1. Invest in A Kettle bell: One piece of equipment has never so capable of delivering a versatile total body workout and challenging cardio and strength, while toning back, legs, arms, core and booty. With kettle bell swings, posture is perfected and curves are made more curvaceous! Do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps 2-3 times per week. Pick weight that leads to exhaustion at end of set. Get to swinging!

2. Use Ceylon Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon per day into beverage, cereal or protein shake helps stabilize blood sugar slow rate of digestion (so you feel fuller longer), improves quality of digestion (so you extract more nutrients), increases energy, concentration and alertness. Not bad for a few sprinkles into your morning coffee! Cinnamon in most grocery stores is cassia, not ceylon, which can be harmful to your liver in high dosage. Ceylon cinnamon is found in health food stores and high end supermarkets.

3. Drink Lemon Water: Replacing sugary beverages with one that detoxifies, alkalizes, beautifies and suppresses appetite is a powerful  ally towards superior fitness. Toss two lemons in a blender. Puree, drain (optional), add 10-12 cups of water. Add 2-3 strawberries to enhance taste. Repeat often!

4. Use Coconut Oil: All oils are not created equally. Coconut oil, along with extra virgin olive oil, are our best choices. Other oils, especially vegetable oil, are high in polyunsaturated fats, breeding grounds for free radicals (which reek havoc on metabolism). By contrast, coconut oil has a unique chemical structure (MCT: medium chain triglycerides) that accounts for its health and healing properties. Coconut oil is used in tropical islands on the skin (to remove wrinkles) and hair (to add luster). In our diet, it inhibits fat storage, so can be used more liberally than other oils.

5. Buy Sound Sleep Machine, Black Out Drapes and Memory Foam Pillows: We don’t need to be reminded how precious sleep is to be our best (physically and mentally). We may need to be reminded how important sleep is to optimal fitness. To perform at our best, we need to be well rested. To recover from an intense workout, to return strong and better, we need deep sleep (to repair tissues). Anything we can do to enhance sleep is an investment; in ourselves, the body we desire, and the life we want! In addition to above suggestions, eliminate caffeine after lunch, and TV within an hour of sleep. Sweet dreams!

6. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):  Warning: the taste is not the best. The bitterness of ACV can make a lemon taste like a summer peach. It is best to drink ACV like a shot of vodka. Plug your nose and bottoms up! If you can handle the taste, which can be improved with water or maple syrup, ACV provides an energy boost, suppresses appetite, has thermogenic effect and may turn on genes that break up fat. Only buy ACV with dark cloudy appearance that contains “the mother”. The most respected and popular brand of ACV is Bragg’s.

7. Eat Unsalted Nuts, Peanut Butter and Almond Butter: How could foods high in fat be instrumental to fat loss and optimal fitness? Enjoyed responsibility (one small handful or one spoonful), these foods provide protein, energy and satisfy hunger fast. As importantly, they act as substitute for unhealthy snacking. Don’t negate a day of responsible eating and activity with a late night carb binge. Have a spoon of peanut butter instead!

8. Find a Fitness Mentor: Mentors can be a wonderful source of inspiration to the best body of our lives, as long as we do not play the comparison game, and get discouraged in the process. The only person to whom you should be comparing yourself to is you, with goal to get better than the day before. Two of the best and most informed mentors on You Tube are Zuzka Light (fitness) and Ali Kamenova (yoga and fitness).

9. Create a Mini-Home Gym (Step Up, Dumbbells and Workout Bands:) Setting up a mini-gym eliminates excuses. It is recommended to workout in a gym mostly, due to the habit forming nature of the process, increased workout options, and added motivation through pursuing common goal among like minded individuals. Yet on days when gym is not feasible, it’s nice to have a back-up plan. A set of dumbbells, a step up, a workout band, and 20 to 30 minutes are all one needs to get an awesome workout in privacy of their home.

10. Get a Massage: Schedule a massage with licensed practitioner one month in advance as potential reward for adherence to workout schedule. Make a promise you will keep the appointment only if you workout for 20 of the 30 days, or 5 days per week (cardio and strength training). This type of incentive can be especially helpful when forming new workout habit, and going from relatively inactive to active lifestyle.

11.  Buy Grass Fed Meat: If you have a choice, choose grass fed. This goes for milk, butter and cheese too. Grass fed products versus grain fed products are significantly higher in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a healthy omega 6 fat. CLA  decreases fat storage, increases the rate of fat breakdown, reduces total fat cells, and increases lean muscle mass. Sure, grass fed cost more, but your body will thank you!

12. Eat One Cucumber Per Day: Cucumber has mild flavor, gentle on the tummy, convenient, cheap and provides a host of nutritional benefits, including fat loss. It has few calories and sugar (only 47 calories and 5 grams per cucumber). Of course, one peeled cucumber is not going to fill you up (though it has 1.5 grams of fiber). But it is a great alternative to high carb or high fat snacking. Slice, dice, enjoy!