Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

FIRE UP YOUR METABOLISM Issue #071 03/08/11

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6 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism

By Monica Ciociola

It can be discouraging when your results don't seem to match the efforts you're putting into getting in shape. But instead of giving up on your fitness program, or worse, diving into the Twinkies® (trust me, you'll regret it!), try making just a few easy changes to your diet and your lifestyle. Sometimes the smallest things—like getting more protein in the morning or enough rest at night—can lead to the biggest weight loss surprises.

Eggs

  1. Don't skip breakfast. Eating lean protein in the morning will help get your metabolism revved up for the day ahead. Protein from egg whites, for instance, will help stabilize your blood sugar, make you feel fuller, and keep you from overeating later in the day.
  2. Woman TrainingResistance training. Working out with some form of resistance—resistance bands, weights, or a stability ball—helps build your muscles. And because one pound of muscle burns way more calories than a pound of fat does, the more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolic rate will be.
  3. Interval training. Short 10-minute explosive cardio sessions followed by less intense cardio for the same amount of time will rev up your metabolism. For some of the best interval training workouts, check out INSANITY® or TurboFire®.
  4. Get your beauty rest. Human growth hormone works directly on cells to increase your metabolic rate by 15 to 20 percent and can only be produced during the hours of deep sleep. So make sure you get a good night's sleep!
  5. The magic mix. At mealtime, try consuming lean proteins from chicken and white fish along with complex carbohydrates from fruits and veggies. This magical combination will speed up your metabolic rate as food is transformed into usable nutrients, and you'll build muscle and burn fat during the digestive process.
  6. Hot Peppers¡Ay, caliente! Studies show that hot peppers, spices, green teas, and caffeine can give your metabolism a sudden surge by stimulating the release of stress hormones. If jalapeño and cayenne make you wince, turn to our all-natural Slimming Formula supplement, which contains green tea, for the same metabolism-boosting effect.

Related Articles
"8 Foods to Boost Your Metabolism"
"8 'Diet' Foods That Can Make You Fat"
"10 Great Vegetarian Sources of Protein"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Denis Faye, Beachbody fitness and diet expert, in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, March 14th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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7 Myths About Sleep

By Joe Wilkes

Numerous sleep studies over the years have set forth a variety of different theories, often conflicting, regarding the health benefits and costs of getting a good or a bad night's sleep. Some of these studies have called into question or actually disproved certain long-held beliefs regarding sleep (and the lack thereof); here are seven sleep myths and some information that indicates that it might not always be best to believe everything you were told when you were a kid.

Woman sleeping

  1. You should get 8 hours of sleep every night. Not exactly. Studies conducted during the last decade show that mortality rates were lowest among those who slept between 6.5 and 7.5 hours a night. People who slept much more or less had more health problems across the board. It was hard to tell why people who slept more had poorer health. There may have been a chicken-and-egg scenario where they may have slept more because they suffered from depression, alcoholism, or other illnesses that caused them to spend more time asleep. On the other hand, the people who didn't get enough sleep were prone to their own health problems, including problems resulting from stress and lack of concentration, alertness, and physical ability—not to mention falling asleep at the wheel.
  2. ClockYou should keep the same bedtime every night. This one's partially true, but there's some wiggle room. While it's preferable to keep a consistent routine and sleep schedule, it's not always possible. Experts now say that if you're a little more stressed out or anxious or just not tired, you're better off staying up than hitting the sack. Our bodies are the best gauge of when we need some shut-eye. Insomniacs often trap themselves into a cycle of anxiety wherein they can't get to sleep for fear of not being able to fall asleep. Instead of forcing yourself into bed at an arbitrary time when you're not tired, spend a little time doing a relaxing activity—reading, listening to music, meditating, taking a hot bath—and then go to bed when you feel like you're ready to lie down and close your eyes. Studies have shown that you're as likely to fall asleep then as when you force yourself to adhere to a self-imposed bedtime—you'll just enjoy the process of relaxing more and will sleep better.
  3. Burning the midnight oil helps you get more done. Maybe not so much. Haven't we all pulled an all-nighter? It's a grand tradition that many feel provides its own inspiration. I know I'm a self-avowed night owl, and you could never convince me that I could get more done in the morning than in the late hours of the night. But a study from the University of North Texas discovered that undergraduate students who were "morning" people had much higher grade point averages than their nocturnal counterparts. The night owls had significantly impaired concentration during the day and poorer memory. So apparently "early to bed, early to rise" does "make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise" . . . or at least wise. The jury's still out on the others.
  4. Woman doing tai chiExercising before bed will keep you awake. Or, perhaps, exactly the opposite! A Brazilian study showed that while heavy aerobic exercises and anaerobic/strength training exercises had minimal effect on sleep patterns, light to moderate aerobic exercise, like a relaxing walk or a medium aerobic workout, actually helped people sleep better. The old saw about jumping around to "get the blood moving" has actually been proven to work the opposite way. People who engaged in a bit of light exercise before bed fell asleep more quickly and stayed asleep longer than the more sedentary members of the test group. A UCLA study also found that in older adults (59 to 86 years old), a regular tai chi regimen (regardless of when it was practiced) seemed to provide better sleep schedules and fewer sleep disturbances compared to doing no exercise at all.
  5. Sleep is the fountain of youth. Here's one that may actually hold some water. A University of Chicago study has shown a strong correlation between a lack of deep sleep and the physical decline as we age. They studied the level of human growth hormone production in study participants, and found that the people who slept longer in a state of deep sleep produced significantly more of the hormone, which contributes to muscle maintenance and lower body fat. When the participants' sleep was purposely disturbed by the scientists, they produced much less of the hormone. So both the quantity and the quality of the sleep were found to be important in the production of this anti-aging hormone. Just think, if all those baseball players had gotten more good nights' sleep, perhaps they wouldn't be having so many legal troubles.
  6. InsomniacInsomniacs are more productive. Not quite, as it turns out. A study from the Tufts New England Medical Centre in Boston found that in the four companies (airline, manufacturer, pharmaceutical company, and law firm) with a little over 4,000 total employees, the loss of productivity due to sleep issues added up to about $54 million. Many of these costs were attributed to prescriptions for sleep aids, sleep-related disorders like depression, and safety-related costs due to people falling asleep on the job. The rest had to do with general productivity loss. The study estimated the cost of insomnia as 2-1/2 weeks of productivity annually for every worker.
  7. Spicy food gives you weird dreams. This may actually be true. A team of researchers from Australia found that participants who ate spicy meals before bed took longer to get to sleep and didn't sleep as long or as deeply as those who ate blander dishes. Some of the evidence is attributed to the obvious indigestion that can occur, but the slight elevation in body temperature caused by the zesty food was linked to poor sleep in previous studies. No real conclusions regarding the weird dreams or nightmares of the participants, but suffice it to say, spicy food doesn't equal sweet dreams—or at least not good sleep.

Related Articles
"The Rub on Massage: 8 Great Ways to Relax and Rejuvenate"
"8th Law of Exercise: Sleep (and Stress)"
"How Fitness Changed Tony Horton's Life"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Denis Faye, Beachbody fitness and diet expert, in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, March 14th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Trouble Sleeping Linked to Heart Disease in Women

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, and now recent studies suggest that women's sleep patterns can serve as a warning sign for cardiovascular risk factors. Click below to learn more.

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Recipe: Spinach Salad with Turkey

By Kathy Smith, creator of Kathy Smith's Project: You! Type 2®

Recipe: Spinach Salad with TurkeyHigh in protein and low in calories, this simple salad is perfect for lunch or dinner. Feel free to mix things up by adding your favorite crisp raw vegetables, or replacing the turkey with fish, chicken, or the vegetarian protein source of your choice!

Salad:

  • 8 oz. leaf spinach, washed and stems removed
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 12 oz. cooked turkey breast meat, cut in bite-sized pieces

Dressing:

  • 4 Tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place all dressing ingredients in small bowl. Whisk together and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss gently. Serves 4.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
193 22 g 2 g 12 g 8 g 2 g

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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