How To Get Lean For Summer

Author Shares How to Power Up Your Moves and Your Snacks
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With summer approaching quickly, now is the perfect time to focus more on fitness. Celebrity trainer Chris Powell wants to share his tips on how to get healthy and stay healthy all year long. Along with a new season of the hit ABC show "Extreme Weight Loss" tonight, Powell has released a new book, "Choose More, Lose More for Life" (Hyperion, 2013) and teamed up with California Almonds to share simple workout and snacking tips.

While there is no quick fix for an unhealthy lifestyle, Powell insists that even a nine-minute workout every day can go a long way to help increase fitness, as long as there is movement involved and the right fuel to keep you going. And Powell knows his fuel – he works out often and always keeps almonds on hand as a snack of choice.

"I love recommending a Chocolate Almond Banana Protein Shake before a workout because it has a good mix of protein and carbs for powerful energy," Powell says. "But I also love recommending almonds and almond butter as a snack. For me, a handful or a spoonful keeps me feeling full between meals and less inclined to overdo it at mealtime."

Powell's Nine-Minute Mission is a quick and fun total-body workout that's ideal for both men and women without a lot of time or space. The Mission includes reps of movements like high knees, back lunges and squat jacks, none of which require equipment and can easily be done at home or the office. During the Mission, Powell recommends doing one rep of each exercise in the circuit, then two, then three, with the goal of completing as many reps as possible in nine minutes.

"If you have more time, you can add reps and repeat the Mission, integrating different moves like pushups and burpees," he says. "I always tell my clients, the most important part of your fitness routine is to make a promise to yourself to get up and move for just five minutes a day. If you have more time and can fit in at least one Nine-Minute Mission – even better!"

When the workout is complete, Powell encourages smart snacking. "The key ingredient for getting and staying fit is to snack on energizing and satisfying foods that have three main components: protein, good fats and fiber," he says. "Personally, I love snacking on almonds, which have all three components, are easily portable and have a satisfying crunch."

A one-ounce serving of natural or roasted almonds – or about 23 – is a heart-smart choice that contains 6 grams of power-packed protein and 3.5 grams of fiber. It's a top food source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E as well as magnesium, a mineral the body needs to produce energy, build and maintain muscle tissue, and regulate blood sugar. Studies show that eating almonds as part of a meal can help stabilize blood sugar levels and promote a feeling of fullness.

Additionally, a 2012 study shows whole almonds may provide the body with 20 percent fewer calories than Nutrition Facts labels currently state – 129 calories per ounce instead of the current 160. The study takes into account the digestibility of whole almonds, and further research is need to better understand the results of the study and how this technique for calculating calories could potentially affect the calorie count of other foods.

Find information on Chris Powell along with videos demonstrating his Nine-Minute Missions at AlmondBoard.com/ChrisPowell.