Are you getting the most out of your workouts? How about your diet? Is there something you should be doing differently for better results? As a personal trainer, I’m always being asked for tips and tricks to improve exercise and weight-loss efforts. Although there are no magic shortcuts that will transform your body overnight, there are certainly things you can do to maximize your time at the gym and whip your diet into shape. Here are some of my top recommendations.
Scale back on the scale. Rather than focusing on numbers that appear on your scale every day, pay attention to your body fat. Pinch yourself—literally! Invest in a Sequoia Fitness Products Defender® Body Fat Caliper. This handy little tool is easy to use and will give you a good idea of your body fat levels. Remember, fat takes up more space than muscle, so pinching fat will give you a good idea of where you are with weight loss and muscle gain.
Fortify with flax seeds. A food I don’t go a day without, flax seeds are rich in fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants. The combination of healthy fats and fiber is idea for weight loss and maintenance, and many dieters find that flax seeds help them feel satisfied. If you’ve never tried flax seeds, start out slowly with about ¼ teaspoon a day, working your way up to 3 teaspoons daily. Be sure to use ground flaxseed meal, or grind the seeds yourself, as whole seeds will pass through your system undigested and you won’t get the full benefits. Flax seeds can be added to oatmeal, yogurt or smoothies, or sprinkle some on a salad or into your soup!
Take time for tea. Whenever you’ve got the munchies, reach for some green tea instead of chips or cookies. Studies have shown that drinking warm, clear beverages can offset hunger. A very good choice is Yogi Blueberry Slim Life, which is infused with diet-friendly herbs including garcinia cambogia (also available in supplement form).
Treat yourself. All of your hard work deserves a reward! I encourage a small sweet treat daily, to not only provide instant gratification but also to prevent you from going overboard or splurging after restraining yourself for too long. One of my favorite ways to add a little sweetness to my day? Stevia. This all-natural, sugar-free sweetener can be added to plain foods or beverages, such as yogurt, cereal or coffee, for sweet flavor without sugar, carbs or a nasty aftertaste.
Be patient. Losing weight, sculpting your body, becoming healthier—they all take time. Be patient with yourself! When it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, don’t just throw in the towel. You are not going to see results in a week. You may not even see results in a month. But if you stick with your plan and put in the work—the rewards will come with time. If you fall off track, let yourself take a day or two, but pick back up and keep going. You really can do it!
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com.