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3 Ways To Get Beach-Ready For Summer
Don't let another summer pass you by. Lean out while protecting muscle with these three easy tactics.

Is your body beach ready? If not, there's hope — if you're willing to watch what you eat, supplement wisely and get more exercise. These three quick-hit tips can help.

1) Burn Calories with a Powerful Thermogenic

One of the most popular strategies for a "summer shape-up" involves increasing thermogenesis (aka, calorie burning) inside the body with one of the popular weight-loss thermogenics on the market. Of course, not all thermogenics work with same degree of effectiveness. At ProSource, one product has been a consistent leader in the Diet & Energy category of the Best in Class consumer polls since its introduction. That product is BetaStax from BioQuest.

As with many thermogenic products, BetaStax has as its foundation a combination of conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), caffeine and citrus aurantium.  An interesting addition, however, is a novel proprietary blend of herbal extracts called PureWay Slim which contains additional ingredients that may help you navigate the precarious waters of dieting, exercising, and avoiding the temptations that will derail your efforts. Caffeine is a key ingredient in any thermogenic formulation as it has been shown in many studies to stimulate increases in resting metabolism both at rest and after exercise. Collectively, these studies have illustrated that typical dosages of caffeine ranging from 100 - 400 mg/d result in 25 - 125 more calories being burned when compared to a placebo [1-2] and when combined with exercise, caffeine in combination with other thermogenic ingredients may facilitate positive improvements in body mass, body composition and health status [3].

Citrus aurantium often comes in its synephrine form and has been sho  w n to increase catecholamine release, which ultimately increases calorie burni ng and fat loss [4]. Other studies using citrus aurantium have suggested it may help reduce food intake and body mass [5-6]. Conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) is a popular supplement for its ability to promote fat and weight loss while helping to control appetite and food intake [7-9]. For example, 180 healthy, overweight people (20-30 lbs overweight) added a daily CLA supplement for a year and reported a 7.8% greater loss of body fat mass when compared to a placebo [8], and when 134 of these participants were followed for an additional year, the reduction in fat mass was sustained [9].  Similarly, six months after supplementing 118 participants with 12 grams/day (3 x 4 g/d) or a placebo, those individuals consuming CLA reported greater body fat loss. This fat loss was found to be mostly in the legs and in combination resulted in favorable improvements in body composition in those individuals consuming CLA [10]. Interestingly, a smaller dose of CLA (3.4 grams) over a one-year period did not appear to be favorable at preventing weight or body fat regain [11], a finding which indicates the daily dosage may be important and supplementing with additional CLA along with BetaStax may facilitate greater results.

As stated before, a proprietary blend on ingredients called PureWay Slim is a major aspect of the BetaStax formulation. Recently, a clinical report was released by the manufacturer of Pure Way Slim, where they outlined some in-house research documenting the effects of PureWay Slim. This study was a four-week study that had 50 healthy volunteers averaging 45 years of age supplement with PureWay Slim or a placebo in a double-blind fashion. Changes in body mass, circumferences and blood markers of health and metabolism were measured after eating a standardized test meal before and after the four week study. When compared to placebo, significant reductions in body mass and waist and hip circumferences occurred after four weeks. Assuming these changes are typical, the 3.85 pound loss of body mass for PureWay Slim was greater than changes over a four week period seen for supplementation with conjugated linolenic acid (3.3 pounds) [12], hydroxycitric acid (2.4 pounds) [13] and green tea (1.3 pounds) [14]; all popular thermogenic ingredients. In fact, the changes after four weeks were greater than some of the results seen after 8 and 12 weeks.

2) Maintain a Daily Caloric Deficit with Plenty of Exercise
Initially, much of the research conducted on weight loss supplements has focused upon the energy expenditure or calorie burning side of the equation. As we've seen, generous dosages of caffeine and other sympathomimetics up-regulate the nervous system resulting in greater rates of calorie burning. Later on, interest began to develop in finding ingredients that can help to control a person's appetite, satiety, etc. or the 'energy in' side of the equation. By minimizing energy intake through corralling your appetite and increasing your metabolism, a two-pronged approach to caloric burning results. For you, this may make the difference between a white t-shirt and no shirt; a bikini or a cover-up.

A couple of pills can't do all the work for you, however. From an exercise perspective, you need to burn calories and lots of them. While it takes a good deal of time to increase fitness to the point where significant amount of calories are burned, the more fit you become, the faster your body burns and the more fat your body will burn. Personally, I don't care whether you are walking, jogging, biking, dancing, swimming or all of the above, do what you enjoy and more importantly an exercise mode that you will actually stick to. I care more about your intensity, how many days per week and your duration. Minimally, you need to start out by burning 150 kcals per workout and burn a total of 1,000 calories per week. From there you need to work and you need to get that heart pumping. Once you maintain a heart rate that is 30 - 50 beats per minute above your resting heart rate, then you need to increase how long you exercise. Start at 20 minutes and build up to 45 minutes. Of course, check with your doc before starting, but this is a simple exercise design that will help your abs come to the surface.

3) Lean Out with a Unique Fat-Loss Protein Matrix
The last major area is your diet. Here, specifically, a higher intake of protei n in your diet can help you lose weight, lose fat and improve health. While many people don't often think of this, adding in a protein supplement similar to Vectron while dieting and exercising may very well be the major difference between sustained weight loss success or a flat-line effect on your results. A key study in this respect had healthy, but sedentary middle-aged individuals exercise or continue their normal physical activity. Then each of these two groups either followed a diet higher in protein or a diet higher in carbohydrate. These authors concluded that the combination of protein and exercise had a complementary effect and resulted in the greatest improvements in body composition [15] and have since been confirmed in exercising [16] and non-exercising scenarios [17].  While some studies have shown similar results, other studies have shown a higher protein intake after longer periods of following the regimen was no more effective than a higher carbohydrate diet [18]. Consequently, regular ingestion of a high-quality protein source may help to facilitate weight loss and positive body composition changes. While many choices exist, adding Vectron to your exercise regimen and daily supplementation with BetaStax will likely be a powerful combination. Vectron will provide valuable essential amino acids and its unique ProLibra extract will provide an additional amount of leucine, likely the most critical of protein nutrients. This is important during periods of dietary restriction and added exercise to help replace valuable proteins and prevent catabolism of existing protein found in your skeletal muscle.

It's ultimately up to you to provide the necessary will and determination to meet your goals. A combination of regular exercise, a healthy diet with an elevated protein intake in the form of lean meats and Vectron post-workout along with daily use of BetaStax will provide many critical nutrients found by scientists to help burn calories, burn fat and spare your muscle. Fat burning is a tough chore — but the looks of admiration as you strip down for a day at the beach should make the hard work more than worthwhile.

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13.    Preuss, H.G., et al., Effects of a natural extract of (-)-hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) and a combination of HCA-SX plus niacin-bound chromium and Gymnema sylvestre extract on weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab, 2004. 6(3): p. 171-80.
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