You Can Do Better 3: Improve Your Diet, Fitness and Health I.Q. Instantly

All natural bodybuilder and kinesiologist Brad Borland gives us a another set of hints that take advantage of how the body works for smarter training and better health.

Do you ever wonder if there is a better way or maybe even a different way all together for improving your diet, fitness and health approaches? Is there a tweak or shift in perspective needed to upgrade those ever elusive results to finally put you over the top to do better?

Read on for more instant tips on advancing, enhancing and developing your greatest asset: You!

You Can: Be your own spotter in the gym and strengthen weak points in the meantime.

Unilateral training refers to the practice of performing a resistance training movement with one side of the body at a time. This has several advantages. On a single arm dumbbell curl, for example, you can utilize your “free” hand to help spot the working arm by giving it a little push. This also can have a profound effect on balancing weaknesses on a particular side of the body by first identifying the weak area and then employing specific focus to bring that area up to par with the stronger side.

You Can: Skip carbs to give your fat loss a boost.

Every now and then we stall on our fat loss efforts despite our greatest efforts regarding training with intensity and consistency and sticking to our diets with the strictest intentions. A quick I-don’t want-to-think-about-this-too-much approach is to cut out half of your carbs for one day. This will give your body a bit of a shock and coax it into tapping those stubborn fat stores and get your lean dreams going again. Your energy will not be profoundly affected because it is only one day and it may be just the nudge your body needs.

You Can: Soften the sting of cardio by performing intervals.

Long, arduous, boring and time-consuming. These terms sum up traditional cardiovascular training for most people on their quest to get the body they want. The fact of the matter is that this style of cardio does little for fat loss and the body can easily adapt, slowing and oftentimes stopping progress. A better way to boost fat loss (by coaxing the body to burn fat long after your training session) is to integrate some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in your program.

Simply start with a 3-5 minute warm-up with your mode of cardio of choice. Perform 2 minutes of low intensity and then 1 minute of high intensity. Don’t worry about specific levels or other details; just make sure there is a significant difference in the intensity. Continue these intervals for a total of 10-15 minutes saving you time while boosting fat loss.

You Can: Benefit more from food by including the key macronutrients in each meal.

We all know we need protein to repair and build muscle and carbohydrates for energy replenishment and production, but fat has (still) gotten a bad rap when it comes to losing unwanted pounds. Adding healthy fats to your meals in moderation has a host of benefits including heart health, joint health, stabilizing blood sugar levels and allowing you to reduce carbs without sacrificing energy and satiety.

Some examples include adding 1 ounce of nuts with Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of oil-based dressings with a meat salad, 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter with oatmeal and whey protein and adding avocado to sandwiches.

You Can: Create time within your workout for a complete abdominal program.

Staggered sets are the great time-creator that can not only enable you to get more work done in the same amount of time, but will also jack up the intensity and subsequent fat loss in your training program. Many individuals find that they throw abs in at the end of a workout as an afterthought or completely neglect them all together.

Perform staggered sets by performing a set as you would normally do (let’s say a bench press) and then while you are resting knockout a quick set of leg lifts or crunches for 20 or 30 reps. Doing so throughout your workout you end up with a thorough program hitting your midsection from many angles without adding anymore time in the gym.

Dumbbell illustration by Everkinetic

Brad is the founder of BradBorland.com. He is a consultant, writer, fitness specialist, husband and father. He earned his Master's degree in Kinesiology, is a member of the Air National Guard and is a cancer survivor.