Welcome to the Couch Potato Challenge
What is it?
I created the Couch Potato Challenge because I'm sick and tired of starting a new weight loss plan, only to lose interest or run out of steam before the end of the first month.
The Couch Potato Challenge is a ONE MONTH campaign designed to kick-start your weight loss/get in shape plans. Look at it like a warm-up for the main event. Imagine you've finally convinced yourself to take up Boxercise to aid weight loss, or to simply get in better shape.
Wouldn't it make sense to give yourself the best start by first taking a month to prepare your body and mind for the task ahead. That is where the Couch Potato Challenge comes in - Take the challenge, and in one month your mind and body will be ready to start that Boxercise class. And because you're better prepared for it, you're more likely to stick with it, and to reach your ultimate goal.
The Couch Potato Challenge will enable you to work out from the comfort of your own home in a way that is fun and doable (no set times, no hard limits). When you're ready to start working out at a Gym or Exercise Club, you'll at least know your body is prepared for the challenge.
No Exercise Classes
Seriously, if you want to get in shape and you haven't worked out in a while (or ever) then joining an exercise club and working out for 30 minutes to an hour at a time, is only going to end in tears. Take the Couch Potato Challenge, and prepare your body before hand.
No Fee's (Ever!)
Yep! It's free. No hidden costs either.
I have designed the Couch Potato Challenge to be fun and sociable, nobody wants to follow a plan that is strict and if I dare say it 'boring'.
Let's talk about convenience for a minute. The Couch Potato Challenge includes pre-challenge, challenges. These should be tackled first because they provide the foundations upon which all other challenges are based. The remaining 30 or so challenges can be tackled in any order you want, and whenever you want.
There is no 'arriving late to the party' here. You don't have to be in it from the beginning to join in either.
Did I mention it was Free to take The Couch Potato Challenge? I did! oh good....
18. Sculpt your butt, legs, and core - 15 Running Tips You Need to Know
Drop these bad workout habits
Exercise plays a part in any successful weight-loss plan, but the scale won't budge if you take shortcuts.
Experts reveal the bad habits and poor form that blow your calorie burn, and tell you how to maximise your sweat sessions.
You put in the time and effort, show up at the gym, and pride yourself in not taking shortcuts. So why is the scale not budging? Chances are, poor exercise form or bad workout habits are costing you precious calories. Here are the most common ways people cheat at their workouts without even realising it, and offer ways to kick those saboteurs to the curb.
Work those good bacteria
Your digestive tract contains about 1,000 species of bacteria. Why should you care? It turns out that having a healthy balance of those bugs can help you lose weight and bust cravings for fattening foods.
So today, do a gut check: learn about the belly-healthy foods you should be eating and why.
Simply put, if you get the microbiome— that collection of bacteria inside you —healthy, you will lose weight,
It's less about eating a certain percentage of carbohydrates, protein and fat than about correcting the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria, which is making you crave the wrong foods, triggering inflammation.
A flurry of ground-breaking findings are helping to connect the dots about how our gut bacteria may shape our, well, shape. In a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, obese women who took a probiotic supplement (of the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus) lost twice as much weight and fat over about six months— and were better at keeping it off —as those who took a placebo.
Probiotics may have helped by controlling the women's appetites, which seem to have waned as their microbiomes changed.
Unhealthy gut bacteria also produce food cravings: A study published in BioEssays suggests that some microbes may drive us to eat doughnuts or another tempting treat. These gut bugs send chemical messages to the brain that sway our appetite and mood—perhaps making us feel anxious until we gobble a square of dark chocolate or a T-bone steak.
Fortunately, we can begin to take control by feeding our microbiome the right foods.
What we eat dictates the kind of bacteria we grow in our gut garden.
This is big news: There are trillions of microbes in your belly that will—if you feed them well—help you fight flab and win.
Work those good bacteria - Slim Down With the Good Bacteria in Your Gut
Gut Check #1: Get Your Two P's
Basically, it all begins with probiotics and prebiotics, components of food believed to play an important role in improving gut health. Probiotics are a type of good bacteria, similar to the ones that already reside in your gut. Ingesting these organisms aids digestion and helps change and repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance what doctors refer to as "gut flora. Prebiotics are plant-fibre compounds, also found in food, that pass undigested through the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract and help stimulate the growth of good bacteria. When pre- and probiotics are combined, they become an intestinal power couple (or, in blunter terms, they kick nutritional butt).
Gut Check #2: Go Live
Fermented foods deliver probiotics directly to the gut. A cup of yogurt a day? It's a nice start. Look for products that say "live and active cultures" on the label, and be careful when it comes to fruit-infused flavours: Some are loaded with sugar, which can feed bad bugs, so be sure to check the ingredients and aim for fewer than 15 grams per serving. For even more probiotics, try Greek yogurt or kefir, a tangy dairy drink that's packed with good bugs. A 2011 Harvard study found that yogurt was more strongly linked to weight loss than any other health food. In fact, people who ate an extra serving a day lost nearly a pound every four years.
Gut check #3: Down Some Fibre
It does more than fill you up: Research shows that foods that are high in fibre help promote the growth of friendly bacteria. Case in point: In a University of Illinois study, people who ate high-fibre snack bars experienced a growth of anti-inflammatory bacteria in their bellies.
Gut check #4: Mix Up Your Menu
Eat an assortment of foods to encourage a more varied metropolis in your belly. Recent studies suggest that the intestines of lean people look more like bustling cities than sleepy towns. (Translation: They're densely populated and diverse.)
One study showed that individuals who had a healthy weight, body mass index, waist circumference and blood sugar level were more apt to have high levels of three different types of bacteria—Firmicutes, Bifidobacteria and Clostridium leptum. What's more, in a pair of French studies, people with diverse gut microbiomes were less likely to be obese or at risk of diabetes.
Plus, their intestinal ecosystems were home to fewer pro-inflammatory bacteria. It's easy to change up your meals: If you had salad with grilled chicken yesterday, for example, go with a fish taco or a tofu stir-fry today.
Gut check #5: Skip Bad-News Foods
What you don't eat is every bit as crucial as what you do add to your diet. Keep your gut flora fit by cutting back on these offenders.
Fatty and sugary foods not only tend to lack fibre—which is ideal food for the microbiome—but can also cause bad bacteria to thrive. And let's face it: If you're pounding that bag of potato chips, chances are you're not munching on celery sticks, blueberries and other gut-friendly eats.
A diet heavy in fat and protein (such as meat and cheese) feeds a type of bacteria, Bilophilia, that has been linked to inflammation. Lawrence David, PhD, assistant professor at Duke University's Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, saw the levels of this bacteria shoot up in study participants scarfing ribs and brisket, but not in those eating squash and lentils. Limit red meat to once a week. It's smart for your heart—and hips!
Do this 15-minute speed circuit workout
Blasting calories doesn't mean spending hours in the gym. This super-fast, super-easy circuit routine is perfect for days you're feeling too overwhelmed to work out.
Toss these low-fat foods
Hate to break it to you, but it's time for another fridge and pantry clean-out.
Look for anything labeled "low fat," "fat free," or "reduced fat." While these labels are fine for dairy products like milk, you shouldn't automatically assume other types of foods are any better for your diet than the full-fat versions.
Why? All too often, companies use more sugar, salt, and additives to make them taste good. The result is foods that are lower in fat, sure, but more sugary and sometimes even more caloric. So search your cupboards for these nine foods, and replace them with our expert-approved picks.
Shed pounds fast
Short on time? No problem. This circuit, combines strength-training and cardio so you torch major calories while you tone.
You want to do what is going to be the most effective for your calorie burn and your schedule.
Do each move as many times as you can in 30 seconds, while maintaining good form, then go to the next one. Complete circuit three times, twice a week.
Key rule: Don't rest! You shouldn't do a move and then wait to do another one. Go from one move to the next to the next. So while one group of muscles is resting, you've moved on to a different muscle group.
If you've done push-ups, do lunges; if you've done lunges, do pull-downs. Keep it moving!"
Smash your workout - We'll be sharing your best workout plans - Share the exercises below, share your workout and put your friends to the test....
Turn up your metabolism
How fast your body burns calories depends on a lot of things, including genetics, your sex, and your age.
Resistance training is one of the best things you can do to reverse the inevitable age-related slowdown—and if you've been following our program from Day 1, then you're already heading in the right direction—but there are also smaller habits you can adopt to fan your metabolism's flames, from adding an extra ingredient to your smoothie to watching a funny YouTube video. Download our eBook below by hitting that big red button, and try to incorporate as many metabolism boosting habits as you can.
I know exercise is essential to maintaining weight and improving overall health, but with our busy schedules, it's tough to fit in fitness. Sometimes hitting the gym feels like an impossible task!
So here are a number of easy ways to fit fitness into your everyday life.
Challenge NO.9: Sneak in these sneaky ways to Exercise
errandsShare any of these sneaky ways to exercise more with your friends, let them know you're serious about reaching your goals.
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, which inevitably means one thing: portion control. But you're not necessarily doomed to a growling stomach until you reach your goal.
Portion control doesn't mean you have to eat tiny portions of everything. You don't want to feel like you're on a diet, but you have to eat fewer calories."
Here are 14 easy ways to cut portions, trim calories, and lose fat without counting the minutes until your next meal.
Do this calorie-burning strength workout
The average person in their 30's who strength-trains two times a week for 30 to 40 minutes will burn an extra 100 calories a day within four months. In other words, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body burns.
Burn 700 calories fast with this workout, which combines strength and cardio exercises you can do anywhere.
Download the eBook and create your strength workout.
Eat more fat-burning foods
Certain foods have a thermogenic effect, which means you literally burn calories as you chew. Others have nutrients and compounds that crank up your metabolism. Stoke your metabolic fire by eating more of these foods, while cutting out unhealthy snacks and empty calories.
Your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods (especially those rich in fiber such as oatmeal and brown rice) than processed foods.
Protein has a high thermogenic effect: You burn about 30% of the calories the food contains during digestion (so a 300-calorie chicken breast requires about 90 calories to break it down).
One cup packs 35% of your daily iron needs—good news, since up to 20% of us are iron- deficient. When you lack a nutrient, your metabolism slows because the body’s not getting what it needs to work efficiently.
Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, heats up your body, which makes you melt additional calories. You can get it by eating raw, cooked, dried, or powdered peppers“ Add as much cayenne or hot sauce as possible to soups, eggs, and meats.
Eat a high-protein breakfast
Hunger is one of the biggest obstacles to any weight-loss plan, but studies show a protein-packed breakfast slows digestion and keeps blood sugar steady, meaning you'll feel more satisfied and energized for the rest of the day. An easy way to get this belly-flattening nutrient in your morning meal: the humble egg.
Here are delicious, easy egg recipes, all packed with protein and low in calories and carbs
Discover your fifth taste
Salty, sweet, bitter, sour—and now, umami, a savory food flavor that may help you lose weight. Some chefs use umami in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG), and a recent study revealed that adding MSG to soup boosted post-meal satiety, resulting in eating less later in the day.
You've probably heard that MSG has been linked to side effects like headaches and breathing troubles, so it's best to get your umami flavor from natural, healthy foods like these. Begin incorporating these 5 foods into your diet today.
The Fifth Taste
Will you include any of these prime examples in your diet! Share those you're willing to add to your diet on your Facebook Wall. I'm guessing it won't be Truffles or Seaweed - at least not for me.
Do this fat-burning jump-rope circuit
Skipping rope isn't just for kids: it's a quick, convenient way to blast calories whether you're on the go or in your living room.
No rope? No problem—you can do variations on jumping rope, including high knee legs and jumping jacks.
We dare you to record your rope workout, and share it on our Facebook Wall
Assess your personality
Whether you're the life of the party, a bookworm, or a night owl, your personality plays a surprisingly large role in your ability to slim down. Follow this guide to discover your personality type and use your own characteristics to lose weight and keep it off for good.
Do you identify with any of these personality traits?
If you recognise any of these personality traits in yourself, share them on your social media Facebook Wall, Pinterest Board, or Twitter to make yourself accountable, and pledge to make a change.
If you've been weighing yourself regularly throughout this challenge, then you're onto something; if not, you should start.
Why? Recent research shows an association between weighing yourself and weight loss. In a study, the more often people stepped on the scale, the more weight they lost
Daily Weigh In's might prove a great incentive for some Couch Potatos
There are a handful of things we all dread. Like scrubbing the bottom of fridge drawers, stepping in a gym shower without flip flops, and, most likely, hopping on a scale…especially around the holidays.
But a new study in the journal PLOS ONE proves it’s worth sucking it up and getting on the scale more often, because the frequency of scale-stepping can actually be indicative of weight loss.
In the study, researchers at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab tracked more than a year’s worth of weigh-ins from 40 overweight women who wanted to lose weight.
The result: The more often they got on the scale, the more pounds they shed. Meanwhile, those who waited more than a week between scale visits actually ended up gaining weight.
(Though it’s worth mentioning that the study can’t prove causation, just a link between weigh-ins and weight loss. It’s possible that women who weren’t as serious about slimming down simply weighed themselves less.)
Why might a scale reading help you drop pounds? Researchers point to its ability to keep you on track—the whole “knowledge is power” sort of thing. So if you tack on a pound or two after a few days of holiday revelry, you might look at the scale the next morning and realize, hey, I need to go back to my healthy habits starting today.
If you’re really not into the idea of a daily scale routine, take note: The study found that the longest the women could go without weighing themselves and not gaining weight was around six days. So a weekly check-in could be a good idea. The best day to do it, per another study by the same team? On Wednesdays, when the reading will be the most accurate (people weigh the least on Friday mornings and the most on Sunday nights).
And for those who are in the market for a new scale, here are five smart ones worth considering:
IntroductionRegular self-monitoring of body weight is an effective intervention in weight loss programmes and, especially, in weight maintenance –.
Frequent self-monitoring is assumed to improve self-awareness, provide early detection of subtle weight increases and prevent weight regain after weight loss .
Regular self-weighing is recommended as part of the behavioral therapy for weight management by the National Institute of Health and is deemed ‘crucial’ for long-term weight maintenance .
Frequent self-monitoring may also promote weight management during the holiday season when the risk of weight gain is high.
Stepping on the scale is common among dieters but how does the frequency of weigh-ins impact weight?
A new study in PLOS ONE showed that the more frequently dieters weighed themselves the more weight they lost, and if participants went more than a week without weighing themselves, they gained weight.
The researchers analysed 2,838 weight measurements (up to a years' worth of weigh-ins) from 40 overweight individuals (with a body mass index of 25 and over) who indicated that weight loss was a personal goal or concern. The researchers found that weight loss was related to how often individuals weighed themselves.
The more often you weigh yourself the more weight you lose. This observational study cannot prove causation - it may be that less serious dieters weight themselves less or that dieters who stop losing weight stop weighting themselves.
The average time that participants could go between weighting without gaining weight was 5.8 days or about a weekly weigh-in.
Weigh yourself at least once a week if you wish to lose weight, and weighing yourself everyday may help you stay on track. A previous study by the same research team found that your weight naturally fluctuates throughout the week and that most people weigh the least on Wednesday.
The bottom line is: If you want to lose weight, it’s best to weigh yourself every day. But if you weigh yourself only once a week, do it on Wednesday because that will give you the most accurate reading.
Do this ballet-inspired workout
Ever wonder how dancers get their long, lean legs? Genetics plays a part, sure—but ballet is a serious workout. Ballet-inspired workouts focus on your full body, and most exercises involve "micro-movements," in which you move just an inch or two.
You know the score, download the eBook, perform the task, and share the results on social media to be accountable.
Make a few servings of quinoa
Quinoa is a dieter's dream food: Each 1-cup cooked serving packs 8 grams of belly-slimming protein and 5 grams of fiber.
The pseudocereal (it's actually a seed) is also extremely versatile: in addition to swapping it in as a replacement for rice, you can use it to top a salad, mix it into a smoothie, or even eat it as a hot cereal for breakfast. So today, prep a few servings and keep it stored in your fridge.
Unleash your inner animal
Get ready for a workout you'll be wild about! These animal-inspired exercises keep you moving constantly, so in addition to toning you up all over, you'll blast 350 calories.
Make your home a slimmer space
Your home should serve as a break from the constant lure of the drive-thru or the office vending machine (why hello, 3:00 pm Milky Way). But if your home isn't set up correctly, it may be encouraging bad habits.
From organising your kitchen to your thermostat setting, here are 10 things you can do to prevent your home from causing you to pack on pounds.
Which of the ten home changes are you committing too.
Skip packaged foods
For anyone trying to lose weight, cutting down consumption of added sugar is essential. One way to do it: eat clean. That means focusing your diet on whole foods—like lean meats, veggies, and fruits—and working to eliminate artificial and processed foods (read: anything that comes in a wrapper or box).
12 Food-Industry Tricks That Undermine Clean Eating
Trying for an all-natural diet? A lot happens to your food before it hits your plate.
Are you supermarket smart?
The process of getting that apple on your plate sounds simple enough: farmer picks apple, apple gets loaded on a truck and shipped off to the grocery store where it lands in your cart. Well, not quite. In fact, your food goes through a lot to make it to you, from being treated with antibiotics to getting a chlorine bath and a wax coating. Many of these steps are no big deal (and we want to silence any fears you may have about them), but some are bad for your health and others huge money wasters. Here are a dozen things that are happening to your healthy food before you take a bite.
Search for hidden sugar
You may not be eating Oreos by the roll or guzzling cans of Coke, but that doesn't mean sugar is absent from your diet. You're likely eating sugar throughout the day without even realising it—it's added to foods that don't even taste sweet, like breads, condiments, sauces. That's why most of us are taking more than double the recommended amount of added sugar per day.
Get your cravings under control
Within the first few weeks of any new weight-loss plan, it's normal to have visions of pizza, cheeseburgers, or cupcakes dancing through your head. What you might not realise: many of your daily habits, like having a too-light breakfast or even perusing Pinterest can strengthen your hankerings and weaken your willpower.
Confession is good for the dieter (Accountability)
Hover over the strategies you'll employ to crush your cravings, and share them with your friends on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Curb post-workout overeating
Congratulations on ramping up your fitness routine! But avoid this weight-loss trap: Many people eat rich foods and larger portions after working out—either because they are truly hungry or just feel like they earned the reward. Don't eat back all of (or more than) the calories you just burned!