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Best Body Challenge: Day 4

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Fitness

Focus: Legs

What To Do: 20x Sumo Squat with Heel Raise (20 reps on each side) + 30 seconds Squat Jumps

 

Set feet wide outside your hips with toes angled out. Alternating, lift one heel at a time and drop hips back into a squat position. Keep your chest up and abs locked in tight. When you return to the top of the move, lower heel and raise the other one and repeat. The higher you lift the heel off the floor, the more work you will get into the legs and glutes.

 

Starting with feet just outside your hips and toes turned out, quickly drop into a squat position before driving away from the floor. Use your arms to help pull you up higher and land with bent knees.

 

Nutrition

If you want to kick-start your metabolism and maybe even shed a few stubborn pounds, the secret is your microbiome, a.k.a. the trillions of bacteria that reside in your gut.

Those little microbiota are hard at work helping your digestive system break down plant fiber, producing neurotransmitters and lowering inflammation. But a growing field of research suggests that the bugs in your gut also influence your weight in surprising ways. A landmark study in 2006 compared the gut bacteria of obese mice to those of thin mice and found that they were markedly different. And when they put gut bacteria from the obese mice into the thin mice, lo and behold, the thin mice got fat. 

Researchers believe certain kinds of bacteria can actually cause obesity. One strain in particular, firmicutes, seems to be better at extracting nutrients from food than other types—which means a person with more firmicutes in their G.I. tract absorbs more calories from the same food than someone with less of that strain. Research also shows certain bacteria modulate hunger hormones and affect blood sugar, metabolism and fat storage—all factors in building your best body.

So what can you do to make sure you have the right mix of microbes? Leafy greens and other plant foods nourish the healthiest strains of gut bacteria (which in turn starve out the bad ones), supporting weight loss, as well as clear skin, balanced hormones and less risk of disease. 

 

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