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Time to Start A Healthier Life

 How many times have you gone to sleep at night, swearing you'll go to the gym in the morning, and then changing your mind just eight hours later because when you get up, you don't feel like exercising? 

While this can happen to the best of us, it doesn't mean you should drop the ball altogether when it comes to staying fit. What people need to realize is that staying active and eating right are critical for long-term health and wellness -- and that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The more you know about how your body responds to your lifestyle choices, the better you can customize a nutrition and exercise plan that is right for you. 

Proper eating habits plus exercise equals fast metabolism, which, in turn gives you more energy throughout the day and allows you to do more physical work with less effort. The true purpose of exercise is to send a repetitive message to the body asking for improvement in metabolism, strength, aerobic capacity and overall fitness and health. Each time you exercise, your body responds by upgrading its capabilities to burn fat throughout the day and night, Exercise doesn't have to be intense to work, but it does need to be consistent. 

Aerobic/Cardio Activity VS Resistance/Strength Training
For total fitness you need both! I recommend engaging in regular Aerobic exercise at least 3 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session, and resistance training four times per week for no less than 20 minutes per session. This balanced approach provides a one-two punch, incorporating aerobic exercise to burn fat and deliver more oxygen, and resistance training to increase lean body mass and burn more calories around the block. But for weight loss, this is just the beginning you should work your way to 30-45 minutes 4-5 times a week
The reasoning behind this is; during exercise your body burns mostly carbs during the first 20 minutes, after that the body burns mostly fat. So the longer you go past 20 minutes the more fat you will burn, but keep in mind that going over 2 hours may cause your body to eat its own muscle. One hour per day should be sufficient to cause weight loss.

Resistance training is also needed. With resistance training your muscles are reshaped through weights and repetition. You go from flab to fab. Doing 12-15 reps per set two 0r three times per week should be plenty. Kettle balls or exercise bands are the best tools. I also incorporate the use of a medicine ball in my routine.

Here's a sample exercise program that may work for you: 
* Warm Up -- seven to eight minutes of light aerobic activity intended to increase blood flow and lubricate and warm-up your tendons and joints. 

* Resistance Training -- Train all major muscle groups. One to two sets of each exercise. 

* Aerobic Exercise -- Pick two favorite activities, they could be walking, dancing, biking, whatever fits your lifestyle. Perform 12 to 15 minutes of the first activity and continue with 10 minutes of the second activity. Cool down during the last five minutes. 

* Stretching -- Wrap up your exercise session by stretching, breathing deeply, relaxing and meditating. 

When starting an exercise program, it is important to have realistic expectations, so adjust this plan accordingly. Depending on your initial fitness level, you should expect the following changes early on. 

* From one to eight weeks -- Feel better and have more energy. After the first 30 days you should have dropped at least one dress size, or be very close to it.

* From two to six months -- Lose size and inches while becoming leaner. You will probably see the weight loss more prominently at this time. Clothes begin to fit more loosely. You are gaining muscle and losing fat. 

*After six months -- Start losing weight quite rapidly. 

Once you make the commitment to exercise several times a week, don't stop there. You should also change your diet and/or eating habits,' says Zwiefel. I suggest these easy-to-follow guidelines: 

* Eat several small meals (optimally four) and a couple of small snacks throughout the day 

* Make sure every meal is balanced -- incorporate palm-sized proteins like lean meats, fish, egg whites and dairy products, fist-sized portions of complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread and pasta, wild rice, multigrain cereal and potatoes, and fist-sized portions of vegetable and fruits.

* Limit your fat intake to only what's necessary for adequate flavor.

* Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water throughout the day.

* I also recommend that you take a multi-vitamin each day to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

* If taking weight loss supplements, use discretion. It would be impractical and a little judgmental of me to say I don't think you should take them, because with some of us it gives us the little extra boost we need to get going. Just please remember to do research!! Check the labels very carefully and know what each ingredient is used for in the product and in general. Find studies and statistics to back the claims the supplement makes. There is no substitute for good research.

You should also find your body type and how you lose weight. Do you lose weight better with high proteins and low carbs? Do you gain quicker with or oils. Pay attention to your body and take notes. Always take your measurements instead of just using the scale because, as you gain muscle you may actually be heavier until your body balances out You will began to feel better inside and out.

I suppose that's all I can think of for now. I should extend my thanks to a friend of mine. Without him, I wouldn't be able to write this article, or keep my sanity. He has given me many pearls of wisdom on the subject of fitness, total health and rejuvenation.

Enjoy life, we all deserve it.

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