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10 Ways to Get Your Best Body

1. Set Goals
Simply saying you want to lose weight is not enough. Instead, set three specific short- and long-term goals that you'd like to achieve. For example, a short-term goal could be, "I want to go down two dress sizes by February 14th," while a long-term goal would be "I want to lose 15 lb of fat in six months."

2. Take a "Before" Picture
Take a picture of yourself in a bathing suit or sports bra and shorts. When you look at yourself every day in the mirror you tend not to notice changes in your body. Having a picture allows you to better see results and it's a great motivator.

3. Measure Your Progress
Don’t just rely on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat so you may not see a change on the scale but your clothes will feel different. Take your base measurements and then re-take them on a regular basis. You cannot measure your progress if you don't know where you started from.

4. Be a Joiner
Getting a gym membership is often not the best solution for getting in shape. Too many people buy a membership but then don’t actually go on a regular basis because there's no structure, accountability or group support and personal trainers are costly. Instead, join a fitness boot camp, exercise class or other fitness program where you'll have a set time and workout plan done for you. Bonus: You will learn proper form and technique, plus you'll meet people with similar goals that can give you support.

5. Flex Your Muscles
Don’t just do cardio! Strength training is an essential part of any fitness routine. It will build your muscle and increase your bone density. Not to mention, for every pound of muscle you gain, you speed up your metabolism, which means you increase the rate at which you burn fat. We recommend strength training one to three times a week.

6. Start Your Day Off Right
It’s easy to come up with excuses for why you can’t work out when you're busy, so be sure to book exercise time in your calendar and don’t double-book. We recommend working out first thing in the morning so that there are less excuses to get in the way of your goals.

7. Rest Up
Make sure you get 7-9 hours of deep sleep each night. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep have a tendency to overeat and are more susceptible to weight gain. Also, be sure to give your muscles a break by taking at least one or two days off from exercising each week.

8. Reward Yourself Weekly
If you eat healthy all week, allow yourself a cheat day to eat whatever you want. Knowing that you don’t have to completely deprive yourself of foods you love will keep you motivated.

9. Change Your Eating Habits
Instead of three big meals a day, opt for five or six smaller ones instead. Your body needs fuel every three to four hours, which also speeds up your metabolism so you are burning more calories throughout the day. Be sure to include protein (eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, fish), low glycemic carbs (brown rice, fruits, lentils, quinoa) and fibrous vegetables.

10. Eliminate Processed Sugars
Processed sugars are carbs that have been stripped of valuable nutrients. How can you identify these sugars? They are all white: table sugar, pasta, rice, and bread. Look for alternatives that provide a nutrition boost. Try honey in place of sugar and go for whole-wheat pasta, rice and bread.

Bonus Tip
Don't get caught up in the New Years resolution craze and try to make too many lifestyle changes at once. Start with a few realistic goals you can handle; join a group workout, walk to work, take the stairs whenever possible, jog with your dog instead of walking, etc. Once you have successfully followed this routine for a month or two, you'll be ready to add more to your routine.

Roger and Daniela Nahas are the co-founders of the Best Body Bootcamp – Toronto’s most dynamic fitness bootcamp. Roger has been providing fitness training and nutritional counselling since 1999. He has been featured in Muscle Media, a leading fitness magazine and was awarded the Sports Clubs of Canada Personal Trainer of the Year Award in 2001. Daniela has been a physical trainer for five years. She specializes in training women because she knows firsthand how intimidating the gym can be.

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