5 tips for getting healthy

HealthTipsBallerinaRebecca Howard, ballet and instructor/creator of Ballet Body Fusion at Downtown Birmingham, has always had a passion for health and fitness. As a dance major at the University of Alabama she danced in countless performances and along the way she learned to eat healthy and take care of her body. She has a wealth of information that she has learned along the way and I sat down to talk to her about her top five tips to improve your health.

  1. The kitchen is closed. After dinner close your kitchen. Late night snacking will pack on the pounds and take away from any healthy choices you made throughout the day. “You don’t want to go to bed starving but you don’t want to go to bed with a full stomach either,” Howard says. When you eat during the day while you are being active, your metabolism is functioning at a rapid pace. However, while you sleep, your metabolism has slowed down and the late night snacks will be metabolized at a significantly slower rate. “It’s important to fight off cravings and look forward to breakfast.”
  2. Start your day with some protein. While we’re looking forward to breakfast, let’s make sure we’re doing it right. Focus on a protein such as turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, or oatmeal to start your day. Rebecca says she loves and lives by the old adage “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”
  3. Switch it up. Try swapping your orange for a grapefruit and your second cup of joe for some green tea. “The combination of green tea and grapefruit increases your metabolism,” Rebecca says. Bonus: Grapefruit fights off stomach fat. We’ll take it!
  4. No carbs with no fat. For example, have toast or apple with peanut butter or almond butter, put a little bit of butter with your baked potato. “Adding a fat with your carbohydrates will help you stay full longer and fight off cravings,” Rebecca says. Of course, moderation is key.
  5. Work it out. Yes, we mean fitness — but we also want you to mix and match your work outs. “The old myth was to just work out a specific body parts during your workout. But it’s better to choose workouts that combine arms, legs and core,” says Rebecca. She adds that combining all muscle groups burns more calories throughout the day and is an easier recovery process for your body.

Want an example of some exercises you can mix and match? Try these on for size — 10 reps each, three times:

  • Squat with two 8-pound free weights in each hand. As you come up from your squat push the weights into an overhead press.
  • Take an 8-pound dumbbell to your chest and crunch with your legs straight out.
  • Side squat to the left then to the right with 8-pound weights in each hand.

By Jaclyn McNeil


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