Top Trainer's Plan For Healthy Weight Loss

Continued (page 2 of 3)

REFINED CARBOHYDRATES: Refined sugar and refined flour give you an instant energy high, followed by an energy drop—and cravings for more refined carbs. Focus on whole-grain breads and cereals, and snack on nuts and fruit instead of cookies and candies.

HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS): Don't know what that is? Too bad, because your body loves to turn this supersweet sugar substitute into fat. HFCS is found in soda, cookies, and candy. It also lurks in premade pasta sauce, ketchup, even bread. The average American consumed about 62 pounds of it in the last year—an average of 228 additional calories every single day. Open the door to your fridge or pantry, take a look at the ingredients of the food inside, and you'll be shocked. You can't avoid HFCS entirely unless you move to Alaska and start hunting moose, but you can cut down on it significantly by reading the labels before you buy and limiting your intake.

5. Do the 20-second abs workout. Your abdominals are designed to stabilize your core; the more stable your core, the tighter your tummy. Think of it as creating a natural corset that helps keep your belly flat. Your secret weapon: an exercise called the plank. To do it, get into push-up position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should be in a straight line from your ankles to your neck. Now brace your abdominals as if you're about to be punched in the stomach, and hold them that way for 30 seconds (work up to a minute) while breathing normally. Do two sets, three times a week.

6. Have a smoothie (or two) every day. This drink is a great way to ensure that you're getting more of the power foods into your diet. Use plain or vanilla yogurt as a base; add fruit, some whey powder for extra protein, and ice. Toss it all into a blender and press "start." Now you've got a delicious, nutritious substitute for ice cream. A University of Tennessee study found that people who added three servings of yogurt a day to their diets lost 61 percent more body fat and 81 percent more stomach fat over 12 weeks than those who didn't eat yogurt.

7. Build more muscle. It's depressing to spend an hour on the treadmill sweating away like a guest on The O'Reilly Factor, only to discover you've burned a measly 300 calories—that's about two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But you can boost your burn after your workout by bringing some resistance exercise into your plan. Unlike aerobic workouts, lifting weights has been shown to raise your metabolism for up to 39 hours after your last repetition. So you burn more calories even while you're lying on the couch. And if you can't get to the gym, exercise such as climbing stairs, hiking, or even just walking uphill will firm and tone the legs and butt—where the majority of your body's muscle already resides.

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