#428 10/6/2010 BREAKING BAD HABITS
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You've got bad eating habits
if you use a grocery cart in 7-Eleven, okay?

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10 Ways to Break Bad Health Habits

By Amy Ludwig

Choosing a healthy lifestyle is not, unfortunately, one of those "set it and forget it" decisions. Don't we all wish it were? Instead, it's a result of many smaller choices we make every day—with every meal. Every snack. And every workout.

Woman Holding Apple and Cake

You always start the day with the best intentions. You eat a thoughtful breakfast. You pack a sensible lunch, and even remember to bring it with you to work. But then comes mid-afternoon, a dip in energy, and lowered self-control. If you're already in that weakened state and you hear that there are cupcakes in the office for someone's birthday, well, in the words of Donnie Brasco, "Fuhgeddaboudit."

Healthy habits only become habits when you do them more than once.

Instead of setting yourself up to fail, you can set yourself up to make good choices by planning ahead. That will give you a fighting chance to succeed. So where do you begin?

Identifying your weaknesses is the first step. Figure out where you're likely to slip up, and you can take action to prevent it. Here are 10 common problems that derail many of us, and suggestions for how to fight back.

  1. Avoid eating late at night. Your metabolism slows down when you sleep, so late-night calories are harder to burn off.

    Fight back: Eat small meals or snacks every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day. Time your meals so that you stop 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed.

  2. Don't grab fast food on impulse. You're already on your way to avoiding this one if you're eating regular small meals and snacks. You'll keep your brain fed, so it doesn't shut down.

    Fight back: Pack healthy snacks and bring them with you. These can be simple—a small handful of raw almonds is a better choice than a greasy burger.

  3. Bananas and Oranges in a Shopping CartIf you shouldn't eat it, don't put it in your shopping cart. Seriously. If you put it in your shopping cart, it comes home with you. And you know it's there.

    Fight back: It's much harder to eat junk food in a moment of stress or weakness if it's not in your house.

  4. If you're tempted by junk food, look in the mirror. Think it through—those calories will go somewhere. And probably somewhere you've spent hours in the gym trying to slim and shape. So a bad choice now will just mean more effort later.

    Fight back: Reach for a piece of fruit instead.

  5. Don't eat for comfort. If something gets you stressed or upset, take a breath, not a bite. Knowing that you're taking good care of yourself, even when you're down, will help you to feel better more quickly.

    Fight back: Try calling a friend, taking a 10-minute walk around the block, or playing with your pet. Or working out.

  6. Find healthy versions of your favorite guilty pleasures. Stock your kitchen with those instead.

    Fight back: Craving ice cream? A creamy low-fat yogurt could hit the spot. Want the crunch of chips? Try snacking on fresh red peppers, sliced jicama, or baked kale chips (they're easy to make, and astonishingly tasty).

  7. Pay attention to portion size. You don't need to eat heaping helpings.

    Fight back: If you absolutely must have ice cream, grab a teacup instead of a bowl. You'll get the taste you crave, but in a much smaller serving.

  8. Man PunchingMake exercise a priority. It's easy to let it feel optional and get lost in the shuffle.

    Fight back: Plan your workout schedule for the week and stick to it. If that feels too daunting, start by committing to 1 day. Then try planning for 2 days, and build from there. When you start seeing results, you won't want to stop.

  9. Just work out—don't ask yourself if you want to. Most people (myself included) would answer "No."

    Fight back: Just commit, get in your workout clothes, and Push Play. You'll be sweating, happy, and proud of yourself before you know it.

  10. Must have chocolate? Reach for chocolate Shakeology®. It's made with real cocoa, so it hits that chocolate nerve—as well as providing essential vitamins and minerals to nourish your body, and cleansing prebiotics to gently eliminate built-up toxins from eating processed foods.

Overall, keep your larger goal in mind: to live a healthy, fulfilling life. Let that aim inform your individual choices. They'll transform from problems into stepping stones on your path to success.

A great way to remind yourself to make good choices throughout the day is to start it off with Shakeology for breakfast. Not only is it a nutritious, healthy meal, it will help curb your cravings and increase your energy.

"When I drink Shakeology, I'm not as hungry throughout the day and my sugar cravings are nonexistent." —Melanie B., Illinois

Related Articles
"Why You Might Be Losing the Battle of the Bulge"
"Self-Sneaking: How to Trick Yourself into Eating Healthy Food"
"The Great Motivators: 14 Reasons to Keep Pushing Play"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, October 11th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Getting in Sync! 4 Easy Steps to Creating the Perfect Workout Playlist

By Omar Shamout

It's said that music is a universal language. No matter what part of the world they call home, anyone can connect with a good song. And The New York Times reports that new research has confirmed that music is appreciated not only by our minds, but by our bodies as well. It may sound like common sense, but scientists have proven that music can motivate you not only to work harder during exercise, but also to enjoy it more. You achieve the best results during a workout when your target heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) matches a song's tempo (also measured in BPMs), making the music feel like a natural, organic extension of you.

Man and Woman Holding Dumbbells

Figuring out new ways to liven up your exercise time is a smart and fun way to stay motivated. It's easy to create a playlist fairly quickly that has a sustained tempo that matches the pace of your run, bike ride, or preferred form of cardio. Let's break down the necessary steps for creating a music playlist that's individually tailored to your body, heart rate, and level of intensity.

  1. Identify your workout goals. Before calculating your target heart rate, you first have to establish what you're trying to accomplish with your workout. For instance, people who are only interested in losing weight will have a different target heart rate than athletes looking to train for a 10K or triathlon, and their recommended durations at these rates will also differ. Beachbody® advises you to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program to help you figure out what the best approach to exercise will be for you and your specific needs.
  2. Find your "zone." If burning fat is your goal, you'll want to spend the longest duration of your workout in the "Temperate Zone," or 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Thirty minutes of cardio at this level three times a week combined with a heart-healthy diet should have you shedding the pounds in no time. If you're just starting out, this is a fantastic goal to set for yourself. On your off days, try a low-intensity walk for 20 to 30 minutes to keep up your activity level. If you have better endurance and more experience working out, you'll benefit from spending more time in the "Aerobic Zone," or 70 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, during which your lung capacity and blood vessels expand, before you move into the "Anaerobic Zone," or 80 percent to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, where your muscles learn to work with less oxygen and you really build your stamina.
  3. Calculate your target heart rate. The American Heart Association provides this chart of age-specific target heart rates, or the zone in which our bodies are most geared toward burning fat:

    Age Target HR Zone 50-85% Average Maximum HR 100%
    20 years 100-170 beats per minute 200 beats per minute
    25 years 98-166 beats per minute 195 beats per minute
    30 years 95-162 beats per minute 190 beats per minute
    35 years 93-157 beats per minute 185 beats per minute
    40 years 90-153 beats per minute 180 beats per minute
    45 years 88-149 beats per minute 175 beats per minute
    50 years 85-145 beats per minute 170 beats per minute
    55 years 83-140 beats per minute 165 beats per minute
    60 years 80-136 beats per minute 160 beats per minute
    65 years 78-132 beats per minute 155 beats per minute
    70 years 75-128 beats per minute 150 beats per minute

    Heart Rate MonitorNow that you know what you're aiming for, try using a heart rate monitor to get a truly accurate readout of your heart's BPM. You could do it the old-fashioned way by feeling your pulse for 10 seconds, then multiplying it by 6, but we all know how awkward that is to pull off in the middle of a workout. Plus, one less reason to do math in your head is always welcome, right?

  4. Calculate the BPM of your music.

    iTunes®

    In its endless wisdom, Apple® has conveniently added a BPM tag to the description of each song in your library. You can access this feature by highlighting the chosen song and either right-clicking it to access the "Get Info" option on the menu bar that appears, or finding "Get Info" on the "File" pull-down menu at the top left of the screen. Once you're in the "Get Info" pop-up window, select the "Info" tab. Here, you'll find all available details about the song, including BPM. If that sounds far too easy and convenient to be true, well, it is. Most digital music files contain no BPM information at all, and if they do, it's probably inaccurate. You'll probably need to download one of the following applications:

    BeatScanner

    Windows® XP and Vista users should try downloading this free application, which will automatically analyze all the music in your library to detect the BPM. What's more, BeatScanner is specifically designed for the exercise enthusiast, and will change the pace of any song you select (without altering the pitch or quality) to your desired BPM, so that you can export it as a new MP3 file, and walk, jog, run, or bike at your preferred speed, and still listen to your favorite tracks! How cool is that? But wait, there's more. Creating a playlist with BeatScanner is very easy, and it also allows you to insert your own interval cues at desired points in the playlist so that you'll know when to step it up a gear, or slow it down a notch. Pretty soon, you'll start to wonder how you lived without it!

    Tangerine!Tangerine!

    Mac® users are advised to try Tangerine!, which is a program similar to BeatScanner, but is much more integrated with iTunes itself. The only catch here is that Tangerine! costs $24.95 to download. Because Tangerine! is synced with your iTunes, it will automatically analyze your entire library, as well as any new music you add to it, in a matter of minutes. The playlist creation feature is also very convenient, and allows you to organize songs according to your desired BPM range. However, it doesn't allow you to alter the pace of songs the way BeatScanner does. Luckily, there's a 15-day free trial option that should give you enough time to decide if it's worth the money.

If you'd would like to recommend other BPM-analyzing programs for either PC or Mac, please feel free to share in the comments below!

There's no reason at all for a workout to be boring, and we strive to give you new and interesting ways to stay focused and committed to the idea of fitness, and to provide you with all the tools and information you need to enact them in your own life. So take advantage of the available technology available and create a personal power mix for your iPod® that'll keep your workout in high gear!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Beachbody programs like TurboFire® and Hip Hop Abs® have all their music tracks mixed so you get the maximum BPM benefits.

References:

  1. Reynolds, Gretchen. "Phys Ed: Does Music Make You Exercise Harder?" The New York Times. August 25, 2010. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/phys-ed-does-music-make-you-exercise-harder/
  2. BeatScanner can be downloaded here: http://bestworkoutmusic.com/beatscanner.html
  3. Tangerine! can be downloaded here: http://www.potionfactory.com/tangerine/

Related Articles
"'Fall' Back into Shape: An End-of-Summer Health and Fitness Checklist"
"6 Ways to Find the Time to Work Out"
"What's Your Fitness Personality?"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, October 11th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Recipe: Lentil Soup

Recommended by P90X nutritionist Carrie Wiatt

Lentil SoupEven though Southern California is currently recovering from a triple-digit heat wave, much of the rest of the country is getting ready to dig into hearty fall comfort food. This savory classic has been given a healthful twist by P90X nutritionist Carrie Wiatt. Low in fat and high in protein, this vegan soup recipe will warm you up and lean you out.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-1/2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. uncooked lentils, sorted and washed
  • 5 cups fat-free vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Large soup pot
  • Colander
  • Large bowl
  • Food processor, blender, or food mill

Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot. Add onions, garlic, and carrots and cook over moderate heat until onions are limp. Add lentils, broth, and water, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until lentils are very soft. Stir in more warm water if soup becomes too thick. Pour soup through colander, catching liquid that drains off in a large bowl. Return liquid to soup pot. Puree 1/3 of lentil mixture in food processor or blender or through food mill; return to pot. Stir in remaining whole-lentil mixture. If desired, season with salt and pepper. Makes 12 servings.

Preparation and Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
165 11 grams 12 grams 12 grams 2 grams <1 gram

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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