100 fitness tips to live by

Wanna give your lifestyle a healthy makeover? We've got all the tips, factoids and workout excuse-busters you need to get fit, fast. Whatcha waitin' for, girlie?
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    Tricks for eating right, part one


    1. Dieting doesn’t work, period. So pass by the juice fasts, Atkins books and any shake that promises to help you shed pounds. Start making small changes to what you eat and go from there.


    2. Trying to eat better? Add foods to your plate instead of taking them away. Add one extra serving of veggies to lunch and dinner. Soon, you’ll be noshing so much good stuff, you’ll be too full for the junk.


    3. It’s easy to dig into bake sale cupcakes and grab a mini Twix from mom’s secret stash. Instead of letting yourself eat any goodies ya see, limit yourself to one a day. You’ll actually savor it more.


    4. Try globally-inspired nutritious dishes: Thai stir-fry, Indian lentils or Asian sesame noodles liven up lunch. We like this recipe for mango chutney.


    5. Speaking of lunch, don’t fall into the turkey or ham sandwich pattern. Challenge yourself on Sunday nights to brainstorm creative brown-bag meals. Try our recipe for soba noodle salad.


    6. That said, if you are going to eat sandwiches, make sure they’re loaded with veggies and your bread is whole grain. Lettuce wraps are a fab sandwich substitute.


    >> 7. Pass by the juice in the lunch line and grab a carton of skim milk. Calcium is key for teen girls.


    8. Hit the salad bar before you fill the rest of your tray.


    9. Make a promise to avoid your school’s snack bar and vending machines. Water and fresh fruits are always the better choice.


    10. Need another reason to avoid fast food? Scientists at the University of Toronto found that the chemical treatment used to coat junk food wrappers, fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are being transferred to the food inside and causing chemical contamination in subjects’ blood. Scary-gross. Get the deets here.

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    Tricks for eating right, part two


    >> 11. At the movie theater, a small box of popcorn with butter can have more than half a day’s worth of fat in it.


    12. Eat mindfully: Take a second to truly contemplate your choices at every snack and meal.


    13. The occasional snack is A-OK, but here’s a quick trick for keeping them healthy: Limit your between-meal bites to foods you have to chop up. Fruits and veggies get bumped to the top and a bag of chips gets tossed by the wayside. Nutritious add-ons (like hummus, almond butter and salsa) add flavor.


    14. Smoothies, bagels, granola and sweetened yogurt are all secret diet disasters. Opt for foods that are less processed and don’t have added sugar. You’ll have more energy in the long run.


    15. It’s easy to get into the habit of grabbing a cookie or noshing on chips at lunch. But if you’re eating junk food all the time, it’s not really a treat anymore. Making smart decisions now will have major benefits later.


    16. If you wanna eat better, take a moment to breathe and have a glass of water before delving into a snack.


    17. Recognize when you’re full, and don’t force yourself to eat everything that’s in front of you. Wrap it up for later, lady.


    18. Ditch boredom eating: Don’t reach for chips just because there is nothing better to do. It’s an unhealthy habit that’s hard to break, but you’ll have much more energy when you do.


    19. Pay attention to portion sizes, especially when you’re eating out. Most desserts are crazy huge. We found a serving of cake at Chili’s that has 155 percent of your daily fat—eek! Boost your willpower with these tips.


    20. Get in the habit of ending your meal with something lighter, like fruit or a piece of dark chocolate. It’s OK to indulge, but ya don’t need a whoppin’ heap o’ ice cream everyday, right?

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    Gems from our fave nutrition experts


    21. If you’re gonna be somewhere with a lot of junk food, take Dr. Andersen’s advice. “Eat a healthy salad or whole-wheat sandwich with a skinless chicken breast before leaving home,” Dr. Andersen tells us. “A snack or meal with protein will help satisfy your appetite and keep you from getting hungry during the event.”


    >> 22. On the go, and only fast food to be found? “Put a protein bar in your purse to take the edge off your hunger while you are in the nutritionally-polluted environment.” Carrot or celery sticks, an apple or almonds work too. We like Clif Kid ZBars.


    23. A rule to swear by: “Avoid grease and foods that are smothered with cheeses or fattening sauces,” he says. That includes nachos, chicken wings and cheese fries. Of course, they’re OK once in a great while, but whole foods daily are your best option.


    24. Have just a bite of dessert. “Understanding that 95 percent of our taste satisfaction comes in the first three bites can allow you to satisfy a taste craving without caving to a caloric overload,” he swears. Have a nibble or two and then be done.


    25. At a restaurant or stadium? “Stay away from any deeply fried foods that are cooked in large oil vats. These foods are full of trans fats.” Onion rings, fries, chicken fingers and tons more fall under this category. 


    26. If you’ve gone overboard... “A smaller meal such as a healthy salad, some fruits or vegetables will help your body recover from the unhealthy choices,” Dr. Andersen says. So if you’re hungry when you get home, eat something sensible and your bod will be grateful for it.

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    Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez shares three healthy-eating tips:


    27. Think about the food groups, and then make sure your meals for the day get a good variety. If you rock a salad for lunch, get some whole-grains and meat for dinner.


    >> 28. Go for loads of color. “It makes food fun,” she says. Think about what hues you’ve eaten for the day.


    29. Add, add, add. “Think of adding something to your life, instead of taking something away,” Dr. Rodriguez says. “See how you can make your comfort foods more nutritious.”

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    Great ways to get active


    30. Find something sporty you love. Not something your BFF loves, your mom swears by or your bro is into. Keep trying workouts until one clicks with Y-O-U.


    31. In general, mixing two workouts is sort of brilliant. Pilates + kickboxing? Yoga + boot camp? Yes, please. Get the scoop on piloxing here.


    32. You shower daily, right? Make exercise that much of a priority. Pencil it in to your daily list and make a point to check it off. Dance your butt off on Friday, go for a long hike on Saturday, practice yoga on Sunday.


    >> 33. Jumping rope is super cheap, sooo good for you and has tonsa possibilities for helping you shape up. You can jump normally, or use it between sets of weights to increase the cardio component. Here are five ways to incorporate jumping rope into your workout.


    34. Rut much? Not anymore. Work on alternating your exercise as often as possible. Lots of girls get into the habit of playing one sport or jogging all the time. Truth is, varying your exercise challenges your bod in new ways. That means you’ll see results a lot faster.


    35. A classic shake-it-up trick: Snag a die from an old board game. Then, in your notebook come up with six possible workouts (like 30 minutes of jogging, a Pilates DVD, sprinting up a nearby hill, an hour-long bike ride—whatever you like) and label them 1-6. Roll the die and do whatever workout corresponds with the number it lands on. Change the list up once a month.


    36. Celeb trainer Clay Burwell’s best advice? “Exercise five days a week.” It might sound a li’l intimidating, but it’s true. Keep the activities fun like a summer softball league or tai-kwon-do classes or swimming. Switch up your workouts to keep it interesting and avoid overtraining. Check out Clays's get-buff routine you can do anywhere.


    37. Don’t get down on yourself if you miss a few days of a workout. Get back on track this minute.

    38. Create a fab fitness collage filled with inspiring athletes and dancers and words that will get you moving. Hang it in a place you’ll see often and glance at it whenever you’re having trouble sticking with your routine.

    39. You’re never too old to start a new hobby or sport. Sure, some girls have been swimming or dancing since they were in diapers but lotsa people pick up sports at all different ages. Ya never know…you may be a total all-star at the next thing you start.       

    40. Get into the practice of slashing your stress daily. Whether you journal, dip into a bath or simply read for fun, make a point of relaxing before you hit the sack. It’s good to free your mind from clutter and staying calm and cool is key for your long-term health.

    41. Got a spare second? Grab a piece of blank paper and cut it into 30 smaller pieces. Write your fave quotes on these pieces and then stick them in a jar. For the next month, pick a quote out of the jar as soon as you wake up. Take in the advice and live it if you can.

    42. Sweetened beverages account for tonsa calories daily. It's not just soda, either. Iced teas and sports drinks can be loaded with the white stuff.

    43. That said, brewing your own tea is way healthy and yummy (plus, it's relaxing). Fruity ones (like peach of pineapple) can have a hint of sweetness, without all the calories.

    44. Most food we eat is salty enough, so drop the shaker. If your food needs more flavor, try adding hot sauce, salsa or garlic. Yum!

    45. While it’s not good to obsess over everything you eat, checking out the nutrition labels from time to time can help put your snacks and meals into perspective.

    46. Learn which fruits and veggies are in season when. It’ll keep you more in tune with the earth. Plus, we love that citrus is at its best during winter. Just what ya need on a dreary day.

    47. Wanna crank your cardio? Add intervals (aka, when you go faster for a short period of time). They challenge your body and take your workout to the next level.


    48. Remember that working out is work. Even if you heart your sport, it’s gonna be tough from time to time. Learn to love that.


    49. Dynamic stretching is your friend. Warm up and then get your muscles loose by doing some leg kicks. Learn more here.


    50. Be active whenever you can: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride your bike to your BFF’s house, swim instead of lounging by the pool.


    51. “It’s a proven a fact there’s no such thing as spot reducing,” Dr. Lavinia Rodriguez swears. What does work to whittle your middle or slim thighs? Li’l changes to eat healthier foods and incorporate a variety of exercises into your daily routine. Get the all-over toning scoop here.

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    Yoga tips to keep you fit and stress-free


    52. Wanna get more energy? Yoga instructor Elisabeth Halfpapp suggests any poses where you arch your back. “Wheel, upward and bridge are very energizing,” she says. “It works the spine and you’re opening up the heart or lungs.” Halfpapp also offers up three fab reasons to try yoga.


    53. Your practice can be speedy (and change the rest of your day). “Ten minutes is all you need,” Elisabeth says. “If you can flow and do something for 10 minutes, it will shift your energy.”


    54. Straighten up. Working on your posture is a speedy confidence booster. “It makes girls feel good about their bodies,” she tells us.


    55. Be consistent with your practice. To get the most out of your yoga practice, Elisabeth suggests working on your poses one to three times a week.


    56. Give yourself a break. “Have one day of rest,” she tells us. Your yoga practice should be energy producing and positive for your mind. If it feels like it’s slowing you down, you might be doing too much.


    57. Schedule your yoga session with yourself. Says Elisabeth, “If you don’t do it, no one else is going to do it for you.” You can squeeze in a mini session any time of day.


    58. Yoga books are great for reading up on the practice, but watching YouTube vids means you can see a pro in action. We love Tara Stiles’, um, style.


    59. Tap into the spiritual side of your yoga postures. In triangle pose, recognize how interesting it is to see the world from a different perspective.


    60. Instant mood-booster: Sit, with eyes closed, and cover your left nostril while you inhale through the right. Hold your breath while you release the left nostril and cover the right, exhaling fully through the left. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

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    GL staffers share their stay-healthy secrets


    61. Rise and shine. “Get up in the morning and workout first thing. It helps get endorphins pumping, wakes you up and gets you in a good mood for the day.” –Patty, Senior National Advertising Sales Director


    62. Hooked on salty snacks? “Try a healthier alternative to a carb-loaded crunchy snack. Baked or air-popped chips are just as yummy and far less greasy.” –Kathryn A., Online Contributing Editor


    63. Just dance! “Zumba is the best. You get to practice your favorite dance moves while burning tons of calories and you don’t feel like you’re working out.” –Brooke, National Advertising Sales Director


    64. The Cuisinart Compact Portable Blending/Chopping System has changed my life! Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s this super-fast pink smoothie blender makes a healthy breakfast in 30 seconds. Here’s how I do it: Grab one of the to-go cups that comes with the system then throw in half a package of Yoplait Triple Berry Smoothie and a cup of fat-free milk. Screw on the blender base and hit high speed. Ten seconds and done. Carefully take off the blender base and replace with the to-go lid. You’re out the door in 30 seconds, no lie. With just 110 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 30% of your daily vitamin C (plus it’s just $1 to make), it really can’t be beat. If I can slow down for another 30 seconds, I make some multi-grain toast to have with it. –Karen the Editor


    >> 65. Get back to the basics. “I can’t survive without running. It helps me clear my head. Plus, it’s totally free.” –Katie A., Senior Editor. Check out Katie's five tips for buying your perfect pair of gym sneakers.


    66. Pop on some tunes. “I always work out with my iPod! It makes it way more fun.” –Piper, Editorial Intern


    67. One staffer spilled two secrets: “I totally swear by hot yoga—a good class can be totally relaxing and super intense all in one…


    68. …And I never skip breakfast. I can’t live without a hearty bowl of oatmeal or a whole-wheat waffle topped with flax seed.” –Jess, Fashion and Beauty Assistant

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    Benefits of exercise


    >> 69. Yep, sweating will make you happy. While you work out your bod starts to produce endorphins, which is why you get that feel-good boost. Those happy feelings can last for up to 12 hours after exercise, which means the rest of your day is gonna be extra awesome.


    70. Psst: Girls who hit the gym are less likely to get sick. After one hour of cardio, your body builds up its immune system. That means you’ll be protected from icky colds or the flu.


    71. Exercise is a proven confidence booster. Trust us, after a few weeks of pumping iron, you’ll be impressed with what you can do.


    72. Being active helps you make better decisions. The Women’s Sports Foundation says teen girls who play sports are less likely to do drugs or get pregnant.


    73. The more calories you burn on the field, the less your body stores as fat. The goal isn’t to be skinny, but runnin’ around will keep the extra pounds off.


    74. You’ll stress less. Really wanna feel better? Try cardio kickboxing or piloxing.

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    Excuse busters (for when you’d rather do anything but exercise)


    75. “It’s too hot/cold out!”

    Rising mercury or freezing temps can kill your desire to exercise. Hit the community pool on scorchers or try a fun workout DVD in your living room when it’s bitter out.


    >> 76. “I’m too tired.”

    Moderate exercise actually boosts your energy. Tie on those sneaks and give something a whirl. Once you get going, you’ll probably wanna keep it up.


    77. “I HATE exercising.”

    Then you haven’t found the right workout yet. Promise yourself you’ll try one new activity this week, whether that’s tai chi or skateboarding. The old standards (soccer, ballet, running) don’t work for everyone, so be creative.


    78. “I have my period.”

    Exercising actually lessens the effects of cramps, so get out there, you’ll actually feel better.


    79. “I’m naturally skinny...I don’t have to workout.”

    Exercising isn’t about slimming down—it’s about strengthening your heart and bones now.


    80. “I’m not athletic.”

    There are tons of activities that don’t require catching, throwing or kicking. Martial arts, dance, Pilates, yoga, Zumba and spinning are great for girls who don’t dig team sports.


    81. “Ugh. Exercising is sooo boring.”

    Crank up the tunes and start working out with your besties. Friends + music = instant fun, even if you’re just doing push-ups and crunches.


    82. “I’m too busy!”

    Squeeze in a sweat sesh by breaking up your workout into 10 minute pieces—you’ll still get all the same benefits but in smaller bites.


    83. “I went running yesterday.”

    It’s OK to take days off, but make sure you aren’t nixing sweat sessions every day. Girls who are trying out for sports should get in the habit of exercising more often now. Even if it’s not that intense, go for it!

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    Make the most of those sports


    84. Don’t start training for tryouts a week before they are scheduled. Give yourself a full month to get ready. Check out our last-minute tryout tips.


    85. Sometimes even athletes don’t get in the recommended amount of activity. If practice involved more standing than sweating, go for a jog afterward. Get the deets here.


    >> 86. Safety is no joke when it comes to sports. Strap on your helmet, pull up those shin pads, lock down your goggles—whatever your sport demands.


    87. You might not always make the team, but that doesn’t mean you should stop playing or trying. If you do get cut, politely ask to chat with the coach about what you could do better next time.


    88. It’s great to find a sport that you love, but resist the urge to play it 365 days a year. Lotsa injuries come from overuse, which occurs after you repeat the same motion time and time again. Click here for the 411.

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    Feel good on the inside—and out


    89. Learn to deal with anger, frustration, sadness and other negative emotions in a healthy way. Write in your journal, go for a run or call a BFF.


    >> 90. Playing with pets is an instant mood booster. If you’re feelin’ down, take your pooch for a walk or pay your cat some needed attention. Don’t have pets? Chat with a neighbor about taking their dog for a walk.


    91. Meditating can help you seriously relax. The next time you’re having a stressful day, take a few minutes to clear your mind when you get home. It’s free and much better for you than downing a bag of chips. Get the scoop on meditation here.


    92. Feeling overwhelmed in a sitch? Practice deep breathing. Inhale and exhale deeply for five counts. Now confront whatever’s stressing you.


    93. We’ve got a cure-all for when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed: Take five minutes to move around. Walk up and down the stairs, practice some downward-facing dogs, do jumping jacks. See? You’re officially un-slumped. 


    94. Got a spare second? Grab a piece of blank paper and cut it into 30 smaller pieces. Write your fave quotes on these pieces and then stick them in a jar. For the next month, pick a quote out of the jar as soon as you wake up. Take in the advice and live it if you can.


    95. Don’t waste time obsessing over your weight. If your doc says it’s A-OK, concentrate on being happy and staying healthy. We weren’t all meant to be a size 2 or 4, so don’t make that your gold standard.


    96. That said, if your doc says you are overweight, listen to her suggestions on what you should do. We know it’s a challenge to shape up, but going into adulthood at the right weight will help you down the line.

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    Get—and stay—motivated


    97. Studies show people who exercise to improve their health are more likely to exercise than those who want to lose weight. Remember the long-term benefits of your routine (like a lower risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer) and make those the reasons you tie up your sneaks.
    98.To ensure a good night's sleep, make sure your room is pitch dark. Even the glow from a computer screen or bright alarm clock can throw off your Circadian rhythm. Try a sleeping mask to cover your eyes if you can't eliminate all light sources.


    99. Coming up with a system of healthy rewards is bound to get you moving. For every 5 times you hit the weights or run, give yourself a good-for-ya treat, like a new bottle of nail polish or an at-home facial. Figure out a few bigger prizes for when you accomplish your major goals.


    100. Ask the fit women around you (like a fave coach or your mom) what they do to stay healthy. Who knows? Their answer may be just the advice you’re looking for.

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by GL | 2/1/2016