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6 Steps to Look Your Best On Your Wedding Day

Look beautiful on your wedding day.

Few things scream “it’s time to get in shape” more than getting engaged. Your wedding day is much more than just a regular day. It’s when every bride wants to look and feel her best.

But with the stress of everything that a wedding involves – finding an unforgettable venue, the best photographer, beautiful flower arrangements, delicious food, and good music – planning for this special day can easily become a tower of stressful events for the couple. Adding to the stress of wedding planning, for your “big day’ may also include dieting and losing weight so you can fit in that perfect dress you have been dreaming about.

Stress can slow you down, but having your wedding day as a deadline can help you find the motivation you need to find a nutrition plan that works for you. These six tips will help you start on your goal of looking and feeling beautiful on your special day:

1. Replace two meals a day with a protein shake

I suggest replacing breakfast and lunch with a protein shake that provides about 20 grams of protein and at least 200 calories to keep you full and satisfied until your next meal. The advantage to this approach is that well-balanced protein shake provides easy protein and calorie control, since you know exactly what goes into it. And, with enough protein to help keep you satisfied, you’ll be less likely to make poor choices when you go out with your girlfriends. Rather than giving up time with your friends, I suggest you have a shake before meeting up, then socializing over a green salad with a little dressing on the side or a broth-based soup.

2. Emphasize lean proteins and more vegetables at dinner

Cooking at home will give you a lot of control over what you eat and how much. If you do use the meal replacements for two meals a day, your third meal should place an emphasis on lean proteins and vegetables. Build your meal on proteins such as poultry breast or fish—and have both a vegetable salad and cooked vegetables alongside. Also, limit your starch to one small portion and, if you do have a starchy side, choose whole grains whenever possible.

3. Have a planned, healthy snack in the afternoon

A well-planned snack in the afternoon can help take the edge off hunger at dinner time. It’s also a great time to sneak in some extra fruits and vegetables. Rather than grazing on sweets or chips, try to eat a protein-based snack such as a small carton of yogurt, a protein snack bar, some raw veggies with hummus or a little bit of cottage cheese with fruit.

4. Add fruit to protein shakes

You need two or three servings of fruit a day. An easy way to meet your needs is to add fruit to your shakes, which will allow you to have your daily fruit needs more or less covered.

5. Start keeping a food diary

Logging your food intake is a good idea for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it will help you to keep your calories in check. And it can also help you with your emotional eating as well. When you get the urge to eat, I suggest you pull out your food diary and write down how you are feeling instead. If you can delay the urge to eat, even if only by a few minutes, the hunger for a snack is likely to pass.

6. Have fun exercising

It’s important to combine exercise with your healthy diet in order to meet your goals. But choose activities that you enjoy – if you don’t, it’s unlikely you’ll stick with your exercise plan. Ideally, your exercise program will include both cardio and strength training – but you can get your cardio by fast walking, swimming, bicycling or dancing, for example. Many people rely on food to cope with stressful situations; however, stress eating doesn’t usually take away stress – and often adds weight. Since exercise is a great stress-reducer, it can help you deal with the stress while losing pounds and toning your body – and will help ensure that you’ll look your best in that beautiful wedding dress.

Remember, years from today nobody will remember the food or the flowers, but they will remember you. So have fun planning your big day and take care of yourself as you prepare.

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Wedding Fitness: Tips to Get in Shape and Get Rid of Stress

From dumbbells to wedding bells.

If you’re looking for an effective wedding workout, whether you’re a guest or the bride, I’m pretty sure you’re feeling pressure to look great on the big day. So, follow my six tips to help ease any pressure you’re feeling to look beautiful at your coming big event.

I get so excited to meet people who have a big event like a wedding on their calendar. I like to work with them, because they have a specific goal and a date to keep them motivated. Having a firm date is important, as goals without deadlines can sometimes feel like unattainable dreams. Finding the motivation and inspiration to start a new fitness plan can be a difficult task. This upcoming spring/summer wedding season provides the perfect reason to start a wedding workout plan.

Which group are you in?

In my years as a personal trainer, I’ve met two types of event-motivated individuals: positively motivated—and frantic. With the positively motivated people, an upcoming event gives them the gentle push they need to start and stay committed to a fitness and nutrition plan. Frantic people operate differently: they’re desperate for an overnight body miracle. Frantic people may have a lot of motivation, but they’re incredibly stressed and often set unrealistic targets.

You might not be surprised to know that most people tend to fall into the panicked group. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s understandable that you may feel under pressure to get in shape for the big day. Let’s face it—who doesn’t want to look and feel their best when all eyes are going to be on them?

Knowing you can’t work overnight miracles to solve a specific body area issue can make it easier to stay calm and work towards the body-positive goal of getting in better shape. You must also understand that spot-reducing fat is not a physical possibility. Let me share my tips to help you reduce stress, feel fit and radiate beauty on your big day.

Wedding workout plan: A no-stress, effective approach

Be consistent

Best fitness results come from being consistent. If you go too hard for a few days then you’ll have to stop while your body recovers, it will take longer overall for your body to adapt. Commit to exercising for 30-60 minutes on 4-5 days of the week, and train at an intensity level that leaves you feeling good and ready to commit to your workout the next day. Pushing yourself too hard so that you’re barely able to walk the next day is just going to slow down your overall progress. And remember, even pro athletes have recovery days. You need to give your body time between tough workouts.

Mix it up

It’s necessary to vary the mode, intensity and duration of your workout. Now is not the time to plod along on the treadmill while you read a bridal magazine. Instead, change your speed and incline throughout your workout to help burn a few extra calories. Thinking about how great you’ll look in your wedding outfit might be the best motivation for you. Getting fit in advance will also help give you stamina to get through a long day, without feeling exhausted long before the first dance.

Lift weights

Strength training is great for burning calories and toning your muscles. Try to lift weights or perform body weight resistance exercises on three days of the week. If you’re short on time, perform exercises like lunges or squats to work your glutes. The glutes are a large muscle group, so working them with intensity will burn more calories.

Try yoga

Weddings can be stressful, and exercising can place stress on your body, too. Try to dedicate a little extra time to mental fitness and calming your mind. Spend at least one day each week focused on simple stretches, breathing or yoga.

Get plenty of sleep

Start prioritizing sleep and making sure your body gets adequate rest. It’s while you’re resting that your body makes adjustments and adapts to the increased demands that you place on it. If you’re increasing your exercise routine and want that to transfer into results, you must get adequate rest and recovery.

Portion control

Don’t stress yourself out with a crazy diet right now, especially if you’re increasing your exercise routine. Your body needs energy to function, and you’ll need quality nutrition to get good results from your workout routine. Drastically changing your diet overnight is not healthy. Start by being a little more conscious of controlling your portion size, and focus on consuming lots of fresh fruits and veggies. With minor adjustments, you’ll be well on your way to achieving positive body changes that will last.

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Wedding Day Beauty Tips – How to Look and Feel Stunning

Plan ahead, but don’t forget to pamper yourself.

One of the most special days in any woman’s life has to be her wedding day. We choose our bridesmaids, pick our color scheme and we’ve even been fantasizing about Prince Charming from the time we could walk. For some of us, all roads lead to the most magical day of our lives—the day we say, “I do.”

A bride’s wedding day is the perfect occasion to shine. Of course, she wants to look gorgeous but she also wants to be radiant, confident, sexy and demure. Remember, all eyes are on the bride on this very special day, and it’s important for her to exude confidence without a worry in the world. This beauty will be captured in memories and photographs that will last a lifetime.

How to prepare for your wedding with as little stress as possible

Plan ahead

The morning of the wedding is not the best time to start experimenting with hair, makeup, nail polish—anything. Keep things simple and close to your personal comfort zone. Think classic, not trendy. By planning your look well in advance of the wedding, you will surely eliminate unnecessary stress and look fabulous as a result.

Practice makes perfect

Practice wearing different hair styles that complement your dress and your veil. Think about the photos you wish to have, and also think about looking back at your wedding album 20 years from now. Will you say, ‘Aww, look how cute we were’? Or will you say, ‘Oh, my gosh––what were we thinking?’

A few wedding day beauty tips

Get your hair trimmed to eliminate any split ends or frizzies, which will keep your hair looking polished and smooth. Do any trimming or cutting about 2-3 weeks before the wedding so it looks completely fresh and natural.

Wash your hair the day before—not on the morning of your wedding. The extra oils and product that are left lingering in your hair only help your style (especially your curls) stay put and last longer. When hair is freshly clean, it won’t hold a style as long.

If time and budget permit, hire a professional hair stylist for the day. Meet with the stylist a week or two prior to the wedding for a practice run, and don’t forget to bring your veil with you and even a photo of your gown. Take pictures of your hair during the practice run so you can see what you will look like from all angles. You may see an opportunity to add a hair accessory or quick change up for the reception.

Flawless skin for the big day

No matter what your skin care practices have been until now, as the wedding approaches you cannot go to bed without thoroughly cleansing your skin. All traces of makeup, especially mascara, must be removed at bedtime. One night of sleep with makeup on your face can leave your skin looking dull, dry and, well, just not healthy. So, get a good cleansing using warm water with a facial cleanser as your first step towards radiant skin.

Moisture, moisture and more moisture

Skin always looks best when it’s hydrated. Never go to bed without applying a nice, rich night cream that will hydrate your skin while you sleep. In the morning after cleansing again, be sure to apply a hydrating day lotion to keep your skin soft and supple. Apply, apply and reapply. And remember, if you’re going out into the sun, be sure to use a product containing SPF to keep your skin from burning and, dare I say it, aging.

The eyes have it

Tears, coupled with a nervous night’s sleep and a few glasses of champagne at the reception, can really make your eyes look tired and droopy. It’s important to get the skin around your eyes in tip-top shape well before the big day. Invest in a nice firming eye gel for daytime use that helps tighten the skin around the eyes, and look for a hydrating eye cream to wear at bedtime. And whatever you do, don’t forget the waterproof mascara.

Scrub ’til you shine

Exfoliating once a week leading up to the wedding is great for the skin, and it will also allow your makeup to stay on longer and look smoother and fresher.
But don’t stop there. All exposed areas need to be scrubbed. Arms, elbows, knees, feet, legs, you name it. With a good exfoliation followed by a great moisturizer, your skin will be soft, smooth and kissable well into the honeymoon.

Choose the right makeup

If a professional makeup artist isn’t in the budget, then just do a bit of investigating. Flip through bridal and fashion magazines, and look online for pictures.
Or, go to the makeup counter and get a free makeover. Look for softer, more natural color pallets and try to avoid the dark, bolder colors. The cosmetic counter consultants can demonstrate for you exactly how to apply the products for the best look. Be sure to bring along your bridesmaids and make a fun day out of it.

Some final quick beauty tips for your wedding day

Pack a “quick fix” bag for the reception. Be sure to bring along some touch-up makeup, nail polish in your shade of the day, deodorant, mints for quick breath freshening, and even a pair of comfy shoes or an extra pair of nylons in case you get a run. Pack anything you can think of that can help reduce any last minute worry or stress to help keep your perfect day on track.

Relax and enjoy

Leading up to the big day, bride and groom can engage in some couples activities to relax. Think about getting a couple’s massage, or just simply spend some quality time with each other over a quiet dinner at home, or take the time to watch and laugh at an old movie. Staying relaxed and calm during such a stressful time will increase the bond for a couple—and it can only make the entire experience, from start to finish, even more memorable.

At the end of the day, your wedding will be something that you’ll never, ever forget. You’ll be surrounded by family and friends, and you’ll be exchanging vows with the love of your life. By preparing in advance and anticipating any issues that may arise, the day will go as smoothly as possible.

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Summer Countdown: How to Look Great in Just 6 Weeks

Watch your calorie intake and head for the gym.

Want to shape up for summer? Don’t wait until the last minute. If you start now, you’ve got six weeks or so––plenty of time to see some serious results before swimsuit season starts.

Six weeks may sound like an eternity, but if you’re trying to get in get in shape for summer, you’ll want to get going right away. I’m nudging you now, because many people have the tendency to put this off. As in, “I’m going on a surfing trip next week, and I can’t be seen looking like this!” A crash diet to take off a couple pounds in a week might make you slightly less self-conscious in your board shorts. But if you really want to make some headway before swimsuit season, the time to start is now.

Six Weeks ‘til Summer: Shape Up Now

Here’s the thing: a safe and achievable rate of weight loss is about one or two pounds a week. In order to lose a pound in a week’s time, you need to tilt your calorie balance in the negative direction by about 500 calories per day. Now, a pound of fat stores about 3500 calories. If you burn up 500 of those stored calories every day for a week, you’ll lose about a pound of fat. Larger people can often tip the balance a little further, coming up with a shortage of 750 or even 1000 calories a day to lose a bit more quickly.

Depending on your body size, that means that if you start now, you could lose 5 or 10 pounds by early June, and that could be enough to give you a beach body by the start of summer. With a one-two punch of diet and exercise, six weeks is enough time to see some noticeable changes in your muscle tone and shape if you dedicate some serious time to your workouts.

Diet and Exercise

The best way to create your calorie ‘shortage’ is with a combination of diet and exercise. Don’t try to just do one or the other. For one thing, if your calorie needs aren’t that high to start with, you may not be able to cut out 500 calories a day from your meals without cutting back too far. You shouldn’t go much below 1200 calories a day. If you try to cut too much, not only is it harder to pack all your nutrient needs into fewer calories, but you also may not have enough energy to exercise. Trying the ‘exercise only’ approach is tough, too, because it takes a lot of exercise to burn up 500 calories––like a solid hour of nonstop swimming.

Turn Up the Nutrition

Focus on eating the most ‘nutrient dense’ foods––those foods that give you the most nutrition for the fewest calories per bite. Vegetables top the list, followed by the lowest fat proteins (fish and shellfish, poultry breast, egg whites, fat-free dairy products, protein powder), then followed by fruit and then whole grains.

Power Up with Protein

Make sure to include some protein at every meal and snack. It will help keep you from getting too hungry in between meals.

Hold Up on the Grains

Cut back on your whole grains for the first week or two to give yourself a little head start. You don’t want to cut them out completely, but cutting back to just a serving or two each day can help you save a lot of calories. As long as you’re eating plenty of veggies and fruit, you should be getting enough carbohydrates to fuel your exercise.

Shake It Up

Careful calorie counting is the key, but it’s often one of the hardest things to do. This is why meal replacement shakes work so well. They take the guesswork out of calorie counting, because you know exactly how many calories are in them. Have a protein shake made with milk and fruit for two meals a day, then focus on veggies and protein for your third meal. Keep your snacks small and protein-packed (like a protein bar or a small carton of Greek yogurt), and you’ll keep your calorie guesswork to a minimum.

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6 weeks to a strong and healthy summer body

Achieve a balanced physique the healthy way.

No matter what your body shape is, if you want to achieve a strong and healthy summer body, here’s a plan to achieve it.

Yes, it’s true: genetics dictates your natural body type and you can never completely change it. However, you can add definition to specific parts of your body for a more balanced look through a carefully planned out exercise routine that targets specific areas of your body. My summer body workout will help you achieve a balanced physique the healthy way. Just follow it along with a calorie-controlled, protein-rich nutrition plan, and you’ll achieve positive results.

How to Achieve an Hourglass Figure

Here’s a daily fitness plan that will help you whittle your waist and tone up your glutes and thighs to give you the summer figure you desire.

Hill running or walking for 30 minutes

Why: An uphill workout is like weight lifting for your glutes and hamstrings. It will help lift that area nicely, and the cardiovascular nature of running will help you burn fat.

Squats, lunges, mountain climbers and step-ups

Do 15 of each move and try to perform four sets. Work your way up to using water bottles, and in time, weighted dumbbells to add resistance.

Why: Building strong quads and glutes will help you create the desired look of a fit, toned lower half.

Rest and stretch day

Why: Rest and recovery days are as important as training days, since they give your body time to repair itself. Stretching on your rest day will help ease sore muscles and it feels great, too.

Interval training

High knee runs, push-ups, crunches, standing oblique crunches, single leg hops, jump rope. Do 45 seconds of each exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this circuit for 30 minutes.

Why: Interval training is ideal for burning fat and getting great results in a reasonable amount of time. The exercises I’ve chosen all have an extra emphasis on the core. Any time you require your body to balance, such as when you’re balancing on one foot, your core works overtime.

Active rest day

Ride a bike, swim, hike—do any physical activity at a slow and steady pace for about an hour.

Why: I love adding fun, active days to the schedule. Steady exercise encourages your body to burn fat, and the added bonus is that you get to relieve stress by focusing on an activity that’s both fun and healthy.

Tough training day

Work hard today and really push yourself through the last workout of the week.

Why: Working the glutes at all angles, and working the core with lots of oblique moves, will help to create a defined midsection and build muscle in the lower body.

Rest and recover

Follow this plan for six weeks in combination with a sensible diet, and you’ll be well on your way to looking balanced, toned and beautiful. It may seem tough sometimes, but remember that there’s no substitute for having a healthy, toned body. Remember to keep your health a priority and you’ll always look beautiful.

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Affordable Antiaging Solutions

Wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin.

Many women are concerned about aging and can benefit from preventive treatment. Don’t wait until you see a wrinkle or sunspot to start taking care of your skin.

The sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the benefits. Here are some simple antiaging solutions you can start today.


Avoid tanning beds and intentional sun exposure

When you bare your beautiful skin to UVA and UVB radiation, it creates free radical cell damage. There is a breakdown of elastin and collagen, which are vital substances to help the skin look young, supple and healthy. The more you expose yourself, the more damage will accumulate over time. You might not see it right away, but as you get older, your skin will start to look older than its chronological age.

Wear sunscreen daily

You get more sun exposure on your skin by walking around on a daily basis than you do when you go on a yearly vacation. UVA radiation is always present, whether the sun is out or not. You might be under the impression that sunscreen is only for days when the sun is out or when you’re on vacation, but it actually should be used daily. Find a moisturizer with an SPF 15 (or higher) broad-spectrum sunscreen. Make sure you apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside, as this allows it to have enough time to provide the maximum benefits to the skin.

No smoking

Cigarette smoke depletes many critical vital nutrients and vitamins that the skin needs to look amazing. One of the vitamins it depletes is vitamin C, which is essential for protecting and helping to repair the skin. Some of the long-term effects of smoking may include smoker’s lines around the lips and ashen looking skin. Who wants that? There are no creams, sunscreens or magic wands that can undo the damage of cigarette smoking, so the best treatment is not to smoke.

Use products with antioxidants

Antioxidants help fight off free radical cell damage that can prematurely age the skin. They also may improve the health and glow of your skin. Some examples of useful antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E. If you want to get the most value for your skincare, find a moisturizer with these ingredients. Products that have antioxidants can benefit the appearance and health of the skin, including a reduction in signs of premature aging.

Antiaging prevention should be a consistent program you do on a daily basis. You can’t stop the aging process, but in the process, you can enter that stage gracefully!

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Stay On Track with These Fiber Facts

Whole grain breads – good sources of fiber.

Did you know there’s more than one type of dietary fiber? Eating a wide range of plant foods will help you meet all your needs.

Fiber is important in your diet and most people don’t eat as much as they should. In addition to eating enough fiber, you also need to eat enough of the different types of fiber. That’s because not all fibers function exactly the same way—different types of fibers have different effects on the body. So, just as you should aim to eat a wide range of foods in order to get a wide array of nutrients, a varied diet helps to provide you with enough of the different types of fibers, too.

What Is Fiber and How Much Do You Need?

Fiber is the structural component of plant foods, so it’s found in vegetables, whole fruits, beans and grains (like corn or brown rice)—there’s no fiber in meats, fish or poultry.
The average American falls far short of meeting the fiber recommendation of 25-30 grams a day. In fact, most of us only eat about 10 grams a day, which means we may be missing out on the health benefits of dietary fiber. Fiber, of course, helps move the digestive process along, but high fiber foods also provide the sensation of fullness, so they help with hunger control. And certain fibers also support the growth of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract.

If you don’t eat as much fiber as you should, it’s best to increase the amount you eat gradually over a few weeks. Adding too much fiber to the diet in a short period of time might lead to abdominal discomfort and gas, so take it slowly to allow your system time to adjust. Also, drink plenty of liquid to allow the fiber to soften and swell.

Different Types of Fiber: What Are They and What Do They Do?

There are two broad classes of dietary fiber—soluble fibers and insoluble fibers.

Soluble Fibers

Soluble fibers are found in the highest concentration in apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, oats, barley and beans. Soluble fibers dissolve in water and thicken up. If you’ve ever cooked oatmeal at home, you probably noticed it got thick and gluey as it cooked. That’s because the soluble fiber in the oats dissolved in the liquid.

When these fibers come in contact with the liquid in your stomach, they swell up and thicken, too, which is why they help keep you full. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of glucose (sugar) from the blood stream and it can help to keep blood sugar levels more even throughout the day.

Insoluble Fibers

Insoluble fibers also support the health of your digestive system, but in a different way. Insoluble fibers don’t dissolve in water—instead, they simply absorb water in the lower tract, which makes the fiber more bulky. This type of fiber, found in the highest concentrations in vegetables, wheat bran, corn bran, rice bran and most other whole grains, speeds the passage of waste through your digestive system, so it helps to keep you regular.

How Can You Tell If a Fiber Is Soluble or Insoluble?

It’s actually fairly easy to tell the two fibers apart. When you make barley soup or boil potatoes, you can easily see how the liquid thickens up—that’s because barley and potatoes are high in soluble fiber. On the other hand, when you cook brown rice—a whole grain that’s rich in insoluble fiber—it doesn’t get sticky because the fiber doesn’t dissolve. Instead, it simply absorbs water as it cooks, causing the grains to swell up.

Tips for Increasing Fiber Intake

  • Eat whole fruits with skin more often than fruit juices
  • Use whole fruit as a dessert
  • Eat a variety of whole vegetables—cooked and raw—and eat them freely
  • Use 100% whole grain breads, waffles, cereals, rolls, English muffins and crackers instead of those made with refined white flour
  • Use corn tortillas rather than flour
  • Use brown rice, wild rice, millet, barley and cracked wheat as alternatives to white rice
  • Add beans to main dish soups, stews, chili or salads
  • If you have trouble meeting your fiber intake, you can use fiber supplements. But remember that fiber supplements don’t replace the healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains that you should be consuming.

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6 Cycling Tips to Get Fit

Hit the road to get fit.

Cycling is a great way to burn calories, tone your muscles, increase stamina and have fun, too.

If you want to burn calories, build muscle or improve your overall cardiovascular fitness, cycling is a highly effective form of exercise. It’s one that you can work into your daily commute, enjoy on the weekends or do at the gym anytime. Whether you choose to ride a stationary bike or actually hit the road, here are some tips to help you tailor your workout and achieve your goals.

Duration vs. Intensity

The duration and intensity level of your workout will help determine how you burn calories. Finding the right balance between these two factors will take practice. You want to ride at an intensity that suits your current fitness level, but also pushes you out of your comfort zone. You’ll also need to figure out a time commitment that’s achievable. If you want to get the best results, you’ll have to listen to your body and become your own coach.

Keep It Slow and Steady for Low Impact

Riding a bike is a low-impact activity, making it an ideal choice for days when you want to give your joints a rest. But don’t let the term ‘low-impact’ trick you into to thinking that cycling is an easy choice. If you’re new to exercising, I recommend starting out with a nice steady ride at a moderate intensity level. Try an intensity level of about 6-7 with duration of about 45-60 minutes.

Taking it slow is especially important, if you’re a true beginner or are just starting back after a long time off. I truly believe that easing your body back into exercise with a low to moderate intensity level is a good idea. Shocking your system with an intense ride on day one may just stop you from coming back for more.

Speed It Up to Shed More Calories

Increase your intensity level by adjusting your speed. The faster you go, the harder your body has to work and the more energy you’ll expend. Speed it up to an intensity level of 7-8.

Mix It Up for a Challenge

Interval training on a bike is great for burning calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness level. Alternating between periods of high and low intensity offers you a challenge, especially when you’re short on time. Shorter rest periods make the workout even more intense.

Add Resistance to Build Muscle

Add some hills to your ride for increased resistance. If you’re outdoors, look for hills with a steep incline so your muscles will exert more effort. If you’re on a stationary bike, experiment with the resistance adjustment until you find a level that’s difficult but still allows you to keep moving at a good pace. Just keep in mind that if you push too hard, you risk putting too much pressure on your knees, and riding with poor form is never a good idea. A good thought to keep in mind if you’re on a stationary bike is to imagine you’re on the road. Ask yourself ‘Would I be able to peddle up a hill without falling off?’ If the answer is no, reduce the resistance a little. Indoor cycling should be as close to road biking as you can make it.

Ride for Endurance

If you want to improve your endurance, ultimately you’ll have to ride for a longer period of time. Your duration should be relative to your current fitness level. Ninety minutes or more is an endurance ride, but if you’re new to cycling, 60 minutes is a good starting point. Build up your distance and duration over time, and aim to push yourself a little harder each time. To avoid boredom, use some or all of my riding suggestions throughout your ride.

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8 Ways to Get Clean, Healthy-Looking Skin

Clean your phone for clean skin.

Keep your skin looking at its absolute best with these helpful tips.

When it comes to achieving clean and healthy looking skin, following a daily regimen is key, but there are little changes beyond washing your face you can make that you may not have thought of. Here are some tips you can implement for immediate results.

Hands Off Your Face

Every time you touch your face, chances are you’re transmitting dirt, oil and germs onto your skin. So, a hands-off approach is best. This rule also applies to pimples. Try to resist the urge to pop or pick at them, or it could lead to infection.

Change Your Pillowcase

When it comes to keeping your skin clean, changing your pillowcase as frequently as possible is important. When you sleep at night, your hair and skin are in direct contact with your pillowcase. Your natural hair oils, and hair products if you use them, are transferred onto the pillowcase and ultimately end up on your face. Use a clean pillowcase each night, and if frequent laundering isn’t an option, turn them inside out or flip your pillow over to help keep impurities from collecting on your skin.

Clean Your Phone

If your phone is touching your face, there’s a good chance it’s depositing germs onto it. Clean your phone on a daily basis using a spray hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipe. You can also get in the habit of using your speakerphone or headphones to avoid contact.

Pull Your Hair Back

Your hair is layered with oils, any products you may use on it, and it also catches debris that it comes into contact with. These impurities can transfer onto your face, resulting in a breakout. The solution is to keep your hair pulled back from your face as often as possible, especially when you’re at the gym or in bed.

Remove Your Makeup

Sleeping in makeup can cause your pores to become clogged and lead to acne breakouts. It can also cause dry skin, redness and irritation. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse your face of all makeup products, including eye makeup, each night before bed.

Avoid Alcohol-based Skin Products

Skin care products that contain alcohol tend to dry out the skin. If you’re already prone to dryness, the result can be dry, flaky and even chapped skin that makes you look older. Look for alcohol-free products that will be much gentler.

Apply Your Makeup After Finishing Your Hair

If you apply your makeup and then blow dry your hair, your makeup can melt. Then, when it dries, it can settle into your pores, causing them to become clogged. Do your hair first and you can avoid this problem.

Clean Your Glasses

If you notice breakouts on your nose, temples or upper cheeks, your eyeglasses could be the culprit. Not unlike your phone, you need to get in the habit of cleaning your glasses. Apply rubbing alcohol or a spray hand sanitizer and wipe down the lenses, arms and nosepiece every day to ensure you’re removing germs, makeup, oils and debris.

Show Your Body Some Love

Breakouts can occur on areas of your body other than your face, including your back and shoulders. To keep the skin on your entire body clean, be sure to wash from head to toe and use a moisturizer. Additionally, after a workout, try to change out of your sweaty clothes immediately, even if you don’t take a shower right away. And always pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Never reach for the family hand towel.

If you’re interested in treating acne and blemishes, remember to use products formulated and labeled as anti-acne products. Remember that the healthiest skin is always the most beautiful.

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How to Choose a Healthy, Frozen Meal

Choose a high-protein frozen meal.

Frozen meals are convenient, but if you don’t choose carefully, they can be diet-busters. Here are some tips for choosing a healthy, frozen meal. Frozen meals have sure come a long way.

The very first ones produced in the US – in the 1940s – were designed primarily for airline passengers, and it would be at least another decade before frozen meals came into more widespread use at home. And, since it would be another 30 years before most homes had a microwave oven, the foil-wrapped “TV dinners” of the 1950s couldn’t supply instant gratification – they required a 30-minute stopover in a hot oven before making it to the plate (or the TV tray*).

By the mid-1980s, though, home microwave ovens were fairly common, and the invention of the microwavable food tray was a game-changer. Finally, dinner could be on the table, literally, in minutes.

Now, consumers want both convenience and good nutrition from their frozen meals – and it’s getting easier to do. Consumers are demanding better ingredients, more protein, less salt and healthier fats than they used to – and food manufacturers are stepping up to meet the demand. That means that you can find a convenient frozen meal that is also good for you – but you need to know what to look for.

The Good and Bad of Frozen Meals

One of the main advantages of a frozen meal is that it’s portion- and calorie-controlled. When you’re counting calories and watching your weight, this can be a huge plus; it eliminates the uncertainty that’s associated with weighing and measuring (or simply estimating) your own portion and, therefore, your calories.

Convenience is obviously an advantage – most frozen meals take only a few minutes to heat up, and you can have a healthy frozen meal without having to shop and prep. And, since there’s plenty of variety available, using frozen meals might keep you from getting bored on your diet.

On the downside, many frozen meals are really high in sodium, and they may contain ingredients (like preservatives, for example) that you wouldn’t be adding to foods you cook yourself; and the better quality frozen meals can be pricey.

What to Look For in a Frozen Meal

When shopping for healthy frozen meals, you’ll want to check the nutrition facts carefully. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best choices:

• Calories: This number will vary depending on your personal needs, but 350-500 calories for a meal is a pretty good target for most people. If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be tempted to choose the lowest calorie meal you can find, but if the calories are too low (I’ve seen some “meals” with less than 200 calories) the meal isn’t likely to keep you full for long – and that could set you up for some unhealthy snacking later on.
• Protein: Protein helps to keep you full, so the more protein you can find, the better. Look for meals that provide at least 15 grams of protein (ideally, more).
• Sodium: Finding lower sodium frozen meals is easier than it used to be, so look for meals with 750 milligrams of sodium or less.
• Fiber: Frozen meals don’t generally have large portions of high-fiber whole grains or vegetables, but it doesn’t hurt to look for it. If you can find four to five grams of fiber in your meal, it would be a plus.
• Fat: Total calories from fat in your meal should be 30% or less. To figure this out, look for meals that have no more than three grams of fat per 100 calories.
• Serving size: Make sure you know what the serving size is. Most meals are designed for one person, but it doesn’t hurt to double check. Remember that the nutrition facts apply only to one serving.
• Label Claims: When you see words like “vegetarian” or “organic” or “gluten-free” you might assume they’re healthy and low in calories. They might be, but there’s no guarantee. Really read the entire nutrition facts panel and the ingredients so you know exactly what you’re getting.

How to Make a Frozen Meal Even Better

• Most frozen meals have pretty skimpy vegetable portions, so it helps to add a side salad, some extra veggies, or a cup of vegetable soup to your meal.
• If you do add soup or a salad, you can eat your meal in courses, which will help you to slow down.
• It does add to cleanup, but consider putting your hot meal on a regular dinner plate. It will make it feel more like home-cooked, and you’re likely to enjoy it more.
• Save the trays – they can be useful for putting together your own quick, portion-controlled meals from leftovers you make at home.

*I can just barely remember eating TV dinners when I was very small. Every once in a while my mom would pop three of them into the oven for me and my two sisters if she and my dad had a big night out. I don’t think we liked the food all that much, but it was the only time we were allowed to eat in front of the TV – that part we liked a lot.

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