15 Ways for Success with Your Fitness Regimen

It’s now June… how many of you have kept with your New Year’s pledge to lose weight, perhaps turn your life around? If you’ve fallen off track, that’s no big deal (over 85% of Americans break their New Year’s pledges in under 45 days). In case any of you all need a refresher, or a plan to get over the hump (or just to stay the course), here is my list of 15 ways to have success with any fitness regimen. This is by no means a comprehensive list… but hopefully it will work for you. Now, the list.
There is no shortcut to ideal health (whatever that is for you), no magic pill that lets you hit your five-a-day target and no single exercise that gives you a shredded physique in minutes. It takes time, hard work and an educated approach to get in shape and stay in shape. Following these tips will make your fitness quest (and life) a whole lot easier.

1. Prepping for Success
The better path to a sound diet is found by using your weekends wisely. Use the extra time you have on your weekends to make large batches of healthy meals that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the certain death of your fitness goals via fast food.

2. Mix Up Your Exercise

Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won’t realise until you try it. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they’d never even considered.

3. Calibrate Your Fitness Technology
If you invest in a fitness tracker, don’t just sit back and assume that following the preset targets will lead you to glory. Adjust the steps, active minutes and calorie targets regularly to build on your progress, or make them more realistic if you never get close and have started to ignore them. If you don’t engage with your fitness tech, you’ll quickly discard it.

4. Add In Extra Activity
This one of the oldest tricks in the book: take the stairs not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is better than none, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely) each time you take them – clinical studies found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardiorespiratory fitness.

5. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat

You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) to see if you’re at risk. Grab a piece of string and use it to measure your height, then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, get exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start a health regimen.

6. Value Your Rest Days
When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that may see your motivation flame out within weeks, because you’re always exhausted and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time and rest they need to recover and grow.

7. Up The Intensity If You’re Short On Time
Health and wellness experts still promote the 150 minutes of moderate activity a week minimum, but now offer an alternative option of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. That’s running or singles tennis, for example, rather than cycling or walking, which count as moderate. You can also mix the two, so 60 minutes of vigorous cardio plus 30 of moderate will do the trick also. Bear in mind the guidelines also demand strength exercises on two or more days a week alongside your aerobic activity.

8. Treat Your Body Right
Nothing derails a health kick as quickly as injury, as many serious injuries will start out as small ones- you may think it’s OK to push through. Scaling back the intensity for a few days is better than having to shut it down for a few months. If you have an urgent desire to hit the gym, target a different part of the body from the one that’s bothering you.

9. The Drive for Five
Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day should be at the cornerstone of your healthy diet plan. What’s not wise is getting in a rut and eating the same five every day, because different types of fruit and veg contain different vitamins and minerals. A good way to vary your five-a-day is to eat different colors, as the hue is a decent indication of the nutrients they contain.

10. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep
There is tendency for people who sleep very little to brag about it, as if it’s an indication of their commitment to life. However, getting the full seven to eight hours is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average. You don’t snooze, you lose.

11. Increase Your Cadence On Your Runs
If you are consistently picking up injuries when running, one change it’s definitely worth trying is to up your rate of strides per minute (your cadence). If you overstrike, thus taking fewer steps, you put extra pressure on your knee and hip joints. Try and take more steps, which means your feet will land more beneath your body, reducing the impact on your joints.

12. Give It Your All or Turn It Loose
The first time you try an exercise it’s very hard, but at least quite novel. The second time the novelty is gone, and it’s still hard, leading to the temptation to quit. Try it at least once more, as the third time is often the charm – when a sport or workout starts to become as enjoyable as it is tough.

13. Count Reps Backwards
This is a mental trick that might make resistance workouts a little easier. Counting down the reps means by the time it’s really hurting you’re at the 3,2,1 stage, which feels closer to the end than 8,9,10 or whatever target you’re going for. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

14. Make Full Use Of Your Street Furniture
Exercising outdoors is a great way to ensure you get your hit of vitamin D (if it’s sunny) as well as a good workout, and it doesn’t have to be all cardio. As well as the exercise machines that litter many parks, you can nearly always finds a bar or ledge for pull-ups, or a bench or wall to do dips on. Rarer treats can even include chains to use as ersatz TRX ropes.

15. Record Stats and Progress

Nothing builds motivation as efficiently as seeing signs of improvement, so make sure you keep some kind of record of your activity. It can be as simple as noting your record five-rep max or fastest 5K time, using either one of the many excellent fitness apps available or old-fashioned pen and paper.
In closing, these tips and tricks will help in your fitness goals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a fundamental building block in fitness and in life. Knowledge (alongside hard work and dedication) is the most essential of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

Controlling Anxiety Without Meds

Anxiety is real. In America today, according to the National Institutes of Health, anxiety disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54). Anxiety is a contributing factor of many health disorders (high blood pressure, obesity, heart attacks, mental fatigue). Many Americans are on medications for these disorders (that is/can be a case of the cure being worse than the disease). A viable alternative to risky prescription medication is a natural or holistic approach to treating anxiety.

Here are 6 tips for managing anxiety naturally:

1. Maintain Stable Blood Sugar
“It isn’t disrespectful to the complexity of existence to point out that despair is, often, just low blood sugar and exhaustion.” – Alain de Botton
The American diet promotes a blood sugar roller coaster, and every time we’re on the ride down, we can feel anxious.
When our blood sugar crashes, our body responds with a stress response. We secrete stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, which tell our liver to make more blood sugar to keep us alive. The good news: We stay alive. The bad news: This hormonal stress response feels identical to anxiety.
By stabilizing blood sugar, you can avoid this stress response and decrease your anxiety.
Here’s how to maintain stable blood sugar:

Eat more protein and healthy fats (e.g., olive oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee from pasture-raised animals).
Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily; don’t skip meals.
Take a spoonful of coconut oil upon waking, in the afternoon and right before bed; this will serve as a blood sugar safety net throughout the day.
Always have a snack handy (e.g., nuts, hard-boiled egg, dark chocolate, almond butter or jerky).

2. Get Off Caffeine (for a while)

Don’t underestimate the relationship between caffeine and anxiety.
Think of it like this: When we’re caffeinated, our nervous system is ready for a fight. Introduce a stressor- you are on Defcon 5 regarding anxiety.
If you suffer from anxiety, do yourself a favor and get off caffeine!!!!
I know, I know, the idea of going off caffeine might be giving you anxiety right now. If you reduce your intake gradually (coffee -> half-caf -> black tea -> green tea -> herbal tea) over the course of a week or two, you’ll avoid withdrawal symptoms. After a few weeks, you may be surprised to see that your anxiety has decreased, your sleep has improved, your energy is stabilized, and you even tolerate stress better.
If you had a successful trial off caffeine, but you want to go back to having that morning ritual, consider making green tea your go-to beverage, rather than a “Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.”
3. Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is your best bet against anxiety.
There’s a 2-way street between anxiety and sleep–anxiety causes insomnia and sleep deprivation makes us vulnerable to anxiety.
The best way to address this is to set ourselves up for better sleep. Conveniently, the way to do this overlaps with the overall approach to anxiety.

Here’s how:
Reduce or eliminate caffeine
Even if you have no trouble falling asleep, caffeine decreases sleep quality.
Maintain stable blood sugar
Blood sugar fluctuations disrupt your sleep, causing middle of the night awakening.
Be strategic about light:
Let your eyes see bright light in the morning and dim light at night.
If your room isn’t completely dark when you sleep, wear an eye mask or get blackout curtains.
Wind down and unplug before bed

4. Treat the Gut

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the recent articles about the relationship between gut flora and mood.
The bugs in our digestive tract have a profound impact on how we feel and play an integral role in anxiety disorders.
Here’s how to promote healthy gut flora and heal the gut:
Avoid what irritates the gut:
Food: Gluten, sugar, industrial vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, alcohol.
Certain medications: Antacids, antibiotics, oral contraceptives (only make changes under close supervision from your doctor).
Add in what soothes the gut:
Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, miso paste, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kefir (if you tolerate dairy).
Starchy tubers: Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, plantain, taro, yucca.
Bone broth:
Purchase Wise Choice Market Bone Broth.
Make your own bone broth.
Supplements:
Take a probiotic.

Consider supplementing with glutamine and collagen.
Create the conditions for the gut to heal:
Squatty Potty can be life-changing.
Get enough sleep.
Manage stress with yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, unplugging, acupuncture, being in nature.
Treat gut infections. If you suspect you may have a chronic gut infection, get evaluated by an integrative or functional medicine practitioner.
5. Exercise
Exercise is the best anti-anxiety medicine.
If you struggle to exercise regularly, forget the boot camps and triathlons. Get in the habit of mini workouts. Do small amounts of exercise in your living room or take a brief walk outside. Sustainability is key.
In general, stand more, sit less, walk whenever possible, and treat your body right with exercise.
Yoga and Tai Qi are particularly beneficial for anxiety, but the most important thing is to find something you enjoy.
6. Magnesium

Magnesium: Nature’s Xanax
Many of us are deficient in magnesium, since our food is grown in magnesium-depleted soil.
You can supplement with magnesium in a few different ways:
Take an Epsom salt bath.
Take a chelated magnesium supplement (e.g., magnesium glycinate).
Try a topical magnesium gel.

Anxiety has a significant impact on quality of life. Maintaining stable blood sugar, reducing caffeine, getting enough sleep, healing the gut, getting some exercise and filling the body with magnesium are safe tactics that go a long way toward reducing anxiety. If your anxiety does not respond to these lifestyle hacks, go see your healthcare provider.
In closing, you only have one life. Life is too short to let it slip away in anxiety and fear.
Living life free from anxiety is another way THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

Expansion

I have been wanting to do more with this platform. I stumbled over two apps, Discord and Vid.me. These two are great apps- Discord is the “Skype killer”, plus it’s free (from what I have seen). Vid.me allows for great original content with total freedom.

These are great times for fitness and wellness. For the Halcyon Fitness Group? Just another weapon in our arsenal. Keep your eyes on us. As a matter of fact, join us!!!

twitter: @halcyonfg16

Vid.me: vid.me/halcyonfg16

Discord: Look up Halcyon Fitness Group.

 

Things are changing. Exciting time to be alive.

Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians and vegetarian diets have been around as long as man has been around. I recently read about the late radio personality Casey Kasem (Shaggy on Scooby-Doo) and his aversion to meat as a child. My personal experience with vegetarianism was to see if I could do it. So for two years (2002-2004/5) I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. I shed a TON of weight (going from 292 to 160 in 13 months). I think vegetarians get a bad rap. Vegetarianism is great. It’s a great alternative to eating meat, GMOs and who knows what else they are putting in your food. It’s great for kids (teaching portion control and discipline) plus it’s just plain healthier for them (with all the unnatural health ailments hitting children now).

Historic obesity rates across the spectrum for Americans (by 2030, 45% of Americans will be classified as clinically obese), diabetes spiking, even a risk for autism by obese pregnant females. Now more than ever, vegatarianism and vegetarian diets deserve a second look.

Did you know that there are different types of vegetarians?

With these levels of this lifestyle, there are a lot of varying outcomes. Personally, as stated earlier, I think vegetarianism is fantastic. I also hold the opinion that humans definitely benefit from vegetarianism. All the processed foods, all the GMOs, all of the junk we eat and drink is crippling us (and I am just talking about Americans). Combine that with a declining activity rate of most of us… you have a whopping obesity rate (over 67% of Americans are overweight) that will cost taxpayers TRILLIONS by 2028 (healthcare, transportation, clothing).

In closing, more attention should be paid to vegetarianism as a viable lifestyle. This should be brought to light on television, social media, etc. I am definitely in favor of more attention being paid to vegetarianism. It’s definetly cost effective, saves money on healthcare, prevents diseases, disorders like autism.

I would like your opinions on this article. Any and all will be appreciated.

 

2017’s Best Supplements for Men over 40

When a man hits the “Big 4-0”, things usually change drastically. His mind, as well as his body will either decline or change for the better in extraordinary ways. Through better health decisions, mainly diet, exercise and supplementation, a man can expect better results and a better quality of life for himself. Below are my recommendations for guys over 40 who are looking to better their health (at least through dietary supplementation). Don’t worry ladies, I will give a similar review for the year’s best supplements for women over 40 next article.

A Word of Caution

Though this is a definite list made by me, PLEASE use your best judgment, listen to your body and make sure you want to do this fellas. Do it for YOU. So here’s the list for 2017:

  • Multi-vitamin/multi-mineral combination. As I have been known to say, “the basics always win”. This combination is essential to replace any and all nutrients that are lacking in the American diet.
  • Fish Oil. If you use fish oil, use one with at least 2000 mg DHA and 3000 mg EPA. Fish Oil contains the essential Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
  • Vitamin D3 in the CHOLECALCIFEROL form, 4000 IU. Vitamin D3 should be between 40 ng/ml and 80 ng/ml. To attain and maintain this level in the blood, most people will need to supplement with an additional 4000-5000 IU of Vitamin D3.
  • Hydrochloric Acid. IMPORTANT: Take at the beginning of your meal(s). GERD (or Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease) or “heartburn” is due to the lack of hydrochloric acid (naturally decreases in the stomach as we age). The results of this are not only annoying, but harmful. Decreased digestion abilities, which in turn leads to decreased energy, even muscle atrophy seen in aging. This will also predispose you to decreased immune system functions (increased susceptibilities to upper respiratory illnesses, respiratory infections and even cancer (or at least a predisposition to cancer).
  • Arginine, ornithine and glutamine before bedtime (this encourages REM sleep, cell regeneration and Central Nervous System “reset”).

 

The basics always win. Note that there are no trendy supplements here. No NO2 boosters (though studies do show NO2 levels are important to overall health for men over 40), no steroids, any other weird concoctions. The basics of diet, exercise and some discipline will get the job done.

BIG ARMS: 14 LAWS

For those of you who are into bodybuilding, or showing off “the guns” in front of others… this is for you. Here are 14 laws of arm growth that you cannot ignore.

  1. WARM UP BEFORE TRAINING. It’s simple, yet oh so profound. Warming up gets the blood flowing, your joints ready and stretched. Plus your mind is better equipped to handle the workload.
  2. USE MODERATE WEIGHT. Another no-brainer. Real simple here also. Moderate weight will have you growing like a weed. Besides, the biceps and triceps are smaller body parts.  Using the same mass-building techniques for training arms as you would back or chest… not very good.
  3. FORM, FORM, FORM. Form is everything. You don’t want short biceps, muscle imbalances, stuff like that do you? Using proper form is key. Cheating on your sets is a sure-fire way to decrease development. Using proper form has shown an increase of the recruitment of the muscle fibers. Bad form decreases the growth potential of the muscle as much as 45%. So use good form. For those of you new to lifting, watch your form. Ask others in the gym or even watch YouTube videos on how to properly do the exercise. The critiques, the extra few seconds won’t kill you.
  4. MIX IT UP. I mean by this… vary the equipment usage. You will invariably have a favorite tool to use for arms (personally I love the ropes for tri’s- I did 215 lbs with that the other day). To only use one tool is to severely limit your potential growth (both with muscle and with your character).
  5. DON’T CHEAT. See the pattern yet? We have all seen bad form. Excess swinging of the arms, using your hips, whatever- to achieve a lift. Learning to isolate your arms, especially the focus of the exercise (bi’s, tri’s, forearms, etc) will minimize the potential for injury (plus the potential for getting clowned by some people in the gym who call out people who use bad form).
  6. SWITCH IT UP. Different angles mean everything. To achieve the growth you want, you have to change the angles of your exercises. Changing the angles of the work you’re putting in, even supersetting  (putting in another complimentary exercise that targets the same muscles you’re working, usually at a different angle i.e. wide-width push-ups in a set of dumbbell flyes) will do the trick.
  7. STRETCH. Lifting can be a science, but most of this is just “common-sense technique”. Stretching keeps the blood flowing in the muscles, removing the lactic acid and all the other trash that accumulates in a workout. Plus it feels good and can clear your head.
  8. MODERATION. Don’t over-do it! Don’t let your enthusiasm get the best of you. Overtraining will hinder your growth.
  9. TRAIN. TRAIN HARD. TRAIN LONG. BUT NOT BOTH. Keep your workouts varied. A great example is keep the intensity up, but keep it short- overtraining is your enemy.
  10. MIX IT UP 2: CHANGE YOUR ROUTINES OFTEN. The body commits to “muscle memory”. You have to keep your body guessing. There should be a change in your workout routines at least every 21-30 days. You will get stuck in a mental rut otherwise. It will affect growth, and you will overtrain at some point trying to overcompensate for the lack of growth.
  11. TEMPO. Too easy here. For mass, go slow (to recruit the muscle fibers, etc). For lean muscle, go fast.
  12. TRAIN BICEPS, TRICEPS TOGETHER SOMETIMES. Supersetting these two groups is good idea to keep the variety going. For example, some days, I will do arms. I will jump from bi’s to tri’s sometimes. You’re still getting the work in, but it’s a bit unconventional. Unconventional, unorthodox methods do work.
  13. MORE TRICKERY. More techniques like rest-pause, compartmentalized reps (like 21s- a personal favorite of mine), partial reps, stuff like that makes a workout great. Try ending full sets with a set or two of these type of schemes. You’ll love the results.
  14. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST… Massage. Whether it’s self-massage or getting an LMT to work out the kinks, getting that lactic acid and the blood out of the muscles is crucial, especially for smaller muscle groups like the biceps and triceps. Keep your water intake high before, during and after workouts, especially after a massage.

MUSINGS AND OPINIONS

Another workout is in- I feel great, I’m doing great, I’m looking good (as I’m sure most of you are out there), but I digress. So I’m going to get straight to the point here: how many of you are getting older, but feel like you’re 21 still? With me, I feel like I’m 21 right now (though the calendar says otherwise LOL). I have no problem with getting older. In fact, I dare say it’s a blessing. I still maintain that the NBA Finals are rigged… you have your health, you have EVERYTHING!!! It’s a cold year this summer 2016. Here in beau-tiful Portland, OR, it’s about 10 degrees cooler than normal (though Summer 2015 was about as hot and humid as any I ever spent in Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana and Korea)…. ELECTION SEASON IS COMING… We know the saying about opinions (and I promise I won’t give you an anatomy lesson on that one)… Rich Piana… 375-lb dumbbell row… look it up.

Ask anyone who knows me, I can be as random as they come… I know this was a departure from my usual work (topical, somewhat serious, sometimes controversial), but with my endorphins kicking in (and my legs not bugging me as they have the past few days), I got a wild hair up my nose and I started writing. I leave you with this: Never ever waste a day. It’s a crime against yourself.

TEN FOODS TO GET THIN

Here is my list of the TEN foods that help boost metabolism:

    1. Hot peppers… capsaicin is the thing here. This thermogenic ingredient gives food its zip, its zing and heats up the body, firing up your metabolism and helping you burn off excess calories. Capsaicin is present in fresh, pickled and dry peppers, along with flaked pepper spices like cayenne and red chilies. Weight loss experts recommend adding them to your soups, sauces, and rice dishes to boost your diet’s automatic fat-burning potential.If you don’t like spicy food, you can still benefit from chili peppers. A recent University of California study found that peppers with a compound called dihydrocapsiate also helped study participants burn fat. Dihydrocapsiate is a non-burning (i.e. non-spicy) form of capsaicin which increases your body’s ability to oxidize fat. Researchers recommend making it a regular part of your low-calorie diet if you’re not a fan of spicy dishes – this will help you benefit from the natural fat-burning properties of chili peppers without setting your mouth on fire.
    2. Green Tea

      Green tea contains a substance known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been scientifically proven to provide your metabolism with a temporary boost. EGCG is an antioxidant which helps your body make better use of a naturally occurring hormone and neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. The main metabolism effect of norepinephrine is that it sends signals to your body, telling it to start breaking down fat cells and using their stored energy.

      While green tea doesn’t contain a lot of caffeine, it does have some – about 25 to 50 milligrams per cup, on average. Caffeine synergizes with norepinephrine, enhancing its fat-burning effects. One recent study showed that men who took dietary supplements containing EGCG burned 17 percent more fat by exercising than men who didn’t. If you’re regularly exercising and eating a low-calorie diet, incorporate hot or cold green tea into your diet to kick your fat-burning regimen into overdrive

    3. Oats

      Oats are very high in fiber, and when your body needs to break down fiber-rich whole foods, it burns up to twice as many calories during the digestion process. Dietary fiber also helps regulate your appetite, giving you a lasting feeling of satiation and helping ward off hunger throughout the day. This makes you less likely to reach for sugary or fatty snacks, especially in the hours between breakfast and lunch.

      Experts recommend eating oatmeal for breakfast, but watch out if you’re buying quick-cooking or instant oatmeal. Many of these products contain added sugar, which will effectively neutralize its healthy effects. Instead, reach for unsweetened whole-grain oats, and add some honey or fresh fruit to boost its flavor appeal. Pair it with protein-rich nuts and you’ll have one of the healthiest breakfasts on the planet. You can also sprinkle oat bran on your soups, salads and stir fry dishes to give your body an internal workout!

    4. Grapefruit

      Chances are you’ve heard that one of the best fat-burning breakfasts you can eat is half a grapefruit with a cup of black coffee. This can be a great start to your day, especially if you follow it up a couple of hours later with a healthy “second breakfast,” containing fiber-rich, high-protein foods. Grapefruit helps your body dissolve fat and cholesterol, which fighting hardening of the arteries (a process known as “arteriosclerosis”).

      A medium-sized grapefruit has only 74 calories, but packs a whopping 15 grams of belly-filling pectin fiber. This fiber helps you feel full for a longer period of time, regulating hunger levels throughout the day and making you less likely to snack between meals. Grapefruit it also very high in both vitamin C and potassium, and it contains absolutely no fat and no sodium. Add it to your breakfast regimen and watch your waistline shrink

    5. Turkey or Chicken

      Turkey and chicken are both very lean sources of protein, and both have what is known in dietary circles as a “high thermogenic effect.” In essence, this means that it fires up your body’s internal furnace during the digestion process, sending your metabolism into overdrive. Because turkey and chicken are both very low in fat, they are also much lower in calories than fattier meats like beef and pork. It’s a win-win situation for your body, which gets all the nutrients and benefits of meat from far fewer calories, all while burning more energy during digestion.

      However, turkey and chicken both come with an important caveat. If you want to maximize the fat-burning potential of these meats, it’s important to take the skin off. Poultry skin is very high in fat, and it will significantly alter the nutrition content of the meat. Get rid of it, and flavor the meat with spices or low-calorie, low-sugar sauces.

    6. Lentils

      By now, you’re probably noticing a trend – the higher a food’s protein content, the better it is for weight loss. Your body has to spend more calories breaking down protein, making it automatically better for burning fat, and it also takes your body longer to digest protein. This leaves you feeling fuller for a longer period of time, and studies have shown that people eating high-protein diets consume far less calories during an average day than people on lower-protein diets.

      Lentils are an excellent choice because they are very high in protein, yet very low in fat. In fact, they have one of the lowest fat contents of any protein-rich food. A single serving of lentils also provides for 35 percent of your daily iron needs. Lentils are also low in sodium and very high in potassium. Few foods offer the nutritional punch of low-calorie lentils. Add them to your soup recipes, or put them in regular rotation as a side dish

    7. Fish

      Certain types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote fat loss by kicking your metabolism into high gear. The dietary action of omega-3 fatty acids is similar to that of protein – it forces your body to naturally burn more calories while helping you keep your appetite in check throughout the day. Fish is a great choice at lunchtime; the earlier in the day you eat it, the longer you will benefit from its appetite-regulating properties.

      Fish also reduces your risk of heart disease, reduces cholesterol, and can help relieve arthritis and joint inflammation symptoms. A can of water-packed tuna has about 90 to 120 calories, which isn’t much considering its nutritive benefits. Salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna are all very high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may also help protect your brain and boost your cognitive capabilities. Just watch out for high mercury content; choose organic or sustainably sourced products rather than their mass-produced counterparts

    8. Berries

      Berries are very rich in antioxidants, and getting more antioxidants from natural sources is a great way to help boost your metabolism. The antioxidants contained in berries promote better blood flow, which helps your body build stronger muscles. The more muscle your body has, the more calories it will burn – even when you’re at rest. Invest some time in improving your fat-to-muscle ratio and you’ll benefit from passive calorie burning and weight loss.

      Another benefit of berries is that they are very low in calories. Strawberries are very low in calories, with only about 45 per cup. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries all range between 60 and 80 calories per cup, and all four types of berries help keep your blood pressure down. This reduces your risk of heart disease and heart attacks – another reason to add berries to your oatmeal or whole-grain breakfast cereal. They’re also one of the best snacks you can eat.

    9. Apples

      You already know that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but apples can also help keep the calories away as well. A few crispy bites is a safe way to elevate your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, providing you with a nutrient-rich, low-calorie source of satisfying energy. A medium-sized apple has just 80 calories, with all kinds of antioxidants and absolutely no sodium, saturated fat or cholesterol. Like berries, apples make a great midday snack.

      Given that apples are also rich in antioxidants, they can help improve your body’s blood flow and help you build healthier, stronger muscles. As a general rule of thumb, choose apples with darker skins more often. The darker an apple’s skin, the richer it is in antioxidants, and the stronger its fat-burning effects will be. However, if you strongly prefer Granny Smith or golden delicious apples, rest easy – these varieties also pack a strong antioxidant punch

    10. Coffee

      Sure, caffeine has its drawbacks – excessive consumption can cause an elevated heart rate while potentially triggering anxiety and insomnia. However, moderate coffee drinkers can take solace in the fact that their morning cup of java provides a big metabolic boost, meaning that this stimulant naturally speeds up your metabolism and helps you burn more calories than normal. It also helps get you up and moving more quickly in the morning, providing your energy levels with a helpful push in the right direction.

      In addition to moderating consumption, you should also be careful about what you add to your coffee. Piling on the sugar and heavy cream will turn this metabolism-boosting beverage into a fat trap. Instead, use low-fat milk and sweeteners instead of sugar, or avoid sweetening it altogether. Coffee is healthiest when it’s consumed black, so if you can make that transition, your body will thank you for it.