Six tips to help you lose weight and gain muscle

It’s all about the little things

By Emily Abbate, GQ

By now, we’ve really settled in to 2019, which means that all of our most cherished goals - to eat better, to lose weight, to get jacked, and to make a better (and healthier) desk lunch - are about to be put to the test. Research shows that 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. And hello, February. Here we are.

Before you surrender, we’ve got the reserve list ready, in the form of six little habits that will help keep your January momentum going. “If you think about your everyday life, you’re likely consistent about a lot of things and don’t even realise it,” says Jason Wersland, D.C., creator of the Theragun. “Once you turn something that takes five minutes into a habit, you realise that it’s not as tough as you thought to be a little healthier.”

That isn’t a euphemism, either: Each of these tweaks requires less than five minutes of your time to implement. Feel free to spend the next 11 months thanking us.


Take the phone outside the bedroom

So many people attribute the “need” to keep their phone on their bedside table to the fact that it wakes them up in the morning. So let’s dispense with that right now: Go spend £10 on an alarm clock. For centuries, people managed to get to work on time without the aid of an Instagram-enabled device. You can do it, too.

Why? Keeping your phone in such close proximity to your sheets can lead to a delay in sleep onset, and reduce the total amount of sleep you get, too. Even if you do put the phone down 10 to 15 minutes before closing your eyes, the “blue light” from your cell, a tablet, or computer screen is still wreaking havoc; studies have shown exposure leads to less restorative sleep and more drowsiness the next day.

Take a page from Arianna Huffington’s book and put your phone away - out of arm’s reach, and ideally in another room - between 30 and 60 minutes before lights out. Use of her weird phone bed is strictly optional.



Don’t roll your eyes - you’re probably holding your breath right now and don’t even realise it. “I talk a lot about how to better take care of our bodies, and it really starts with our breath,” says Wersland. “We hold a lot of tension when we don’t take the time to pause with all the running around. It can happen anywhere - in a car, at your desk, before a meeting.”

Science agrees. In one study, researchers divided a group of 20 healthy adults into two groups. One group was instructed to do two sets of 10-minute breathing exercises, while the other group was told to read a text of their choice for 20 minutes. The subjects’ saliva was tested at various intervals during the exercise. The breathing exercise group’s saliva had significantly lower levels of three cytokines associated with stress and inflammation.

Taking time to focus on your breath can make a big difference not only for your mind but for your body, too. If you’ve never tried yoga, which treats breathing as a critical component of exercise instead of as an ancillary activity, now is a good time to start.


Read for at least five minutes before bed

“Read more” seems to be an item atop everyone’s wish list. But if you need any more incentive to pick up a book, a 2012 study conducted at the University of Notre Dame indicates that recall is best when we learn right before sleeping. Knowing that you’ll benefit all day long from reading just a few pages will make the task feel a little less daunting.



Not just that morning get-out-of-bed move, either. Stretching is something that even the most dedicated fitness zealots put on the back burner, because they’re “just too busy.” But even a few minutes of stretching can increase blood flow to your entire body, which is a good thing no matter how much exercise you are (or aren’t) getting.

“Stretching keeps your muscles strong, healthy, and mobile,” says Lindsey Clayton, a Barry’s Bootcamp instructor and co-founder of Brave Body Project. “Without it, your muscles will get shorter and tighter over time, which can lead to injury.” Go easy with yourself to start, practicing a few of Clayton’s go-tos: Cat-cows, for example, will go a long way toward making lower back pain a thing of the past.


Eat more leafy greens

The list of benefits you’ll see when you incorporate things like kale, butter lettuce, bok choi, and arugula into your diet is about as lengthy as your standard Monday morning to-do list. Aside from being a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, a diet rich in leafy greens has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and breast and stomach cancer, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

This doesn’t need to be complicated: Think about adding mixed greens to your morning scramble, or sautéing broccolini - broccoli’s trendier cousin - for Sunday night dinner.



Meditation is one of those habits that takes a long time to get used to, along with running, swimming, and wearing matching socks. But give it a few weeks, and you’ll see that a small commitment can have a major impact on stress, anxiety, blood pressure, and fatigue. Research shows that just one 10-minute session of guided mindfulness can lead to noticeable improvements in problem-solving ability.

“Choose an existing daily routine - say, brushing your teeth in the morning,” says Megan Jones Bell, Psy.D., the chief science officer at Headspace. “If you are new to meditation, start by walking out of your bathroom, sitting in a comfortable chair, and spending three to five minutes listening to an audio-guided session.” By pinning meditation to something you already do on autopilot, you’ll be more likely to follow through instead of spending that time scrolling through the social-media app of your choice.

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Men's Magazine: Six tips to help you lose weight and gain muscle
Six tips to help you lose weight and gain muscle
Looking to lose weight and gain muscle? We've found you six five-minute habits to help you live a healthier 2019.
Men's Magazine
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