10) See Your Abs
This breakthrough must start in your mind; your midsection will follow. Adjust your thinking to next spring, when you'll unveil your newly ripped body. "The average deskbound guy has 16 to 20 percent body fat," says Alan Aragon, M.S., a Men's Health nutrition advisor. "At a minimum, he has to chop that in half to see his abs, and that can take 4 to 6 months." You can do medicine-ball twists all day, but if you don't change your diet, you won't see your abs. Don't just cut calories -- cut carbs. In a recent University of Alabama study, dieters who modestly reduced their carb intake shed 11 percent more abdominal fat than those who followed a lower-fat diet. Slash your carb intake in half -- and minimize what Aragon calls filler calories: beverages, desserts, refined-grain products. Your carbs should mostly come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. He also advises eating 1 gram of protein per pound of your target body weight. At the same time, attack that slab of fat with core exercises three times a week (see MensHealth.com/mhlists/ab-exercise-upgrades). When spring arrives, you can reveal your abs in all their glory.
11) Wake Up Without an Alarm Clock
A regular routine and a full night's sleep make it easy to wake up on time. Set an alarm for 1 hour before you plan to go to bed, says Donn Posner, Ph.D., director of behavioral sleep medicine at Lifespan Hospitals in Providence, Rhode Island. When the alarm sounds, mute the smartphone, dim the lights, and do something that relaxes you. But don't give up the morning alarm cold turkey: Not setting it can make you so anxious that you wake up too early, says Posner. Instead, use the alarm as a wingman to help you regularly open your eyes just before it goes off.
12) Nail the Trey
Stop worrying about release and rotation. Shooting starts with strong legs to provide foundation and lift, says Hubert Davis, a college basketball analyst at ESPN and a career .441 three-point shooter in the NBA . "Without leg power, you won't light it up," Davis says. Weak legs mean your arms have to do too much work, which can lead to a flat shot. When you practice, begin with 10 hard minutes to simulate a game: Do lunges, squats, stair running -- anything to drain your legs. Then start two steps behind the line and spin the ball back to yourself so you can start low, catch, step in, rise, and shoot in one fluid motion, says Davis. You'll find a rhythm you can replicate in a game.
13) Make the Client Commit
At the crucial meeting, be on your best "third-date behavior," says Andrew Benett, global CEO of the advertising giant Arnold Worldwide. You're still polite, attentive, and respectful, but it's time to loosen up. If you rib your colleagues in the office, do the same during your presentation. It's a sign of confidence, chemistry, and honesty -- qualities any client wants in a new creative team.
"It's better to be truthful about who you are than to pretend you're someone else," says Benett. But this easy rapport must come with total command of the material. Your pitch should prove that you know more about the client's industry than he or she thought possible. Then present ideas that weren't on the client's wish list -- a new technology, a loyalty program -- but that address the company's needs. Any schmo can promise increased business. You'll win the day with thoroughness and extra effort.
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