How to Warm Up for A Run, or Bike, Or Gym Workout.

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Once we get revved up to go workout it’s tempting to take off at top speed. But going straight into a sweat session —without a proper warmup—is a recipe for disaster, and injury.

If you start out too fast, you run the risk of pulling a muscle, tweaking a tendon, bone, or joint, or getting into a pace that you can’t sustain. The result? You end up slowing down and burning out before you’re done with your workout.  The worst part is that you’re likely to end your training session feeling exhausted, discouraged, and dreading your next workout. I always notice when I don’t properly warm up before a run my form suffers and when I don’t “activate my butt, hips and core” before the bicycle I get knee pain after 20 minutes or so. Warming up has become essential for me in feeling my best before and after training. I now budget time to “do my homework” with a good warm-up so that I can get the most from my workout!

Theres a lot of confusion on what a “good warmup” is. Do you stretch? Do jumping jacks? Crunch your core into oblivion? Lets clear up the fitness myths. A smart warmup up turns all the right muscles ON. It gives your muscles, bones, and joints a chance to loosen up; it gradually and gently brings up your heart rate and makes it easier to get into the rhythm you want to sustain so you can start—and finish—feeling exhilarated. A good warm up should leave you feeling energized and excited to set out for your next workout.

The Goals of a Solid Warm-Up Include:

  • Increase heart rate to get the blood pumping through the body and warm up the muscles.
  • Open up your joints, especially those within the hips, spine, feet and ankles.
  • Actively stretch your muscles to prepare them for what you’ll be asking them for during the run.
  • Reinforce great posture.
  • Hit the ground running with all systems go when the gun goes off!

Before a workout you want to Activate and Turn ON all the right muscles. For most people, the muscles you want to prep pre-workout are:

  • Butt
  • Hips
  • Core
  • Feet
  • Heart

Many people are what we call “quad and hip-flexor” dominant. This means the quads, hip-flexors, and front of the body are stronger than the back of the body (butt, hips, and core muscles). This imbalance can create issues down the road, not to mention effect the way you move and perform. Evening out this muscular  imbalance with exercises that target the back of the body and core muscles can help prevent injury and improve performance.  Not to mention the butt and core muscles are your POWER HOUSES when you workout. Being able to activate, engage, and use them when you train will change your game from surviving to THRIVING in no time. Its the secret to getting the most out of every workout, and feeling good for years to come.

*** Note on stretching PRE-workout. Static stretching, where you hold a muscle in an elongated, fixed position for 30 seconds or more, is now discouraged pre workout, as it’s been linked to injury. But dynamic stretching, which uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosen up muscles, and increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow will help you train more efficiently. There are many dynamic stretching  exercises included in the video routine below.

Bottom line? Turn on your butt and core, raise your heart rate, and give your body a few minutes to prep for movement. Even 5 minutes will go far in helping you feel your best both during and after the workout. Wanted to get started on making a solid warm-up a habit?  Start with this quick 10 minute routine I put together which activates the muscles used to power up your run, cycling class, or gym session. Start slowly, focus on form and quality. Use small movements for the first few reps, and increase the range of motion as you go.

The exercises included in the video are:

  • Squat with reach
  • Lunge with rotation
  • Lateral lunge
  • plank
  • Bird dog
  • side plank
  • star plank
  • bridge

As always, check with your doctor before starting this or any other exercise routine. Remember, when it comes to improving your fitness and living a healthy life, ANYTHING counts. Keep moving, train positive, and keep being AWESOME.

Do you warm up before a workout? What is your favorite warm up exercise move? If this post helped you, share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

Yours in health and happiness,

Caroline

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Put an End to Stress Eating.

It’s the middle of the afternoon. You’ve got 42 unread messages, a demanding to-do list, an important networking happy hour after work, and a deadline that just got bumped up…. to tomorrow. What do you do? Maybe something in the kitchen will take the edge off….  there goes your healthy diet.

In today’s non-stop working world, stress and emotional eating has become a habit for many. Food can sound like a way to cope with life’s constant demands but its only a quick fix, and hurts your mental, physical, and emotional well-being long-term.  It can spiral into a vicious cycle of stress, eating, and feeling so guilty about it that you stress eat again. But without better solutions on hand, its you, the break room donuts, and feeling guilty (and more stressed) about it.

How Can You Tell if you are Stress Eating? Here are a few signs:

  1. You eat when you are not physically hungry. Are you really hungry or are you eating because food is a distraction from the stress? Think about how long ago it was since you ate. Was it 3 hours ago or a half hour? Is your body sending you any clear signals that you are hungry? Is your stomach grumbling? Are you low in energy? If you are not physically hungry but are eating anyway, you are emotional eating.
  2. It is hard to find food that satisfies you. For this reason, you don’t stop eating when you are full. You may find yourself scavenging for food or eating things you don’t even like.
  3. Cravings are triggered by an emotion such as anger, anxiety, or boredom etc or an event like a high pressure meeting or traveling for b.
  4. Comfort eating has a mindless component to it. You may not enjoy or taste the food because you are eating it mechanically, as if in a trance. Imagine sitting in front of the computer mindlessly popping chips into your mouth. 

Why is Food so Comforting when Im stressed? There are many reasons food can be so seductive in moments of stress.

  • Biology.  When you are stressed out, your body is flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone, which makes you crave carbohydrates, sugar and fatty foods. Food is soothing due to the chemical changes it creates in your body. Chocolate is an excellent example.  Chocolate boosts the “feel good” neurotransmitters and chemicals in your body that make you more alert and excited.
  • Tune Out. Eating can be distracting. It can take your attention away from whatever is bothering you emotionally.
  • Beliefs. You may also be conditioned to believe eating can ease pain. Many media ads push the therapeutic value of food.  For example, a commercial may urge you to buy a particular candy because it will bring you “bliss” or “happiness.” Your mother may have told you that if you just have a few warm cookies after school it will help with homework. 
  • Convenience. We enjoy things that are easy and convenient. Vending machines and fast food restaurants are always close at hand when you are fretting.
  • Entertainment. It is difficult for many of us to deal with boredom and anxiety. Preparing food and eating it can be entertaining and fills gaps in time.
  • Good Vibes. Emotional eating may be linked to your childhood. Perhaps home baked cookies or macaroni and cheese automatically trigger positive or comforting memories from the past.

Stress eating takes its toll on your weight, energy, health, and happiness long-term. Eating your feelings isn’t a solution, but thankfully, you can break the habit It just takes practice and finding creative, new ways to calm and successfully soothe yourself.  You must work to rewire your brain to identify non-eating behaviors as comforting and build new stress relieving habits that are healthier (and actually helpful) for you. Often times stress eating can be the one thing between you and a healthier, happier, more present life. Here are my top tips for building awareness and a few suggestions on healthier habits that can replace eating for comfort. Next time you feel venerable to stress eating, work through these 3 simple steps and sample a few of the alternative stress relieving solutions. Let me know if it helps calm your body and mind more than the break room snack finds.

Three Simple Steps to Beat Stress Eating. 

Step One: Be Aware. 
Much of emotional eating is so unconscious that it happens automatically or below your awareness. Before you jump into changing this behavior, bring awareness to when you are venerable to stress eating. Write down (or take a photo with your smart phone) where and when you stress eat or stress drink. The office? Late at night? When you are alone? Are there any patterns that you notice? Every time BEFORE you eat, ask yourself how physically hungry you are on a scale from 1-10.  If you are a 6-10, it’s likely that you are physically hungry. But if you are a 3, it might signify that you are stress eating and may be better off with two minutes of deep breathing. 

Step Two: Replace. 
If you take out stress eating, you have to put something in its place.  Write down a concrete list of all the healthy, non-calorie related activities that give you a quick pick-me-up on a tough day. Here a few simple examples.

    • Move. Getting your blood flowing and moving your body is an excellent way to instantly relieve stress. Exercise and the endorphins it provides have been shown time and time again to ease stress, calm cravings, and increase the likelihood of you making healthier choices throughout the day. And it doesn’t need to be an hour in the gym to make a difference – ANY burst movement will help calm your stress. Try a few minutes of movement (stretching, walking, or even a few squats) at regular intervals throughout your day as a way to beat stress and keep cravings at bay.  
    • Sip tea. A study in the journal of Psychopharmacology found that subjects who drank tea experienced a 47% drop in their cortisol levels, the stress hormone that makes you crave food, compared to 27% among the subjects who drank a placebo. Plus tea is flavorful, no-calorie, and will keep your hands busy when a craving hits. 
    • Rub It Out. If a foot rub would hit the spot better than a snack, try self-massage. It can be as simple as sitting down, taking off your shoe and placing your foot over a tennis ball. Rub your feet, one at a time, over the top of the ball until they feel relaxed and soothed. According to the study in the International Journal of Neuroscience , self-massage slows your heart rate and lowers your level of cortisol. Start with this quick, effective foot massage video (close your office door if you have to!) and let me know if it helps calm your nerves. 

  • Just Breathe. Mindless eating soothes raw nerves by numbing out emotions. Munching gives you a moment to zone out from daily commotion and stress. Instead, actively choose a healthy way to clear your mind. You can start with a quick breathing exercise. Slowing down your breathing can trick your body into thinking you are going to sleep, which in turn relaxes your body. Close your eyes. Stare at the blackness of your eyelids. Slowly breathe in and out. Count each time you inhale and exhale. Continue until you get to 10. Deep breathing REALLY works in high-pressure moments. Give it a shot and let it work its magic. 
  • Get a Breath of Fresh Air. Simply stepping outside for a brief splash of sunlight can help bring your mind back to a calm state. If you have a few minutes walk around the office block or take yourself to a nearby park. Stepping away from the stress can help you re-group yourself without resorting to snickers. 
  •  Wait 10 minutes. When you feel the urge to eat out of stress, stop and wait 10 minutes before you eat. Simply pausing before you eat can bring awareness to the action. If you still feel like eating after 10 minutes then allow yourself a small portion of what you crave. Most of the time you’ll find the 10 minute pause allowed you to calm yourself down without food. 
  • Brush your teeth or try a breath mint! Having fresh breath and a pearly set of whites may offset the craving for stress eating.
  • Talk to a friend. Friends are the best therapists. Talking it out is a much healthier way to cope with emotions and stress long term. Call, email, or text a friend when feeling overwhelmed. They can help you work through your emotions much better than any snack can.
  • Eat healthy snacks and meals when hungry. Eating smaller, more frequent meals or snacks when you are hungry will keep your blood sugar stable and lessen cravings for junk food. A more stable blood sugar helps reduce stress. Make time for healthy, balanced meals even when you are busy with work. Taking time to eat well will go a long way in helping keep your energy up for all that you do and prevent eating out of stress when you go too long without food.

Step Three: Practice! 
The list above is just the beginning, there are countless ways to calm yourself without calories, guilt, or weight gain. Next time you feel stressed practice replacing the stress eating habit with a healthier one like journaling, meditation techniques, connecting with others, self-message, or aromatherapy to pamper your senses. Even better, try out these techniques when you aren’t stressed so you get them down pat before you really need them! You wouldn’t want to learn how to swim in rough water. Nor do you want to learn the art of soothing yourself without food on a very stressful day. With practice, you can put an end emotional eating and work through stress in healthy ways that help you long-term. 

Above all, the key is mindfulness and empowering yourself to choose healthy habits. Be aware when and if you’re falling into the trap of soothing and comforting yourself with food. Know that you are in control. You have a choice always. If you want to put an end to stress eating you can do it with by building awareness and working to create healthier stress-relieving habits. True happiness can be found within your own Self, not in breakfast, lunch or dinner. “Happiness comes from within, do not seek it without”. Heres to you living a happy, healthy life from the inside out 🙂  

Do you have a favorite healthy way to work through stress? Leave a comment below with your favorite stress busting strategy, Id love to hear from you!  Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy life! 

Yours in health and happiness,

Caroline

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Balance Training 101. Find Stability, Boost Strength, and Work Your Total Body!

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Want stronger butt, thigh, hip, ankle, lower back, and ab muscles? You should give balance training a try! Balance training exercises can help you perform well, stay injury free, and move happy. However, it’s an area often forgotten by fitness enthusiasts and sometimes even fitness pros. You’ll miss out on a multitude of benefits if you aren’t training balance on a regular basis. Read on to learn all about balance training and how you can benefit from adding it into your weekly routine. I’ll even give you my 9 minute “Better Balance Workout” to get you started. But be prepared, balance is hard, both in life and in workouts 😉

Balance Training 101. Find Stability, Boost Strength, and Work Your Total Body!

Balance is the ability to control the body’s position, either stationary (e.g. complex yoga pose) or while moving (e.g. ice skating, running, playing sport). It is a key foundational element of fitness, along with strength, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility. The overall benefits of balance training include improvements to overall fitness, sports performance, and of course injury prevention. Specific benefits Include:

1. Body Awareness. Body awareness is the sense of how your own limbs are oriented in space, also referred to as proprioception. Balance training promotes body awareness which makes movement more seamless, with less likelihood of injury.

2. Co-ordination. Feel clumsy and want to be more coordinated? Balance training requires all of your body to work together otherwise you might fall or stumble. By improving your co-ordination during balancing training, there should be an improvement to your co-ordination in everyday life. Essentially it will help you put two and two together and feel more fluid on your feet. 

3. Joint Stability. Balance training promotes stable knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders. This can prevent a whole array of injuries including sprained ankles and serious knee problems. These injuries are not uncommon in people who don’t do any balance training but do play a sport.

4. Reaction Time. If you slip or stumble when carrying out challenging balance exercises your body needs to re-balance immediately or you will fall. This can improve your reaction time as you learn to quickly react and adapt to an exercise

5. Strength. Balance training is challenging for your nervous system (brain and nerves). The nervous system recruits your muscle when lifting weights, so as your nervous system becomes more efficient it can recruit a higher percentage of your muscle for each lift. This means you can gain strength and can lift more weight when your body has improved balance.

6. Power. Power is the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movement. The two components of power are strength and speed. With quicker reaction times and stronger muscles, your power ability should increase too.

7. Agility. Agility means quick and nimble. It is the ability to change the direction of the body in an efficient and effective manner and to achieve this you require a combination of balance, speed, strength, and co-ordination. Therefore, the better your balance is, the more likely you are to have good agility.

8. Fun & Challenge. Adding some balance exercises into your fitness routine adds a new dimension, a dimension which is challenging but also fun too. As you know, when it comes to seeing REAL results, you must constantly mix it up and add variety to your workouts! It is motivating when you notice the improvement to the rest of your fitness regime by adding in balance training.

9. Long term health. As we get older our balance, stability, and strength can deteriorate.  Incorporating balance training into your routine will help you to maintain your balance over time, which will prevent falls and fractures as you age. 

10. Toned Butt, Legs, and Core muscles. Balance training effectively works your butt, hips, legs, abs, and lower back for a challenging and effective total body workout. If you want to shape up your hips, butt, legs, and core muscles balance training is a good way to do that! 

Want to improve your balance starting today? Join me for this balance-improving workout that you can do anywhere. No equipment required, for Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. This video offers you stretches and exercises that will tone your body and improve your balance, ankle flexibility, leg strength, and overall agility-leaving you feeling renewed and energized. Its a great warm-up for running, cycling, and training or just good all by itself when you want to boost your fitness.

This workout effectively builds balance but also really works your hips, thighs, butt, legs, abs, ankles, calves, and arms. I thought it was HARD! Try it out and let me know what you think of all the moves – I felt really good after!

DID YOU LIKE THIS VIDEO Post? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS! Together we can connect through amazing workouts and results online 🙂

As you progress in your body weight balance training, you can begin to integrate balance and stability training exercises with other pieces of equipment.  Personally, I am a HUGE fan of the BOSU balance trainer (here are a few AMAZING moves to get you started). The possibilities are endless for fun, effective ways to train balance! 

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Some days are good, some days are hard. What matters is showing up and training for strength through stability exercises. I hope you enjoyed this post and I look forward to hearing if you are feeling the burn from the awesome 9 minute balance workout above.

In health and happiness,

Caroline

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Caroline’s Better Beverage Guide. Re-Think Your Drink and Get Fit While You Sip!

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When we think about health we often think: diet, exercise, and regular visits to the doc.  But did you know that what you drink makes a huge difference on if you are successful or not with your health goals? A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that around 37 percent of our total daily liquid calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. And here’s the really crazy part: Guzzling those beverages has a bigger impact on our waistlines than we think. “People don’t typically reduce food intake when they drink their calories from soda and other beverages,” says Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina. By my definition, any calorie you consume without noticing is an empty calorie. And since calories add up, it’s time to learn how to drink fewer empty ones. Awareness is the first step to sipping mindfully. Feeling thirsty? This guide will help you re-think your drinks and gulp the good stuff so you can reach your health goals 🙂

Caroline’s Better Beverage Guide. Re-Think Your Drink and Get Fit While You Sip!

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What Do You Drink? It Makes More Difference Than You Think!

Heres an example on how many calories beverages can contribute to your daily intake. As you can see in the example below, calories from drinks can really add up. But by boosting awareness and choosing mindfully,  you can reduce the number of calories you take in when you get thirsty. (image courtesy of CDC)

Occasion Instead of… Calories Try… Calories
Morning coffee shop run Medium café latte (16 ounces) made with whole milk 265 Small café latte (12 ounces) made with fat-free milk 125
Lunchtime combo meal 20-oz. bottle of nondiet cola with your lunch 227 Bottle of water or diet soda 0
Afternoon break Sweetened lemon iced tea from the vending machine (16 ounces) 180 Sparkling water with natural lemon flavor (not sweetened) 0
Dinnertime A glass of nondiet ginger ale with your meal (12 ounces) 124 Water with a slice of lemon or lime, or seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice 0 calories for the water with fruit slice, or about 30 calories for seltzer water with 2 ounces of 100% orange juice.
Total beverage calories: 796

125-155

(USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

As you can see, substituting no- or low-calorie drinks for sugar-sweetened beverages cuts about 650 calories in the example above.

Of course, not everyone drinks the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages shown above. Check the list below to estimate how many calories you typically take in from beverages.

Type of Beverage
Calories in 12 ounces
Calories in 20 ounces
Fruit punch
192
320
100% apple juice
192
300
100% orange juice
168
280
Lemonade
168
280
Regular lemon/lime soda
148
247
Regular cola
136
227
Sweetened lemon iced tea (bottled, not homemade)
135
225
Tonic water
124
207
Regular ginger ale
124
207
Sports drink
99
165
Fitness water
18
36
Unsweetened iced tea
2
3
Diet soda (with aspartame)
0*
0*
Carbonated water (unsweetened)
0
0
Water
0
0
*Some diet soft drinks can contain a small number of calories that are not listed on the nutrition facts label.
( USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

You Better Look Twice. Read Nutrition Facts Labels Carefully

Be aware that the Nutrition Facts label on beverage containers may give the calories for only part of the contents. The example below shows the label on a 20-oz. bottle. As you can see, it lists the number of calories in an 8-oz. serving (100) even though the bottle contains 20 oz. or 2.5 servings. To figure out how many calories are in the whole bottle, you need to multiply the number of calories in one serving by the number of servings in the bottle (100 x 2.5). You can see that the contents of the entire bottle actually contain 250 calories even though what the label calls a “serving” only contains 100. Look closely at the serving size when comparing the calorie content of different beverages, you could be getting twice the calories if you aren’t careful!

NUTRITION FACTS LABEL
Serving Size 8 fl. oz.
Servings Per Container 2.5
Amount per serving
Calories 100

Sugar by Any Other Name: How To Tell Whether Your Drink Is Sweetened

Sweeteners that add calories to a beverage go by many different names and are not always obvious to anyone looking at the ingredients list. Some common caloric sweeteners are listed below. If these appear in the ingredients list of your favorite beverage, you are drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage.

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Dextrose

Sipping Slueth. Find High-Calorie Culprits in Unexpected Places

Coffee drinks and blended fruit smoothies sound innocent enough, but the calories in some of your favorite coffee-shop or smoothie-stand items may surprise you. Check the Web site or in-store nutrition information of your favorite coffee or smoothie shop to find out how many calories are in different menu items. And when a smoothie or coffee craving kicks in, here are some tips to help minimize the caloric damage:

At the coffee shop:

  • Request that your drink be made with fat-free, low-fat milk, soy, or almond milk instead of whole milk or half and half
  • Order the smallest size available.
  • Forgo the extra flavoring – the flavor syrups used in coffee shops, like vanilla or hazelnut, are sugar-sweetened and will add calories to your drink.
  • Skip the Whip. The whipped cream on top of coffee drinks adds calories and fat.
  • Get back to basics. Order a plain cup of coffee with fat-free/soy/almond milk and a splash of truvia (or brown sugar) or drink it black.

At the smoothie stand:

  • Order a child’s size if available.
  • Ask to see the nutrition information for each type of smoothie and pick the smoothie with the most nutrition and fewest calories.
  • Hold the sugar. Many smoothies contain added sugar in addition to the sugar naturally in fruit, juice, or yogurt. Ask that your smoothie be prepared without added sugar: the fruit is naturally sweet.
  • Save money and make your OWN. I use my nutribullet at home to whip up green smoothies when Im busy and want a drink that powers my day. Click here to get my quick, easy, and amazing Green Smoothie recipes. 

Mindfully sip the following Beverages in Moderation:

  • Milk Researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville found that having three servings of low-fat dairy per day can lead to weight loss of 10 percent or more. Dairy contains calcium and the amino acid leucine, which together promote fat burning, says Michael Zemel, Ph.D., director of the university’s Nutrition Institute. And a study of overweight women at Northern Illinois University found that soy milk was just as effective as nonfat cow’s milk in helping them shed pounds. Stick to skim or low-fat milk, almond milk, and light soy milk; otherwise, the calories add up quickly. And always watch the portion size. 
  • Alcohol Happy hour is good for plenty of things, but weight loss isn’t one of them. Savoring a drink every now and then does have perks, including reducing your risk of heart disease, but alcohol packs a lot of calories into a small glass, and it may even stimulate your appetite. And unlike the calories in fat, carbohydrates, and protein, those in alcohol can’t be stored in your body, so they have to be used immediately. As a result, your body stops burning fat until the alcohol is processed—that’s roughly an hour for every drink. What can you do if you want to go out but don’t want to gain weight? Click here for my party smart guide to going out, having a drink, AND honoring your health.
  • Juice Many juices have added sugars. And in terms of health benefits, you’re always better off eating whole fruit instead. A medium orange has a mere 59 calories, and its 12 grams of sugar come with three grams of belly-­filling fiber. A typical eight-ounce glass of OJ has 110 calories, twice as much sugar as the fruit, and no fiber. For a healthier juice fix, try watering it down. Mix four ounces of your favorite kind with 32 ounces of water. You’ll get the flavor with fewer calories. 
  • Diet soda No calorie soda may not pile on the pounds directly, but new research from Purdue University suggests that drinking these artificially sweetened beverages can screw with the brain’s ability to measure caloric intake. Drink them often enough and you may actually start to crave sweets more. You can read my personal story on how cutting out artificial sweeteners changed my health for the better HERE. If you swig diet drinks all day, you’re taking in fewer healthy liquids, such as tea. Get your carbonation fix with zero-calorie seltzer instead, or make your own with a home soda maker that carbonates your drink of choice.

Pour it Up With These Healthy Beverage Choices:

  • Water. This one is obvious of course. Drink fresh water as much as you can! Drinking more water can: increase energy, reduce fatigue, relieve constipation, help digestion, improve skin, aid in weight loss, boost immune system, cure headaches, and flush out toxins among other things. Not only that but water is FREE. All good reasons to drink up!
  • Tea. Hot or cold, it’s calorie-free, and comes in millions of different fun flavors for you to try. Studies have even found that compounds in green tea known as catechins rev your metabolism for up to 24 hours—meaning it actually helps you burn more calories. With so many varieties and stores like David’s Tea serving up endless samples, theres a good chance you can find a few tea flavors that meet your preferences. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (AVC) is rich in minerals. There is a long history of its use in medicine dating back to 400 B.C., when Hippocrates used it to treat his patients. AVC is considered to be a potent remedy for illnesses and overall health. Apple cider vinegar’s strong suit is balancing pH levels, and creating a healthy, alkalized state when you eat or drink it—or use it a skin-care product. (You want to be more alkaline than acidic for a trillion health reasons, some experts say.) It’s also pretty renowned in natural-health circles for curbing digestive issues, spiking weight loss, promoting great skin, and banishing a handful of other pesky afflictions. Read up on the health boosting benefits of this vinegar drink, and get my easy ACV detox drink recipe I have EVERYDAY for health! 
  • Kombucha. Check out KOMBUCHA. Kombucha (pronounced com-boo-ka) is a fizzy fermented tea beverage that is a health-seeker’s delight. Kombucha is an “ancient fermented tea beverage” that has a natural effervescence (like bubbly carbonation) that is full of probiotics, antioxidants, B vitamins and so much more.There are many brands that serve lower calorie beverage options, like my favorite: Clearly Kombucha who’s products clock in at 25 calories a piece. YES it really IS too good to be true (and delicious!)
  • Coconut Water. If you need a real sports drink to help with dehydration or just want some juice, try COCONUT water. It has more potassium per equivalent serving than a banana and It is lower in calories than any popularly consumed fruit juice including grapefruit juice
 (76 per eight ounce serving), and has 10% of the sodium found in tomato juice. For flavor, potassium, and hydration, coconut water is a healthful choice. Im addicted to ZICO natural and the chocolate flavor is a nice treat too! 

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Make it EASY to drink well. Simple lifestyle hacks for better beverage choices.

  • Choose water, diet, or low-calorie beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
  • Don’t “stock the fridge” with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
  • Serve water with meals.
  • Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
  • When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, go for the small size. Some companies are now selling 8-oz. cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100 calories.
  • Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing healthy, low-calorie beverages. Healthiness is contagious – PASS it on!

Cutting back on drink calories can be a great way to kick start weight loss, re-boot energy levels, and achieve optimum health. A mindful and moderate beverage habit really can fill you up with health. Do you drink too many empty calories? Are you cutting back? Share your strategies in the comments. 

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Cheers to your healthy and drinking happy for the rest of your life!

Caroline

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