September 2011

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Perform this routine as a circuit, says its creator, Martin Rooney, P.T., C.S.C.S., author of Ultimate Warrior Workouts. Do 10 reps of each exercise, and complete as many circuits as you can in 15 minutes. Rest briefly when you need to, and resume working until the time is up. As your conditioning improves, increase reps or decrease the amount of rest.

MORE: The 2011 Urbanathlon Workout is our toughest fitness challenge yet. Check it out and see if you really are Men’s Health fit.

Body-Weight Squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, and slowly stand back up.

Judo Pushup

Begin in a pushup position but move your feet hip-width apart and forward, and raise your hips so your body almost forms an upside-down V. Lower the front of your body until your chin nears the floor. Then lower your hips as you raise your head and shoulders toward the ceiling. Now reverse the movement and return to the starting position.

Sprinter Situp

Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees. As you sit up, twist your upper body to the left and bring your left knee toward your right elbow while you swing your left arm back. Lower your body to the starting position, and repeat to your right. That’s 1 rep.

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Throughout the course of each day, it’s a good idea to take a step back and examine not just the road you are traveling, but how you are going about the journey. Are you just going through the motions or are you being the best version of you that you can be? Keep these six questions in mind every day in order to live life to the fullest:

1. Are you 100% in the moment and totally committed to all you do?
2. Are you naturally enthusiastic and excited about life?
3. Do you approach life with the magic, vulnerability, and curiosity of a child?
4. Are you as honest as a child?
5. Do you love unconditionally?
6. If you fall down, do you get right back up?

Can you honestly answer “yes” to each of these questions? Which of these questions do you think has the strongest effect on how you live your life? Do you have any questions to add to this list? After watching the video be sure to share your comments below, and feel free to pass this video on to friends and family.

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 by Mens Health

If you think doing crunches, crunches, and more crunches is the best way to build your abs, prepare to be enlightened. Every exercise in this routine, based on the science in our book, The New Rules of Lifting for Abs, strengthens your core—yet you won’t find a single crunch. Or side bend. Or situp. What you will discover is the most effective way to train your abs from every single angle while burning off the fat that hides them. There’s nothing complicated. In fact, revealing your abs has never been simpler.

Directions: Perform this total-body workout 3 days a week, but be sure to rest at least 1 day between each session. This workout is separated into two sections: core and strength. Use the directions below, making sure you perform the core exercises first before moving on to complete the two strength supersets.

The Core Workout

Do the exercises in the order shown, completing all the prescribed sets of each exercise before moving on to the next.

Half-Kneeling Cable Core Press
Attach a D-handle at chest height to a cable machine. Kneel alongside the machine with one knee (the knee closest to the machine) bent 90 degrees and the other knee on the floor. Grab the handle with both hands, hold it in front of your chest as shown, and brace your abs. Slowly press your arms in front of you until they’re straight, hold without letting your body rotate, and bring them back to your chest. Turn around and work your other side.

Complete 1 set, holding for 30 seconds each side.

Elevated-Feet Plank

Place your feet on a bench and assume a pushup position; bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Contract your abs as if you were about to be punched. Hold this position for the recommended time.

Complete 10 sets, holding each set for 10 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest.

Elevated-Feet Side Plank

Lie on your left side with your legs straight. Place your feet on a bench, and prop your upper body on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Brace your core by contracting your abs. Hold this position for the recommended time. Then turn around so you’re lying on your right side and repeat.

Complete 5 sets on each side, holding for 10 seconds. Alternate back and forth until you’ve finished all the sets.

The Strength Workout

Do 1 set of 12 reps of exercise 1A, and rest for 45 seconds. Then do 1 set of 12 reps of exercise 1B and rest for another 45 seconds. Repeat until you’ve completed 3 sets of each exercise. Then move on to exercises 2A and 2B and follow the same instructions.

1A: Single-Leg Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift
Using an overhand grip, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Raise your right foot off the floor and, without changing the bend in your left knee, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Pause, and return to the starting position. Do all your reps, switch legs, and repeat.

Alternating Dumbbell Overhead Press

1B: Hold a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, your arms bent and palms facing each other. Set your feet at shoulder width and bend your knees slightly. Press each dumbbell up, one at a time, until your arm is straight. As you lower one dumbbell, press the other one up, in an alternating fashion.

Reverse Dumbbell Lunge

2A: Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides, your palms facing each other. Step backward with your right leg. Then lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees. Pause, and push yourself back to the starting position. Do all your reps, switch legs, and repeat.

Inverted Row

2B: Using an overhand, shoulder-width grip, grab a bar that’s been secured at about waist height. Hang with your arms completely straight, hands positioned directly above your shoulders, and heels touching the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Pull your shoulder blades back, and continue to pull with your arms to lift your chest to the bar. Pause, and lower your body back to the starting position.

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Good Samaritan Hospital offers Lindenhurst residents tips about how to prevent and treat emergencies such as falls, cuts and burns, and how to know when to call 911.

Household emergencies like cuts and falls occur every day, so being prepared for some of the more common situations is key.

“Most household injuries are preventable. Knowledge and common sense will make everyone better prepared to deal with these situations. Injuries of any kind should receive proper medical attention,” according to Good Samaritan Hospital’s Chairman of Emergency Services Adhi Sharma, MD.

Falls
For instance, falls are a common source of injuries. Often victims will get back on their feet immediately, and minor injuries will often respond well to ice and over-the-counter pain relievers.

However, when the victim’s unable to get up, a bone might be broken or a head injury might’ve occurred.

In general these victims should be left in place while someone calls 911 to request aid and transport to the nearest hospital.

To prevent falls, especially among the elderly, remove small, loose area rugs, make sure lighting is good in bathrooms and hallways and install assist devices grab bars and/or seats in the tub and shower.

Lacerations and Cuts
Cuts and lacerations are also common. Often they occur while washing dishes, handling broken glass or using an improper tool to open jars and bottles. While some are minor, others could result in serious bleeding and even nerve or tendon injuries.

If bleeding is difficult to control or if the victim is unable to feel or move a body part affected by the cut, then it requires medical attention. Call 911 for more serious cases. For minor wounds a clean dressing should be applied with pressure to control bleeding. Elevating the affected body part could also help control bleeding.

To prevent cuts and lacerations never put your hand in a tall or tight drinking glass when washing them since the stress could break them. Always use the proper tool to open stubborn lids and caps. Use caution when handling broken glass or clamshell packaging. When using sharp tools, keep body parts clear of the blade/tool.

Burns
While less frequent than falls or cuts, burns could also occur, and cause serious injury and significant scars.

Mild or first-degree burns require only simple first aid: cooling the burn and cleaning the area with soap and water. A clean bandage should be applied to help reduce the risk of infection. OTC first-aid creams could also be applied to reduce infection.

However, second- and third-degree burns (blisters or deep burns), as well as damage to the face, hands and large areas, require medical attention.

To help guard against burns, pot handles should always be turned in, and preferential use of rear burners could reduce the probability of injuries.

Appropriate use of oven mitts and discarding any hot liquids immediately when no longer needed will also help prevent burns. Adjusting the water heater thermostat to the warm or medium setting and testing water temperature when bathing young children could also help prevent burns.

Information was provided by Good Samaritan Hospital.

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Avoid these snacks that are just as bad for you as candy

Available at: http://www.prevention.com/tips/nutrition/your-energy-bar-healthy-snack

5 Energy Bars That Are Loaded with Sugar
Grabbing a granola or energy bar may seem like a sensible choice for a healthy snack, but be wary. Many of these seemingly healthy choices have no more nutritional value than a candy bar. Here are five of the worst offenders, plus our ridiculously healthy pick that you can feel great about noshing any time of day.
1. PowerBar ProteinPlus: Chocolate Brownie
Don’t reach for a protein bar designed for serious weight trainers. This chocolaty bar is packed with 360 calories, 11 g of fat, and nearly as much sugar as a can of cola.
2. Quaker Oatmeal To Go
Oatmeal may be one of our favorite foods because of its hefty serving of fiber and protein, but—nutritionally speaking—this bar ranks nowhere near its cereal cousin. The key to keeping this square together is sugar, and lots of it: High fructose corn syrup and brown sugar are the primary ingredients after rolled oats.
3. Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bar, Peanut
This sweet, salty bar is sure to give you give you a sugar high—and subsequent crash. It has 11 g of sugar, 170 calories, and no significant servings of vitamins or minerals.
4. Kudos Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
This chocolate-dipped granola bar comes in at only 120 calories—but it will leave you with a hankering for more in no time. It offers a paltry 1 g each of fiber and protein.
5. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Yogurt Bar, Strawberry Yogurt
At 130 calories and 3.5 g of fat per serving, this cereal bar seems to be a fine choice, but one look at the ingredient list brimming with scientific jargon makes it a no-go. The ooey-gooey center of this snacker is mostly made with sugar, some fruit puree, and Red Dye #40.
Healthy Choice: KIND Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio + Antioxidants Snack Bar
This tasty bar is a powerhouse package of antioxidant-rich foods: pomegranate, blueberries, pistachios, almonds, cashews, and raisins. Plus, it supplies 50% of your daily need for vitamins A, C, and E. With 4 g of fiber and 3 g of protein, this nut bar is sure to power you through the afternoon.
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By Adam Campbell

The fitness industry is a crazy business, especially when it comes to abs. For example, if you want to reveal your six-pack, you generally have two product choices.

1. The too-easy-to-work method.
You know this better as “5-minute abs!” or some such hype. But if this approach were really effective, even Chris Christie would have a washboard.

2. The so-hard-it-has-to-work method.
Think 60 to 90 minutes of exercise, 6 days a week. Now if you have the time and energy for this kind of regimen, we commend you. But plenty of people are missing one or the other. And that’s just reality, not a cop-out.

So we wondered: Could there be an ab-sculpting program that actually works and is doable for most people? For the answer, we turned to Mike Wunsch, C.S.C.S., and Craig Rasmussen, C.S.C.S., creators of Men’s Health’s newest fat-loss plan, 24-Hour Abs! The answer: “Absolutely,” says Wunsch, who teams up with Rasmussen to design the workout programs at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. “That’s exactly how we make our living.”

One important fact about Results Fitness: Even in a recession, this Southern California gym has expanded. Twice. Why? Because its trainers have developed a fat-loss formula tailored specifically for busy people. (Read: mostly everyone.) The requirements are simple: 30 to 40 minutes a day, 3 days a week. So how do these trainers do it when so many others have failed? They threw out the old guidelines. The new ones they’ve created are based on 21st-century science and the methods that work best with their clients. Now you can benefit, too.

Don’t target your abs to lose fat

Back in 2002, we reported that it would take 250,000 crunches to burn a pound of fat, according to estimates from University of Virginia scientists. We’re pretty sure those researchers published that statistic to make a point. But after almost a decade, the point still may not have hit home. “I’m amazed at the number of people who think that simply doing ab exercises will make their belly disappear,” says Rasmussen. “That is probably the least efficient way to reveal a six-pack.”

Do work every single muscle

“Muscle is your body’s primary fat burner,” says Rasmussen. Your muscles require energy to contract, which is why you burn calories when you exercise. But resistance training, unlike running or cycling, also causes a significant amount of damage to your muscle fibers. And that’s a good thing. “Your body has to expend energy to repair and upgrade those fibers after your workout,” says Rasmussen. “And a single total-body weight-training session can boost your metabolism for up to 2 days.”

So you shouldn’t neglect a single inch of your body. That goes double for the legs, a body part that plenty of men either train just once a week or simply ignore. Case in point: Syracuse University researchers determined that people burned more calories the day after a lower-body resistance session than the day after they worked their upper bodies. Why? Because your lower half houses more muscle. The upshot: “A busy guy’s smartest approach is to train his entire body every other day,” says Rasmussen. “That allows you to elevate your metabolism maximally all week long, even though you’re working out only 3 or 4 days a week.”

Don’t start your workout with crunches

“You can do lots of crunches and situps and still have a weak core,” says Wunsch. “We see that all the time.” The reason: Classic ab moves like crunches and situps work the muscles that allow you to flex (that is, round) your lower spine. True core exercises, on the other hand, train the muscles that prevent your spine from rounding. They also allow you to transfer force from your lower body to your upper body (in a golf swing, for example), and vice versa. Core exercises target the same muscles that crunches do, but they also include your hip and lower-back muscles. So what’s a true core exercise? One that trains you to keep your spine stable and in its natural alignment. Besides the plank (more on that in a minute), scores of exercises qualify, including the side plank, mountain climber, and even the pushup.

Do start with core exercises

“We test everything in our gym,” says Wunsch. “And we’ve seen that people achieve far better results when they do core exercises at the beginning of their workout instead of at the end.” The reason: By training your core when your muscles are fresh, you achieve the fastest gains in strength, says Wunsch.

That’s important for the average guy, Wunsch and his colleagues have found, because the core is the limiting factor in almost every exercise. “A weak core is what keeps most men from lifting more weight in the squat and deadlift and just about everything else,” says Wunsch. “If we focus on strengthening their core first, they’ll ultimately be able to lift heavier weights, which allows them to work more muscle and burn more calories. We’re thinking about long-term success.” To find out how your middle measures up, see Is Your Core Weak?

Don’t spend hours on your core

While 5 minutes of exercise a day isn’t enough to reveal your abs, it is about the right amount of time to dedicate to targeted core training. “We’ve found that just 2 to 4 sets of one or two core exercises is quite effective,” Rasmussen says. “Our goal is to make you stronger, not more tired.” A 5-minute core routine prior to weight training has a side benefit, too. “It revs up your core muscles so they fire better as you do other exercises,” Rasmussen says.

Do master the plank

Flip through any issue of Men’s Health and you’ll probably find some version of the plank. This exercise may appear boring and easy—after all, you look like you’re simply holding a pushup position but with your weight supported on your forearms instead of your hands. “The plank is easy only if you’re doing it incorrectly or don’t know how to make it more challenging,” says Wunsch. What’s more, he adds, the plank is key because it teaches you to make your core stiff. “That’s a skill you need for almost every exercise.”

So how do you perfect this exercise? Start by assuming a plank position, and then have a friend place a broomstick along your back (as shown on the previous page). It should touch your head, upper back, and butt; this indicates that your spine is in proper alignment. If the stick doesn’t make contact at all three points, simply adjust your posture until it does. That’s the position you need to hold.

Don’t waste a second on the treadmill

“If you have only 30 to 40 minutes to devote to a workout, then every second has to count,” says Rasmussen. “In those cases, our clients do zero running.” His contention is that you can achieve faster fat loss with resistance training. How so? First, drop the assumption that running burns more calories than lifting does. A University of Southern Maine study found that a single set of a weight-training exercise torches as many calories as running at a 6-minute-mile pace for the same amount of time. So for every second you spend lifting weights, your body is expending high amounts of energy.

There’s also the metabolism boost of weight training. “Resistance training has a much larger metabolic impact than long-distance running does,” says Rasmussen. “Plus, your body is being given a stimulus to gain strength and build new lean tissue.” One last efficiency benefit: Lifting weights through a full range of motion can improve your flexibility as well or even better than static stretching does, according to a University of North Dakota study.

Do keep your body moving

“Our goal is to pack as much physical work as possible into whatever time our clients have,” says Wunsch. To that end, he and Rasmussen frequently implement supersets and circuits—strategies that save time without sacrificing results. To understand why, you’ll need a few quick definitions.

Straight sets: This is a traditional weight-training routine, in which you complete all the sets of a given exercise before moving on to the next.

Alternating sets
: These involve alternating between exercises that train your body using two noncompeting movements. For example, you pair an upper-body exercise that works the muscles on your front side—a pushup or bench press, say—with a lower-body exercise that emphasizes the muscles on your back side–the deadlift, for example. The idea is that you work a group of muscles with one exercise, but instead of sitting around for a full 2 or 3 minutes while that muscle group recovers, you perform an exercise that doesn’t heavily engage those same muscles. As a result, you can cut your rest time in half or eliminate it completely.

Circuits: These are similar to alternating sets, except that they involve three or more exercises. You can rest after each exercise in the circuit, or only after the last exercise.

How much time can these techniques save? A 2011 Spanish study found that men who trained with circuits achieved the same gains as those who trained with straight sets—yet their workouts were 42 percent shorter. But that’s not to suggest you should hit the showers early. No, it means circuits and alternating sets can help you squeeze more total sets into the same sweat session. To try it yourself, use the chart below as a guide; combine your exercises diagonally into alternating sets or circuits. Shown here are general movements, but you can use any variation of these exercises.

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By: Travis Stork, M.D.

How did they do it? That’s the first question anyone asks when they see a friend or colleague who’s lost a lot of weight, or remade their body into a healthier, leaner version. How did they do it?

Well, it’s no mystery. In fact, one of the most important and intriguing studies ever conducted was put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in 2006. This is our tax dollars at work, and I’d say we got our money’s worth.

The pages of the study—its catchy title is “Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors Among Adults Successful at Weight Loss Maintenance”—take all the world’s weight-loss theories and compare them to what works for real people in the real world. It looked at people who won the fat war by losing at least 30 pounds and then keeping the weight off using strategies that will work for you, too.

Keep in mind: It wasn’t a 100 percent success story. The CDC studied 2,124 people, and only 587 of them actually lost the weight and kept it off. But those who succeeded used many of the same strategies, the strategies outlined here.

And for even more ways to revolutionize your diet and get lean for good, check out The Lean Belly Prescription by Dr. Travis Stork. It’s filled with simple strategies that will help  you lose weight the same way you gained it: By making easy lifestyle  choices that will transform your life—for the better.

Lean-Belly Strategy #1

Pay Attention to What You Eat
Mindless eating is excessive eating. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts discovered that people who watched TV while they ate consumed nearly 300 more calories than those who dined without an eye on the tube. You need to pay attention to the messages your stomach is sending to your brain; if the TV is blaring, you won’t see the “slow” and “stop” signs.

Lean-Belly Strategy #2

Slow Down
Fast eaters become fat people. If you consciously stop to take a breath between bites, you can cut your food (and calorie) intake by 10 percent, according to researchers at the University of Rhode Island. Special bonus: You can do this in social situations—Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Marge’s—and nobody will even notice. That is, until you show up next year minus 20 pounds of flab.

Lean-Belly Strategy #3

I Said Slow Down!
It takes 20 minutes for the news that you’ve had enough to eat to travel from your gut to your brain. The reason: Hormones that trigger the “I’m full—stop!” sensation are at the end of your digestive tract, and it takes a while for digested food to reach there. If your mouth is filled with conversation, it won’t be so full of food. Talk more between bites, and weigh less when the conversation/meal is over.

Lean-Belly Strategy #4

Beware the “Healthy” Menu
If you order the stuff that’s supposed to be good for you, you’re likely to underestimate a meal’s calorie total by more than a third, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The restaurants know that; now you do, too. So be especially aware when ordering “healthy,” and make sure you have a “to go” box handy to carry leftovers home.

Lean-Belly Strategy #5

Beware the Community Chest
Always serve snacks in a bowl or dish, and put away the packages. Never eat from the bag or container. That way you won’t ever eat an entire bag of something in a single sitting.

Lean-Belly Strategy #6

Beat Hunger with Your Mind
Have a craving even though you ate just an hour ago? Before you indulge your mystery hunger, here’s how to test whether your appetite is real or not: Imagine sitting down to a large, sizzling steak. If you’re truly hungry, the steak will sound good, and you should eat. If the steak isn’t appetizing, it means your body isn’t actually hungry. You might be bored, or thirsty, or just tempted by something you don’t need. Try a change of scenery: Researchers at Flanders University in Australia found that visual distractions can help curb cravings.

Lean-Belly Strategy #7

Redecorate, Repack, Remember
If you don’t have a countertop fruit bowl, buy one so you can grab a peach, banana, pear, or other piece of fruit on your way out the door in the morning, to munch on during your commute. (Plus, it’s fun to throw the core out the window.) Plan a 10 a.m. apple-a-day break. Toss an orange in your briefcase to help you past the mid-afternoon lull (otherwise known as Temptation Time). Make fruit part of your entourage, and it will beat up lesser foods.

Lean-Belly Strategy #8

If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Drink Them Instead
That’s right, you could have had a V8—as long as it was the low-sodium variety. It has pureed tomatoes, beets, carrots, celery, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and watercress, and 8 ounces supplies two of your five recommended daily servings of vegetables. It also heats up nicely as a base for soups.

Lean-Belly Strategy #9

If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Hide Them in Your Pasta Sauce
And no, neither you nor the kids will notice. Using a fine grater on your food processor, grate 2 cups total of onions, garlic, carrots, beets, and zucchini (or any combo thereof), then sauté the microscopic vegetable bits in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 cups of basic marinara sauce and simmer to an anonymous tomato flavor.

Lean-Belly Strategy #10

If You’re Not Yet Drinking Smoothies, Why Not?
Have you read the label of your fruit juice? Lots of sugar (however “natural” it is) and not much fiber, which means it’s a carb bomb when it hits your bloodstream. Not so with a blended smoothie, because ingredient number one is whole fruit, making the sugar content drop and the fiber climb.

Two tips: Use frozen fruit; buy it by the bag in your store’s freezer section. And buy a wand mixer and a small pitcher so you can mix your smoothie in the same container you drink it from; it’s much easier than washing out a blender. Almost any fruit-and-berry combo will do, but you can start with this recipe: 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 banana (peeled ones freeze well), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons whey powder (it’s in the supplements aisle in the grocery store), 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 cup water.

Lean-Belly Strategy #11

Buy Smaller Dishes
According to the food scientists at Cornell University, people tend to eat as much food as will fit on their plates. That’s where “duh!” overlaps with dangerous. Over the past 100 years, our plates have grown, decade by decade. And we also know that the nation’s obesity rates have grown exponentially in that time as well. No, it’s not a coincidence. If you dine off of smaller plates, you’ll grow smaller, too. Shoot for 9 inches in diameter, and you’ll be on your way.

Lean-Belly Strategy #12

Drink out of Skinny Glasses
As have gone dinner plates, so have gone drinking glasses. And if you fill the newly cavernous ones with any kind of sweetened beverage, you’ll overindulge in calories. But here’s a smart tip: We tend to gauge our drink sizes by how tall, not how stout, our drinking glasses are. So if you buy tall, skinny ones, you’ll think you’re drinking more even though you’re drinking less.

Lean-Belly Strategy #13

Never Eat from the Box, Carton, or Bag
Those same clever food scientists at Cornell did an experiment in which they gave one set of moviegoers giant boxes of stale popcorn and another set smaller boxes of stale popcorn. The big-box people ate more than the small-box people. The theory: You gauge the amount that’s “reasonable” to eat by the size of the container it’s in. Put two cookies on a plate, put a scoop of ice cream in a bowl, or lay out a small handful of potato chips on your plate, then put the container away; you’ll eat far less of the treat.

Lean-Belly Strategy #14

Limit the Fried Stuff
Fun fact: Fast-food burgers and chicken from KFC and McDonald’s are the most frequently requested meals on death row. It kinda makes sense. The inmates won’t be around to suffer the aftermath. Fried foods are packed with calories and salt, and that crunchy, oily coating beats down any nutritional qualities that whatever is entombed inside might have.

That said, eating one piece of fried chicken won’t be, um, a death sentence, if it’s surrounded on the plate by generous helpings of vegetables and you follow with fruit—not more fat—for dessert. What’s more, the fat in the chicken will help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the veggies.

Lean-Belly Strategy #15

Eat the Good Stuff
Make sure your diet is filled with healthy fats in the forms of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), fatty fruits (avocados), extra-virgin olive oil, eggs (among the healthiest foods known to humankind), and healthy-fat snacks (nuts are nutritional powerhouses and keep you feeling full). I even give bacon in moderation a green light; at only 70 calories per strip, it carries big flavor and belly-filling capabilities.

Lean-Belly Strategy #16

Wear Your Milk Mustache with Pride
Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and  cheeses all contain slow-to-digest protein and healthy fat, so they can  be excellent belly fillers. And studies have suggested that the calcium in dairy products may aid weight loss. Make them part of your diet and  you’ll find the cow elbowing aside lesser members of the food kingdom.

Lean-Belly Strategy #17

Eliminate Sweetened Beverages
If you’re going to follow only one piece of advice in this article, make it this one. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Drinks with added sugar account for nearly 450 calories per day in the average American’s diet. That’s more than twice as much as we were drinking 30 years ago. If you’re looking for a way to cut unnecessary daily calories to help you lose a pound a week, wean yourself from the overload of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages.

No, artificially sweetened sodas are not okay. Even if they have few calories or no calories, they maintain or increase your taste for highly sweetened foods, so you seek out the calorie payload elsewhere. Worse yet, they crowd out the healthy beverages. My prescription: Out with the bad, in with the great—in taste and nutrition.

Lean-Belly Strategy #19

Reduce Your Intake of Food Prepared Away From Home
When you let somebody else prepare your food—especially if it’s a teenager in a paper hat—you lose control over what you eat. And the fast-food companies, being what they are, encourage all of your worst eating habits by stuffing their products with crave-inducing ingredients like unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt. If you can stay out of the drive-thru, you can shrink your calorie intake every day.

Lean-Belly Strategy #20

Keep a Food Diary
Clearly, this weight-loss technique isn’t for everybody. It’s a hassle to write down every little thing you eat, day after day. But it’s strikingly effective for those who do it. My advice: Try it for a week so you can get a handle on how many sodas you drink and under what circumstances, when you’re most likely to veg out with a bowl of chips in front of the TV, and when your dessert cravings strike. That will help you identify your dietary danger zones and lead you to strategies that save pounds.

But it wasn’t just dietary changes that helped all those folks lose all that weight. Becoming active was another enormous factor in leading the successful losers into the promised land of the lean (but not hungry): exercising for 30 or more minutes per day, and adding physical activity to daily routines. Clearly, these are Lean Belly Prescription kind of people. And that provides a great segue to talking about the activities that these “successful losers” used to shed fat and keep it off .

Here’s why it’s so important to keep both healthy eating and exercise going as your one-two punch against belly fat. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that when people chose healthier foods and combined that benefi t with exercise, they torched 98 percent of their weight directly from their fat stores. People who changed their diets alone were much more likely to break down muscle for fuel, and that’s a big problem. Muscle is one of your prime metabolism boosters, so it will help you burn fat for up to 24 hours after a workout. So let’s tackle the activity list, and give you strategies to make the most of it.

Lean-Belly Strategy #21

Walk for Exercise
I consider that great news. Is there a simpler exercise than walking? Is there a better way to incorporate talking with friends and loved ones into your fitness plan? Is there anything else that gets you out among your neighbors at a pace that lets you say hello? And is there anything that makes your dog happier than your saying the magic word walk?

A study from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada (a lovely place for a walk, mind you) found that largely sedentary people who wore a pedometer for 12 weeks increased their total steps by 3,451 a day, to about 10,500. By walking more, they also lowered their resting heart rates, BMIs, and waist measurements. Once you start paying attention to footsteps, you’ll find ways to bank the extra strides. Thirty here, 300 there, 1,000 after dinner, and suddenly you’re walking away from your old weight. Why not start right now? The closer you pay attention, the more you’ll walk. And the more you walk, the greater the temptation will be to mix in an even bigger calorie burner: running.

Lean-Belly Strategy #22

Lift Weights
I suspect that for 81 percent of you, the picture that just flashed in your mind was of a no-neck Bulgarian weight lifter straining as he hoisted a steel beam over his head in the last Olympics. I know that isn’t you.

But you should still be taking advantage of the weight lifter’s advantage: Muscle is the all-night convenience store of fat burning—it never shuts down. Not only do you burn a ton of calories while you’re actually exercising, but there’s also a big afterburn effect that kicks in. Your body has to expend energy to cool you down and repair the small tears in muscle fibers that happen when you lift. (Don’t freak out. If you lift reasonable-size weights, you won’t tear muscles, you’ll just push the muscle fibers hard enough to make them grow.)

Lean-Belly Strategy #23

Exercise Regularly
Believe it or not, “none of the above” is a legitimate option when it comes to physical activity, because there’s nothing magical about running or weight lifting or even walking. They’re just the most common activities people choose in order to add more activity to their days. The only one that’s important to you is one that a) you enjoy, b) fits into your life well enough that you can do it most days, and c) allows you to up your energy expenditure.

You can do that by adding three 15-minute walks to your day or by scheduling 2-hour bike rides on weekends. Or simply by walking more, standing more, lifting more, and sitting less.

Just look at your whole day as an opportunity to make the smart choices that will help you lose weight and feel better. Achieve that, and where might you be next month? Or next year? Some place far better than where you are today!

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by Men’s Health

Imagine you’ve just been given a choice: You have to drink from one of two
containers. One container is a cup from your own kitchen, and it contains a
product that has passed strict state, federal and local guidelines for
cleanliness and quality. Oh, and it’s free. The second container comes from a
manufacturing plant somewhere, and its contents—while seemingly identical to
your first choice—have not been subjected to the same strict national and local
standards. It costs approximately four times more than gasoline. These products
both look and taste nearly identical.

Which do you choose?

If you chose beverage A, congratulations: You just saved yourself a whole lot of
money, and, perhaps, even contaminants, too. But if you picked beverage B, then
you’ll be spending hundreds of unnecessary dollars on bottled water this year.
Sure, bottled water is convenient, trendy, and may well be just as pure as what
comes out of your tap. But it’s hardly a smart investment for your pocketbook,
your body or our planet. Eat This, Not That! decided to take a closer look at
what’s behind the pristine images and elegant-sounding names printed on those
bottles.

You may actually be drinking tap water

Case in point: Dasani, a Coca-Cola product. Despite its exotic-sounding name,
Dasani is simply purified tap water that’s had minerals added back in. For
example, if your Dasani water was bottled at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in
Philadelphia, you’re drinking Philly tap water. But it’s not the only brand of
water that relies on city pipes to provide its product. About 25 percent of all
bottled water is taken from municipal water sources, including Pepsi’s Aquafina.

Bottled water isn’t always pure

Scan the labels of the leading brands and you see variations on the words
“pure” and “natural” and “pristine” over and over again. And when a Cornell
University marketing class studied consumer perceptions of bottled water, they
found that people thought it was cleaner, with less bacteria. But that may not
actually be true. For example, in a 4-year review that included the testing of
1,000 bottles of water, the Natural Resources Defense Council—one the country’s
most ardent environmental crusaders—found that “about 22 percent of the brands
we tested contained, in at least one sample, chemical contaminants at levels
above strict state health limits.”

It’s not clear where the plastic container
ends and the drink begins

Turns out, when certain plastics are heated at a high temperature, chemicals
from the plastics may leach into container’s contents. So there’s been a flurry
of speculation recently as to whether the amounts of these chemicals are
actually harmful, and whether this is even a concern when it comes to water
bottles—which aren’t likely to be placed in boiling water or even a microwave.
While the jury is still out on realistic health ramifications, it seems that,
yes, small amounts of chemicals from PET water bottles such as antimony—a
semi-metal that’s thought to be toxic in large doses—can accumulate the longer
bottled water is stored in a hot environment. Which, of course, is probably a
good reason to avoid storing bottled water in your garage for six months—or
better yet, to just reach for tap instead.

Our country’s high demand for oil isn’t
just due to long commutes

Most water bottles are composed of a plastic called polyethylene terepthalate
(PET). Now, to make PET, you need crude oil. Specifically, 17 million barrels of
oil are used in the production of PET water bottles ever year, estimate
University of Louisville scientists. No wonder the per ounce cost of bottled
water rivals that of gasoline. What’s more, 86 percent of 30 billion PET water
bottles sold annually are tossed in the trash, instead of being recycled,
according to data from the Container Recycling Institute. That’s a lot of
waste—waste that will outlive you, your children, and your children’s children.
You see, PET bottles take 400 to 1000 years to degrade. Which begs the question:
If our current rate of consumption continues, where will we put all of this
discarded plastic?

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By: Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S.

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What if you could instantly make any exercise 10 times more effective? Chances are, you can. That’s because most men—including longtime gym rats—make tiny but key technique errors on even the most basic movements. And as it turns out, these seemingly minor mistakes may be preventing you from achieving the body you want. You see, an exercise may feel right, but smart lifting isn’t just about moving a weight from point A to point B. For big-time gains, you need to master the small details.

(Do Them Right: To mazimize your workout, good form is a must. Men’s Health Personal Trainer features videos demos that you can download and take with you to the gym. Find out more.)

The good news: The best fitness coaches need only one sentence to tell you how to improve your results. Apply their words to your workouts, and you’ll upgrade your routine instantly. Use these 18 tips from the top trainers in the industry to help you perfect your form, engage the right muscles, burn more calories, and lower your risk of injury. Think about it this way: It takes the same amount of time to do an exercise right as it does to do it wrong. So start squeezing more from every second of your workout.

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Pushup

What You’re Doing Wrong
You’re letting your hips sag as you raise and lower your body.

Perfect Your Form
1. “When you’re in a pushup position, your posture should look the same as it would if you were standing up straight and tall,” says Vern Gambetta, the owner of Gambetta Sports Training Systems, in Sarasota, Florida. “So your hips shouldn’t sag or be hiked, and your upper back shouldn’t be rounded.”

2. “Before you start, contract and stiffen your core the way you would if you had to zip up a really tight jacket,” says Kaitlyn Weiss, a NASM-certified trainer based in Southern California. Hold it that way for the duration of your set. “This helps your body remain rigid—with perfect posture—as you perform the exercise.”

3. “Don’t just push your body up; push your hands through the floor,” Gambetta says. You’ll generate more power with every repetition.

Do Them Right: To mazimize your workout, good form is a must. Men’s Health Personal Trainer features videos demos that you can download and take with you to the gym. Find out more.

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Bench Press

What You’re Doing Wrong
You’re thinking only about pushing the bar up from your chest.

Perfect Your Form
1. “Every time you lower the weight, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar to your chest,” says Craig Rasmussen, C.S.C.S., a fitness coach at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. This will help you build up energy in your upper body so that you can press the bar up with more force.

2. “As you pull the weight down, lift your chest to meet the barbell,” Rasmussen says. “This will aid your efforts to create a springlike effect when you start to push the bar back up.”

3. “When you press the weight, try to bend the bar with your hands,” says Pavel Tsatsouline, a fitness expert and the author of Enter the Kettlebell! The benefit: You’ll activate more muscle fibers in your lats and move the bar in a stronger and safer path for your shoulders.

Do Them Right: To mazimize your workout, good form is a must. Men’s Health Personal Trainer features videos you can download to your iPod, allowing you to take your own trainer to the gym.

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Squat

What You’re Doing Wrong
You’re starting the movement by bending your knees.

Perfect Your Form
1. “Sit back between your legs, not on top of your knees,” says Dan John, a strength coach based in Draper, Utah. Start your squats by pushing your hips back. “Most men tend to bend their knees first, which puts more stress on their joints.”

2. “When you squat, imagine you’re standing on a paper towel,” says Charlie Weingroff, director of sports performance and physical therapy for CentraState Sports Performance, in Monroe, New Jersey. “Then try to rip the towel apart by pressing your feet hard into the floor and outward.” This activates your glutes, which helps you use heavier weights.

3. “Instead of raising your body, think about pushing the floor away from your body,” says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness. “This helps you better engage the muscles in your legs.”

Do Them Right: To mazimize your workout, good form is a must. Men’s Health Personal Trainer features videos demos that you can download and take with you to the gym. Find out more.

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Straight-Leg Deadlift

What You’re Doing Wrong
You’re rounding your lower back as you bend over.

Perfect Your Form
1. “To lower the weight, pretend you’re holding a tray of drinks and need to close the door behind you with your butt,” says Cosgrove. This cues you to bend over by pushing your hips back instead of rounding your lower back—a form blunder that puts you at risk for back problems.

2. “Try to ‘shave your legs’ with the bar,” says Weiss. The reason: Every degree the bar is away from your body places more strain on your back, which increases your chance of injury and limits the emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes.

3. “As you lift the bar, squeeze your glutes like two fists,” says Nick Grantham, a top strength and conditioning coach in the U.K. and the owner of Smart Fitness. You’ll ensure that you’re engaging your butt muscles. This helps you generate more power, lift more weight, and produce better results.

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Rows and Pullups

What You’re Doing Wrong
You’re ignoring the muscles that retract your shoulder blades.

Perfect Your Form
1. “When doing bent-over and seated rows, and any pullup variation, create as much space between your ears and shoulders as you can,” says Rasmussen. Pull your shoulders down and back and hold them that way as you do the exercise. This ensures you’re working the intended middle-and upper-back muscles.

2. “As you row the weight, stick your chest out,” says Mike Boyle, M.A., A.T.C., owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, in Winchester and North Andover, Massachusetts. This allows you to better retract your shoulder blades, which will lead to better results.

3. “Imagine there’s an orange between your shoulder blades,” says Grantham. “Then try to squeeze the juice out of it with your shoulder blades as you pull the weight or your body up.”

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Lunge

What You’re Doing Wrong
You’re leaning forward, causing your front heel to rise.

Perfect Your Form
1. “When you lunge, keep your torso upright, and focus on moving it up and down, not backward and forward,” says Rasmussen. This will keep your weight balanced evenly through your front foot, allowing you to press hard into the floor with your heel—and target more muscle.

2. “Drop your back knee straight down to the floor,” says Boyle. Consider this a second strategy to help you remember that you should drop your torso down, not push it forward, as you do the exercise.

3. “To work your core harder, narrow your starting stance,” says Gray Cook, M.S.P.T., the author of Athletic Body in Balance. The smaller the gap between your feet, the more your core has to work to stabilize your body. Your goal: Lunge so that it’s almost like you’re walking on a tightrope as you perform the exercise.

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A healthy and balanced diet can shield your insides from all sorts of bad health mojo. But it can also protect your outside. The right vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, fish, teas, and chocolates can shield your skin from the ravages of the environment, time, and even cancer. To address every skin woe, from wrinkles, to acne, to dryness, click through this slideshow. And prepare yourself – bartenders might start asking for your ID more often.

Almonds

Skin boost: Sun Blocker

Almonds are stuffed with vitamin E, which helps defend against sun damage. Volunteers who consumed 14 milligrams of the vitamin per day (about 20 almonds) and then were exposed to UV light burned less than those who took none. And because vitamin E is an antioxidant, it also works to keep your arteries free of dangerous free radicals.

Flaxseeds

Skin boost: Wrinkle Fighter

These little seeds offer a payload of omega-3 fatty acids, which erase spots and iron out fine lines. The British Journal of Nutrition reported that
participants in one study who downed about half a teaspoon of o-3s in 6 weeks experienced significantly less irritation and redness, along with better-hydrated skin. Beyond flax, salmon is an omega king.

Cooked Tomatoes

Skin boost: Sun Blocker

Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes red, helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. Cooking tomatoes helps concentrate its lycopene levels, so tomato sauce, tomato paste, and even ketchup pack on the protection. So does a hunk of lycopene-rich watermelon.

Sweet Potatoes

Skin boost: Wrinkle Fighter

They’re loaded with vitamin C, which smoothes out wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that volunteers who consumed 4 milligrams of C (about half a small sweet potato) daily for 3 years decreased the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent. Try papaya and carrot, too.

Spinach

Skin boost: Cancer Defender

In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, people who ate the most leafy greens had half as many skin tumors over 11 years as those who ate the least. The folate in these veggies, which helps maintain and repair DNA, may reduce the likelihood of cancer-cell growth.

Safflower Oil

Skin boost: Natural Moisturizer

The omega-6 fatty acids found in safflower oil can be the ultimate
moisturizer for people who suffer from dry, flaky, or itchy skin. They keep cell walls supple, allowing water to better penetrate the epidermis. Scientists have found that this oil may even help people who suffer from sever conditions such as eczema.

Canned Tuna

Skin boost: Skin Tightener

Your favorite deli sandwich has a little secret: Selenium. This nutrient helps preserve elastin, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and tight. The
antioxidant is also believed to buffer against the sun (it stops free radicals created by UV exposure from damaging cells).

Carrots

Skin boost: Blemish Blaster

Think of carrots as orange wonder wands – good for the eyeballs, and good for clearing up breakouts. No magic here, though, just plenty of Vitamin A, which prevents overproduction of cells in the skin’s outer layer. That means fewer dead cells to combine with sebum and clog pores. Plus, vitamin A reduces the development of skin-cancer cells.

Green Tea

Skin boost: Cancer Defender

Green tea releases catechin, an antioxidant with proven anti-inflammatory and
anticancer properties. Research found that drinking 2 to 6 cups a day not only helps prevent skin cancer but might also reverse the effects of sun damage by neutralizing the changes that appear in sun-exposed skin. (The tea’s antioxidants degrade as it cools, so drink it while it’s hot).

Dark Chocolate

Skin boost: Sun Blocker

Flavonols, the antioxidants in dark chocolate,
reduce roughness in the skin and provide sun protection. In a study from the Journal of Nutrition, women who drank cocoa fortified with a chocolate bar’s worth of flavonols had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays than those who drank significantly few flavonols.

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