1. Get rid of all the junk carbs in your diet. That includes everything from table sugar, fruit juice, all syrups, white-flour products, white rice, potatoes. These types of foods get converted into glucose (blood sugar) quickly, and send insulin levels through the roof, causing a large amount of these calories to be sent to the waiting fat stores. Replace these foods with high-fiber, insulin-stabilizing foods like whole fruit, beans, and nonwheat based grains like quinoa, barley and rye.
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2. Eat better food. Local grown organic foods tend to have higher nutrient value than their trucked-in, big-market counterparts. More nutrients from higher-quality food gives your body more of what it needs to maximize every body system, including fat metabolism. Shop your local farmers market or find a delivery service like www.skylinefoodsource.com, which will bring locally grown food to your door every week.
3. Move more. Add more activity into your day at every opportunity, like standing 15 minutes of every hour at work, using stairs rather than elevators, parking farther from your destination and doing some bodyweight exercises during TV commercials. This accumulated activity adds up, and can help tip the balance of the energy consumption/expenditure. Working more movement into your day in conjunction with better eating can be a real game changer.
4. Have some tea time. Studies show that having a little caffeine before your workouts can actually increase fat metabolism. Caffiene is cheap, too. A cup of coffee is about $1.86 at your local coffee house, or you can brew your own. Additionally, green tea is a great source of high-power antioxidants which will help keep your cells nice and clean. Avoid the high-octane energy drinks as they may contain potentially harmful combinations of ingredients.
5. Knock yourself out. Getting five hours of sleep or less per night might promote fat gain say recent studies. Getting consistent quality sleep of 8 to 10 hours per night is optimal for body fat regulation, and cell regeneration. Rest is one of the most overlooked aspects of the fitness cycle. Don't underestimate the power of a good 20 minute nap either. I'm the king of naps, LOL. Our bodies recover and repair only at total rest, so get some sleep.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer. He's on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness, and on "Jump Start" on FTNS Radio www.ftns.com.