Five steps to better body composition
1. Use the power of your mind. Think about your body composition. What do you want it to be? Visualize that healthy, fit, well-proportioned self.
2. Write down and revisit your goals often; and be sure to focus WHY you’d like to achieve them. Be specific
3. Plan ahead. During the first few weeks plan all of your meals, including your snacks. Write out your food plan first thing in the morning, and follow that plan throughout the day.
4. Organize your exercise, including rest days. Put it down in your calendar, just as you would an appointment. Include 2-3 days of strength training, 3-4 days of cardiovascular conditioning, a day of cross training and a day of rest!
5. Measure your body composition. Retest yourself after 8-12 weeks. Record your progress.
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The Belly Fat Problem
High levels of cortisol—the stress hormone–have been shown to contribute to higher levels of fat in the body, especially deep belly fat. Many factors can lift your levels of cortisol—too much stress, a lack of sleep, and smoking and drinking alcohol.
Science has shown that abdominal fat, especially the deep layer, called visceral fat, is the most troublesome kind of fat. It is associated with diabetes and heart disease. This visceral fat behaves differently than other fats because it’s more metabolically active.
Here’s the good news: Because this deep belly fat is so metabolically active, it’s easier to budge. Here’s an easy test you can do to find out if it’s time to whittle your middle.
Measure your waist. Men with a waist over 40 inches, and women with a waist of more than 35 inches should work on ridding themselves of belly fat. What’s the best way to get rid of visceral fat? If you said sit ups, think again. Crunches and core exercises are great for toning and strengthening, but they don’t burn fat like cardio. To trim your middle, focus on your cardio workouts. Get your heart pumping in your aerobic zone for at least 20 minutes to start, and work up to 60 or more minutes. Practice mental clearing and meditation excises during your cardio—great tools to help you reduce your stress levels.