Cardio If you're doing hours of steady-state cardio, it's gonna end up working against your fat loss efforts. All that cardio promotes the release of stress hormones in your body, which counteracts your ability to lose fat.
See me about designing your ideal exercise routine for maximum fat loss. I'll let you know how much cardio should be included in your routine.
Possibility #4: You're Not Getting Enough Sleep
You may not see the connection between your sleep patterns and the number on your scale, but it's there. Sleep patterns have an impact on your hormone levels, and hormones are a huge factor when it comes to losing fat.
Be sure to get a full eight hours of sleep each night to boost your fitness results.
Possibility #5: Your Snacks Have No Protein
Small, whole foods snacks throughout the day can help maintain your metabolism and encourage fat loss, but it all depends on what you're snacking on. Fruit-only snacks quickly break down to sugar, which causes insulin to be released and potential fat storage to occur, much like when you eat processed carbs. Sure, the fruit will make less of an impact than a candy bar, but you could be snacking smarter.
Only eat snacks that contain more protein than carbs, and also some fat. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels while also keeping hunger at bay longer.
Possibility #6: You Eat Diet Foods
I get it, you have a fat loss goal so it's tempting to fall into the trap of purchasing foods that claim to help dieters. The problem lies in the fact that these ‘diet' products have been highly processed and contain potentially harmful chemicals and artificial sweeteners that will confuse your hormones and promote fat storage.
The best diet strategy, when working towards a fitness goal, is to stick with real, fresh, whole foods. Steer clear of anything fake or processed.
Talk to 10 people and you'll get 10 different opinions on the best way to get fit.
One will tell you to attend an aerobics class. Another will swear by jogging. Yet another will tell you that dance and biking worked for them.
The truth is that there's really only one effective way to get fit.
Before I get into the details, it's important that we agree on the definition of 'fit'. Too often skinny is mistaken for fit, and that's not what you should strive for.
When someone is skinny, but has very little muscle tissue, they aren't truly fit.
Here's why skinny doesn't equal fit:
- Their body fat percentage will be higher than ideal—even though you won't see a lot of fat on them, if their muscle percentage is low then fat percentage will be higher.
- Their resting metabolism will be low, since little muscle is present to burn calories at rest.
- Their body won't be functionally strong, which will lead to injuries and frustrations.
So how does one get truly fit? It's this simple: Strength Training.
Strength training is when resistance is used to challenge your muscles in order to gain strength and endurance. You could do this with traditional weights, exercise bands, medicine balls, cable machines, sandbags, kettle bells or even just using your own body weight.
Regular strength training has the following side effects...
- Strength and muscle tone
- Cardiovascular capacity
- Speed, Agility and Flexibility
- Resistance to injury and disease
Many people who struggle with their weight feel powerless to cravings.
Have you ever experienced this? When the urge to eat something bad comes over so strongly that you feel you have no choice but to give in?
Then, when it's over, you feel awful that you've eaten all those calories and set yourself up for further weight gain. So you're good for a couple of days until another craving comes over you…and so the cycle repeats.
I'm here to tell you that you hold the power. And it's not as hard as you think.
Most of us have certain trigger foods that send our diets into a fiery tailspin. The plan is to identify your trigger foods and to replace these with more wholesome, real food substitutions in order to break the cycle.
What's a Trigger Food?
Trigger foods are foods that when eaten make you crave more of it, or cause you to eat more food in general. These foods are eaten out of habit, not out of hunger. Your trigger food is something you've probably said you feel addicted to. Most trigger foods are high calorie, processed and filled with carbs.
You'll know something is a trigger food when it's hard for you to stop eating it, even when you feel full.
Replace Your Trigger Foods
When you stop eating your trigger foods, the craving you feel for it gets weaker and weaker. To assist you through this transition use the ideas below to replace your processed trigger food with a healthier, real food option.
Trigger Food #1: Candy
Due to the high concentration of refined sugar, candy is one of the most addictive of trigger foods. If candy is a major part of your life, then start replacing it with unsweetened dried fruit. You'd be surprised how satisfying the natural sweetness of dried fruit can be. Try apples, pears, apricots, figs, and mango.
Trigger Food #2: Salty Snacks
Salty snacks are nearly all processed, refined and packed with simple carbs. Basically it's the perfect storm for weight gain. Fight the urge to rip open a bag of chips and instead make a batch of Baked Plantain Chips. See the recipe below.
Trigger Food #3: Sweet Drinks
Sodas made with high fructose corn syrup or coffee drinks made with simple syrup have one thing in common: loads of sugar. If drinks like this are part of your daily life, then you know first hand how addicting these can be. Start replacing these high-calorie, high-sugar drinks with zero calorie iced teas. Add a packet of zero-calorie stevia, made from the stevia plant, for sweetness.
Trigger Food #4: Fried Foods
It's common to have a weakness for fried foods. There's something about the texture, taste and fat content of fried foods that sends people into an eating frenzy. To eliminate this temptation, make your own homemade versions of your favorite fried foods by baking and then turning on your oven's high broil. For example, instead of commercially made French fries, cut a sweet potato into fries, toss with olive oil and bake at 425 degrees F for about 40 minutes, until crispy. The baked versions of your favorite fried foods have considerably fewer calories and you're less likely to stuff yourself with them.
Trigger Food #5: Baked Treats
Cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins and brownies are serious trigger foods. These are hard to avoid, since they are often shared socially at parties and celebrations. Make your own baked goods at home while replacing flour with almond flour and sugar with a touch of raw honey or stevia in the raw. These ingredient substitutions will make your baking lower in carbs and less addictive. However, keep in mind that baked goods are still baked goods and should be eaten as a treat in moderation.
Eating a healthy diet, free from trigger foods, is one side of the equation when it comes to getting into amazing shape. The other side is consistent, challenging exercise.
Step #1: Reduce Sugar. A very effective way to restart your results is to reel in your sugar intake. Inspect all of your food for added sugars and eliminate items that contain high calorie sweeteners. This means no sugar, corn syrup, honey or maple syrup.
If you've already eliminated processed sugars from your diet, and have still hit a plateau, then it's time to dig a little deeper by eliminating some of the natural sugars from your diet. Limit your intake of sweet fruits and eliminate dried fruits.
Step #2: Get More Sleep. We are supposed to get an average of eight hours of sleep each night. If you're not getting adequate amounts of rest, you're more likely to be hungry, overeat, and gain weight.
When you're tired, you don't feel like cooking a healthy meal, and you're more likely to opt for fast (fattening) food. Then your lack of energy causes you to skip your workouts. And to make matter worse, sleep deprivation causes your metabolism to slow down, slowing or reversing your results. To beat your plateau, make sleep a priority.
Step #3: Drink Only Water. To restart your results you'll need to make some changes. Sorry, but some of the changes aren't going to be fun. If you're one of the millions hooked on soda, alcohol, or other sweetened beverages, then your plateau will stay locked in place until you replace these drinks with water.
Keep in mind that your brain often confuses thirst with hunger. So at the first sign of hunger, don't grab a snack or calorie-filled drinks. Instead, grab a glass of water.
Step #4: Eat a Healthy Breakfast. But not just any breakfast. Your plateau-breaking breakfast should be low in carbs and high in protein. Try eggs, lean breakfast meats, a protein shake, or a mini-muffin made with almond flour.
Fitting breakfast into your busy morning may take some work, but research shows that the habit of eating a healthy breakfast is key to losing weight and keeping pounds off. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier to give yourself time to eat breakfast
Step #5: Increase Exercise Intensity. It's time to start taking your workouts more seriously. No more going through the motions, it's all-out for you. If you want to get back on track with your body transformation, and to keep the fat melting away, then increase the amount and intensity of your exercise routine.
For most people, this is the most difficult lifestyle change of all, but the benefits are enormous. Try to get 30 to 60 minutes of intense exercise on most days of the week. When exercise is a normal part of your everyday routine, you're more likely to stick with it, and your body will become slimmer and more toned.
You know what happens when the weather warms up?
People put on bathing suits.
Are you ready to bare it all on the beach? If not, no worries, there is still time. Follow these 12 steps to get your abs beach ready:
Step One: Do Some Burpees. Can burpees really help flatten your abs? You bet. Incorporate a few minutes of burpees into your workouts to burn extra calories and tighten your core.
Here's how to do a burpee: 1) Stand with feet shoulder width apart. 2) Drop to a squat with your hands on the ground. 3) Kick feet back while lowering into a push-up. 4) Return to squat position. 5) Jump up with arms overhead.
Step Two: Reduce Sodium. Did you know that salt causes water retention? Puffy skin is not going to make your abs look great in a bathing suit!
Take the time to pay attention to the sodium content of your food. Limit salt intake by not eating packaged foods and by putting down the salt shaker. Your six pack will thank you.
Step Three: Pick Up A Medicine Ball. Challenging the muscles of your core with resistance is a proven way to create a tighter midsection. The medicine ball is a wonderful tool to provide such resistance.
Do a sit-up holding a medicine ball at your chest then throw it to a partner as you raise your chest toward your knees; or hold a medicine ball with arms straight up in the air as you do crunches.
Step Four: Load Up On Fiber. Wonder how fiber could help you shed pounds and look great on the beach? It's actually quite simple.
High fiber foods are nutrient dense and low in calories. This means that you'll feel full from fewer calories, encouraging weight loss. Try these high fiber favorites: spinach, raspberries, pear (with skin), artichoke, peas, apples (with skin), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Check out the high-fiber recipe for pasta salad below.
Step Five: Crank Out Some V-Sits. One of the most problematic areas for women, when it comes to baring it all in a bathing suit, are the sides of your waist, or obliques. This is partly because the sides of your abs are not challenged with traditional crunches and sit-ups.
Enter the oblique V-Sits. Target that problematic, muffin-top area with this effective move. 1) Lie on your side with legs straight and hands behind your head. 2) Raise your arms and legs simultaneously, while exhaling and squeezing your obliques. 3) Repeat on the other side.
Step Six: Eat Lots Of Lean Protein. Don't be afraid to eat when you are on the get-great-abs-quickly plan. It is really important that you are nourishing your body with quality, lean protein in order to develop that six-pack.
Lean protein helps support muscle growth while controlling blood sugar – all important factors when it come to washboard abs. Good sources of protein include: chicken breast, ground turkey, egg whites, and grilled fish.
Step Seven: Do Some Hanging Leg Raises. Now it's time to target your lower abs, which are also a problem area for most. Traditional crunches and sit-ups neglect to strengthen and tighten the lower part of your abs, so a focused effort is required.
Hanging Leg Raises are one of the most effective ways to strengthen your abdominals. 1) Hang from pull-up bar with legs fully extended. 2) Exhale and drive your knees up toward your chest. 3) Inhale as you slowly lower your legs back down.
Step Eight: Stop Eating Sugar. If you only did this step, and skipped all the rest, your abs would look significantly flatter by summer. I can't emphasize enough how quickly sugar will cover your hard earned stomach muscles with a soft layer of fat.
Yes, sugar tastes good, but indulging in it causes your body to store layers of fat. Enjoy fresh fruit, rather than refined sugar. Once you stop eating sugar your body will no longer crave it, so don't give in to the initial cravings.
Step Nine: Do Some Mountain Climbers. Here's an exercise that is intensely cardiovascular while also working your core. Add these to your routine to really whittle down your waistline.
Here's how to do a Mountain Climber: 1) Get into push-up position. 2) Exhale as you alternately drive your knees in toward your chest, keeping your back flat.
Step Ten: Pass On The Grains. Sure, whole grains are being touted as essential to a healthy diet, but the truth is that you'll do just fine without them for a while. Even the heartiest wholegrain bread will encourage fat storage, so put down the breadbasket as you prepare for beach season.
Grains are full of insulin-spiking carbohydrates - the perfect combination for fattening you up. Learn to love grain-free meals that center around lean meats and vegetables.
Step Eleven: Do Some Sprints. High intensity bursts of cardio are a proven way to burn away layers of fat, so incorporate sprints into your exercise routine. If you haven't run for a while, take it easy as you start, and gradually increase the intensity of your sprints.
Run 60-90 second sprints in between resistance training sets to really kick your fat burning mechanism into high gear.
Step Twelve: Start A Professional Fitness Program. You wouldn't try to file corporate tax returns without the assistance of your CPA, so why would you attempt to transform your body without the help of a professional? ;) lol!