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7 Things Girls Who Work Out In The Morning Do

If you regularly work out in the morning, give yourself a high-five: you’re part of an elite club of early risers and probably share a few of these habits…

1. Setting a totally non-negotiable bedtime

The new episode of How to Get Away with Murder airs at 10pm? You won’t be watching. You need to be in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 9:42 if you want to make that dawn gym class.

2. Hitting the hay in workout clothes

Because workout pants are comfy and it saves time while getting ready to leave the house.

3. Treating your bed like hot lava when your alarm goes off

As much as you love your morning workouts, when your alarm goes off you realise just how much you appreciate your comfy pillows. So you jump out of bed as fast as you can before hitting “snooze.” The only way to do it is to rip the Band-Aid off.

READ MORE: 4 Early Morning Moves You Can Do In Your Bedroom

4. Always having mini toiletries in your bag

If you get ready in a change room five days a week, you’ve got to keep your essentials on hand. And at some point, you simplify your beauty routine to a level that would make de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo proud. Suck it, giant make-up bag.

5. Showing up for work with wet hair

Somehow the change room blow-dryers are all taken and you’ve got four minutes to make it to work on time. Either you master your French-braiding skills or just accept that your hair might still be damp and stringy in your morning meeting. It’s not a sign of laziness; it’s a badge of honour.

6. Wanting to eat all of the breakfast

You can devour your oats in record time after a good morning workout, then want a snack 20 minutes later. Saving your lunch for lunchtime is a daily struggle.

7. Feeling like Kanye all day

You’ve finished 20 burpees and conquered some squats before most people wake up. It’s going to be a damn good day!

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4 Early Morning Moves You Can Do In Your Bedroom

Still in bed and don’t feel like going anywhere? Get up and get your day’s exercise out of the way without leaving your bedroom.

You know that feeling when your alarm goes off and you’d rather sit through the State of The Nation Address than find a clean sports bra? Been there. But sometimes just getting your heart pumping a little faster is all the motivation you need. One option — that doesn’t require lycra or even leaving your bedroom (hooray!) — is to combine strength moves with breath work.

This workout, by trainer Dean Somerset, has you holding positions like you’d hold a plank. But instead of staying there for ages while your muscles shake and your form slips, the focus is on breath rather than the clock. “When you squeeze your muscles as hard as you can while making forced exhalations, the magnified breath produces more powerful contractions, which increases muscle activation,” says Somerset

Your Moves

Do this sequence two or three times a week, moving from one exercise to the next without resting. Feeling energised after one circuit? Shimmy into that lycra and hit the road. Still not feeling it? Complete two more rounds for a full indoor workout. You’ll need: a light resistance band.

1/ Side Plank

Lie on your left side, legs straight, and prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Brace your core, then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Squeeze your quads, glutes and lats, then power-breathe like you’re trying to blow something over. Take 10 slow breaths, then repeat on the other side.

4 early morning moves you can do in your bedrooms

2/ Band-Resisted Dead Bug

Loop a resistance band around an object (the night before so it’s ready for you in the morning), then lie on your back, feet away from the anchor point. Holding the band with both hands, arms extended, raise your knees to 90 degrees. Inhale, then exhale as you extend your  right heel toward the floor. Return to start; repeat on the left side. That’s one rep; do eight.

4 early morning moves you can do in your bedrooms

3/ Half-Kneeling Hard Brace

Place your left knee on the floor and your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, both knees bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your chest tall and your back flat, brace your abs and flex your butt muscles as hard as you can to tilt your hips forward (imagine you’re trying to pull your ribs toward your hips). Inhale and exhale deeply for six complete breaths, then switch legs and repeat.

4 early morning moves you can do in your bedroom

4/ Kneeling Palloff Press and Raise

You’ll need that resistance band again. Kneel in front of the anchor, about half a metre away, holding the band to your chest. Brace your core and glutes, then exhale as you press the band out in front of you. Inhale, then exhale as you pull the band overhead. Return to start. That’s one rep; do eight reps.

4 early morning moves you can do in your bedroom

Looking for more? We’ve got the low-down on what’s better for weight-loss: morning or evening workouts.

Which Is Better For Weight Loss: Vegetarian Or Meat-Based Protein?

Is your go-to protein source actually the best one for your goals?

Hunger is a major reason why weight loss is so hard, but a high-protein diet has been associated with better appetite control.

Most studies on high-protein diets have used meat-based diets, but there is concern that these diets result in negative changes in the gut microbiome, by increasing hazardous metabolites and decreasing levels of cancer-protective metabolites.

READ MORE: 5 Foods You Won’t Believe Contain More Protein Than An Egg

Vegetarian vs meat

The authors of this study wanted to know if a high-protein vegetarian diet was also associated with good appetite control. If so, following a vegetarian high-protein diet might have the potential to assist with weight-loss and still maintain gut health.

READ MORE: “I Cut Out Everything And Only Ate Protein – This Is What Happened”

In this small study, 20 obese men followed either a meat-based high-protein diet or a vegetarian high-protein diet for two weeks before switching to the opposite diet for two more weeks. Weight loss, objective satiety and biomarkers of satiety were measured. There were no significant differences in weight loss, subjectively rated hunger, preservation of lean body mass, or loss of fat mass between the two diets.

And the winner is…

The authors conclude that, because appetite control and weight loss were similar for both high-protein diets, a vegetarian diet is as effective as a meat-based diet during weight loss. Please note: this is a small study that only lasted a few weeks. Larger, longer studies are needed to find out how vegetarian high-protein diets really affect appetite and weight loss.

Beginner’s Guide: How To Lose Weight With Running

Decided that your goal is to pound the pavement? Catch… you haven’t run since school.

No sweat!

This plan, designed by fitness guru Amy Dixon, will help you build from a walk to a run. By the end, you’ll be able to run 30 minutes without stopping – and you’ll be showing off a rock hard body under your running shorts.

Note: Do all walking and running at an intensity level that feels challenging but comfortable. Feel free to switch the rest day, but make sure you do one day of rest each week. And don’t forget to stretch after each workout.

Workouts: Click the name of the workout to open the page and view each one.

Week One

Monday

One Walk 10 minutes. Next 6 minutes alternate running 1 minute and walking 1 minute. Walk 4 minutes. Stretch.

Tuesday

Tone Zone strength-training programme.
Stretch.

Wednesday

Walk 10 minutes.
Next 8 minutes alternate running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch.

Thursday

Do the 20 Minutes to a Flat Tummy strength-training programme.
Stretch.

Friday

Walk 8 minutes. Next 10 minutes alternate running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch.

Saturday

Yay! Rest Day

Sunday

Walk 6 minutes.
Next 12 minutes alternate running 2 minutes and walking 2 minutes.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch.

Week Two

Monday

Walk 10 minutes.
Next 10 minutes alternate running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Tuesday

Tone Zone strength-training programme.
Stretch.

Wednesday

Walk 10 minutes.
Next 12 minutes alternate running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.
Walk 3 minutes.
Stretch.

Thursday

Abs workout.
Stretch.

Friday

Walk 10 minutes. Next 12 minutes alternate running 2 minutes and walking 1 minute.
Walk 3 minutes.
Stretch.

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Walk 8 minutes.
Next 15 minutes alternate running 2 minutes and walking 1 minute.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch.

Week Three

Monday

Walk 10 minutes.
Next 10 minutes alternate running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute.
Walk 10 minutes.
Stretch.

Tuesday

Tone Zone strength-training programme.
Stretch.

Wednesday

Walk 10 minutes.
Next 15 minutes, alternate running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Thursday

Abs workout.
Stretch.

Friday

Walk 10 minutes.
Next 15 minutes alternate running 2 minutes with walking 1 minute.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Walk 5 minutes.
Next 21 minutes, alternate running for 2 minutes and walking for 1 minute.
Walk 4 minutes.
Stretch.

Week Four

Monday

Walk 5 minutes.
Next 20 minutes alternate running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Tuesday

Lean Machine Strength Training Programme.
Stretch.

Wednesday

Walk 4 minutes.
Next 24 minutes, alternate running for 5 minute and walking for 1 minute.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch.

Thursday

Lean Machine Strength Training Programme.
Stretch.

Friday

Walk 4 minutes.
Next 24 minutes alternate running 5 minutes with walking 1 minute.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch.

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Walk 5 minutes.
Next 22 minutes, alternate running for 8 minutes and walking for 3 minutes.
Walk 3 minutes.
Stretch.

Week Five

Monday

Walk 5 minutes.
Run 10 minutes.
Walk 5 minutes.
Run 5 minutes.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Tuesday

No Gear Here strength-training programme.
Stretch.

Wednesday

Walk 5 minutes.
Run 12 minutes.
Walk 3 minutes.
Run 5 minutes.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Thursday

Lean Machine workout
Stretch.

Friday

Walk 10 minutes.
Run 15 minutes.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Walk 6 minutes.
Run 18 minutes.
Walk 6 minutes.
Stretch.

Week Six

Monday

Walk 5 minutes.
Run 20 minutes.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch.

Tuesday

No Gear workout.
Stretch.

Wednesday

Walk 5 minutes.
Run 22 minutes.
Walk 3 minutes.
Stretch.

Thursday

Lean Machine workout
Stretch.

Friday

Walk 3 minutes.
Run 25 minutes.
Walk 2 minutes.
Stretch

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Run 30 minutes.
Stretch.

5 Best Alcohols To Drink If You’re Trying To Lose Weight And Stay Healthy

Between year-end functions, Christmas parties, family gatherings and the impending New Year, our social calendars are jam-packed! The other thing that gets jam-packed? Our liver. Our kidneys. Our bellies.

READ MORE: This Is The Best Alcohol To Drink If You Want To Lose Weight

But not all alcohol is equal. If you’re going to be indulging, try stick to choices that will give you some benefits too (and like with anything, keep it in moderation):

1. Bubbly

Call it Champagne, MCC, bubbly… it’s all the same thing with a whack of nutrients. The phenolic acid in bubbly has been proven to help improve memory in the long run and the polyphenols can help reduce blood clots! MCCs also contain far less sugar than wine, but if you’re looking for a super-low sugar alternative, look out for brands that say Brut Zero.

2. Red Wine

Our most-fave tipsy tidbit: red wine is actually good for you. Yes. Thanks to its antioxidant resveratrol. Try drink lighter styles, such as Pinot Noir, and keep it slightly chilled for summery refreshment.

READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Alcohol And Weight Gain

3. Vodka

Vodka is lower in kilojoules than other spirits – sorry gin! To stay away from excess sugar, mix your vodka with sparkling water and fresh lime or orange juice. This way you stay hydrated and you the fruit takes away some of the sharp alcoholic flavour.

4. Light Beer

Our go-to fave is Windhoek Light because it’s light in alcohol and kilojoules at only 300kJ per bottle and 2.4 percent alcohol. Castle Lite is the next best bet at 4 percent alcohol and 413kJ.

5. Tequila

While we’re not suggesting you down a bucket load, if you’re going to be doing shots, choose tequila over those sugar-packed coffee-chocolatey flavoured spirits. And we mean real 100-percent agave, like El Jimador. The agavins lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Just remember to drink enough water in between and don’t go drinking on an empty stomach!

Can You Eat Peanut Butter Every Day And Still Lose Weight?

Because what’s life without peanut butter?

Many of the foods that can spur weight loss are pretty obvious. (Hello, veggies! ) Others, not so much.

Take peanut butter: it’s nutritious, delicious, and goes with everything, but because a single serving (two tablespoons) contains a whopping 794 kilojoules—602 of those from fat—it’s easy to assume that it should be off-limits.

Sure, watching your fat intake is important, but adding peanut butter to your repertoire can be helpful when trying to shed kilos. A review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that nuts can help curb appetite and control hunger, while a Purdue University study showed that long-term nut and nut butter consumption can actually help maintain weight loss. Peanut butter, for the win!

“In the past, fats earned a bad rap because one gram of fat contains double the amount of kilojoules than the same amount of carbs or proteins,” says Lisa Booth, registered dietitian and health coach for 8fit. “But if you skimp on fat, it’s likely you’re not giving your body the kilojoules and energy it needs, which can slow down your metabolism.”

READ MORE: This Is EXACTLY How To Use Peanut Butter To Lose Weight

Besides providing more protein than any other nut (seven grams per two tablespoons), peanuts are a good source of fibre (two grams) and healthy, plant-based unsaturated fats (16 grams). This nutritional trifecta makes peanut butter digest in slow-mo, keeping you full and satisfied for longer stretches, so you’re less likely to snack or succumb to hunger cravings throughout the day, says Rebecca Lewis, registered dietitian at Hello Fresh.

Think of noshing on PB as an investment in future kilojoules saved, says Boston-based registered dietitian Sheri Kasper. If you stir a half tablespoon of peanut butter (roughly 209 kilojoules) into your morning oatmeal and that helps keep you full until lunch—and from reaching for a higher-kilojoule snack mid-morning—you’re actually consuming fewer kilojoules over the course of the day.

Plus, peanut butter is super-decadent and adds excitement to your diet. “One of the biggest reasons people fail to meet their weight-loss goals is because they feel bored and deprived,” says Kasper. “No one wants to eat dry salads and plain chicken every day.” Enjoying what you eat is important, and PB can help with that.

READ MORE: 6 Foods That Fire Up Your Metabolism And Burn More Fat

Use PB to Your (Waistline’s) Advantage

“Although peanut butter contains a variety of nutrients, it’s also a kilojoule-dense food—and those kilojoules can add up quickly when you’re trying to moderate your intake and lose weight,” says Edwina Clark, head of nutrition and wellness at Yummly. Try to limit your peanut butter intake to one serving per day (two tablespoons), and make sure to count those 794 kilojoules toward your daily kilojoule quota.

Ideally, you shouldn’t consume more than one tablespoon per meal and one teaspoon per snack. Otherwise, you could easily hit your body with more kilojoules than it actually needs for fuel in a given feeding, Kasper says. (Using legit measuring spoons to scoop out your servings can help you stay mindful of exactly how much you’re consuming each day.)

Plus, because of its rich flavor profile, you don’t need a full serving of peanut butter to nix feelings of deprivation, says Kasper. One teaspoon can make even the most ho-hum health foods taste like a treat—apple slices, celery sticks, whole-grain english muffins—and keep you satisfied until mealtime.

“Many companies now have single-serving pouches of peanut butter that are easy to carry in your bag or stash at work,” says Lewis, which can help you keep it together (as in, not hoover an entire jar) when cravings strike. (Hey, we’ve all been there.)

READ MORE: 5 Foods That’ll Give You A Major Energy-Boost Before A Run

If you have a hard time keeping your servings in check, give powdered PB a try. It tastes crazy similar to the real deal, but a two-tablespoon serving contains a mere 188 kilojoules.

When you’re shopping for PB, the fewer ingredients it contains, the healthier it usually is, with the ideal peanut butter containing only peanuts. “A lot of peanut butters contain less-than-healthy additives like refined sugar, salt, and artificial flavouring,” says Booth. Don’t be fooled by reduced-fat peanut butters—typically, when the fat is taken out, higher levels of sodium and sugar are added in, adds Lewis.

When you open the jar, it’s a good sign if the oil separates from the peanuts. This usually means the PB is free of pesky additives such as partially and fully hydrogenated oils (code for trans and saturated fats) or high-fructose corn syrup, which can all put a damper on your weight loss, says Booth.

Exactly How To Build Lean Muscle — Without The Bulk

More muscle means you’ll burn more fat. Score! But if fear of bulking up is keeping you out of the weights section, here’s what you need to know.

There are loads of benefits to building up strength: You can lift heavy things (furniture, shopping bags, your seven-year-old), you’ll build stronger bones, lowering your risk for osteoporosis later in life, and you’ll burn more fat. Even when you’re just chilling on the couch. Why? Because muscle needs energy to sustain itself. Problem is, many women are still afraid of the other extreme – getting all Hulk smash. If this is you, here are three things you need to know to get the benefits of muscle building without the bulk.

1 Bulking up is hard.

“Testosterone helps men gain bulk,” says strength and conditioning specialist, Suzanne Meth. When men lift weights, the hormone causes their muscle fibres to grow. Since we have 20 to 30 percent less testosterone than guys do, we gain strength without the heft. Your chances of getting scary big? Nearly zilch. Even if you have more T than average, to Hulk up you’d have to quit your job and spend 24/7 eating and working out in a very specific way. Three or four strength sessions a week will not bulk you up, even if you push yourself.

READ MORE: 5 Common Weight-Lifting Myths – Busted!

2 You can’t build extra muscles.

How many muscle fibers you have was determined by the time you dumped your middle-school boyfriend. “The number may increase early in life, but it becomes set at puberty,” says sports medicine specialist Dr David Geier. What you can control: how big the fibres get, which determines how tight and strong you look. FYI: The scientific word for muscle growth is hypertrophy. Use it with your trainer – “I’m really pleased with my hypertrophy of late”- and watch his jaw drop.

READ MORE: Exactly How To Pick The Right Weight For Your Workout

3 You can choose which muscles you sculpt.

All muscle fibres are not created equal. Slow-twitch fibres are like your mom’s speed-walking club: They’re perfect for endurance but don’t pack a lot of power. Fast-twitch fibres do the opposite: They offer bursts of rapid-fire energy, but only for a short time. Your genes control how much of one type or the other you have. If you’re looking to jack up your endurance for a marathon, hone your slow-twitchers by lifting two to three sets with lighter weights, busting out 12 to 15 reps, suggests exercise physiologist Dr Jason Convise. If you want to improve your five-kay, try cranking out two to three sets of six to eight reps at a heavier weight.

READ MORE: Build Lean Muscle With This 15-Minute Resistance Band Workout

QUICK TIP: Undo Those Knots

Normally, muscle fibres lie flat or in a regular pattern, allowing them to contract and release efficiently. Overuse or injury can cause portions of these fibres to become tangled and/or shortened, compromising circulation and causing tightness. The fix: Swap your strength sessions for yoga, and down water.

Looking for more? Here are four minor tweaks that will give you major workout goals.

“I Tried HIIT Training For 3 Months — Here’s What I Learned”

This woman went from walker to HIIT freak. Here’s how it went down.

Three months ago WH copy editor Leigh Champanis-King was not a big exerciser. She walks everywhere (points for eco living!) so she wasn’t a total couch potato, but she hadn’t found her workout groove. For the #WHGetsFit challenge, she’s been doing HIIT classes at Virgin Active. The results were surprising….

It’s Not Boring

I’m definitely not a one-type-of-exercise girl. The thought of doing an hour-long spinning class doesn’t excite me and I find doing one discipline for a whole class mentally challenging. I’ve tried classes at the gym before and found them to be a hectic workout, but I wouldn’t be able to do them regularly each week because I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to keep going. I like the variety that the Grid and 24 offer. You know generally what you’re going to be doing, but you don’t know exactly. I also really enjoy the challenge of high-intensity training that uses a lot of body-weight moves.   

I Actually Look Forward To Class

For me, exercise is definitely a mental game. I struggle with negative thoughts and actually getting myself to the gym. Not quite knowing what we’re going to do makes it a lot easier to commit and I actually get a bit excited before each class. Nervous anticipation, maybe?

You Don’t Have To Be Super Coordinated

The classes are easy to follow and none of the moves are too complicated – they’re physically hard, but at least I know what I’m doing.  Push-ups are a regular – I still suck at them and I’m nowhere near being able to do a full unassisted push-up, but my assisted push-ups are much stronger. So are burpees – my heart rate goes through the roof, but I’m getting better. And lunges – my form has improved so much! They don’t scare me anymore. I love Grid sprints as a nice cardio break…maybe I should be pushing myself harder.

Your Body Will Change

I’ve definitely toned up and I feel like my waist is a little tighter. The muscles in my arms have definitely gotten stronger (and bigger), but because I haven’t lost much weight, I only notice a difference when I’m in class with weights in my hands and my muscles are tensed. I’ve struggled with my stomach for the last two years (lots of food and no exercise, plus a tendency to bloat), but these days it’s flatter and I’m less nervous about wearing crop tops in workout photos. BONUS: My lunge form is so much better than it was! 

 Want more? Try this four-minute Grid workout that burns fat like crazy! 

Here’s The Super-Simple Way To Count Kilojoules For Weight Loss

Count kilojoules without losing your sanity. 

The mere thought of tracking, counting, calculating and tallying kilojoules is a drag that takes the joy out of burgers and fries so much, you’d actually rather ditch it. And every time you have a brownie with your coffee or grab a pie for lunch, it feels like a flashing balance sheet pops up above your head, as if every kilojoule over your daily requirement proves you’ve failed. Install Our Mobile App To Help you in Your efforts to workout and weight loss, Click HERE.

The (Very Basic) Math

The rules of weight loss are simple and finite: “You need to create and maintain the kilojoule deficit over time in order to bring about weight loss,” explains dietician Dr Celeste Naudé. And it’s not a once-off deficit, either. After you eat something, your body takes days to process the nutrients that are burnt for fuel, and then stores excess kilojoules as fat. According to Dr Michael Jensen, who focuses on endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, the largest part of your kilojoule intake (25 percent) goes to your muscles – so the adage “muscle mass burns more kilojoules” really makes sense. Only two to three percent is portioned to fat cells, which also explains why, over time, lean people gain less fat than obese people despite taking in the same number of additional kilojoules.

READ MORE: The 4 Easiest Ways To Cut Kilojoules — Without Counting Them

Exactly How To Create A Kilojoule Deficit

So what’s the golden number? “The general recommendation is to aim to lose 0.5 to one kilo per week. Although it seems simplistic, this advice comes from the following rationale,” explains Naudé. “Half a kilo of fat equals 14 700kJ. To create a deficit of 14 700kJ in a week, you would need to cut 2 000kJ from your daily kilojoule input through healthy and sensible food choices and portion sizes, and by upping your energy usage with exercise.” Simply put, taking in 2 000kJ less per day should help you lose 0.5kg of fat in a week. Considering 30 minutes of a spin class can burn 1 400kJ and half an hour of gentle yoga stretches 500kJ, including activity in your routine will help you reach the kilojoule deficit required. Sounds simple enough?

What Not To Do

If you’re trying to seriously ditch the kilos, eating 14 700kJ of chocolate a week isn’t going to be a nutritious or sustainable way to ditch the kilos. Plus, you’d probably struggle to keep up with your workouts because your body isn’t getting muscle-building, fat-torching nutrients. Sorry, but your body wants spinach. According to a study published in the Abstract Journal of the American Dietetic Association , healthy grazers who ate two or more snacks per day ate more fibre, fruit and vegetables. The key, according to lead study author Dr Anne McTiernan, is limiting healthy snacks to just 840kJ. FYI, that’s half an apple with a teaspoon of PB, or a quarter-cup of almonds, cashews or pistachios.

 

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