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How The Freshman 15 Happens And Ways To Avoid It

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freshman-15If you’re a sophomore, junior, or senior, you can use these tips to get back in shape or stay healthy.

Everyone hears about the freshman 15. What usually follows is laughing at the unlikelihood of it happening to them and the idea that people can gain 15 pounds of fat in nine months of school.

But, this weight doesn’t all come at once. It’s a slow process after many meals at dining halls and McDonald’s, nights of heavy drinking, and multiple all-nighters.

You add a couple of pounds here and there, but nothing too noticeable during sweatshirt season in the winter. So you don’t change anything.

But then, you’re in a state of disbelief as you go home for summer with an extra fifteen pounds of unwanted weight.

How does this happen? Well, college gives students incredible freedom. A significant portion of this freedom involves their eating and activity choices. No longer can they rely on eating homemade food and the required training in high school sports for a healthy diet and physical activity.

That’s why getting off to a good start in college—where it’s your decision on what you eat and do—can make all the difference in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for decades after school. And, you most definitely don’t want to be that person at your high school reunion that no one recognizes because you got fat in college.

There’s many different tips out there, but these are my favorites that have kept me in shape—and actually have played a part in me gaining 25 pounds of muscle over four years in college. I’m not a nutritionist, but these worked for me.

Know Your Weight Going In

It’s a great idea to weigh-in the first week of freshman year and take a picture for future reference. Doing this gives you a baseline of where you’re at and what 15 extra pounds of fat would mean for your total weight. (Just that thought can be motivating enough.)

Then, try to weigh-in every week to see where you stand. This will give you feedback on whether you need to adjust your habits.

Eat 5 Times A Day

(Brian here in July 2016, and after more research I believe intermittent fasting is better for you than eating 5 times a day.)

This tip is more suited for guys: You will help yourself if you can eat three small- to medium-size meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as two small snacks. Snacking between breakfast and lunch, and then lunch and dinner with some fruits or vegetables is ideal. Smaller portions are easier to digest and if you have a plan, then you won’t just eat when you’re bored.

Dining halls are so dangerous because of their common buffet menu, where anything goes. By eating smaller sizes, but more times, you avoid this downfall.

If you can accomplish this in a daily routine, your body will trust that food is coming and won’t store fat. If you eat two or three huge meals, then the opposite happens, and your body stores the fat for energy.

As the night progresses, your stomach starts to shut down and prepare for sleep, so it doesn’t break down the food as well. This point leads me to my next two tips: limit late-night study binges and avoid drunk eating.

Limit Late-Night Study Binges

First of all, try as hard as you can to prepare ahead of time and don’t pull an all-nighter. All-nighters can damage your academic success and health.

In the times that you do need to stay up later than normal, get a small candy bar, bag of chips, or drink. When you’re stressed about a test, eating healthy is going to be last on your mind. So, if you can make a conscious decision to get smaller servings, you will have protected against severe late-night eating.

Avoid Drunk Eating

Besides the negative effects of alcohol, it becomes a larger concern when drunk late-night eating is a regular occurrence.

Before you start drinking, leave your money and credit cards at home. Your stomach and wallet will be grateful.

Drink Water

Drinking water helps your body digest food, power muscles, refrain from sodas, improve skin complexion, and many other benefits.

Buy a water bottle to refill while at class, work, gym, or your dorm. The more convenient it is to drink water, the more you will.

Keep Only Healthy Food In Your Dorm

You can cheat and eat unhealthy food occasionally at the dining hall or restaurants, but if you establish your dorm as a healthy zone, then you’ll be forced to eat nutritional foods when you otherwise would cave.

Many of my friends brought back fruit from the dining hall, which is frowned upon, but healthy. So I approve!

Go To The Gym

Although your diet is more important than working out when trying to stay fit, going to the recreational center provides many advantages. Working out gives you more energy to make (healthy) decisions. It will also provide more motivation to eat well because going to the gym is hard, and there’s not really a point if you’re going to pig out with unhealthy food the rest of the day.

Working out three times a week is a good start to avoid gaining the freshman 15. I try to go to the gym five times a week. I’ve found that it helps my focus throughout the day, and also studies show that working out helps you sleep.

If you have no interest in going to the gym, start going once a week. Then you can build it up to two times a week and so on. You will naturally be more comfortable, the more you do it.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of factors that go into your weight, but the most of these on the list you can control, the better you will look and feel. Set good habits in college, and you will lay the foundation for a healthy life.

I also wrote a related post titled Easy Healthy Meals For College Students that works as a nice follow-up article to this piece.

Please comment below with your best tip or general thoughts to stay healthy.

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How To Plank: Why This Is My Favorite Exercise!

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Whether your motive is looking better with your shirt off, feeling more in shape, or strengthening your body, you’ll want to know how to plank.

It might change, but right now this is my favorite exercise on the planet.

Watch this short video to get a quick explanation of the plank and how to do it to perfection:

In case you didn’t watch the clip or catch the steps to do a perfect plank, here they are:

  1. Get into push-up position
  2. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your body weight on your forearms
  3. Keep your upper body and lower body on a flat straight line
  4. Look at the floor and relax your head
  5. Hold this stance for as long as you can while maintaining proper form
  6. Don’t stop breathing, inhale and exhale at a slow normal rate

That’s all it takes to build your core and get stronger muscles. Isn’t the plank simple?

Plus you can plank daily to challenge your abs, where it’s not smart to do chest, biceps, or leg exercises daily. This is another W for the plank!

How often do you plank?

What’s your experience with it?

For how long can you plank without putting your butt in the air and arching your back?

Challenge yourself to start doing this weekly (it doesn’t have to be daily). Note how long you last, with good form, the first time you plank. Then take baby steps to feel the burn and go longer next time. And repeat this process.

Imagine how much progress you can make in 6, 12, and 18 months?

It’s for this reason that you better believe I’m planking tonight. Join me!

Related:

30 Day Push-Up Challenge: Get A Beefier & Fuller Chest

The 7 Day No Bad Sugar Challenge

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111 Reasons To Exercise

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Not in a regular workout routine? Maybe the problem is you don’t realize the importance of physical activity. I’ll fix that with these 111 reasons to exercise.

You may not like reading this list because then you don’t have the excuse of ignorance. Sorry to bury your excuses.

After reading this it’ll just be pure laziness if you’re not exercising and pushing your body to get in shape. That’s 100% on you.

But I got faith in you. You can build this habit—slowly but surely—and become a more fit version of yourself.

Take it day by day. That’s the key. Don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in a week, then get frustrated you’re not seeing immediate progress. All good things take time.

Alright, let’s dive into every single reason to work out!

The Benefits Of Exercise

  1. Betters your quality of life
  2. Gives you more energy throughout the day
  3. Helps you fall asleep quicker at night
  4. Works to prevent the common cold
  5. Boosts productivity all day
  6. Improves your blood flow
  7. Provides endorphins to feel good
  8. Fights against depression
  9. Improves your social confidence
  10. Extends the amount of years you live
  11. Stimulates mental focus and concentration
  12. Lowers your body fat and weight
  13. Strengthens your immune system
  14. Presents opportunities to make new friends
  15. Increases testosterone
  16. Lessens risk of joint pain
  17. Tones and strengthens your skin
  18. Enhances your endurance
  19. Protects you against heart disease
  20. Lowers risk of some cancers
  21. Convinces you you’re stronger than you think
  22. Fights against dementia
  23. Motivates you to eat healthier
  24. Burns extra calories
  25. Provides a creative outlet
  26. Helps you feel sexier
  27. Drives more romance in your relationship
  28. Lowers cholesterol in a natural way
  29. Makes your dog healthier and happier with more walks
  30. Decreases your resting heart rate
  31. Instills discipline and self-control
  32. Teaches your kids to exercise
  33. Increases your work performance
  34. Adds a challenge to your day
  35. Strengthens your bones
  36. Develops your athletic ability
  37. Pushes you to take more risks
  38. Digests your food better
  39. Lowers risk of diabetes
  40. Lowers triglycerides
  41. Aids your immune system fighting infections
  42. Improves emotional stability
  43. Gives you a positive goal to attach your energy to
  44. Alleviates constipation
  45. Stimulates pain-releasing hormones
  46. Improves oxygen movement to the body
  47. Lowers the risk of osteoporosis
  48. Speeds up your metabolism
  49. Helps remove lactic acid in the body
  50. Develops a mindset of self improvement
  51. Straightens up your posture
  52. Provides a healthy habit to exercise more
  53. Develops flexibility and range of motion
  54. Makes it easier to fit into different types of clothes
  55. Gives you a social setting to meet like-minded people
  56. Helps you think positive
  57. Saves you doctor bills down the road
  58. Increases creativity
  59. Allows you to eat unhealthy without getting fat
  60. Makes you drink more water
  61. Protects your eyes and eyesight
  62. Creates a mentality of respecting your body
  63. Builds muscle tone
  64. Provides opportunities to test your willpower
  65. Fights against allergies
  66. Makes you look younger than you are
  67. Prepares you for change
  68. Increases fertility for making babies
  69. Improves body control
  70. Allows your brain to think more clearly
  71. Helps your body store glycogen
  72. Boosts your body’s production of good fat
  73. Gets you comfortable handling pressure
  74. Decreases appetite for sugary drinks and unhealthy food
  75. Adds muscle strength
  76. Makes you feel hungrier after a good workout
  77. Takes away guilt when you do relax
  78. Increases the odds you make more money
  79. Reduces blood pressure
  80. Teaches you a lesson in patience to see body progress
  81. Alleviates back pain
  82. Readies you for any reunion, wedding, or social gathering
  83. Improves breathing ability
  84. Gives you a chance at a six pack
  85. Instills belief that you can achieve your goals and follow through
  86. Eases menstrual cramps
  87. Gets you ready to run a marathon
  88. Improves your business network and connections
  89. Provides an excuse to wear and buy new exercise clothes
  90. Improves reaction time
  91. Presents opportunities to find new business ideas
  92. Makes for a free social activity
  93. Reduces stress and anxiety
  94. Fights against feelings of boredom
  95. Protects against age-related muscle loss
  96. Gives you a pretty mirror view
  97. Raises your sexual performance
  98. Allows you to eat more food
  99. Makes you a more interesting person
  100. Prepares you to always look good in swimsuits
  101. Builds muscle size
  102. Adds a glow to your skin complexion
  103. Teaches you the value of hard work
  104. Gives you a reason to manage your time better
  105. Protects your body against injury
  106. Decreases the difficulty of lifting heavy objects
  107. Encourages the people around you to exercise
  108. Adds to your first impression
  109. Lowers the scary thought of stepping on a scale
  110. Increases compliments you receive from other people
  111. Gives your body what it loves, a good workout

If those 111 arguments didn’t convince you to take your health serious and begin a consistent exercise plan, I give up. You may be hopeless.

Just kidding. I know that’s not true. Even the most overweight, out-of-shape person can make a turn for the better to prioritize exercise.

And I know after reading this some of you will think, “Exercise is awesome. I’m going to get shredded for the beach this summer.” But then you’ll continue to not work out like nothing changed.

There’s only one road to getting in better shape, and it requires a bunch of sweat.

So snap out of it.  Start exercising like you know you should. Get committed.

You owe it to your mind and body at the very least. Otherwise you’ll steal those 111 reasons from yourself.

And as I wrote in this article, the best time to start is now.

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Interview: Dr. Littleton, “America’s Energy Doctor” Seen On Dr. Oz

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Today I have a special interview for you with a great new friend, Dr. Jason Littleton.

He’s a doctor, CEO, author, speaker, columnist, and so much more. Mainly he’s known as “America’s Energy Doctor,” and has been on The Dr. Oz Show—that’s big time.

What I appreciate about Dr. Littleton is he’s one of those guys who benefits everyone around him, making it look effortless. All you have to do is listen, and you’re going to walk away with some new wisdom or inspiration.

You’ll see what I mean in this interview.

Check it out below, and don’t forget to keep reading after the interview to see my key insights.

——

Brian: You’re super successful now. But it wasn’t always easy. Tell us about your difficult trial during the MCAT and how you got through it to become Dr. Littleton.

Dr. Jason: In a nutshell, I was on a journey to become a doctor. And one of the roadblocks that came up was when I walked out of the MCAT exam.

One of the things I realized is that when you’re going for anything, you’re going to realize what you do and don’t know about yourself that you need to change. You do this so you can become a better version of yourself.

In my case, studying for the MCAT was a whole lot different from studying in high school. In high school, you read a textbook and remember what you need for the test. Even in college, you’re learning things and you mainly memorize information to get to the next level.

But for the MCAT, there’s information there that you have to not just memorize, but retain for your future success as a medical student and as a physician.

One of the things I learned about myself is that I needed to retrain how I learned information. I needed to retrain how I studied and how I focused, so I could be better prepared when I went into that next MCAT exam.

Here’s the deal when you take a big exam like that. Sometimes there’s pressure to succeed. And I didn’t fully understand that pressure as well as I maybe should have understood.

So through self-reflection, understanding the things I did wrong, and staying motivated, I was able to go back and do the test again, and succeed. That was a difficult time that I overcame. But I never lost focus that I would be a successful doctor.

Brian: What are your overall thoughts on failure? Is failure permanent?

Dr. Jason: It’s both. Failure is a temporary thing for people who see the light at the end of the tunnel, when there’s no light. You have to have a vision for yourself. You have to be able to see it when no one else can see it. And when things in the natural don’t look like they’re going well, you still have to have a mental picture of where you’re going and that you can still get there.

For people who can do that, and everyone can do that, so for those willing to do that then failure is temporary.

For people who are not willing to see the greatness inside of them and are not willing to face difficult times and get through them, failure is permanent. Because these are the types of people who will quit, not continue on, not fight the obstacles, or embarrassment. Because sometimes people feel embarrassed when they fail.

So if you can get past the pride and the embarrassment, to see that mental picture of you on the other side, failure is temporary.

Brian: I know that you’re an energy expert. So what are three changes we can make in our lives to gain more energy throughout the day?

Dr. Jason: First, you should always start with breakfast. A lot of people skip that, but here’s the deal: Carbs are our fuel. That’s like our gasoline. So when we eat breakfast, we’re getting the carbs we need to fill our body with energy.

People shouldn’t ever avoid carbs. That’s like not putting gas in your car. You want to have elite carbs though, such as vegetables and fruit.

The other thing people should do is have snacks throughout the day. I always tell people to have six meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner with three snacks in between. When you do that, you stay energized as you go through the day.

Next thing, people should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks. Sometimes people make a habit out of that and they use caffeinated drinks for energy. But they continue that until it’s something they rely on to feel energized.

But that’s not what you need. It hurts your health. It doesn’t make you feel as energized as you actually think. It’s a lot of commercialism.

So those three things, just from a natural aspect of diet and nutrition, will give you more energy.

And here’s one bonus from a mental perspective. People have to plan to go beyond where they think their end point is. For example, if people think at 5 PM their day ends because they got off work and they’re not prepared to go beyond that, their internal mental clock says we’re done working and let’s shut it down.

But I tell people to keep the throttle going. Don’t go home at 5, sit on the couch, and turn things off. Because when you do that, you get tired, it’s hard to start again, it’s hard to work at home, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur outside of your job.

So I tell people to plan to work to at least 10 PM. When you do that, mentally you’re prepared to go longer than you originally thought was your end point. That’s how you can also have more energy and spring to your step during the day.

Brian: From your experience as a doctor, what’s one of the biggest misconceptions an average person has about living a healthy life?

Dr. Jason: I don’t want to lose anyone here, but sometimes people think that they have to work out to an extreme extent so that they feel like they’re in the best shape of their lives.

But I argue that how many football players and athletes live beyond 70? These are people who work out to an extreme extent to become real muscle-bound. And sometimes that extreme working out causes added stress on the body and inflammation that actually doesn’t cause us to have longevity.

Some of people who have been interviewed who lived to their 100s said the secret to longevity is moderation in exercise and diet. Some of the extremes in terms of fitness won’t take you to longevity.

I’m not saying don’t lift weights, don’t go running, don’t work out. I’m saying do it in moderation, don’t do it to an extreme.

Sometimes people will do it to an extent where they don’t feel good about themselves until they’re beating their body to the extreme. When you do that, it damages your health.

Brian: Walk us through how you got featured on Dr. Oz and what that experience was like on national TV?

Dr. Jason: First of all, I have a business coach, Dr. Stacia Pierce, who is world-renowned business coach who has helped me get engaged with people like a Dr. Oz and a Dr. Nandi.

Having a coach is paramount because you need someone, as an entrepreneur, that will push you beyond what you think you can do. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coach.

She pushed me to write my first book WellSpring: The Energy Secrets TO DO The Good Life. As I started marketing myself, people got wind of what I was doing.

And one day I received an email from the social producer from The Dr. Oz Show, asking me to talk about Dr. Oz’s magnesium grocery list and how I used it with my patients.

Of course I accepted that opportunity.

Brian: What’s your favorite book, fiction or nonfiction, and why?

Dr. Jason: One of my all time favorite books is Your Best Life Now by Pastor Joel Osteen. It’s a great book about making positive affirmations, believing in the favor of God, and really walking your faith out to be your best.

I think it’s a great book because when I read that it helped me through my journey of success as a physician.

There’s another book that’s really dear to my heart. It’s by Dr. James Pierce and it’s called The Success Secrets of Excellence. And it’s about how to be excellent in life, in your job, in your business, being on time for appointments, and how you look excellent because people treat you how you look.

Those two books, and my business coach Stacia Pierce, have made me the person I am today.

Brian: What’s your life mission?

Dr. Jason: My life mission is to help people find their passion and to use that so that they can live as healthy as possible, so that they can buy more time on this earth, and so they can carry it out.

Helping people do that enriches the world. Helping people live longer and be energized to do what they’re passionate about is a huge part of my purpose.

Brian: Where can Take Your Success readers go to learn more about you and your work?

Dr. Jason: People can go to my website: www.jasonmd.com. There they can find links to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles.

And on my website they’ll be able to get to every social media site, book, and resource that I have.

——

What I learned is that Dr. Littleton has a clear vision for the world, his patients, and his life. That’s to live with passion.

And his passion empowers him to do his best work, regardless of the arena.

His passion to be a doctor carried him through his difficult time with the MCAT. His passion to help others live with energy improves the lives of his patients and the people around them. And his passion for entrepreneurship pushes him to continual business success.

I’m totally with him. There’s a 180 degree difference between someone who is pursuing their passion and someone who isn’t. You can see it in their day-to-day life, their mood, and often their eyes.

So I, and I know Dr. Littleton agrees, challenge you to find your passion. It’s the best thing for the people around you and you.

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