Monday, May 5, 2008

Six Habits for a Six-Pack!

"...You have gotten rid of your old way of life and its habits."
- Colossians 3:9

Bill Hartman wrote a great article in the May issue of Men's Health magazine titled "The Six Habits For A Six-Pack."

Although the article is geared toward those looking to get lean with the goal of showing off their abs, the overall tips are good for anyone looking to lose fat.

Here are a summary of the six habits:

1) Wake up to water - Drink at least 16 ounces of chilled water as soon as you rise in the morning. German scientists found that doing this boosts metabolism by 24 percent for the 90 minutes afterward. Also, don't forget to consume about one gallon of water throughout the day for optimal results.

2) Eat breakfast every day - A University of Massachusetts study showed that men who skip breakfast are 4 1/2 times more likely to have higher bodyfat than those who don't. Try to have a meal with 250-500 calories for breakfast for optimal results.

3) As you eat, review your goals - University of Iowa scientists found that people who monitored their diet and exercise goals most frequently were more likely to achieve them than were goal setters who rarely reviewed their objectives.

4) Then, pack your lunch - This habit should be as much a part of your morning ritual as showering. Here is what Hartman recommends you pack in your cooler:
  • An apple (to eat as a morning snack)
  • Two pieces of cheese (to eat with the apple)
  • A 500- to 600-caoloire portion of leftovers (for your lunch)
  • A protein shake or a pint of milk (for your afternoon snack)
5) Exercise the right way - Rather than spending time on isolation exercises or ab crunches, focus your training around weightlifting and high intensity interval training. A recent University of Southern Maine study showed that half an hour of weight training burns as many calories as running at a 6-minute-per-mile pace for the same duration (and it has the added benefit of helping you build muscle - which burns more fat and elevates your metabolism). Unlike aerobic exercise, lifting has been shown to boost metabolism for at least 39 hours after the last repetition. Similar findings have been noted for intervals (short, all-out sprints interspersed with periods of rest).

For the best results, perform a total-body weight training workout three days per week, resting at least a day between sessions. Then, perform interval training on the days in between.

6) Skip the late shows - You need sleep to get lean because a lack of shut-eye may disrupt the hormones that control your body's ability to burn fat. A University of Chicago study showed that just three nights of poor sleep may cause your muscle cells to become resistant to the hormone insulin. Over time, this leads to fat storage around the stomach.

Put these six habits into practice today to help you reach your goals!

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