Get Fit Newsletter

By: Ethan Bowman with Rockwall Fit Body Boot Camp

Your Reason

Your number one reason for exercise is unique to you. Maybe you want to fit into a smaller pant size or lower your cholesterol. Or maybe you just love how a good workout makes you feel. 

Whatever your reason is, remind yourself of it often. Write it down and place it where you will see it everyday. It may be just the motivation that you needed.


Protein Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Enjoy these tasty pumpkin pancakes without guilt. Made with almond meal and packed with protein from eggs, these pancakes are sure to satisfy without shortchanging your results.

Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com

What you need
Servings: 5

4 large eggs
¾ cup egg whites
1 (15oz) can of pumpkin
1 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
cooking spray

Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. 

2. Heat pancake griddle to medium heat and coat with cooking spray. 

3. Cook each side about 3 minutes until brown, then flip and cook remaining side. Enjoy!

Nutrition
One serving equals: 255 calories, 15g fat, 112mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 19g protein.


Singing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Intermittent Fasting Accident…Oops!

Factual statements according to the Medical News Today is provided. Please read before listening to my shenanigans. 😬

What is intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) refers to a diet schedule that cycles between not eating and eating. Cycles of intermittent fasting can be hourly or daily.

Types of intermittent fasting

There are a number of different types of intermittent fasting. These include:

  • 16:8: During 16:8 fasting, a person will not eat anything for 16 hours and then have an 8-hour window in which they consume food. During the 16 hours of fasting, people can consume noncalorie beverages, such as black coffee, black tea, and water.
  • 5:2: The 5:2 diet is a type of fast where a person eats normally for 5 days and allocate 2 days to fasting.
  • Nightly: A nightly fast involves having a prolonged period, lasting from the evening to the following morning, without food. A 2016 study found that a prolonged fast of 13 hours overnight can potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer in females.
  • Up-to-the-ninth-hour: During this fast, a person will not consume food for the first 8 hours of their waking day. From the 9th hour, the person can then eat.
  • One meal a day (OMAD): OMAD fasting involves picking one meal a day to eat and spending the rest of the day fasting.
  • Alternate Day: As the name suggests, alternate day fasting is when a person eats food as normal one day and fasts on the following day.

If people want to change their usual eating habits, it is worth discussing this with a doctor or nutritionist, especially for a change such as fasting.

Why it might not be effective

Research has also identified some potentially negative side effects to exercise while fasting. These can include

  • Poorer performance: Research suggests that IF may impair exercise performance, particularly in athletes that are highly trained.
  • Struggle to build muscle: A 2018 randomized controlled trial found that males who were IF put on less muscle in comparison to those who ate meals as usual. However, IF did not negatively affect their muscle retention. Another study supports this, highlighting IF may be effective at maintaining muscle mass
  • Lightheadedness: Both IF and exercising can lower blood pressure. By combining the two, a person may experience lightheadedness because of the drop in blood pressure.
  • Blood Sugar Levels: IF and exercising may cause blood sugar levels to drop. If sugar levels drop too low, this can cause a person to faint.

The research examining fasting and exercise seems to have conflicting information. Depending on a person’s exercise goals, they may want to try IF for fat loss. However, if someone wants to build muscle, they may wish to use alternative diets.

My experience of IF

Ok so let me start off by saying, I didn’t do it on purpose….but I’ve been intermittent fasting since pandemic started (since March). It’s just now clicking in my mind why I’m not gaining more muscle. 😆🙈 I’ve been so busy sticking to my productive schedule that I didn’t realize this is one reason why I was unable to gain more muscle tone. 🥺

My daily schedule was/is as follows:

Wake up per alarm between 5a-6a (time depends on what I have planned for the next day)

Workout starts between 6:30a-7a for a minimum of 45 mins (usually longer , and I try to plan what I will work on the night before)

– Drink my recovery / protein shake to fuel my body immediately after the pounding 💪🏾

Go into my office and complete all my work tasks that are due no later than noon (some days are longer than others)

Go to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, which is usually brunch or lunch by the time it’s completed🙈

Afterwards, I spend time trying to eat more of my snacks and meals because I’ve missed breakfast time to hit my macros. Eating more is such a struggle to me because my mind is programmed to focus on my weight loss journey. It’s so hard to start trying to modify things on my own. 🧐 Speaking with fitness professionals, they always give me the advice to add more protein in my diet…..geeeezzz! I know and I am, it’s just a bit overwhelming to consume more. I never thought I would say that because back in the day, I worked out just to eat whatever I wanted (or so I thought). 🙈 Well we see that food relationship didn’t work for the better, I still faced major health problems.

On this journey, it’s all about what is working for your body and yet keeping you healthy. I would love to see more definition but we shall see what the future holds for me. Ha! This is a never ending journey and you learn so much along the way. One day, I feel like Popeye, and the very next day Olive Oyl. 😄 I’ll keep you posted….to be continued.


Georgia has so many beautiful trees ❤️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

5 Signs You’re Eating Too Little For Weight Loss

BY KELLY HOGAN, MS, RD

If you’re trying to lose weight, it seems to make sense to cut as many calories from your diet as possible. Unfortunately, it’s possible to eat too little, which not only makes it harder for you to achieve a healthy weight, but it can also cause other health problems. In other words, eating below your needs can backfire big time.

Everyone has a set amount of calories, or energy, they need to simply be alive. Consistently eating less than this can cause your metabolism to slow down and your body to begin preserving what it can to survive. Hunger and feeling full aren’t the only indicators of whether you’re fueling your body appropriately. Indeed, short and long-term dietary restrictions on weight and the traditional weight-loss methods of calorie cutting and deprivation may actually be a hindrance to many health goals.

Beyond calories, I’ve had countless clients come to me after trying fad weight loss diets, none of which “worked” in that any weight lost was regained once they stopped the diet. Diet culture, in general, does a good job of making people feel like failures if they don’t have long-lasting success from a diet when it’s the diet that fails us. There is little to no research showing any fad diet results in sustained long-term weight loss. This is the first thing I explain to clients so they don’t feel defeated or ashamed because they did nothing wrong.

Here are some common signs you’re eating too little to support your body. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult a registered dietitian or health care professional.


YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT FOOD ALL THE TIME

Consistently not eating enough food often results in a preoccupation with food and persistent thoughts about food and your next meal or snack. This could manifest in behaviors like perusing restaurant menus online, obsessing over food social media accounts or watching cooking shows incessantly. The association of dietary deprivation and food preoccupation was first discovered by Ancel Keys in his landmark Minnesota Starvation Experiment during World War II. Many of the participants in the study admitted to obsessively collecting recipes and recipe books, and as the study went on, food became one of the only things they thought about. While this is an extreme example, the chronic dieting and food deprivation so prevalent in today’s culture can absolutely have a similar effect.


YOU’RE TIRED AND CRANKY

Hanger” is one of my favorite terms for feeling so hungry, you are borderline angry. I’m sure this is relatable to many people, and there is some science to explain it. When you go long periods without eating, blood sugar tends to drop. If you don’t eat something to raise blood sugar, and it remains low, your ability to concentrate, be patient with others and mentally focus diminishes. Enter crankiness, which can easily be reversed by eating something. Tiredness and fatiguealso go hand in hand with not eating enough, because you’re simply not providing the body with enough energy. These cues are often our body’s way of innately telling us what we really need.


YOU CAN’T SLEEP

There is nothing worse than feeling tired but being unable to sleep. This is another common result of dietary deprivation, with research roots dating back to the starvation experiment mentioned above. More recent research from eating disorders and sleep to malnourished infants and sleep further emphasizes the profound effect diet may have on our sleep cycles. What’s more, it has been consistently found that diet restoration and maintaining adequate energy intake may also restore normal sleep-wake patterns.


YOU’RE CONSTIPATED

When your body is consistently not getting enough calories to meet your needs, the digestive tract may move food through your system more slowly to preserve energy. As a result, this can cause constipation. Similarly, not eating enough fiber — which is common when you restrict calories below your needs — can cause constipation.


YOUR WEIGHT PLATEAUS OR INCREASES

When the scale won’t budge or if you start to gain weight while on a diet, the answer is not to eat even less. Instead of providing the body with less energy, perpetuating the metabolic response that fights against weight loss, the solution is often to eat more. Start by adding a snack or two between meals and make sure to include all of the macronutrientsprotein, fat and carbs. Once you’re fueling the body correctly, your weight ends up where it should be.


THE BOTTOM LINE

Chronically undereating won’t help you lose weight, and can often yield the opposite effect as well as lead to nutritional deficiencies. In my experience as a dietitian, having a targeted number on the scale isn’t the best way to achieve weight loss or overall health.

Too often weight-loss goals stem from the desire to look like the extremely narrow version of what society deems as an ideal or acceptable body. In this day and age, we are slowly but surely recognizing the uniqueness of every body and that we are not all supposed to look the same.

What’s more, we know now weight alone is not a reliable indicator of health. With that being said, I’ve had much success reframing clients’ goals around health-promoting behavior changes. This could be eating more vegetablescooking more at homegoing for daily walksprioritizing sleep, etc.

Instead of weighing yourself to measure progress, try using non-scale goals like reaching for 2–3 servings of vegetables per day or checking in with how you feel — are you more energized and able to play with your children or keep up in that tough workout class? Focusing on this type of progress is much more positive, long-lasting and health-promoting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Kelly Hogan, MS, RD is an NYC-based registered dietitian specializing in women’s health, sports nutrition and plant-based eating. She is passionate about helping people develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies, and uses a non-diet approach in her practice. When she’s not talking or writing all things nutrition, Kelly can be found running in Central Park – she’s run 11 marathons and counting! – cooking recipes new and old, handstanding at the yoga studio or hanging with friends and/or her rescue dog, Peanut.


My stretch pants are actually too big. 🙈 #onamission

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Say Bye-Bye To That Belly Fat

By: Ethan Bowman (Body Fit Boot Camp)

Want to make your belly fat vanish before your eyes? 

Uncomfortable fat around the stomach is one of the most common body frustrations that my new clients complain about. 

What’s tough is that losing body fat is a slow and steady process, rather than an instantaneous fix. 

However…after years of working at it, I have an extremely effective method for losing belly fat faster than ever, and I’d like to share it with you today…

Simple 2-Step Fat Loss. This deadly, fat-incinerating method fights fat simultaneously on two separate fronts for maximum effectiveness: your sugar intake and your high intensity workouts.

Fat Loss Step 1: This is the step that requires zero extra effort on your part! In fact all you have to do is NOT do something that you’re currently doing! You stop consuming refined sugar, in all its forms. This means no sodas, no desserts, no packaged snacks, no candy, no mocha lattes, NO SUGAR AT ALL! 

When you stop to evaluate your diet, it may be shocking to find out how much refined sugar has crept in. Nothing will contribute to fat gains as swiftly as consuming sugar, so it makes sense that cutting sugar out is the top must-do for shedding those unwanted pounds. 

It’s not necessary, or beneficial, to starve yourself during this time of rapid fat loss – you should fill in your diet with lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds as you cut out the refined sugar. Keep your metabolism high by fueling up on high protein, high fiber, low carb, and zero sugar foods whenever hunger strikes. 

Fat Loss Step 2: Here’s the step that requires some effort, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. You crank up the intensity of your workouts to a whole new level. 

Most people take exercise on with the slow and steady mentality – moving, pushing and pulling as little as possible while still “getting the job done”. I’ve got some news for you…if you still have belly fat to lose then the job wasn’t getting done.

If you can comfortably hold a conversation, hardly break a sweat or feel the same when it’s over as you did when it began, then you’re simply not pushing yourself hard enough while you exercise. 

Increasing the intensity of your workouts requires focused intent. You must go into the session with the goal of pushing your body to the limit. Remember, it’s a contained timeframe that will be over shortly, so bear down and deal with the discomfort. With practice you will learn to embrace the burn. 

Disclaimer: The safest and most effective way to crank up the intensity and effectiveness of your exercise time is to work with a qualified fitness professional.



Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?

The answer for most of us is probably no. But the good news is that drinking more water can have a number of positive health benefits, and it’s a great New Year’s resolution that you can easily stick to.

Before you hit the road to better hydration, here are a few water consumption facts that we’ve put together with the help of our friends at “A Healthier Michigan.”

How much water should I be drinking?

While this is a matter of some medical debate, a good goal for improving your daily water intake is to aim for eight, 8-ounce glasses per day. Other medical experts recommend drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day (that’s approximately four and a half 16.9 oz. Absopure water bottles).

Maintaining proper hydration is especially important around this time of the year, as the winter months also tend to be peak cold and flu season. Getting your daily-recommended amount of water every day can help keep your immune system running in tip-top shape.

How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough water?

When you start to feel thirsty, dehydration has already started. Dehydration can also cause fatigue, headaches, sleepiness and lack of concentration. Don’t wait for the symptoms to set in before you grab a glass of water. Instead, drink a glass during every meal (and a few more in between).

Be sure to keep tabs on your consumption too! For simplicity, use some of these water and food tracking apps.

What are some other ways to increase your water consumption?

Increasing your water intake isn’t just about how much you drink, it also includes what you eat. In fact, there are a number of healthy fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamins and antioxidants and also contain a lot of water.

Cucumbers, pears, celery, strawberries, tomatoes and grapefruit, among other fruits and vegetables, contain a high water content that can help you reach your goals.

There are plenty of good reasons to drink more water, and getting started is as easy as filling up a glass.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨


I purchased this water bottle so I can up my water intake more. In the bottom, you are able to add fruit or veggies to your water.

Our Favorite Cardio: Jumping Rope

#tonedbabe #ntathlete

By Naturally Toned LLC

#Tonedbabes, did you know that Jumping rope can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, making it one of the most efficient fat-burning workouts available.

Unlike other forms of interval training that are much more stressful on the body, Jumping rope has some awesome benefits. Such as it tones muscles throughout the entire body and develops lean muscles in all major muscle groups.

Of course, jumping rope optimizes conditioning and maximizes athletic skills by combining agility, coordination, timing, and endurance. Most importantly for you, it can help burn body fat.

Jumping rope is practical because, well, it is easy. Jump ropes are portable and inexpensive and can be purchased for less than $10. If you are at home and needing some cardio to do that is less impactful on your body, you’ve found it with a jump rope.

For your jump-rope program according to ISSA, start by jumping rope 30 seconds and resting 1 minute for 6 sets. Depending on ability, add 10 seconds per week or workout. Make it your goal to complete 6 sets of 3 minutes of jump rope, with a 30-second rest interval. When you are able to complete 6 sets of 3 minutes, body fat will have melted off and conditioning will be at a whole new level.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨


Jumping into a healthier lifestyle! ❤️

11 Ways to Prevent Weight Gain During Shelter-At-Home

BY LAUREN KROUSE

As countries around the globe attempt to “flatten the curve” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, many of us are hunkering down in accordance with shelter-at-home orders. While losing weight is certainly still doable during this time, a smart goal to focus on instead is maintaining your current weight.

“It’s normal to feel high stress and anxiety in the face of so many uncertainties, and you might even feel tempted to go into survival mode and toss your healthy food and lifestyle choices out the window,” says Dr. Richa Mittal, a weight-loss specialist based in Frisco, Texas.

The good news: It’s possible to combat stress-eating and couch-sitting to maintain your weight and come out of this experience even stronger — you just need the right strategy.

SET A DAILY CALORIE GOAL

Similar to when you’re focused on losing weight, “maintaining your weight requires keeping track of how many calories you’re putting into your body,” says Gerald E. Nissley, PsyD. One of the simplest ways to do that is to set a daily calorie goal and keep track of your intake of food and drinks with an app like MyFitnessPal. Even if you don’t log every day, regularly checking in can help you stay on track and make sure you’re not over- or under-eating to maintain your weight.2

ESTABLISH A MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE

Deviating from your typical routine during the pandemic can make your mood tank, but the reverse is true, too: Re-establishing a routine can help raise your spirits and ward off stress. Pro tip:Frame your day with a wake-upand wind-down routine, suggests Molly Carmel, a licensed clinical social worker. “This can bring comfort and normalcy at a time that feels so abnormal and uncertain,” she says. What’s more, getting enough sleep also helps keep your metabolism healthy, which can support your weight-maintenance efforts.

Creating healthy routines doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, consider a brief meditation or brisk morning walk to help energize you in the morning, and an easygoing stretch routine or hot bath to de-stress before bed.3

SCHEDULE YOUR MEALS AND SNACKS

It’s no surprise following a consistent schedule of healthy eating and exercise can help you maintain your weight over time, according to a study in Obesity. “When you have a set schedule, you’re more likely to incorporate healthy routines and habits on a daily basis — and consistency gets you closer to your goals,” says Carmel.

On a paper calendar or with an app, schedule meal and snack times throughout the day. Then, set reminders to help take the guesswork of when you should be eating and use the alarm bell as a cue to log your intake.4

COMMIT TO MOVE EVERY DAY

Another way to reduce stress and maintain your weight: Get moving at least once a day. “Our bodies crave movement and the feel-good endorphins that come with it,” says Carmel. As such, make it a point to put daily workouts on your calendar, too. With multiple YouTube videos, Instagram tutorials and free apps, there are plenty of ways to add variety to your new at-home workouts, she says.5

FIND A VIRTUAL ACCOUNTABILIBUDDY

It can be a struggle to stick with your workout schedule if you don’t have someone to keep you accountable, so partner up with a friend for a FaceTime workout, suggests Dr. Mittal. Even if it’s only a text check-in before and after you workout, you’ll get some much-needed social connection, a mood boost and added motivation. Plus, research shows working out with someone can compel you to push yourself harder than you would if you were solo.6

ACCEPT THAT SETBACKS ARE A POSSIBILITY

Sticking with a healthy eating plan and exercise routine is especially difficult when so much is going on in the world. “Times are hard, so remember that you don’t have to manage this perfectly,” says Carmel. Rather than getting down on yourself when you skip a workout or consume extra calories, be compassionate with yourself. Remind yourself of the times you showed up to sweat it out and better controlled your portions in the past. Then, commit to getting back on track.7

COMBAT STRESS

Stress can threaten your weight-maintenance goals by dialing up cortisol levels which in turn can trigger cravings for comfort foods. The fix: Find ways to de-stress by soothing yourself and leaning on others, suggests Carmel. For instance, you might include diffusing essential oils and playing your favorite music, listening to a guided meditation or podcasttaking a walk outside (while social distancing, of course), reading a book or calling a friend or family member.8

CLEAN UP YOUR GROCERY LIST

During shelter-at-home orders, trips to the grocery store have to be more intentional, especially if you’re eating on a budget. Now’s the perfect time to cut down on processed foods and stock up on healthy staples like fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables as well as whole foods with long shelf lives like dry lentils and beans, recommends Mittal. Focusing on healthy eating choices and reducing temptations is more likely to help you maintain a healthy weight.9

MEAL PREP SNACKS

In the midst of such high-stress times, some impulsive eating is to be expected, but you can plan ahead by stocking up on nutrient-dense, low-calorie snacks. Where and how you store your snacks can make a difference, too, says Nissley. For instance, if you know you’ll eat a bag full of chips or a package of cookies in no time, opt for pre-portioned snack packsinstead. “Keep them on an out-of-reach shelf or inside a cabinet instead of on your countertops or kitchen table,” suggests Nissley. This way, you have time to ask yourself first, “Am I really hungry?”10

SEPARATE FOOD FROM ENTERTAINMENT

To cut down on grazing and avoid reaching the bottom of the chip bag in one sitting, make it a point to only eat when you’re free of all distractions, says Dr. Mittal. That means shutting off the TV, putting your phone down and stepping away from your laptop before you sit down to eat. Eating more mindfully and engaging all five senses, helps you recognize when you’re actually full and prevents overeating.

CELEBRATE THE WINS

“Any step in the right direction is a reason to pat yourself on the back,” says Carmel. Stick with your workout? Prepare a healthy dinner? There are plenty of non-scale victories that can indicate improvement to your overall physical and mental health. Make sure to take a moment to celebrate steps forward and acknowledge your progress.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

Which Body Type Are You & Should it Determine How You Workout?

By: FitOn

#FitOn

Have you been working your butt off trying to lose weight, tone your body, or kickstart your metabolism only to be disappointed with your results? If so, you are so not alone. So many people embark upon their health and fitness journey with big goals, and when things don’t go as planned, it leads to a world of disappointment. 

But, what if we told you that it may all have to do with how you are working out? Well, if you’re unfamiliar with the three different body types and how they determine how you should workout and fuel your body, keep reading. 

We are going to uncover exactly what you need to know about your specific body type and what this means for how you should be working towards your fitness goals so you can stop hitting roadblocks and start seeing results. 

The Three Different Body Types + Fitness & Nutrition Tips 

There are three different body types, ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Each have their own unique characteristics, so let’s take a look and see where you fit in. 

#1 Ectomorph

Ectomorphs tend to be long and lean. They often have a super speedy metabolism making it difficult to put on weight and muscle. 

Pro Fitness Tip for the Ectomorph

If you have an ectomorph body type, and you are feeling frustrated when it comes to trying to build muscle, it’s not necessarily anything you are doing wrong! Ectomorphs are naturally long and lean, and it just means that you may need to make some modifications to train your body into thinking that building muscle is the way to go. To help build muscle, try incorporating some strength training using light weights and resistance bands into your fitness routine. 

Pro Nutrition Tip for the Ectomorph

Since ectomorphs tend to have super fast metabolisms, consuming complex carbohydrates with plenty of healthy fat will help promote satiety, and adding plenty of clean protein into the diet is a great way to help support muscle growth. 

Lifestyle Tip

If your goal is to try to build muscle, and it’s something you struggle with, adding some collagen protein to a post-workout smoothie can make an excellent supplement choice. 

#2 Endomorph

Endomorphs are generally stockier with a wider build and have a slower metabolism than someone with an ectomorph body type. Someone with an endomorph build generally has more muscle and fat than ectomorphs. 

Pro Fitness Tip for the Endomorph

If you have an endomorph body type, and you are working out as a way to help promote weight loss, then aerobic exercises are going to be your new BFF. Aerobic fitness for those who an endomorph build can help with weight loss and can help fire up your metabolism. Get your daily sweat in with HIIT trainers Danielle Pascente and Katie Dunlop using FitOn

Pro Nutrition Tip for the Endomorph

With a slower metabolism, endomorphs will want to be a little extra mindful of when and what they eat. If you have an endomorph body build, focus on eating fewer carbs and getting plenty of clean proteins and healthy fats to fuel your body with energy and keep your metabolism reeved. 

Lifestyle Tip

As it turns out, we all really do need our beauty sleep, and for more than one reason. A lack of sleep can lead to food cravings and weight gain. In fact, a study found that a lack of sleep causes a higher likelihood of overeating and eating the wrong kinds of food. Strive to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to help support not only a healthy weight, but overall health as well. 

#3 Mesomorph

Those who have a mesomorph body type tend to have some characteristics of both an endo and an ectomorph. They may have a much easier time losing weight while also finding it easier to pack on muscle. 

Pro Fitness Tip for the Mesomorph

Mesomorphs generally don’t have to train as hard to see the results they want as compared to endomorphs and ectomorphs. If you have a mesomorph body type, you may want to consider adding a combination of things into your fitness routine to keep things fun and interesting! 

Pro Nutrition Tip for the Mesomorph

Since mesomorphs are sort of a balance between the two others, it’s no surprise that eating a well-balanced diet is the way to go here. Strive to consume balanced meals with a complex carb, a clean protein, and a healthy fat to support a balanced metabolism and to keep you full between meals. 

Lifestyle Tip

Since you may have characteristics of both an endo and ectomorph build, try to continue to reduce stress and get as much sleep as possible.

The Bottom Line

So, should your body type determine your workout? The answer is yes, but it’s not just a simple yes. Since no two people are the same, it is very possible that you may be a combination of body types, which means you will have to determine which types of exercise works best for you. While one person with an endomorph build may see best results with cardio exercises, someone else may lose weight faster with strength training. With health and fitness, there is never a one size fits all approach, so experiment with what feels and works best for you!


Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness✨

What body type am I? 🤷🏽‍♀️😁 I just train for all. 💪

Your 6-Week Belly Fat Blasting Walking Plan

By: Jessica Smith

Melt off belly fat faster with this progressive walking plan, created by Jessica Smith, a certified personal trainer and creator of the “Walk On: Walk Off Belly Fat 5 Days A Week!”program, that combines the power of interval training with the belly fat-blastingeffectiveness of walking.

YOUR WALKING GUIDE

When it comes to your walking pace, gauge your intensity on a scale of 1–10 — a 5–6 effort should have you breathing quickly, but still allow you to carry on a conversation easily. An 8–9 effort should have you breathing very heavily and able to answer yes or no questions only. Since your intensity varies with your personal fitness level, vary your speed and power to reach the recommended effort range for each walk.

POWER WALK

This walk is steady but strong. After walking for 3 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, focus on maintaining a steady effort level of a 5–6 intensity until you’ve completed your session for the day (be sure to spend about 3–5 minutes walking at an easy pace to cool down, catch your breath and complete your walk).

HIIT WALK

Go the distance in less time with this interval walk! After walking for 3 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, begin repeating your HIIT interval sets (spend 3 minutes walking at a brisk pace, at an intensity of about a 5–6, power walk or jog at 1 minute at an intensity of an 8–9) until you’ve completed your session for the day (be sure to spend about 3–5 minutes walking at an easy pace to cool down, catch your breath and complete your walk).

EASY WALK

It’s important not to over do it, and this active recovery walk is all about keeping a balance in your fitness routine. Plus, science has shown stress relief is a great way to help reduce belly-fat causing cortisol levels. This walk is all about enjoying the movement (stride at a comfortable 3–4 effort level). Take in your surroundings, focus on feeling good — try to be mindful of your breath and steps along the way.

6-WEEK BELLY FAT BLASTING WALKING PLAN

HOW IT WORKS

Your walking time gradually increases each week to build up to the proven, belly busting total of 150–210 minutes of walking per week.

The main point is to make it work for you. If you’re already a regular walker, feel free to add additional time to your walk — or extra days if you feel up for more. You can also skip ahead to the weeks that contain more walking and simply repeat the schedule from there. It’s easy to switch the daily and weekly schedule as you see fit, just be sure to make it work for you. It’s also a great idea to cross-train with other activities such as strength training, stretching and other movement such as bicycling, swimming, etc., to avoid overuse injuries and continue to build strength and endurance.

Walk with good posture, keeping your abs drawn slightly in (you should still be able to breathe comfortably), with your shoulders back and chest wide. Drive your arms back and forth to help power up your pace.

Of course, it’s important to note that nutritionplays a vital role in the permanent reduction of belly fat. Consuming nutritious food in the right amount is important and some research also suggests adding foods that help fight inflammation to your diet may also assist losing deep abdominal fat, so be sure you are also pairing your walks with healthy meals for the best results.

Notes: Your total walk time can include your warmup and cooldown — or not — it’s up to you. If you have enough time, add the additional 6–10 minutes to gradually warm up for and wrap up your walks to your walk total for the day (if, for example, your HIIT walk is 15 minutes, you’ll really be walking for 21 minutes with a 3 minute warm up and 3 minute cool down). However, if you are short on time, include the warm up and cool down into your daily total, just don’t skip them — it’s important to ease into and wind down your walk properly.

Remember that you can always adjust your walk days and times as needed to make them work for your schedule. And don’t forget to keep challenging yourself during the plan — as you become more fit, work on pumping up your pace when appropriate to cover more miles in less time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. She now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visit walkonwalkstrong.com to learn more about her fun, results-driven programs for all levels of exercisers.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨


Yes…what she just said! 😎

How Much do You Really Need to Walk to Lose Weight?

BY MARC LINDSAY


Regardless of age or fitness level, a dedicated walking program coupled with proper nutrition can be an excellent way to lose weight. To do it right and reach your goals, you’ll need to make sure you’re walking far enough, at the right intensity and paying attention to your diet.

Here’s what you need to know and how to get started:

WALKING DURATION AND WEIGHT LOSS

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), individuals should aim to participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day or 150 minutes per week. While this can help you get on track in terms of cardiovascular fitness and combating other health conditions, if you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll probably want to do a little more.

For individuals who are obese and trying to lose weight, or anyone looking to keep the weight off, the ACSM recommends bumping this number up to 200–300 minutes per week (3.3–5 hours). Breaking this down, a one-hour walk 4–5 days per week will be sufficient to achieve your weight-loss goals. Any additional time you spend exercising on top of this adds to your overall calorie burn and fitness level.

WALKING INTENSITY

Not all walks are created equal. It’s important to make sure your heart rate reaches a moderate-intensity level during your walk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate-intensity exercise is defined as an activity that raises the heart rate to 50–70% of your maximum heart rate.

If you decide to up the intensity — either by adding resistance training in the form of weights or including short periods of running — exercising at a vigorous activity level (70–85% of your maximum heart rate) requires the duration of your walk to be cut in half to achieve the same benefits. In other words, a 60-minute moderate-intensity walk is the same as a 30-minute walk/run at a vigorous intensity level.

The most accurate way to measure intensity level is to use a heart rate monitor, but you can also keep track of perceived exertion. On a scale of 0–10 (0 is sitting, 10 is the highest exertion possible), moderate intensity is a 5–6, and vigorous activity begins at 7.

TRACKING MEALS

Calculating and recording your daily steps, mileage, time and exercise intensity is all important when you’re trying to lose weight. But the last part of the equation — nutrition — is equally crucial. Logging your food intake with MyFitnessPal as well as your workouts can help you get a more accurate picture of the quantity and types of foods you’re consuming. That way you can make informed decisions regarding smarter portion sizes and where you can cut excess calories to find a healthy deficit that allows you to lose weight and keep it off.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Start by walking a little more than you normally do each day until you can do an hour or more 4–5 times per week. If you keep to a brisk pace and pay attention to your nutrition, you’ll set yourself up for effective weight loss.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.


This is good information to know. If you are like me, running is NOT my thing. I do enjoy HIIT cardio because the pain is quick and over quickly as well. 🥵 I do enjoy walking.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨


~ Ray Marks ~

The Pandemic Coping – The Struggle

A great, sunny day to be out on the town

If you are like me, I know you are missing your time in the gym. I feel like gym class is my “ME TIME”! 😩 But since social distancing has taken place, I’ve tried making my life doable right at home. Much has not changed for me, I’ve been working from home for a few years now. Most of my social life takes place in gym classes. 😆


#whatwaist 👍 Most importantly, it protects my back

I still wake up every morning before 6am (usually would wake up at 5:15am for gym class). My morning routine still takes place during this time…even getting dressed in gym clothes & shoes. 😜 I want things to feel as normal as possible. This important timeframe sums up my daily productivity. When I miss a workout, I feel sluggish and lost the entire day. 😩 Workout time starts anywhere from 7a – 7:30a and lasts about 1 hour. It takes place upstairs in my step-daughter’s playroom. The room has the perfect space!!! I only have to dodge kicking the dog because he seems to always find his way right next to me.


Teddy is always in my way

After my workout is complete, I go downstairs to the kitchen to drink my protein shake and eat breakfast. I use a vegan protein and the taste is great (vanilla flavor). It mixes very well in smoothies and baking goods.

Great taste ✨

After breakfast, I take a shower and then complete any company work I need to do. After I complete (usually done around 12pm), it’s about time for lunch. 😆 I eat lunch and then complete my duties around the house. When life was normal, I could at least run my daily errands. Now…🤷🏽‍♀️ We are all coping with stay-at-home syndrome. FYI…this social distance eating will be the death of me. 😩 #boredtodeath Everyone, please stay home and be safe. ❤️

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨


Nike….Just Do It! 💪

Common Question: Should I Do Cardio First Or Weight Training?

It all depends on your goals. In a nutshell: If the primary goal is to increase aerobic endurance or lose weight, then you should perform cardiovascular exercise first. If the primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then you should perform strength training first.

Factual Info –

By now you know if you want to build a lean, fit body, you can’t stick to the treadmill or elliptical alone. It takes some heavy lifting to get that strong and chiseled physique. In fact, even if you want to be a better runner, you still need to incorporate strength training into your routine. But when you’re strapped for time, and need to squeeze cardio and weights into a single sweat session, which should you tackle first? Strength training, according to the research and fitness pros. Here’s why.

Why Weights Shouldn’t Wait

In one study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers pinned three workout tactics against each other: Strength training alone, running then strength, and cycling followed by strength. They found that exercisers did fewer weight lifting reps if they had just ran or cycled. Yet, doing strength training with no cardio beforehand resulted in more reps.

Another recent study found similar results. After research subjects performed different bouts of treadmill running, the number of reps they performed during resistance training decreased, as did muscle power. Their heart rate and rate of perceived exertion also increased during the strength training sessions that followed aerobic exercise, especially after a HIIT running workout.

In my experience, I’ve found that most exercisers feel ‘stronger’ when they engage in resistance training first,” says Robert Confessore, PhD, clinical exercise physiologist at Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell, MT. Many scientific studies also demonstrate that aerobic training can negatively affect strength development when performed prior to lifting (whereas research is lacking on the reverse effect), he says. This is due to physiological changes in the muscles that help you move. When you use those fibers to fatigue before you do resistance exercises, your form and drive will likely suffer.

And that can have a noticeable impact. According to Lacey Stone, an LA-based celebrity trainer, if you want the muscle-building benefits of strength training, it’s best to start with those exercises. “It’s vital that you lift before your cardio workouts, because you will have the most power and the most strength to lift heavier loads, which in turn will make you stronger,” she says.

When Cardio Matters Most

In terms of fighting off fat, both resistance exercises and anaerobic workouts are crucial. “When you gain muscle, it raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat faster,” Stone explains. And according to research, doing both strength and cardio decreases body fatsignificantly more than each method alone. So you can probably stick to the same formula mentioned above, but keep in mind this caveat: That same study showed that while fat mass and waist circumference decrease when you do a combo of the two techniques or just aerobic activity. In other words, lifting alone didn’t lead to weight loss.

So if you want to slim down, you need to kick up your cardio — even if that means skipping some weights when you’re short on time. “Remember: Strength training changes your shape and cardio changes your size,” says Stone.

If it’s better cardio capacity you’re after, Stone says there are mixed reviews on what to tackle first. It’s still smart to strength train even if you want to be a better runner or biker. In fact, one study found that resistance exercises improved endurance athletes’ performance, muscle power and economy. You may just need longer and more frequent cardio moves (some of those being stand-alone aerobic sessions), with cross-training days sprinkled throughout your weekly schedule.

Research suggests taking ample recovery time between strength sessions, too, so you don’t mess with your endurance benefits. As shown in the study, the physiological stress from resistance training can fatigue muscles and potentially slow down the benefits of running or cycling sessions. Similarly, ACE-sponsored research shows that strength training before cardio increased heart rate by 12 beats per minute, which can increase your rate of perceived exertion. This makes your workout feel more vigorous and causes you to feel tired, faster. An important note to keep in mind if you’re aiming to go for a longer run or ride.

Finding Your Formula for Success

Of course every individual has different ideas for what they want to get out of their gym time. So tailor yours to your goals. “To the recreational exerciser, I recommend experimenting with the order of the two types of training within the same workout. Then gauge which works best for you,” says Confessore. If you’re still unsure of what to do, Confessore suggests scheduling these two types of workouts on different days. That way, you don’t have to worry about one affecting the other.

The bottom line… Do what works for your body, but if you need a place to start: Tackle strength, then cardio.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

8 Bad Habits That Kill Your Metabolism By: KEVIN GRAY

You may already suspect your metabolism slows as you age. According to research published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, you’re right. In a review of data on energy expenditure, researchers found simply getting older is associated with progressive declines in basal metabolic rate. On top of that, there are many daily habits that can drain your metabolism even further.

But you don’t have to go down without a fight. Cut out the below habits and watch your metabolism and energy levels improve.

Eating a nutritious breakfast is always a good way to start your morning. Because your metabolism slows down during sleep, eating can fire it up and help you burn more calories throughout the day. According to Rush University Medical Center, “When you eat breakfast, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip breakfast, the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.”

OK, so it’s about more than just eating something in the morning. If you grab a sugary donut or eat a muffin in the car, you’re setting yourself up to crash later. Instead, choose something with filling protein and fiber like eggs, yogurt and berries or whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter.

Going from your office chair to your car to your couch can lead to a very sedentary routine. And sitting for extended periods puts your body into energy-conservation mode, which means your metabolism can suffer. According to the UK’s National Health Service, “Sitting for long periods is thought to slow metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.”

Cardio is great, and it can quickly burn calories, but once you’re done running or cycling, your calorie burn quickly returns to normal. When you do HIIT and resistance-based workouts, however, your calorie burn stays elevated for longer as your muscles repair themselves. Per the American Council on Exercise (ACE): “Strength training is a key component of metabolism because it is directly linked to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.” And, according to ACE, a pound of muscle burns an additional 4–6 calories each day compared to a pound of fat.

Protein feeds your muscles, promotes satiety and is an important component to sustaining a healthy weight. Eat too little, and you may have trouble building or maintaining muscle mass — and per the above, we know muscle’s importance to metabolism. Also, protein requires more energy to break down than carbs or fat, so you’ll actually burn more calories during digestion.

One bad night’s sleep is enough to leave you feeling sluggish and impair your cognitive processing. String together several nights in a row — or a lifetime of inadequate sleep — and science shows decreased metabolism and hormonal imbalances may follow.

In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found drinking 500 milliliters of water (about 2 cups) increases metabolic rate by 30%, and that spike lasts for more than an hour. So, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and you’ll get the added benefit of a boosted metabolism.

When stress levels increase, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol leads to increased appetite, makes us crave comfort foods, decreases our desire to exercise and reduces sleep quality — all things that negatively impact metabolism. So, while you can’t always control your stress levels, managing stress can go a long way toward protecting your body’s internal fire.

About The Arthur

Kevin is a Dallas-based writer who spends the majority of his weekends on a bike. His less healthy pursuits can be found at Bevvy and Cocktail Enthusiast.

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

How Many HIIT Workouts Should You Do a Week?

BY LAUREN DEL TURCO

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is having a moment — a very, very long moment. With HIIT-specific fitness studios popping up left and right (and experts constantly raving about the benefits of the afterburn), it’s easy to feel like you should be doing HIIT all the time.

How often can your body handle this all-out type of workout, though? Probably less often than you think.

FIRST THING FIRST: WHAT COUNTS AS HIIT?

“HIIT is a type of cardiovascular exercise that involves short periods of high-intensity work followed by intervals of low-intensity recovery,” explains Tom Holland, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, author of “Beat the Gym” and host of the “Fitness Disrupted” podcast.

Let’s break that down: On a scale of 1–10, your average run or cardio session might involve a steady effort of about a 5 or a 6. In a HIIT workout, though, you’ll alternate between intervals of pushing at an effort level of 7 or higher and intervals of recovering at a minimal effort level.

Just how long your work and rest intervals last, and whether you run your intervals on a track or step them out on the stairclimber, though, is totally up to you. According to the American Council on Exercise, work intervals typically last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, with rest intervals lasting equally as long — if not longer. (Because of these high-intensity efforts, most HIIT workouts last just about 20 minutes or so.)

The benefit of pushing through a HIIT session instead of doing your usual cardio? You burn more calories and fat — and in less time.

GENERALLY, HOW MANY HIIT WORKOUTS CAN YOU DO PER WEEK?

Given the serious bang-for-your-buck HIIT workouts offer, you’re not the only exerciser tempted to swap them in for every cardio session you do.

The thing is, “if you are truly doing HIIT correctly, you are putting significant stress on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems,” says Holland. For that reason, you can’t do it every day.

Though just how many HIIT workouts a week you can handle varies based on your current fitness level and goals, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to have at least one day of low-intensity exercise between two HIIT days, says Holland.

Sticking to that guideline means you can consistently churn out three or four HIIT workouts per week, tops. “Even professional athletes generally perform at least one, if not two, easy workouts for every hard session like HIIT,” Holland adds.

If you’re a complete HIIT newbie, though, the American Council on Exerciserecommends you start with just one or two sessions per week for about six weeks.

WHY MORE HIIT ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER

Remember that thing about HIIT stressing your heart and muscles big time? It’s nothing to mess around with.

“Doing these workouts every day can lead to overtraining syndrome and injury,” Holland says. (Overtraining syndrome is basically a state in which you feel constantly fatigued and perform poorly in the gym as a result of too much exercise.)

“No matter how effective a form of training is, if you do too much, you will experience problems,” Holland adds. “This is especially true of higher-intensity workouts.”

TELLTALE SIGNS YOU’RE DOING TOO MUCH HIIT

First of all, if you’re attempting to do HIIT every day (or almost every day), keep Holland’s philosophy in mind: “If you can do HIIT every day, you’re not doing it right.”

However, even if you’re sticking to three or so sessions per week, look out for overtraining symptoms like trouble sleeping, a higher-than-usual resting heart rate, irritability, excessive soreness and poor performance, all of which indicate a need to dial it back.

If you need to slow your roll with the HIIT, don’t sweat it. LISS (lower-intensity steady-state cardio) still has a valid place in your routine, too. Lower-intensity workouts not only offer weight loss and heart-health benefits, but they can be a much-needed reprieve from the all-out mentality of modern life. In fact, during low-intensity exercise, you recover while you move, which makes it a must-do for anyone who wants to stay active and reap HIIT’s benefits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren is a writer, editor and content creator with a deep passion for all things health and wellness. Her work has been featured in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, SHAPE, Prevention and more. A self-proclaimed veggie-lover and nature-seeker, Lauren spends her free time reading, hiking and coaching at her local group training gym.


Well, well…..this is a great article because I’ve learned something new. Even though I love HIIT, it’s imperative that I mix it up a bit. I normally do HIIT cardio 2-3 days a week and get a pretty good burn. I do have weight training days where I feel like I need to do more. With that said, heavier weights are coming upon me on weight training days. 😊 I’ll let you know how it goes. 👍 With eating pretty clean & increasing weight, I hope to gain more muscle tone. I still need to focus on eating the right amount of protein I need. To be continued…..

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

#TBT

8 Foods That Are Surprisingly Good for Weight Loss (BACK TO THE BASICS)

BY SIDNEY FRY, MS, RD

Losing weight doesn’t always have to be about deprivation and denial. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Successful, sustainable weight loss is far more attainable when you focus on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Eat wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-filled) foods and you’ll be far more satisfied and content on less. Many of the foods people think are off-limits when it comes to losing weight are the very foods that have the ability to actually help us reach our goal. Here are eight foods that cannot only help you reach your weight-loss goal, but help you keep it off for good.

Drink skim and stay slim? Not always so when it comes to dairy. A recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that more than 18,000 women who consumed more higher-fat and whole-milk dairy products had a lower risk of being overweight

How can this be? Some essential fatty acids are stripped when milk is skimmed — the very component that may help you feel fuller sooner and stay full longer with full fat products. Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.

Bottom line: Eat a variety of dairy and worry less about how much fat it contains. Limit high-sugar ice cream treats, and buy plain yogurt with no added sugars, which tend to pile up in the flavored and fruited varieties.

In addition to healthy fats, nut butters contain an impressive amount of protein and fiber, too. Peanut butter boasts a plentiful 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber. 

A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that regular nut consumption among a group of more than 51,000 women was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. A similar study in the Journal of Nutrition found that weight changed very littleamong people who consumed a normal versus nut-enhanced diet. In other words: Nuts and nut butters can be a healthy addition to your diet, even when trying to lose weight. Try snacking on nut butters in between meals to sustain your appetite. A 200-calorie cashew or peanut butter snack is far more satisfying and filling than say, 200 calories of crackers or pretzels.

Shopping tip: Skip the reduced-fat versions, which ironically tend to have more calories, sugar, sodium and preservatives than regular nut butter. Buy those that list nuts — and maybe a bit of salt — in the ingredient list, and use them as a way to eat more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. What’s not to love about an apple smeared in almond butter?

Pasta is surprisingly low on the glycemic index — a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they raise blood-sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels. Whole-grain pasta falls in the 32–37 range (about half that of white bread), while white pasta averages in the mid-40 range — still much lower than that slice of white bread. And because pasta is traditionally tossed with other wholesome foods like seafood, vegetables and olive oil, a healthy pasta meal is far from off-limits for those concerned about their weight. 

Pro tip: Stick to whole-grain varieties, double up on veggies and skip the super cheesy, cream-based sauces.

Rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense choice when it comes to snacks and meals. At just 70 calories per egg, there’s no reason not to enjoy the entire egg, yolk and white combined. Yes, egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol, but recent studies now prove that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than we once thought. The evidence says eating whole eggs in moderation is safe, and some studies even show they may aid in weight loss when eaten in place of refined carbs.

Bonus: Eggs are super cheap and cook quickly — a perfect solution for busy, time-crunched mornings. Cook your eggs in olive oil and use them as a vessel for sautéed greens and vegetables, then serve them over whole-grain toast for a complete, well-balanced, weight-conscious meal.

What most people fail to realize is that per ounce, dark meat chicken or turkey (from the leg and thigh) only has about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than white breast meat. The skin is where most of the fat lies — skip that on any part of the bird for a far more calorie-conscious choice. Dark meat poultry tends to be more tender, juicy and rich in flavor than white meat — requiring not only less butter and oil to cook with, but also less sauce or creamy condiments to make it palatable than breast meat. It’s a great source of lean protein that may leave you more satisfied at meal time, and less likely to overeat later. 

Dark meat contains more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein that gives it a gray-reddish color, as well as more iron and zinc — two immune-boosting minerals.

Portion tip: Thighs are about half the size of the breast, making them a far more portion-savvy option than today’s 9- and 10-ounce breast halves. Double bonus: They’re cheaper, too.

When it comes to weight loss, limiting liquid calories can be the key to success. Alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, which not only adds up quickly, but goes down quickly, too. But giving up our occasional cocktail at the end of a long day is non-negotiable for some. 

Red wine may be more beneficial than white, according to one study from Washington State University, which found the polyphenols in red wine (including resveratrol) may even prevent obesity by aiding in metabolism. The heftiest boost of polyphenols comes from whole grapes, but wine certainly carries a portion of those benefits.

Bottom line: Alcoholic beverages won’t necessarily aid in weight loss, but they do help us relax and wind down from stressful days. In moderation, alcohol is good for the heart, too. Drink responsibly (not on an empty stomach), limit your intake and choose a 120-calorie glass of wine over sugar-loaded cocktails and carbohydrate-dense beer for better weight-loss success.

Your daily cup of joe may do more than just help you roll out of bed each morning. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, and contains antioxidants that may help improve glucose metabolism — which not only helps suppress the appetite, but also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeinated coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis, and the body’s ability to burn more fat stores, improving performance in endurance exercises like running and biking. 

While the effects of coffee on weight loss are likely minimal, the overall health benefits are reason enough to enjoy a cup or two each morning as part of your daily routine. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies found those who drank their morning cups of coffee were actually at the lowest risk for heart problems

A cup of advice: Not all coffee is created equal — most of the benefits associated with coffee are singular to black coffee — not the cream and sugar-filled coffee beverages from drive-thrus and coffee boutiques. Limit the flavored (and over-priced) lattes to a rare treat.

Just one or two bites of rich, satisfying chocolate can not only reduce stress levels, but help curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats, too. High stress levels can lead to cortisol hormone spikes, which increase the appetite and emotional eating behaviors. 

The benefits of chocolate are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits. 

Buying tip: Skip the convenience store and check-out lane chocolate bars, which contain a lot of added fats and sugars — which can counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or higher, with a short, simple ingredient list … and indulge in just an ounce or two. Eating too much will work against you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR!

Sidney is a two-time James Beard Award-winning food and nutrition writer, editor and mom based out of Birmingham, Alabama. A registered dietitian with a passion for research and being proactive about health, she loves to eat, write, run and create simple, tasty meals with whole-food-based approach. Find out more from her website, Instagram or Twitter.

———————BACK TO THE BASICS——————

This article takes us back to the basics so we know of some foods and their benefits. I struggle a lot on my protein intake daily because I don’t eat much meat and always looking for non dairy alternatives. I’ve learned that dairy has a “not so good” reaction for me. 😕 That’s why you will see me posting to recommend some of my finds from the market. Weight loss was not a deprived time for me at all. My goal is to continue to loose body fat and still be able to enjoy foods I love. So far, this journey has gone well. My next step is to tackle and conquer my protein intake so I can gain muscle tone. 💪

Signing off,

Ray Marks #putyourmarksonfitness ✨

How to Have Your Best HIIT Elliptical Workout Ever

By Ashley Lauretta Updated October 30, 2019

While the treadmill is often synonymous with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), there’s another machine that can be just as effective with a lower impact: the elliptical. But lower impact doesn’t mean easier. As long as you’re putting for the effort, you can work up a sweat and burn plenty of calories.

HIIT is an intense but effective workout.
Credit: microgen/iStock/GettyImages

Woman doing a HIIT workout on the elliptical at the gym
HIIT is an intense but effective workout.
Credit: microgen/iStock/GettyImages
HIIT workouts come with a long list of benefits, including slowing negative effects of aging and boosting heart health. Whether you do a 15- or 45-minute HIIT workout, are on an elliptical or doing body-weight exercises in your living room, you’ll still reap the benefits and the basic components are the same.

“You progress through a series of high energy bursts for a shorter period of time followed by active rest or recovery,” says John Thornhill, master trainer for Aaptiv. “The amount of time needed for a HIIT workout to be effective is based on the individual and their experience with exercise.”
Exactly how do you use the elliptical, then, to conquer your next HIIT workout? Here’s what you should know before you turn up the intensity.
Read more: How to Get All the Fat-Burning Benefits of the Elliptical Machine

How to Get the Most Out of Your Elliptical Workout

“The elliptical was created to mimic a running motion in a low-impact environment, and that’s exactly what it does effectively,” Thornhill says. “If you have injuries that prevent you from high-impact activities, the elliptical is an excellent cardio and strength machine.”

To avoid wasting your time plodding along with minimal effort and lackluster results, keep these two main things in mind.

Ramp Up the Intensity

Ever heard the myth that the elliptical can’t offer you as intense of a workout as a treadmill? Clair Mason, owner of elliptica, an elliptical studio based in Fairfield, Connecticut, says that isn’t the case as long as you change up the resistance and increase the cadence.

So first things first, figure out how to change the resistance and the incline on your machine. Not all ellipticals have an adjustable incline, but if yours does, you should absolutely take advantage of it, Thornhill says.

Resistance is your best friend when it comes to the elliptical, so once you get familiar with it, be generous with it. In the same way, if your elliptical has incline, make sure you take advantage. The higher the incline, the more you work your glutes.”

Perfect Your Form

You can’t get the most out of your workout if you aren’t using the elliptical correctly. Just as with running, form and posture are crucial. Even if you’re a veteran of elliptical workouts, a form check may be exactly what you need if you feel you’ve plateaued.

“Starting from the ground up, your feet should be placed squarely in the pedals with heels grounded,” Thornhill says. “Stand tall with good posture, hips and shoulders in line, and shoulders relaxed… Place your hands lightly on the handrails and focus on pushing and pulling with your arms to work your arms, chest and back, with the primary drive coming from your legs, glutes and core.”

While it may seem awkward at first, Mason says you should mimic your natural walking, jogging, running and sprinting motion when using the machine. Again, the elliptical was created to provide the same motion as running, with less impact.

Read more: 6 Elliptical Mistakes That Can Derail Your Workout

Try This HIIT Workout on the Elliptical

When it comes to the pacing of an actual HIIT workout, Mason says it’s a back-and-forth between bursts of energy and periods of recovery. Even if you’re just starting a workout routine, you can still do these types of intervals.

Need a HIIT workout that’s accessible for anyone? Thornhill shares this one that can be easily adapted to your fitness level. “Start small and work your way up once you build stamina and confidence,” he says.

  • 5-minute warm-up: Light resistance at a steady, easy pace.
  • 30 to 60 seconds: Add a moderate amount of resistance and push the speed to as fast as you can maintain for the duration.
  • 2 minutes: Active recovery (similar to your warm-up pace).
  • Repeat 3 times.

Should you need more guidance — and even more workouts — there are apps for that! Aaptiv(look for Thornhill’s workouts) and BeatBurn Elliptical Trainer offer audio guided workouts so you can put in your earbuds and get moving without having to track the time on the screen as you push your pace during those high-intensity bursts.REFERENCES

The Re-Fitness Focus

As some may know, I’ve been into fitness for a while now (since 2010). CrossFit was a big TO DO on my list. 😊 I was in the best shape of my life and felt good. But what’s different now….I’m revisiting my journey and becoming healthy in the process. It wasn’t until moving back to Texas, I decided it was time to take my life back. I turned to ALL foods for comfort, this was not good for my health. From the loss of loosing my twins (2015), to my acoustic neuroma brain surgery I had to have to save my life (2016), and to loosing my baby girl to save my life or stop lifelong complications, Rylee, at 22 weeks (due to severe pre-eclampsia, March 18, 2017), I needed a break through. ☹️ I felt very broken and at my lowest point for a while but GOD. 🙌


In 2018, I finally decided it was time to not only workout but eat myself back to healthy. I was at my heaviest weight. I started making baby steps on my food choices. (Example: Instead of drinking soda and juice all day, I would make myself drink at least 1-2 cups of water a day. 😂🤷‍♀️) It was a struggle because I craved my sodas all day. It’s said that it takes 21 consistent days to break a habit. I totally believe it. I can now drink my required amount of water everyday without drinking sodas at all. Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I will drink no more than half of soda when I crave it (never a whole one because of the burn 🙈). In the meantime, I still struggled because I was lifting more weights but not doing enough cardio to jump start loosing more body fat. I finally discovered HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio. 😍 This type of cardio worked for me because I would get bored doing traditional cardio and quit. With the HIIT movements, it’s a different feeling. I love it!!! I do HIIT cardio 2-3 times a week and HIIT weight training 3 times a week (5 days a week, sometimes 6 when I’m in town).


As of today, I’ve lost 30 lbs., eating healthier, healthier being, and enjoying life to the fullest with my amazing husband. Consistency is the key! If you are on your fitness journey and struggling with results, don’t give up. I promise you will see change. Your ideal weight loss should be (not everyone because everyone is different and have different goals) .5 – 1 lb a week. The slower the weight comes off, the better the results should be to keep it off. 💢 I will share what works for me. And yes I still enjoy some of the not-so-good for you foods I love from time to time. 🤟 #journeycontinues

Signing off,

Ray Marks ✨ #putyourmarksonfitness