1. Weight a minute: If you’re not already, you must be doing some sort of resisted strength training. Period. Weight training increases muscle activity and therefore increases metabolism. Your body actually burns more while resting than it would otherwise. Instead of hitting the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes cut that down to 15 and then hit 15 minutes of weights. The pounds fly off as you lift them. Here are a few of my favorite workouts with weights.
2. Sprint it out: No doubt that your body needs a balance of proper diet, weights, and cardio. Mixing sprinting into your cardio (especially at the end) is a great way to transfer muscle demand and increase muscle activity. The next time you’re on a treadmill for 20 minutes, consider sprinting intervals (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) for the last 5 minutes. It will be like a whole new workout!
3. H.I.I.T and Intervals: Simply put – if you’re not taking part in some sort of interval training, you should. The alternating intensity from steady-state workouts generates just the right amount of “muscle confusion” to keep your body burning more calories longer. For some of my favorite H.I.I.T and Interval workouts click here.
4. CrossFit is where it’s at: If you’re looking for a total-body meltdown that’s nothing like any other workout you’ve ever done then look no further than CrossFit. H.I.I.T, cardio, weight training, resistance, body-weight… you name it and you’ll find it here. CrossFit gyms are sweeping the nation and I’m sure there’s one right by you. Most of them will even offer the first few sessions for free so you can try it out and see if you like it. If you’re looking for some great at-home CrossFit style workouts here are a few of my favorites!
5. Spot treatment only works in laundry: Here’s the deal – if you go to the gym with the goal of “making my arms look great” and that’s all you ever work on then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. The truth is “spot treating” rarely works. Sure it makes that are stronger, but you’re doing nothing to really burn calories or increase total-body strength. Switch to a more “global” approach (work your back and chest as a means to work your arms; make sure to combine with cardio) and then watch those “spots” come alive. Check out these total-body routines to get a feel for what I mean.
6. Here a selfie, there a selfie. Taking pics of yourself can actually be a really powerful motivator. As you watch your results taking form it becomes like an addiction. You start to lean out and tone up in places. With confidence you might even post them to some social media outlet where you start to get compliments like “you look amazing” and “wow- that hard work is paying off”. Four words – fuel for the fire.
7. Anyone for a game? Pick up a sport. Team sports including basketball, volleyball, football, soccer, etc are a great way to take your results to another level. They involve cutting, running, back-pedaling, etc to work muscles you never knew you had; but at the same time there’s something about the spirit of competition that lights a fire you never knew existed. It’s one thing to push two more treadmill minutes. It’s quite another to dig deep when the game is on the line!
8. There’s an app for that: Download a fitness app to track your meals and your activity throughout the day. Nothing will change you faster than owning exactly what you put into your body and confessing to yourself how much work you’re putting in. That piece of cake or delicious candy bar is a lot more difficult going down as you pull out your smart phone to enter those calories and fat you just consumed. Looking for a great app? Here’s my personal favorite.
9. Change up your workout order: Oh if I could share this one principle with you – you have to keep your body guessing. If Monday is leg day and every Monday you do the same 5 leg exercises and then go home then you will plateau in this journey and results will come to a grinding halt. You have to keep your body guessing. I don’t care if every Monday is leg day but I challenge you to find new exercises and new routines that will keep your body guessing. If it’s been a while since you were sore after Monday’s leg day then consider this your call to action. Click here to read more about changing things up.
10. Find a friend: The benefits to training with a partner are too many to name in one paragraph here. In short: they keep you honest – it’s a lot harder to “snooze” when you know someone is waiting for you. Spotters are going to help you get one more rep – great spotters will even force you into two more. Competitive edge will always come out when you’re both doing the same exercise – I’ve always lifted a lot more when lifting with someone stronger than me. And last I’ll mention the social interaction – it’s fun to laugh and joke around and share thoughts and interests with other people. Get a buddy and watch results skyrocket! Need a fun way to start a group fitness challenge? Our “Four Week Get Fit Challenge” is one of our most popular posts! Check it out.
11. Say goodbye to soda: your average 12 ounce can of soda has 30-40 (depending on the beverage) grams of sugar in it. This is anywhere from 8-10 sugar packets that you’re adding to 12 ounces of liquid. And who only drinks 12 ounces? Most mediums these days are around 21 ounces – nearly two cans. One of the quickest ways to lose weight a lot faster is to eliminate soda and drink more water. Looking for a great way to kick-start this process? Tone and Tighten’s “Drink Your Water Challenge” is an excellent place!!
12. 5 Meals a day: According to the most current research in the diet and nutrition world, most people advocate getting away from three square meals a day and eating 5 much smaller meals at more regular intervals. This curves the “between meal nightmare” of the munchies and snack attacks. Granted it does take a little more planning to do it right, but keeping your diet goals in mind is going to keep your eye on the prize and help make it a reality.
13. Just MOVE! If you look for… I mean actively positively seek out and find… ways to be active throughout your day you will lose weight. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Park as far away as you can from the grocery store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Knock out a set of 20 push ups and 30 sit ups during the commercial breaks. If you look for ways to be active I guarantee you will find them! But if you need a little more help … I’ve come up with 50 Ways To Increase Your Physical Activity to give you the boost you need.
14. Home-cookin is the best cookin: Know exactly what you’re putting in to your body by cutting the fast-food and restaurants out of your diet. Home-cooked meals can be nutritious and delicious with a little planning and preparation. Looking for some amazing healthy recipes? I know this website that has a few… check them out here.
15. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day: So don’t skip it! Most people who skip breakfast end up eating those calories and more throughout the day. You set yourself up to be hungry early and typically eat those calories in a food that’s much worse for you. So what if you’re short on time? My all-time favorite, go-to, wonder-of-wonders in the breakfast world are our “Healthy Frozen Breakfast Burritos“. I literally have 4 in my freezer right now. Start hot and healthy and watch what it does to your days!
16. Love your veggies: Increasing vegetable intake is a great way to supplement your diet (feeling fuller because you can eat more of them) and it actually suppresses a hormone that encourages your body to store fat. Find some great new recipes and have fun making them delicious. Here are some of my favorite veggie recipes.
17. Walk more, drive less: This is a great way to simply get more activity throughout your day. Consider taking public transportation. Chances are you may have to leave a little earlier and walk 1-2 blocks to get to your destination, but it will be well worth it. The key here is to not look at it as “more time added to my commute” but instead as “a little time to get some exercise before I get to my destination”.
18. Healthy snacking: put down the chocolate and ice cream and start reaching for ______ . Now you’ll noticed a left a blank there on purpose because there is a vital key element to “healthy snacking”. That is YOU HAVE TO LIKE THE SNACK!!! I get discouraged when I read about how raisins are such a phenomenal healthy snack. Simply put – I do not like raisins. If I were to buy a bag of them because they are healthy it would absolutely be the very last thing I reach for in my cupboard and I would end up going out and buying something else before eating them. The key to healthy snacking is finding something that you can actually get excited about snacking on and then reaching for it in the cupboard. Here are a TON of my favorite healthy snack options.
19. Get more sleep: The amount of sleep we get directly affects everything from hormone levels to wakefulness to even how our body uses energy (food) we consume. Getting more sleep puts our body in a state of more relaxation where it can slow itself down and function normally. If you’ve stalled out in your fitness goals try going to bed a little earlier to see how it affects you.
20. FOLLOW TONE AND TIGHTEN!!! See the black bar at the top of your screen? That’s a place that you can sign up for my email list. I continually strive to make Tone-and-Tighten.com a true one-stop website for everything health and fitness related. You’ll find amazing healthy recipes, workouts, motivation, tips and advice to take your results to the next level and start to lose fat FASTER!