THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STAYING FIT AS A STUDENT

How to Stay Fit as a Full Time Student

Early mornings, late nights, endless studying, stressful exams… Don’t you love the student life? All of this stress makes it easy for us to cave in and make unhealthy choices and eventually leads us into a very damaging lifestyle. To put it in perspective, 70% of college students gain between 15 and 20 lbs by the end of sophomore year. And guess what? This is 17x more weight than the average 17 and 18 year old will gain!

Why exactly does this happen? Well it’s simply the result of the many unhealthy choices we make as stressed out students.

In this article I’m going to tell you how school can actually be damaging to your health and better yet, I’m going to show you exactly what you can do to stay healthy and achieve your fitness goals as a full time student!

Here’s how school can damage your health and how you can fix it:

Beginner Workout

Let’s face it, when we’re overwhelmed with school we tend to place exercise at the least of our priorities. A gruelling and sweaty workout is probably the last thing you’d want to do after a long day at school – and I feel ya! But this can become a serious problem.

The majority of students simply aren’t getting enough exercise. 1 in 3 college freshman don’t even exercise at all and this takes a toll on your body!

Here are some negative effects of a lack of exercise on the body:

Muscle atrophy

– basically your muscle wasting away

– your muscles tend to break down when they aren’t exercised to their full capacity

Cardiac Decline

– fatty deposits can develop around your heart and in your arteries as a result of a lack of exercise and can eventually lead to heart failure or a heart attack!

Decrease in Bone Density

– exercise (particularly resistance training) helps reduce the rate at which your bone density lowers over time, thus a lack of proper exercise will lead to a more rapid loss in bone density and can eventually lead to osteoperosis (very weak bones)

Weight Gain

– a lowered metabolism as a result of little exercise and muscle atrophy cause you to gain weight and develop fatty tissue around your muscles

Lack of exercise has even been described “as deadly as smoking”! Now that I have you convinced as to how desperately your body needs exercise, I’ll show you what kind of exercise you should be doing and how much of it.

Solution:

The best way to go from no or very little exercise to daily exercise (especially while in school) is to establish a daily routine. Simply pick out a time during your day that you can commit to exercise – and a time that you know you will actually follow through with (6 a.m. workouts sound nice but are hard to keep consistent)! This way, you can plan your studies and other activities around this.

You may feel as though you don’t have time in your day to devote to devote to exercise, but all you really need is 20-30 minutes to get a great workout in! 45-60 minutes would be ideal, but if you push yourself hard then 20-30 minutes will be sufficient.

So what type of exercise should you be doing? Simply put, HIIT or circuit training combined with weight training is the probably best way to train your cardiovascular system, build muscle and lose fat all within a short workout. Many of these workouts don’t even require much room or any equipment, so you’d be perfectly fine doing them in your dorm room if you don’t have access to a gym.

You can use some of these HIIT circuits from my article, and use this bodyweight circuit to get you started if you don’t have any equipment.

If you do have access to a gym, then I would recommend starting will this 4 week beginner workout routine. You can also incorporate HIIT circuits or bodyweight circuits a couple days a week if you’re looking to speed up your fat loss as well.

Now I’m not saying that you have to do weight training and circuits as your daily exercise (although it is very effective), I’d much rather you do something that you enjoy and will be consistent with! Whether it’s soccer, running, swimming or any form of activity that brings up your heart rate, anything is better than doing nothing!

Try to commit to a daily exercise routine, or even 3-4 days a week, and your body will thank you for it. Many studies have even shown exercise to be linked with better grades!

Easy College Recipes

Another major problem in the student lifestyle is our diet. We tend to rely on snack foods, unhealthy junk from the cafeteria and loads of sugary beverages – lots of energy drinks & starbucks ;).  To add to this, most of us tend to get hammered way too often during university/college which causes all kinds of problems to your body and is one of the main reasons behind the Freshman 15!

This, combined with little exercise, is a perfect recipe for the Freshman 15 and various other problems besides weight gain.

I’m going to show you some tips and recipes you can use to maintain a healthy diet while still being able to eat good tasting food and enjoy your time as a college student.

Solution:

Eat Breakfast

The first piece of advice I’d give is simply; eat breakfast! Compared to people who eat breakfast, those who skip are less likely to workout and they consume an average of 40% more sweets and 55% more soft drinks. Now you probably think that you don’t have enough time to make yourself a breakfast before class but you’d be surprised as to how quickly you can whip up a healthy and tasty breakfast!

Here are a few breakfast ideas that you can use:

Avocado Toast with Egg

Simple yet tasty! Use 2 toasted slices of whole-grain bread, top with smashed avocado and sprinkle with salt and pepper then finish by topping with two sunny-side-up eggs. This is a great well-rounded breakfast full of protein and healthy fats and will help keep you satiated.

Protein Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

You can never go wrong with smoothies for breakfast. Blend 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 1 frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk and 1 scoop of protein powder.

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Healthy, tasty and filling! There are a variety of ways you can make this but here’s my favorite Greek Yogurt Parfait recipe already up on my blog.

Bring Healthy Snacks

To be honest I probably think more about food than to what’s actually going on in class, and you probably do too! Bringing healthy snacks to class will help you stay on track with your diet and satisfy any cravings you get.

Here are some healthy snacks you can bring:

– fruits (sliced apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc.)

– veggies (carrots, celery, grape tomatoes)

– nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, etc.) , just watch out that you don’t overdo it with these as they are deceivingly high in calories

– protein shake or smoothie

– whole grain sandwich ( try to add a protein source such as chicken)

– chicken salad with balsamic dressing

Drink More Water

Us students tend to neglect staying hydrated throughout school. How many people do you see carry a water bottle to school? Probably not very many. Although they may stop by occasionally at the water fountain, chances are that they aren’t drinking enough water! This can actually contribute to weight gain as well as a high blood pressure, bloating, and several other problems. Simply bringing a water bottle to school will help you a lot with your water intake!

Replacing sugary beverages and energy drinks with plain water will drastically lower your calorie and sugar intake which will help you with weight loss improve several bodily functions!

Another major problem I’ve touched on is alcohol intake. It’s fine to keep your alcohol consumption in moderation (partying every now and then) but doing so repeatedly is really damaging to your health and contributes A LOT to weight gain. For more information and tips when it comes to drinking you can check out what I wrote about alcohol in my “10 Changes to Lose Stubborn Fat” article.

Focus on Healthy, Whole Foods

Your diet should consist of mainly whole, natural foods rather than processed foods. I know that it can be tempting to go for a bag of chips or ice cream during stressful exam periods but try to go for healthier snacks and alternatives instead! Also, if you haven’t packed any food and are forced to buy something from the caf then try to pick out a healthy meal. You may have a Subway or sandwich joint which are a far better choice than your typical McDonald’s or KFC – given that you don’t load your sandwich with fatty sauces and heaps of cheese!

Fixing Lower Back Pain

This problem is one of the more subtle ones, as it is hard to notice it becoming a problem until it starts to cause pain. A hunched posture is basically when your body is shaped like a lowercase “f” – your shoulders and upper back are rounded forward and your head may even stick outwards as well.

This posture imbalance has several possible causes. Too many hours spent hunched over in class, spending long hours writing by hand or on the computer, and not enough hours actually standing and using your body all contribute to this.

Now how exactly can this harm you? Well in addition to an increased chance of joint pain (particularly shoulder, neck, and lower back pain) there is an increased risk of injury and a decreased performance potential as well. Since your body is locked up in this “f” position, your range of motion becomes limited which increases your change for injury when you exceed this range during exercise or daily activities.

The root cause of this posture varies for everyone. The best thing to do is to make sure you have proper posture when sitting and standing.

Here are some great diagrams that show you how you should be sitting and standing throughout the day:

Sitting:

Fixing hunched posture

Standing:

Correct standing posture – source: earnestholistichealth.com

If you currently have shoulder/upper back/lower back pain and can see that you have a hunched posture, then here are some great exercises you can do to fix it. The basic approach to fixing this is by stretching the overactive pectoral region while strengthening your back muscles to pull your chest and shoulders back.

Lot of Rows!

Rows will help strengthen your posterior chain and upper back muscles which will help tremendously with your posture.

Here are a couple rowing movements you can do:

Suspended Rows

You can use a TRX or a horizontal bar. Make sure when you pull up you squeeze your shoulder blades together as this will better activate your upper back. Keep your back straight throughout the movement and don’t stick your head out forward.

TRX Suspended Row

Barbell Row

This is great for building upper back strength and a strong core! The key points in this movement is to keep a straight back and retract your shoulder blades (squeeze them together) as you pull the weight.

Here are some great exercises you can do without equipment:

Pectoral stretch

You can do this on the edge of a door or any wall at home. Hold for 30 seconds on each and repeat 2-4x on each side.

Prone Y’s

These are great to strengthen your lower trapezius muscles which are most likely underactive. Lay face down on the ground with your arms extended straight out in a Y shape with your thumbs up. Lift your arms up and hold for 5 seconds then come down and repeat. You can do this for 4 sets of 5-10 reps with a 5 second hold. Don’t arch your lower back during the movement, instead focus on using your inner upper back muscles to raise your arms up.

To put it all together, here’s a sample routine you can do:

  • Suspended TRX Rows – 4 sets x 10 reps
  • Barbell Rows – 4 sets x 8-10 reps
  • Prone Y’s – 4 sets x 8 reps w/ 5 second hold
  • Pectoral Stretch – 3 sets x 30 second hold each side

Try this routine out but focus on contracting those upper and inner back muscles! You can do this routine 1-2 times a week to start, I’ll post a more in-depth article with some more exercises and sample routines to fix your posture.

TAKE ACTION!

The key points I want you to take away from this and try to slowly incorporate into your lifestyle are:

– get more active doing activities that you enjoy and will stay consistent with, but I still recommend you add resistance training and HIIT/circuit training into your workout routine

– focus on eating natural, whole foods rather than processed foods

– always keep your posture in mind when sitting/studying and use the routine and tips I’ve provided if you believe you have a hunched over posture

Now I want you to go and take action! Many of you will simply read this article, maybe get a little motivated but never actually take action. I know it’s a big change, but you can start by changing one or two of the things I’ve mentioned and gradually keep changing more. You will start feeling better and more energized, look better and it will drastically improve your health and fitness!

So take the first step and give it a shot! Let me know if you have any questions and like my Facebook page to keep yourself updated on new posts and motivation!

BEGINNER WORKOUT ROUTINE TO BURN FAT AND BUILD MUSCLE AT HOME

The Total Beginner Workout Routine

So you’ve finally decided to get in shape yet you don’t know where to start.

Maybe you don’t have a gym membership or maybe you’re school gym is way too packed and maybe you’ve never really worked out before or it’s been way too long since you’ve last exercised (walking to class doesn’t count).

Well good news, you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to show you a bodyweight workout routine for beginners that you can do at home (or even your dorm room!). You can easily burn fat and build muscle while having fun doing a workout using just your body weight. Body weight circuits are the best way to do this without equipment. You’ll be completing one exercise right after the other without stopping – this will work both your muscles and your cardiovascular system!

Why Body Weight Circuits are Awesome

  • Every exercise utilizes multiple muscle groups, burns a shitload of calories and gets your heart pumping
  • Circuit training burns way more calories than steady cardio
  • you don’t need gym equipment or very much space
  • it’s quick and effective
  • this beginner workout routine can be used for individuals at any level!

The Workout

We’ll be doing a total of 5 different exercises.

You’ll do each exercise consecutively, one after another without a break in between. Once you’ve finished all 5 exercises in the circuit, you can take a quick minute break and then do the circuit again (if you’re capable). If you’re really feeling it, then do it for a third time!

Don’t forget a proper warm up! You may hurt yourself if you don’t. Your warm up can include arm swings, jogging up and down your stairs, a couple pushups, or just running in place. Don’t tire yourself out but make sure you get your blood flowing and heart rate slightly elevated. After your warm up, follow this video I made showing you exactly what to do:

To sum it up:

  • 20 jump squats
  • 15 pushups
  • 30 jumping jacks
  • 15 lying leg raises
  • 10 burpees

After your workout, make sure you cool down by walking around for a bit and then stretch the major muscle groups you used.

TIPS

Although the exercises in this beginner workout routine are pretty simple, I’ll explain a few tips for each exercise to prevent you from hurting yourselves and to make sure you are doing them properly.

Jump squats: Make sure to keep the majority of the weight in your heels as this will activate your booty more. Also, make sure to keep a neutral back (and I wouldn’t wear socks on a hard floor like I did).

Pushups: If you can’t do these, get a towel or a mat and place your knees on that and perform a pushup this way. It will be much easier and you can gradually build up your strength until you’re able to do regular pushups.

Lying leg raises: Make sure you keep your back completely flat on the ground as this will better activate your abdominal msucles. Also, keep your legs as straight as possible throughout the movement.

Burpees: Have fun with these 😉 (and once again don’t wear socks on a hard floor like I did)

I recommend you do this beginner workout routine 2-4 times a week, but try not to do it on consecutive days. Your body needs time to rest to get stronger. If you’re already weight lifting or doing exercise at the gym, then you can add this circuit in a couple times a week to speed up fat loss.

Never forget that you need to make sure your diet is on point as well. Doing this beginner workout routine 4 times a week but eating like shit throughout it will get you nowhere! Eat real, natural food and leave out the processed junk food.

And if you found this beginner workout routine a little too easy for you, then check out my HIIT workout post for advanced circuits that will kick your ass.

Let me know how this beginner workout routine was in the comments and if you have any questions! I’d love to help. 

BAKED EGG AVOCADO

Baked Avocado Recipe

This recipe is for you avocado lovers! This takes about 20-25 minutes to make so it’s a perfect meal idea for breakfast or a quick snack. Avocado is one of the healthiest foods out there for you as its packed with essential nutrients, antioxidants and healthy fats. Try to regularly incorporate them into your meal plan.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 avocado
  • salt and chipotle pepper
  • 2 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice your avocado in half and scoop a little bit out.
  2. Crack an egg into each half of the avocado.
  3. Season with salt and chipotle pepper.
  4. Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until the egg is cooked how you like it.

Let me know how you guys like it!

5 WAYS TO CHANGE UP AND KILL YOUR SETS!

Change Up Your Routine & Break Through Plateaus!

Too often I find that we get into the routine of things and tend to shy away from change..

In the gym this can prevent you from breaking through plateaus and maximizing strength/hypertrophy gains. One of the key principles to continual growth within the gym is to change things up. The best way to keep your body guessing is by simply introducing different exercises , however using new techniques with these exercises is an even better way to keep your body continuously adapting and getting stronger.  I’ll show you 5 different methods you can use to destroy your sets and fully fatigue your muscles!

Here are 5 methods you can use to change up your sets:

1. FASCIA STRETCH TRAINING 7 (FST-7)

FST-7 became the training program for 2009 and has grown in popularity since. Here’s what it stands for: 

  1. Fascia: A sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other soft structures of the body.
  2. Stretch: To lengthen, widen, or enlarge.
  3. Training: The process of bringing a person to an agreed standard of proficiency by practice and instruction.
  4. Seven: The seventh in a set or sequence.

To sum it all up simply, FST-7 is when an exercise is performed to a desired number of reps and then minimal rest is taken before performing another set with the same amount of reps. This is repeated until 7 sets are completed.

An example of this is doing tricep pull downs for 8 reps, waiting 10 seconds, and repeating this until 7 sets in total have been completed.

2. GIANT SET

This is similar to a super set, but instead of 2 exercises you do 3-4 exercises back-to-back without rest. This is a great way to maximize your burnout more than a typical superset does.

An example for chest would be a set of flat dumbbell press, then cable flies then pushups all performed without rest in between.

3. NEGATIVE TRAINING

The eccentric part of an exercise is when your muscle lengthens (e.g. when you bring the weight back down after a bicep curl). Your body is stronger eccentrically than concentrically – allowing you to move more weight yet a lot of people neglect the eccentric portion of movements.

An example of this would be taking 4 seconds to bring the weight down after a set of bicep curls.

4. ONE-AND-A-HALF-METHOD

This involves doing a complete rep of an exercise followed by a half-rep then following this pattern until you complete your desired number of reps. It’s a great way to change up the tension being put on your muscles.

An example of this is to do a rep on bench press with full range of motion, then do another rep but stopping halfway up and then repeating this pattern until you reach your desired number of reps.

5. REST-PAUSE SET

This is the process of performing your exercise to a desired number of reps then taking minimal rest, and then performing another set with less reps. This is repeated until 3 or 4 sets have been completed.

An example of this is performing a set of barbell squats for 10 reps, waiting 10-20 seconds, performing another 10 reps, waiting 10-20 seconds, and performing another 6 reps.

Go and Experiment!

I wouldn’t recommend incorporating all of these into one workout, but try one or two of them during your next workout and see which ones you like best. Some other great techniques that you can use and probably already know of include supersetsdropsets, and pre-exhausting. Now go try these out and feel the burn!

GOURMET MASHED SWEET POTATO IN 10 MINUTES

Gourmet Mashed Sweet Potato Recipe

If sweet potatoes aren’t currently a regular part of your diet, then I highly suggest you start incorporating it! Not only are they readily available, affordable, and delicious, they have several benefits to your health. They’re full of various essential nutrients and minerals, as well as fibre to keep you full until your next meal.

I suggest making this recipe with a protein source such as steak or chicken (or any other type of lean meat), or tofu if you’re a vegetarian.

This works great as a pre or post workout meal and takes literally minutes to make. Don’t be turned off by the use of a microwave, it saves you so much time and comes out with the same consistency as if it were baked in the oven.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Medium-sized (~300g) sweet potato
  • 1 Small onion
  • 2 slices of turkey bacon
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Microwave your sweet potato for around 5-6 minutes or until it’s soft all the way through.
  2. Dice your onion and turkey bacon slices.
  3. Pan fry your onion and turkey bacon (you can add Worcestershire sauce as well).
  4. Mash your sweet potato with a fork or masher.
  5. Add the onion and turkey bacon to your mashed potato and top with salt and pepper. You can also top it with dill if you’d like.

Let me know how you like it!

TRY THESE 3 HIIT CIRCUITS TO BURN FAT AND BOOST YOUR METABOLISM

The Quickest Workout to Lose Belly Fat

It’s pretty obvious why the health of students generally decline upon entering University. The first year of college/university is typically a very stressful one consisting of plenty of sitting, all-nighters, energy drinks, alcohol, and junk food. All of this comes with its consequences and gave rise to the popular term “Freshman 15”. Freshman 15 refers to the approximately 15 pounds of weight gain that students tend to gain during their first year of college or university. This weight gain tends to go straight to your belly fat and then becomes difficult to lose.

If you’ve experienced this (I certainly did my first year), then I’m going to show you how to quickly lose the weight you’ve gained and if you’re about to enter you first year of college/university then I’ll show you how you can prevent your Freshman 15 from even happening. We’re going to do this with some HIIT workouts, which are perfect for helping you lose belly fat fast and for good.

Now what is HIIT?. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a technique in which you give 100% effort through short, intense bursts of exercise followed by short (sometimes active) recovery periods. This type of workout keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time than low intensity exercise. For example, take a look at sprinters. They’re usually very muscular and very lean compared to marathoners. This is due to the type of training they perform – bursts of high intensity as opposed to long low intensity cardio.

“A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery, this afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts ”says Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fitting Room in New York City.

Here are a few other benefits of HIIT if I haven’t fully convinced you yet.

1. Increases your metabolism

HIIT will boost your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after your routine which means you’ll still be burning fat when you’re sitting on the couch hours after the gym

2. It’s quick and convenient

I understand that many students don’t feel as though they have time to workout, but HIIT workouts can be done anywhere and most are 20-30 minutes or less

3. No equipment necessary

When most people look for a workout to lose belly fat, they usually require a gym or several pieces of gym equipment. Good thing HIIT workouts generally only use your body weight as the focus is to boost your heart rate and keep it there. This results in optimal muscle building, as well as fat loss and increased calorie burn.

Now, with that being said HIIT is very intense and physically (and mentally) challenging but the benefits and changes you will see from it will definitely make it worth it!

Let’s take a look at 5 HIIT workouts to lose belly fat that you can start experimenting with today!

1. The “Anywhere, Anytime HIIT Workout”

Repeat this whole circuit 3 times with a minute rest in between circuits. Don’t take any rest between each exercise.

40 Squat Jumps

20 Push ups (can do the girl version if needed)

30 Jumping Jacks

10 Tricep Dips

10 Burpees

30 seconds Front Plank

Squat Jumps: Stand with feet shoulder with apart and arms at your side. Bend your knees, keeping your knees behind your toes at all times, and sit into a squat then using the power of your legs perform a small jump and land back in your squat position. Repeat this movement.

Pushups: Get into plank position, hands on the ground directly under your shoulders and legs about hip width apart. Keep your elbows slightly tucked in (not 90 degrees out) and bend your elbows and lower your entire body until it almost touches the ground then return to the start position and repeat. If this is too difficult for you, you can perform knee pushups where you rest on your knees instead of on your feet.

Jumping jacks: This one’s pretty self explanatory.

Tricep dips: You can do this one on the floor. Get on all fours facing the ceiling, knees bent 90 degrees over your toes, hands on the ground  directly under your shoulders, fingers facing forward, back straight so your core is parallel to the ground. Keeping your elbows tucked, bend them to lower your butt as close to the ground as you can get then push back up and repeat.

Burpees: Start by standing then place your hands on the ground and kick your legs backwards until they are fully extended so you end up in a push up position. Quickly kick your legs back up towards your hands then stand up quickly and jump with your hands raised towards the ceiling. Repeat immediately when you land the jump.

Front Plank: Start by lying with your stomach on the floor. Raise your body by using your forearms as a platform as well as fully extending your legs and planting your feet on the ground. Make sure you keep a neutral back to contract your core.

2. The Sprint Session (simple yet very effective)

Total time: ~12 minutes

30 seconds sprint then 40 seconds brisk walk. Repeat this 10 times.

This can be done either outside or on a treadmill and make sure you are performing at 95-100% intensity during your sprints.

3. The Squat Jump and Burpee Session

The total time for this circuit is 10 minutes. Repeat this whole circuit twice with a minute rest in between.

Minute 1: Squat jumps (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 2: Burpees (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 3: Squat jumps (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 4: Burpees (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 5-6: Rest

Minute 7: Squat jumps (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 8: Burpees (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 9: Squat jumps (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

Minute 10: Burpees (repeat 20 seconds on then 10 seconds rest)

I recommend you perform HIIT training 2-4 times a week for fat loss (try not to do it on consecutive days). If you’re already doing a weight lifting or cardio program then you can incorporate a few HIIT sessions in a week to accelerate fat loss.

So there it is! Now you have 3 awesome workout routines to lose belly fat that you can use to kick Freshman 15 in the ass! 

P.s. if you found this a little too advanced for you, then check out this beginner workout to lose belly fat.

5 SURPRISING WAYS TO BURN MORE CALORIES AT SCHOOL

Burn More Calories at School

ways to burn more calories

Sadly we’ve become the most sedentary generation yet to exist. Think about how much of your day you spend sitting. You probably sit during your commute to school, sit all throughout your classes, sit some more during breaks and then sit even more when you’re home to study!

All of this sitting becomes a problem as it actually slows down your metabolism which makes it easier for a person to gain weight. Luckily, it doesn’t take much extra movement to boost a sluggish metabolism. I’ll show you 5 different ways you can easily boost your metabolism and burn more calories at school.

1. Fidget More in Class

Extra calories burned: 300-350 Calories

Believe it or not, fidgeting can burn tons of calories! Various studies have shown that extra little movements (fidgeting) is actually a habit and characteristic of leaner individuals. Those who are obese not only lack regular exercise but also move significantly less compared to leaner individuals (which isn’t very much of a surprise).

Fidgeting on average can burn between 300-350 extra calories per day! This will vary depending on how often and how intensely you fidget, but nonetheless this is a huge amount of extra calories burned. For example, if you burned 300 more calories from fidgeting per day then you would be burning a total of 109,500 more calories per year. Given that you don’t consume extra calories to cancel out the deficit, this would lead to 31.2 pounds of weight loss from fidgeting alone!

Here are some examples of ways you can burn more calories through fidgeting:

  • Pace when possible
  • Stand instead of sitting
  • Force yourself up and out of your chair during class to get water or go to the bathroom
  • Wiggle your leg, or tap a foot. If you’re sitting, keep at least one limb moving as often as possible.
  • drum your fingers, shrug your shoulders, clinch your butt or even roll your eyes!

2. Perform HIIT Before School

Extra calories burned: 300-400

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best, if not the best, types of training for fat loss. If you don’t know what HIIT is, check out my HIIT workout article which will also give you some sample circuits to do. But simply put, HIIT is a type of training in which you exercise at max intensity for a short period, rest, and then repeat this cycle for a given time period. 

Now one the great benefits of HIIT is called the “afterburn effect” or EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption). So basically what this means is that after your morning HIIT workout before school, you will still be burning calories all throughout your day sitting in class from this workout! You not only burn heaps of calories during the workout, but you burn even more up to 48 hours after your workout as your body recovers.

A study of ten men who performed a vigorous HIIT workout on a stationary bike showed that the participants managed to burn 420 calories during their workout but also burned an additional 190 calories in the 14 hours after their workout! Given that the afterburn effect lasts for 48 hours, you’re looking at around 300-400 calories burned after exercising!

If your looking for more of a beginner workout that will provide the same effect, you can check out my beginner workout routine video.

3. Drink Caffeinated Green Tea

Extra calories burned: 60-100

Many studies have shown that green tea increases fat oxidation (fat burning) and can help you lose weight. The tea is full of antioxidants and caffeine which contain several heat-producing and calorie-burning properties. It boosts your metabolism, increases fat mobilization (which means more fat loss during exercise) and even suppresses your appetite which will help prevent you from overeating. In most studies, the metabolic boost provided by green tea is about a 3-4% increase with some studies showing an increase as high as 8%. This means for an average person who burns 2000 calories per day, 3-4% means they are burning an additional 60-80 calories a day simply from drinking green tea!

The University of Maryland Medical Centre recommends drinking 2-3 cups of green tea daily to get a sufficient dose of its active ingredients. You can easily do this by having a cup in the morning, having another at lunch, and having another one at the end of the day and you’ve easily burned 60-100 calories more!

4. Exercise While Studying

Extra calories burned: ~200

Burn more calories while exercising your brain! Here are some exercises you can perform while studying to burn more calories:

Chair squat: Stand in front of your desk with your feet flat on the floor, then while keeping your back straight as possible keep your weight in your heels and squat down until your bottom just touches the seat of your chair. This works your lower body musculature as well as your core. Hold for 5 seconds then repeat 10-20 times.

Glute Squeeze: Simply squeeze your glutes and hold for 10 seconds while sitting or standing. Repeat 10-20 times.

Front plank: Lie on your stomach with your elbows under your shoulders and legs straight and feet together. Raise your body upward by straightening your body in a straight line and hold this position for as long as you can. Repeat 5 times.

The extra calories you burn depends on the type of exercise you do and the duration. But to put it in perspective, 15 minutes of the chair squat will have you burn around 200 calories (also depends on your weight).

5. Park Further Away

Extra calories burned: 40-50 calories.

It’s pretty straightforward; walking more throughout the day will have you burn more calories! One of the ways you can force yourself to do this is by parking a little further away than usual or getting of the bus one stop early before class. This will have you walking a little more than usual before and after school.

The extra calories burned obviously varies depending on how fast you walk, how far you walk and how much you weigh. But as an estimate let’s say you walk a total of 10 minutes more than usual at a pace of 3mph and weigh about 160 pounds (don’t forget the weight of your backpack). Simply parking further away or getting off the bus early will have you burn 40-50 more calories than usual!

There you have it! Incorporate these 5 little points and you’ll burn up to a whopping 1000 extra calories per day! Keep in mind that a regular exercise routine and proper diet is essential to achieving your fitness goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re having trouble staying fit as a student then you can use this Complete Guide to Staying Fit as a Student for some more information.

THE ULTIMATE UPPER BODY DORM ROOM WORKOUT

Upper Body Dorm Room Circuit to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Simply getting a good workout in during your college years can be difficult. Packed schedules, small living spaces and crowded gyms make it seem pretty much impossible! But fear not, with just a chair and a backpack you can do killer workouts that will help you build muscle, boost your metabolism, burn tons of calories and beat the Freshman 15!

I’ve compiled 5 great upper body exercises into an upper body circuit that you can do in your dorm room. You’ll want some extra books to stuff your backpack with to use in some of the exercises.

Here’s the video:

You’ll be doing the circuit 3-5 times with 1-2 minutes rest in between.

Here are some tips you can use for each exercise:

Backpack Rows: Keep a neutral spine and a tight core throughout the movement and pull using your back muscles rather than just your biceps.

Chair Dips: Use your legs to help yourself up on each rep if it gets too difficult. Make sure to push up using your triceps and don’t go lower than a 90 degree angle at your elbows on the way down.

Incline Chair Pushups: Focus on keeping a neutral spine and don’t flare your elbows out when performing the pushup, instead angle your elbows more towards your body.

Backpack Bicep Curls: Keep a straight back and don’t swing throughout the movement. Keep your elbows locked at your side and bring the bag up towards your chest using your biceps.

Shoulder Raises: Keep your arms straight throughout the movement, and try not to swing your body. You’ll be using your anterior (front) deltoids for this movement.

I’d recommend doing this workout 2-3 times a week. However, you should also be doing this workout with lower body workouts to ensure your training and developing your whole body. I’ll be uploading a lower body workout soon which you can use in collaboration with this.

LOW CALORIE TUNA MELT SANDWICH

High Protein, Low Calorie Tuna Melt Sandwich

Looking for a cheap to make, nutritious and savory lunch idea that takes only minutes to whip up? You’ve come to the right place!

This tuna melt sandwich is a great alternative to the higher calorie tuna melt recipes out there and doesn’t compromise on the taste. Feel free to use this as a pre-workout, or post-workout meal as it’s high in protein and contains an adequate amount of carbs for energy and recovery.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can of tuna (170g)

1 tablespoon low fat miracle whip

handful of chopped celery and green onions

salt and chipotle pepper as seasoning

2 slices low fat cheese (mine were extra thin and only 45 cals/slice)

2 slices multigrain bread

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl mix the tuna, low fat miracle whip, celery, green onions and seasoning.

Evenly spread the mixture onto a slice of your bread.

Add the slices of cheese and add the other piece of bread.

Toast on a pan for about 1 minute on each side (until each side is browned).

You can serve it with ketchup or whatever condiments you like! Let me know how you like it 

10 CHANGES YOU NEED TO MAKE TO LOSE STUBBORN BELLY FAT

How to Lose Stubborn Belly Fat

Belly fat. Stubborn, annoying and seemingly impossible to get rid of. Everyone wants to lose it but only few seem to succeed. What’s the secret? Fat burning pills? Drinking 10 cups of tea everyday? Detox smoothies? Nope, none of that. I’m about to tell you the reality behind losing stubborn belly fat and if you make these 10 changes you will lose your belly fat and the love handles that come along with it.

During my years of experience as a personal trainer I’ve noticed that all of my clients who had trouble losing belly fat had various things in common that were preventing them from losing the fat.

I’ve also noticed in my personal experience of leaning out to a lower body fat (cutting) for summer that there are certain things that helped me lose belly fat really quickly while other things actually seemed to prevent it.

I’m about to share with you my findings. I’ll be providing you with 10 problems that are most likely the reasons preventing you from losing belly fat and 10 solutions to these problems.

Pay close attention to these 10 crucial changes you need to be making in order to lose your stubborn belly fat and love handles.

lose stubborn belly fat workout routine

Problem: Your workout routine isn’t effective for fat loss

Chances are if you’re not succeeding in burning fat then you’re most likely doing the wrong workout to lose stubborn belly fat. When it comes to fat loss (belly fat in particular) most people seem to think that 30 minutes on the elliptical and a few ab exercises is the way to go. Well guess what? Not only is this one of the least effective workouts you can do for fat loss, it’s also boring as hell and not very challenging!

The secret to getting abs is simple; everyone has them they’re just covered in fat.

All you have to do is get rid of the fat covering them, and sorry to burst your bubble but hours of just ab exercises and low intensity cardio will definitely not help with that. However, certain abdominal exercises can help you bring your abs out a little more (more relevant to guys) by using weighted ab exercises but if you aren’t losing the fat covering them then you will still never see them.

Another big misconception especially for women is that weightlifting will get you bulky and too muscular. This is full of crap! I’m glad that women are finally starting to realize that weight training will help you lose stubborn belly fat and boost your metabolism. Compound movements are the best exercises to help you burn off fat because they allow you to burn a lot of calories as well as boost your testosterone. The best compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, rows, and presses all with heavy weight (ensure that you’re performing them correctly to avoid injury).

Simply put, you need to change your workout routine. The best type of training routine for fat loss is a mix of weight training and HIIT circuits. If you don’t know what HIIT circuits are, then head over to my article explaining HIIT circuits where you can find more information and some sample circuits you can use. If these are a little too advanced for you then you can use my beginner workout routine as a replacement for your HIIT circuit.

Solution: You need to do more weight training and HIIT circuits.

Now you’re probably wondering what exactly you need to do for your workouts to lose your stubborn belly fat.

I would recommend following a weight training routine that requires you to weight lift for 3-5 days a week (upper/lower body splits are good to start), and incorporate an HIIT circuit 2 times a week and slowly progress to doing it 3-4 times a week.

You can use the HIIT circuits from my article in the link above. For the weight lifting part of it there are several good routines you can do but you can use this one to start.

Here’s an example overall workout plan you can follow. The other two days of the week will be rest days:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Weight Training HIIT circuit Weight Training HIIT circuit Weight Training

lose stubborn belly fat food intake

Problem: You’re either eating too much or too little.

Chances are, you aren’t eating the right amount of food to burn off that unwanted belly fat.

You can either be eating too much or too little. Either way you’re preventing your body from getting into its fat burning mode and causing it to hold on to your stubborn fat no matter what you do.

This has to do with the energy balance equation. Everyone has a certain amount of calories that their body burns a day and this depends on a variety of factors such as weight, activity level and overall metabolism.

Regardless of what workouts you’re doing, if you’re eating more calories than you’re burning everyday then there’s no way you’re going to lose weight and burn fat!

You will either put on more fat (or muscle) depending on how much more you’re eating and the types of calories you’re eating.

On the other hand, if you’re eating too little this puts your body into starvation mode which will lower your metabolism, cause a decrease in muscle mass and ultimately prevent you from losing fat. A common recommendation is to not eat less than 1200 calories daily, as this is the minimum amount of calories that your body needs to get all of its vital nutrients.

Solution: Eat the proper amount of food according to your goals and lifestyle.

How many calories should you eat? Well that’s another tough question. This varies for everyone, but there are a few tools that you can use to get a rough estimate as to how much you should be eating.

You can use the calorie calculator that’s in the sidebar of my blog, or you can use this calorie calculator which will do a much more accurate job since it takes into account your activity level.These will both give you an estimate as to how many calories you should be eating in order to lose fat. The more activity you do everyday, the more calories you’ll need to be eating. A great mobile app that you can use to track how many calories you’re eating is myfitnesspal. It has a food database showing the calories of pretty much any food and packaged food you can think of, and you can vary the portions.

Now I’m not saying that you should count your calories everyday to the tee.

What I recommend is find out how many calories you need to lose fat according to the calculator above, and then try to track how many calories you’re actually eating for a day. If it’s above this or below this, then make proper adjustments and try to stick around this range. It’s as simple as that and if you stay consistent then you will see results!

NOTE: The maximum amount of weight I recommend you lose is 2 lbs per week (1 lb per week is ideal) as you want to maintain your muscle and keep your hormones in balance. Stick with trying to lose 1 lb per week. If you’re not losing enough you can slightly lower your calorie intake, and if you’re losing too much then you can increase your calorie intake.

processed foods

Problem: You’re eating too many processed foods.

Eating a lot of processed foods is one of the worst things you can do for your body.

It messes up your hormones, brings your metabolism to a halt, and causes weight gain. Processed foods don’t come from nature, they come from factories. Common processed foods include candy, beverages such as soft drinks, potato chips, most fast food, sugary cereals (you get the point).

You’ll notice that as soon as you cut back on processed foods and start eating more natural foods you will feel more energetic, happier, and crave junk food less.

Some tips to help you avoid processed food include:

  • reading the ingredients label before buying anything
  • buy your bread from a local bakery
  • when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice and crackers always go for the whole-grain option
  • avoid store-bought products containing high-fructose corn syrup
  • visit your local farmer’s market

Solution: Eat more whole, natural foods. 

Now you’re probably wondering what foods you should be eating.

Here’s a list of whole, natural foods you should be eating courtesy of 100daysofrealfood.com:

  1. Whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.
  2. Lots of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Dairy products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs and cheese.
  4. Whole-wheat and whole-grains.
  5. Seafood
  6. Locally raised meats
  7. Limit beverages to water, milk, naturally sweetened coffee and tea.
  8. Snacks like seeds, nuts, and fruit.

In case you need some more ideas, here’s a great infographic of quick dinner recipes by Women’sHealth:

7 5 minute nutritious meals

Here’s a link to some more delicious low calorie recipes you can use as well.

sugar intake to lose weight

Problem: Your sugar intake is too high.

This problem I’ve seen in the majority of my clients and is honestly probably going to be the hardest thing for you to change.

But if you take it slow and make small changes daily, I guarantee that you can easily make this change. Let’s take a look at why exactly sugar causes weight gain and what we can do about it.

Sugar is composed of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Fructose is not a natural part of metabolism and in fact very few cells in the body can utilize it except for liver cells. When we eat a lot of sugar, most of the fructose gets metabolized by the liver. There it gets turned into fat, which is then secreted into the blood (causing your stubborn belly fat).

Fructose can also cause insulin resistance. Our blood glucose levels are monitored by insulin. When our glucose levels are too high (which can be toxic), insulin is sent out to allow glucose to be used by our cells in order to lower our blood glucose levels.

If we didn’t have insulin or it wasn’t working properly, our blood glucose would reach toxic levels. In healthy people this mechanism works well and allows us to eat high carbohydrate meals without our blood glucose skyrocketing.

Insulin also has other functions, and one of them is sending signals to our fat cells to pick up fat from the blood stream, store it and to avoid burning the fat that they already carry (our stubborn belly fat for example).

Excess fructose consumption is a known cause of insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels, thus preventing us to melt off our belly fat despite all of our hard work. 

For more information, here’s a link to a great article explaining all the reasons why sugar causes you to store fat

Solution: Limit your sugar intake. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that you decrease consumption of added sugar to no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories.

This doesn’t include sugar that occurs naturally in fruit, vegetables, milk, grains and other foods.

To put this in perspective, for an average 2,000 calorie a day diet this would mean that you shouldn’t have more than 48 grams, or 12 teaspoons of sugar.

One can of pop already contains about 85% of the daily added sugar limit! 

A tip if you’re struggling is to use natural sugar replacements (my favourite is Stevia) which may taste a little different at first but are definitely worth the change.

Some other tips are to cook at home more often, choose cereals low in sugar, stay away form sugary lattes/coffees, and naturally flavor your water with fruits instead of drinking sugary soft drinks.

protein intake when losing weight

Problem: Your protein intake is too low.

Usually when women (and sometimes men) think of weight loss, they immediately think of reducing their calories mainly from their carbohydrate intake.

Although you should slightly lower you carbohydrate intake for fat loss, you also need to make sure that you’re protein intake is adequate.

Many think that adding more protein to their diet will just lead to more weight gain. However, according to new research, increasing your protein intake can help you lose weight while maintaining your fat-burning muscle along with keeping you full for longer.

The Wall Street Journal did a great summary of this:

Weight gain on three different diets

 

Although the main factor regarding weight gain and weight loss is your calorie intake, the type of calories you take in will affect what type of weight you are gaining or losing.

As you can see in the chart above where all subjects were overfed, groups with a higher protein intake gained more muscle and less fat than groups with a lower protein intake.

The same concept applies to weight loss. Higher protein diets seem to be more effective at burning fat while maintaining or even gaining muscle (which is exactly what you want!) than low protein diets.

Solution: Eat more protein!!

So how much protein should you be eating? Well, the answer depends on many factors.

Here’s a great table courtesy of acaloriecounter.com showing you how much protein you should be eating daily depending on your goal.

Person, Situation & Goals Ideal Daily Protein Intake
Average healthy sedentary adult (male or female) that does NOT work out or have any related goals. This is just what I consider to be a good minimum daily protein intake for general health/function. 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Average healthy adult (male or female) that IS doing some form of exercise regularly or IS trying to improve their body (lose fat, build muscle, etc.). This is the minimum I’d recommend in this case. 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Average healthy adult FEMALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance. 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Average healthy adult MALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance. 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

If you’re not sure where you fit in, then you can use the general fitness recommendation of 1 gram per pound of body weight.

And if you’re a little confused, here’s a sample calculation:

Let’s say I’m a 140lb woman looking to lose fat while maintaining or building muscle. She would very simply multiply 140 by 1-1.2 and get a daily protein intake of between 140-168 grams per day.

Some foods high in protein and low in saturated fat include chicken breast, turkey, extra lean beef, fish, tofu, whey protein, and many more.

NOTE: In the case of people who are obese or very overweight, your ideal protein intake should be calculated using your target body weight since it will be otherwise be overestimated due to the excessive amount of fat on your body. For example, a 300lb man looking to get down to 200lbs would use 200lbs as their weight when calculating how much protein they should eat per day.

carb intake diet

Problem: Your carb intake is too high for fat loss

For the past couple decades health authorities have recommended that we eat a calorie restricted, low-fat diet. The problem with this diet is that it simply doesn’t work

Studies show that low-carb diets reduce your appetite and make you eat less calories which makes you lose weight pretty much effortlessly, as long as you manage to keep the carbs down.

Diets low in carbohydrates have been proven to be superior for fat loss. It’s common for people to lose 5-10 pounds in the first week of a low-carb diet due to losing a lot of water weight. After this, weight loss will slow down but this time the fat will be coming from your fat stores.

However, you’re body still needs carbohydrates everyday for energy and to keep it in it’s fat-burning state. Eat too little carbohydrates and you’ll notice that you won’t have any energy to workout!

Solution: Keep your carb intake at around 10-30% total intake

A good guideline is to keep your carb intake at around 10-30% of your total caloric intake.

Use the number of calories you calculated in point 2 for your total caloric intake. For example, let’s say I need to eat 2000 calories a day to lose weight. This means that 10-30% of this should come from carbohydrates, which would be 200-600 calories. If you’re more active then stay at the higher range of this and if you’re less active then towards the lower end of this range.

I recommend that you eat almost all of your carbohydrates during your post-workout meal as this is when your body needs it the most. You can save a little bit of your carbohydrates for a pre-workout meal for energy but keep the majority of it for after your workout. On your rest days you can lower your carbohydrate intake even more since your body won’t need them for recovery.

Unfortunately, after several weeks or months of a low carb diet your body will start to understand what you’re trying to do and lower its metabolism to counteract this.

What you can do if it seems as if you’ve plateau’d and can’t lose anymore fat is start doing refeed days. These are days where you bump up your carbohydrate intake substantially and eat back at your caloric maintenance level or even a little over this. On these days, lower your fat intake and increase your carbohydrate intake. You can start by having one reseed day every two weeks once you’ve plateau’d and eventually do them once a week. Refeed days will help you reset your metabolism and is one of the secrets to losing that last bit of stubborn belly fat that won’t come off.

Carb cycling is another option you can use which consists of low carb days and high carb days to keep your metabolism revved up and your body in fat burning mode.

alcohol intake when trying to lose weight

Problem: You’re getting hammered too often

Unlike carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol is what nutritionists refer to as empty calories: calories without any nutritional value.

To make matters worse, it is the first fuel to be used when combined with carbohydrates, fats or proteins which means that food you eat while drinking alcohol will have a greater tendency to be stored as fat. Alcohol also contains 7 calories/gram, which makes it more calorie dense than carbohydrates and proteins (both at 4 calories/gram) and only 2 calories/gram less than fat (at 9 calories/gram).

Alcohol also damages the stomach, kidneys, and the liver and has been proven to lower testosterone which is one of the main hormones for fat loss and lean muscle mass.

To put it in perspective:

  • a one ounce shot of vodka (40% alcohol) contains around 64 calories
  • one glass of red wine contains around 123 calories
  • one can of regular 4-5% alcohol beer contains 153 calories.

Plain and simple, binge drinking is a recipe for weight gain!

Solution: Drink wisely

I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking – it’s fun and I believe in moderation. Here are some tips you can use during your night outs:

– Drink alcohol with a lower caloric value, and a higher alcohol percentage (vodka for example). Less will be consumed, meaning lower overall calorie consumption.

– Avoid high-calorie liqueurs. These are extremely deceptive (they taste so good) and will add enormously to overall caloric content.

– Try not to binge eat junk food while drinking. As mentioned, drinking will relax the inhibitions and cause one to compromise their nutritional habits.

– If drinking beer, try a lower calorie alternative. Also, drink diet sodas with various spirits to significantly lower the calorie content of these drinks.

– Drink water between alcoholic drinks. This will increase feelings of fullness and may help to prevent over consumption of alcohol.

– If using chase, try and use less sugary options or carbonated water instead of soda drinks

sodium intake when losing weight

Problem: Your sodium intake is too high.

Although sodium doesn’t case weight gain directly, too much sodium intake can cause bloating and water retention which will make your stomach look bigger than it really is (and full of gas).

Not only can it cause bloating, it also contributes to hypertension (high blood pressure). Common foods that are high in sodium include processed meats, many canned foods, cheeses, breads, cereals, sauces, pickled foods and most pre-packaged foods.

Solution: Keep your sodium intake below the recommended limit.

According to Health Canada, people should eat at least 1,500 mg of sodium a day and not exceed 2,300 mg. You’ll probably notice that as soon as you keep your sodium intake within the recommended limit that your stomach will look a little flatter and less bloated.

There are some low-sodium alternatives that you can use to lower your overall sodium intake.

Instead of your traditional table salt, you can use potassium chloride (a popular salt substitute) which tastes remarkably similar to salt. However, potassium chloride-based salt substitutes aren’t recommended for people with kidney problems. Low-sodium soy sauce, unsalted butter and low sodium seasonings (Flavour God, Mrs.Dash, etc.) are some other alternatives that you can use to lower your sodium intake.

Some other ways to reduce water retention and bloating besides reducing your sodium intake include drinking more water, eating more fiber and drinking certain teas such as peppermint tea or green tea.

sleep needed when dieting

Problem: You’re not getting enough sleep

Many of us (especially students) take sleep for granted. But watch out, all of your all-nighters and late night cramming for school can actually cause weight gain and contribute to your stubborn belly fat.

When you haven’t had enough sleep, it’s easy to count on a large sugary latte to get you moving and you may even be tempted to skip exercise and get some takeout for dinner. However the relationship between sleep and weight gain goes beyond this. Experts agree that getting enough sleep is just as important to health, well-being and weight loss as diet and exercise.

Here’s Why:

In simple terms, skimping on sleep encourages your brain to make bad decisions. It actually dulls the frontal lobe activity in your brain which is responsible for decision-making and impulse control. This is what causes you to make bad decisions.

Also, when you’re overtired your brain’s reward enters rev up to look for something that feels good. You may have been able to say no to your food cravings when you were well-rested, but you may have some trouble squashing these cravings with a sleep-deprived brain.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people tended to eat more late-night snacks and were more likely to choose high-carb snacks when they were deprived of sleep.

A second study showed that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of food which ultimately leads to weight gain. And in a review of 18 studies, researchers actually found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.

Basically, a sleepy brain appears to crave junk food with the lack of control to say no. A perfect recipe for weight gain!

Think of sleep as nutrition for the brain. Majority of people need between 7-9 hours every night. Any less than that, and your body can react in ways that lead even the most strict dieter straight to a tub of ice cream.

Sleep has also been proven to make you less hungry, decrease daytime stress levels, increase the body’s ability to burn calories and actually increase muscle mass

Solution: Get some damn sleep!

Now that you know all the benefits of sleep and how it can help you lose fat, I hope that you hit the sack tonight and get your 7-9 hours of beauty sleep.

Some tips that can help you fall asleep faster include turning off all your electronics, keep your room dark, read/write before bed and reduce unwanted noise. Oh, and no late night energy drinks and coffee would help too!

patience when trying to lose weight

Problem: You’re not being patient enough.

There’s a reason why belly fat is the hardest place for you to lose fat. Your body tends to lose fat in the last place you gained it.

Why exactly is stubborn belly fat so stubborn? Well typically people will gain fat first in their stomach and then throughout the rest of your body. This means that in order for you to lose that belly fat, you’ll first have to lose the fat on your face/arms/shoulders/chest and everywhere else before the fat you lose starts to come from your belly.

When you start burning fat off your belly, it will come off from the top of your abs first and then slowly towards the bottom. This is why the lower part of your abs is the most difficult place to lose fat. 

Solution: Be patient and stay consistent.

It may be hard to stay motivated when you’re not losing too much off of your belly at first. But consistency and being persistent is key! It takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work but it’s definitely wroth it. Once you start seeing fat coming off of your neck and arms it’ll only motivate you more to stay consistent so that it starts coming off your stubborn belly!

There’s no set timeline as to how long it takes for you to lose your belly fat, but if you stay consistent with these 10 changes then eventually you will succeed!

Take Action and Lose that Stubborn Belly Fat!

Now that I’ve shown you exactly how to lose stubborn belly fat with these 10 changes, put them into action and you’ll see amazing results! The key points I want you to remember is push yourself in your workouts, eat good whole foods, eat the right amount of food, and allow yourself to rest and recover. It will take a lot of hard work but you’ll feel so much better and look so much better that you’ll totally forget about all the blood,  sweat and tears 😉

If you have any questions or tips then feel free to email me!