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5. Limit your consumption of sugar

Water is important in absolutely all aspects of fitness and nutrition and it’s surprising to a lot of people how key it is in burning fat. H20 is the medium in which most cellular activities occur, this includes the transport and burning of fat.

In addition to this, consuming a lot of calorie-free water can actually make you feel full meaning that you’re less likely to start snacking. Try to drink between 2 and 3 litres of water per day, it sounds like a lot but it’s a genuine difference maker.

Indeed, taking in simple carbs (sugars) prior to training does replenish liver glycogen stores and muscle, but too much sugar consumed at other times of the day will be stored up as fat. Of course we all need to satisfy our sweet tooth occasionally, sometimes a doughnut just hits the spot, but moderation is key, so limiting your intake of sugar to fresh fruit is advised most of the time.

Also, remember the amount of sugar that can be found in certain beverages like fruit juice, that’s a sneaky one. Try to replace sugary drinks with water, coffee or tea (with no added sugar… obviously.)

2. Reduce your intake of starchy carbs

Consuming a lot of starchy foods, like pasta, bread and rice (especially all at once) provides the body with more than it needs for glycogen stores and energy, anything that is left over will be stored up as fat.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA) revealed that when 69 overweight people were given a diet with a modest reduction in carbohydrates for eight weeks, they had 11% less deep abdominal fat than those given a lower-fat diet.

3. Get your five-a-day

It’s drilled into our head on a daily basis but it is an important part of staying healthy and burning fat. Vegetables are laced with nutrients, packing maximum nutritional value into minimal calories, leaving you more full on less calories.

Try to consume five servings a day of vegetables (not including fruit). It might sound like a lot but if you start working them into sandwiches, snacks and even junk food like burgers and pizza you can hit your quota with ease.

4. Don’t become overly reliant on fat burners

While fat burners do help to reduce body fat they will not counteract poor eating habits. If you are taking any fat-burning supplements it doesn’t mean that you can then hit the kebab shop three times a week, you still have to watch what you eat and exercise.

CRUNCH THE NUMBERS, TORCH THE FAT

Break out the calculator and determine the diet you need to gain the body you want.

[WEEKLY HOURS OF TRAINING INTENSITY] × TARGET BODY WEIGHT = DAILY CALORIES
 

1. Estimate how many hours a week you spend training.
This includes strength training and cardio as well as sports like pickup basketball or martial arts.

2. Pick your training intensity.
Give yourself an 11 if you always go all-out. If you do a mix of intensities, pick 10. If you’re training at a more casual pace, go with 9. Note: Use the Greyhound Formula if you’re age 35 or younger and struggle to gain weight. If that’s the case, rate your intensity on a scale of 11 to 13, with 13 being maximum intensity.

3. Choose your target body weight (TBW).
Select a weight you think you can reach in 6 months. If you’re aiming to maintain your current weight but trade fat for muscle, follow the Skinny-Fat Stan plan.

  • Add hours and intensity.
    Let’s say you spend 4 hours a week training at moderate intensity. This is your «activity multiplier.» Example: 4 10 = 14.
  • Estimate your daily calories.
    Multiply your activity multiplier by your TBW. So if your TBW is 180 pounds, this would be your formula: 180 × 14 = 2,520 calories.
  • Find your protein needs.
    Figure 1 gram of protein per pound of TBW. In this example, that’s 180 grams. Each gram of protein has 4 calories, so we have 720 calories.
  • Allocate your fat calories.
    If you like fat-rich foods (nut butters, avocado) more than starches, eat more fat. For example, moderate fat would be 0.5 gram per pound of TBW daily (90 grams). At 9 calories per gram, that’s 810 calories.
  • Figure out your carbs.
    So 720 protein calories plus 810 fat calories equals 1,530. Subtract that from 2,520 for 990 carb calories.

Get detailed meal plans for three different body weights and weight-loss goals with the Lean Muscle Diet Nutrition Plan. And don’t forget to buy the book now!

Myth: Behind-the-head lats pulls are more effective

Strength training results show up quicker than aerobic exercise. “It’s encouraging to start seeing enhanced definition fairly soon after working out at least twice a week for 30-45 minutes,» Rosenbloom says.

How Much?

More than half your calories should come from healthy carbs, Clark says. “Carbs supply fuel for energy and prevent protein from being broken down and used as an energy source. So always fuel up before working out.”

But be careful: It is a delicate balance of eating enough calories to build muscle but not too many calories, which can lead to gaining body fat.

Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue in addition to performing other functions, like producing hormones and immunity factors. The ADA suggests male endurance athletes get 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, whereas male body builders may need 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

“Two cups of milk contain about 20 grams of protein, which is the amount recommended to stimulate muscle protein synthesis,» Rosenbloom says.

But most people don’t eat by the numbers. Clark advises her athletes to divide their food into four equally sized meals and choose three out of these four options: fruit or vegetable, grains, healthy fats, and calcium-rich or lean protein at each meal.

“The foundation of each meal is based on healthy carbs, with additional protein like oatmeal with nuts and yogurt, turkey and cheese sandwich with veggies, or spaghetti with meat sauce and a salad. These are all great for body building,” says Clark, author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

For a food plan designed just for you, consult a registered dietitian.

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Lean Snacks for Grumbling Stomachs

While you adjust to this plan you’ll likely find hunger starts to get the best of you. Don’t abstain, instead, tuck into these healthy snacks that’ll keep you satiated without undoing your fat loss efforts

Apple slices with nut butter: Chop up an apple and eat it with two tablespoons of nut butters – almond, cashew, walnut or peanut are all fine but go for low sugar, whole options. Chunky or smooth is up to you.

Biltong: This South African variety of beef jerky packs in the protein – you get around 30g per 100g serving – is virtually zero-carb and need not taste like cardboard if you find a good butchers. Again, go for the least sugary varieties.

Crudites and hummus: Dunk fresh, crispy celery, carrots, peppers or sugar snap beans into this healthy chickpea-based dip. Choose your hummus wisely though, check the label to make sure it’s not packed with salt.

Greek yogurt: It’s full of healthy minerals including calcium, phosphorous and potassium, packed with live bacteria to improve digestion and has twice the protein of regular yogurt, so it helps your satiety levels.

Guacamole: Avoid the shop version to guarantee it’s free of any additives and make your own. Mash half an avocado and add a squirt of lime, a pinch of coriander and a bit of chopped tomato.

Monday

Breakfast: 45g oats with 300ml skimmed milk and 1tsp honey; 200ml apple juice.
Snack: 120g low-fat yoghurt with blueberries and honey.
Lunch: Grilled chicken (1 chicken breast) salad sandwich with wholemeal bread.

Snack:Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries, 50g blackberries and water.
Dinner: 120g tuna steak with stir-fried broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, sesame seeds and oil;

Principle No. 8Stay on Your Feet as You Sweat

If you have a Taco Bell Cheesy Gordita Crunch habit, the first step is easy: Limit your intake of anything with a name that includes the words «cheesy,» «gordita,» and/or «crunch.»

But you still need to eat something, and whatever it is, it’ll have calories you must account for. The accounting is simple: There are two sides to the ledger. One side is your calorie intake, and the other is your metabolism—that is, the calories you burn—which works in four ways.

Digest. About 10 percent of your metabolism comes from how you process food. But you can do better if you eat more protein. 25 percent of protein calories are burned after you swallow them, compared with 2 to 3 percent of fat calories and 6 to 8 percent of calories from carbs.

Move. Everything from working out to walking to the mailbox burns more calories than not moving—and accounts for 20 to 30 percent of your metabolism. The more you move, the better, including those times when you…

Hit the can. When you dial up a #1 or #2 (or sneak out a fart), energy leaves your body. Alas, you can’t toot your way to single-digit body fat.

Stay alive. The rest of the calories you eat go toward your body’s other basic operating functions. (That’s at least 60 percent of your metabolism.) By changing the «calories in» part of the formula, you also change the «calories out.»

With less energy in the tank, you may burn fewer calories during your workouts. That’s the danger of cutting calories without a plan to maintain your new lower weight. Your metabolism slows, leaving you hungry and primed to regain fat you lost, especially when hunger hits near a Taco Bell. The key is to reverse that process.

Pity the man forced to survive on gluten-free pizza and fat-free ice cream. The Lean Muscle Diet makes eating easy and delicious because you’re encouraged to eat (gasp!) real food. Here’s the breakdown of your eating plan.

Eat 80 percent of your diet in whole and minimally processed foods that you like. «Whole» foods are ones that look like what they started out as: meat, fish, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and beans.

Eat 10 percent in whole and minimally processed foods that you don’t necessarily like but don’t hate (say, Swiss chard and lamb). This is intended to expand the range of nutrients you’re eating.

Eat 10 percent in whatever the hell you want. Consider this your reward for faithfully embracing the two previous categories. Use this bonus however you’d like: Have a small indulgence every day, or save up for a bigger weekend junkfest. Even if it includes Cheesy Gordita Crunches.

Here’s a shortcut: If the food doesn’t have an ingredient list, it’s a safe bet. Steak, apples, quinoa, eggplant, salmon—they’re all single-ingredient foods. With packaged foods, each additional ingredient signals an extra step in processing, which may have stripped away some of the good stuff.

«Quality» also means taste. On this plan, you won’t find any rules about foods you must eat. Nor will you find a list of foods you should never eat. Just about anything you already enjoy can fit into the plan, although perhaps not in the quantities you’re used to eating.

One risk of popular low-calorie diets: nutrient deficiency. That’s because the less food you eat, the harder it is to cover the basics. A multivitamin may help, but it probably won’t contain enough immunity-fortifying magnesium or bone-building vitamin D.

Here’s your menu.

Meat and other protein-rich foods, including eggs and protein powder.

Fat-rich foods, such as nuts and seeds, oil used for cooking or salad dressing, butter (and nut butters), olives, and avocados.

Fibrous vegetables, including just about anything your mother said you had to eat if you wanted dessert.

Starchy foods, such as grains (bread, cereal, pasta), legumes (beans and peas), and tubers (potatoes and other root vegetables).

Milk and other dairy products, which includes all varieties of cheese, yogurt, and, yes, even chocolate milk.

Fruits, fresh or dried. And no, Starbursts don’t count.

Aim to include at least one food from each category every day, with some variety in fruits and vegetables, and you’ll hit the full range of micronutrients you need to look good and feel great. For more great grub, check out the 14 New Muscle Foods.

We know what you’re thinking: What about my beer? Moderate drinking won’t likely affect your weight in either direction as long as the calories from alcohol replace something else. If not, you’ll probably gain fat.

So now that you understand the nutrition principles, let’s move on to the first step in the plan: calculating how much food you’ll eat each day.

Think about it: You sit at work all day. You sit in your car. You plant your butt on the sofa to watch sports. Why would you go to the gym to do more sitting? Plus, almost any exercise you can perform sitting down is based on one we used to do standing up.

So stay on your feet. You’ll not only burn calories but also stay more focused and engaged in your workout. Better yet, combine multiple exercises and move quickly from one to the next with minimal rest between them.

(Don’t sit on anything between sets either.) When possible, use one arm or leg at a time. The muscles that keep you balanced and stabilized end up doing twice as much work. All this activity will create a more efficient, more effective workout that’s more likely to produce the results you want. Now up and at ’em!

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Believe it or not, moving between different heart-rate zones is better for your heart and your workout session. According to Bicycling, this increases your base fitness level, your endurance, and your lactate threshold.

Plus, if your intensity is always at the outer edge of your body’s capabilities, you’re raising your risk for injury, fatigue, and other overtraining symptoms—including insomnia, a compromised immune system, and an elevated heart rate. These 50 easy habits that will help you live longer, according to science.

Principle No. 5For Bigger Muscles, Lift Bigger Weights

Nutritionists refer to protein, carbs, and fat as «macros.» Protein, of course, is the stuff of muscle growth, particularly branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine. The circles above show the stats for three good protein sources.

But protein also increases satiation (feeling full at the end of a meal) and satiety (feeling less hungry between meals). So protein pulls triple duty: It speeds your metabolism, slows your appetite, and maintains muscle.

What about the other macros? You’ll eat 0.4 to 0.7 gram of fat per pound of your target body weight per day. If you have a good chunk of body fat to lose, use the higher end of that scale. It’s not that fat calories have any magical properties;

a higher percentage of fat simply means fewer carbs. That tends to work better for heavier guys, who often are less sensitive to insulin, a hormone triggered by high-carbohydrate meals. Less sensitivity means more insulin;

more insulin means your body will use less fat for energy. For everyone else, it’s personal preference. Whatever calories are left after your calculations will come from carbs. Who knew math could be so tasty?

Mechanical tension—created by loads that are taxing to your muscles, connective tissue, and bones—is the most important stimulus for building muscle. But you can’t grow your guns if you lift the same amount of weight every workout.

By incrementally increasing your loads over the course of the program, you challenge your muscles to become stronger in order to handle subsequent heavier weights. It should be hard to complete the final reps on your final set with good form.

Though you’ll devote the majority of your session targeting your back, chest, and legs, you still won’t ignore your assisting muscles. As with big-muscle lifts, you’ll want to increase the amount of weight you use when necessary, but more often you’ll use the same weights with the goal of piling up more reps.

This will allow you to achieve what trainers refer to as deeper muscle exhaustion, which will stimulate growth. But here’s an important note: Make sure you’re complementing your big-muscle exercises rather than repeating a similar motion.

For example, change the direction of the movement (say, from horizontal to diagonal or vertical), the tools (from a barbell to dumbbells, kettlebells, or a cable machine), and the grip (from overhand to underhand or somewhere in between). Doing this works your muscles from different directions.

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There are a few problems with this myth. For starters, it’s not effective, according to Men’s Health, because you’re not lifting enough weight to build and create lean muscle mass.

Second, it’s dangerous, especially for beginners. For example, if you’re in a spin class while attempting this, you might twist your body unnaturally in order to lift the weights, sacrifice correct form, or even drop a weight on yourself accidentally.

Principle No. 6Devote 80 Percent of Time to Big Muscles

Most guys have this flipped, investing their gym hours on their biceps, triceps, and deltoids. Those muscles are important, but they’re smaller for a reason: to help larger muscles during basic actions such as pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, and throwing.

Smaller muscles also won’t grow out of proportion to the larger muscles they’re designed to assist. On the Lean Muscle Diet workout plan, you do your heavy lifts first. And that means to see big gains, you’ll need to work the big muscles with squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, chinups, and pullups.

Saturday

Breakfast: 2-egg omelette with cheese.
Snack: Smoothie: blend 25g protein, 1 apple, 50g blueberries, 50g blackberries and a banana with water.
Lunch: 90g sardines on 1 slice of wholemeal toast.

Snack: 150g raw carrots and hummus.
Dinner: 100g grilled salmon with green beans, asparagus and 70g brown rice.
Snack: 200ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,822 calories, 135g protein, 221g carbs, 36g fat

Sunday

Breakfast: 4 scrambled egg whites on 2 slices of wholemeal toast; 1 grapefruit.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 50g blueberries, 50g blackberries and a banana.

Lunch: Tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread; 1 pear.
Snack: Mixed nuts and fruit bar.
Dinner: 120g fillet steak with 1 small jacket potato, spinach and 1 grilled tomato.

The keen-eyed among you will have noticed this plan only covers you for one week. You could repeat the plan four times over, but that would get a little boring. We suggest you mix it up but keep in the things you really enjoyed eating and replace those you didn’t.

Of course, you want to keep the calorie counts for each day around the same but don’t stress about making it exact. Just ensure you make swaps for similar food stuffs. Don’t like smoked mackerel? Swap it out for tuna. Not a fan of radishes? Have artichokes instead.

This isn’t an exact science, it’s just about changing your habits so you don’t reach for crisps, chocolate or any processed foods when you’re hungry. And perhaps most importantly, avoiding sugar as much as possible.

Having said that, maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t mean you can never treat yourself. Once you’ve stuck to a strict plan for four weeks introduce one cheat day a week, whether that’s Saturday when you’re hungover and craving junk, or Wednesday because that’s date night.

If you spend six days eating well (or even just five on some weeks) treating yourself to pizza, chips and all the stuff you’ve cut out isn’t a problem. We’d still recommend sticking away from sugary drinks though.

Thursday

Breakfast: 4 scrambled egg whites on 2 slices of wholemeal toast.
Snack: 1 low-fat yoghurt with blueberries and a handful of oats and honey.
Lunch: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries, 50g blackberries and water;

30g brazil nuts.
Snack: 100g low-fat cottage cheese and pineapple.
Dinner: Tuna niçoise salad (100g tuna, mixed salad leaves, plum tomatoes, a red pepper and 4 new potatoes).

Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 100g strawberries and a banana.
Snack: 120g low-fat yoghurt, blueberries and honey.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread;

200ml skimmed milk.
Snack: Mixed nuts, raisins and cranberries.
Dinner: 100g chicken, bacon and avocado salad.
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp natural peanut butter.
Daily total: 1,802 calories, 131g protein, 219g carbs, 37g fat

Wednesday

Breakfast: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 100g strawberries and a banana.
Snack: 90g mackerel on 1 slice of wholemeal toast.
Lunch:1 apple;

chicken salad sandwich on wholemeal bread.
Snack: 1 banana.
Dinner: 120g fillet steak with spinach and 2 grilled tomatoes.
Snack: 100g low-fat cottage cheese and pineapple.
Daily total: 1,821 calories, 138g protein, 222g carbs, 35g fat

What next?

If you want continue making changes, try the New Body Plan. The team there have the healthy eating guidance and training plan to help you reach your goals.

Start today | £69, use code coach20 for an exclusive £20 discount

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