7 ways to make your weight loss resolution work

So you made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight like the rest of us, but research shows that most resolutions go down the drain within the first month or two after January 1.

Staying on track is tough, but it’s not impossible. To optimize your chances of reaching your goal, you’ve got to actively set yourself up for success. This is where Angela Lemond, R.D.N., comes in.

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She’s helped us identify the keys to making your resolution stick so you won’t have to start again next year.

Source: Health & Fitness

7 grooming rules for a better beard

Beard

Having a beard is a lot like having a pet, or maybe a Chia Pet. As such, you’ll notice that beard maintenance is a lot like taking care of a living, breathing organism.

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And why shouldn’t it be? You’ve got a fuzzy thing growing on your face, and it needs some serious TLC. So if you aren’t following these seven beard-grooming tips already, we suggest you start now.

Source: Health & Fitness

Coconut mint-chip recovery shake

Coconut Chocolate Mint Shake

Everything you need to build a strong, healthy, great-looking body is right in front of you.

A prime example: This coconut mint-chip shake, which offers basic, natural ingredients you’ve been buying for years, will replenish electrolytes and supply protein. When you add a diet of whole foods to a training regimen of basic exercises (such as the pullup and pushup), you’ve got the formula for consistently outstanding results all your life.

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It really is that simple—and tastes damn good.

Nutrition (per serving)

501 calories, 30g protein, 17g carbs, 36g fat

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2
Ingredients 
1 cup coconut water
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup ice
1 tbsp cacao nibs
8 fresh mint leaves
2 scoops chocolate whey protein

How to make it 

Place coconut water, almond milk, ice, cacao nibs, and mint in a blender. Mix on high speed until smooth.

Add the whey protein and blend for 45 seconds. Drink immediately.

Cook Time: 
5
Prep Time: 
5

Source: Health & Fitness

How to drive in snow, sand, or mud—and get your car unstuck

Couple Pushing Car Out of Mud

It’s winter, and that means anywhere it snows—from Tahoe to Tallahassee—you’ll see cars flipped over or stuck in ditches pretty much the second a flake of white stuff falls from the sky.

And because we don’t want this to happen to you, we’re offering some professional tips, courtesy of guides who teach off-roading for a living and the folks at Bridgestone (makers of Blizzak tires, which just so happen to be the best-selling winter rubber on earth).

A caveat: Life is uncertain; driving can be dangerous. But some of what we’re suggesting should up your odds of surviving winter, not to mention driving off-road, no matter the season.

1. Practice

The first lesson is to get comfortable with the ideas we’re offering, and that means practicing. Get more familiar with your car, learn how to drive it in adverse conditions, and study how to avoid dire circumstances in the first place. Don’t wait until the blizzard of the century hits to learn how to drive in bad weather.

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Also: Just in case you do break down or get stuck, make sure you pack several items in your car just in case (more on that in a bit). Yes, you can always call for roadside assistance, but dialing an 800 number always fails to work at exactly the worst time, like when it’s -7° outside, it’s 11 p.m., and OnStar or AAA is overwhelmed with other callers.

2. Be prepared

You need the following items in your car, and you need to know how they work and how to use them.

  1. A gallon jug of water, which is handy for everything from washing off greasy hands, hydrating, or topping up a radiator.
  2. A heavy mover’s blanket and a 6×6′ piece of tarp, both useful for warmth as well as kneeling on the ground to change a flat.
  3. If the spare tire in your car is a can of fix-a-flat or a lousy donut on a skinny rim (if you don’t know you should check), shop eBay or Craigslist for a used rim that’s the same size as the ones that come stock and get a full-size tire mounted on it. Why? Because donuts are speed- and distance-restricted, so you might not even be able to make it home on that flimsy piece of baloney.
  4. Be sure to have jumper cables. Better yet, get Antigravity’s XP10 portable jumper pack and tire inflator kit. (We’ll explain why the tire inflator is key even if you don’t have a flat.)
  5. Test out the jack and tire iron that came with your car. We bet they suck, because all stock tools that come with cars these days do. So once you learn this, go to the auto parts store and you’ll learn that even cheap alternatives are superior and far easier to use. We suggest a breaker bar for the lug nuts and keeping a ratchet wrench and the correct-size socket for those nuts, too. The latter will hugely speed the process of wheel replacement.
  6. If you’re headed somewhere remote enough that you might get stuck, you should consider traction matting. Matting is sort of like a portable bridge you lay down to get you across an obstacle your tires otherwise won’t be able to grip. We like GoTreads Traction Mats, so they eat less room in your rig. And again: practice using these before you need to.

3. Know your mojo (and its limitations)

Trick question: How will four-wheel drive help you stop skidding on black ice? Answer: It won’t. Four-wheel or all-wheel drive is only useful under power. It can help you get going from a dead stop, but once your car is actually moving, it does nothing. You could be in a rear-wheel-drive Ferrari or a lifted 4×4, and if both cars hit a patch of ice while initiating a turn, both will begin to slide.

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Both only have four tires, and in both cases the contact patch with the ground is about the size of the meat of your palm. The total area of that contact patch is only a little larger than an 8×1″ sheet of paper. One reason so many SUVs end up stuck in snow: Drivers mistakenly think four-wheel drive implies some sort of superhero power. It absolutely doesn’t.

4. Know the conditions

Whether it’s 33° after a day of pounding rain, bone-dry, and -5°, or 75° and sunny with a strong chance of mushy sand on the Arizona fire road you’re about to ascend, you need to know about conditions before you go anywhere. There are plenty of driver-focused sites detailing conditions in popular off-road routes.

Most important: Do the most basic test of all—bend down and actually touch the road on which you’re about to drive. Remember: The only control you have is the contact patches of rubber that touch the tarmac. If that asphalt is as slick as snot, you can find out first with your hand, without driving an inch. That knowledge will inform what you do next.

5. Get moving

No matter what vehicle you’re driving—AWD, two-wheel drive, etc.—it’s key to understand the tech you have. Every new car sold for the past few years has stability and traction control, regardless of which wheels are driven by the engine. These systems (basically) use the antilock braking system to prevent tires from spinning. Stability control largely works once you’re already underway, but traction control tries to interfere to stop wheels from spinning as you try to get rolling. In a lot of circumstances—a few inches of snow on a driveway or when your car is parked on sand—traction control won’t let the wheels spin at all.

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The fine art of getting unstuck requires practice, say the experts at Overland Experts School in Connecticut, who teach everyone from Navy SEALs to utility crews how to drive. You need to first learn how to turn off traction control. Then, you want to apply just the right amount of throttle to get the car to budge; too much wheelspin will dig the tires in. Can’t get the car to move going forward? Try reverse, very gently on the gas. Then forward, then back again. The idea is to get the car to move with the least amount of power, and then to keep moving very, very slowly. Nothing will get you back in the ditch quicker than too much gas.

6. Keep moving

Once underway, you can turn stability/traction control back on. Staying light on the gas and driving gently will keep you safest in messy conditions. Whether you’re on a racetrack in 70° conditions or on a frozen Swedish lake, tires are really only designed to handle one input well at a time, the pros at OEX explain. (It’s why you’ll watch Formula 1 drivers do all their braking right up to a turn, but get off the brakes into the corner.)

Braking is especially important when driving on snow or mud. At a Volvo program I attended last winter (on a frozen lake in Sweden), we were taught to allow an incredibly long time to brake. Letting the car slow down from just 30m.p.h. seemed to take achingly long.

Don’t believe us? Head to a snowy empty parking lot (be very, very certain you know where every light pole and shopping cart is), start out at 10mph, jam on the brakes, and see how long it takes to actually come to a halt. Try again at 25mph. You could easily see double or triple the braking distance vs. dry conditions. That’s why you’re really in danger if you’re following too closely in the snow, says Will Robbins, a product manager for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. “Remember basics like allowing more time to brake and keeping more distance between vehicles,” Robbins says.

7. Know how to tow

Towing is an essential skill—both for getting unstuck from a snow bank or a ditch, or for helping someone else get back to pavement. Having a tow strap in your car or truck is essential, as is reading the owner’s manual so you know the tow points on your vehicle. Never towed with your rig? You now have an excuse to practice.

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Partner with a friend, go to a chunk of closed or seldom-used road (dead-ends in rural areas are ideal), and carefully experiment with towing. Try towing from different angles, too; if someone stuffed their car into a snow back sideways, you may not have enough run-out room on the opposite side of the road to pull them directly out. What to do? Tow a little bit at a time, disconnect, and start again. Be patient, and logical. If you have to pull the stuck vehicle sideways you’re going to have to break that down into small pieces, perhaps only a foot at a time. This is a matter of very basic leverage, so if it looks like it won’t work…it probably won’t.

8. Use less air

Let’s say you’re stuck and no amount of reversing or trying to move forward will get you unstuck. What now? While Robbins doesn’t love this idea (he works for a tire maker!), there’s a little hack, called “airing down” that OEX recommends you can try to get underway. The only caveat: You can shred a tire if you do it wrong.

“Airing down” works because removing air increases the tire’s contact with the ground. More ground contact equals more traction and, essentially, a longer lever against the ground. Lowering a tire from 30psi to 15psi is potentially plenty of airing down to add enough traction to get you moving. If it gets you close but not quite there, another 3psi drained might not seem like it would make a massive difference, but that’s 1/5th of what’s left in the tire. Yes, the tire will look nearly flat, and yes, once you’re unstuck you have another challenge: finding a way to inflate the tires. That’s why we recommend having an inflator that works off your car’s 12-volt jack. Know that you can drive SLOWLY on tires with little air. But Robbins’ concern is valid: A deflated tire is going to greatly underperform at braking and cornering at speed, so the more you air down the more you have to drive very gingerly.

9. Consider a rubber upgrade

Bridgestone’s Robbins explains why winter tires work better than stock all-seasons very succinctly: It’s the rubber. The rubber compound in winter tires is more pliable in the cold. A summer tire at, say, 40°, can feel as hard and not very grippy at all.

Snow tires also create more surface area. “Think about making a snowball,” Robbins says. “Snow sticks to snow. Winter tires are designed with a tread pattern that packs in as much snow as possible as the tire rolls, which in turn provides snow-on-snow traction.” You’ll see that extra surface in the hundreds of tiny cuts, known as sipes, in the tread wall of the tire. The zig-zag shape of those sipes also allows the tire to grab better, Robbins explains.

Our suggestion: Mount winter tires on a set of inexpensive steel rims that you can swap with your regular wheels come springtime. Those rims will cost you a few hundred bucks, tops, and they’ll pay for themselves quickly because you won’t have to pay to have your winter tires mounted and unmounted every winter.

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Source: Health & Fitness

Green chicken chili

Green Chicken Chili

This green chicken chili is rich in vitamin C, which can ramp up fat burning during exercise, a Nutrition & Metabolism study found. It’s also a good source of protein thanks to the chicken and avocado.

Nutrition (Per Serving)

425 calories, 34g protein, 47g carbs, 13g fat

5
Ingredients 
2 tsp olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
8 canned tomatillos
2 (15 oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded
1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tsp cumin powder
2 cups sliced rotisserie chicken meat
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 avocado
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

How to make it 

Heat a heavy- bottomed saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and salt and cook for 3 minutes. Add poblano peppers and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes.

 

Place chicken broth, tomatillos, 1 can beans, jalapeño, cilantro, and cumin in a blender and blend until nearly smooth. (It should retain some chunky consistency.) Add mixture to sauce- pan and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir in chicken and remaining can of beans and heat through. Add additional broth if chili is too thick.

Blend together sour cream, avocado, lime juice, and a pinch of salt until smooth. Serve chili topped with avocado cream, pumpkin seeds, and additional cilantro.

Cook Time: 
25
Prep Time: 
10

Source: Health & Fitness

The 18 best health and fitness apps of 2018

Man Tracking Fitness With Phone App

Starting a new fitness routine or diet program can be tough, but it’s an endeavor that comes along with a healthy dose of hope and motivation. During week one, workouts hurt so good, grocery shopping isn’t so bad, and meal prepping is downright exciting—you’re finally turning over that new leaf that’s been stuck to the pavement for who knows how long, and it’s your time to carve out those six-pack abs.

But by weeks two, three, and four, the excuses start piling up. We get it: The gym’s suddenly too crowded, you’re too tired to meal-prep, and maybe your biceps are sore after all those curls. Suddenly, you could use a shot of motivation and structure to get back on track.

One solution that’s become more popular than ever is downloading a fitness app. It’s simple, way cheaper than hiring human help, and it works for plenty of people. So if you find that you need to be held accountable when it comes to diet and exercise, or if you just need an easy method of tracking your already stellar routine, an app may be a great way to do it.

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There are countless fitness-related apps on the market for both Android and iOS, so it can be tough to sift through the dirt and find a gem or two. So we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and tested a whole swathe of apps. We found 18 that are worth trying if you need a nudge to stay on track.

We broke it down into seven categories, so you can browse based on your needs:

  • Comprehensive training apps, which guide you through workouts and exercises;
  • Quick-hit apps, which focus on shorter workouts for maximum impact;
  • Outdoor cardio apps, for the more adventurous fit guy;
  • Nutrition tracking apps, to make keeping your diet on-track as simple as possible;
  • All-around workout tracking and meal planning apps, for those who want one app to do the job of two or three;
  • A “get off the couch” app, for all you true beginners out there;
  • Recovery apps, meant to help your body and mind stay in tip top shape.

A few notes about our methodology:

  • While most of the apps we chose have been at or near the top of the rankings in their prospective marketplaces, we downloaded all of the apps we considered to get a feel for how they work and make that using them consistently is feasible for everyday users.
  • We excluded apps that are designed to be used with fitness trackers. Plenty of those apps are great, but they don’t really help unless you have their devices.

Click through to check out our favorite health and fitness apps in 2018, according to category.

Source: Health & Fitness

‘Avengers 4’ photos: Captain America, Iron Man, and Ant-Man show off surprising new looks

Filming Avengers 4

The Avengers saga is culminating with two of the biggest superhero movies ever: Avengers: Infinity War, and the as-of-yet untitled Avengers 4.

Production recently wrapped on the fourth Avengers film, but not before some set photos trickled out of some of the biggest stars of the film—Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Rudd, and Mark Ruffalo—filming a major battle scene.

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While it’s unclear when or where the scene takes place, it shows some interesting looks at Captain America (Evans), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Downey), Hulk (Ruffalo), and Ant-Man (Rudd), including Cap wearing his “classic” suit from the first Avengers film, Stark with blonde-tinged hair and a S.H.I.E.L.D.-like uniform, and a slightly upgraded Ant-Man suit.

The new looks have sparked some fan speculation about the film, including whether Thanos (Josh Brolin, now jacked for Deadpool 2) will use the Infinity Gauntlet’s time or reality stones to create an alternate reality—or send the heroes back in time in the upcoming film.

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One thing is beyond speculation: These movies will have a mega-cast. Both Avengers: Infinity War and the Avengers 4 film represent the culmination of 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe story-building. At least 60 different characters are set to interact in this film. It also could include some surprises, like the MCU’s first appearance of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel.

The lineup for the movies has basically everyone you’ve ever loved from the MCU—and then even more. In addition to appearances from Avengers heavy hitters like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and the Incredible Hulk, we’re also set to see characters from Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Black Panther in the mix, including Star-Lord (Men’s Fitness cover star Chris Pratt, in one of his most badass roles), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and everyone’s favorite anti-villain, Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

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Avengers: Infinity War, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, will be released on May 5. Avengers 4, also directed by the Russo Brothers, will be released on May 3, 2019.

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Here’s a look at the stars in action.

Source: Health & Fitness

5 New Year's health and fitness resolutions that'll lead you to success

Man Eating Apple

Rather than hopping on the express train to Quitsville, why not make this your year of real changes and transformations?

Some New Year’s resolutions are too lofty and easy to break. To be successful and stick to your resolutions, you need to choose realistic goals that coincide with your everyday life—habits that can gradually and efficiently snowball into triumph.

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Jordan Mazur, R.D., the coordinator of nutrition and team sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers, and Laurel Mellin, Ph.D., health psychologist and founder of Emotional Brain Training, have spotlighted resolutions that pave the way for success. Here’s what you should start implementing.

Source: Health & Fitness

More women are watching porn—and it's changing their sex lives

Woman on computer in bed

Back in the day before personal computers, streaming TV, and smartphones, people had far fewer options for viewing erotic material. Short of stealing your old man’s Playboys, people who wanted to view pornography had to actually make a transaction, face-to-face, with another human being.

That lack of anonymity undoubtedly kept many people—most notably, women—on the pornography sidelines out of fear and/or embarrassment of being discovered.

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Nowadays, though, one can pretty much view any type of sexual experience imaginable without ever having to leave the safe and private confines of home. Imagine the relief for those who liked to engage in what was long considered “outside the norm”.

With the porn middleman now cut out of the equation, a growing number of women became more at ease exploring the erotic material of their choice—and it’s starting to show, according to new university research that supports the (relative) privacy benefits of today’s digital technology. Women who watch Internet porn are using technology to explore their sexuality and connect with others to discuss their sexual interests, according to recent research from the University of Waterloo.

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“We know from existing research that women are one of the fastest-growing groups of people consuming online pornography, and this study helps us understand some of the reasons they are doing so,” said Diana Parry, a professor of recreation and leisure studies at Waterloo. “It also seems clear that technology has enabled women to explore pornography on their own terms and to explore aspects of their sexuality that are new to them.”

And while men may still watch a greater percentage of online explicit adult content, the female share of the pornography audience will undoubtedly grow as digital technology continues to make viewing more accessible, convenient, and discreet.

“It’s important to understand that society still has a very traditional idea of women’s sexuality, with views that are typically more accepting of men’s needs and desires,” said Parry. “Digital technology appears to have the ability to highlight women’s sexuality in a way that we haven’t seen before.”

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Source: Health & Fitness

The first look at Tom Hardy in ‘Venom’ as Eddie Brock hints at some ferocious villains

Tom Hardy and Venom

Fans have been itching to get a look at the upcoming Venom movie since it was announced that Tom Hardy was starring in it. Well, they’ve gotten their wish, but they might need to wait a bit longer to get what they really want: A photo of Venom in his actual costume.

IGN released the first official look at Hardy in Venom, showing the actor portraying Eddie Brock, the human host of the alien symbiote that turns Brock into Venom.

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Here’s the first look at Hardy as Brock:

In the released video, which was first shown at the Comic Con Experience 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Hardy and director Ruben Fleischer talk about how excited they are about making the film, and it shows off some of the sets used in the movie.

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Fleischer also confirms in the video that Venom will take inspiration from two major Venom comic book storylines, Planet of the Symbiotes and Venom: Lethal Protector.

Here’s a look at the video:

While there isn’t too much to decipher from the new photo, there are some hints about the villains who Brock will face off against in the film. It also reveals a potential connection to how Brock comes in contact with the Venom alien symbiote.

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A close-up shot (spotlighted on IGN.com) reveals that Brock’s reporter notebook has a few questions he’s trying to track down the answers to:

-“So how exactly does the Life Foundation go about testing its pharmaceuticals?”

-“What about the allegations your empire is built on?”

-“That you recruit the most vulnerable of us to volunteer for the testing that more often than not end up (killing) them?”

While the movie’s plot hasn’t officially been confirmed, the questions hint that the Life Foundation will be a major antagonist in the film. In Marvel comics, the company is described as a “shadowy survivalist group who believe the world will end in nuclear holocaust,” which is why the foundation creates a “security force” of Venom-like alien symbiotes called Agony, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Scream.

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The company connection to the symbiotes also could mean that Brock’s reporting on the Life Foundation could lead to his initial encounter with the Venom lifeform.

Venom, starring Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Scott Haze, will be released on October 5.

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Source: Health & Fitness

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