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Fighting fat over 40

November 9, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Who doesn't want to burn fat and stay strong? Yet after age 40 it gets a lot tougher due to a loss of muscle mass, and therefore a slower metabolism. The good news? There are some easy ways to fight back.

"I definitely recommend women over 40 start picking up some dumbbells, not just using machines, because the machines do a lot of the thinking for you," said Jill Brown.

Muscle stimulation is the name of the game, says fitness expert Jill Brown. Because increasing muscle mass increases metabolism. So at any age we can be burning more fat for every year we get older. And remember: Gals can get strong without bulking up.

"Doing step-walking, walking upstairs, or weight-lifting," said Brown. "Things like that that are going to increase our muscle mass."

Push-ups, lunges, squats. Movement that is weight-bearing is key. Along with taking our program off autopilot by mixing up the workout through interval workouts, using various forms of cardiovascular exercise with strength training and stretching.

"These are intervals and there's all different kind of ways to implement that, but it will get you out of a rut and it will take you up to the next level of fitness," said Brown.

Smart food choices also play a role. Some foods that have been studied that aid in weight loss are foods with fiber, spice, and those containing omega-3 fats and other nutrients.

Some of the foods that worked best? High-fiber granola bars, omega-3 fat foods like walnuts, flax, and salmon.

Replacing sugar with cinnamon has merit, as it helps curb sugar cravings, regulates blood sugar and helps in lowering cholesterol.

Food with a hot kick like Tabasco or red-pepper flakes contains capsaicin, a fiery plant chemical that helps lower insulin (the hormone that aids in fat storage) by as much as 30 percent, which is substantial.

One of the most important things to remember: If you can simply cut 100 calories out of your day, either through movement or food swaps, that equals 3,100 calories you can lose in a month, 400 calories shy of a pound of fat. So over a course of a year that's an easy 11-pound loss.


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