When you decided to make fitness a priority, you were pumped. For the first few weeks or even months, things were cooking. You were feeling great, looking slimmer, and totally on your way toward a fitter you. And then… stagnation. But don’t let that plateau discourage you! As cheesy as it sounds, this is actually a great opportunity to reassess and reset your plan. Here’s what you might be doing wrong, and how to fix it ASAP.
—Amy Roberts, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
You’re doing too much of the same thing. It’s awesome to find your fitness passion, whether it’s indoor cycling, Zumba, barre classes, or running. But if that’s all you do, you’re going to get very good at it…and then any body changes you were making will drop off. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: Try something new! And be specific about it—if your goal is more muscle tone, add some strength workouts. Or if you want to improve your flexibility, give yoga a go. “If you want what you don’t have, you have to do what you don’t already do,” says Tampa-based personal trainer Aimee Nicotera.
You’re not challenging yourself enough. More and more, studies are showing that the intensity of a workout matters more than its duration when it comes to weight loss. As mentioned above, your body adapts quickly to the same routine, and this includes marathon steady-state sessions on the elliptical or long even-keeled runs in the park. Instead, try mixing it up with a different form of cardio, running intervals, or high-intensity interval training. The same intensity concern also goes for strength workouts done with too-light weights—in order to tone muscles,you have to lift heavy. There’s one caveat here, though; not every lifting session should be to your max potential. By alternating workouts between light, medium, and heavy days, you’ll get the best toning results.
You’re overeating for your calorie burn. It’s a common oops. Your heart rate monitor says you burned 800 calories in your boot camp class, so there’s no harm in stopping by the smoothie shop afterward. The fact is, calorie burn, even on that fancy watch, is often overestimated. Beyond that, you need to keep yourself at a calorie deficit if your goal is weight loss (even if you’re looking to “tone up,” you still want to aim for this deficit, because body fat is often what’s keeping your muscles from showing through). Make a more conscious effort to clean up your diet and watch your portions, and remember that liquid calories count. One trick to keep you mindful of your nutrition: Eat every meal and snack sitting down, savoring each bite. People often forget calories consumed on the go.
You’re overtired or overstressed. Working out and eating well are only two parts of the equation. If you’re not sleeping enough or you’re really feeling the pressure at work, your body isn’t going to adapt as well to the positive influence of exercise. Sleep is essential for muscles to heal after a tough sweat session, and stress can wreak havoc on your hormones, training your body to retain fat. Try to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep by treating bedtime as an unbreakable appointment, and look forways to manage stress whenever you can.
You sit around too much when you’re not at the gym. I’m sure you’ve heard about “sitting disease” and how it’s worse for us than any number of evils (smoking, eating fast food, drinking—pick your poison). And it’s so much harder to avoid, given that so many jobs require hours at a desk. Getting in regular workouts is an excellent first line of defense, but research shows that people who are more active—not just at the gym, but in life—are thinner and fitter. So if you notice you’re on your butt for hours at a time, it’s time to start some new habits. Get up to go talk to coworkers in person, pace (or at least stand) when you’re on phone calls, get in a walk to get your lunch, take the stairs, opt for a standing desk… Bottom line: Spend more time on your feet.
You’re too hard on yourself! Another thought to consider: Perhaps it’s not your results but your expectations that are a little off. So many people have a set idea of what they think the scale should say, that they only see disappointment when it’s not going down at the pace they want. Or they get so focused on one “problem area” that they ignore other positive progress. Bodies lose weight and shift composition at different paces, and (unfortunately) you can’t get your upper arms to tone up independent of the rest of you. Revel in the other victories you might be ignoring. Have you been sleeping better since you started working out? Is bounding up the stairs or lugging in the groceries that much easier? Have you taken time to notice that your favorite jeans are fitting a little better? Do you just feelbetter than you did before beginning your routine? Yep, I thought so.
Skin Brushing Removes Cellulite, and Has a Host of Other Health & Beauty Benefits
All You Need is 2 Minutes a Day and a Natural Bristle Brush
, all you need to dry brush yourself is a natural bristle brush. You can find them in many sizes at health food stores.
It’s best to dry brush once or twice a day, just before getting into the shower. Dry-brushing smooths skin by detaching the clumps of fat that attach themselves to tendons. So remember, this is a detoxification treatment, and like all detoxes, it requires you to drink even more than eight glasses of water a day to help the body rid itself of toxins.
Without applying any oils or lotions, start with the soles of your feet, brushing the legs upwards in circular motions. A slight redness is normal; the brushing motion sloughs off the top layer of skin as well as increasing blood flow to the area. Work your brush over the upper thighs, buttocks, and stomach area before moving on to the arms and chest. You don’t need to apply pressure as you brush; the fat and lymph fluid we’re targeting is right on the surface of the skin.
Concentrate on the areas with the most lymph nodes: the groin and underarms. As you’ll immediately learn, skin brushing is very invigorating, so avoid waiting until the end of the day to do it–you may have a hard time falling asleep afterward.
I have two brushes I use: a large paddle brush at home, and a smaller brush that I keep in my gym bag for days I shower at the gym. On that note, remember that no matter how dirty and sweaty you’ve gotten, it’s best to brush before any water hits your skin. So yes, the brush will get dirty; just clean it regularly along with your makeup brushes, using the same gentle cleanser. (You can also use shampoo.)
Brushing took me about five minutes at first, but as you get more used to doing it you’ll get faster, and it should only take you about two minutes a day once skin brushing has become routine for you. As soon as you step out of the shower, you’ll notice a rosy glow to your skin. Within a week, you’ll see clearer, more youthful looking skin. And within a month, you’ll get a visible reduction in cellulite.
In addition to flushing fat and toxins, skin brushing is recommended for improving circulation and preventing wrinkles. Really, it’s hard to find an excuse not to spend two minutes a day on this. Enjoy!
Whether you struggled with acne as a teen, you’re battling dark spots in your twenties, or you haven’t quite figured out how to get clear skin based on your own skin type, everyone struggles with less than perfect skin. In a world of constant photo sharing and status updating, the pressure is on to constantly have clear skin, but doing so can be incredibly difficult. Because everyone (including us!) could use some help in the clear skin department, we’ve compiled the 101 best tips and tricks for clear skin below – start reading to get your skin to it’s ideal place in no time, and bookmark this page for those times when you’re struggling – it happens to us all, but now you’ll know how to make the fixes you need.
101. For bad acne marks, a chemical peel can help to reduce or eliminate the discoloration of skin.
100. If you struggle with hormonal breakouts every month, reduce your alcohol and dairy intake and you’ll see an improvement in your skin.
99. The biggest mistake you can make is leaving your makeup on overnight. Keep makeup remover wipes at your bedside table to avoid acne in the morning.
98. Berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, plus they have a low glycemic index so they won’t raise your blood sugar. Because sugar can stimulate a breakout, eating berries will reduce the risk of pimples.
97. Exercise is important to staying healthy and keeping your skin clear, and Dr. Ava Shamban suggests exercising for about 15 minutes a day to keep toxins in your body at bay and maintain clear skin.
96. Using SPF every day will prevent wrinkles and dark spots, while dark spot correctors can reduce the appearance of marks over time.
95. When you work out, be sure to wash your face both before and after you exercise. Leaving makeup on your face while you exercise means that it will mix with your sweat and clog pores, so be sure to start and end with clean skin.
94. Hydration is key to clear skin. Dehydration causes breakouts, because the skin overcompensates and produces more oil than necessary when it’s dry, which in turn causes you to break out. Drink more water!
93. When a pimple comes along and you need to get rid of it ASAP, try a spot treatment like Clinique’s Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel. It helps to zap pimples in as little as 12 hours.
92. Grapefruit is packed with antioxidants, so using skin care products containing grapefruit will help to wake up your skin and leave it feeling clean and fresh.
91. To get rid of any body acne, make sure you don’t “stew in your own sweat;” shower with salicylic acid wash immediately after you workout to avoid clogging your pores.
90. If you’re going to pop a pimple at home, do it the right way. Sterilize your hands and a small needle with rubbing alcohol, then gently puncture the whitehead of the pimple, just enough to break the skin. Using a clean cotton swab, press on either side of the pimple until it’s drained. Cover with a bandage to keep the area clean while it’s healing.
89. Oil from your hair will get onto your pillowcase as you sleep, so change your pillowcases once a week to avoid sleeping on oil all night long.
88. Rosewater is both balancing and soothing, making it great for all skin types to even out redness and calm any irritation that may be happening.
87. Smoking not only dulls your skin and causes blotchiness, it will also give you wrinkles. Ditch the habit (you’ll thank us later).
86. When you get acne, try your best not to pick at it. The dirt and oil on your fingers can make things worse with bacteria and you’ll risk infection, which can lead to scarring.
85. If you can find a tube of moisturizer instead of a jar, use that. The bacteria from your fingers that touches the lotion each time you go to apply it stays in the jar and goes onto your face. If you must use a jar, use a cotton swab to apply product.
84. Benzoyl peroxide products that reduce acne are only good for up to three months after they’ve been opened, then the ingredients become inactive. If you’ve got an old tube, toss it in favor of a new one.
83. If you’re stressed, your skin shows it. Try Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer to even out redness and reduce signs of aging.
82. When booking an appointment for a facial, be sure to stay out of the sun for a few days beforehand so that you don’t irritate your skin.
81. An overnight facial that works while you sleep is key, and Korres Wild Rose and Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial lets you wake up looking refreshed.
80. For a seriously awful pimple, head to the dermatologist for a shot of cortisone.
79. If you’ve got dry skin, opt for a face oil instead of a lightweight lotion. The all day hydration will change your skin for the better.
78. Be sure to exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, if not every day. For sensitive skin, look for a more gentle exfoliator to use it more frequently without harsh effects.
77. If you’ve got irritable skin, try to find skin care products containing goat’s milk. Because of the stabilized pH level in goat’s milk, it’s not acidic and won’t irritate skin, giving you an even complexion.
76. Contrary to popular belief, putting Vaseline on your face nightly will not prevent wrinkles. However, if you put a thin layer of Vaseline over damp skin, moisture will be sealed in and your skin will be much smoother in the morning.
75. Eating too much chocolate could be the cause of breakouts, but the acne is likely just from the sugar in the chocolate or the fact that you’re eating chocolate before your period, so your acne could actually be hormonal.
74. Botox is proven to help with acne, improving sebum production and reducing the size of your pores.
73. While stress can cause flare ups in your skin, working out can reduce stress and acne. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine will combat stress and keep your skin clear.
72. You should always be avoiding skin care products containing alcohol, but take special note if you’ve got dry skin. Alcohol will only dry out your skin even more, making for a dry, flaky situation.
71. You should also avoid skin care products with a fragrance, whether it be a face or a body wash. Fragrances can irritate skin, causing redness and allergic reactions.
70. Don’t let greasy sunscreen be an excuse for not wearing any at all! Instead, find a lightweight, non-greasy SPF formula like Shiseido’s Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 30 and stop dangerous UV rays in their tracks.
69. If you’re a DIY beauty queen, use the milk in your fridge to get clear, smooth skin. Dampen a washcloth with milk and gently pat it over your face, leaving it on your face for about 10 minutes before rinsing. For the effect all over, add a cup of milk to your bath water.
68. Sunscreen is not just for the beach – the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that even being exposed to sunlight through glass (like the windows in your office) can have damaging effects on your skin.
67. For a procedure that will minimize and tighten pores while moisturizing skin, try a microdermabrasion treatment at the spa.
66. For pale-skinned girls everywhere, St. Tropez’s Skin Illuminator makes your skin luminescent and clear.
65. During your morning beauty routine, it’s best to style your hair before doing your makeup. If you’ve got makeup on your face before you start using a blow dryer, the heat begins to melt your makeup, sealing it into your pores and making your skin much more susceptible to breakouts.
64. If you’ve got an ingrown hair on your face, use a hot compress on the area to open up pores for about 10 minutes, softening the hair. Then, use a slanted tweezer to pluck the hair, followed by washing the area to avoid infection.
63. Stop touching your face throughout the day! You pick up bacteria from every surface you touch from your keyboard to your cell phone to elevator buttons to menus at a restaurant, and all of that bacteria floods your face once you start touching your skin. Hands off, and you’ll see less breakouts.
62. Adding coconut oil to your diet will help to moisturize and smooth your skin, and Miranda Kerr swears by this trick.
61. Speaking of coconut oil, mix it with baking soda for a killer facial scrub that will help with eczema.
60. Wine (in moderation) is proven to help shield your skin cells from harmful UV rays, so drink up!
59. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, fighting off bacteria and free radicals that can harm your skin. Try to drink at least one cup of green tea a day.
58. To minimize breakouts during the summer, cut the number of products you use by opting for a tinted moisturizer with SPF, one of our favorite triple-duty products.
57. Vitamin E oil heals scars, but be sure to use it sparingly on your face as too much will overdo it. Dab some over a scar at bedtime to let the vitamin work overnight.
56. As the seasons change, so should your skin care. The heavy cream you use in the winter should become a lightweight moisturizer in the summer so that your skin isn’t taking on more product than it needs during warmer months.
55. Make washing your face in the morning and nighttime a routine by setting a reminder for yourself for three weeks. Once you do it for three weeks straight, it will become habit, and it’ll be integrated into your daily routine.
54. Using retinoids at night helps to prevent acne and fade spots, treating the areas overnight.
53. Try taking up yoga or another relaxing activity to de-stress yourself on a regular basis. Because stress is a huge cause of acne, combating it in any way will reduce breakouts.
52. Can’t find a spot treatment for acne? Try using 100% tea tree oil on the area before bedtime, and you’ll wake up with a much happier complexion.
51. Clean your glasses and sunglasses with rubbing alcohol to kill any bacteria that may be living on them, causing breakouts while they sit on your face.
50. If you’ve got bangs, you may experience breakouts more frequently on your forehead than any other part of your face because of the excess oil from your hair. Be sure to wash your bangs every day if you’re used to going two days without washing your hair, or pin your bangs up while they’re especially in need of a shampoo.
49. By learning which skin type you have, you can also learn how to treat it. Whether it’s dry, normal, oily or combination, there’s a specific type of product you should be looking for that will work best for you.
48. Clean your makeup brushes every two weeks or so. The amount of product and bacteria build up that happens within two weeks is frightening, and the longer you wait to clean the brushes the longer you’re putting the bacteria right on your skin, causing breakouts. Use warm water and a mild anti-bacterial soap to clean your brushes, laying flat to dry to avoid any warping that can happen.
47. Don’t over-wash your face. Though clean skin leads to clear skin, washing too vigorously or too often can irritate skin and do more harm than good.
46. Avoid oil-based foundations and other cosmetic products, as the oil will clog pores and certainly cause breakouts.
45. In addition to face wash, use a toner if you’ve got oily skin. Any excess makeup and bacteria will be removed and you’ll have fresh skin.
44. Try to cut back on fast food or anything fried. The excess grease may not immediately cause acne, but over time it can build up and your skin will be showing the effects.
43. Similarly to fast food, avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice in favor of water. A sugar surplus will not do anything to help your skin.
42. If you’re skipping a day of shampoo, sleep with your hair in a ponytail to keep your face away from any grease that may be in your strands.
41. For irritated skin, rubbing an ice cube over your face for a few minutes a day will help to alleviate any burning or redness happening.
40. Don’t just wash and moisturize your face – take care of every inch of skin on your body for clear skin overall.
39. One cause of body acne on your shoulders may be that your bra straps are too tight. By loosening the straps just a pinch, your skin will be able to breathe and will be less prone to breaking out in that area. Plus, make sure you’re not allergic to the fabric in the bra.
38. Products containing almonds can help to moisturize your skin and lighten dark circles, so look for almonds on the ingredients label on your next skin care purchase.
37. If you’ve got sensitive skin, try to buy hypoallergenic products to reduce any allergic reactions that may happen in the future.
36. Treat yourself to a spa day once in a while. Relax, rest and get a seriously awesome skin treatment that will make you feel like a new person.
35. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. A lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your skin, but resting for enough time each night lets your body rejuvenate and restore itself, leading to clearer skin.
34. Your cell phone contains more bacteria than a toilet seat, so putting it against your face when you’re talking on the phone can cause massive breakouts. Be sure to use anti-bacterial wipes to clean your phone, plus use speaker phone or your headphones as much as possible when calling your friends to avoid acne.
33. Using mineral makeup that contains zinc-oxide will help to fight acne as you cover it, instead of other makeup that will simply clog pores. Look for this ingredient the next time you’re due for a new foundation.
32. If you’re someone who struggles with not drinking enough water throughout the day, place a full glass of water on your bedside table at night and drink it as soon as you wake up in the morning to kickstart hydration. Hydrated skin is clearer skin.
31. Carry a pack of oil blotting sheets in your purse wherever you go for touch ups throughout the day. By getting rid of oil and shine throughout the day, it won’t be building up on your face for hours before you wash it off.
30. Don’t be afraid of moisturizer, even if you’ve got oily skin. Applying makeup on top of dry, flaky skin will only make your skin look even more dry and flaky, so opt for a lightweight moisturizer to keep things smooth and clear.
29. Steam and hot water will open pores while cold water and air will help to close them. Never apply your makeup directly after a hot shower because when your pores are open, they’ll instantly absorb more of the makeup, clogging pores. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before applying makeup so that your pores will close up first.
28. Try going without makeup for one day a week over the weekend to let your skin breathe.
27. Ditch your makeup products after they’ve been around for six months. Once they hit the six month mark, they’ve got enough bacteria in them to cause a breakout.
26. Don’t use your hand towel as your face towel. The dirt that is left behind on a hand towel should not be used to rub against your face, so be sure to use separate towels.
25. Cut back on the candy. Sugar in candy builds up in your body and manifests in the form of acne, so try reaching for a healthier snack instead.
24. Even when you’re inside, you should be wearing an SPF on your face. The lightbulbs and screens that shine on your face all day can actually cause damage that’s completely prevented with sunscreen.
23. Try a face mask about once a week, but don’t overuse it (like every day).
22. Sitting close to your laptop and letting your hair fall in your face can cause breakouts, so be sure to sit a bit farther from your computer and pull your hair into a ponytail while you’re at the screen.
21. Crush up aspirin and mix it into water to form a paste, put it on your face and let it dry as a face mask, then rinse it off. It dries up acne, healing it at the source.
20. Apple cider vinegar works as a toner to help clear your skin by balancing your pH level. Try drinking a tablespoon of it a day to cure acne from the inside out.
19. Crush up garlic and mix it with water, then take a washcloth and dampen part of it, washing the areas of your face that usually break out. It works as a great antibacterial solution.
18. Honey is also a natural antibacterial agent. Try placing a dab of honey on a problem pimple at night, and the issue will be much smaller when you wake up in the morning.
17. Mint is an anti-inflammatory, so using mint oil or crushed mint leaves on a red, irritated area of skin will help to soothe the situation.
16. Beefing up your fiber intake will help with digestion, meaning your body will be able to process foods better and in turn, your skin will reap the benefits. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
15. Limit the dairy products you consume, like milk and cheese. These days, animals are fed hormones so that their food products are super charged, but it means that the milk you’re drinking and the cheese you’re eating could contain hormones, which can throw off your own hormonal balance (like when you get your period).
14. Lavender oil and aloe vera juice can help minimize acne scars.
13. Plain yogurt makes a fantastic hydrating face mask. Apply a layer to your skin and wash it off after about 15 minutes.
12. Taking a biotin supplement will help your body regenerate skin cells faster, so your skin will be clearer faster. Added bonus: it also helps with hair and nail growth.
11. If it seems like a certain beauty product is making you break out, talk to your doctor to test if you’re allergic to gluten or another ingredient that may be irritating your skin.
10. Slice up a tomato and lay it over your face, allowing the juice to act as astringent to break up oil and dirt.
9. If your favorite baseball cap is causing pimples on your forehead, the best way to wash the hat is to put it in the dishwasher. Plus, while it’s washing your forehead will be able to breathe.
8. Wash your hands before you wash your face. Going straight into washing your face with dirt and oil on your hands will defeat the purpose of cleaning your face.
7. Dark spots can take up to four months to heal, so continue to treat with dark spot corrector religiously until you see results. Don’t be discouraged!
6. If you’re prone to hormonal acne, try to avoid spot treating and instead, use a salicylic acid cleanser over your entire face.
5. Unfortunately, caffeine can trigger acne, so cutting back on your coffee intake (especially if you add tons of sugar) will help to clear things up.
4. Look for non-comedogenic makeup and moisturizer to avoid breakouts.
3. Lowering your alcohol intake will also help to clear skin, as drinking alcohol (especially mixed drinks) is as good as drinking sugar.
2. If you’re taking a hot shower, try not to linger. The heat can dry out your skin, leaving it dehydrated and flaky.
1. After you’ve tried every tip and trick out there, if your skin still isn’t clear, make an appointment with the dermatologist for a more personalized plan of attack.