Explosivelyfit Strength Training

Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

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250717 Sticking to an exercise program

250717 Sticking to an exercise program

There are those who exercise because they like it and those who exercise because someone told them they had to. Which one are you? If the latter, then perhaps you could benefit from a few tips on staying with it on your own.

Before doing any outside of normal activity see your doctor if any of these conditions exist in your background:

  • If you are a man over 40 or a woman over 50
    • If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma or are obese.
    • Are at a high risk for heart disease, particularly so if you have a family history of the disease or stroke of if you have any other health risks that should be considered and subsequently evaluated by a medical professional.

Getting moving

  1. Activity counts, no matter what it may consist of it is still movement and movement is what activity is all about. Choose something you like to do and stick with it. It can be as simple as walking around your property or neighborhood.
    2. Get a mechanical motivator like a pedometer to track how many steps you took at the end of the day. Go for at least 10,000 steps each day and you will soon notice the health benefits of doing so.
    3. Start a logbook. Once written down you begin a history of your activity and soon will be reluctant to miss a session.
    4. Hook up with a friend and exercise together. Both of you will make gains in your health.
    5. If you don’t have time to get a full session in then split it up into more manageable times. The current wisdom is ten minutes is about the shortest time that makes positive changes in your body and ultimately your health.
    6. Use the stairs at work or in the stores. Get that body moving. Don’t get lazy by taking the easy way out on the mechanical devices to get somewhere.
    7. Eat your noon meal on the go, get out in the fresh air by walking or doing something that gets your heart rate up.

Your body was built to move and not just sit on its butt.

180217 Bend like the willow

180217 Bend like the willow

Being faithful to your exercise and health programs is an admirable trait. But what happens when it starts interfering with your life and more importantly to the lives of those who love you? I’ll tell you. It’s time to reappraise the situation and make some necessary changes.

Most hardcore fitness enthusiasts exercise come hell or high water, no matter what they will find a way to get their exercise session in every day. I know a person who has not missed one single day in over twenty years.

Every day this person did something positive for their health and fitness; even while recovering from major joint surgery. They have pushed to get better by regaining their range of motion and doing isometrics to build the muscle strength back to its pre-surgery status.

Has this dedication caused conflicts in their life? I suspect so. Let’s look at how you can avoid these same issues.

Putting the check on the calendar

I call minimally doing something positive for yourself putting a check on the calendar for that day. The check on the calendar simply means you did something on this particular day to help improve your health in some small way. It doesn’t mean you went all out on the exercises; just that you did a little bit.

Suppose you were scheduled to max out on one of your lifts or run a faster than normal mile but your wife or child became ill and had to be cared for. No one in their right mind would consider taking time off to exercise as planned if a loved one needed their help. You are no different.

Abandon your schedule and help them out. There will be breaks in the day when you can get out the skip rope and hit it hard. Do as many pushups and sit ups as you can in one or more minutes. Do something for yourself, but not at their expense, during the time you’ve got before they need you again.

If you aren’t in good mental and physical shape it’s going to be much harder caring for someone else.

Sometimes it really is better to stop the head long pursuit of strength and high level physical fitness and smell the roses for a brief minute or two before hitting it again. Just don’t take to long…

Prescriptions for strength training

070117 Following the Pro’s Routines by Jon Miller

070117 Following the Pro’s Routines by Jon Miller

I liked this post so much that a long time ago asked Jon if I could use it on my site and he gave me his permission to do it. It is still valid, thus the posting here.

I thought about all the people who go pick up bodybuilding magazines and base all they do from the information they find there. It’s a very unfortunate situation. I say this because bodybuilding magazines do have some good information. However, not all the information is good.

The main items that are not good information are the pro bodybuilder’s routines. You know what I’m talking about. Every single issue has more than one of these.

“Yes, yes, I know what you’re talking about, Jon. But what’s so wrong with them?”

To put it bluntly, the articles are full of crap. First of all, we have probably never seen one of these articles that lists a pro’s real training routine. I have even spoken with a few different people who told me of their days in California where people would look at magazines and say things like, “I know that’s not how he trains, I have trained with him before!”

The problem is that most of these articles are written by ghost writers. These ghost writers create the articles. Then the pro bodybuilder (who is under contract with the specific magazine publisher) is credited with the article. They throw in a few pictures, put their name at the end and voila! And the mags sell like crazy. Please believe me, I’m not making this stuff up. This is common knowledge in the bodybuilding world.

The main problem with these training routines is they will over train you big time. For example, a shoulder routine will usually consist of 12-16 sets of exercise for one muscle. Way too much! You could make it work by using 2 of the 3 or 4 sets per exercise as warm-ups, but most people do not know this. They just go into the weight room and start pumping out 12-16 hard sets (usually after too few warm-ups, if any at all). It will take no time at all until a person becomes over trained and probably injured. These routines would be able to hurt you even if you were pumping yourself full of illegal steroids.

Another problem is that now days these articles are written more to advertise some nutritional supplement products. Many times it’s more like an advertisement with a little bit of horrible training advice thrown in. People see that this huge guy claims to take this product and follow this routine. “Look, he’s huge; I better do it, too!” Yep, I’m sure there’s not a big money industry behind all this…

So, since I have ripped on these magazines, I will say that there is some good information in them as well. Usually the diet information is good. They push the idea of eating smaller, more frequent meals. They always tell the importance of high protein and moderate carbohydrate intake. Some are even getting better about accepting fat into diets. Just get past each magazine pushing its own product and you can see good information to use.

The point is to remember these magazines’ main objective. Keep a close eye on them. Remember that the articles are almost always just another ad for their products and/or their professional bodybuilder. Look past the stuff that you know is junk and absorb only the good basic information. Keep this in mind, enjoy the pictures and be on your way to a strong healthy life.

191216 Moderation is NOT the key to getting stronger

191216 Moderation is NOT the key to getting stronger

Moderation in all things in life has been the advice of many a parent over the years. It is almost a certainty that you have been exposed to this as you grew up. In most cases the saying has merit but not when it comes to getting stronger. When it comes to getting stronger, throw moderation[1] out the window. Your muscles don’t act in a moderate manner, so why should you?

Now just because I said to throw moderation out the window I did not say to throw caution out with it. Use your head while you train or suffer the consequences of your imprudent actions.

The all or nothing theory of muscle activation

Before we move on let’s review the all or nothing theory of muscle activation. This states that when a specific set of muscle fibers within a motor unit reaches its threshold of activation either all of the fibers in that unit fire or none do. There is no such thing as a ‘maybe firing’. This is similar to a woman being pregnant; she either is, or is not…there is no middle ground.

Once this concept is understood it’s time to consider what happens when the motor units are all firing to move the weight. Without something to protect the body from excessive loads it would be possible to damage the integrity of the joints.

The protective joint sensors

The body has built in feedback loops to help protect it from harm. The most significant are the Golgi tendons and the muscle spindles. Both of which are ultra protective of the joints. Resetting the levels of activation for these protective mechanisms may be the key to greater lifting achievements.

The muscle spindles are located, actually intertwined within the muscles themselves and can sense when the muscles are being stretched (lengthened) rapidly. When this happens a signal is sent to the spinal cord which then tells the motor neurons to tighten up, i.e. to ‘reflexively contract’. (Strength Training, Brown, L. E. et al 2007). This helps prevent the muscle from being over stretched to the point of injury. However this only works during rapid lengthening of the fibers. A fiber that is slowly stretched doesn’t receive the signal to contract and is thereby susceptible to damage. The opposite reaction to the muscle spindle comes from its counterpart in the joint protective association; the Golgi Tendon.

The Golgi tendon, located at the junction of the tendon and muscle fibers intersection, senses when there is high tension on the tendon. When this sensation of excess is noted a signal is immediately sent to the spinal cord to inhibit further contraction of the muscles attached to the tendon. Additionally another signal is sent to the antagonist muscles telling them to contract. Here in lies the problem of moderation.

It may be that the Golgi tendon response is set too low. Readjusting this could be the answer to greater strength outputs. But this is dangerous territory as injury is just around the corner if the limits are pushed to far upward and the joint is damaged by a disproportionate, in relation to training experience, weight. The question before us now is how can we make these two seemingly incompatible protective devices work for us, and not against us, in our training.

The relationship between strength training and muscle activation

Since we know that the smallest and lowest threshold muscle motor units activate first we have to figure out a way to bypass this process. Secondly we have to figure out how to reset the Golgi Tendon response so more weight can be lifted. Is this a possibility? Yes to a certain extent it is. The answer is through proper training practices.

Periodization of the training load intensity, volume and rest to work ratios will allow this training effect to take place. Remember only those motor units that are recruited to lift the weight are trained. If they aren’t activated they won’t be exposed to the stress of the training. Recruitment of the type two fibers is the goal for the strength athlete.

The order of recruitment is thought to be genetically fixed however this may be altered by using heavy weight and/or placing a high power demand on the muscles. Variations in the recruitment order and small changes in fiber type composition are also thought to be possible through a well designed training program.

A competent strength coach will be able to design strength program for you that meets the needs of the prior discussion. If you are interested and motivated enough to follow through with the plan you will reap the benefits.

Summary:

Resistance training, i.e. strength training can be a valuable asset in your sports activity program. These strength cycles will generate changes in the physiological make up of the body if they are properly planned. Moderation is not what will elicit these changes. Only maximal training effort will lead to maximal change in the muscle fiber recruitment and composition. The plan should involve periodization principles for the greatest effect and outcome.

[1]] Moderation is a relevant term in this context. Don’t be stupid with your weight training or you will get hurt.

261116 Beginning fitness and health exercise guidelines

261116 Beginning fitness and health exercise guidelines

Often times an activity requires specific equipment be available in order to participate. Advanced fitness and strength training methods fall into this category. However a beginner with the desire and motivation to get moving will do well without any specialized gear. Just the basics are necessary.

Clothing that is comfortable and even a bit loose fitting, paired up with a quality cross trainer athletic shoe can be a beginning. Place the accent on quality when making your purchases; they last longer and in the long run you get more for your money. Once you’ve got the clothing it’s time to begin.

Start out with an overall general warm up prior to any intense exercise, the exception may be for those of you who like to jog. In your case just start out on your run but go slower until you are warmed up sufficiently to move faster. Notice that I am not advising you to stand like a stork and pull the other leg up to your buttocks. This is a waste of time and can cause injury to a cold muscle.

Exercise at an intensity level high enough to produce results. Aerobic benefits appear shortly when exercising within your target heart range. Stay away from the low intensity nonsense-get going. And for you strength athletes lift in the two extremes of your one repetition maximum. One day will be at the 30-60% for speed and the other at 85-100%.

Train at a level of intensity that allows you to carry on a conversation with your friends. If not, then you’re overdoing it a tad unless you are getting ready for a contest.

Keep yourself hydrated. The days of toughing it out without water are long gone.

The cool down is as important as the warm up. One of the most effective cool downs is to simply walk around until your breathing and pulse return to near normal levels.

If you happen to be a little under the weather, health wise, it’s best to skip your session for the day. Get well and then hit it again.

Having a good time while you exercise means you’ll more than likely stay with it longer and staying with it means making steady health progress.

191116 Samo samo

191116 Samo samo

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over then expecting a different result each time. This may not be the actual definition of insanity but the concept certainly fits those who are exercising the same way and not seeing the results they want to achieve.

We had supper the other night with a long time friend of twenty-three-plus years who mentioned she was working out. When she told me what she was doing it turned out to be a pretty aggressive combination of cardio and strength training with a heavy emphasis on the cardio portion.

Most people who know me realize that once the fitness and strength topics come up I will have a comment or two about the subject. My wife just rolls her eyes most men would take this as a clue but being a bold person who can stand the wifely heat I plunge right in and put in my dollars worth of opinion.

In some cases, the person may actually be on a good program but most of the time the program has far outlived its usefulness. The reason for this is your body demands a challenge. If this isn’t present then there are only two directions it will go; stagnate or slip backward, neither of which is what any fitness enthusiast want to see happen to their hard-earned gains.

In order to make good progress each session, a change is needed to your routine. And one of the ways to make these changes is to keep track of what you’re doing every time you exercise. It is really easy to fall into a pattern of doing the same thing every time you hit the gym. By looking at your logbook you’ll soon see these patterns developing.

Your body physiologically adapts to the stresses of exercise in this manner. First to the repetitions, next to the sets performed, then to the exercise itself. A variation in any of these three will create a whole new exercise experience, one that will keep you on the positive track to successfully achieving your fitness or strength goals.

121116 Exercise suggestions for those with limited equipment

121116 Exercise suggestions for those with limited equipment

Make a space to work out in that is easy to get to. Get all of your gear in one spot so it is available for immediate use without moving a lot of stuff around each time.

Equipment

  • Bicycle
  • Dumbbells
  • Treadmill
  • Stability ball

Set up the dumbbells in 5, 10, 15, and 20 pound sets. Make sure the collars are on tight and the weights are centered on each one.

The warm up

Begin on the treadmill or your bike at the low end of each of the times. Start out at a walk for 1-2 minutes. As your pulse becomes faster increase the speed and work up to a fast walk or slight jog for another 2-3 minutes. Now slow to a walk for another 1-2 minutes. As you become stronger these times will seem awfully low, once that happens then add 10-25% more to each of them. At some point you will find the ideal warm up time that just feels right for your needs.

Leg rotations

Move your legs in giant circles, forward and backward and then out to the sides. Hold onto something sturdy if you are unsure of your balance. Gradually you’ll want to do these without support to enhance your balance capabilities.

Shoulder series

Do each one of the following 15-20 times each.

  • Wide clockwise circles with outstretched arms.
  • Wide counter clockwise circles with outstretched arms
  • Arms straight to the sides with palms facing the body moving out front and back over head without bending them
  • Arms bent at 90° and then extended rapidly to the front and back to the 90° starting position
  •  Arms bent at 90° and then extended rapidly to the front and back to the 90° starting position

The exercises This is just a minute fraction of the ones that are available.

Column one Column two Column three Column four
  • Dumbbell Military presses
  • Chin ups or pull downs
  • Dumbbell floor presses
  • Dumbbell rows
  • One arm dumbbell rows
  • Dumbbell bench Squats
  • Wall squats
  • Dumbbell dead lifts
  • Dumbbell good mornings
  • Dumbbell side bends
  • Leg Raises
  • Straight leg/stiff leg dead lifts
  • Dumbbell curls
  • Dumbbell Triceps extensions
  • Dumbbell Wrist curls-flexion and extension
  • Thors hammer wrist deviations

.

  • Dumbbell Calf raises
  • Abdominal exercises of your choice

The schedule

Work out five times a week for fifteen to twenty minutes a day. Each day will be a different series of exercises that you choose to do. Start out by doing two sets of eight repetitions with a rest of 30 seconds between each set. Gradually increase up to four to five sets of eight as your conditioning improves. Work quickly but without throwing the weight around. Let your muscles do the work instead of momentum.

Keep your pulse up in the 70-80% target heart rate (THR) range as you exercise. This is found by taking your age from 220 and multiplying the result by 70-80%. Although this is a very common method of finding your THR it is also somewhat inaccurate because the outcomes may be off by as much as 10 percent plus or minus.

Begin your exercise session with the warm up, move onto your choice of exercises from columns one, three and four and then cool down with a few selected static stretches.

The second day of exercise begins again with the warm up and your selections from columns two and four. Follow this with your cool down and you are done for the day. The week ends can be days off or walking for fun sessions. Add weight as these become easier to do each day. The heavier you lift, the stronger you’ll become. The greater your muscle mass the higher will be your calorie expenditures each day.

Schedule sample

Day one from column one, three and four

  •  Dumbbell military presses
  •  Dumbbell curls
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day two from column two and four

  •  Dumbbell bench squats
  •  Dumbbell good mornings
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day three from column one, three and four

  •  Dumbbell military presses
  •  Dumbbell curls
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day four from column two and four

  •  Dumbbell bench squats
  •  Dumbbell good mornings
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day five from column one, three and four

  •  Dumbbell military presses
  •  Dumbbell curls
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Week end off

Day one from column two and four

  •  Dumbbell bench squats
  •  Dumbbell good mornings
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day two from column one, three and four

  •  Dumbbell military presses
  •  Dumbbell curls
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day three from column two and four

  •  Dumbbell bench squats
  •  Dumbbell good mornings
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day four from column one, three and four

  •  Dumbbell military presses
  •  Dumbbell curls
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

Day five from column two and four

  •  Dumbbell bench squats
  •  Dumbbell good mornings
  •  Abdominal exercise
  •  Calf raises

You will notice that each week emphasizes more of one part of your body by doing either upper or lower torso exercises three times instead of two sessions per week.

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

The kids are off to school and finally you have some free time to yourself. Now is your chance to get fit. So where do you begin? Start with a consult with your doctor to see what they think of your new physical activity plans.

After you have discussed the situation with your doctor and if your health is such that you can become engaged in a fitness program start with a low intensity schedule so you aren’t so sore the next day you can’t move.

Each day set aside a time just for YOU. Make this a priority to follow through with your exercise plans unless a true emergency presents itself.

Write on your calendar what you plan to do or better yet write it down in a logbook that can be as simple as a three-ring notebook. Put down your weight, your goals for the day, week, month, and year.

Start with a dynamic warm up which means you aren’t just static stretching in a passive mode. A dynamic warm up, for example can be skipping rope, rotating your arms and legs around in big circles. The objective of this part of the exercise session is to get your heart and breathing rate up, to loosen up your muscles and get ready for a more rigorous physical endeavor.

If this is the day, you have decided to do aerobic conditioning, i.e. cardiovascular then skipping rope is not necessary. Start out slowly and gradually build up your speed of movement until you are at your target heart rate. Maintain this heart rate for twenty to thirty minutes for at least three to four times a week. Do this on alternate days between resistance training days, which now follow.

You can resistance train without weights or any other types of equipment using body weight moves such as the common push up and chair squats.

Do this entry level ‘no equipment’ fitness schedule for one month and I guarantee you will feel better! Write all that you do down in a workout logbook diary.

Monday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Tuesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
    • One leg chair squats-one leg held out in front as you descend
    • One leg squats-one leg held behind you on the chair as you descend into the squat
  • Calf raises
    • Two legs standing
    • One leg standing
    • Seated with a small child held securely on your knees
  • Hamstring bridges
    • With feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
    • With feet on the floor as above described
  • Push ups
    • Regular
    • Modified (pivot on your knees)
    • Modified wall lean against a wall and do a push up at an incline
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Wednesday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Thursday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times a piece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Friday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Congratulations, week one is behind you and now its time for a small two-day break then at it again Monday. This week though change it around by doing three resistance days of training instead of just two like last week.

Monday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair-as described above
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Tuesday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Wednesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Thursday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Friday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three or maybe even four more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Yahoo you have now made it to your SECOND weekend break. Now repeat for next week by doing three days of cardio work and two of resistance training. Be sure to write it all down.

Keep it up for the rest of the month and notice how much better you are feeling about yourself.

100716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today?

 

100716 What if you don’t feel like exercising today?

Putting a check mark on your calendar doesn’t mean not exercising, it means still going to the gym and lifting for at least 10 minutes. If, after the 10 minutes you still feel like passing on the day then move on to the rest of your day. At least you gave it a shot. It didn’t work out but you gave it a whirl.

Come back the next day with a new attitude and go at it again. If, however the same feelings of the previous day are still with you then it is time to make some drastic, wild changes in your exercise routine. Stop what you are doing and do something vastly different and give your body and mind a rest.

Instead of doing squats, do Bulgarian split squats, believe me your glutes and hamstrings will remind you later on of how you treated them. Use dumbbells rather than barbells, attach bands to the plates and do squats with swinging weights on the end of your bar, go into high reps, recall Bompa recommending rep ranges of up to 250 in a single set throughout the year on an infrequent basis as being conducive to further growth.

The idea is to move away from your normal exercise routine and get out of the rut you’ve created by not being creative with your schedule.

290216 Eating clean

290216 Eating clean

The experts at Tufts University set out the basic principles of eating clean as described in the book Eating Clean for Dummies. These are simple, common sense, guidelines that follow good dietary advice.

Start out with whole foods, preferably right from the farm that produced them. These would include such food items as whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and chemical free meat. Included in this area will be low fat dairy products, unsalted nuts (Costco sells these and they are delicious) and many varieties of seeds.

Some people believe that if the food is frozen, it detracts from the nutrients. This is not so, because by neglecting the frozen food isle in the store, you miss the great food choices such as the countless fruits and vegetables available there. Don’t forget the canned beans either. Rinse the liquid off of them first and then have at it in your salads or other dishes.

The most recommended advice from numerous sources is to avoid processed foods. This means any food with a label on it. If you actually do this, you miss out on many healthful options. For example, sugar is processed but so are the other options that are sugar such as agave syrup, fruit concentrate, or honey. The message here is to lower your intake of sugar regardless of its source.

Eating clean means figuring out what are the best options for your eating habits. Some have success grazing all day with five to six small meals during the day. Others stick to a more traditional three meals, with healthy snacks between them. Just make sure the food you eat is more nutrient dense with fewer unhealthy fats, less sugar, and lower sodium contents.

Whether you like to cook or don’t like to cook, the fact of the matter is if you cook your own food, you decide the contents. This can mean less sugar, less fat and less sodium in each meal all of which contribute to a healthier eating style. Plus you may save money too.

The last bit of advice from the experts at Tufts University is to make healthy food choice every day. Choose from the tremendous options of foods in the stores and make certain to get all three categories in your meals. These include the lean proteins found in fish, chicken, and vegetables. Stock up on whole grains of all sorts and use them in your cooking along with high fiber carbs and unsaturated fats[1].

Alter your eating habits one at a time; soon you will notice the benefits of the changes in your health and overall self-confidence.

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fat/art-20045550

Monounsaturated fatty acids. This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

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