Karen Pearson/Fitness MagazineBy Melissa Romero
Ah, sleep. It's something we relentlessly crave, but we never seem to get enough of it. Aside from the daily stressors in life, there's one big thing that can keep you from snoozing -- your diet. Here, the best and worst foods to eat for sleep.
Related: Stretches to Help You Sleep Better Tonight
Best: Cereal and Milk
Your go-to breakfast staple can also moonlight as the perfect pre-bedtime snack. Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein enables our bodies to produce the "happy hormone" serotonin, which in turn produces melatonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect, explains Danielle Omar, a DC-based registered dietitian. Just stay away from sugary cereals to avoid getting a sugar high right before bed. Other safe nighttime snack bets include cheese and crackers, cottage cheese and fruit, or oatmeal with milk for a similar soothing effect.
While protein is a vital part of our daily diets, too much of it means less sleep at the end
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Karen Pearson/Fitness MagazineBy Melissa RomeroRead More »from The 10 Best and Worst Foods to Eat for Sleep
Lynda Churilla/Fitness MagazineBy Karen HouppertRead More »from The Dirty Secret of Outdoor Exercise
I love to be outside. So it makes sense to exercise outdoors -- and I do, several times a week, despite living in the gritty heart of Baltimore, which has the dubious honor of being part of the 14th most polluted metropolitan area in the country. I try my best to avoid the often hot, humid metropolis, crammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Instead I go to a nearby park and power walk my dog on wooded paths or jog around the reservoir. There I can pretend that I'm circling a lagoon on a Maine island, that the sound of the adjacent highway is really the rush of a mountain stream complete with a flock of honking Canada geese, and that the whoosh of passing cars is a gentle ocean breeze. I exercise my imagination and my body at the same time -- a holistic fitness routine that works.
Sort of. Sometimes.
It works until I am choked out of my fantasy by a layer of hazy gray smog stretching to the horizon before me and I find myself hunched over, gasping for one good deep
Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Nancy GottesmanRead More »from 6 Realistic Rules for Better Sleep
You have to live in dreamland if you want a good night's sleep, according to the usual expert advice: Make your bedroom into a spalike sanctuary. Don't drink a drop of caffeine after 2 p.m. No laptops in the bedroom. So we were shocked when sleep doctor Michael Breus, PhD, admitted that he drifts off with the TV on and his Chihuahua, Sparky, and cat, Monte, in the bed -- two major no-nos. His refreshing philosophy: "Steer clear of all the hard-and-fast rules and do what makes sense for your lifestyle." That we can handle. Read on for more surprising sleep tips that mere mortals like us can actually follow.
Related: The 10 Best and Worst Foods for Better Sleep
Sleep in on weekends.
Forget all the blah-blah about maintaining a consistent wakeup time every day. Snoozing late on the weekend can have real benefits. Adults who were sleep deprived for five days (sound like your workweek?) made up for it somewhat -- bouncing back closer to their baseline brain function
Danielle St. Laurent/Fitness MagazineBy Alyssa SchafferRead More »from The New Rules of Fitness
Think you know the drill on shaping up and slimming down? Think again. Find out how the latest science is rewriting the rule book on everything, including maximizing your fat burning and acing your running form, so you can finally reach your goal.
Related: The Right Way to Do a Squat, Lunge and More
Should You Eat Before a Workout?
Old school: Exercising on an empty stomach will burn more fat.
New rule: Have a 150-calorie jump-start meal an hour or two before your workout.
Ever force yourself through a workout, even though you were starving, simply because you thought you would tap into those fat stores faster? Next time, eat up. The latest research in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that exercisers who ate breakfast before treadmilling for 36 minutes had a significantly higher fat-burning rate for as long as 24 hours compared with those who ate post-workout, even though both groups consumed the same number of calories
Stephanie Russer/Fitness MagazineBy Juno DeMeloRead More »from Beat Cravings for Good: Say This, Not That
If my life were a musical, it would be Annie. So I ate a bagel from the break room an hour after eating a big breakfast. I'll shore up my willpower -- tomorrow! So I skipped the gym? I'll work out extra hard -- tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar! Susan Albers, PhD, author of But I Deserve This Chocolate, says this and other cop-outs aren't just common, they're also self-sabotaging. Here, five of the top offenders and how to defeat them.
Related: How to Manage Post-Workout Cravings
Stop saying: "I had a bad day -- I deserve this!"
Make this your mantra: "I deserve comfort, not calories."
The not-so-sweet truth about that Snickers bar: "Studies show chocolate's soothing effect lasts only three minutes," says Albers. To really kick a bad mood to the curb, she suggests treating yourself to a hot shower, a quickie massage (most nail salons offer walk-in options for about the same cost as a polish change), or just five minutes of quiet, do-nothing time.
Stop saying: "I already
Claire Benoist/Fitness MagazineBy Juno DeMeloRead More »from FITNESS 2012 Healthy Food Awards: The Best Snacks
Every once in a while (or every afternoon, if you're like some of us!) you just have to have a treat that's crunchy and salty but not greasy. To help you get your fix, we worked with our team of nutritionists to choose eight snacks -- after taste-testing dozens -- that are totally satisfying yet contain no more than 150 calories and eight grams of fat per serving. Gratification without the guilt? Consider it in the bag.
Related: Fast Food! Low-Cal 30-Minute Dinner Recipes
What Makes a Winner
Companies submitted more than 120 new salty snacks to FITNESS. Our experts -- Anar Allidina, RD, a dietitian in private practice in Toronto; Keri Gans, RD, the author of The Small Change Diet; and Marissa Lippert, RD, the author of The Cheater's Diet -- analyzed the ingredients and nutrition facts to help us determine which ones deserved to move to the next round of judging. Those finalists were sampled in blind taste tests and voted on by dozens of staffers throughout our
Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineBy Ayren-Jackson CannadyRead More »from Eating Tips from the World's Healthiest Diets
As a college student living in the international dorm, I should have been studying my Parisian roomie's eating habits instead of just coveting her style. In nations with low obesity rates, women know how to eat right and enjoy every bite. "The diets they follow often place an emphasis on whole grains and legumes and use meat sparingly," says Daphne Miller, MD, the author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World. They're a far cry from the typical U.S. diet, a processed, produce-deficient carb-fest. Although I can no longer use the excuse that I'm a broke college student, I still live on lattes, burgers, and apple cobbler. So I embarked on a 30-day culinary experiment, borrowing secrets from some of the world's healthiest places to slim my 170-pound frame.
Related: 10 Diet Tips to Live to 100
Week One: France
Despite baguettes and Brie, French women have the lowest average body mass index in Europe. "It's true that the French eat for
- FITNESS Magazine | Slim & Fit for Fall – Tue, Oct 9, 2012 11:18 AM EDT
Nick Onken/Fitness MagazineCycling is about the most fun you can have burning more than 500 calories an hour. Plus it's so simple anyone can do it. What's stopping you? Get back in the spin with our pedal-pushing pointers.
Related: The Calorie-Blasting Cycling Workout
The Proper Form
Make sure the brim of your helmet is just two fingers' width above your eyebrows. Then tighten the chin strap so you can fit only one or two fingers between it and your chin.
Beginners, position your handlebars at a height at which your back is bent no more than 45 degrees. "The lower you go, the more aerodynamic you may become, but also the greater the potential strain on your back," says Meaghen Harris, who rides for Liv/giant bicycles. (Tour de France contenders typically set their handlebars inches below seat level for that bent-over, streamlined effect.)
Set your seat height so that you have a 25-degree bend in your knee when your foot is at the bottom of a pedal stroke. This will maximize your pedal power, a study inRead More »from Ride On: Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling and Spinning
Peter Ardito/Fitness MagazineTake dog walking to the next speed level and you and your canine will score twofer benefits. "Your dog is a great motivator who makes exercising fun," says Jt Clough, the author of 5K Training Guide: Running with Dogs. Capitalize on your daily outing by burning more calories as you build your pet's cardio fitness. Lace -- and leash -- up with these tips from Clough.Read More »from See Spot Run! 5 Experts Tips to Run with Your Dog
Related: 5 Ab Exercises for a Faster Run
Ease into it.
Dogs should be physically active for at least a half hour twice a day, according to the American Kennel Club. Begin with 15 minutes at a comfortable clip in the first week, adding five to 10 minutes and more speed as your four-legged friend progresses, Clough recommends.
Pace yourself -- and your pal.
"Most dogs run faster than humans," Clough says, but you shouldn't feel you have to sprint. Heed these suggested speeds from Josiah Neuman, the training director for the Neuman K-9 Academy: Small dogs, like Boston terriers, can typically go 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 miles per hour
Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Amanda E. VogelRead More »from Top 10 Make or Break Diet Moments
Every day you're faced with important decisions about what you eat-and how much. They may not seem important, but over the course of a year, making smart choices can add up to significant calorie savings. The following moments can make or break your diet.
Related: 10 Strategies to Keep Fat Off for Good
The Moment: You Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Brewing
Walk right by the pot and make yourself a cup of hot chocolate (110 calories and almost 10 percent of your day's calcium) or drink a glass of orange juice (109 calories and 15 percent of your folate needs). Unlike coffee, both offer a dose of simple carbohydrates, your body's main energy source. Caffeine may wake you up, but it won't keep you wide-eyed for very long, says Samantha Heller, R.D., an exercise physiologist and senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Medical Center in New York City. To get through the morning without nodding off, you need fuel, and that means calories. Pair the cocoa or juice with a cup of