Cooking healthy homemade meals that comply with various diets — from low-carb to vegan — doesn’t have to be time consuming. That’s where focusing on just a few ingredients — think lean proteins, fiber-rich veggies and satiating fats — coupled with easy cooking methods such as one-pan roasts and stir-frys comes in handy.
These five meals clock in under 360 calories and don’t require a ton of prep time so you can get dinner on the table in 35 minutes — all while honoring a range of diets.
Discover hundreds of healthy recipes — from high protein to low carb — via “Recipe Discovery” in the MyFitnessPal app.
If you’re trying to lose weight, there are many options that can help you accomplish your goal. But all of them include the tried-and-true combination of diet and exercise. For the former, it’s important to eat a varied diet that’s high in nutrients and tailored to your caloric needs. For the latter, you can choose your favorite activity, whether that’s walking around your block or playing your favorite sport.
But walking, running and cycling continue to be three of the best and most popular choices among exercisers. Below, we’re breaking down how each activity can impact weight loss.
WALKING FOR WEIGHT LOSS
According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim for 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise like walking or 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. To meet that goal, you’ll need to ensure you’re walking at a brisk pace that reaches the moderate-intensity level, which is measured at 50–70% of your maximum heart rate.
The pros: It’s easy to get started. Whether you choose to walk on a treadmill, on a path or on neighborhood streets, all you need to walk is a decent pair of walking shoes. Walking is also joint-friendly, which makes it a great option for people who are unable to participate in higher-impact activities.
The cons: Walking is not the most efficient way to burn calories. Given its relatively modest calorie expenditure, you’ll need to walk at a brisk pace for a longer period of time to meet the equivalent calorie burn of other activities, like running. It can take a while to see weight-loss benefits from walking, but if you stick with it, you can set yourself up for meaningful results.
The pros: Running is efficient. It burns about 2.5 times more calories per minute than walking, which makes it a great option if you’re trying to lose weight. In fact, one study found runners were leaner and lighter than people who did equivalent amounts of any other type of exercise. It’s also easy to keep things fresh by adding a sprint or interval day into your regimen of longer, slower runs.
The pros: Cycling is a low-impact activity, and it’s a great calorie burner. A 150-pound person can burn more than 500 calories per hour at a moderate pace of 12–14 miles per hour and nearly 700 calories per hour at a more vigorous pace of 14–16 miles per hour. It can also be a fun way to get out into nature, either for a peaceful solo ride or with friends.
The cons: A good bike is expensive. Same with shoes, padded shorts, helmets and other biking essentials. Even indoor options like spin studios and Peloton require a significant investment, so the steep price often disqualifies cycling as a viable activity for many people.
SO, WHICH IS BEST?
Well, it depends. For sheer calorie burn, running and moderate-to-vigorous cycling beats walking every time. But walking is still associated with many great health benefits — including a reduced risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure — and it can be an effective weight-loss tool, especially when performed consistently and for longer durations. There’s not one right answer for everyone, and some people benefit more from one exercise than another.
Losing weight isn’t about crash diets or quick fixes. Instead, the best and healthiest weight-loss strategies involve habits you can stick with for the long term. When it comes to exercising, it’s smart to mix up your activities. But when choosing one exercise over another, it’s helpful to balance benefits like calorie burn with enjoyment. Find something you like, and you’re more likely to keep doing it.
It can be incredibly frustrating to dedicate hours to your fitness routine but still not see toned muscles or a dip in the scale like you’d been hoping for. Or, sometimes, we can start a new workout regimen and see results really fast, only to see them slow down drastically or come to a complete standstill. So annoying!
When we feel like we aren’t getting anywhere, despite all the effort, it can lead to a loss of motivation and confidence. This, of course, can lead to giving up altogether.
Don’t worry, though. It turns out that there are some common reasons why people hit fitness plateaus in their progress. The first thing to keep in mind is that it can take months or years to see changes in muscle size or body fat percentage. So, don’t be discouraged if it’s only been a month or two and you don’t have your “dream body” yet. Another important thing to remember is that your goals need to be realistic and attainable. Sometimes, lofty goals might not be possible to attain simply because of genetics or your schedule and responsibilities. Be real with yourself, but also kind to yourself.
With all of this said, it can be draining and discouraging to spend hours dedicated to something and see no visible results. Here are some reasons why you might have hit a fitness plateau and might not be seeing the results you want from your workouts.
#1 You haven’t been totally honest with yourself
You can’t see results in the gym without being a conscious eater in the kitchen. It’s all too common that we think we know what a portion size is – but we really don’t. Or, you might think you ate healthy all day long, but grabbing handfuls of trail mix all day can add up way quicker than you think. Sit down and ask yourself, “what and how much am I actually eating? How often are you reallymoving throughout the day? Sometimes when we take a hard, honest look at things, we can see that there is a lot of room for improvement.
#2 You’re not switching up your workouts enough
Your body and your muscles are a lot smarter than you might give them credit for. They are very quick at adapting to new things, so when you perform the same workout over and over, your muscles become used to doing these motions or lifting that amount of weight, and soon, you’re no longer reaping the benefits that you once were and that’s when you reach a fitness plateau. Be sure to switch up your movements and routine and keep gradually adding weights to challenge your muscles.
#3 You’re thinking about extremes instead of balance
Humans are drawn to quick fixes. We are always looking for the magical product, routine, diet, or fad to help fix all of our problems in a short amount of time. This just isn’t reality, folks. To see change and maintain results, you need to make fitness and nutrition a lifestyle. By going to extremes, you might see results from the get-go, but soon, maintenance becomes exhausting, so, it’s unrealistic for the long-term. Instead of cutting out all carbs or food groups, or going to the gym two hours at a time, focus on moderation instead of deprivation.
#4 You’re not sleeping enough
A hectic, go-go-go lifestyle is all too common these days. But getting only three or four hours of sleep at night because you had too much on your plate isn’t something to be proud of. In fact, this can be extremely taxing on your entire system. When we sleep, this is when our brain and body get the time they need to regenerate and recover. When you’re not sleeping enough, your body doesn’t have time to focus on muscle-building because it’s too busy trying to keep everything else working on overtime. Knock unimportant items off your to-do list and make it a point to get a good night’s rest. Sleep is a super essential part of self-care.
The Bottom Line
If you’re working out like crazy, but just don’t seem to be getting the results you are looking for, there’s a good chance you have hit a fitness plateau. As you can see, this can be due to a number of reasons-not sleeping enough, not being totally upfront with how much you are actually working out, or maybe you just aren’t adding enough variety and balance to your workout routine.
To help switch things up and kick your body into high gear, try downloading the FitOn app where we offer tons of fun classes taught by celebrity trainers that you can do right from the comfort of your own home. FitOn workouts will help add some balance to your fitness routine while also giving you a new style of workout to do every time you need a bit of a change. It may be exactly what your body needs to start seeing some results again.
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
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.
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.
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 macronutrients — protein, fat and carbs. Once you’re fueling the body correctly, your weight ends up where it should be.
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.
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.
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.
Unlike lower-body exercises like squats and deadlifts, where the stronger of the two legs can easily compensate for the weaker limb, lunges force each leg to take turns doing the brunt of the work. Working your legs separately can expose and correct any strength and stability imbalances between the left and right side, says Carol Mack, DPT, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy.
However, to see any benefits from lunges, your exercise form has to be on-point. Here are the most common lunge mistakes Mack sees — and how to fix them.
It’s common for people to lunge with their feet too close to their centerline. “A lot of times, people will step too narrow and start to crossover, almost like they’re walking on a tightrope,” Mack says. But lunging on an imaginary tightrope not only makes it hard to balance, it also makes it hard to get the right muscles firing, while adding extra stress to the hips and knees, she adds.
The fix: Begin every lunge with your feet hip-width apart. As you step into a lunge, step the working foot in line with that hip — not in line with the other foot. “The feet should be hip-width apart at all times,” Mack says.
According to Mack, many people mindlessly step in and out of lunges. As a result, they don’t activate the right muscle groups (i.e., glutes, quads and hamstrings) — or even know what it feels like to engage these muscles. But, if you’re going to go through the trouble of doing lunges in the first place, you may as well score quality reps. “It’s quality over quantity,” Mack says. “If you can get sets of eight really good repetitions, that’s going to go a lot farther than lunging 20 times each leg and just going through the motions.”
The fix: Step into a lunge slowly and with control. Then, pause for 1or 2 counts before pushing back to the start. You should feel your glute and quadricep or hamstring (depending on which lunge variation you’re doing) firing throughout the movement.
Allowing your front knee to collapse inward when you lunge not only limits the effectiveness of the exercise, it also increases your chances of developing knee pain down the road (if you don’t have knee pain already).
The fix: As you lunge, make sure your front knee aligns with your shoelaces, Mack says. However, if you can’t lunge without your front knee falling out of alignment, weak glutes may be to blame. When you lunge, your glutes push your hips forward and rotate your working leg outward. But if your glutes are too weak to do their job, your upper leg and knee will likely collapse inward, according to Eliza Nelson, ACE-certified personal trainer and orthopedic exercise specialist. Your best approach to fixing this collapse is to incorporate more glute-focused exercises — like glute bridges, squats and banded lateral walks — into your exercise routine.
Another common lunge mistake is to let your front knee creep past your front toes. Doing so adds stress to your knee joint, which can cause knee discomfort or pain over time.
The fix: If your knee goes over your toes, your lunge stance may be too narrow, according to Nelson. Try widening your stance to ease the pressure, but take care not to shift too much weight onto the back leg in the process. If you let your front knee drift too far backward, you’ll increase the strain on your back knee, which can also lead to pain. “You should always be able to see the toes on your front foot,” Mack says, but if you start feeling a strain on the back knee, let your front knee drift forward just a touch.
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).
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.
#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.
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
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
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
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😆
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.
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.
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. ❤️
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.
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.