Steer clear of fake food
LightField Studios/Shutterstock There are so many diets these days—Paleo, vegan, gluten-free—that it can be difficult to decipher which approach is best for your goals. But Birnberg says a specific diet isn’t necessary. When she was working with clients, she would tell them to simply stay away from fake, chemical-laden fare and eat more nutritious whole foods. “I don’t get behind any specific approach to eating,” she says. “I believe we need to find what works for us and I personally stick with foods that my grandmother would have recognized.”
(Psst! Don’t miss these other ten sickening secrets about processed foods.)
Stop doing crunches
Dirima/Shutterstock “There is zero evidence that doing ab exercises like crunches or planks actually help to lose belly fat,” says Richey. Kelvin Gary, NASM-CPT, owner of Body Space Fitness in New York City, stresses the same message, saying you can see results faster by doing compound movements instead.
“When a client comes to me asking how to get abs fast, we’ll add a lot of compound movements that link upper and lower body into their training program. They might do squats combined with overhead press or lunges paired with a row,” says Gary. “These exercises raise their heart rate, which increases their calorie burn, helping them see results faster. This style of training also helps strengthen the core by connecting the upper and lower body in one movement, which can ward off injury.” (Hate hitting the gym? This tiny change can make workouts way more enjoyable.)
Set aside more time for sleep
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock If you’re sacrificing sleep to squeeze in early morning workouts, you may be doing your body more harm than good, says Jay Cardiello, a celebrity trainer who’s worked with stars like Sofia Vergara and Jennifer Lopez. “Skimping on sleep can cause the body’s levels of leptin to drop. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full. So when you don’t have enough of it, it sends a message to the brain that there’s a shortage of food and increases your appetite,” Cardiello explains. “Do your waistline a favor and make sleep a priority. Seven or eight hours a night is ideal.” Try some of these seven essential oils for a good night’s sleep (and three to avoid).