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4 Strategies to Make More Progress in the Gym

4 Strategies to Make More Progress in the Gym

There’s always going to be a few bumps along the road to becoming fit.

Not everything will go as planned and it’s perfectly normal to sometimes feel that you’re just not making the progress in the gym that you had hoped for. But don’t give up! I’ve compiled a short list of strategies that you can apply right now to help get you back in the game.

Whether you’re an advanced lifter or a complete novice, the following tips will help you to get back on track and make more progress in the gym.

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1. Make time

Admittedly, this one seems like a no-brainer. But simply showing up is oftentimes the hardest thing for many people who don’t consider themselves the ‘fitness type.’ And while it’s relatively common knowledge that exercise may help to lower levels of anxiety and depression, it’s also been show to do so even if you are forced to exercise.

So, if you’re struggling to make progress, try scheduling time for exercise in the morning. This way, you’re less likely to make other commitments or encounter conflicts that may bump your date with the gym to a late time, or worse, erasing it from your to-do list altogether.

Not the 6:00 am workout type? No problem. Schedule your workout, even if it’s just a brisk walk, during your lunch hour. This way you’ll still have your afternoon and evening free to attend to your other commitments.

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2. Find a buddy

Everything is more fun when you can share it with someone else, right? And health and fitness isn’t any different. Some of my most memorable times in college were when my two roommates and I would gather our gym gear and head off to the gym in the evenings. Usually one of us would remind the other two that it was time to go, no excuses. And guess what? We always went to the gym.

So, here are a couple of things that you can do:

Firstly, survey your closest friends and find one (or two!) who are interested in joining you in your fitness program. Maybe they are way ahead of you and in better shape. That’s great, because they will be able to help you out, provide you with valuable advice and give you a goal to shoot for. On the other hand, maybe they could use a little help just like you to achieve their own health and fitness goals. And who knows? Maybe they are yearning for someone just like you to come along and help motivate them. Regardless, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to learn that one of your close friends is just as interested in becoming healthy as you are.

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Secondly, if now is simply not the time for your friends to begin their own fitness journey, then I recommend joining a group training program. Not a class of 35 people, but a group program of 10 – 20. These programs are typically found at the now ubiquitous micro-gyms. They typically offer at least some level of personalized service and, most importantly, are filled to the brim with enthusiastic and motivated people who may have started out just like you but then progressed to become a fitter version of themselves. There is no better exercise support group.

3. Keep it simple

It’s easy to look at a lot of the fitness magazines today and think that you need to perform the most complicated movements out there because they should be the most efficient, right? But this isn’t always the case. In fact, regressing in fitness complexity is often what pays the real dividends. We are learning more and more every day that our bodies move in an integrative way. When we isolate our body and train each piece one at a time, it’s not only a more laborious process, but can even lead to detrimental movement down the road. Search for a workout program or training group that understands this concept.

4. Ask for help

This is hands down the best thing you can do if you’re looking to make more progress in the gym. Because we are all students of fitness and we are all still learning. No one has all the answers. And if you feel like your fitness regime is in a rut, then ask yourself who you can reach out to.ÂEven I have a coach! In fact, at a conference I attended earlier this year, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the most prolific names in the fitness business had his own coach too.

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So look around and see who may be able to help you out. Maybe they are the credentialed trainers in the gym or other fitness professionals in your neighborhood. What I think you’ll find is that people are more than willing to help you out if you ask.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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