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8 Tips for Losing Weight

shape-up challenge, shape-up plan, fitness plan

Want to slim down, tone up, and get healthier in just a month? Follow these 8 simple fitness tips. You'll feel fitter in no time flat.

1. Eat Before You Leave

Eat before you get to a party. A small meal before you go makes it easier to pass on fattening hors d'oeuvres.

2. Schedule Your Slimming

Set a reasonable goal and time line for your weight loss. Using a healthy system, you should only be losing one to two pounds a week. So don't push yourself too hard, or you could do more harm than good.

3. Have a Power Month

Know that you can do a lot in a month. Work out four days a week, doing 30 minutes of cardio (jogging, biking, walking, StairMaster), or work on your abs every day, plus two days of upper body and two days of lower body work.

4. Work It Out

Make the most of your time at the gym: Any kind of cardio activity, ideally one that incorporates the upper and lower body at the same time, is great. For example, there's a machine called the VersaClimber, which is a vertical climbing machine -- it's like a StairMaster with a feature that incorporates the upper body too.

5. Know Yourself

The best time of day to work out is whenever you feel best and when you're most likely to be consistent. If you're a morning person, hit the gym before work. But if you've ever considered hanging a sign at your desk that says "Don't talk to me 'til I've finished my coffee," an evening workout may be better for you.

6. Stay Hydrated

Drink only water while working out. If you must drink a sports drink, dilute it with one part drink to three parts water. If you drink sports drinks on their own, they're so concentrated that any vitamins or electrolytes you think you're benefitting from are actually going straight through you.

7. Feel Your Pulse Pound

Consider using a heart-rate monitor, especially when you're on a crash course to fitness. It'll keep you within your target heart rate!

8. Take Snacks to Go

Carry snacks with you. With so many things to do, you'll likely be caught without time to eat properly. If you tote around an apple, a banana, or an energy bar, you'll be less apt to scarf down a bag of chips in between errands.

-- Justin Hartung

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