Weight Loss Plan

"11 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight" Review

If you've been struggling with poor sleep, this list will help without a doubt....it has definitely helped my personal training clients! (from the article 11 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight).

1. Stick with a consistent sleep schedule.

That means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. On weekends, you can vary your sleep schedule slightly, but try to keep the difference to one hour or less. Otherwise, staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your body's circadian (sleep-wake) rhythms, giving you the equivalent of jet lag without ever leaving home.

2. Make your bedroom a sleep-inducing sanctuary.

It should be dark, quiet, and cool, with a comfortable, supportive mattress and bed pillows. To keep out unwanted light, consider installing blackout shades or heavy curtains. Block outside noise by installing double- or triple-pane windows, wearing earplugs, or using a "white noise" machine or one that generates soothing sounds that supposedly entrain your brain waves so you more easily reach delta (stage 3 or 4) sleep.

Keep the bedroom cool (many people prefer a temperature between 60 and 72°) and well ventilated, using a fan if need be.

3. Expose yourself to natural light.

Spending time outside, even on a cloudy day, will help keep your body's internal clock ticking properly and help you maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. It's best if you can expose yourself to natural light for at least 20 minutes first thing in the morning—by throwing open the curtains, sitting in a sunny window, or using a dawn simulator light or alarm clock.

4. Steer clear of heavy meals in the evening.

Having a large, spicy, rich, or fatty meal too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep and give you a whopping case of indigestion that keeps you up when you'd like to be snoozing.

It's best to finish dinner a few hours before bedtime; if you get hungry later in the evening, have a light snack with sleep-inducing foods that contain tryptophan (an amino acid the brain uses to make calming serotonin). Good choices are a handful of almonds and a banana. Having a cup of caffeine-free chamomile tea can also put you in the mood to snooze. (Avoid chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed; it could trigger a severe reaction. If you are, try another calming herb tea as a natural stress reliever.)

5. Avoid sneaky stimulants that interfere with sleep.

As you probably know, caffeine can keep you up at night, which is why it's best to avoid having coffee, tea, chocolate, and soda four to six hours before bedtime. Similarly, the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes can rev you up, so avoid smoking in the evenings if you do smoke.

While having a glass of wine or a cocktail (or two or three) can certainly make you sleepy, after a few hours of sleep, alcohol acts as a stimulant, leaving you susceptive to micro- (or full) arousals or awakenings and poorer overall quality sleep as the night goes on; this is another reason why it's best to limit alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks per day and to avoid it close to bedtime.

6. Exercise during the day.

Playing sports or working out can set you up for a good night's sleep—but the timing matters for some people. It's best to finish vigorous workouts by late afternoon to give your body temperature, heart rate, and other functions enough time to drop, postexercise, to set the stage for sound slumber. In fact, the 2013 National Sleep Foundation's Sleep in America poll, which included 1,000 adults between the ages of 23 and 60, found that people who exercise vigorously in the morning have the best sleep patterns, including better quality sleep and a lower likelihood of awakening feeling unrefreshed. It's fine to do relaxing exercises like yoga or simple stretches in the evening.

Moody Wisdom: Is there a better time to hire a personal trainer in Chicago? Just kidding. Please visit your local gym, though, and start moving. Doctor's orders.

7. Banish technology from your bedroom.

Don't bring your laptop, your smartphone, or other high-tech gadgets to bed with you. The light alone from these devices can reset your body's internal clock; plus, using these devices tends to be stimulating, which isn't what you want before you turn in for the night. So unplug, shut it down, or turn it off. (Your bed partner will thank you.)

8. Give yourself a chill-out period before bed.

Avoid strenuous or stimulating activities or emotionally upsetting conversations in the hours before climbing into bed. Physically and psychologically stressful activities trigger the release of cortisol in your body, which increases alertness and arousal. Instead, establish a relaxing bedtime routine—taking a warm bath, doing some gentle stretches, listening to calming music, and the like—before going to bed. Also, be sure to dim the lights: Spending time in bright artificial light—from a TV or computer screen, for instance—tells your brain to stay alert rather than get sleepy.

9. Be smart about napping.

The truth is, napping can be a double-edged sword. Yes, a nap during the day may serve as a welcome pick-me-up, boosting energy, alertness, and productivity. But if you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep at night, daytime napping will likely disturb your nighttime sleep patterns even more. If you do decide to nap, it's best to do it by mid-afternoon and limit it to no more than 30 minutes.

Moody Wisdom: Of the 7 regions of the world in which the residents have the longest lifespan, more than half take naps daily. Rest when needed, but don't overdo it, though...you definitely will be staring at the ceiling later that night.

10. Kick your pets—and even your— partner out of bed.

Research suggests that the number of people who let their pets sleep in their beds yet find their animals disturb their sleep is on the rise. As much as you love your dog or cat, it's not worth sacrificing precious sleep to be near your animal. Train your pet to sleep on his or her own bed on the floor—or outside your room.

Similarly, if your partner tosses and turns, kicks, snores, or otherwise disturbs your sleep on a regular basis, you may want to consider having separate beds. You can still have a strong, loving relationship without sleeping together; in fact, your relationship may even improve if you're both well rested.

11. Get out of bed if you can't sleep.

Don't lie awake counting sheep or worries or staring at the clock; get up, go to another room and read, or do something relaxing or monotonous until the mood to snooze returns. Otherwise, you could come to associate your bed with not sleeping—exactly what you don't want to happen!

Moody Wisdom: When I can't sleep, I take a nose-dive into a book until I fall sleep.

What other ways help you sleep better at night?

Are you having trouble losing weight? Read "50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet" Review. It's probably time to rewrite your grocery list.

Picture Credit: Prevention.com-Is this list a sign of better things to come?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " 11 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight " on Prevention.com.
"11 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
Find Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself on  Amazon  today!

Find Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself on Amazon today!


"12 Workout Myths That Just Need To Die" Review

You may have been taking the wrong approach to fitness up to this point....and here are the reasons why. (from the article 12 Workout Myths That Just Need To Die).

Myth #1: Strength training will make you bulk up.

Truth: It’s pretty hard for women to bulk up from a normal strength-training routine because they don’t have as much testosterone as men (the difference in this hormone level makes men more prone to bulking up). In fact, if weight loss is your goal, strength training can actually help you lean out, but you have to keep your nutrition in check, too. “Muscle is metabolically active,” explains Adam Rosante, C.S.C.S., author of The 30-Second Body. Simply maintaining lean muscle mass requires higher energy, he explains. “So, the more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest.” #Science .

Myth #2: You can focus on losing fat from certain body parts.

Truth: Spot-training is not a thing. “Fat cells are distributed across your entire body,” says Rosante. “If you want to lose fat from a specific spot, you need to lose overall body fat.”High-intensity interval training can work wonders—after an intense workout, your body needs to take in oxygen at a higher rate to help it return to its natural resting state.

This process requires the body to work harder, burning more calories in the process. Incorporating strength training can help you hit your goals too, since having more lean muscle will help your body burn more calories at rest.

Myth #3: Doing lots of cardio is the best way to lose weight.

Truth: If your goal is weight loss, logging endless miles on the treadmill isn’t always the best approach. Yes, traditional cardio workouts will help create a day-to-day calorie deficit (in addition to a healthy diet), which is essential for losing weight. But in the long-term, since having more lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest, you’ll be adding to this deficit without doing a thing.

A combination of both high-intensity cardio and strength training is a good idea. And don’t forget, when it comes to weight loss, having a smart nutrition plan is key.

Moody Wisdom: If you are serious about making these changes in your weight loss routine, you'll want to also read 15 Reasons You're Not Getting Results in the Gym.

Myth #4: Not feeling sore means you didn’t get a good workout.

Truth: While soreness and workout intensity are sometimes connected, how tired your muscles feel isn’t always a good indicator of a solid sweat session. “Being sore doesn’t necessarily mean it was a great workout—it just means that a significant amount of stress was applied to the tissue,” says exercise physiologist and trainer Pete McCall, M.S., C.S.C.S., host of the All About Fitness podcast.

“You can have a great workout and not be sore the next day,” he says. Proper recovery will help prevent achy muscles. “Refuel within the first 30 to 45 minutes post-exercise, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep—all of these things can help boost recovery and minimize soreness.”

Myth #5: You should give 100 percent effort during every workout.

Truth: Sort of. You should try your best to stay focused, be present, and give 100 percent during every workout. But not every gym session should require a balls-to-the-wall level of intensity. And if you are sore everyday, that may be a sign that you’re going too hard. “It’s not a good idea to exercise at too high of an intensity too frequently—it limits recovery and can lead to overtraining,” says McCall.

Ideally, to avoid putting too much stress on your body, you should only be going extra hard two to three times per week.

Moody Wisdom: You can still challenge yourself....just don't reach your anaerobic threshold every time (think: 160 heartrate and up for most).

Myth #6: Strength training means using machines and heavy weights.

Truth: Strength training means using resistance to work your muscles—and that resistance doesn’t necessarily have to come from a machine or a heavy weight. (Hello, killer bodyweight exercises!) Aside from your own bodyweight, you can also use tools like kettlebells, medicine balls, and resistance bands to add resistance.

Myth #7: Sweating a ton means you worked your butt off.

Truth: Not necessarily. “You sweat because your core temperature increases,” explains exercise physiologist Tracy Hafen, founder of Affirmative Fitness. Yes, your muscles create heat when you exercise so a tough workout will increase your internal temp, she explains, but it also has to do with the temperature you’re working out in. “For example, you’re not going to sweat as much in 40-degree weather as you would in 80-degree weather,” Hafen explains.

The humidity in the air also plays a role. “It’s not sweating that cools you off, it’s the evaporation [of sweat]. You’ll feel like you’re sweating more when it’s humid because sweat can’t evaporate.” (This is also a reason to be careful exercising in hot, humid climates, because your body temperature will keep increasing.)

Myth #8: Crunches are a great exercise for your abs.

Truth: Meh. Crunches probably aren’t going to hurt your core strength, but they’re not the most efficient exercise you can do to strengthen your midsection. “Your ab muscles are designed to work most effectively when you’re standing upright,” says McCall. Of course, there are plenty of great abs exercises that aren’t completely upright.

Moody Wisdom: Crunches will strengthen your rectus abs (upper abs) while igniting your transverse abs (lower abs) to maintain stability. Ideally, it's only a fraction of your core approach. Read 4 Simple Ways to Flatten Your Stomach for a well-rounded plan.

Myth #9: You have to do at least 20 minutes of cardio to make it worth your while.

Truth: You can get an amazing cardio workout in less time by utilizing high-intensity interval training. “High-intensity cardio challenges the respiratory system to work efficiently to deliver oxygen to working muscles,” says McCall. “If the system is stressed hard enough, it doesn’t require a lengthy workout for results.” Plus, high-intensity training creates an afterburn effect, meaning you continue burning calories after you’re done. One approach isTabata, or 20 seconds of hard work, 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds total, which adds up to a four-minute routine.

Moody Wisdom: Too long could be too much stress on the system as a whole. Aim for a shorter cardio session with more substance (and intervals).

Myth #10: You need to stretch before a workout.

Truth: While it’s true that you shouldn’t just jump right into a workout, dynamic warm-ups are where it’s at—you can save those static stretches for afterwards.

“Your pre-workout goal should be to improve mobility and elasticity in the muscles,” says Rosante. This is best done with foam rolling and a dynamic warm-up, where you keep your body moving (instead of holding stretches still). This preps your body for work and helps increase your range of motion, which means you can get deeper into exercises (and strengthen more of those ~muscles~).

Moody Wisdom: The purpose of a warm-up is to: 1.) Increase blood circulation to the muscles and 2.) Increase your range of motion in preparation of movement. Although running may accomplish #1, you may be forcing your range of motion with each stride...and tearing the muscle as a result. The body will respond by shortening your range of motion for proper repair. Instead, focus on achieving the necessary range of motion through a series of slow and controlled movements that will activate the muscle (think: a plank, squat, lunge, etc).

Myth #11: Yoga isn’t a “real” workout.

Truth: “People who write off yoga probably have an image of yoga as series of gentle stretches—they clearly haven’t taken a tough yoga class,” says Rosante. “The first time I took one was at Jivamukti Yoga Center, and was a radically humbling experience. It’s been one of the best additions to my routine, both for my body and mind.”

While there are some blissfully relaxing yoga classes out there, tougher types (like Bikram and power Vinyasa yoga) can definitely leave you sweaty, sore, and satisfied.

Moody Wisdom: Yoga is great but....don't force the motion or pose. Only position yourself within your range of motion. Anything beyond could cause more harm than good (see the explanation above).

Myth #12: You should work out every day.

Truth: Definitely not true—hallelujah! When you work out, you’re breaking down muscle fibers so they can rebuild stronger. However, to do this, you need to give your body time to recover from working out. Aim for one to do days per week of active recovery rest days—that means doing something that doesn’t put stress on your body, like gentle stretching or a walk. So, you’re definitely off the hook for that seven-days-a-week workout plan.

Moody Wisdom: Movement is required every day for a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't have to be a full-court basketball game, though. Your body needs recovery...give it the rest it needs with less stressful movement like walking.

What other workout myths do you think need to die?

Are you having trouble losing weight? Read "50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet" Review. It's probably time to rewrite your grocery list.

Picture Credit: MSN.com-Is running the best way to lose weight?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " 12 Workout Myths That Just Need To Die " on MSN.com.
"12 Workout Myths That Just Need To Die" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
Find Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself on  Amazon  today!

Find Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself on Amazon today!


"Top 10 Rules You Must Follow Every Day to Lose 10 Pounds" Review

These weight loss tips have helped my personal training clients trim their waistlines quickly and they will help you too (from the article Top 10 Rules You Must Follow Every Day to Lose 10 Pounds).

What rules do you follow every day to lose weight?

Are you having trouble losing weight? Read "50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet" Review. It's probably time to rewrite your grocery list.

Picture Credit: MSN.com-Will water help you reach the weight loss you desire?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " Top 10 Rules You Must Follow Every Day to Lose 10 Pounds " on MSN.com.
"Top 10 Rules You Must Follow Every Day to Lose 10 Pounds" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
Find Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself on  Amazon  today!

Find Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself on Amazon today!


"The 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds" Review

If you want to lose weight in the new year, there's no better way to start than the beginning of every day!

I've dissected the Eat This, Eat That article: "The 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds" article. Of this list, I've chosen the top 9 you should most definitely integrate into your morning habits:










What other breakfast habits help you lose weight?

Picture Credit: © money.cnn.com - You'll be lucky to lose weight while eating this cereal (or any) every morning.

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from Eat This, Not That!
"The 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

Give the gift of change.

Click below and find the book Redefine Yourself on Amazon today!

Chicago Personal Trainer and Author, Michael Moody

Chicago Personal Trainer and Author, Michael Moody