person doing situps

14 Fitness Hacks For The Lazy Person

Let’s be honest, most of us want to look great, have chiseled body of a Greek god, without having to obsessively diet and spend 2-3 hours per day in the gym. Nor do we all have the money to spend on a super-strict personal trainer, or expensive fat burners. And who in the world would want to have their belly fat suctioned out and replaced with a surgically implanted six-pack?

If you’re the type who wants the greatest results for the least amount of effort, then keep reading, because I’m going to tell you how.

1. Stop Working Out First Thing in the Morning

Although we can certainly admire those who get up at the crack of dawn to start doing their workout routine, there’s growing evidence that indicates that this might not be such a good thing after all. According to the majority of experts, your joints and muscles just aren’t ready yet.

It’s far better to get warmed up first, so make sure you’ve stretched and started moving around a bit before you exercise.

As far as eating before working out, well, the jury is still out on that one. Some health specialists say that exercise before you eat will burn more fat. On the other hand, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it’s better to have a small snack first.

The ideal type of foods to boost energy in the morning should contain simple carbohydrates, like a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit.

2. Exercise Without Leaving the Couch

Instead of leaving your house and heading to the gym, just use your house to get in shape. You can use a couch, tables, or chairs to do dips, and it only takes a few of these once or twice daily to exercise your triceps.

Believe me, it won’t take long before you start noticing results. Along with dips, add one plank per day without leaving the comfort of your living room.

Start with just a few seconds and gradually build up to a whole minute. The majority of fitness trainers out there will admit that doing a 60-second plank is a pretty decent ab workout.

Doing this will soon make a major impact to the shape and tone of your abdominal muscles.

Next time you’re in the kitchen, do some lunges here and there while waiting for something to cook. Or, if you prefer, you can do some squats by lowering yourself down on your heels while keeping your back straight.

Make sure to keep most of your weight on your back heels. If you’re feeling particularly sparky, give a quick jump at the end of each one.

You can also do some random burpees here and there, as these are great overall for the body.

Doing only these simple exercises while watching television and waiting for the water to boil can make a drastic difference to your fitness. It’s really not necessary to go to the gym to get in shape, and neither do you have to follow along with those grueling 20-minute workout videos.

3. Hold Yourself Accountable

How many times have you said to yourself, “OK, starting tomorrow I will start this exercise routine.” I don’t have to tell you what happens next – the next day comes and that motivated person from the day before has suddenly vanished.

It’s easy to say you’ll start tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. Well, lucky for you, fitness trainers have sort of a trick for this.

Simply pack your workout stuff into your bag the night before. Then place that bag close to the front door or, you can even put it in your car.

Since you’ve already gone through that much effort, you’ll more than likely go to work out. Just removing all of your gear from the bag is a hassle by itself, and if nothing else it will make you feel like one lazy person.

4. But Don’t Be Too Strict

In the opinions of a lot of fitness experts, many people don’t begin working out in the first place because it simply looks like way too much work. So in that case, don’t make it such an effort.

Rather than beginning with a long brutal workout routine, start with smaller 5-minute work outs. Starting out with a difficult work out will very likely make you not want to go back.

A little bit is better than nothing at all, so easy on yourself.

While you’re watching TV maybe do a quick 10-second plank here and there. Believe me, it’s far better than doing nothing at all.

This is probably the exact opposite kind of advice you’d get from many fitness gurus, but it’s only smart to take it in baby steps if you aren’t used to working out.

5. Reward Yourself

The effort you put into working out should always come with certain rewards, whether it’s how much better your body looks, or perhaps something else. Make it a point to reward yourself for what you do.

Hey, you just did 10 push-ups in the living room – good job! Now you can get back to that video game or fix yourself a snack.

If you start making this a habit, you may actually get to the point where you feel guilty if you don’t exercise before eating or relaxing.

You could also do something enjoyable after every time you go to the gym. Doing this trains your brain to associate the gym with that pleasurable activity, which will increase the odds of you going back.

6. Leave Something to Remind You

Whether or not you even have a routine yet, you can simply get a set of dumbbells or maybe some kettlebells and keep them lying around in plain sight, like in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, or elsewhere. There’s a pretty good chance that whenever you notice them you’ll be tempted to actually pick them up.

7. Go On A Temporary Hunger Strike

Intermittent fasting is tailor-made for the lazy people out there, since it doesn’t take much effort at all. As a matter of fact, it’s much less of a hassle than eating because there’s nothing to cook, and no dishes to wash.

Lots of research indicates that intermittent fasting results in weight loss for most people. There’s also evidence that it positively impacts overall health, such as providing an increase energy and mental alertness.

Begin by doing a 16-hour fast, where you’ll only be eating in the evening and then not eating until around noon the next day. Many people will find that it’s not that difficult, and once they do it once it’s not hard to keep going.

Other common fasting periods are for 18 and 24 hours. Remember to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water while fasting.

And while it’s not considered harmful, it’s always best to be in good general health before you fast. For those with pre-existing health conditions or other concerns, be sure to talk to a health care professional before starting IM.

8. Listen While You Work

You can make a rule where you can listen to audiobooks or podcasts, but only while you’re exercising. If it’s something that you find interesting, you’ll want to go back to it, and so you’ll have to work out even more.

9. Make A Game Of It

Here’s an easy way to stay in shape while having fun with your friends. We’re all familiar with drinking games where you take a drink when someone on TV does or says something.

It’s definitely a good way to get drunk. But you can do the same thing, but instead of taking a drink, do something like doing push-ups or sit-ups.

Let’s say you’re watching a movie with your friend and decide to each choose an actor in the film. Every time your friend’s chosen actor does or says something, your friend has to do 5 push-ups, and every time your chosen actor does something, you have to do some exercise.

Fitness is a lot more fun when you’ve got a buddy to make a game of it with. You could also do it alone, but there’s not much fun in that.

10. More Playing Around

What about those of you who would rather play video games or watch videos on YouTube? Hop onto an exercise bike and do your viewing and gaming while pedaling.

As a matter of fact, you might find that the more intense your game gets, the faster that you’ll actually peddle. You probably won’t even realize that you’re exercising, burning fat, and getting in shape!

11. Ditch the Gym and Personal Trainer

Yup, this is one you’re not going to hear too often, but the fact of the matter is that gym memberships cost money and personal trainers are very expensive.

If you’ve been mulling over paying for either, consider saving yourself some hard-earned money. You can work out at home or at a nearby park for free, and put the cash you have saved to better use.

12. Get a Fitness Buddy

Those of you who’ve already been working out will likely know that it’s a good idea to start your exercise program with another person who’s at about your fitness level.

You’re more likely to feel accountable, since neither of you will want to let the other down. You may even notice a bit of healthy competition at play, which is a good thing.

And having a fitness partner will motivate you, giving you a well-needed boost on those days you might otherwise stay on the couch.

13. Turn Your Living Space Into A Training Circuit

This basically means that every time you go into a specific room you have to perform a specific exercise.

The kitchen might be a place you’ll want to avoid because that’s where you have to do a number of squats. In the beginning you might start with just one squat.

Your bedroom might be the place where you have to do push-ups. And the living room will be the perfect place to do planks, since we’ve already established that planks and TV go hand-in-hand.

This might seem like a lot of work, but after you’ve done it a few times, it becomes habit. Just remember to set the bar low in the beginning.

Do what’s easy for you initially and go up from there. It won’t be long before you start feeling proud that you’ve made so much progress.

14. Looking Good Is Feeling Good

Don’t skimp when it comes to what you wear at the gym. This way, you’ll actually be motivated to wear those cool threads, and you’ll feel good doing it.

And let’s be honest here, a lot of people exercise because they want to look appear attractive to the opposite sex. Flattering workout attire will already make you look hot, but the more exercise you do the nicer those clothes will look on you.

Spend enough money on the clothes that feel that you really must use them. You never know, once you hit the gym or go out running, you could very well end up developing a crush on a certain someone, and there’s no doubt that this is one of the greatest motivators ever.

Also, if you’re dressed nicely you’ll feel confident around this person. And you’ll no doubt want to keep seeing them, which means you’ll definitely want to keep working out.

What’s more, if you do end up in a relationship with them, you now have a new workout partner! That’s a lot better than meeting someone in a bar who becomes a drinking partner.

I’m sure many of you will be able to add something to the list, so please share. Would you be interested in doing some of the things discussed here?

Let me know in the comments below.

Trying to Eat Healthy When You Travel

Trying to Eat Healthy When You Travel

One of the hardest aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is eating healthy while travelling. You have less control of the choices available and there’s so much temptation out there! You’ll also be having a really good time and dining out, so you won’t feel the calories you’re tucking in, which is probably not ideal if you were also planning of showing off your beachbody while on vacation.

So, what can you do to eat healthy while travelling?

  1. Read up on the dishes of your destination.

If you’re travelling abroad, it’s good to read up on the dishes of your destination. Not just to impress your local hosts, but also for that waist line. It’s important especially for places like Italy which is every tourist’s food paradise and where it’s very easy to stock up on those calorie dense pizzas!

Look for traditional dishes that are rich in fresh vegetables, lean meat or fatty fish. In Italy for example, opt for dishes like Minestrone soups, Grilled fish and vegetables and mussels. Steer clear of the alfredo pastas and lasagnes.

There are also handy apps available such as EatWell Europe which has an extensive food guide to European grocery stores, eateries and cafes.  You might also want to research on restaurant menus and scope out ones that are specifically known to be health conscious.

  1. Stock up on those snacks

One of the best ways to stop yourself from derailing from your diet is to pack healthy snacks. Pack little Ziplock bags with healthy, protein-filled snacks like nuts and jerky. You could also try roasting legumes like chickpeas and lentils which are incredible sources of protein as well as minerals like iron and calcium which are hard to get when you’re on the go. The protein rich snacks will keep you satiated and prevent hunger pangs.

  1. Skip the airplane meals

No one likes airplane food. So, why not just bring your own? Try bringing oatmeal or soup cups with you so you only need to ask the flight attendant for hot water. It will save you money on those overpriced, unhealthy airplane snacks too.

  1. Get yourself a portable blender

If you’re a smoothie person who enjoys fresh smoothies without breaking your wallet, you could invest in a small portable blender. They are lightweight and USB-chargeable. All you’d need to do is go to the grocery store or farmers’ market and get the fresh ingredients. It will save you trips to fancy, overpriced healthy smoothie places.

  1. Book a place with a small kitchen unit

If you’re really, really committed to your diet, you could try cooking on your own while travelling. Book accommodation that comes with a kitchenette and save yourself from being ripped off at tourist hot spots and probably won’t get food poisoning either!

Why Fad Diets are so Bad for You

Why Fad Diets are so Bad for You

You see the ads all over the television, billboards and in magazines where someone lost a crazy amount of weight in a short amount of time and they did it painlessly.  There are plenty of diets and weight loss products that make outrageous claims encouraging you to buy their products.  They prey on overweight men and women looking for a quick fix towards the body they have been dreaming of.  Aside from trying to get your hard earned money from why are fad diets so bad for you.

Short Term Results

The problem with fad diets is that they work.  If you follow their advice the chances are good that you will lose weight.  You make drastic changes to your eating habits and drop a fair amount of weight.  The only problem is that it doesn’t last.  You put the weight back on almost as quickly leaving you frustrated and back at square one.

Lack of Nutrition

Most of these “lose weight quickly” diets cut your calorie intake so severely that you aren’t getting enough nutrition.  Cutting back to 1200-1500  calories per day might be manageable yet many men still find this difficult.  You typically don’t last on these diets for very long because they are too hard to sustain.  You need a balance of fruit and vegetables, carbs and proteins in your diet.  Cutting out one food group altogether risks you losing out on much needed nutrients.

Long Term Health Issues

Some diets recommend that you only stay on them for a short period of time, an example of this would be any of the “cleanses” or “juice fasts”, all of these should set off alarm bells when you hear them.  Generally that means it is difficult and dangerous to your health.  A sensible and healthy wealthy loss plan will start you out with small changes shifting you towards eating healthier.  Dramatic weight loss may sound appealing but long term, permanent weight loss doesn’t work that way.

Obesity is a far too common problem in our society and most people don’t want to make the commitment required to take off all of the excess weight.  Fad diets offer you all kinds of promises that you want to hear, unfortunately they don’t deliver.  Losing is a marathon and not a sprint, it doesn’t happen overnight.  You need to start my making small changes that will stick over time. Start by cutting out the junk food and sugars.  Start by getting some exercise, even something as simple as going for a walk.  Save yourself the money that many of these diet programs are going to charge you and just start by making small changes.

Are You Getting Enough Iron in Your Diet

Are You Getting Enough Iron in Your Diet

Iron deficiency is most commonly associated with women it is a health issue that also affect men.  Not getting enough iron in your diet leads to anemia, the good news is that it is completely curable.  Low iron levels come from a poor diet or the body’s inability to absorb it from the food that you eat.  When you become anemic you have fewer red blood cells than a healthy person.  Red blood cells are what carry oxygen around your body.

Signs of Anemia

The symptoms of anemia will vary depending on the severity, moderate anemia comes with very few signs.  However you should watch out for brittle nails, soreness of the tongue, frequent canker sores around your mouth and if you have any unusual cravings for things like ice.  Here are some of the more common signs of anemia in men.

Treating Iron Deficiency

Treating iron deficiency will depend on how severe your condition is.  Ideally anemia is treated so that you have enough red blood cells and hemoglobin in your body.  Here is how you can treat anemia.

  • Change Your Diet: This is the easiest and quickest way of treating anemia.  Start with eating more red meat, if you follow a vegan diet then you want to consume more spinach, peas and lentils.
  • Supplements: If your iron deficiency is more severe and diet isn’t enough it may be combined with supplements.  When you start taking iron supplements you are also going to have to take Vitamin C at the same time.  Vitamin C is necessary for you to absorb iron supplements.
  • Transfusions: This is used when the disease is severe and you require regular blood transfusions. You are given an IV line and that is how the transfusion is done.  Most often this is used when someone who is also iron deficient and at risk of a heart attack.
  • Iron Fusions: This is another treatment for severe cases of anemia, usually when the body is unable to absorb iron from food or supplements.  The iron is administered directly into your bloodstream.

How Much Iron Do You Need

The levels of iron you need will differ between men and women, with women needing more.  For adult men under 50 you need to get at least 8mg of iron every day.  Women will need more than twice that amount at 18mg per day.  Iron is crucial to your overall health it helps your blood oxygenate your muscles so make sure that it is a regular part of your diet.

4 Tips for Eliminating Sugar from Your Diet

4 Tips for Eliminating Sugar from Your Diet

Cutting the sugar from your diet may be the single most important change you can do to improve your health.  Sugar is everywhere and Americans consume far too much of it.  The increasing amount of sugar in our diets has led to rising cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes.  If you want to live a healthier life then sugar needs to go.  Here are 4 tips for eliminating sugar from your diet.

  1. Give up the Sweet Drinks

Plenty of people are willing to give up donuts but completely unwilling to give up Coke or think Diet Coke doesn’t do them any harm.  That is not the case at all.  Another common problem is thinking that fruit juices are good for you when they contain almost as much sugar as soda does.  We have been conditioned since childhood to think that juice is part of a healthy breakfast.  The latest craze are energy drinks and sports beverages, both of which contain extremely high amounts of sugar.  If you aren’t eating sugar don’t drink it either.

  1. Cut Back on the Fruit

This is a bit controversial because while fresh fruit has plenty of nutrients it also has fructose.  You have to balance the good with the bad.  Limit your fruit to one serving per day and choose less sugary options like berries rather than sweet fruits like pineapple.  Fruit is another way of satisfying a sweet tooth so be careful that you aren’t overdoing it.  Try different snacks like nuts or vegetables with healthy dips like hummus or guacamole.

  1. Stop Drinking Low Fat Milk

The dairy industry has been advertising for years on how “milk, does a body good” and it does, just not the kind they are advertising.  While 2% milk does have less fat it has far more lactose, which millions of people cannot digest anyway.  One glass of milk has almost 3 teaspoons of sugar.  If you don’t drink dairy and opt for milk substitutes like soy milk, those are every bit as bad.  If you are a coffee drinker then use real cream, just skip the sugar.

  1. Soy is Not Your Friend

There is a lot of mixed science on whether or not soy is good for you, soy producers claim that soy is good for you but scientists from Harvard University disagree.  Soy also contains phytoestrogens and antinutrients that can interfere with the metabolism of iodine.  The phytoestrogens in soy can also interfere with the production of testosterone in men.  While soy doesn’t have anything to do with sugar beyond the fact that you will find it in many sugary foods and it doesn’t serve your nutritional needs.