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5 tools to help you reach your fitness goals

Arm yourself with these diet and exercise tools, and you’ll be well on your way to completing your fitness goals

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fitness woman workout ball

1. A new piece of fitness gear

First things first, a cute piece of workout clothing may be all you need to start moving. Motivate yourself to get to the gym with a new workout top or gym bag. Check out our suggestions for a workout tote that you’ll be tempted to carry with you everywhere.

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food journal

2. A food journal

A study of 1,700 overweight men and women who participated in a six-month weight-loss program found that those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. Participants also exercised, reduced caloric intake and ate low-fat dairy products plus an average of three servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

“Keeping a food diary is one of the most powerful weight-management tools we have,” says Jack Hollis of the Portland, Oregon-based Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and lead author of the study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Try: The Best Health printable food journal

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Swap & Drop

3. A step-by-step diet and fitness plan

It’s not easy to find a truly motivating diet plan – one that makes you excited to start your weight-loss journey. That’s why the editors of Best Health magazine created Swap & Drop Diet – a sensible, balanced and very Canadian approach to slimming down. Swap & Drop Diet cuts through the hype surrounding trendy, ineffective diets, and empowers you to make simple changes that will not only shrink your waistline but lead to overall better health.

This 12-week plan takes you step-by-step and swap-by-swap to a better body. We’ll show you how to tweak your eating and lifestyle habits for steady, sustainable weight loss, and how to keep it off once it’s gone.

Try: Swap & Drop Diet (Reader’s Digest Canada, $30)

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running watch

4. A device to track your workouts

Tracking your workouts helps to determine whether you’re making progress-and at what rate. Plus, counting the calories you burn during each workout (and even throughout the day) will help determine how much you should be eating, and how long it will take you to lose weight.

Try: The Nike+ FuelBand is kind of like a hi-tech pedometer/watch. It records Nike “fuel,” steps taken and calories burned, and it also tells you the time. A built-in three axis accelerometer measures your motion throughout the day. Then, you connect the band to your computer using the built-in USB, or using the USB cable and stand. You can also get the Nike+ FuelBand mobile app to sync wirelessly, set your goals, track your progress and get a boost of motivation on the go. (nike.com, $150)

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home workout

5. A fitness DVD

The benefits of exercising at home with a fitness DVD are endless: With no travelling to and from the gym, you carve out more minutes for working out (faster results, anyone?). Plus, you can throw on any old outfit that’s comfortable and breathable. And there’s virtually no prep time-just fill up a water bottle, slip on fitness shoes (or go barefoot, if appropriate) and fire up your DVD player or computer.

Try: Jillian Michaels’ Killer Abs workout DVD (Gaiam.ca, $15)

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