Whether you’re a 30 year old entering the years of decreased testosterone; a female entering early stages of menopause and concerned about osteoporosis; or a 60 year old starting your retirement – burning fat and holding onto muscle mass is a sure way to live a long and strong life. Here are 8 diet and exercise tips I’d strongly recommend you integrate into your life to unleash the fountain of youth to look and feel your best, regardless of what life stage you’re at.
Things that feed the fat and weaken the muscles:
Without further a-do, here are the essential 8 tips for healthy weight and good muscle tone:
1)Exercise and more NEAT
We’re designed to move, and to move frequently throughout the day. Find opportunities to exercise by engaging in activities that you enjoy at a minimum of 5 times per week. The gym, Zumba, rock climbing, yoga, cycling, swimming, dancing, Tennis, squash, volleyball etc. It doesn’t matter just get out and do it.
I’d also suggest…
- Parking your car in the furthest parking lot from your office
- Taking a walk on your lunch break (maybe to pick up a healthy lunch) at least 3 times a week
- Taking the stairs to the floor of your apartment, condo or office.
- Biking, walking, or roller blading to work.
- Setting a timer on your phone to move around every 20 minutes.
…as it’s a NEAT way to add exercise into your life without actually exercising.
2) Sleep, Meditation and Mindfulness
It’s not all about GO, GO, GO. We need to rest, recover and regenerate. We need to rest our bodies in order to regenerate our fat burning and muscle building hormones that regulate the systems that work tirelessly throughout the day to burn fat and feed our muscles. If they’re hampered, they’ll likely store the fat and weaken the muscles.
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep
- Getting away from synthetic environments and out in nature a couple of times a week
- Turning of your devices 1 hour before going to sleep
- Getting a massage once a week
- Breathing exercises (with these apps perhaps)
- Getting into a meditation practice at your local yoga studio
3) Eat GOOD Fat sources
There are fats that make you fat, and there are fats that make you PHAT :).
Fats that make you fat include trans fats found in these foods…
- baked goods
- breakfast cereals
- fast food
Fats that Make you PHAT will be full of vitamins, minerals, fat busting compounds and Omega 3’s. You can find them in these foods….
- Sustainable fish
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Olives, Coconut milk and Coconut oil
- Nuts like Almonds, Macadamia, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts and hazelnuts
- Seeds like Pumpkin, Chia, Flax and Sesame seeds
- Whole grass fed pasture raised Yogurt and butter
- Grass fed cheeses (High in CLA and Omega 3’s) ***Most cheeses originating from Italy, France, Greece, Spain, New Zealand, Ireland and Switzerland will usually be from grass fed cows
4) Eat Plants and Animals high in protein
Unlike fats and carbohydrates, digesting and breaking down protein requires energy – something known as the Thermic Effect of Food or TEF. Essentially the break down of protein increases your metabolism enhancing calorie output and fat burning.
Protein is also the building block of muscles and when they breakdown during exercise they need to be replenished through protein sources of food. Here are my top muscle building and fat burning sources:
- Whole pasture raised Eggs
- Sustainably caught fish
- Wild game
- Beans and Lentils
- Grass Fed and pasture raised beef
- Pastured Chickens
5) Eat metabolism boosting Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are incredibly important to our health for many reasons including increasing our metabolism and helping absorb vital nutrients needed for muscle and hormonal functions. Here are 5 important functions to remember:
- Boosts metabolism
- Enhances uptake of minerals and vitamins to feed your muscles
- Breaks down fat cell
- Dampens insulin spikes
- Reduce appetite
Although I’d recommend incorporating all spices, the following spices fulfill the above 5 functions:
- Mustard Seeds
- Cumin Seeds
- Black Peppers
- Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg
- Cardamom, Ginger and Turmeric
- Cayenne and Chillies
6) Eat vegetables from the cabbage family
They’re low calorie, loaded with fiber and make you feel full.
They’re very high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants especially calcium, one of the most important minerals of our bodies that play a role in bone strength, fat burning and muscle contractions. I’d recommend you have 3-4 meals a week with a cruciferous (cabbage family) as part of the dish.
The following vegetable are a part of the cabbage family of vegetables:
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Mustard greens
***Although not part of the cruciferous family, Swiss chard, spinach, amaranth leaves and beet greens are just as good.
7) Get back to your roots and squashes
People trying to loose weight must first get away from the idea that “starchy foods” make them fat. Au contraire my friends, foods high in resistant starch are so important for fat loss because they’ll make you feel full, they’ll regulate your hormones, blood sugar and cravings as well as enhance muscle recovery.
A balanced meal for me includes a protein source and a cabbage family vegetable mentioned above with a side…
- of sweet potato or a medium yam
- 2-3 carrots or parsnips
- a cup of cooked beets or turnips
- Half an acorn squash or a quarter of a pumpkin or large butternut squash
8) Drink metabolism boosting drinks
- Drinking water keeps your cells hydrated enhancing their abilities
- Green Tea contains caffeine and a compound known as EGCG which both contribute to metabolism boosting and fat burning. It’ backed by science so drink up.
- Apple Cider Vinegar contributes to weight loss by lowering blood sugar levels, decreasing insulin, improving metabolism and increasing fat-burning enzymes.
Try this concoction in order to jump start your metabolism
- 1 Cup of Warm Water
- 1 Tbs Apple Cider
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp of raw honey
It’s crucially important to remember that the combination of challenging forms of exercise, rest and relaxation activities and the right foods is truly the formula for a healthy weight, optimal health and longevity. Make the above foods a part of your regular diet